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Title: A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)
Author: Lindsay, Thomas M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)" ***

  The International Theological Library



  _Professor of Theological Encyclopædia and Symbolics,
  Union Theological Seminary, New York_;



  _Principal, and Professor of Systematic Theology and
  New Testament Exegesis,
  United Free Church College, Aberdeen_.


  D.D., LL.D.












In this volume I have endeavoured to fulfil the promise made in the
former one to describe the Reformed Churches, the Anabaptist and
Socinian movements and the Counter-Reformation in the sixteenth century.

It has been based on a careful study of contemporary sources of
information, and no important fact has been recorded for which there is
not contemporary evidence. Full use has been made of work done by
predecessors in the same field. The sources and the later books
consulted have been named at the beginning of each chapter; but special
reference is due to the writings of Professor Pollard on the reigns of
Henry VIII. and Edward VI., and to those of MM. Lemonnier and Mariéjol
for the history of Protestantism in France. The sources consulted are,
for the most part, printed in Calendars of State Papers issued by the
various Governments of Europe, or in the correspondence of prominent men
and women of the sixteenth century, edited and published for Historical
and Archæological Societies; but the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic,
relating to the reigns of Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, is little
more than a brief account of the contents of the documents, and has to
be supplemented by reference to the original documents in the Record

The field covered in this volume is so extensive that the accounts of
the rise and progress of the Reformation in the various countries
included had to be very much condensed. I have purposely given a larger
space to the beginnings of each movement, believing them to be less
known and more deserving of study. One omission must be noted. Nothing
has been said directly about the Reformed Churches in Bohemia, Hungary,
and the neighbouring lands. It would have been easy to devote a few
pages to the subject: but such a brief description would have been
misleading. The rise, continuance, and decline of these Churches are so
inseparably connected with the peculiar social and political conditions
of the countries, that no adequate or informing account of them could be
given without largely exceeding the limits of space at my disposal.

After the volume had been fully printed, and addition or alteration was
impossible, two important documents bearing on subjects discussed came
into my hands too late for references in the text.

I have found that the Library of the Technical College in Glasgow
contains a copy, probably unique, of the famous Hymn-book of the
_Brethren_ published at Ulm in 1538. It is entitled: _Ein hubsch neu
Gesangbuch darinnen begrieffen die Kirchenordnung und Geseng die zür
Lants Kron und Fulneck in Behem, von der Christlichen Bruderschafft den
Piccarden, die bishero für Unchristen und Ketzer gehalten, gebraucht und
teglich Gutt zum Ehren gesungen werden._ Gedruckt zu Ulm bey Hans
Varnier. An. MDXXXVIII. I know of a copy of much later date in Nürnberg;
but of no perfect copy of this early impression. It is sufficient to say
that the book confirms what I have said of the character of the religion
of the _Brethren_.

Then in December 1906, Señor Henriques published at Lisbon the authentic
records of the trial of George Buchanan and two fellow professors in
the Coimbra College before the Inquisition. These records show that the
prosecution had not been instigated by the Jesuits, as was generally
conjectured, but was due to the malice of a former Principal of the
College. The statement made on p. 556 has therefore to be corrected.

The kindness of the publishers has provided an historical map, which I
trust will be found useful. It gives, I think for the first time, a
representation to the eye of the wide extent of the Anabaptist movement.
The red bars denote districts where contemporary documents attest the
existence of Anabaptist communities. At least four maps, representing
successive periods, would be needed to show with exactness the shifting
boundaries of the various confessions: one map can only give the general

My thanks are again due to my colleague, Dr. Denney, and to another
friend, for the care they have taken in revising the proof sheets, and
for many valuable suggestions.

                                                   THOMAS M. LINDSAY.

_January_, 1907.





  § 1. The limitations of the Peace of Augsburg                        1

  § 2. The Reformation outside Germany                                 5

  § 3. The Reformed type of Doctrine                                   6

  § 4. The Reformed ideal of Ecclesiastical Government                 7

  § 5. The influence of Humanism on the Reformed Churches              9

  § 6. What the Reformed Churches owed to Luther                      13

  § 7. National Characteristics as they affected the Reformation      18



  § 1. The political condition of Switzerland                         21

  § 2. Zwingli's youth and education                                  24

  § 3. Zwingli at Glarus and at Einsiedeln                            27

  § 4. Zwingli in Zurich                                              29

  § 5. The Public Disputations                                        33

  § 6. The Reformation outside Zurich                                 38

       In Basel--Oecolampadius and William Farel                      38

       In Bern--The _Ten Theses_                                      40

       In Appenzell and other Cantons                                 46

       _The Christian Civic League_ (Protestant). _The Christian
         Union_ (Romanist)                                            48

  § 7. The Sacramental Controversy                                    52



  § 1. Geneva                                                         61

  § 2. The Reformation in Western Switzerland                         66

       Farel and his band of evangelists                              71

  § 3. Farel in Geneva                                                74

       Bern, Freiburg, and Geneva                                     77

       The Public Disputation and the _Thèses Évangéliques_           85

  § 4. Calvin: Youth and education                                    92

       _Christianæ Religionis Institutio_                             99

  § 5. Calvin with Farel in Geneva                                   102

       _Articuli de regimine ecclesiæ_--Discipline in the Church     105

       The theologians of Eastern Switzerland and excommunication    110

       Calvin and Farel banished from Geneva                         120

       Calvin recalled to Geneva--_Les ordonnances ecclésiastiques
         de l'Église de Genève_                                      128

       What Calvin did for Geneva                                    131



  § 1. Marguerite d'Angoulême and the "group of Meaux"               136

  § 2. Attempts to repress the movement for Reform                   144

  § 3. Change in the character of the movement for Reform            151

  § 4. Calvin and his influence in France                            153

  § 5. Persecution under Henry II.                                   161

  § 6. The organisation of the French Protestant Church              164

  § 7. Reaction against persecution                                  169

  § 8. The higher aristocracy won for the Reformation in France      171

  § 9. France ruled by the Guises                                    173

  § 10. Catherine de' Medici becomes Regent                          178

  § 11. The Conference at Poissy                                     186

  § 12. The massacre at Vassy                                        189

  § 13. The beginning of the Wars of Religion                        191

  § 14. The massacre of St. Bartholomew                              198

  § 15. The Huguenot resistance after the massacre                   200

  § 16. The beginnings of the League                                 205

  § 17. The League becomes disloyal                                  207

  § 18. The day of Barricades                                        211

  § 19. The King takes refuge with the Huguenots                     214

  § 20. The Declaration of Henry IV.                                 217

  § 21. Henry IV. becomes a Roman Catholic                           219

  § 22. The Edict of Nantes                                          221



  § 1. The political situation                                       224

  § 2. The beginnings of the Reformation                             228

  § 3. The Anabaptists in the Netherlands                            234

  § 4. Philip of Spain and the Netherlands                           240

  § 5. William of Orange                                             254



  Preparation for the Reformation                                    274

  Lollardy in Scotland                                               276

  Lutheran writings in Scotland                                      279

  The Beginnings of the Reformation                                  282

  George Wishart                                                     284

  John Knox, early work in Scotland                                  285

  Knox in England, in Switzerland, and at Frankfurt                  286

  The "Band subscrived by the Lords." "The Congregation"             289

  Knox's final return to Scotland                                    293

  Knox and Cecil. The English alliance                               294

  _The Scots Confession of Faith_                                    302

  _The First Book of Discipline_, or _the Policie and
    Discipline of the Church_. _The Book of Common Order_            304

  Return of Queen Mary to Scotland                                   309

         *       *       *       *       *





  Influences in England making for the Reformation. Lollardy, Hatred
    of the Clergy, Humanism, Luther                                  315

  The marriage of Henry and Catharine of Aragon, and the doubts
    entertained of its validity                                      322

  The Revolt of England from Roman jurisdiction                      325

  The _Ten Articles_ and the _Injunctions_                           333

  _The Bishops' Book_, and its teaching                              336

  _The English Bible_                                                337

  Projected alliance with the German Protestants                     340

  The visitation and dissolution of monasteries                      343

  The _Six Articles_ and the _King's Book_                           347



  The _Injunctions_ and the _Articles of Inquiry_                    351

  The condition of the English Clergy                                353

  _The First Prayer-Book of King Edward VI._                         356

  Continental Reformers in England                                   358

  _The Second Prayer-Book of King Edward VI._                        361

  Beginnings of the controversy about Vestments                      364



  The beginnings of Queen Mary's reign                               368

  The restoration of England to the papal obedience                  371

  The _Injunctions_ and the Visitation                               374

  The revival of heresy laws and the persecutions                    375

  The martyrdom of Cranmer                                           378



  Elizabeth resolves to be a Protestant. The political situation     385

  The _Act of Supremacy_ and the _Act of Uniformity_                 390

  The Elizabethan Prayer-Book                                        396

  The _Act of Uniformity_ and the Rubric about _Ornaments_           402

  The dealings with recalcitrant clergymen                           408

  _The Thirty-Nine Articles_                                         411

  How Discipline was regulated                                       417

  The character of the Elizabethan settlement                        418

         *       *       *       *       *





  Mediæval Nonconformists                                            421

  The Anti-Trinitarians                                              424



  The mediæval roots of Anabaptism                                   430

  Anabaptism organisation                                            434

  Varieties of teaching among the Anabaptists                        437

  Anabaptists object to a State Church                               442

  The Anabaptists in Switzerland. Their persecution                  445

  Anabaptist hymnology                                               449

  The Kingdom of God in Münster                                      451

  Bernhard Rothmann and his work in Münster                          452

  Dutch Anabaptists in Münster                                       459

  Polygamy in Münster                                                463



  Lelio and Fausto Sozzini                                           470

  Socinianism took its rise from a criticism of Doctrines            473

  Socinianism and the Scoto-Pelagian theology                        474

  The doctrines of God, the Work of Christ and the Church            477

         *       *       *       *       *





  Variety of complaints against the mediæval Church                  484

  Formation of local churches                                        487



  § 1. The religious condition of Spain                              488

  § 2. The reformation under Ximenes                                 490

  § 3. The Spaniards and Luther                                      493

  § 4. Pope Adrian VI. and the Spanish Reformation                   496



  § 1. The religious condition of Italy                              501

  § 2. Italian Roman Catholic Reformers                              504

  § 3. Cardinals Contarini and Caraffa                               513

  § 4. The Conference at Regensburg                                  519



  § 1. At Manresa                                                    525

  § 2. Ignatius at Paris. The ecclesiastical situation at Paris      533

  § 3. _The Spiritual Exercises_                                     538

  § 4. Ignatius in Italy                                             545

  § 5. _The Society of Jesus_                                        549



  § 1. The assembling of the Council                                 564

  § 2. Procedure at the Council                                      568

  § 3. Restatement of Doctrines                                      570

       The Doctrine of the Rule of Faith                             572

       Original Sin and Justification                                575

  § 4. The second meeting of the Council                             581

  § 5. The third meeting of the Council                              587

       The position of the Pope strengthened                         593



  § 1. The Inquisition in Spain                                      597

  § 2. The Inquisition in Italy                                      600

  § 3. The Index of prohibited books                                 602

  § 4. The Society of Jesus and the Counter-Reformation              606





§ 1. _The Limitations of the Peace of Augsburg._

The Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555) secured the legal recognition of
the Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire, and consequently within
European polity. Henceforward States, which declared through their
responsible rulers that they meant to live after the religion described
in the _Augsburg Confession_, were admitted to the comity of nations,
and the Pope was legally and practically debarred from excommunicating
them, from placing them under _interdict_, and from inviting obedient
neighbouring potentates to conquer and dispossess their sovereigns. The
Bishop of Rome could no longer, according to the recognised custom of
the Holy Roman Empire, launch a Bull against a Lutheran prince and
expect to have its execution enforced as in earlier days. The Popes were
naturally slow to see this, and had to be reminded of the altered state
of matters more than once.[1]

Of course, the exalted Romanist powers, civil and ecclesiastical, never
meant this settlement to be lasting. They intrigued secretly among
themselves, and fought openly, against it. The final determined effort
to overthrow it was that hideous nightmare which goes by the name of the
Thirty Years' War, mainly caused by the determination of the Jesuits
that by the help of God _and_ the devil, for that, as Carlyle has
remarked, was the peculiarity of the plan, all Germany must be brought
back to the obedience of Holy Stepmother Church, and to submission to
the Supreme Headship of the Holy Roman Empire--the Supreme Headship
becoming more and more shadowy as the years passed. The settlement
lasted, however, and remains in general outline until the present.

But the Religious Peace of Augsburg did not end the revolt against Rome
which was simmering in every land in Western Europe. It made no
provision for the multitude of believers in the _Augsburg Confession_,
whose princes, for conscience' sake or for worldly policy, remained
steadfast to Rome, save that they were to be permitted to emigrate to
territories where the rulers were of the same faith as theirs. These
Lutherans were to be found in every part of Germany, and were very
abundant in the Duchy of Austria. The statement of Faber, the Bishop of
Vienna, that the only good Catholics in that city were himself and the
Archduke Ferdinand, was, of course, rhetorical; but it is a proof of the
numbers of the followers of Luther.[2]

It chained irrevocably to the Romanist creed, by the clause called the
_ecclesiastical reservation_, not merely the people, but the rulers in
the numerous ecclesiastical principalities scattered all over Germany.
This provision secured that if an ecclesiastical prince adopted the
Lutheran faith, he was to be deprived of his principality. It is
probable that this provision did more than anything else to secure for
the Romanists the position they now have in Germany. It was partly due
to the alarms excited by the fact that Albert of Brandenburg, Master of
the Teutonic Knights, had secularised his land of East Prussia and had
become a Lutheran, and by the narrow escape of the province of Köln from
following in the same path, under its reforming archbishop, Hermann von

The Peace of Augsburg made no provision for any Protestants other than
those who accepted the Augsburg Confession; and thousands in the
Palatinate and all throughout South Germany preferred another type of
Protestant faith. It is probable that, had Luther lived for ten or
fifteen years longer, the great division between the Reformed or
Calvinist and the Evangelical or Lutheran Churches would have been
bridged over; but after his death his successors, intent to maintain, as
they expressed it, the deposit of truth which Luther had left, actually
ostracised Melanchthon for his endeavour to heal the breach. The
consequence was that the Lutheran Church within Germany after 1555 lost
large districts to the Reformed Church.

Under Elector Frederick III., surnamed the Pious, the territorial Church
of the Palatinate separated from the circle of Lutheran Churches, and in
1563 the Heidelberg Catechism was published. This celebrated doctrinal
formula at once became, and has remained, the distinctive creed of the
various branches of the Reformed Church within Germany; and its
influence extended even farther.

Bremen followed the example of the Palatinate in 1568. Its divines
published a doctrinal _Declaration_ in 1572, and a more lengthy
_Consensus Bremenensis_ in 1595. Anhalt, under its ruler John George
(1587-1603), did away with the consistorial system of Church government,
and abandoned the use of Luther's Catechism. Hesse-Cassel joined the
circle of German Reformed Churches in 1605. These examples were followed
in many smaller principalities, most of which, imitating all the
Reformed Churches, published separate and distinctive confessions of
faith, which were nevertheless supposed to contain the sum and substance
of the common Reformed creed.[3]

These German principalities, rulers and inhabitants, placed themselves
deliberately outside the protection of the Religious Peace of Augsburg.
The fundamental principles of their faith were not very different from
the Lutheran, but they were important enough to make them forego the
protection which the treaty afforded. Setting aside minor differences
and sentiments, perhaps more powerful than doctrines, their separation
from neighbouring Protestants was based on their objection to the
doctrine of _Ubiquity_, essential to the Lutheran theory of the
Sacrament of the Supper, and to the consistorial system of
ecclesiastical government. They repudiated the two portions of the
Lutheran system which were derived professedly from the mediæval Church,
and insisted on basing their exposition of doctrine and their scheme of
ecclesiastical government more directly on the Word of God. They had
come in contact with another reformation movement, had recognised its
sturdier principles, and had become so enamoured of them that they felt
compelled to leave the Lutheran Church for the Reformed.

Still confining ourselves to Germany, it is to be noticed that the
Augsburg Confession ostentatiously and over and over again separated
those who accepted it from protesters against the mediæval Church, who
were called Anabaptists. It repudiated views supposed to be held by them
on Baptism, the Holy Scripture, the possibility of a life of sinless
perfection, and the relation of Christian men to the magistracy. In some
of the truces arranged between the Emperor and the evangelical
princes,--truces which anticipated the religious Peace of
Augsburg,--attempts were made to induce Lutherans and Romanists to unite
in suppressing those sectaries. It is needless to say that _they_ were
not included in the settlement in 1555. Yet they had spread all over
Germany, endured with constancy bloody persecutions, and from them have
come the large and influential Baptist Churches in Europe and America.
From beginning to end they were outside the Lutheran Reformation.

§ 2. _The Reformation outside Germany._

When we go beyond Germany and survey the other countries of Western
Europe, it is abundantly evident that the story of the Lutheran movement
from its beginning down to its successful issue in the Religious Peace
of Augsburg is only a small part of the history of the Reformation.
France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Bohemia, Hungary, even Italy,
Spain, and Poland, throbbed with the religious revival of the sixteenth
century, and its manifestations in these lands differed in many
respects from that which belonged to Germany. All shared with Germany
the common experiences, intellectual and religious, political and
economic, of that period of transition which is called the Renaissance
in the wider sense of the word--the transition from mediæval to modern
life.[4] They had all come to the parting of the ways. They had all
emerged from Mediævalism, and all saw the wider outlook which was the
heritage of the time. All felt the same longing to shake themselves
clear of the incubus of clericalism which weighed heavily on their
national life, whether religious or political. Each land went forward,
marching by its own path marked out for it by its past history,
intellectual, religious, and civil. The movements in these various
countries towards a freer and more real religious life cannot be
described in the same general terms; but if Italy and Spain be excepted,
their attempts at a national reformation had one thing in common which
definitely separated them from the Lutheran movement.

§ 3. _The Reformed type of Doctrine._

If the type of doctrine professed by the Protestants in those countries
be considered (confessedly a partial, one-sided, and imperfect
standard), it may be said that they all refused to accept some of the
distinctive Lutheran dogmatic conclusions, and that they all departed
more widely from some of the conceptions of the Mediæval Church. Their
national confessions in their final forms borrowed more from Zurich and
Geneva than from Wittenberg, and they all belong to the Reformed as
distinguished from the Lutheran or Evangelical circle of creeds.[5] It
was perhaps natural that differences in the ritual and theory of the
Holy Supper, the very apex and crown of Christian Public Worship, should
be to the general eye the visible cleavage between rival forms of
Christianity. In the earlier stages of the Reformation movement, the
great popular distinction between the Romanists and Protestants was that
the one refused and the other admitted the laity to partake of the Cup
of Communion; and later, within an orthodox Protestantism, the thought
of _ubiquity_ was the dividing line. The Lutherans asserted and the
Reformed denied or ignored the doctrine; and those confessions took the
Reformed view.

§ 4. _The Reformed ideal of Ecclesiastical Government._

This similarity of published creed was the one _positive_ bond which
united all those Churches; but it may also be said that all of them,
with the doubtful exception of the Church of England,[6] would have
nothing to do with the consistorial system of the Lutheran Churches, and
that most of them accepted in theory at least Calvin's conception of
ecclesiastical government. They strove to get away from the mediæval
ideas of ecclesiastical rule, and to return to the principles which they
believed to be laid down for them in the New Testament, illustrated by
the conduct of the Church of the early centuries. The Church, according
to Calvin, was a theocratic democracy, and the ultimate source of
authority lay in the membership of the Christian community, inspired by
the Presence of Christ promised to all His people. But in the sixteenth
century this conception was confronted and largely qualified in
practice, by the dread that it might lead to a return to the clerical
tutelage of the mediæval Church from which they had just escaped.
Presbyter might become priest writ large; and the leaders of the
Reformation in many lands could see, as Zwingli did in Zurich and
Cranmer in England, that the civil authorities might well represent the
Christian democracy. Even Calvin in Geneva had to content himself with
ecclesiastical ordinances which left the Church completely under the
control of _les très honnorès seigneurs syndicques et conseil de
Genève_; and the Scottish Church in 1572 had to recognise that the King
was the "Supreme Governor of this realm as well in things temporal as in
the conservation and purgation of religion." The nations and
principalities in Western Europe which had adopted and supported the
Reformation believed that manifold abuses had arisen in the past,
directly and indirectly, through the exemption of the Church and its
possessions from secular control, and they were determined not to permit
the possibility of a return to such a state of things. The scholarship
of the Renaissance had discovered the true text of the old Roman Civil
Code, and one of the features of that time of transition--perhaps its
most important and far-reaching feature, for law enters into every
relation of human life--was the substitution of civil law based on the
Codes of Justinian and Theodosius, for canon law based on the Decretum
of Gratian. These old Roman codes taught the lawyers and statesmen of
the sixteenth century to look upon the Church as a department of the
State; and the thought that the Christian community had an independent
life of its own, and that its guidance and discipline ought to be in the
hands of office-bearers chosen by its membership, was everywhere
confronted, modified, largely overthrown by the imperious claim of the
civilian lawyers. Ecclesiastical leaders within the Reformed Churches
might strive as they liked to draw the line between the possessions of
the Church, which they willingly placed under the control of civil law,
and its discipline in matters of faith and morals, which they declared
to be the inalienable possession of the Church; but, as a rule, the
State refused to perceive the distinction, and insisted in maintaining
full control over the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Hence it came about
that in every land where the secular authorities were favourable to the
Reformation, the Church became more or less subject to the State; and
this resulted in a large variety of ecclesiastical organisations in
communities all belonging to the Reformed Church. While it may be said
with perfect truth that the churchly ideal in the minds of the leaders
in most of the Reformed Churches was to restore the theocratic democracy
of the early centuries, and that this was a strong point of contrast
between them and Luther, who insisted that the _jus episcopale_ belonged
to the civil magistrate, in practice the secular authorities in
Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Palatinate, etc., kept almost as tight
a hold on the Reformed national Churches as did the Lutheran princes and
municipalities. In one land only, France, the ecclesiastical ideal of
Calvin had full liberty to embody itself in a constitution, and that
only because the French Reformed Church struggled into existence under
the civil rule of a Romanist State, and, like the Christian Church of
the early centuries, maintained itself in spite of the opposition of the
secular authorities which persecuted it.

§ 5. _The Influence of Humanism on the Reformed Churches._

The portion of the Reformation which lay outside the Peace of Augsburg
had another characteristic which distinguished it from the Lutheran
Reformation included within the treaty--it owed much more to Humanism.
Erasmus and what he represented had a greater share in its birth and
early progress, and his influence appeared amidst the most dissimilar
surroundings. Henry VIII. and Zwingli seem to stand at opposite poles;
yet the English autocrat and the Swiss democrat were alike in this, that
they owed much to Erasmus, and that the reformations which they
respectively led were largely prompted by the impulse of Humanism. One
has only to compare the _Bishops' Book_ and the _King's Book_ of the
Henrican period in England with the many statements Erasmus has made
about the kind of reformation he desired to see, to recognise that they
were meant to serve for a reformation in life and morals which would
leave untouched the fundamental doctrinal system of the mediæval Church
and its organisation in accordance with the principles laid down by the
great Humanist. The Bible, the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds,
with the doctrinal decisions of the first four Oecumenical Councils, were
recognised as the standards of orthodoxy in the _Ten Articles_; and the
Scholastic Theology, so derided by Erasmus, was contemptuously ignored.
The accompanying _Injunctions_ set little store by pilgrimages, relics,
and indulgences, and the other superstitions of the popular religious
life which the great Humanist had treated sarcastically. The two books
alluded to above are full of instructions for leading a wholesome life.
The whole programme of reformation is laid down on lines borrowed from

Zwingli was under the influence of Humanism from his boyhood. His young
intellect was fed on the masterpieces of classical antiquity--Cicero,
Homer, and Pindar. His favourite teacher was Thomas Wyttenbach, who was
half a Reformer and half a pure follower of Erasmus. No man influenced
him more than the learned Dutchman. It was his guidance and not the
example of Luther which made him study the Scriptures and the
theologians of the early Church, such as Origen, Jerome, and Chrysostom.
The influence and example of Erasmus can be seen even in his attempts to
create a rational theory of the Holy Supper. His reformation, in its
beginning more especially, was much more an intellectual than a
religious movement. It aimed at a clearer understanding of the Holy
Scriptures, at the purgation of the popular religious life from idolatry
and superstition, and at a clearly reasoned out scheme of intellectual
belief. The deeper religious impulse which drove Luther, step by step,
in his path of revolt from the mediæval Church was lacking in Zwingli.
He owed little to Wittenberg, much to Rotterdam. It was this connection
with Erasmus that created the sympathy between Zwingli and such early
Dutch Reformers as Christopher Hoen, and made the Swiss Reformer a power
in the earlier stages of the Reformation in the Netherlands.

The beginnings of the Reformation movement in France, Italy, and Spain
were even more closely allied to Humanism.

If the preparation for reformation to be found in the work and teaching
of mediæval evangelical nonconformists like the _Picards_ be set aside,
the beginnings of the Reformation in France must be traced to the small
group of Christian Humanists who surrounded Marguerite d'Angoulême and
Briçonnet the Bishop of Meaux. Marguerite herself and Jacques Lefèvre
d'Étaples, the real leader of the group of scholars and preachers, found
solace for soul troubles in the Christian Platonism to which so many of
the Humanists north and south of the Alps had given themselves. The aim
of the little circle of enthusiasts was a reformation of the Church and
of society on the lines laid down by Erasmus. They looked to reform
without "tumult," to a reformation of the Church by the Church and
within the Church, brought about by a study of the Scriptures, and
especially of the Epistles of St. Paul, by individual Christians weaning
themselves from the world while they remained in society, and by slowly
leavening the people with the enlightenment which the New Learning was
sure to bring. They cared little for theology, much for intimacy with
Christ; little for external changes in institutions, much for personal
piety. Their efforts had little visible effect, and their _via media_
between the stubborn defenders of Scholasticism on the one hand and
more thorough Reformers on the other, was found to be an impossible path
to persevere in; but it must not be forgotten that they did much to
prepare France for the Reformation movement which they really
inaugurated; nor that William Farel, the precursor of Calvin himself in
Geneva, belonged to the "group of Meaux."

If Humanism influenced the "group of Meaux," who were the advance guard
of the French Reformation, it manifested itself no less powerfully in
the training of Calvin, who in 1536 unconsciously became the leader of
the movement. He was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic students
of the band of "royal lecturers" appointed by Francis I. to give France
the benefits of the New Learning. He had intimate personal relations
with Budé and Cop, who were allied to the "group of Meaux," and were
leaders among the Humanists in the University. His earliest book, a
Commentary on the _De Clementia_ of Seneca, shows how wide and minute
was his knowledge of the Greek and Latin classical authors. Like
Erasmus, he does not seem to have been much influenced by the mystical
combination of Platonism and Christianity which entranced the Christian
Humanists of Italy and filled the minds of the "group of Meaux"; and
like him he broke through the narrow circle of elegant trifling within
which most of the Italian scholars were confined, and used the New
Learning for modern purposes. Humanism taught him to think imperially in
the best fashion of ancient Rome, to see that great moral ideas ought to
rule in the government of men. It filled him with a generous indignation
at the evils which flowed from an abuse of absolute and arbitrary power.
The young scholar (he was only three-and-twenty) attacked the
governmental abuses of the times with a boldness which revived the best
traditions of Roman statesmanship. He denounced venal judges who made
"justice a public merchandise." He declared that princes who slew their
people or subjected them to wholesale persecution were not legitimate
rulers, but brigands, and that brigands were the enemies of the whole
human race. At a time when persecution was prevalent everywhere, the
Commentary of the young Humanist pleaded for tolerance in language as
lofty as Milton employed in his _Areopagitica_. He was not blind to the
defects of the stoical morality displayed in the book he commented upon.
He contrasted the stoical indifference with Christian sympathy, and
stoical individualism with the thought of Christian society; but he
seized upon and made his own the loftier moral ideas in Stoicism, and
applied them to public life. Luther was great, none greater, in holding
up the liberty of the Christian man; but there he halted, or advanced
beyond it with very faltering step. Humanism taught Calvin the claims
and the duties of the Christian society; he proclaimed them aloud, and
his thoughts spread throughout that portion of the Reformation which
followed his leadership and accepted his principles. The Holy
Scriptures, St. Augustine, and the imperial ethics of the old Roman
Stoicism coming through Humanism, were a trinity of influence on all the
Reformed Churches.

The Reformation in Spain and Italy was only a brief episode; but in its
short-lived existence in these lands, Humanism was one of the greatest
forces supporting it and giving it strength. In both countries the young
life was quenched in the blood of martyrs. So quickly did it pass, that
it seems surprising to learn that Erasmus confidently expected that
Spain would be the land to accomplish the Reformation without "tumult"
which he so long looked forward to and expected; that the Scriptures
were read throughout the Spanish peninsula, and that women vied with men
in knowledge of their contents, during the earlier part of the sixteenth

§ 6. _What the Reformed Churches owed to Luther._

There was, then, a Reformation movement which in its earliest beginnings
and in its final outcome was quite distinct from that under the
leadership of Luther; but it would be erroneous to say that it was
altogether outside Luther's influence, and that it owed little or
nothing to the great German Reformer. It is vain to speculate on what
might have been, or to ask whether the undoubted movements making for
reformation in lands outside Germany would have come to fruition had not
Luther's trumpet-call sounded over Europe. It is enough to state what
did actually occur. If it cannot be said that the beginnings of the
Reformation in every land came from Luther, it can scarcely be denied
that he gave to his contemporaries the inspiration of courage and of
assured conviction. He delivered men from the fear of priestcraft; he
taught men, in a way that no other did, that redemption was not a secret
science practised by the priests within an institution called the
Church; that all believers had the privilege of direct access to the
very presence of God; and that the very thought of a priesthood who
alone could mediate between God and man was both superfluous and
irreconcilable with the truest instincts of the Christian religion. His
teaching had a sounding board of dramatic environment which compelled
men to listen, to attend, to be impressed, to understand, and to follow.

He had been and was a deeply pious man, with the piety of the type most
esteemed by his contemporaries, and therefore easily understood and
sympathised with by the common man. His piety had driven him into the
convent, as then seemed both natural and necessary. Inside the monastery
he had lived the life of a "young saint"--so his fellow monks believed,
when, in the fashion of the day and of their class, they boasted that
they had among them one destined to revive again the best type of
mediæval saintship. No coarse, vulgar sins of the flesh, common enough
at the time and easily condoned, smirched his young life. When he
attained to peace in believing, he had no doubt of his vocation; no
sudden wrench tore him away from the approved religious life of his
time; no intellectual doubt separated him from the beliefs of his
Church. His very imperviousness to the intellectual liberalising
tendencies of Humanism made him all the more fit to be a trusted
religious leader. He went forward step by step with such a slow, sure
foot-tread that the common man could see and follow. When he did come
forward as a Reformer he did not run amuck at things in general. He felt
compelled to attack the _one_ portion of the popular religious life of
the times which all men who gave the slightest thought to religion felt
to be a gross abuse. The way he dealt with it revealed that he was the
great religious genius of his age--an age which was imperatively if
confusedly calling for reform within the sphere of religion.

If to be original means simply to be the first to see and make known a
single truth or a fresh aspect of a truth, it is possible to contest the
claim of Luther to be an original thinker. It would not be difficult to
point out anticipations of almost every separate truth which he taught
to his generation. To take two only--Wessel had denounced indulgences in
language so similar to Luther's, that, when the Reformer read it long
after the publication of the _Theses_, he could say that people might
well imagine that he had simply borrowed from the old Dutch theologian;
and Lefèvre d'Étaples had taught the doctrine of justification by faith
before it had flashed on Luther's soul with all the force of a
revelation. But if originality be the gift to seize, to combine into one
organic whole, separate isolated truths, to see their bearing upon the
practical religious life of all men, educated and ignorant, to use the
new light to strip the common religious life of all paralysing
excrescences, to simplify it and to make it clear that the sum and
essence of Christianity is "unwavering trust of the heart in Him who has
given Himself to us in Christ Jesus as our Father, personal assurance of
faith because Christ with His work undertakes our cause," and to do all
this with the tenderest sympathy for every true dumb religious instinct
which had made men wander away from the simplicity which is in Christ
Jesus, then Luther stands alone in his day and generation,
unapproachable by any other.

Hence it was that to the common people in every land in Europe up till
about 1540, when Calvin's individuality began to make itself felt,
Luther represented the Reformation; and all who accepted the new
teaching were known as Lutherans, whether in England, the Low Countries,
France, or French speaking Switzerland.[7]

Ecclesiastical historians of the Reformed Church from the sixteenth
century downward have often been inclined to share Luther's supremacy
with Zwingli. The Swiss Reformer was gifted with many qualities which
Luther lacked. He stood in freer relation to the doctrines and practices
of the mediæval Church, and his scheme of theology was perhaps wider and
truer than Luther's. He had a keener intellectual insight, and was
quicker to discern the true doctrinal tendencies of their common
religious verities. But the way in which he regarded indulgences, and
his manner of protesting against them, showed his great inferiority to
Luther as a religious guide.

"Oh the folly of it!" said Zwingli with his master Erasmus,--"the crass,
unmitigated stupidity of it all!" and they scorned it, and laughed at
it, and attacked it with the light keen shafts of raillery and derisive
wit. "Oh the pity of it!" said Luther; and he turned men travelling by
the wrong road on their quest for pardon (a real quest for them) into
the right path. Zwingli never seemed to see that under the purchase of
indulgences, the tramping on pilgrimages from shrine to shrine, the
kissing, reverencing, and adoring of relics, there was a real
inarticulate cry for pardon of sins felt if not vividly repented of.
Luther knew it, and sympathised with it. He was a man of the people, not
merely because he was a peasant's son and had studied at a burgher
University, but because he had shared the religion of the common people.
He had felt with them that the repeated visits of the plague, the new
mysterious diseases, the dread of the Turks, were punishments sent by
God because of the sins of the generation. He had gone through it all;
plunged more deeply in the terror, writhed more hopelessly under the
wrath of God, wandered farther on the wrong path in his quest for
pardon, and at last had seen the "Beatific Vision." The deepest and
truest sympathy with fellow-men and the vision of God are needed to make
a Reformer of the first rank, and Luther had both as no other man had,
during the first quarter of the sixteenth century.

So men listened to him all over Europe wherever there had been a
stirring of the heart for reformation, and it would be hard to say where
there had been none. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles in the east;
Spaniards, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Dutch, and Scots in the west; Swedes
in the north, and Italians in the south--all welcomed, and read, and
were moved by what Luther wrote. First the _Theses_, then sermons and
tracts, then the trumpet call _To the Nobility of the German Nation_ and
the _Præludium to the Babylonian Captivity of the Church of Christ_,
and, above all, his booklet _On the Liberty of a Christian Man_. As men
read, what had been only a hopeful but troubled dream of the night
became a vision in the light of day. They heard proclaimed aloud in
clear unfaltering speech what they had scarcely dared to whisper to
themselves. Fond and devout imaginations became religious certainties.
They risked all to get possession of the sayings of this "man of God."
Cautious, dour Scotch burghers ventured ship and cargo for the sake of
the little quarto tracts hid in the bales of cloth which came to the
ports of Dundee and Leith. Oxford and Cambridge students passed them
from hand to hand in spite of Wolsey's proclamations and Warham's
precautions. Luther's writings were eagerly studied in Paris by town and
University as early as May 1519.[8] Spanish merchants bought Luther's
books at the Frankfurt Fair, spent some of their hard won profits in
getting them translated and printed in Spanish, and carried them over
the Pyrenees on their pack mules. Under the influence of these writings
the Reformation took shape, was something more than the devout
imagination of a few pious thinkers, and became an endeavour to give
expression to common religious certainties in change of creed,
institutions, and worship. Thus Luther helped the Reformation in every
land. The actual beginnings in England, France, the Netherlands, and
elsewhere had come into existence years before Luther had become known;
it is possible that the movements might have come to fruition apart from
his efforts; but the influence of his writings was like that of the sun
when it quickens and makes the seed sprout that has been "happed" in a
tilled and sown field.

§ 7. _National Characteristics._

It was not that the Reformation in any of these countries was to become
Lutheran in the end, or had a Lutheran stage of development. The number
of genuine Lutherans outside Germany and Scandinavia was very small.
Here and there a stray one was to be found, like Dr. Barnes in England
or Louis Berquin in France. One of the deepest principles of the great
Reformer's teaching itself checked the idea of a purely Lutheran
Reformation which would embrace the whole Reformation Church. He taught
that the practical exercise of faith ought to manifest itself within the
great institutions of human life which have their origin in God--in
marriage, the family, the calling, and the State, in the ordinary life
we lead with its environment. Nations have their character and
characteristics as well as individual men, and they mould in natural
ways the expression in creed and institution of the religious
certainties shared by all. The Reformation in England was based on the
same spiritual facts and forces which were at work in France, Germany,
and the Netherlands, but each land had its own ways of embodying them.
It is interesting to note how national habits, memories, and even
prejudices compelled the external embodiment to take very varying
shapes, and force the historian to describe the Reformation in each
country as something by itself.

The new spiritual life in England took a shape distinctly marked out for
it by the almost forgotten reformatory movement under Wiclif which had
been native to the soil. Scotland might have been expected to follow the
lead of England, and bring her ecclesiastical reconstruction into
harmony with that of her new and powerful ally. The English alliance was
the great political fact of the Scottish Reformation, and leading
statesmen in both countries desired the still nearer approach which
conformity in the organisation of the Churches could not fail to foster.
But the memory of the old French alliance was too strong for Cecil and
Lethington, and Scotland took her methods of Church government from
France (not from Geneva), and drifted farther and farther away from the
model of the English settlement. The fifteenth century War of the Public
Weal repeated itself in the Wars of Religion in France; and in the Edict
of Nantes the Reformed Church was offered and accepted guarantees for
her independence such as a feudal prince might have demanded. The old
political local independence which had characterised the Low Countries
in the later Middle Ages reasserted itself in the ecclesiastical
arrangements of the Netherlands. The civic republics of Switzerland
demanded and received an ecclesiastical form of government which suited
the needs of their social and political life.

Yet amidst all this diversity there was the prevailing sense of an
underlying unity, and the knowledge that each national Church was part
of the Catholic Church Reformed was keener than among the Lutheran
Churches. Protestant England in the time of Edward VI. welcomed and
supported refugees banished by the Augsburg Interim from Strassburg.
Frankfurt received and provided for families who fled from the Marian
persecutions in England. Geneva became a city of refuge for oppressed
Protestants from every land, and these strangers frequently added quite
a third to her population. The feeling of fraternity was maintained, as
in the days of the early Church, by constant interchange of letters and
messengers, and correspondence gave a sense of unity which it was
impossible to embody in external political organisation. The sense of a
common danger was also a wonderful bond of kinship; and the feeling that
Philip of Spain was always plotting their destruction, softened
inter-ecclesiastical jealousies. The same sort of events occurred in all
the Churches at almost the same times. The Colloquy of Westminster
(1559) was separated from the Colloquy of Poissy (1561) by an interval
of two years only, and the same questions were discussed at both. Queen
Elizabeth openly declared herself a Protestant by partaking of the
communion in both "kinds" at Easter, 1559; and on the same day Antoine
de Bourbon, King of Navarre, made the same profession in the same way at
Pau in the south of France. Mary of Guise resolved that the same
festival should see the Scots united under the old faith, and thus
started the overt rebellion which ended in Scotland becoming a
Protestant nation.

The course of the Reformation in each country must be described
separately, and yet it is the one story with differences due to the
accidents of national temperaments, memories, and political



§ 1. _The political Condition of Switzerland._[9]

Switzerland in the sixteenth century was like no other country in
Europe. It was as divided as Germany or Italy, and yet it had a unity
which they could not boast. It was a confederation or little republic of
communes and towns of the primitive Teutonic type, in which the
executive power was vested in the community. The various cantons were
all independent, but they were banded together in a common league, and
they had a federal flag--a white cross on a red ground, which bore the
motto, "Each for all, and all for each."

The separate members of the Federation had come into existence in a
great variety of ways, and all retained the distinctive marks of their
earlier history. The beginnings go back to the thirteenth century, when
the three Forest cantons, Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden, having freed
themselves from the dominion of their feudal lords, formed themselves
into a _Perpetual League_ (1291), in which they pledged themselves to
help each other to maintain the liberty they had won. After the battle
of Morgarten they renewed the League at Brunnen (1315), promising again
to aid each other against all usurping lords. Hapsburg, the cradle of
the Imperial House of Austria, lies on the south-east bank of the river
Aare, and the dread of this great feudal family strengthened the bonds
of the League; while the victories of the independent peasants over the
House of Austria, and later over the Duke of Burgundy, increased its
reputation. The three cantons grew to be thirteen--Schwyz, Uri,
Unterwalden, Luzern, Zurich, Bern, Glarus, Zug, Freiburg, Basel,
Schaffhausen, Solothurn, and Appenzell. Other districts, without
becoming members of the League, sought its protection, such as the
Valais and the town and country under the Abbey of St. Gallen. Other
leagues were formed on its model among the peasantry of the Rhætian
Alps--in 1396 the _League of the House of God_ (_Lia da Ca' Dè_)--at the
head of which was the Church at Chur; in 1424 the _Graubünden_ (_Lia
Grischa_ or _Gray League_); in 1436 the _League of the Ten
Jurisdictions_ (_Lia della desch Dretturas_). These three united in 1471
to make the _Three Perpetual Leagues of Rhætia_. They were in close
alliance with the Swiss cantons from the fifteenth century, but did not
become actual members of the Swiss Confederacy until 1803. The
Confederacy also made some conquests, and the districts conquered were
generally governed on forms of mutual agreement between several
cantons--a complicated system which led to many bickerings, and
intensified the quarrels which religion gave rise to in the sixteenth

Each of these thirteen cantons preserved its own independence and its
own mode of government. Their political organisation was very varied,
and dependent to a large extent on their past history. The Forest
cantons were communes of peasant proprietors, dwelling in inaccessible
valleys, and their Diet was an assembly of all the male heads of
families. Zurich was a manufacturing and commercial town which had grown
up under the protection of an old ecclesiastical settlement whose
foundation went back to an age beyond that of Charles the Great. Bern
was originally a hamlet, nestling under the fortified keep of an old
feudal family. In Zurich the nobles made one of the "guilds" of the
town, and the constitution was thoroughly democratic. Bern, on the
other hand, was an aristocratic republic. But in all, the power in the
last resort belonged to the people, who were all freemen with full
rights of citizenship.

The Swiss had little experience of episcopal government. Their relations
with the Papacy had been entirely political or commercial, the main
article of commerce being soldiers to form the Pope's bodyguard, and
infantry for his Italian wars, and the business had been transacted
through Legates. Most of the territory of Switzerland was
ecclesiastically divided between the archiepiscopal provinces of Mainz
and Besançon, and the river Aare was the boundary between them. The
division went back to the beginning of Christianity in the land. The
part of Switzerland which lay towards France had been Christianised by
Roman or Gallic missionaries; while the rest, which sloped towards
Germany, had been won to Christianity by Irish preachers! Basel and
Lausanne figure as bishoprics under Besançon; while Constance, a
bishopric under Mainz, asserted episcopal rights over Zurich and the
neighbourhood. The rugged, mountainous part of the country was vaguely
claimed for the province of Mainz without being definitely assigned to
any diocese. This contributed to make the Swiss people singularly
independent in all ecclesiastical matters, and taught them to manage
their Church affairs for themselves.

Even in Zurich, which acknowledged the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of
the Bishop of Constance, the Council insisted on its right of
supervising Church properties, and convents were under State inspection.

In the beginning of the sixteenth century, intercourse with their
neighbours was changing the old simple manners of the Swiss. Their
repeated victories over Charles the Bold of Burgundy had led to the
belief that the Swiss infantry was the best in Europe, and nations at
war with each other were eager to hire Swiss troops. The custom had
gradually grown up among the Swiss cantons of hiring out soldiers to
those who paid best for them. These mercenaries, demoralised by making
merchandise of their lives in quarrels not their own, and by spending
their pay in riotous living when they returned to their native valleys,
were corrupting the population of the Confederacy. The system was
demoralising in another way. The two great Powers that trafficked in
Swiss infantry were France and the Papacy; and the French king on the
one hand, and the Pope on the other, not merely kept permanent agents in
the various Swiss cantons, but gave pensions to leading citizens to
induce them to persuade the canton to which they belonged to hire
soldiers to the one side or the other. Zwingli, in his earlier days,
believed that the Papacy was the only Power with which the Swiss ought
to ally themselves, and received a papal pension for many years.

§ 2. _Zwingli's Youth and Education._[10]

Huldreich (Ulrich) Zwingli, the Reformer of Switzerland, was born on
January 1st, 1484 (fifty-two days after Luther), in the hamlet of
Wildhaus (or Wildenhaus), lying in the upper part of the Toggenburg
valley, raised so high above sea-level (3600 feet) that fruits refuse to
ripen. It lies so exactly on the central watershed of Europe, that the
rain which falls on the one side of the ridge of the red-tiled church
roof goes into a streamlet which feeds the Danube, and that which falls
on the other finds its way to the Rhine. He came third in a large family
of eight sons and two daughters. His father, also called Huldreich, was
the headman of the commune, and his uncle, Bartholomew Zwingli, was the
parish priest. His education was superintended by Bartholomew, who
became Dean of Wesen in 1487, and took the small Huldreich with him to
his new sphere of work. The boy was sent to the school in Wesen, where
he made rapid progress. Bartholomew Zwingli was somewhat of a scholar
himself. When he discovered that his nephew was a precocious boy, he
determined to give him as good an education as was possible, and sent
him to Basel (Klein-Basel, on the east bank of the Rhine) to a famous
school taught, by the gentle scholar, Gregory Buenzli (1494-98).

In four years the lad had outgrown the teacher's powers of instruction,
and young Zwingli was sent to Bern to a school taught by the Humanist
Heinrich Wölfflin (Lupulus), who was half a follower of Erasmus and half
a Reformer. He was passionately fond of music, and lodged in one of the
Dominican convents in the town which was famed for the care bestowed on
musical education. Zwingli was so carried away by his zeal for the
study, that he had some thoughts of becoming a monk merely to gratify
his musical tastes. His family, who had no desire to see him enter a
monastery, removed him from Bern and sent him to the University of
Vienna, where he spent two years (1500-1502). There he had for friends
and fellow-students, Joachim von Watt[11] (Vadianus), Heinrich
Loriti[12] of Glarus (Glareanus), Johann Heigerlin[13] of Leutkirch
(Faber), and Johann Maier of Eck, the most notable of all Luther's
opponents. In 1502 he returned to Switzerland and matriculated in the
University of Basel. He became B.A. in 1504 and M.A. in 1506, and in the
same year became parish priest of Glarus.

The childhood and youth of Zwingli form a striking contrast to Luther's
early years. He enjoyed the rude plenty of a well-to-do Swiss farmhouse,
and led a joyous young life. He has told us how the family gathered in
the _stube_ in the long winter evenings, and how his grandmother kept
the children entranced with her tales from the Bible and her wonderful
stories of the saints. The family were all musical, and they sang
patriotic folk-songs, recording in rude verse the glories of Morgarten,
Sempach, and the victories over the tyrant of Burgundy. "When I was a
child," says Zwingli, "if anyone said a word against our Fatherland, it
put my back up at once." He was trained to be a patriot. "From boyhood I
have shown so great, eager, and sincere a love for our honourable
Confederacy that I trained myself diligently in every act and discipline
to this end." His uncle Bartholomew was an admirer of the New Learning,
and the boy was nurtured in everything that went to make a Humanist,
with all its virtues and failings. He was educated, one might almost
say, in the art of enjoying the present without discriminating much
between what was good and evil in surrounding society. He was trained to
take life as it came. No great sense of sin troubled his youthful
years. He never shuddered at the wrathful face of Jesus, the Judge,
gazing at him from blazoned church window. If he was once tempted for a
moment to become a monk, it was in order to enjoy musical society, not
to quench the sin that was burning him within, and to win the pardon of
an angry God. He took his ecclesiastical calling in a careless,
professional way. He belonged to a family connected on both sides with
the clergy, and he followed the family arrangement. Until far on in life
the question of personal piety did not seem to trouble him much, and he
never belonged, like Luther and Calvin, to the type of men who are the
leaders in a revival of personal religion. He became a Reformer because
he was a Humanist, with a liking for Augustinian theology; and his was
such a frank, honest nature that he could not see cheats and shams done
in the name of religion without denouncing them. To the end of his days
he was led more by his intellect than by the promptings of the heart,
and in his earlier years he was able to combine a deep sense of
responsibility about most things with a careless laxity of moral life.

§ 3. _At Glarus and Einsiedeln._

At Glarus he was able to follow his Humanist studies, guided by the
influences which had surrounded him during his last year at Basel. Among
these his friendship with Thomas Wyttenbach was the most lasting.
Wyttenbach taught him, he tells us, to see the evils and abuses of
indulgences, the supreme authority of the Bible, that the death of
Christ was the sole price of the remission of sins, and that faith is
the key which unlocks to the soul the treasury of remission. All these
thoughts he had grasped intellectually, and made much of them in his
sermons. He prized preaching highly, and resolved to cultivate the gift
by training himself on the models of antiquity. He studied the
Scriptures, joyfully welcomed the new Greek Testament of Erasmus,
published by Froben of Basel in 1516, when he was at Einsiedeln, and
copied out from it the whole of the Pauline Epistles. On the wide
margins of his MS. he wrote annotations from Erasmus, Origen,
Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Jerome. It was his constant companion.

At Glarus he was personally introduced to the system of mercenary war
and of pensions in which Switzerland had engaged. He went to Italy twice
as regimental chaplain with the Glarus contingent, and was present at
the fight at Novara (1513), and on the fatal day at Marignano (1515).

His experiences in these campaigns convinced him of the harm in this
system of hiring out the Swiss to fight in others' quarrels; and when he
became convinced of the evils attending it, he denounced the practice.
His outspoken language displeased many of his most influential
parishioners, especially those who were partisans of the French, and
Zwingli resolved to seek some other sphere of work.

The post of people's priest at Einsiedeln, the famous monastery and
pilgrimage resort, was offered to him and accepted (April 14th, 1516).
He retained his official connection with Glarus, and employed a curate
to do his parish work. His fame as a preacher grew. His friends desired
to see him in a larger sphere, and through their exertions he was
appointed to be people's priest in the Minster at Zurich. An objection
had been made to his selection on the ground that he had disgracefully
wronged the daughter of a citizen of Einsiedeln; and his letter of
vindication, while it exonerates him from the particular charge brought
against him, shows that he was by no means clear of the laxity in
private morals which characterised the Swiss clergy of the time. The
stipend attached to his office in the Great Minster was very small, and
on this ground Zwingli felt himself justified, unwarrantably, in
retaining his papal pension.[14]

§ 4. _Zwingli in Zurich._

Zurich, when Zwingli went to it, was an imperial city. It had grown up
around the Great Minster and the Minster of Our Lady (the Little
Minster), and had developed into a trading and manufacturing centre. Its
citizens, probably owing to the ecclesiastical origin of the town, had
long engaged in quarrels with the clergy, and had generally been
successful. They took advantage of the rivalries between the heads of
the two Minsters and the Emperor's bailiff to assert their independence,
and had passed laws subordinating the ecclesiastical authorities to the
secular rule. The taxes were levied on ecclesiastical as well as on
secular property; all the convents were under civic control, and liable
to State inspection. The popes, anxious to keep on good terms with the
Swiss who furnished soldiers for their wars, had expressly permitted in
Zurich what they would not have allowed elsewhere.

The town was ruled by a Council or Senate composed of the Masters of the
thirteen "gilds" (twelve trades' gilds and one gild representing the
patriciate). The Burgomaster, with large powers, presided. A great
Council of 212 members was called together on special occasions.

The city of Zurich, with its thoroughly democratic constitution, was a
very fitting sphere for a man like Zwingli. He had made a name for
himself by this time. He had become a powerful preacher, able to stir
and move the people by his eloquence; he was in intimate relations with
the more distinguished German Humanists, introduced to them by his
friend Heinrich Loriti of Glarus (known as Glareanus). He had already
become the centre of an admiring circle of young men of liberal views.
His place as people's preacher gave to a man of his popular gifts a
commanding position in the most democratic town in Switzerland, where
civic and European politics were eagerly discussed. He went there in
December 1519.

His work as a Reformer began almost at once. Bernhard Samson or Sanson,
a seller of indulgences for Switzerland, came to Zurich to push his
trade. Zwingli had already encountered him at Einsiedeln, and, prompted
by the Bishop of Constance and his vicar-general, John Faber, both of
whom disliked the indulgences, had preached against him. He now
persuaded the Council of Zurich to forbid Samson's stay in the town.

The papal treatment of the Swiss Reformer was very different from what
had been meted out to Luther. Samson received orders from Rome to give
no trouble to the Zurichers, and to leave the city rather than quarrel
with them. The difference, no doubt, arose from the desire of the
_Curia_ to do nothing to hinder the supply of Swiss soldiers for the
papal wars; but it was also justified by the contrast in the treatment
of the subject by the two Reformers. Luther struck at a great moral
abuse, and his strokes cut deeply into the whole round of mediæval
religious life, with its doctrine of a special priesthood; he made men
see the profanity of any claim made by men to pardon sin, or to
interfere between their fellow-men and God. Zwingli took the whole
matter more lightly. His position was that of Erasmus and the Humanists.
He could laugh at and ridicule the whole proceeding, and thought most of
the way in which men allowed themselves to be gulled and duped by clever
knaves. He never touched the deep practical religious question which
Luther raised, and which made his challenge to the Papacy reverberate
over Western Europe.

From the outset Zwingli became a prominent figure in Zurich. He
announced to the astonished Chapter of the Great Minster, to whom he
owed his appointment, that he meant to give a series of continuous
expositions of the Gospel of St. Matthew; that he would not follow the
scholastic interpretation of passages in the Gospel, but would endeavour
to make Scripture its own interpreter. The populace crowded to hear
sermons of this new kind. In order to reach the country people, Zwingli
preached in the market-place on the Fridays, and his fame spread
throughout the villages. The Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinian
Eremites tried to arouse opposition, but unsuccessfully. In his sermons
he denounced sins suggested in the passages expounded, and found
occasion to deny the doctrines of Purgatory and the Intercession of

His strongest attack on the existing ecclesiastical system was made in a
sermon on tithes, which, to the distress of the Provost of the Minster,
he declared to be merely voluntary offerings. (He had been reading Hus'
book _On the Church_.) He must have carried most of the Chapter with him
in his schemes for improvement, for in June 1520 the Breviary used in
the Minster was revised by Zwingli and stripped of some blemishes. In
the following year (March 1521), some of the Zurichers who were known to
be among Zwingli's warmest admirers, the printer Froschauer among them,
asserted their convictions by eating flesh meat publicly in Lent. The
affair made a great sensation, and the Reformers were brought before the
Council of the city. They justified themselves by declaring that they
had only followed the teaching of Zwingli, who had shown them that
nothing was binding on the consciences of Christians which was not
commanded in the Scriptures. Zwingli at once undertook their defence,
and published his sermon, _Selection or Liberty concerning Foods; an
offence and scandal; whether there is any Authority for forbidding Meat
at certain times_ (April 16th, 1522). He declared that in such matters
the responsibility rests with the individual, who may use his freedom
provided he avoids a public scandal.

The matter was felt to be serious, and the Council, after full debate,
passed an ordinance which was meant to be a compromise. It was to the
effect that although the New Testament makes no rule on the subject,
fasting in Lent is a very ancient custom, and must not be set aside
until dealt with by authority, and that the priests of the three
parishes of Zurich were to dissuade the people from all violation of the

The Bishop of Constance thereupon interfered, and sent a Commission,
consisting of his suffragan and two others, to investigate and report.
They met the Small Council, and in a long address insisted that the
Church had authority in such matters, and that the usages it commanded
must be obeyed. Zwingli appeared before the Great Council, and, in spite
of the efforts of the Commission to keep him silent, argued in defence
of liberty of conscience. In the end the Council resolved to abide by
its compromise, but asked the Bishop of Constance to hold a Synod of his
clergy and come to a resolution upon the matter which would be in
accordance with the law of Christ. This resolution of the Council really
set aside the episcopal authority, and was a revolt against the Roman

Political affairs favoured the rebellion. At the Swiss Diet held at
Luzern (May 1521), the cantons, in spite of the vehement remonstrances
of Zurich, made a treaty with France, and allowed the French king to
recruit a force of 16,000 Swiss mercenaries. Zurich, true to its
protest, refused to allow recruiting within its lands. Its citizens
chafed at the loss of money and the separation from the other cantons,
and Zwingli became very unpopular. He had now made up his mind that the
whole system of pensions and mercenary service was wrong, and had
resigned his own papal pension. Just then the Pope asked Zurich, which
supplied him with half of his bodyguard, for a force of soldiers to be
used in defence of his States, promising that they would not be used to
fight the French, among whose troops were many Swiss mercenaries from
other cantons. The Council refused. Nevertheless, six thousand Zurichers
set out to join the papal army. The Council recalled them, and after
some adventures, in one of which they narrowly escaped fighting with the
Swiss mercenaries in the service of France, they returned home. This
expedition, which brought neither money nor honour to the Zurichers,
turned the tide of popular feeling, and the Council forbade all foreign
service. When the long connection between Zurich and the Papacy is
considered, this decree was virtually a breach between the city and the
Pope. It made the path of the Reformation much easier (Jan. 1522), and
Zwingli's open break with the Papacy was only a matter of time.

It came with the publication of the _Archeteles_ (August 1522), a book
hastily written, like all Zwingli's works, which contained a defence of
all that he had done, and a programme, ecclesiastical and political, for
the future. The book increased the zeal of Zwingli's opponents. His
sermons were often interrupted by monks and others instigated by them.
The burgomaster was compelled to interfere in order to maintain the
peace of the town. He issued an order on his own authority, without any
appeal to the Bishop of Constance, that the pure Word of God was to be
preached. At an assembly of the country clergy of the canton, the same
decision was reached; and town and clergy were ready to move along the
path of reformation. Shortly before this (July 2nd), Zwingli and ten
other priests petitioned the bishop to permit his clergy to contract
legal marriages. The document had no practical effect, save to show the
gradual advance of ideas. It disclosed the condition of things that
sacerdotal celibacy had produced in Switzerland.

§ 5. _The Public Disputations_.

In these circumstances, the Great Council, now definitely on Zwingli's
side, resolved to hold a Public Disputation to settle the controversies
in religion; and Zwingli drafted sixty-seven theses to be discussed.
These articles contain a summary of his doctrinal teaching. They insist
that the Word of God, the only rule of faith, is to be received upon its
own authority and not on that of the Church. They are very full of
Christ, the only Saviour, the true Son of God, who has redeemed us from
eternal death and reconciled us to God. They attack the Primacy of the
Pope, the Mass, the Invocation of the Saints, the thought that men can
acquire merit by their good works, Fasts, Pilgrimages, and Purgatory. Of
sacerdotal celibacy he says, "_I know of no greater nor graver scandal
than that which forbids lawful marriage to priests, and yet permits them
on payment of money to have concubines and harlots. Fie for shame!_"[15]
The theses consist of single short sentences.

The Disputation, the first of the four which marked the stages of the
legal Reformation in Zurich, was held in the Town Hall of the city on
January 29th, 1523. More than six hundred representative men gathered to
hear it. All the clergy of the canton were present; Faber watched the
proceedings on behalf of the Bishop of Constance; many distinguished
divines from other parts of Switzerland were present. Faber seems to
have contented himself with asking that the Disputation should be
delayed until a General Council should meet, and Zwingli replied that
competent scholars who were good Christians were as able as a Council to
decide what was the meaning of the Holy Scriptures. The result of the
Disputation was that the burgomaster declared that Zwingli had justified
his teaching, and that he was no heretic. The canton of Zurich
practically adopted Zwingli's views, and the Reformer was encouraged to
proceed further.

His course of conduct was eminently prudent. He invariably took pains to
educate the people up to further changes by explaining them carefully in
sermons, and by publishing and circulating these discourses. He
considered that it was his duty to teach, but that it belonged to the
civic authorities to make the changes; and he himself made none until
they were authorised. He had very strong views against the use of images
in churches, and had preached vigorously against their presence. Some of
his more ardent hearers began to deface the statues and pictures. The
Great Council accordingly took the whole question into consideration,
and decided that a second Public Disputation should be held, at which
the matter might be publicly discussed. This discussion (October 1523)
lasted for two days. More than eight hundred persons were present, of
whom three hundred and fifty were clergy. On the first day, Zwingli set
forth his views on the presence of images in churches, and wished their
use forbidden. The Council decided that the statues and pictures should
be removed from the churches, but without disturbance; the rioters were
to be pardoned, but their leader was to be banished from the city for
two years. The second day's subject of conference was the Mass. Zwingli
pled that the Mass was not a sacrifice, but a memorial of the death of
our Lord, and urged that the abuses surrounding the simple Christian
rite should be swept away. The presence of Anabaptists at this
conference, and their expressions in debate, warned the magistrates that
they must proceed cautiously, and they contented themselves with
appointing a commission of eight--two from the Council and six
clergymen--to inquire and report. Meanwhile the clergy were to be
informed how to act, and the letter of instruction was to be written by
Zwingli. The authorities also deputed preachers to go to the outlying
parts of the canton and explain the whole matter carefully to the

The letter which Zwingli addressed to the clergy of Zurich canton is a
brief statement of Reformation principles. It is sometimes called the
_Instruction_. Zwingli entitles it, _A brief Christian Introduction
which the Honourable Council of the city of Zurich has sent to the
pastors and preachers living in its cities, lands, and wherever its
authority extends, so that they may henceforth in unison announce and
preach the gospel._[16] It describes sin, the law, God's way of
salvation, and then goes on to speak of images. Zwingli's argument is
that the presence of statues and pictures in churches has led to
idolatry, and that they ought to be removed. The concluding section
discusses the Mass. Here the author states very briefly what he
elaborated afterwards, that the main thought in the Eucharist is not the
repetition of the sacrifice of Christ, but its faithful remembrance, and
that the Romish doctrine and ceremony of the Mass has been so corrupted
to superstitious uses that it ought to be thoroughly reformed.

This letter had a marked effect. The village priests everywhere refused
to say Mass according to the old ritual. But there was a section of the
people, including members of the chapter of the Minster, who shrunk from
changes in this central part of Christian worship. In deference to their
feelings, the Council resolved that the Holy Supper should be meanwhile
dispensed according to both the Reformed and the mediæval rite; in the
one celebration the cup was given to the laity, and in the other it was
withheld. No change was made in the liturgy. Then came a third
conference, and a fourth; and at last the Mass was abolished. On April
13th, 1525, the first Evangelical communion service took place in the
Great Minster, and the mediæval worship was at an end. Other changes had
been made. The monasteries had been secularised, and the monks who did
not wish to leave their calling were all gathered together in the
Franciscan convent. An amicable arrangement was come to about other
ecclesiastical foundations, and the money thus secured was mainly
devoted to education.

From 1522, Zwingli had been living in "clerical" marriage with Anna
Reinhard, the widow of a wealthy Zurich burgher. She was called his wife
by his friends, although no legal marriage ceremony had been performed.
It is perhaps difficult for us to judge the man and the times. The
so-called "clerical" marriages were universal in Switzerland. Man and
woman took each other for husband and wife, and were faithful. There was
no public ceremony. All questions of marriage, divorce, succession, and
so forth, were then adjudicated in the ecclesiastical and not in the
civil courts; and as the Canon Law had insisted that no clergyman could
marry, all such "clerical" marriages were simple concubinage in the eye
of the law, and the children were illegitimate. The offence against the
vow of chastity was condoned by a fine paid to the bishop. As early as
1523, William Röubli, a Zurich priest, went through a public form of
marriage, and his example was followed by others; but it may be
questioned whether these marriages were recognised to be legal until
Zurich passed its own laws about matrimonial cases in 1525.

Luther in his pure-hearted and solemnly sympathetic way had referred to
these clerical marriages in his _Address to the Christian Nobility of
the German Nation_ (1520).

     "We see," he says, "how the priesthood is fallen, and how many a
     poor priest is encumbered with a woman and children, and burdened
     in his conscience, and no man does anything to help him, though he
     might very well be helped.... I will not conceal my honest counsel,
     nor withhold comfort from that unhappy crowd, who now live in
     trouble with wife and children, and remain in shame, with a heavy
     conscience, hearing their wife called a priest's harlot and the
     children bastards.... I say that these two (who are minded in their
     hearts to live together always in conjugal fidelity) are surely
     married before God."

He had never succumbed to the temptations of the flesh, and had kept his
body and soul pure; and for that very reason he could sympathise with
and help by his sympathy those who had fallen. Zwingli, on the other
hand, had deliberately contracted this illicit alliance after he had
committed himself to the work of a Reformer. The action remains a
permanent blot on his character, and places him on a different level
from Luther and from Calvin. It has been already noted that Zwingli had
always an intellectual rather than a spiritual appreciation of the need
of reformation,--that he was much more of a Humanist than either Luther
or Calvin,--but what is remarkable is that we have distinct evidence
that the need of personal piety had impressed itself on him during these
years, and that he passed through a religious crisis, slight compared
with that of Luther, but real so far as it went. He fell ill of the
plague (Sept.-Nov. 1519), and the vision of death and recovery drew from
him some hymns of resignation and thanksgiving.[17] The death of his
brother Andrew (Nov. 1520) seems to have been the real turning-point in
his inward spiritual experience, and his letters and writings are
evidence of its reality and permanence. Perhaps the judgment which a
contemporary and friend, Martin Bucer, passed ought to content us:

     "When I read your letter to Capito, that you had made public
     announcement of your marriage, I was almost beside myself in my
     satisfaction. For it was the one thing I desired for you.... I
     never believed you were unmarried after the time when you indicated
     to the Bishop of Constance in that tract that you desired this
     gift. But as I considered the fact that you were thought to be a
     fornicator by some, and by others held to have little faith in
     Christ, I could not understand why you concealed it so long, and
     that the fact was not declared openly, and with candour and
     diligence. I could not doubt that you were led into this course by
     considerations which could not be put aside by a conscientious man.
     However that may be, I triumph in the fact that now you have come
     up in all things to the apostolic definition."[18]

The Reformation was spreading beyond Zurich. Evangelical preachers had
arisen in many of the other cantons, and were gaining adherents.

§ 6. _The Reformation outside Zurich_.

Basel, the seat of a famous university and a centre of German Humanism,
contained many scholars who had come under the influence of Thomas
Wyttenbach, Zwingli's teacher. Wolfgang Fabricius Capito, a disciple of
Erasmus, a learned student of the Scriptures, had begun as early as
1512 to show how the ceremonies and many of the usages of the Church had
no authority from the Bible. He worked in Basel from 1512 to 1520.
Johannes Oecolampadius (Hussgen or Heusgen), who had been one of
Luther's supporters in 1521, came to Basel in 1522 as Lecturer on the
Holy Scriptures in the University. His lectures and his sermons to the
townspeople caused such a movement that the bishop forbade their
delivery. The citizens asked for a Public Disputation. Two held in the
month of December 1524--the one conducted by a priest of the name of
Stör against clerical celibacy, and the other led by William
Farel[19]--raised the courage of the Evangelical party. In February
1525 the Council of the town installed Oecolampadius as the preacher in
St. Martin's Church, and authorised him to make such changes as the Word
of God demanded. This was the beginning. Oecolampadius became a firm
friend of Zwingli's, and they worked together.

In Bern also the Reformation made progress. Berthold Haller[20] and
Sebastian Meyer[21] preached the Gospel with courage for several years,
and were upheld by the painter Nicolaus Manuel, who had great influence
with the citizens. The Council decided to permit freedom in preaching,
if in accordance with the Word of God; but they refused to permit
innovations in worship or ceremonies; and they forbade the introduction
of heretical books into the town. The numbers of the Evangelical party
increased rapidly, and in the beginning of 1527 they had a majority in
both the great and the small Councils. It was then decided to have a
Public Disputation.

The occasion was one of the most momentous in the history of the
Reformation in Switzerland. Hitherto Zurich had stood alone; if Bern
joined, the two most powerful cantons in Switzerland would be able to
hold their own. There was need for union. The Forest cantons had been
uttering threats, and Zwingli's life was not secure. Bern was fully
alive to the importance of the proposed discussion, and was resolved to
make it as imposing as possible, and that the disputants on both sides
should receive fair play and feel themselves in perfect freedom and
safety. They sent special invitations to the four bishops whose dioceses
entered their territories--the Bishops of Constance, Basel, Valais, and
Lausanne; and they did their best to assemble a sufficient number of
learned Romanist theologians.[22] They promised not only safe-conducts,
but the escort of a herald to and from the canton.[23] It soon became
evident, however, that the Romanist partisans had no great desire to
come to the _Disputation_. None of the bishops invited appears to have
even thought of being present save the Bishop of Lausanne, and he found
reasons for declining.[24] The _Disputation_ was viewed with anxiety by
the Romanist partisans, and in a letter sent from Speyer (December 28th)
the Emperor Charles V. strongly remonstrated with the magistrates of
Bern.[25] The Bernese were not to be intimidated. They issued their
invitations, and made every arrangement to give éclat to the great
Disputation.[26] Berthold Haller, with the help of Zwingli, had drafted
ten _Theses_, which were to be defended by himself and his colleague,
Francis Kolb; Zwingli had translated them into Latin and Farel into
French for the benefit of strangers; and they were sent out with the
invitations. They were--(1) The Holy Catholic Church, of which Christ is
the only Head, is born of the Word of God, abides therein, and does not
hear the voice of a stranger.[27] (2) The Church of Christ makes no law
nor statute apart from the Word of God, and consequently those human
ordinances which are called the commandments of the Church do not bind
our consciences unless they are founded on the Word of God and agreeable
thereto. (3) Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and price
for the sins of the whole world; and all who think they can win
salvation in any other way, or have other satisfaction for their sins,
renounce Christ. (4) It is impossible to prove from Scripture that the
Body and Blood of Christ are corporeally present in the bread of the
Holy Supper. (5) The Mass, in which Christ is offered to God the Father
for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Holy
Scripture, is a gross affront to the Passion and Death of Christ, and is
therefore an abomination before God. (6) Since Christ alone died for us,
and since He is the only mediator and intercessor between God and
believers, He only ought to be invoked; and all other mediators and
advocates ought to be rejected, since they have no warrant in the Holy
Scripture of the Bible. (7) There is no trace of Purgatory after death
in the Bible; and therefore all services for the dead, such as vigils,
Masses, and the like, are vain things. (8) To make pictures and adore
them is contrary to the Old and New Testament, and they ought to be
destroyed where there is the chance that they may be adored. (9)
Marriage is not forbidden to any estate by the Holy Scripture, but
wantonness and fornication are forbidden to everyone in whatever estate
he may be. (10) The fornicator is truly excommunicated by the Holy
Scripture, and therefore wantonness and fornication are much more
scandalous among the clergy than in the other estate.

These _Theses_ represent in succinct fashion the preaching in the
Reformed Church in Switzerland, and the fourth states in its earliest
form what grew to be the Zwinglian doctrine of the Holy Supper.[28]

The Council of Bern had sent invitations to be present to the leading
preachers in the Evangelical cities of Germany and Switzerland. Bucer
and Capito came from Strassburg, Jacob Augsburger from Mühlhausen,
Ambrose Blaarer from Constance, Sebastian Wagner,[29] surnamed
Hofmeister (Oeconomus), from Schaffhausen, Oecolampadius from Basel, and
many others.[30] Zwingli's arrival was eagerly expected. The Zurichers
were resolved not to trust their leader away from the city without a
strong guard, and sent him to Bern with an escort of three hundred
men-at-arms. A great crowd of citizens and strangers filled the arcades
which line both sides of the main street, and every window in the
many-storied houses had its sightseers to watch the Zurichers tramping
up from gate to cathedral with their pastor safe in the centre of the

Romanist theologians did not muster in anything like the same strength.
The men of the four Forest cantons stood sullenly aloof; the authorities
in French-speaking Switzerland had no liking for the Disputation, and
the strongly Romanist canton of Freiburg did its best to prevent the
theologians of Neuchâtel, Morat, and Grandson from appearing at Bern;
but in spite of the hindrances placed in their way no less than three
hundred and fifty ecclesiastics gathered to the Disputation. The
conference was opened on January 15th (_le dimenche après la feste de la
circuncision_),[31] and was continued in German till the 24th; on the
25th a second discussion, lasting two days, was begun, for the benefit
of strangers, in Latin. "When _la Dispute des Welches_ (strangers) was
opened, a stranger doctor (of Paris) came forward along with some
priests speaking the same language as himself. He attacked the _Ten
Theses_, and William Farel, preacher at Aigle, answered him."[32] The
more distinguished Romanist theologians who were present seem to have
refrained from taking part in the discussion. The Bishop of Lausanne
defended their silence on the grounds that they objected to discuss such
weighty matters in the vulgar tongue; that no opportunity was given to
them to speak in Latin; and that when the Emperor had interdicted the
Disputation they were told by the authorities of Bern that they might
leave the city if it so pleased them.[33]

The result of the Disputation was that the authorities and citizens of
Bern were confirmed in their resolve to adopt the Reformation. The
Disputation ended on the 26th of January (1528), and on the 7th of
February the Mass was declared to be abolished, and a sermon took its
place; images were removed from the churches; the monasteries were
secularised, and the funds were used partly for education and partly to
make up for the French and papal pensions, which were now definitely
renounced, and declared to be illegal.

The two sermons which Zwingli preached in the cathedral during the
Disputation made a powerful impression on the people of Bern. It was
after one of them that M. de Watteville, the Advoyer or President of the
Republic, declared himself to be convinced of the truth of the
Evangelical faith, and with his whole family accepted the Reformation.
His eldest son, a clergyman whose family interest had procured for him
no less than thirteen benefices, and who, it was commonly supposed,
would be the next Bishop of Lausanne, renounced them all to live the
life of a simple country gentleman.[34]

The republic of Bern for long regarded the _Ten Theses_ as the charter
of its religious faith. Not content with declaring the Reformation
legally established within the city, the authorities of Bern sent
despatches or delegates to all the cities and lands under their control,
informing them of what they had done, and inviting them to follow their
example. They insisted that preachers of the Gospel must be at liberty
to deliver their message without interruption throughout all their
territories. They promised that they would maintain the liberty of both
cults until means had been taken to find out which the majority of the
inhabitants preferred, and that the decision would be taken by vote in
presence of commissioners sent down from Bern.[35] When the majority of
the parishioners accepted the Reformation, the new doctrinal standard
was the _Ten Theses_, and the Council of Bern sent directions for the
method of dispensing the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper,
and for the solemnisation of marriages. The whole of the German-speaking
portion of the canton proper and its dependences seem to have accepted
the Reformation at once. Bern had, besides, some French-speaking
districts under its own exclusive control, and others over which it
ruled along with Freiburg. The progress of the new doctrines was slower
in these district, but it may be said that they had all embraced the
Reformation before the end of 1530. The history of the Reformation in
French-speaking Switzerland belongs, however, to the next chapter, and
the efforts of Bern to evangelise its subjects in these districts will
be described there.

Not content with this, the Council of Bern constituted itself the patron
and protector of persecuted Protestants outside their own lands, and the
evangelisation of western Switzerland owed almost everything to its
fostering care.[36]

Thus Bern in the west and Zurich in the east stood forth side by side
pledged to the Reformation.

The cantonal authorities of Appenzell had declared, as early as 1524,
that Gospel preaching was to have free course within their territories.
Thomas Wyttenbach had been people's priest in Biel from 1507, and had
leavened the town with his Evangelical preaching. In 1524 he
courageously married. The ecclesiastical authorities were strong enough
to get him deposed; but a year or two later the citizens compelled the
cantonal Council to permit the free preaching of the Gospel. Sebastian
Hofmeister preached in Schaffhausen, and induced its people to declare
for the Reformation. St. Gallen was evangelised by the Humanist Joachim
von Watt (Vadianus), and by John Kessler, who had studied at Wittenberg.
In German Switzerland only Luzern and the Forest cantons remained
completely and immovably attached to the Roman Church, and refused to
tolerate any Evangelical preaching within their borders. The Swiss
Confederacy was divided ecclesiastically into two opposite camps.

The strong religious differences could not but affect the political
cohesion of the Swiss Confederacy, linked together as it was by ties
comparatively slight. The wonder is that they did not altogether destroy

As early as 1522, the Bishop of Constance had asked the Swiss Federal
Diet at their meeting at Baden to prohibit the preaching of the
Reformation doctrines within the Federation; and the next year the Diet,
which met again at Baden (Sept. 1523), issued a declaration that all who
practised religious innovations were worthy of punishment. The deputies
from Luzern were especially active in inducing the Diet to pass this
resolution. The attempt to use the Federation for the purpose of
religious persecution, therefore, first came from the Romanist side. Nor
did they content themselves with declarations in the Diet. The Romanist
canton of Unterwalden, being informed that some of the peasants in the
Bernese Oberland had complained that the Reformation had been forced
upon them, crossed the Bernese frontier and committed an act of war.
Bern smarted under the insult.

These endeavours on the part of his opponents led Zwingli to meditate on
plans for leaguing together for the purposes of mutual defence all who
had accepted the Reformation. His plans from the first went beyond the
Swiss Confederacy.

The imperial city of Constance, the seat of the diocese which claimed
ecclesiastical authority over Zurich, had been mightily moved by the
preaching of Ambrose Blaarer, and had come over to the Protestant faith.
The bishop retired to Meersburg and his chapter to Ueberlingen. The
city feared the attack of Austria, and craved protection from the Swiss
Protestants. Its alliance was valuable to them, for, along with Lindau,
it commanded the whole Lake of Constance. Zurich thereupon asked that
Constance be admitted within the Swiss Federation. This was refused by
the Federal Diet (Nov. 1527). Zurich then entered into a _Christian
Civic League_ (_das christliche Bürgerrecht_) with Constance,--a league
based on their common religious beliefs,--promising to defend each other
if attacked. The example once set was soon followed, and the two
following years saw the League increasing rapidly. Bern joined in June
1528, St. Gallen in Nov. 1528, Biel in January, Mühlhausen in February,
Basel in March, and Schaffhausen in October, 1529. Strassburg was
admitted in January 1530. Even Hesse and Würtemburg washed to join. Bern
and Zurich came to an agreement that Evangelical preaching must be
allowed in the Common Lands, and that no one was to be punished for his
religious opinions.

The combination looked so threatening and contained such possibilities
that Ferdinand of Austria proposed a counter-league among the Romanist
cantons; and a _Christian Union_, in which Luzern, Zug, Schwyz, Uri, and
Unterwalden allied themselves with the Duchy of Austria, was founded in
1529, having for its professed objects the preservation of the mediæval
religion, with some reforms carried out under the guidance of the
ecclesiastical authorities. The Confederates pledged themselves to
secure for each other the right to punish heretics. This League had also
its possibilities of extension. It was thought that Bavaria and Salzburg
might join. The canton of the Valais had already leagued itself with
Savoy against Geneva, and brought its ally within the _Christian Union_.
The very formation of the Leagues threatened war, and occasions of
hostilities were not lacking. Austria was eager to attack Constance, and
Bern longed to punish Unterwalden for its unprovoked invasion of Bernese
territory. The condition and protection of the Evangelical population in
the Common Lands and in the Free Bailiwicks demanded settlement, more
especially as the Romanist cantons had promised to support each other in
asserting their right to punish heretics. War seemed to be inevitable.
Schaffhausen, Appenzell, and the Graubünden endeavoured to mediate; but
as neither Zurich nor Bern would listen to any proposals which did not
include the right of free preaching, their efforts were in vain. The
situation, difficult enough, was made worse by the action of the canton
of Schwyz, which, having caught a Zurich pastor named Kaiser on its
territory, had him condemned and burnt as a heretic. This was the signal
for war. It was agreed that the Zurichers should attack the Romanist
cantons, while Bern defended the Common Lands, and, if need be, the
territory of her sister canton. The plan of campaign was drafted by
Zwingli himself, who also laid down the conditions of peace. His
proposals were, that the Forest cantons must allow the free preaching of
the Gospel within their lands; that they were to forswear pensions from
any external Power, and that all who received them should be punished
both corporeally and by fine; that the alliance with Austria should be
given up; and that a war indemnity should be paid to Zurich and to Bern.
While the armies were facing each other the Zurichers received a strong
appeal from Hans Oebli, the Landamann of Glarus, to listen to the
proposals of the enemy. The common soldiers disliked the internecine
strife. They looked upon each other as brothers, and the outposts of
both armies were fraternising. In these circumstances the Zurich army
(for it was the Swiss custom that the armies on the field concluded
treaties) accepted the terms of peace offered by their opponents. The
treaty is known as the First Peace of Kappel (June 1529). It provided
that the alliance between Austria and the Romanist cantons should be
dissolved, and the treaties "pierced and slit" (the parchments were
actually cut in pieces by the dagger in sight of all); that in the
Common Lands no one was to be persecuted for his religious opinions;
that the majority should decide whether the old faith was to be
retained or not, and that bailiffs of moderate opinions should be sent
to rule them; that neither party should attack the other because of
religion; that a war indemnity should be paid by the Romanist cantons to
Zurich and Bern (the amount was fixed at 2500 Sonnenkronen); and that
the abolition of foreign pensions and mercenary service should be
recommended to Luzern and the Forest cantons. The treaty contained the
seeds of future war; for the Zurichers believed that they had secured
the right of free preaching within the Romanist cantons, while these
cantons believed that they had been left to regulate their own internal
economy as they pleased. Zwingli would have preferred a settlement after
war, and the future justified his apprehensions.

Three months after the First Peace of Kappel, Zwingli was summoned to
the Marburg Colloquy, and the Reformation in Switzerland became
inevitably connected with the wider sphere of German ecclesiastical
politics. It may be well, however, to reserve this until later, and
finish the internal history of the Swiss movement.

The First Peace of Kappel was only a truce, and left both parties
irritated with each other. The friction was increased when the
Protestants discovered that the Romanist cantons would not admit free
preaching within their territories. They also shrewdly suspected that,
despite the tearing and burning of the documents, the understanding with
Austria was still maintained. An event occurred which seemed to justify
their suspicions. An Italian condottiere, Giovanni Giacomo de' Medici,
had seized and held (1525-31) the strong position called the Rocco di
Musso on the Lake of Como, and from this stronghold he dominated the
whole lake. This ruffian had murdered Martin Paul and his son, envoys
from the Graubünden to Milan, and had crossed the lake and harried the
fertile valley of the Adda, known as the Val Tellina, which was then
within the territories of the Graubünden (Grisons). The Swiss
Confederacy were bound to defend their neighbours; but when appeal was
made, the Romanist cantons refused, and the hand of Austria was seen
behind the refusal. Besides, at the Federal Diets the Romanist cantons
had refused to listen to any complaints of persecutions for religion
within their lands. At a meeting between Zurich and her allies, it was
resolved that the Romanist cantons should be compelled to abolish the
system of foreign pensions, and permit free preaching within their
territories. Zurich was for open war, but the advice of Bern prevailed.
It was resolved that if the Romanist cantons would not agree to these
proposals, Zurich and her allies should prevent wine, wheat, salt, and
iron from passing through their territories to the Forest cantons. The
result was that the Forest cantons declared war, invaded Zurich while
that canton was unprepared, fought and won the battle of Kappel, at
which Zwingli was slain. He had accompanied the little army of Zurich as
its chaplain. The victory of the Romanists produced a Second Peace of
Kappel which reversed the conditions of the first. War indemnities were
exacted from most of the Protestant cantons. It was settled that each
canton was to be left free to manage its own religious affairs; that the
_Christian Civic League_ was to be dissolved; and a number of particular
provisions were made which practically secured the rights of Romanist
without corresponding advantages to Protestant minorities. The
territories of Zurich were left untouched, but the city was compelled by
the charter of Kappel to grant rights to her rural districts. She bound
herself to consult them in all important matters, and particularly not
to make war or peace without their consent.

As a result of this ruinous defeat, and of the death of Zwingli which
accompanied it, Zurich lost her place as the leading Protestant canton,
and the guidance of the Reformation movement fell more and more into the
hands of Geneva, which was an ally but not a member of the
Confederation. Another and more important permanent result of this
Second Peace of Kappel was that it was seen in Switzerland as in
Germany that while the Reformation could not be destroyed, it could not
win for itself the whole country, and that Roman Catholics and
Protestants must divide the cantons and endeavour to live peaceably side
by side.

The history of the Reformation in Switzerland after the death of Zwingli
is so linked with the wider history of the movement in Germany and in
Geneva, that it can scarcely be spoken about separately. It is also
intimately related to the differences which separated Zwingli from
Luther in the doctrine of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

§ 7. _The Sacramental Controversy._[37]

In the Bern Disputation of 1528, the fourth thesis said "it cannot be
proved from the Scripture that the Body and Blood of Christ are
substantially and corporeally received in the Eucharist,"[38] and the
statement became a distinctive watchword of the early Swiss Reformation.
This thesis, a negative one, was perhaps the earliest official statement
of a bold attempt to get rid of the priestly miracle in the Mass, which
was the strongest theoretical and practical obstacle to the acceptance
of the fundamental Protestant thought of the spiritual priesthood of all
believers. The question had been seriously exercising the attention of
all the leading theologians of the Reformation, and this very trenchant
way of dismissing it had suggested itself simultaneously to theologians
in the Low Countries, in the district of the Upper Rhine, and in many
of the imperial cities. It had been proclaimed in all its naked
simplicity by Andrew Bodenstein of Carlstadt, the theologian of the
German democracy; but it was Zwingli who worked at the subject
carefully, and who had produced a reasonable if somewhat defective
theory based on a rather shallow exegesis, in which the words of our
Lord, "This _is_ My Body," were declared to mean nothing but "This
_signifies_ My Body." Luther, always disposed to think harshly of
anything that came from Carlstadt, inclined to exaggerate his influence
with the German Protestant democracy, believing with his whole heart
that in the Sacrament of the Holy Supper the elements Bread and Wine
were more than the bare signs of the Body and Blood of the Lord, was
vehemently moved to find such views concerning a central doctrine of
Christianity spreading through his beloved Germany. He never paused to
ask whether the opinions he saw adopted with eagerness in most of the
imperial cities were really different from those of Carlstadt (for that
is one of the sad facts in this deplorable controversy). He simply
denounced them, and stormed against Zwingli, whose name was spread
abroad as their author and propagator. Nürnberg was almost the only
great city that remained faithful to him. It was the only city also
which was governed by the ancient patriciate, and in which the democracy
had little or no power. When van Hoen and Karl Stadt in the Netherlands,
Hedio at Mainz, Conrad Sam at Ulm, when the preachers of Augsburg,
Strassburg, Frankfurt, Reutlingen, and other cities accepted and taught
Zwingli's doctrine of the Eucharist, Luther and his immediate circle saw
a great deal more than a simple division in doctrine. It was something
more than the meaning of the Holy Supper or the exegesis of a difficult
text which rent Protestantism in two, and made Luther and Zwingli appear
as the leaders of opposing parties in a movement where union was a
supreme necessity after the decision at Speyer in 1529. The theological
question was complicated by social and political ideas, which, if not
acknowledged openly, were at least in the minds of the leaders who took
sides in the dispute. On the one side were men whom Luther held to be in
part responsible for the Peasants' War, who were the acknowledged
leaders of that democracy which he had learnt to distrust if not to
fear, who still wished to link the Reformation to vast political
schemes, all of which tended to weaken the imperial power by means of
French and other alliances, and who only added to their other iniquities
a theological theory which, he honestly believed, would take away from
believers their comforting assurance of union with their Lord in the
Sacrament of the Holy Supper.

The real theological difference after all did not amount to so much as
is generally said. Zwingli's doctrine of the Holy Supper was not the
crude theory of Carlstadt; and Luther might have seen this if he had
only fairly examined it. The opposed views were, in fact, complementary,
and the pronounced ideas of each were implicitly, though not expressly,
held by the other. Luther and Zwingli approached the subject from two
different points of view, and in debate they neither understood nor were
exactly facing each other.

The whole Christian Church, during all the centuries, has found three
great ideas embodied in the Sacrament of the Holy Supper, and all three
have express reference to the death of the Saviour on the Cross for His
people. The thoughts are Proclamation, Commemoration, and Participation
or Communion. In the Supper, believers proclaim the death and what it
means; they commemorate the Sacrifice; and they partake in or have
communion with the crucified Christ, who is also the Risen Saviour. The
mediæval Church had insisted that this sacramental union with Christ was
in the hands of the priesthood to give or to withhold. Duly ordained
priests, and they alone, could bring the worshippers into such a
relation with Christ as would make the Sacramental participation a
possible thing: and out of this claim had grown the mediæval theory of
Transubstantiation. It had also divided the Sacrament of the Supper into
two distinct rites (the phrase is not too strong)--the Mass and the
Eucharist--the one connecting itself instinctively with the
commemoration and the other with the participation.

Protestants united in denying the special priestly miracle needed to
bring Christ and His people together in the Sacrament; but it is easy to
see that they might approach the subject by the two separate paths of
Mass or Eucharist. Zwingli took the one road and Luther happened on the

Zwingli believed that the mediæval Church had displaced the scriptural
thought of _commemoration_, and put the non-scriptural idea of
_repetition_ in its place. For the mediæval priest claimed that in
virtue of the miraculous power given in ordination, he could really
change the bread and wine into the actual physical Body of Jesus, and,
when this was done, that he could reproduce over again the agony of the
Cross by crushing it with his teeth. This idea seemed to Zwingli to be
utterly profane; it dishonoured the One great Sacrifice; it was
unscriptural; it depended on a priestly gift of working a miracle which
did not exist. Then he believed that the sixth chapter of St. John's
Gospel forbade all thought that spiritual benefits could come from a
mere partaking with the mouth. It was the atonement worked out by
Christ's death that was appropriated and commemorated in the Holy
Supper; and the atonement is always received by faith. Thus the two
principal thoughts in the theory of Zwingli are, that the mediæval
doctrine must be purified by changing the idea of repetition of the
death of Christ for commemoration of that death, and the thought of
manducating with the teeth for that of faith which is the faculty by
which spiritual benefits are received. But Zwingli believed that a
living faith always brought with it the presence of Christ, for there
can be no true faith without actual spiritual contact with the Saviour.
Therefore Zwingli held that there was a Real Presence of Christ in the
Holy Supper; but a spiritual presence brought by the faith of the
believing communicant and not by the elements of Bread and Wine, which
were only the signs _representing_ a Body which was corporeally absent.
The defect of this theory is that it does not make the Presence of
Christ in the Sacrament in any way depend on the ordinance; there is no
sacramental presence other than what there is in any act of faith. It
was not until Zwingli had elaborated his theory that he sought for and
found an explanation of the words of our Lord, and taught that _This is
My Body_, must mean _This signifies My Body_. His theory was entirely
different from that of Carlstadt, with which Luther always identified

Luther approached the whole subject by a different path. What repelled
him in the mediæval doctrine of the Holy Supper was the way in which he
believed it to trample on the spiritual priesthood of all believers. He
protested against Transubstantiation and private Masses, because they
were the most flagrant instances of that contempt. When he first
preached on the subject (1519) it was to demand the "cup" for the laity,
and he makes use of an expression in his sermon which reveals how his
thoughts were tending. He says that in the Sacrament of the Holy Supper
"the communicant is so united to Christ _and His saints_, that Christ's
life and sufferings _and the lives and sufferings of the saints_ become
his." No one held more strongly than Luther that the Atonement was made
by our Lord, and by Him alone. Therefore he cannot be thinking of the
Atonement when he speaks of union with the lives and the sufferings of
the saints. He believes that the main thing in the Sacrament is that it
gives such a companionship with Jesus as His disciples and saints have
had. There was, of course, a reference to the death of Christ and to the
Atonement, for apart from that death no companionship is possible; but
the reference is indirect, and through the thought of the fellowship. In
the Sacrament we touch Christ as His disciples might have touched Him
when He lived on earth, and as His glorified saints touch Him now. This
reference, therefore, clearly shows that Luther saw in the Sacrament of
the Supper the presence of the glorified Body of our Lord, and that the
primary use of the Sacrament was to bring the communicant into contact
with that glorified Body. This required a presence (and Luther thought a
presence extended in space) of the glorified Body of Christ in the
Sacrament in order that the communicant might be in actual contact with
it. But communion with the Living Christ implies the appropriation of
the death of Christ, and of the Atonement won by His death. Thus the
reference to the Crucified Christ which Zwingli reaches directly, Luther
attains indirectly; and the reference to the Living Risen Christ which
Zwingli reaches indirectly, Luther attains directly. Luther avoided the
need of a priestly miracle to bring the Body extended in space into
immediate connection with the elements Bread and Wine, by introducing a
scholastic theory of what is meant by presence in Space. A body may be
present in Space, said the Schoolmen, in two ways: it may be present in
such a way that it excludes from the space it occupies any other body,
or it may be present occupying the same space with another body. The
Glorified Body of Christ can be present in the latter manner. It was so
when our Lord after His Resurrection appeared suddenly among His
disciples in a room when the doors were shut; for then at some moment of
time it must have occupied the same space as a portion of the walls or
of the door. Christ's glorified Body can therefore be naturally in the
_elements_ without any special miracle, for it is _ubiquitous_. It is in
the table at which I write, said Luther; in the stone which I hurl
through the air. It is in the _elements_ in the Holy Supper in a
perfectly natural way, and needs no priestly miracle to bring it there.
This natural presence of the Body of Christ in the elements in the
Supper is changed into a Sacramental Presence by the promise of God,
which is attached to the reverent and believing partaking of the Holy

These were the two theories which ostensibly divided the Protestants in
1529 into two parties, the one of which was led by Zwingli and the other
by Luther. They were not so antagonistic that they could not be
reconciled. Each theologian held implicitly what the other declared
explicitly. Zwingli placed the relation to the Death of Christ in the
foreground, but implicitly admitted the relation to the Risen
Christ--going back to the view held in the Early Church. Luther put
fellowship with the Risen Christ in the foreground, but admitted the
reference to the Crucified Christ--accepting the mediæval way of looking
at the matter. The one had recourse to a very shallow exegesis to help
him, and the other to a scholastic theory of space; and naturally, but
unfortunately, when controversy arose, the disputant attacked the
weakest part of his opponent's theory--Luther, Zwingli's exegesis; and
Zwingli, Luther's scholastic theory of spatial presence.

The attempt to bring about an understanding between Luther and Zwingli,
made by Philip of Hesse, the confidant of Zwingli, and in sympathy with
the Swiss Reformer's schemes of political combination, has already been
mentioned, and its failure related.[39] It need not be discussed again.
But for the history of the Reformation in Switzerland it is necessary to
say something about the further progress of this Sacramental
controversy. Calvin gradually won over the Swiss Protestants to his
views; and his theory, which at one time seemed about to unite the
divided Protestants, must be alluded to.

Calvin began his study of the doctrine of the Sacrament of the Holy
Supper independently of both Luther and Zwingli. His position as the
theologian of Switzerland, and his friendship with his colleague William
Farel, who was a Zwinglian, made him adapt his theory to Zwinglian
language; but he borrowed nothing from the Reformer of Zurich. He was
quite willing to accept Zwingli's exegesis so far as the words went; but
he gave another and altogether different meaning to Zwingli's phrase,
_This signifies My Body_. He was willing to call the "elements" _signs_
of the Body and Blood of the Lord; but while Zwingli called them signs
which _represent_ (_signa representativa_) what was _absent_, Calvin
insisted on calling them signs which _exhibit_ (_signa exhibitiva_) what
was _present_--a distinction which is continually forgotten in
describing his relation to the theories of Zwingli, and one which
enabled him to convince Luther that he held that there was a Real
Presence of Christ's Body in the Sacrament of the Holy Supper. To
describe minutely Calvin's doctrine of the Holy Supper would require
more space than can be given here, and a brief statement of the central
thoughts is alone possible. His aim in common with all the Reformers was
to construct a doctrine of the Sacrament of the Supper which would be at
once scriptural, free from superstition and from the crass materialist
associations which had gathered round the theory of transubstantiation,
and which would clearly conserve the great Reformation proclamation of
the spiritual priesthood of all believers. He went back to the mediæval
idea of transubstantiation, and asked whether it gave a true conception
of what was meant by _substance_. He decided that it did not, and
believed that the root thought in _substance_ was not dimensions in
space, but power. The _substance_ of a body consists in its _power_,
active and passive, and the _presence_ of the _substance_ of anything
consists in the immediate application of that power.[40] When Luther and
Zwingli had spoken of the _substance_ of the Body of Christ, they had
always in their mind the thought of something extended in space; and the
one affirmed while the other denied that this Body of Christ, something
extended in space, could be and was present in the Sacrament of the
Supper. Calvin's conception of _substance_ enabled him to say that
wherever anything acts there it is. He denied the crude "substantial"
presence which Luther insisted on; and in this he sided with Zwingli.
But he affirmed a real because active presence, and in this he sided
with Luther.

Calvin's view had been accepted definitely by Melanchthon, and somewhat
indefinitely by Luther. The imperial cities, led by Strassburg, which
was under the influence of Bucer, who had thought out for himself a
doctrine not unlike that of Calvin, had been included in the Wittenberg
Concord (May 1536); but Luther would have nothing to do with the Swiss.
As it was vain to hope that Switzerland would be included in any
Lutheran alliance, Calvin set himself to produce dogmatic harmony in
Switzerland. In conjunction with Bullinger, Zwingli's son-in-law and
successor in Zurich, he drafted the _Consensus of Zurich_ (_Consensus
Tigurinus_) in 1549.[41] The document is Calvinist in theology and
largely Zwinglian in language. It was accepted with some difficulty in
Basel and in Bern, and heartily in Biel, Schaffhausen, Mühlhausen, and
St. Gallen. It ended dogmatic disputes in Protestant Switzerland, which
was thus united under the one creed.

This does not mean any increase of Protestantism within Switzerland. The
Romanist cantons drew more closely together. Cardinal Carlo Borromeo of
Milan took a deep interest in the Counter-Reformation in Switzerland. He
introduced the Jesuits into Luzern and the Forest cantons, and after his
death these cantons formed a league which included Luzern, Uri, Schwyz,
Zug, Unterwalden, Freiburg, and Solothurn (1586). This League (_the
Borromean League_) pledged its members to maintain the Roman Catholic
faith. The lines of demarcation between Protestant and Romanist cantons
in Switzerland practically survive to the present day.



§ 1. _Geneva._

Geneva, which was to be the citadel of the Reformed faith in Europe, had
a history which prepared it for the part it was destined to play.

The ancient constitution of the town, solemnly promulgated in 1387,
recognised three different authorities within its walls: the Bishop, who
was the sovereign or "Prince" of the city; the Count, who had possession
of the citadel; and the Free Burghers. The first act of the Bishop on
his nomination was to go to the Church of St. Peter and swear on the
Missal that he would maintain the civic rights. The House of Savoy had
succeeded to the countship of Geneva, and they were represented within
the town by a viceroy, who was called the Count or _Vidomne_. He was the
supreme justiciary. The citizens were democratically organised. They met
once a year in a recognised civic assembly to elect four Syndics to be
their rulers and representatives. It was the Syndics who in their
official capacity heard the oaths of the Bishop and of the Vidomne to
uphold the rights and privileges of the town. They kept order within the
walls from sunrise to sunset.

These three separate authorities were frequently in conflict, and in the
triangular duel the citizens and the Bishop were generally in alliance
against the House of Savoy and its viceroy. The consequence was that few
mediæval cities under ecclesiastical rule were more loyal than Geneva
was to its Bishop, so long as he respected the people's rights and stood
by them against their feudal lords when they attempted oppression.

In the years succeeding 1444 the hereditary loyalty to their bishops had
to stand severe tests. Count Amadeus VIII. of Savoy, one of the most
remarkable men of the fifteenth century,--he ascended the papal throne
and resigned the Pontificate to become a hermit,--used his pontifical
power to possess himself of the bishopric. From that date onwards the
Bishop of Geneva was almost always a member of the House of Savoy, and
the rights of the citizens were for the most part disregarded. The
bishopric became an appanage of Savoy, and boys (one of ten years of
age, another of seventeen) and bastards ruled from the episcopal chair.

After long endurance a party formed itself among the townspeople vowed
to restore the old rights of the city. They called themselves, or were
named by others, the _Eidguenots_ (_Eidgenossen_); while the partisans
of the Bishop and of the House of Savoy were termed _Mamelukes_,
because, it was said, they had forsaken Christianity.

In their difficulties the Genevans turned to the Swiss cantons nearest
them and asked to be allied with Freiburg and Bern. Freiburg consented,
and an alliance was made in 1519; but Bern, an aristocratic republic,
was unwilling to meddle in the struggle of a democracy in a town outside
the Swiss Confederacy. The citizens of Bern, more sympathetic than their
rulers, compelled them to make alliance with Geneva in 1526,--very
half-heartedly on the part of the Bernese Council.

The Swiss cantons, Bern especially, could not in their own interest see
the patriotic party in Geneva wholly crushed, and the "gate of Western
Switzerland" left completely in possession of the House of Savoy.
Therefore, when the Bishop assembled an army for the purpose of
effectually crushing all opposition within the town, Bern and Freiburg
collected their forces and routed the troops of Savoy. But the allies,
instead of using to the full the advantage they had gained, were content
with a compromise by which the Bishop remained the lord of Geneva, while
the rights of the Vidomne were greatly curtailed, and the privileges of
the townsmen were to be respected (Oct. 19th, 1530).

From this date onwards Geneva was governed by what was called _le Petit
Conseil_, and was generally spoken of as the Council; then a _Council of
Two Hundred_, framed on the model of those of Freiburg and Bern; lastly,
by the _Conseil General_, or assembly of the citizens. All important
transactions were first submitted to and deliberated on by the _Petit
Conseil_, which handed them on with their opinion of what ought to be
done to the _Council of the Two Hundred_. No change of situation--for
example, the adoption of the Reformation--was finally adopted until
submitted to the _General Council_ of all the burghers.

It is possible that had there seemed to be any immediate prospects that
Geneva would join the Reformation, Bern would have aided the patriots
more effectually. Bern was the great Protestant Power in Western
Switzerland. Its uniform policy, since 1528, had been to constitute
itself the protector of towns and districts where a majority of the
inhabitants were anxious to take the side of the Reformation and were
hindered by their overlords. It made alliances with the towns in the
territories of the Bishop of Basel, and enabled them to assert their
independence. In May (23rd) 1532 it warned the Duke of Savoy that if he
thought of persecuting the inhabitants of Payerne because of their
religion, it would make their cause its own, and declared that its
alliance with the town was much more ancient than any existing between
Bern and the Duke.[43] But the case of Geneva was different. Signs,
indeed, were not lacking that many of the people were inclined to the
Reformation.[44] It is more than probable that some of the members of
the Councils were longing for a religious reform. But however much in
earnest the reformers might be, they were in a minority, and it was no
part of the policy of Bern to interfere without due call in the internal
administration of the city; still less to see the rise of a strong and
independent Roman Catholic city-republic on its own western border.

Suddenly, in the middle of 1532, Geneva was thrown into a state of
violent religious commotion. Pope Clement VII. had published an
Indulgence within the city on the usual conditions. On the morning of
June 9th, the citizens found posted up on all the doors of the churches
great printed placards, announcing that "plenary pardon would be granted
to every one for all their sins on the one condition of repentance, and
a living faith in the promises of Jesus Christ." The city was moved to
its depths. Priests rushed to tear the placards down. "Lutherans"
interfered. Tumults ensued; and one of the canons of the cathedral,
Pierre Werly, was wounded in the arm.[45]

The Romanists, both inside and outside the town, were inclined to
believe that the affair meant more than it really did. Freiburg had been
very suspicious of the influence of the great Protestant canton of Bern,
perhaps not without reason. In March (7th) 1532, the deputies of Geneva
had been blamed by the inhabitants of Freiburg for being inclined to
Lutheranism, and it is more than likely that the Evangelicals of Geneva
had some private dealings with the Council of Bern, and had been told
that the times were not ripe for any open action on the part of the
Protestant canton. The affair of the placards, witnessing as it did the
increased strength of the Evangelical party, reawakened suspicions and
intensified alarms. A deputy from Freiburg appeared before the Council
of Geneva, complaining of the placards,[46] and of the distribution of
heretical literature in the city of Geneva (June 24th). The Papal Nuncio
wrote from Chambéry (July 8th), asking if it were true, as was publicly
reported, that the Lutheran heresy was openly professed and taught in
the houses, churches, and even in the schools of Geneva.[47] The letter
of the Nuncio was dismissed with a careless answer; but Freiburg had to
be contented. Two extracts from the Register of the Council quoted by
Herminjard show their anxiety to satisfy Freiburg and yet bear evidence
of a very moderate zeal for the Romanist religion. They decided (June
29th) that no schoolmaster was to be allowed to preach in the town
unless specially licensed by the vicar or the Syndics; and (June 30th)
they resolved to request the vicar to see that the Gospel and the
Epistle of the day were read "truthfully without being mixed up with
fables and other inventions of men"; they added that they meant to live
as their fathers, without any innovations.[48]

The excitement had not died down when Farel arrived in the city in the
autumn of 1532. He preached quietly in houses; but his coming was known,
and led to some tumults. He and his companions, Saunier and Olivétan,
were seized and sent out of the city. The Reformation had begun, and, in
spite of many hindrances, was destined to be successful.

§ 2. _The Reformation in Western Switzerland._

The conversion of Geneva to the Reformed faith was the crown of a work
which had been promoted by the canton of Bern ever since its Council had
decided, in 1528, to adopt the Reformation. Bern itself belonged to
German-speaking Switzerland, but it had extensive possessions in the
French-speaking districts. It was the only State strong enough to
confront the Dukes of Savoy, and was looked upon as a natural protector
against that House and other feudal principalities. Its position may be
seen in its relations to the Pays de Vaud. The Pays de Vaud consisted of
a confederacy of towns and small feudal estates owning fealty to the
House of Savoy. The nobles, the towns, and in some instances the clergy,
sent deputies to a Diet which met at Moudon under the presidency of the
"governor and bailli de Vaud," who represented the Duke of Savoy. A
large portion of the country had broken away from Savoy at different
periods during the fifteenth century. Lausanne and eight other smaller
towns and districts formed the patrimony of the Prince-Bishop of
Lausanne. The cantons of Freiburg and Bern ruled jointly over Orbe,
Grandson, and Morat. Bern had become the sole ruler over what were
called the four commanderies of Aigle, Ormonts, Ollon, and Bex. These
four commanderies were outlying portions of Bern, and were entirely
under the rule of its Council. When Bern had accepted the Reformation,
it naturally wished its dependencies to follow its example; and its
policy was always directed to induce other portions of the Pays de Vaud
to become Protestant also. Farel, the Apostle of French-speaking
Switzerland, might almost be called an agent of the Council of Bern.

Its method of work may be best seen by taking the examples of Aigle and
Lausanne, the one its own possession and the other belonging to the
Prince-Bishop, who was its political ruler.

William Farel, once a member of the "group of Meaux," whom we have
already seen active at the Disputation in Bern in the beginning of 1528,
had settled at Aigle in 1526, probably by the middle of November.[49] He
did so, he says in his memoir to the Council of Bern--

     "With the intention of opening a school to instruct the youth in
     virtue and learning, and in order to procure for myself the
     necessities of life. Received at once with brotherly good-will by
     some of the burghers of the place, I was asked by them to preach
     the Word of God before the Governor, who was then at Bern, had
     returned. I acceded to their request. But as soon as the Governor
     returned I asked his permission to keep the school, and by
     acquaintances also asked him to permit me to preach. The Governor
     acceded to their request, but on condition that I preached nothing
     but the pure simple clear Word of God according to the Old and New
     Testament, without any addition contrary to the Word, and without
     attacking the Holy Sacraments.... I promised to conform myself to
     the will of the Governor, and declared myself ready to submit to
     any punishment he pleased to inflict upon me if I disobeyed his
     orders or acted in any way recognised to be contrary to the Word of

This was the beginning of a work which gradually spread over
French-speaking Switzerland.

The Bishop of Sion, within whose diocese Aigle was situated, published
an order forbidding all wandering preachers who had not his episcopal
licence from preaching within the confines of his diocese; and this
appears to have been used against Farel. Some representation must have
been made to the Council of Bern, who indignantly declared that no one
was permitted to publish citations, excommunications, interdicts, _ne
autres fanfares_ within their territories; but at the same time ordered
Farel to cease preaching, because he had never been ordained a priest
(February 22nd, 1527).[51] The interdict did not last very long; for a
minute of Council (March 8th) says, "Farel is permitted to preach at
Aigle until the Coadjutor sends another capable priest."[52] Troubles
arose from priests and monks, but upon the whole the Council of Bern
supported him; and Haller and others wrote from Bern privately,
beseeching him to persevere.[53] He remained, and the number of those
who accepted the Evangelical faith under his ministry increased
gradually until they appear to have been the majority of the people.[54]
He confessed himself that what hindered him most was his denunciation of
the prevailing immoralities. At the Disputation in Bern, Farel was
recognised to be one of the ablest theologians present, and to have
contributed in no small degree to the success of the conference. The
Council of Bern saw in him the instrument best fitted for the
evangelisation of their French-speaking population. He returned to Aigle
under the protection of the Council, who sent a herald with him to
ensure that he should be treated with all respect, and gave him besides
an "open letter," ordering their officials to render him all assistance
everywhere within their four commanderies.[55] He was recognised to be
the evangelist of the Council of Bern. This did not prevent occasional
disturbances, riots promoted by priests and monks, who set the bells
a-ringing to drown the preacher's voice, and sometimes procured men to
beat drums at the doors of the churches in which he was preaching. His
success, however, was so great, that when the commissioners of Bern
visited their four commanderies they found that three of them were ready
by a majority of votes to adopt the Reformation (March 2nd, 1528). The
adoption of the Reformation was signified by the removal of altars and
images, and by the abolition of the Mass.

In the parishes where a majority of the people declared for the
Reformation, the Council of Bern issued instructions about the order of
public worship and other ecclesiastical rites. Thus we find them
intimating to their Governor at Aigle that they expected the people to
observe the same form of Baptism, of the Table of the Lord, and of the
celebration of marriage, as was in use at Bern (April 25th, 1528).[56]
The Bern Liturgy, obligatory in all the German-speaking districts of the
canton, was not imposed on the Romance Churches until 1552. Then, in
July (1528), the Governor is informed that--

     "My Lords have resolved to allow to the preachers Farel and Simon
     'pour leur prébende' two hundred florins of Savoy annually, and a
     house with a court, and a kitchen garden. But if they prefer to
     have the old revenues of the parish cures ... my Lords are willing.
     If, on the contrary, they take the two hundred florins, you are to
     sell the ecclesiastical goods, and you are to collect the
     hundredths and the tithes, and out of all you are to pay the two
     hundred florins annually."[57]

The pastors preferred to take the place of the Romanist incumbents, and
there is accordingly another minute sent to the Castellan, syndic, and
parishioners of Aigle, ordering Farel to be placed in possession of the
ecclesiastical possessions of the parish, "seeing that it is reasonable
that the pastor should have his portion of the fruits of the sheep."[58]

The history of Aigle was repeated over and over again in other parts of
western Switzerland. In the bailiwicks which Bern and Freiburg ruled
jointly, Bern insisted on freedom of preaching, and on the right of the
people to choose whether they would remain Romanists or become
Protestants. Commissioners from the two cantons presided when the votes
were given.

Farel was too valuable to be left as pastor of a small district like
Aigle. We find him making wide preaching tours, always protected by Bern
when protection was possible. It was the rooted belief of the
Protestants that a public Disputation on matters of religion in presence
of the people, the speakers using the language understood by the crowd,
always resulted in spreading the Reformation; and Bern continually tried
to get such conferences in towns where the authorities were Romanist.
Their first interference in the ecclesiastical affairs of Lausanne was
of this kind. It seems that some of the priests of Lausanne had accused
Farel of being a heretic; whereupon the Council of Bern demanded that
Farel should be heard before the Bishop of Lausanne's tribunal, in order
to prove that he was no heretic. The claim led to a long correspondence.
The Bishop continually refused; while the Council and citizens seemed
inclined to grant the request. Farel could not get a hearing before the
episcopal tribunal, but he visited the town, and on the second occasion
was permitted by the Council to preach to the people. This occurred
again and again; and the result was that the town became Protestant and
disowned the authority of the Bishop. Bern assisted the inhabitants to
drive the Bishop away, and to become a free municipality and Protestant.

Gradually Farel had become the leader of an organised band of
missioners, who devoted themselves to the evangelisation of western or
French-speaking Switzerland.[59] They had been carefully selected--young
men for the most part well educated, of unbounded courage, willing to
face all the risks of their dangerous work, daunted by no threat or
peril, taking their lives in their hand. They were the forerunners of
the young preachers, teachers, and colporteurs whom Calvin trained later
in Geneva and sent forth by the hundred to evangelise France and the Low
Countries. They were all picked men. No one was admitted to the little
band without being well warned of the hazardous work before him, and
some who were ready to take all the risks were rejected because the
leader was not sure that they had the necessary powers of endurance.[60]
These preachers were under the protection of the canton of Bern, whose
authorities were resolute to maintain the freedom to preach the Word of
God; but they continually went where the Bernese had no power to assist
them; nor could the protection of that powerful canton aid them in
sudden emergencies when bitter Romanist partisans, infuriated by the
invectives with which the preachers lashed the abuses of the Roman
religion, or wrathful at their very presence, stirred up the mob against
them. When their correspondence and that of their opponents--a
correspondence collected and carefully edited by M. Herminjard--is read,
it can be seen that they could always count on a certain amount of
sympathy from the people of the towns and villages where they preached,
but that the authorities were for the most part hostile. If Bern
insisted on their protection, Freiburg was as active in opposing them,
and lost no opportunity of urging the local authorities to harass them
in every way, to silence their preaching, and if possible to expel them
from their territories.

Such men had the defects of their qualities. Their zeal often outran
their discretion. When Farel and Froment, the most daring and devoted of
his band, were preaching at a village in the vale of Villingen, a priest
began to chant the Mass beside them. As the priest elevated the Host,
Froment seized it and, turning towards the people, said, "This is not
the God to adore; He is in the Heaven in the glory of the Father, not in
the hands of the priests as you believe, and as they teach." There was a
riot, of course, but the preachers escaped. Next day, however, as they
were passing a solitary place, they were assailed by a crowd of men and
women, stoned and beaten with clubs, then hurried away to a neighbouring
castle whose chatelaine had instigated the attack. There they were
thrust violently into the chapel, and the crowd tried to make Farel
prostrate himself before an image of the Blessed Virgin. He resisted,
admonishing them to adore the one God in spirit and in truth, not dumb
images without sense or power. The crowd beat him to the effusion of
blood, and the two preachers were dragged to a vault, where they were
imprisoned until rescued by the authorities of Neuchâtel.[61]

These preachers were all Frenchmen or French-Swiss. They had the hot
Celtic blood in their veins, and their hearers were their kith and
kin--prompt to act, impetuous when their passions were stirred. Scenes
occurred at their preaching which we seldom hear of among slower
Germans, who generally waited until their authorities led. In western
Switzerland the audiences were eager to get rid of the idolatries
denounced. At Grandson, the people rushed to the church of the
Cordeliers, and tore down the altars and images, while the crosses,
altars, and images of the parish church were also destroyed.[62]
Similar tumults took place at Orbe; and the authorities at Bern, who
desired to see liberty for both Protestants and Romanists, had occasion
to rebuke the zealous preachers.

But the dangers which the missioners ran were not always of their own
provoking. Sometimes a crowd of women invaded the churches in which they
preached, interrupted the services with shoutings, hustled and beat the
preachers; sometimes when they addressed the people in the market-place
the preachers and their audience were assailed with showers of stones;
sometimes Farel and his companions were laid wait for and
maltreated.[63] M. de Watteville, sent down by the authorities of Bern
to report on disturbances, wrote to the Council of Bern that the faces
of the preachers were so torn that it looked as if they had been
fighting with cats, and that on one occasion the alarm-bell had been
sounded against them, as was the custom for a wolf-hunt.[64]

No dangers daunted the missioners, and soon the whole of the outlying
districts of Bern, Neuchâtel, Soleure, and other French-speaking
portions of Switzerland declared for the Reformation. The cantonal
authorities frequently sent down commissioners to ascertain the wishes
of the people; and when the majority of the inhabitants voted for the
Evangelical religion, the church, parsonage, and stipend were given to a
Protestant pastor. Many of Farel's missioners were temporarily settled
in these village churches; but they were for the most part better fitted
for pioneer work than for a settled pastorate. In January (9-14th) 1532,
a synod of these Protestant pastors was held at Bern to deliberate on
some uniform ways of exercising their ministry to prevent disorders
arising from individual caprice. Two hundred and thirty ministers were
present, and Bucer was brought from Strassburg to give them guidance.
His advice was greatly appreciated and followed by the delegates of the
churches and the Council of Bern. The Synod in the end issued an
elaborate ordinance, which included a lengthy exposition of

§ 3. _Farel in Geneva._

It was after this consolidation of the Reformation in Bern and its
outlying provinces that Farel found himself free to turn his attention
to Geneva. He had evidently been thinking for months about the
possibility of evangelising the town. He had little fear of the people
themselves, and he wrote to Zwingli (Oct. 1st, 1531) that were it not
for the dread of Freiburg, he believed that the Genevese would welcome
the Gospel.[66] The affair of the "placards" seems to have decided him
to begin his mission in the city. When he was driven out he was far from
abandoning the enterprise. He turned to Froment, his most trusted
assistant, and sent him into Geneva.

Antoine Froment, who has the honour along with Farel of being the
Reformer of Geneva, was born at Tries, near Grenoble, about 1510. He was
therefore, like Farel, a native of Dauphiné. Like him, also, he had gone
to Paris for his education, and had become acquainted with Lefèvre, who
seems to have introduced him to Marguerite d'Angoulême, the Queen of
Navarre,[67] as he received from her a prebend in a canonry on one of
her estates. How he came to Switzerland is unknown. Once there and
introduced to Farel, he became his most daring and enthusiastic
disciple, and Farel prized him above all the others. They were Paul and
Timothy. It was natural that Farel should entrust him with the difficult
and dangerous task of preaching the Gospel in Geneva.

Farel's seizure and expulsion made it necessary to proceed with caution.
Froment entered Geneva (Nov. 3rd, 1532), and began his work by
intimating by public advertisement (_placard_) that he was ready to
teach any one who wished to learn to read and write the French language,
and that he would charge no fees if his pupils were not able to profit
by his instructions. Scholars came.[68] He managed to mingle Evangelical
instruction with his lessons,--"every day one or two sermons from the
Holy Scripture," he says,--and soon made many converts, especially among
the wives of influential citizens. Towards the end of 1532, the monks of
one of the convents in Geneva had brought to the city a Dominican,
Christopher Bocquet, to be their Advent preacher. His sermons seem to
have been largely Evangelical, and had the effect of inducing many of
the citizens to attend Froment's discourses in the hall where he kept
his school.[69] This provoked threats on the part of the Romanists, and
strongly worded sermons from the priests and Romanist orators. One
citizen, convicted of having spoken disrespectfully of the Mass, was
banished, and forbidden to return on pain of death. On this the
Evangelicals of the town appealed to Bern. Their letter was promptly
answered by a demand on the part of the Council of that canton that the
Evangelicals must be left in peace, and if attacked publicly must be
allowed to answer in as public a fashion.[70] When their letter was read
in the Council of Geneva, it provoked some protests from the more
ardently Romanist members, and the priests stirred up part of the
population to riotous proceedings, in which the lives of the
Evangelicals were threatened. The Syndics and Council had difficulty in
preventing conflicts in the streets. They published a decree (March
30th, 1533), in which they practically proclaimed liberty of conscience,
but forbade all insulting expressions, all attacks on the Sacraments or
on the ecclesiastical fasts and ceremonies, and again ordered preachers
to say nothing which could not be proved from Holy Scripture.[71]

The numbers of the Evangelicals increased daily; they became bolder, and
on the 10th of April they met in a garden, under the presidency of
Guérin Muète, a hosier, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper. This
became known to the Romanists, and there was a renewal of the threats
against the Evangelicals, which came to a head in the riot of the 5th of
May--a riot which had important consequences.[72] It seems that while
several citizens, known to belong to the Evangelical party, were walking
in the square before the Cathedral of St. Peter, they were attacked by a
band of armed priests, and three of them were severely wounded. The
leader of the band, a turbulent priest named Pierre Werly, who belonged
to an old family of Freiburg, and was a canon in the cathedral, followed
by five or six others, rushed down to the broad street Molard, with loud
shouts. Werly was armed with one of the huge Swiss swords. He and his
companions attacked the Evangelicals; there was a sharp, short fight;
several persons were wounded severely, and Werly, "the captain of the
priests," was slain.[73] The affair made a great noise. The Romanists at
once proclaimed Werly a martyr, and honoured him with a pompous funeral.
Freiburg insisted that all the Evangelicals who happened to be in the
Molard should be arrested; and it was said that preparations were being
made for a massacre of all the followers of the Reformation. In their
extremity they again appealed to Bern, whose authorities again
interfered for their protection.

During these troublesome times the position of the Council of Geneva was
one of great difficulty. The Prince-Bishop of Geneva, Pierre de la
Baume, was still nominally sovereign, secular as well as ecclesiastical
ruler. His secular powers had been greatly curtailed, how much it is
difficult to say, but certainly to the extent that the criminal
administration of the city and the territory subject to it was in the
hands of the Council and Syndics. Freiburg, one of the two protecting
cantons, insisted that all the ecclesiastical authority was still in the
hands of the Bishop, to be administered in his absence by his vicar.[74]
The Councils, although they had passed decrees (June 30th, 1532, and
March 30th, 1533) which had distinctly to do with ecclesiastical
matters, acknowledged for the most part that the ecclesiastical
jurisdiction did not belong to them. But the whole of the inhabitants
were not contented with this diminution of the episcopal authority.
Turbulent priests and the yet more violent canons,[75] the great body of
monks and nuns, wished, and intrigued for the restoration of the rule of
the Bishop and of the House of Savoy. The beginnings of a movement for
Reformation had increased the difficulties of the Council; it brought a
third party into the town. The Evangelicals were all strongly opposed to
the rule of the Bishop and Savoy, and they were fast growing in
strength; a powerful minority of Roman Catholics were no less strongly
in favour of a return to the old condition. The majority of the Roman
Catholic citizens, opposed to the Bishop as a secular ruler, had no
desire for the triumph of the Reformation. As time went on, it was seen
that these moderate Romanists had to choose between a return of the old
disorderly rule of the Bishop, or to acquiesce in the ecclesiastical as
well as the secular superiority of the Council, pressed by the
Protestant canton of Bern. The Savoyard party evidently believed that
their hatred of the Reformation would be stronger than their dislike to
the Savoyard and episcopal rule--a mistaken belief, as events were to

The policy of Bern, wherever its influence prevailed in western
Switzerland, was exerted to secure toleration for all Evangelicals, and
to procure, if possible, a public discussion on matters of religion
between the Romanists and leading Reformers. They pressed this over and
over again on their allies of Geneva. As early as April 1533, they had
insisted that a monk who had offered to refute Farel should be kept to
his word, and that the Council of Geneva should arrange for a Public
Disputation.[76] Towards the close of the year an event occurred which
gave them a pretext for decisive interference.

Guy Furbiti, a renowned Roman Catholic preacher, a learned theologian, a
doctor of the Sorbonne, had been brought to Geneva to be Advent
preacher. He used the occasion to denounce vigorously the doctrines of
the Evangelicals, supporting his statements, as he afterwards confessed,
not from Scripture, but from the Decretals and from the writings of
Thomas Aquinas. He ended his sermon (Dec. 2nd) with the words: "Where
are those fine preachers of the fireside, who say the opposite? If they
showed themselves here one could speak to them. Ha! ha! they are well to
hide themselves in corners to deceive poor women and others who know

After the sermon, either in church or in the square before the
cathedral, Froment cried to the crowd, "Hear me! I am ready to give my
life, and my body to be burned, to maintain that what that man has said
is nothing but falsehood and the words of Antichrist." There was a great
commotion. Some shouted, "To the fire with him! to the fire!" and tried
to seize him. The chronicler nun, Jeanne de Jussie, proud of her sex,
relates that "les femmes comme enragées sortirent après, de grande
furie, luy jettant force pierres."[77] He escaped from them. But
Alexandre Canus was banished, and forbidden to return under pain of
death; and Froment was hunted from house to house, until he found a
hiding-place in a hay-loft. Furbiti had permitted himself to attack with
strong invectives the authorities of Bern, and the Evangelicals of
Geneva in their appeal for protection sent extracts from the
sermons.[78] Bern had at last the opportunity for which its Council had
long waited.

They wrote a dignified letter (Dec. 17th, 1533) to the Council of
Geneva, in which they complained that the Genevese, their allies, had
hitherto paid little attention to their requests for a favourable
treatment of the Evangelicals; that they had expelled from the town
"nostre serviteur maistre Guillaume Farel"; not content with that, they
had recently misused their "servants" Froment and Alexandre for
protesting against the sermons of a Jacobin monk (Furbiti) who "preached
only lies, errors, and blasphemies against God, the faith, and
ourselves, wounding our honour, calling us Jews, Turks, and dogs"; that
the banishment of Alexandre and the hunting of Froment touched them (the
Council of Bern), and that they would not suffer it. They demanded the
immediate arrest of the "_caffard_"[79] (Furbiti); and they said they
were about to send an embassy to Geneva to vindicate publicly the honour
of God and their own.[80]

As the Council of Bern meant to enforce a Public Disputation, they sent
Farel to Geneva. He reached the city on the evening of December 20th.

The letter was read to the Council of Geneva upon Dec. 21st, and they at
once gave orders to the vicar to prevent Furbiti leaving the town. But
the vicar, who had resolved to try his strength against Bern, refused,
and actually published two mandates (Dec. 31st, 1533, and Jan. 1st,
1534) denouncing the Genevese Syndics, forbidding any of the citizens to
read the Holy Scriptures, and ordering all copies of translations of the
Bible, whether in German or in French, to be seized and burnt.[81] The
dispute between Syndics and vicar was signalised by riots promoted by
the extreme Romanist party. The Council, anxious not to proceed to
extremities, contented themselves with placing a guard to watch Furbiti;
and the monk was attended continually, even when he went to and from the
church, by a guard of three halberdiers.

The Bernese embassy arrived on the 4th of January, and had prolonged
audience of the Council of Geneva on the 5th and 7th. They insisted on a
fair treatment for the Evangelical party, which meant freedom of
conscience and the right of public worship, and they demanded that
Furbiti should be compelled to justify his charges against the
Evangelicals in the presence of learned men who could speak for the
Council of Bern. The Genevan authorities had no wish to break
irrevocably with their Bishop, nor to coerce the ecclesiastical
authorities; they pleaded that Furbiti was not under their jurisdiction,
and they referred the Bernese deputies to the Bishop or his vicar. "We
have been ordered to apply to you," said the deputies from Bern. "Your
answer makes us see that you seek delay, and that you are not treating
us fairly; that you think little of the honour of the Council of Bern.
Here is the treaty of alliance (they produced the document), and we are
about to tear off the seals." This was the formal way among the Swiss of
cancelling a treaty. The Councillors of Geneva then proposed that they
should compel the monk to appear before them and the deputies of Bern,
when explanations might be demanded from him. The deputies accepted the
offer, but on condition that there should be a conference between the
monk (Furbiti) and theologians sent from Bern (Farel and Viret). Next
day Furbiti was taken from the episcopal palace and placed in the town's
prison (Jan. 8th), and on the morrow (Jan. 9th) he was brought before
the Council. There he refused to plead before secular judges. The
Council of Geneva tried in vain to induce the vicar to nominate an
ecclesiastical delegate who was to sit in the Council and be present at
the conference. Their negotiations with the vicar, carried on for some
days, were in vain. Then they attempted to induce the Bernese to depart
from their conditions. The Council of Bern was immovable. It insisted on
the immediate payment by the Genevese of the debt due to Bern for the
war of deliverance and for the punishment of Furbiti (Jan. 25th, 1534).
Driven to the wall, the Council of Geneva resolved to override the
ecclesiastical authority of the Bishop and his vicar. Furbiti was
compelled to appear before the Council and the deputies of Bern, and to
answer to Farel and Viret on Jan. 27th and Feb. 3rd (1534). On the
afternoon of the latter day the partisans of the Bishop got up another
riot, in which one of them poniarded an Evangelical, Nicolas Bergier.
This riot seems to have exhausted the patience of the peaceable citizens
of Geneva, whether Romanists or Evangelicals. A band of about five
hundred assembled armed before the Town Hall, informed the Council that
they would no longer tolerate riots caused by turbulent priests, and
that they were ready to support civic authority and put down lawlessness
with a strong hand. The Council thereupon acted energetically. That
night the murderer, Claude Pennet, who had hid himself in the belfry of
the cathedral, was dragged from his place of concealment, tried next
day, and hanged on the day following (Feb. 5th). The houses of the
principal rioters were searched, and letters discovered proving a plot
to seize the town and deliver it into the hands of the Bishop. Pierre de
la Baume had gone the length of nominating a member of the Council of
Freiburg, M. Pavillard, to act as his deputy in secular affairs, and
ordering him to massacre the Evangelicals within the city.

When the excitement had somewhat died down, the deputies of Bern pressed
for a renewal of the proceedings against Furbiti. The monk was again
brought before the Council, and confronted by Farel and Viret. He was
forced to confess that he could not prove his assertions from the Holy
Scriptures, but had based them on the Decretals and the writings of
Thomas Aquinas, admitting that he had transgressed the regulations of
the Council of Geneva. He promised that, if allowed to preach on the
following Sunday (Feb. 15th), he would make public reparation to the
Council of Bern. When Sunday came he refused to keep his promise, and
was sent back to prison.[82]

Meanwhile the Evangelical community in Geneva was growing, and taking
organised form. One of the most prominent of the Genevan Evangelicals,
Jean Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, prepared a hall by removing a
partition between two rooms in his magnificent house, situated in that
part of the city which was the cradle of the Reformation in Geneva.
There Farel, Viret, and Froment preached to three or four hundred
persons; and there the first baptism according to the Reformed rite was
celebrated in Geneva (Feb. 22nd, 1533). The audiences soon increased
beyond the capacity of the hall, and the Evangelicals, protected by the
presence of the Bernese deputies, took possession of the large audience
hall or church of the Convent of the Cordeliers in the same street
(March 1st). The deputies from Bern frequently asked the Council of
Geneva to grant the use of one of the churches of the town for the
Evangelicals, but were continually answered that the Council had not the
power, but that they would not object if the Evangelicals found a
suitable place. This indirect authorisation enabled them to meet in the
convent church, which held between four and five thousand people, and
which was frequently filled. Thus the little band increased. Farel
preached for the first time in St. Peter's on the 8th of August 1535.
Services were held in other houses also.[83]

The Bishop of Geneva, foiled in his attempt to regain possession of the
town by well-planned riots, united himself with the Duke of Savoy to
conquer the city by force of arms. Their combined forces advanced
against Geneva; they overran the country, seized and pillaged the
country houses of the citizens, and subjected the town itself to a
close investment. The war was a grievous matter for the city, but it
furthered the Reformation. The Bishop had leagued himself with the old
enemy of Geneva; the priests, the monks, the nuns were eager for his
success; he compelled patriotic Roman Catholics to choose between their
religion and their country. It was also a means of displaying the
heroism of the Protestant pastors. Farel and Froment were high-spirited
Frenchmen, who scoffed at any danger lying in the path of duty. They had
braved a thousand perils in their missionary work. Viret was not less
courageous. The three worked on the fortifications with the citizens;
they shared the watches of the defenders; they encouraged the citizens
by word and deed. The Genevese were prepared for any sacrifices to
preserve their liberties. Four faubourgs, which formed a second town
almost as large as the first, were ordered to be demolished to
strengthen the defence. The city was reduced to great straits, and the
citizens of Bern seemed to be deaf to their cries for help.

Bern was doing its best by embassies to assist them; but it dared not
attack the Pays de Vaud when Freiburg, angry at the process of the
Reformation, threatened a counter attack. After the siege was raised,
the strongholds in the surrounding country remained in the possession of
the enemy, and the people belonging to Geneva were liable to be pillaged
and maltreated.

Within the city the number of Evangelicals increased week by week. Then
came a sensational event which brought about the ruin of the Roman
Catholic party. A woman, Antonia Vax, cook in the house of Claude
Bernard, with whom the three pastors dwelt, attempted to poison Viret,
Farel, and Froment.[84] The confession of the prisoner, combined with
other circumstances, created the impression among the members of Council
and the people of Geneva that the priests of the town had instigated the
attempt, and a strong feeling in favour of the Protestant pastors swept
over the city. The Council at once provided lodging for Viret and Farel
in the Convent of the Cordeliers. When the guardian of that convent
asked leave to hold public discussions on religious questions in the
great church belonging to the convent, it was at once granted.

The Council itself made arrangements for the public Disputation. Five
_Thèses évangéliques_ were drafted by the Protestant pastors, and the
Council invited discussion upon them from all and sundry.[85]
Invitations were sent to the canons of the cathedral, and to all the
priests and monks of Geneva; safe-conducts were promised to all foreign
theologians who desired to take part;[86] a special attempt was made to
induce a renowned Paris Roman Catholic champion, Pierre Cornu, a
theologian trained at the Sorbonne, who happened to be at Grenoble, to
defend the Romanist position by attacking the _Theses_. The _Theses_
themselves were posted up in Geneva as early as the 1st of May (1535),
and copies were sent to all the priests and convents within the
territories of the Genevans.[87]

The Disputation was fixed to open on the 30th of May. The Council
nominated eight commissioners, half of whom were Roman Catholics, to
maintain order, and four secretaries to keep minutes of the
proceedings.[88] Efforts were made to induce Roman Catholic theologians
of repute for their learning to attend and attack the _Theses_. But the
Bishop of Geneva had forbidden the Disputation, and the Council were
unable to prevail on any stranger to appear. When the opening day
arrived, and the Council, commissioners, and secretaries were solemnly
seated in their places in the great hall of the convent, no Romanist
defender of the faith appeared to impugn the Evangelical _Theses_. Farel
and Viret nevertheless expounded and defended. The Disputation continued
at intervals during four weeks, till the 24th of June, Romanist
champions accepted the Reformers' challenge--Jean Chapuis, prior of the
Dominican convent at Plainpalais, near Geneva, and Jean Cachi, confessor
to the Sisters of St. Clara in the city. But they were no match for men
like Farel. Chapuis himself apologised for the absence of the Genevan
priests and monks, by saying that even in his convent there was a lack
of learned men. The weakness of the Romanist defence made a great
impression on the people of Geneva. They went about saying to each
other, "If all Christian princes permitted a free discussion like our
MM. of Geneva, the affair would soon be settled without burnings, or
slaughter, or murders; but the Pope and his followers, the cardinals and
the bishops and the priests, know well that if free discussion is
permitted all is lost for them. So all these powers forbid any
discussion or conversation save by fire and by sword." They knew that
all throughout Romance Switzerland the Reformers, whether in a minority
or in a majority, were eager for a public discussion.

When the Disputation was ended, Farel urged the Council to declare
themselves on the side of the Reformation; but they hesitated until
popular tumults forced their hand. On July 23rd, Farel preached in the
Church of the Madeleine. The Council made mild remonstrances. Then he
preached in the Church of St. Gervais. Lastly, on the 8th of August, the
people forced him to preach in the Cathedral, St. Peter's (Aug. 8th). In
the afternoon the priests were at vespers as usual. As they chanted the

    "Their idols are silver and gold,
     The work of men's hands.
     They have mouths, but they speak not:
     Eyes have they, but they see not;
     They have ears, but they hear not;
     Noses have they, but they smell not;
     They have hands, but they handle not;
     Feet have they, but they walk not;
     Neither speak they through their throat,"

someone in the throng shouted, "You curse, as you chant, all who make
graven images and trust in them. Why do you let them remain here?" It
was the signal for a tumult. The crowd rushed to throw to the ground and
break in pieces the statues of the saints; and the children pushing
among the crowd picked up the fragments, and rushing to the doors, said,
"We have the gods of the priests, would you like some?"[89] Next day the
riots were renewed in the parish and convent churches, and the images of
the saints were defaced or destroyed.

The Council met on the 9th, and summoned Farel before them. The minutes
state that he made an _oratio magna_, ending with the declaration that
he and his fellow-preachers were willing to submit to death if it could
be shown that they taught anything contrary to the Holy Scriptures.
Then, falling on his knees, he poured forth one of those wonderful
prayers which more than anything else exhibited the exalted enthusiasm
of the great missionary. The religious question was discussed next day
in the _Council of the Two Hundred_, when it was resolved to abolish the
Mass provisionally, to summon the monks before the Council, and to ask
them to give their reasons for maintaining the Mass and the worship of
the saints. The two Councils resolved to inform the people of Bern about
what they had done.[90]

It is evident that the two Councils had been hurried by the iconoclastic
zeal of the people along a path they had meant to tread in a much more
leisurely fashion. The political position was full of uncertainties.
Their enemies were still in the field against them. Bern seemed to be
unable to assist them. They were ready to welcome the intervention of
France. It was the fear of increasing their external troubles rather
than any zeal for the Roman Catholic faith that had prevented the
Council from espousing the Reformation immediately after the public
Disputation. "If we abolish the Mass, image worship, and everything
popish, for one enemy we have now we are sure to have an hundred," was
their thought.[91]

The official representatives of the Roman Catholic religion did not
appear to advantage at this crisis of their fate. They were in no haste
to defend their worship before the Council. When they at last appeared
(Nov. 29th, 1535), the monks in the forenoon and the secular clergy in
the afternoon, there was a careless indifference in their answers. The
Council seem to have referred them to Farel's summary of the matters
discussed in the public Disputation which began on the 30th of May, and
to have asked them what they had to say against its conclusions and in
favour of the Mass and of the adoration of the saints.[92] The monks one
after another (twelve of them appeared before the Council) answered
monotonously that they were unlearned people, who lived as they had been
taught by their fathers, and did not inquire further. The secular
clergy, by their spokesman Roletus de Pane, said that they had nothing
to do with the Disputation and what had been said there; that they had
no desire to listen to more addresses from Farel; and that they meant to
live as their predecessors.[93] This was the end. The two deputations
of monks and seculars were informed by the Council that they must cease
saying Mass until further orders were given. The Reformation was legally
established in Geneva, and the city stood forth with Bern as altogether

The dark clouds on the political horizon were rising. France seemed
about to interfere in favour of Geneva, and the fear of France in
possession of the "gate of western Switzerland" was stronger than
reluctance to permit Geneva to become a Protestant city. The Council of
Freiburg promised to allow the Bernese army to march through their
territory. Bern renounced its alliance with Savoy on November 29th,
1535. War was declared on January 16th. The army of Bern left its
territories, gathering reinforcements as it went; for towns like
Neuville, Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Payerne--oppressed Protestant communities
in Romance Switzerland--felt that the hour of their liberation was at
hand, and their armed burghers were eager to strike one good stroke at
their oppressors under the leadership of the proud republic. There was
little fighting. The greater part of the Pays de Vaud was conquered
without striking a blow, and the army of the Duke of Savoy and the
Bishop of Geneva was dispersed without a battle. A few sieges were
needed to complete the victory. The great republic, after its fashion,
had waited till the opportune moment, and then struck once and for all.
Its decisive victory brought deliverance not only to Geneva, but to
Lausanne and many other Protestant municipalities in Romance Switzerland
(Aug. 7th, 1536). The democracy of Geneva was served heir to the
seignorial rights of the Bishop, and to the sovereign rights of the Duke
of Savoy over city and lands. Geneva became an independent republic
under the protectorate of Bern, and to some extent dependent on that

In the month of December 1535, the Syndics and Council of Geneva had
adopted the legend on the coat of arms of the town, _Post tenebras
lux_--a device which became very famous, and appeared on its coinage.
The resolution of the Council of the Two Hundred to abolish the Mass and
saint worship was officially confirmed by the citizens assembled, "as
was the custom, by sound of bell and of trumpet" (May 21st, 1536).

Geneva had gained much. It had won political independence, for which it
had been fighting for thirty years, modified by its relations to
Bern,[95] but greater than it had ever before enjoyed. The Reformed
religion had been established, although the fact remained that the
Romanist partisans had still a good deal of hidden strength. But much
was still to be done to make the town the citadel of the Reformation
which it was to become. Its past history had demoralised its people. The
rule of dissolute bishops and the example of a turbulent and immoral
clergy had poisoned the morals of the city.[96] The liberty won might
easily degenerate into licence, and ominous signs were not lacking that
this was about to take place. "It is impossible to deny," says
Kampschulte, the Roman Catholic biographer of Calvin, "that disorder and
demoralisation had become threatening in Geneva; it would have been
almost a miracle had it not been so." Farel did what he could. He
founded schools. He organised the hospitals. He strove to kindle moral
life in the people of his adopted city. But his talents and his
character fitted him much more for pioneer work than for the task which
now lay before him.

Farel was a chivalrous Frenchman, born among the mountains of Dauphiné,
whose courage, amounting to reckless daring, won for him the passionate
admiration of soldiers like Wildermuth,[97] and made him volunteer to
lead any forlorn hope however desperate. He was sympathetic to
soft-heartedness, yet utterly unable to restrain his tongue; in danger
of his life one week because of his violent language, and the next
almost adored, by those who would have slain him, for the reckless way
in which he nursed the sick and dying during a visitation of the plague.
He was the brilliant partisan leader, seeing only what lay before his
eyes; incapable of self-restraint; a learned theologian, yet careless in
his expression of doctrine, and continually liable to misapprehension.
No one was better fitted to attack the enemy's strongholds, few less
able to hold them when once possessed. He saw, without the faintest
trace of jealousy--the man was too noble--others building on the
foundations he had laid. It is almost pathetic to see that none of the
Romance Swiss churches whose Apostle he had been, cared to retain him as
their permanent leader. In the closing years of his life he went back to
his beloved France, and ended as he had begun, a pioneer evangelist in
Lyons, Metz, and elsewhere,--a leader of forlorn hopes, carrying within
him a perpetual spring and the effervescing recklessness of youth. He
had early seen that the pioneer life which he led was best lived without
wife or children, and he remained unmarried until his sixty-ninth year.
Then he met with a poor widow who had lost husband and property for
religion's sake in Rouen, and had barely escaped with life. He married
her because in no other way could he find for her a home and protection.

Geneva needed a man of altogether different mould of character to do the
work that was now necessary. When Farel's anxieties and vexations were
at their height, he learned almost by accident that a distinguished
young French scholar, journeying from Ferrara to Basel, driven out of
his direct course by war, had arrived in Geneva, and was staying for a
night in the town. This was Calvin.

§ 4. _Calvin: Youth and Education._

Jean Cauvin (latinised into Calvinus) was born at Noyon in Picardy on
the 10th of July 1509. He was the second son in a family of four sons
and two daughters. His father, Gerard Cauvin, was a highly esteemed
lawyer, the confidential legal adviser of the nobility and higher clergy
of the district. His mother, Jeanne La France, a very beautiful woman,
was noted for her devout piety and her motherly affection. Calvin, who
says little about his childhood, relates how he was once taken by his
mother on the festival of St. Anna to see a relic of the saint preserved
in the Abbey of Ourscamp, near Noyon, and that he remembers kissing
"part of the body of St. Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary."[98]

The Cauvins belonged to what we should call the upper middle class in
social standing, and the young Jean entered the house of the noble
family of de Montmor to share the education of the children, his father
paying for all his expenses. The young de Montmors were sent to College
in Paris, and Jean Cauvin, then fourteen years of age, went with them.
This early social training never left Calvin, who was always the
reserved, polished French gentleman--a striking contrast to his great
predecessor Luther.

Calvin was a Picard, and the characteristics of the province were seen
in its greatest son. The Picards were always independent, frequently
strongly anti-clerical, combining in a singular way fervent enthusiasm
and a cold tenacity of purpose. No province in France had produced so
many sympathisers with Wiclif and Hus, and "Picards" was a term met with
as frequently on the books of Inquisitors as "Wiclifites," "Hussites,"
or "Waldenses"--all the names denoting dissenters from the mediæval
Church who accepted all the articles of the Apostles' Creed but were
strongly anti-clerical. These "brethren" lingered in all the countries
of Western Europe until the sixteenth century, and their influence made
itself felt in the beginnings of the stirrings for reform.

Gerard Cauvin had early seen that his second son, Jean, was _de bon
esprit, d'une prompte naturelle à concevoir, et inventif en l'estude des
lettres humaines_,[99] and this induced him to give the boy as good an
education as he could, and to destine him for the study of theology. His
legal connection with the higher clergy of Noyon enabled him, in the
fashion of the day, to procure for his son more than one benefice. The
boy was tonsured, a portion of the revenue was used to pay for a curate
who did the work, and the rest went to provide for the lad's education.

Young Calvin went with the three sons of the de Montmor family to the
College de la Marche in Paris. It was not a famous one, but when Calvin
studied there in the lowest class he had as his professor Mathurin
Cordier, the ablest teacher of his generation.[100] His aim was to give
his pupils a thorough knowledge of the French and Latin languages--a
foundation on which they might afterwards build for themselves. He had a
singularly sweet disposition, and a very open mind. He was brought to
know the Gospel by Robert Estienne, and in 1536 his name was inscribed,
along with those of Courat and Clement Marot, on the list of the
principal heretics in Paris. Calvin was not permitted to remain long
under this esteemed teacher. The atmosphere was probably judged to be
too liberal for one who was destined to study theology. He was
transferred to the more celebrated College de Montaigu. Calvin was again
fortunate in his principal teachers. He became the pupil of Noël Béda
and of Pierre Tempête, who taught him the art of formal disputation.

Calvin had come to Paris in his fourteenth year, and left it when he was
nineteen--the years when a lad becomes a man, and his character is
definitely formed. If we are to judge by his own future references, no
one had more formative influence over him than Mathurin Cordier--short
as had been the period of their familiar intercourse. Calvin had shown a
singularly acute mind, and proved himself to be a scholar who invariably
surpassed his fellow students. He was always surrounded by attached
friends--the three brothers de Montmor, the younger members of the
famous family of Cop, and many others. These student friends were
devoted to him all his life. Many of them settled with him at Geneva.

Calvin left the College de Montaigu in 1528. Sometime during the same
year another celebrated pupil entered it. This was Ignatius Loyola.
Whether the two great leaders attended College together, whether they
ever met, it is impossible to say--the dates are not precise enough.

     "Perhaps they crossed each other in some street of Mount
     Sainte-Geneviève: the young Frenchman of eighteen on horseback as
     usual, and the Spaniard of six and thirty on foot, his purse
     furnished with some pieces of gold he owed to charity, shoving
     before him an ass burdened with his books, and carrying in his
     pocket a manuscript, entitled _Exercitia Spiritualia_."[101]

Calvin left Paris because his father had now resolved that his son
should be a lawyer and not a theologian. Gerard Cauvin had quarrelled
with the ecclesiastics of Noyon, and had even been excommunicated. He
refused to render his accounts in two executry cases, and had remained
obstinate. Why he was so, it is impossible to say. His children had no
difficulty in arranging matters after his death. The quarrel ended the
hopes of the father to provide well for his son in the Church, and he
ordered him to quit Paris for the great law school at Orleans. It is by
no means improbable that the father's decision was very welcome to the
son. Bèze tells us that Calvin had already got some idea of the true
religion, had begun to study the Holy Scriptures, and to separate
himself from the ceremonies of the Church;[102]--perhaps his friendship
with Pierre Robert Olivétan, a relation, a native of Noyon, and the
translator of the Bible into French, had brought this about. The young
man went to Orleans in the early part of 1528 and remained there for a
year, then went on to Bourges, in order to attend the lectures of the
famous publicist, André Alciat, who was destined to be as great a
reformer of the study of law as Calvin was of the study of theology. In
Orleans with its Humanism, and in Bourges with its incipient
Protestantism, Calvin was placed in a position favourable for the growth
of ideas which had already taken root in his mind. At Bourges he studied
Greek under Wolmar, a Lutheran in all but the name, and dedicated to him
long afterwards his _Commentary on the Second Epistle to the
Corinthians_. He seems to have lived in the house of Wolmar; another
inmate was Théodore de Bèze, the future leader of the Protestants of
France, then a boy of twelve.

The death of his father (May 26th, 1531) left Calvin his own master. He
had obeyed the paternal wishes when he studied for the Church in Paris;
he had obediently transferred himself to the study of law; he now
resolved to follow the bent of his own mind, and, dedicating himself to
study, to become a man of letters. He returned to Paris and entered the
College Fortet, meaning to attend the lectures of the Humanist
professors whom Francis I., under the guidance of Budé and Cop, was
attracting to his capital. These "royal lecturers" and their courses of
instruction were looked on with great suspicion by the Sorbonne, and
Calvin's conduct in placing himself under their instruction showed that
he had already emancipated himself from that strict devotion to the
"superstitions of the Papacy" to which he tells us that he was
obstinately attached in his boyhood. He soon became more than the pupil
of Budé, Cop, and other Humanists. He was a friend, admitted within the
family circle. He studied Greek with Pierre Danès and Hebrew under
Vatable. In due time (April 1532), when barely twenty-three years of
age, he published at his own expense his first book, a learned
commentary on the two books of Seneca's _De Clementia_.

The book is usually referred to as an example of precocious erudition.
The author shows that he knew as minutely as extensively the whole round
of classical literature accessible to his times. He quotes, and that
aptly, from fifty-five separate Latin authors--from thirty-three
separate works of Cicero, from all the works of Horace and Ovid, from
five comedies of Terence, and from all the works of Virgil. He quotes
from twenty-two separate Greek authors--from five or six of the
principal writings of Aristotle, and from four of the writings of Plato
and of Plutarch. Calvin does not quote Plautus, but his use of the
phrase _remoram facere_ makes it likely that he was well acquainted with
that writer also.[103] The future theologian was also acquainted with
many of the Fathers--with Augustine, Lactantius, Jerome, Synesius, and
Cyprian. Erasmus had published an edition of Seneca, and had advised
scholars to write commentaries, and young Calvin followed the advice of
the Prince of Humanists. Did he imitate him in more? Did Calvin also
disdain to use the New Learning merely to display scholarship, did he
mean to put it to modern uses? Francis I. was busy with one of his
sporadic persecutions of the Huguenots when the book was published, and
learned conjectures have been made whether the two facts had any
designed connection--An exhortation addressed to an emperor to exercise
clemency, and a king engaging in persecuting his subjects. Two things
seem to show that Calvin meant his book to be a protest against the
persecution of the French Protestants. His preface is a daring attack on
the abuses which were connected with the administration of justice in
the public courts, and he says distinctly that he hopes the Commentary
will be of service to the public.[104]

It seems evident from Calvin's correspondence that he had joined the
small band of Protestants in Paris, and that he was intimate with Gerard
Roussel, the Evangelical preacher,[105] the friend of Marguerite of
Navarre, of Lefèvre, of Farel, and a member of the "group of Meaux." The
question occurs, When did his conversion take place? This has been
keenly debated;[106] but the arguments concern words more than facts,
and arise from the various meanings attached to the word "conversion"
rather than from the difficulty of determining the time. Calvin, who
very rarely reveals the secrets of his own soul, tells in his preface to
his _Commentary on the Psalms_, that God drew him from his obstinate
attachment to the superstitions of the Papacy by a "sudden conversion,"
and that this took place after he had devoted himself to the study of
law in obedience to the wishes of his father. It does not appear to have
been such a sudden and complete vision of divine graciousness as Luther
received in the convent at Erfurt. But it was a beginning. He received
then some taste of true piety (_aliquo veræ pietatis gusto_). He was
abashed to find, he goes on to relate, that barely a year afterwards,
those who had a desire to learn what pure doctrine was gradually ranged
themselves around him to learn from him who knew so little (_me novitium
adhuc et tironem_). This was perhaps at Orleans, but it may have been at
Bourges. When he returned to Paris to betake himself to Humanist
studies, he was a Protestant, convinced intellectually as well as drawn
by the pleadings of the heart. He joined the little band who had
gathered round Estienne de la Forge, who met secretly in the house of
that pious merchant, and listened to the addresses of Gerard Roussel. He
was frequently called upon to expound the Scriptures in the little
society; and a tradition, which there is no reason to doubt, declares
that he invariably concluded his discourse with the words, "If God be
for us, who can be against us?"

He was suddenly compelled to flee from Paris. The theologians of the
Sorbonne were vehemently opposed to the "royal lecturers" who
represented the Humanism favoured by Margaret, the sister of Francis,
and Queen of Navarre. In their wrath they had dared to attack Margaret's
famous book, _Miroir de l'âme pécheresse_, and had in consequence
displeased the Court. Nicolas Cop, the friend of Calvin, professor in
the College of Sainte Barbe, was Rector of the University (1533). He
assembled the four faculties, and the faculty of medicine disowned the
proceedings of the theologians. It was the custom for the Rector to
deliver an address before the University yearly during his term of
office, and Cop asked his friend Calvin to compose the oration.[107]
Calvin made use of the occasion to write on "Christian Philosophy,"
taking for his motto, "_Blessed are the poor in spirit_" (Matt. v.
3). The discourse was an eloquent defence of Evangelical truth, in which
the author borrowed from Erasmus and from Luther, besides adding
characteristic ideas of his own. The wrath of the Sorbonne may be
imagined. Two monks were employed to accuse the author of heresy before
_Parlement_, which responded willingly. It called the attention of the
King to papal Bulls against the Lutheran heresy. Meanwhile people
discovered that Calvin was the real author, and he had to flee from
Paris. After wanderings throughout France he found refuge in Basel

It was there that he finished his _Christianæ Religionis Institutio_,
which had for its preface the celebrated letter addressed to Francis I.
King of France. The book was the strongest weapon Protestantism had yet
forged against the Papacy, and the letter "a bold proclamation, solemnly
made by a young man of six-and-twenty, who, more or less unconsciously,
assumed the command of Protestantism against its enemies, calumniators,
and persecutors." News had reached Basel that Francis, who was seeking
the alliance of the German Lutheran Princes, and was posing as protector
of the German Protestants, had resolved to purge his kingdom of the
so-called heresy, and was persecuting his Protestant subjects. This
double-dealing gave vigour to Calvin's pen. He says in his preface that
he wrote the book with two distinct purposes. He meant it to prepare and
qualify students of theology for reading the divine Word, that they may
have an easy introduction to it, and be able to proceed in it without
obstruction. He also meant it to be a vindication of the teaching of the
Reformers against the calumnies of their enemies, who had urged the King
of France to persecute them and drive them from France. His dedication
was: _To His Most Gracious Majesty, Francis, King of France and his
sovereign, John Calvin wisheth peace and salvation in Christ._ Among
other things he said:

     "I exhibit my confession to you that you may know the nature of
     that doctrine which is the object of such unbounded rage to those
     madmen who are now disturbing your kingdom with fire and sword. For
     I shall not be afraid to acknowledge that this treatise contains a
     summary of that very doctrine which, according to their clamours,
     deserves to be punished with imprisonment, banishment,
     proscription, and flames, and to be exterminated from the face of
     the earth."

He meant to state in calm precise fashion what Protestants believed; and
he made the statement in such a way as to challenge comparison between
those beliefs and the teaching of the mediæval Church. He took the
_Apostles' Creed_, the venerable symbol of Western Christendom, and
proceeded to show that when tested by this standard the Protestants were
truer Catholics than the Romanists. He took this _Apostles' Creed_,
which had been recited or sung in the public worship of the Church of
the West from the earliest times, which differed from other creeds in
this, that it owed its authority to no Council, but sprang directly from
the heart of the Church, and he made it the basis of his _Institutio_.
For the _Institutio_ is an expansion and exposition of the _Apostles'
Creed_, and of the four sentences which it explains. Its basis is: _I
believe in God the Father; and in His Son Jesus Christ; and in the Holy
Ghost; and in the Holy Catholic Church._ The _Institutio_ is divided
into four parts, each part expounding one of these fundamental
sentences. The first part describes God, the Creator, or, as the Creed
says: "God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"; the second,
God the Son, the Redeemer and His Redemption; the third, God the Holy
Ghost and His Means of Grace; the fourth, the Holy Catholic Church, its
nature and marks.

This division and arrangement, based on the _Apostles' Creed_, means
that Calvin did not think he was expounding a new theology or had joined
a new Church. The theology of the Reformation was the old teaching of
the Church of Christ, and the doctrinal beliefs of the Reformers were
those views of truth which were founded on the Word of God, and which
had been known, or at least felt, by pious people all down the
generations from the earliest centuries. He and his fellow Reformers
believed and taught the old theology of the earliest creeds, made plain
and freed from the superstitions which mediæval theologians had borrowed
from pagan philosophy and practices.

The first edition of the _Institutio_ was published in March 1536, in
Latin. It was shorter and in many ways inferior to the carefully revised
editions of 1539 and 1559. In the later editions the arrangement of
topics was somewhat altered; but the fundamental doctrine remains
unchanged; the author was not a man to publish a treatise on theology
without carefully weighing all that had to be said. In 1541, Calvin
printed a French edition, which he had translated himself "for the
benefit of his countrymen."

After finishing his _Institutio_ (the MS. was completed in August 1535,
and the printing in March 1536), Calvin, under the assumed name of
Charles d'Espeville, set forth on a short visit to Italy with a
companion, Louis du Tillet, who called himself Louis de Haulmont. He
intended to visit Renée, Duchess of Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII. of
France, known for her piety and her inclination to the Reformed faith.
He also wished to see something of Italy. After a short sojourn he was
returning to Strassburg, with the intention of settling there and
devoting himself to a life of quiet study, when he was accidentally
compelled to visit Geneva, and his whole plan of life was changed. The
story can best be told in his own words. He says in the preface to his
_Commentary on the Psalms_:

     "As the most direct route to Strassburg, to which I then intended
     to retire, was blocked by the wars, I had resolved to pass quickly
     by Geneva, without staying longer than a single night in that
     city.... A person (Louis du Tillet) who has now returned to the
     Papists discovered me and made me known to others. Upon this Farel,
     who burned with an extraordinary zeal to advance the Gospel,
     immediately strained every nerve to detain me. After having learnt
     that my heart was set upon devoting myself to private studies, for
     which I wished to keep myself free from other pursuits, and finding
     that he gained nothing by entreaties, he proceeded to utter an
     imprecation, that God would curse my retirement and the
     tranquillity of the studies which I sought, if I should withdraw
     and refuse assistance when the necessity was so urgent. By this
     imprecation I was so stricken with terror that I desisted from the
     journey which I had undertaken."

§ 5. _Calvin with Farel in Geneva._

Calvin was twenty-seven years of age and Farel twenty years older when
they began to work together in Geneva; and, notwithstanding the
disparity in age and utter dissimilarity of character, the two men
became strongly attached to each other. "We had one heart and one soul,"
Calvin says. Farel introduced him to the leading citizens, who were not
much impressed by the reserved, frail young foreigner whose services
their pastor was so anxious to secure. They did not even ask his name.
The minute of the Council (Sept. 5th, 1536), giving him employment and
promising him support, runs: "Master William Farel stated the need for
the lecture begun by _this Frenchman_ in St. Peter's."[108] Calvin had
declined the pastorate; but he had agreed to act as "professor in sacred
learning to the Church in Geneva (_Sacrarum literarum in ecclesia
Genevensi professor_)." His power was of that quiet kind that is
scarcely felt till it has gripped and holds.

He began his work by giving lectures daily in St. Peter's on the
Epistles of St. Paul. They were soon felt to be both powerful and
attractive. Calvin soon made a strong impression on the people of the
city. An occasion arose which revealed him in a way that his friends
had never before known. Bern had conquered the greater part of the Pays
de Vaud in the late war. Its Council was determined to instruct the
people of its newly acquired territory in Evangelical principles by
means of a public Disputation, to be held at Lausanne during the first
week of October.[109] The three hundred and thirty-seven priests of the
newly conquered lands, the inmates of the thirteen abbeys and convents,
of the twenty-five priories, of the two chapters of canons, were invited
to come to Lausanne to refute if they could the ten Evangelical _Theses_
arranged by Farel and Viret.[110] The Council of Bern pledged itself
that there would be the utmost freedom of debate, not only for its own
subjects, but "for all comers, to whatever land they belonged." Farel
insisted on this freedom in his own trenchant way: "You may speak here
as boldly as you please; _our_ arguments are neither faggot, fire, nor
sword, prison nor torture; public executioners are not our doctors of
divinity.... Truth is strong enough to outweigh falsehood; if you have
it, bring it forward." The Romanists were by no means eager to accept
the challenge. Out of the three hundred and thirty-seven priests
invited, only one hundred and seventy-four appeared, and of these only
four attempted to take part. Two who had promised to discuss did not
show themselves. Only ten of the forty religious houses sent
representatives, and only one of them ventured to meet the Evangelicals
in argument.[111] As at Bern in 1528, as at Geneva in May 1535, so here
at Lausanne in October 1536, the Romanists showed themselves unable to
meet their opponents, and the policy of Bern in insisting on public
Disputations was abundantly justified.

Farel and Viret were the Protestant champions. Farel preached the
opening sermon in the cathedral on Oct. 1st, and closed the conference
by another sermon on Oct. 8th. The discussion began on the Monday, when
the huge cathedral was thronged by the inhabitants of the city and of
the surrounding villages. In the middle of the church a space was
reserved for the disputants. There sat the four secretaries, the two
presidents, and five commissioners representing _les Princes Chretiens
Messieurs de Berne_, distinguished by their black doublets and
shoulder-knots faced with red, and by their broad-brimmed hats
ornamented with great bunches of feathers,--hats kept stiffly on heads
as befitting the representatives of such potent lords.

Calvin had not meant to speak; Farel and Viret were the orators; he was
only there in attendance. But on the Thursday, when the question of the
Real Presence was discussed, one of the Romanists read a carefully
prepared paper, in the course of which he said that the Protestants
despised and neglected the ancient Fathers, fearing their authority,
which was against their views. Then Calvin rose. He began with the
sarcastic remark that the people who reverenced the Fathers might spend
some little time in turning over their pages before they spoke about
them. He quoted from one Father after another,--"Cyprian, discussing the
subject now under review in the third epistle of his second book of
Epistles, says ... Tertullian, refuting the error of Marcion, says ...
The author of some imperfect commentaries on St. Matthew, which some
have attributed to St. John Chrysostom, in the 11th homily about the
middle, says ... St. Augustine, in his 23rd Epistle, near the end, says
... Augustine, in one of his homilies on St. John's Gospel, the 8th or
the 9th, I am not sure at this moment which, says ...";[112] and so on.
He knew the ancient Fathers as no one else in the century. He had not
taken their opinions second-hand from Peter of Lombardy's _Sententiæ_
as did most of the Schoolmen and contemporary Romanist theologians. It
was the first time that he displayed, almost accidentally, his
marvellous patristic knowledge,--a knowledge for which Melanchthon could
never sufficiently admire him.

But in Geneva the need of the hour was organisation and familiar
instruction, and Calvin set himself to work at once. He has told us how
he felt. "When I came first to this church," he said, "there was almost
nothing. Sermons were preached;[113] the idols had been sought out and
burned, but there was no other reformation; everything was in
disorder."[114] In the second week of January he had prepared a draft of
the reforms he wished introduced. It was presented to the _Small
Council_ by Farel; the members had considered it, and were able to
transmit it with their opinion to the _Council of the Two Hundred_ on
January 15th, 1537. It forms the basis of all Calvin's ecclesiastical
work in Geneva, and deserves study.

The memorandum treats of four things, and four only--the Holy Supper of
our Lord (_la Saincte Cène de Nostre Seigneur_), singing in public
worship, the religious instruction of children, and marriage.

In every rightly ordered church, it is said, the Holy Supper ought to be
celebrated frequently, and well attended. It ought to be dispensed every
Lord's Day at least;[115] such was the practice in the Apostolic Church,
and ought to be ours; the celebration is a great comfort to all
believers, for in it they are made partakers of the Body and Blood of
Jesus, of His death, of His life, of His Spirit, and of all His
benefits. But the present weakness of the people makes it undesirable to
introduce so sweeping a change, and therefore it is proposed that the
Holy Supper be celebrated once each month "in one of the three places
where sermons are now delivered--in the churches of St. Peter, St.
Gervais, and de Rive." The celebration, however, ought to be for the
whole Church of Geneva, and not simply for those living in the quarters
of the town where these churches are. Thus every one will have the
opportunity of monthly communion. But if unworthy partakers approach the
Table of the Lord, the Holy Supper will be soiled and contaminated. To
prevent this, the Lord has placed the _discipline de l'excommunication_
within His Church in order to maintain its purity, and this ought to be
used. Perhaps the best way of exercising it is to appoint men of known
worth, dwelling in different quarters of the town, who ought to be
trusted to watch and report to the ministers all in their neighbourhood
who despise Christ Jesus by living in open sin. The ministers ought to
warn all such persons not to come to the Holy Supper, and the discipline
of excommunication only begins when such warnings are unheeded.

Congregational singing of Psalms ought to be part of the public worship
of the Church of Christ; for Psalms sung in this way are really public
prayers, and when they are sung hearts are moved and worshippers are
incited to form similar prayers for themselves, and to render to God the
like praises with the same loving loyalty. But as all this is unusual,
and the people need to be trained, it may be well to select children, to
teach them to sing in a clear and distinct fashion in the congregation,
and if the people listen with all attention and follow "with the heart
what is sung by the mouth," they will, "little by little, become
accustomed to sing together" as a congregation.[116]

It is most important for the due preservation of purity of doctrine that
children from their youth should be instructed how to give a reason for
their faith, and therefore some simple catechism or confession of faith
ought to be prepared and taught to the children. At "certain seasons of
the year" the children ought to be brought before the pastors, who
should examine them and expound the teachings of the catechism.

The ordinance of marriage has been disfigured by the evil and
unscriptural laws of the Papacy, and it were well that the whole matter
be carefully thought over and some simple rules laid down agreeable to
the Word of God.

This memorandum, for it is scarcely more, was dignified with the name of
the _Articles_ (_Articuli de regimine ecclesiæ_). It was generally
approved by the _Small Council_ and the _Council of Two Hundred_, who
made, besides, the definite regulations that the Holy Supper should be
celebrated four times in the year, and that announcements of marriages
should be made for three successive Sundays before celebration. But it
is very doubtful whether the Council went beyond this general approval,
or that they gave definite and deliberate consent to Calvin's proposals
about "the discipline of excommunication."

These _Articles_ were superseded by the famous _Ordonnances
ecclésiastiques de l'Église de Genève_, adopted on Nov. 20th, 1541; but
as they are the first instance in which Calvin publicly presented his
special ideas about ecclesiastical government, it may be well to
describe what these were. To understand them aright, to see the _new_
thing which Calvin tried to introduce into the Church life of the
sixteenth century, it is necessary to distinguish between two things
which it must be confessed were practically entangled with each other
in these days--the attempt to regulate the private life by laws
municipal or national, and the endeavour to preserve the solemnity and
purity of the celebration of the Holy Supper.

When historians, ecclesiastical or other, charge Calvin with attempting
the former, they forget that there was no need for him to do so. Geneva,
like every other mediæval town, had its laws which interfered with
private life at every turn, and that in a way which to our modern minds
seems the grossest tyranny, but which was then a commonplace of city
life. Every mediæval town had its laws against extravagance in dress, in
eating and in drinking, against cursing and swearing, against gaming,
dances, and masquerades. They prescribed the number of guests to be
invited to weddings, and dinners, and dances; when the pipers were to
play, when they were to leave off, and what they were to be paid. It
must be confessed that when one turns over the pages of town chronicles,
or reads such a book as Baader's _Nürnberger Polizeiordnung_, the
thought cannot help arising that the Civic Fathers, like some modern
law-makers, were content to place stringent regulations on the
statute-book, and then, exhausted by their moral endeavour, had no
energy left to put them into practice. But every now and then a
righteous fit seized them, and maid-servants were summoned before the
Council for wearing silk aprons, or fathers for giving too luxurious
wedding feasts, or citizens for working on a Church festival, or a
mother, for adorning her daughter too gaily for her marriage. The
citizens of every mediæval town lived under a municipal discipline which
we would pronounce to be vexatious and despotic. Every instance quoted
by modern historians to prove, as they think, Calvin's despotic
interference with the details of private life, can be paralleled by
references to the police-books of mediæval towns in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries. To make them ground of accusation against Calvin is
simply to plead ignorance of the whole municipal police of the later
Middle Ages. To say that Calvin acquiesced in or approved of such
legislation is simply to show that he belonged to the sixteenth century.
When towns adopted the Reformation, the spirit of civic legislation did
not change, but some old regulations were allowed to lapse, and fresh
ones suggested by the new ideas took their place. There was nothing
novel in the law which Bern made for the Pays de Vaud in 1536 (Dec.
24th), prohibiting dancing with the exception of "trois danses honêtes"
at weddings; but it was a new regulation which prescribed that parents
must bring their daughters to the marriage altar "le chiefz couvert." It
was not a new thing when Basel in 1530 appointed three honourable men
(one from the Council and two from the commonalty) to watch over the
morals of the inhabitants of each parish, and report to the Council. It
was new, but quite in the line of mediæval civic legislation, when Bern
forbade scandalous persons from approaching the Lord's Table (1532).

Calvin's thought moved on another plane. He was distinguished among the
Reformers for his zeal to restore again the conditions which had ruled
in the Church of the first three centuries. This had been a favourite
idea with Lefèvre,[117] who had taught it to Farel, Gerard Roussel, and
the other members of the "group of Meaux." Calvin may have received it
from Roussel; but there is no need to suppose that it did not come to
him quite independently. He had studied the Fathers of the first three
centuries more diligently than any of his contemporaries. He recognised
as none of them did that the Holy Supper of the Lord was the centre of
the religious life of the Church, and the apex and crown of her worship.
He saw how careful the Church of the first three centuries had been to
protect the sacredness of the simple yet profound rite; and that it had
done so by preventing the approach of all unworthy communicants.
Discipline was the nerve of the early Church, and excommunication was
the nerve of discipline; and Calvin wished to introduce both. Moreover,
he knew that in the early Church it belonged to the membership and to
the ministry to exercise discipline and to pronounce excommunication. He
desired to reintroduce all these distinctive features of the Church of
the first three centuries--weekly communion, discipline and
excommunication exercised by the pastorate and the members. He
recognised that when the people had been accustomed to come to the
Lord's Table only once or twice in the year, it was impossible to
introduce weekly communion all at once. But he insisted that the
warnings of St. Paul about unworthy communicants were so weighty that
notorious sinners ought to be prevented from approaching the Holy
Supper, and that the obstinately impenitent should be excommunicated.
This and this alone was the distinctive thing about Calvin's proposals;
this was the new conception which he introduced.

Calvin's mistake was that, while he believed that the membership and the
pastorate should exercise discipline and excommunication, he also
insisted that the secular power should enforce the censures of the
Church. His ideas worked well in the French Church, a Church "under the
cross," and in the same position as the Church of the early centuries.
But the conception that the secular power ought to support with civil
pains and penalties the disciplinary decisions of ecclesiastical Courts,
must have produced a tyranny not unlike what had existed in the mediæval
Church. Calvin's ideas, however, were never accepted save nominally in
any of the Swiss Churches--not even in Geneva. The very thought of
excommunication in the hands of the Church was eminently distasteful to
the Protestants of the sixteenth century; they had suffered too much
from it as exercised by the Roman Catholic Church. Nor did it agree with
the conceptions which the magistrates of the Swiss republics had of
their own dignity, that they should be the servants of the ministry to
carry out their sentences.[118] The leading Reformers in German
Switzerland almost universally held that excommunication, if it ever
ought to be practised, should be in the hands of the civil authorities.

Zwingli did not think that the Church should exercise the right of
excommunication. He declared that the example of the first three
centuries was not to be followed, because in these days the "Church
could have no assistance from the Emperors, who were pagans"; whereas in
Zurich there was a Christian magistracy, who could relieve the Church of
what must be in any case a disagreeable duty. His successor, Bullinger,
the principal adviser of the divines of the English Reformation, went
further. Writing to Leo Jud (1532), he declares that excommunication
ought not to belong to the Church, and that he doubts whether it should
be exercised even by the secular authorities; and in a letter to a
Romance pastor (Nov. 24th, 1543) he expounds his views about
excommunication, and states how he differs from his _optimos fratres
Gallos_ (Viret, Farel, and Calvin).[119] The German Swiss Reformers took
the one side, and the French Swiss Reformers took the other; and the
latter were all men who had learned to reverence the usages of the
Church of the first three centuries, and desired to see its methods of
ecclesiastical discipline restored.

The people invariably sided with the German-speaking Reformers.[120]
Calvin managed, with great difficulty, to introduce excommunication into
Geneva after his return from exile, but not in a way conformable to his
ideas. Farel could not get it introduced into Neuchâtel. He believed,
founding on the New Testament,[121] that the membership of each parish
had the right to exclude from the Holy Supper sinners who had resisted
all admonitions. But the Council and community of Neuchâtel would not
tolerate the "practice and usage of Excommunication," and did not allow
it to appear in their ecclesiastical ordinances of 1542 or of 1553.
Oecolampadius induced the Council of Basel to permit excommunication,
and to inscribe the names of the excommunicate on placards fixed on the
doors of the churches. Zwingli remonstrated vigorously, and the practice
was abandoned. Bern was willing to warn open sinners from approaching
the Lord's Table, but would not hear of excommunication, and declared
roundly that "ministers, who were sinners themselves, being of flesh and
blood, should not attempt to penetrate into the individual consciences,
whose secrets were known to God alone." Viret tried to introduce a
_discipline ecclésiastique_ into the Pays de Vaud, but was unable to
induce magistrates or people to accept it. The young Protestant Churches
of Switzerland, with the very doubtful exception of Geneva after 1541,
refused to allow the introduction of the disciplinary usages of the
primitive Church. They had no objection to discipline, however searching
and vexatious, provided it was simply an application of the old
municipal legislation, to which they had for generations been
accustomed, to the higher moral requirements of religion.[122] It was
universally recognised that the standard of moral living all over
French Switzerland was very low, and that stringent measures were
required to improve it. No exception was taken to the severe reprimand
which the Council of Bern addressed to the subject Council of Lausanne
for their failure to correct the evil habits of the people of that old
episcopal town;[123] but such discipline had to be exercised in the old
mediæval way through the magistrates, and not in any new-fangled fashion
borrowed from the primitive Church. So far as Switzerland was concerned,
Calvin's entreaties to model their ecclesiastical life on what he
believed with Lefèvre to be the golden period of the Church's history,
fell on heedless ears. One must go to the French Church, and in a lesser
degree to the Church of Knox in Scotland, to see Calvin's ideas put in
practice; it is vain to look for this in Switzerland.

The _Catechism_ for children was published in 1537, and was meant,
according to the author, to give expression to a simple piety, rather
than to exhibit a profound knowledge of religious truth. But, as Calvin
himself felt later, it was too theological for children, and was
superseded by a second Catechism, published immediately after his return
to Geneva in 1541. The first Catechism was entitled _Instruction and
Confession of Faith for the use of the Church of Geneva_. It expounded
successively the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's
Prayer, and the Sacraments. The duties of the pastorate and of the
magistracy were stated in appendices.[124]

The _Confession of Faith_ had for its full title, _Confession de la Foy
laquelle tous bourgois et habitans de Genève et subjectz du pays doyvent
jurer de garder et tenir extraicte de l'Instruction dont on use en
l'Église de la dicte ville_.[125] It reproduced the contents of the
_Instruction_, and was, like it, a condensed summary of the

This Confession has often been attributed to Farel, but there can be
little doubt that it came from the pen of Calvin.[126] It was submitted
to the Council and approved by them, and they agreed that the people
should be asked to swear to maintain it, the various divisions of the
districts of the town appearing for the purpose before the secretary of
the Council. The proposal was then sent down to the Council of the Two
Hundred, where it was assented to, but not without opposition. The
minutes show that some members remained faithful to the Romanist faith.
They said that they ought not to be compelled to take an oath which was
against their conscience. Others who professed themselves Protestants
asserted that to swear to a Confession took from them their liberty.
"We do not wish to be constrained," they said, "but to live in our
liberty." But in the end it was resolved to do as the Council had
recommended. So day by day the _dizenniers_, or captains of the
divisions of the town, brought their people to the cathedral, where the
secretary stood in the pulpit to receive the oath. The magistrates set
the example, and the people were sworn in batches, raising their hands
and taking the oath. But there were malcontents who stayed away, and
there were beginnings of trouble which was to increase. Deputies from
Bern, unmindful of the fact that their city had sworn in the same way to
their creed, encouraged the dissentients by saying that no one could
take such an oath without perjuring himself; and this opinion
strengthened the opposition. But the Council of Bern disowned its
deputies,[127] and refused any countenance to the malcontents, and the
trouble passed. All Geneva was sworn to maintain the Confession.

Meanwhile the ministers of Geneva had been urging decision about the
question of discipline and excommunication; and the murmurs against them
grew stronger. The Council was believed to be too responsive to the
pleadings of the pastors, and a stormy meeting of the General Council
(Nov. 25th) revealed the smouldering discontent. On the 4th of January
(1538) the Councils of Geneva rejected entirely the proposals to
institute a discipline which would protect the profanation of the Lord's
Table, by resolving that the Holy Supper was to be refused to no person
seeking to partake. On the 3rd of February, at the annual election of
magistrates, four Syndics were chosen who were known to be the most
resolute opponents of Calvin and of Farel. The new Council did not at
first show itself hostile to the preachers: their earliest minutes are
rather deferential. But a large part of the citizens were violently
opposed to the preachers; the Syndics were their enemies: collision was
bound to come sooner or later.

It was at this stage that a proposal from Bern brought matters to a

The city contained many inhabitants who had been somewhat unwillingly
dragged along the path of Reformation. Those who clung to the old faith
were reinforced by others who had supported the Reformation simply as a
means of freeing the city from the rule of the Prince Bishop, and who
had no sympathy with the religious movement. The city had long been
divided into two parties, and the old differences reappeared as soon as
the city declared itself Protestant. The malcontents took advantage of
everything that could assist them to stay the tide of Reformation and
hamper the work of the ministers. They patronised the Anabaptists when
they appeared in Geneva; they supported the accusation brought against
Farel and Calvin by Pierre Caroli, that they were Arians because they
refused to use the Athanasian Creed; above all, they declared that they
stood for liberty, and called themselves Libertines. When Bern
interfered, they hastened to support its ecclesiastical suggestions.

Bern had never been contented with the position in which it stood to
Geneva after its conquest of the Pays de Vaud. When the war was ended,
or rather before it was finished, and while the Bernese army of
deliverance was occupying the town, the accompanying deputies of Bern
had claimed for their city the rights over Geneva previously exercised
by the Prince Bishop and the Vidomne or representative of the Duke of
Savoy, whom their army had conquered. They claimed to be the overlords
of Geneva, as they succeeded in making themselves masters of Lausanne
and the Pays de Vaud. The people of Geneva resisted the demand. They
declared, Froment tells us, that they had not struggled and fought for
more than thirty years to assert their liberties, in order to make
themselves the vassals of their allies or of anyone in the wide
world.[128] Bern threatened to renounce alliance; but Geneva stood
firm; there was always France to appeal to for aid. In the end Bern had
to be content with much less than it had demanded.

Geneva became an independent republic, served heir to all the signorial
rights of the Prince Bishop and to all his revenues, successor also to
all the justiciary rights of the Vidomne or representative of the House
of Savoy. It gained complete sovereignty within the city; it also
retained the same sovereignty over the districts (_mandements_) of
Penney, Jussy, and Thyez which had belonged to the Prince Bishop. On the
other side, Bern received the district of Gaillard; Geneva bound itself
to make no alliance nor conclude any treaty without the consent of Bern;
and to admit the Bernese at all times into their city. The lordship over
one or two outlying districts was divided--Geneva being recognised as
sovereign, and having the revenues, and Bern keeping the right to judge
appeals, etc.

It seemed to be the policy of Bern to create a strong State by bringing
under its strict control the greater portion of Romance Switzerland. Her
subject territories, Lausanne, a large part of the Pays de Vaud, Gex,
Chablais, Orbe, etc., surrounded Geneva on almost every side. If only
Geneva were reduced to the condition of the other Prince Bishopric,
Lausanne, Bern's dream of rule would be realised. The Reformed Church
was a means of solidifying these conquests. Over all Romance territories
subject to Bern the Bernese ecclesiastical arrangements were to rule.
Her Council was invariably the last court of appeal. Her consistory was
reproduced in all these French-speaking local Churches. Her religious
usages and ceremonies spread all over this Romance Switzerland. The
Church in Geneva was independent. Might it not be brought into nearer
conformity, and might not conformity in ecclesiastical matters lead to
the political incorporation which Bern so ardently desired? The
evangelist of almost all these Romance Protestant Churches had been
Farel. Their ecclesiastical usages had grown up under his guidance. It
would conduce to harmony in the attempt to introduce uniformity with
Bern if the Church of Geneva joined. Such was the external political
situation to be kept in view in considering the causes which led to the
banishment of Calvin from Geneva.

In pursuance of its scheme of ecclesiastical conformity, the Council of
Bern summoned a Synod, representing most of the Evangelical Churches in
western Switzerland, and laid its proposals before them. No detailed
account of the proceedings has been preserved. There were probably some
dissentients, of whom Farel was most likely one, who pled that the
Romance Churches might be left to preserve their own usages. But the
general result was that Bern resolved to summon another Synod,
representing the Romance Churches, to meet at Lausanne (March 30th,
1538). They asked (March 5th) the Council of Geneva to permit the
attendance of Farel and Calvin.[129] The letter reached Geneva on March
11th, and on that day the Genevan magistrates, unsolicited by Bern and
without consulting their ministers, resolved to introduce the Bernese
ceremonies into the Genevan Church. Next day they sent the letter of
Bern to Farel and Calvin, and at the same time warned the preachers that
they would not be allowed to criticise the proceedings of the Council in
the pulpit. Neither Farel nor Calvin made any remonstrance. They
declared that they were willing to go to Lausanne, asked the Council if
they had any orders to give, and said that they were ready to obey them;
and this although a second letter (March 20th) had come from Bern saying
that if the Genevan preachers would not accept the Bern proposals they
would not be permitted to attend the Synod.

Farel and Calvin accordingly went to the Synod at Lausanne, and were
parties to the decision arrived at, which was to accept the usages of
Bern--that all baptisms should be celebrated at stone fonts placed at
the entrance of the churches; that unleavened bread should be used at
the Holy Supper; and that four religious festivals should be observed
annually, Christmas, New Year's Day, the Annunciation, and the Day of
Ascension--with the stipulation that Bern should warn its officials not
to be too hard on poor persons for working on these festival days.[130]

When the Council of Bern had got its ecclesiastical proposals duly
adopted by the representatives of the various Churches interested, its
Council wrote (April 15th) to the Council and to the ministers of Geneva
asking them to confer together and arrange that the Church of Geneva
should adopt these usages--the magistrates of Bern having evidently no
knowledge of the hasty resolution of the Genevan Council already
mentioned. The letter was discussed at a meeting of Council (April 19th,
1538), and several minutes, all relating to ecclesiastical matters, were
passed. It was needless to come to any resolution about the Bern usages;
they had been adopted already. The letter from Bern was to be shown to
Farel and Calvin, and the preachers were to be asked and were to answer,
yea or nay, would they at once introduce the Bern ceremonies? The
preachers said that the usages could not be introduced at once. The
third Genevan preacher, Elie Coraut, had spoken disrespectfully of the
Council in the city, and was forbidden to preach, upon threat of
imprisonment, until he had been examined about his words.[131] Lastly,
it was resolved that the Holy Supper should be celebrated at once
according to the Bern rites; and that if Farel and Calvin refused, the
Council was to engage other preachers who would obey their orders.[132]

Coraut, the blind preacher, preached as usual (April 20th). He was at
once arrested and imprisoned. In the afternoon, Farel and Calvin,
accompanied by several of the most eminent citizens of Geneva, appeared
before the Council to protest against Coraut's imprisonment, and to
demand his release--Farel speaking with his usual daring vehemence, and
reminding the magistrates that but for his work in the city they would
not be in the position they occupied. The request was refused, and the
Council took advantage of the presence of the preachers to ask them
whether they would at once introduce the Bern usages. They replied that
they had no objection to the ceremonies, and would be glad to use them
in worship provided they were properly adopted,[133] but not on a simple
order from the Council. Farel and Calvin were then forbidden to preach.
Next day the two pastors preached as usual--Calvin in St. Peter's and
Farel in St. Gervaise. The Council met to consider this act of
disobedience. Some were for sending the preachers to prison at once; but
it was resolved to summon the _Council of the Two Hundred_ on the morrow
(April 22nd) and the _General Council_ on the 24th. The letters of Bern
(March 5th, March 20th, April 15th) were read, and the Two Hundred
resolved that they would "live according to the ceremonies of Bern."
What then was to be done with Calvin and Farel? Were they to be sent to
the town's prison? No! Better to wait till the Council secured other
preachers (it had been trying to do so and had failed), and then dismiss
them. The General Council then met;[134] resolved to "live according to
the ceremonies of Bern," and to banish the three preachers from the
town, giving them three days to collect their effects.[135] Calvin and
Farel were sent into exile, and the magistrates made haste to seize the
furniture which had been given them when they were settled as preachers.

Calvin long remembered the threats and dangers of these April days and
nights. He was insulted in the streets. Bullies threatened to "throw him
into the Rhone." Crowds of the baser sort gathered round his house. They
sang ribald and obscene songs under his windows. They fired shots at
night, more than fifty one night, before his door--"more than enough to
astonish a poor scholar, timid as I am, and as I confess I have always
been."[136] It was the memory of these days that made him loathe the
very thought of returning to Geneva.

The two Reformers, Calvin and Farel, left the town at once, determined
to lay their case before the Council of Bern, and also before the Synod
of Swiss Churches which was about to meet at Zurich (April 28th, 1538).
The Councillors of Bern were both shocked and scandalised at the
treatment the preachers had received from the Council of Geneva, and
felt it all the more that their proposal of conformity had served as the
occasion. They wrote at once to Geneva (April 27th), begging the Council
to undo what they had done; to remember that their proposal for
uniformity had never been meant to serve as occasion for compulsion in
matters which were after all indifferent.[137] Bern might be masterful,
but it was almost always courteous. The secular authority might be the
motive force in all ecclesiastical matters, but it was to be exercised
through the machinery of the Church. The authorities of Bern had been
careful to establish an ecclesiastical Court, the Consistory, of two
pastors and three Councillors, who dealt with all ecclesiastical
details. It encouraged the meeting of Synods all over its territories.
Its proposals for uniformity had been addressed to both the pastors and
the Council of Geneva, and had spoken of mutual consultation. They had
no desire to seem even remotely responsible for the bludgeoning of the
Genevan ministers. The Council of Geneva answered with a mixture of
servility and veiled insolence[138] (April 30th). Nothing could be made
of them.

From Bern, Farel and Calvin went to Zurich, and there addressed a
memorandum to a Synod, which included representatives from Zurich, Bern,
Basel, Schaffhausen, St. Gallen, Mühlhausen, Biel (Bienne), and the two
banished ministers from Geneva. It was one of those General Assemblies
which in Calvin's eyes represented the Church Catholic, to which all
particular Churches owed deference, if not simple obedience. The Genevan
pastors presented their statement with a proud humility. They were
willing to accept the ceremonies of Bern, matters in themselves
indifferent, but which might be useful in the sense of showing the
harmony prevailing among the Reformed Churches; but they must be
received by the Church of Geneva, and not imposed upon it by the mere
fiat of the secular authority. They were quite willing to expound them
to the people of Geneva and recommend them. But if they were to return
to Geneva, they must be allowed to defend themselves against their
calumniators; and their programme for the organisation of the Church of
Geneva, which had already been accepted but had not been put in practice
(January 16th, 1537),[139] must be introduced. It consisted of the
following:--the establishment of an ecclesiastical discipline, that the
Holy Supper might not be profaned; the division of the city into
parishes, that each minister might be acquainted with his own flock; an
increase in the number of ministers for the town; regular ordination of
pastors by the laying on of hands; more frequent celebration of the Holy
Supper, according to the practice of the primitive Church.[140] They
confessed that perhaps they had been too severe; on this personal matter
they were willing to be guided.[141] They listened with humility to the
exhortations of some of the members of the Synod, who prayed them to use
more gentleness in dealing with an undisciplined people. But on the
question of principle and on the rights of the Church set over against
the State, they were firm. It was probably the first time that the
Erastians of eastern Switzerland had listened to such High Church
doctrine; but they accepted it and made it their own for the time being
at least. The Synod decided to write to the Council of Geneva and ask
them to have patience with their preachers and receive them back again;
and they asked the deputies from Bern to charge themselves with the
affair, and do their best to see Farel and Calvin reinstated in Geneva.

The deputies of Bern accepted the commission, and the Geneva pastors
went back to Bern to await the arrival of the Bern deputies from Zurich.
They waited, full of anxiety, for nearly fourteen days. Then the Bern
Council were ready to fulfil the request of the Synod.[142] Deputies
were appointed, and, accompanied by Farel and Calvin, set out for
Geneva. The two pastors waited on the frontier at Noyon or at Genthod
while the deputies of Bern went on to Geneva. They had an audience of
the Council (May 23rd), were told that the Council could not revoke what
all three Councils had voted. The Council of the Two Hundred refused to
recall the pastors. The Council General (May 26th) by a unanimous vote
repeated the sentence of exile, and forbade the three pastors (Farel,
Calvin, and Coraut) to set foot on Genevan territory.

Driven from Geneva, Calvin would fain have betaken himself to a quiet
student life; but he was too well known and too much valued to be left
in the obscurity he longed for. Strassburg claimed him to minister to
the French refugees who had settled within its protecting walls. He was
invited to attend the Protestant conference at Frankfurt; he was present
at the union conferences at Hagenau, at Worms, and at Regensburg. There
he met the more celebrated German Protestant divines, who welcomed him
as they had done no one else from Switzerland. Calvin put himself right
with them theologically by signing at once and without solicitation the
Augsburg Confession, and aided thereby the feeling of union among all
Protestants. He kindled in the breast of Melanchthon one of those
romantic friendships which the frail Frenchman, with the pallid face,
black hair, and piercing eyes, seemed to evoke so easily. Luther himself
appreciated his theology even on his jealously guarded theory of the
Sacrament of the Holy Supper.

Meanwhile things were not going well in Geneva. Outwardly, there was not
much difference. Pastors ministered in the churches of the town, and the
ordinary and ecclesiastical life went on as usual. The magistrates
enforced the _Articles_; they condemned the Anabaptists, the Papists,
all infringements of the sumptuary and disciplinary laws of the town.
They compelled every householder to go to church. Still the old life
seemed to be gone. The Council and the Syndics treated the new pastors
as their servants, compelled them to render strict obedience to all
their decisions in ecclesiastical matters, and considered religion as a
political affair. It is undoubted that the morals of the town became
worse,--so bad that the pastors of Bern wrote a letter of expostulation
to the pastors in Geneva,[143]--and the Lord's Supper seems to have been
neglected. The contests between parties within the city became almost
scandalous, and the independent existence of Geneva was threatened.[144]

At the elections the Syndics failed to secure their re-election. Men of
more moderate views were chosen, and from this date (Feb. 1539) the idea
began to be mooted that Geneva must ask Calvin to return. Private
overtures were made to him, but he refused. Then came letters from the
Council, begging him to come back and state his terms. He kept silence.
Lausanne and Neuchâtel joined their entreaties to those of Geneva.
Calvin was not to be persuaded. His private letters reveal his whole
mind. He shuddered at returning to the turbulent city. He was not sure
that he was fit to take charge of the Church in Geneva. He was in peace
at Strassburg, minister to a congregation of his own countrymen; and the
pastoral tie once formed was not to be lightly broken; yet there was an
undercurrent drawing him to the place where he first began the ministry
of the Word. At length he wrote to the Council of Geneva, putting all
his difficulties and his longings before them--neither accepting nor
refusing. His immediate duty called him to the conference at Worms.

The people of Geneva were not discouraged. On the 19th October, the
_Council of the Two Hundred_ placed on their register a declaration that
every means must be taken to secure the services of "Maystre Johan
Calvinus," and on the 22nd a worthy burgher and member of the _Council
of the Two Hundred_, Louis Dufour, was despatched to Strassburg with a
letter from both the civic Councils, begging Calvin to return to his
"old place" (_prestine plache_), "seeing our people desire you
greatly," and promising that they would do what they could to content
him.[145] Dufour got to Strassburg only to find that Calvin had gone to
Worms. He presented his letters to the Council of the town, who sent
them on by an express (_eques celeri cursu_)[146] to Calvin (Nov. 6th,
1540). Far from being uplifted at the genuine desire to receive him back
again to Geneva, Calvin was terribly distressed. He took counsel with
his friends at Worms, and could scarcely place the case before them for
his sobs.[147] The intolerable pain he had at the thought of going back
to Geneva on the one hand, and the idea that Bucer might after all be
right when he declared that Calvin's duty to the Church Universal
clearly pointed to his return,[148] overmastered him completely. His
friends, respecting his sufferings, advised him to postpone all decision
until again in Strassburg. Others who were not near him kept urging him.
Farel thundered at him (_consterné par tes foudres_).[149] The pastors
of Zurich wrote (April 5th 1541):

     "You know that Geneva lies on the confines of France, of Italy, and
     of Germany, and that there is great hope that the Gospel may spread
     from it to the neighbouring cities, and thus enlarge the ramparts
     (_les boulevards_) of the kingdom of Christ.--You know that the
     Apostle selected metropolitan cities for his preaching centres,
     that the Gospel might be spread throughout the surrounding

Calvin was overcome. He consented to return to Geneva, and entered the
city still suffering from his repugnance to undertake work he was not at
all sure that he was fitted to do. Historians speak of a triumphal
entry. There may have been, though nothing could have been more
distasteful to Calvin at any time, and eminently so on this occasion,
with the feelings he had. Contemporary documents are silent. There is
only the minute of the Council, as formal as minutes usually are,
relating that "Maystre Johan Calvin, ministre evangelique," is again in
charge of the Church in Geneva (Sept. 13th, 1541).[151]

Calvin was in Geneva for the second time, dragged there both times
unwillingly, his dream of a quiet scholar's life completely shattered.
The work that lay before him proved to be almost as hard as he had
foreseen it would be. The common idea that from this second entry Calvin
was master within the city, is quite erroneous. Fourteen years were
spent in a hard struggle (1541-55); and if the remaining nine years of
his life can be called his period of triumph over opponents (1555-64),
it must be remembered that he was never able to see his ideas of an
ecclesiastical organisation wholly carried out in the city of his
adoption. One must go to the Protestant Church of France to see Calvin's
idea completely realised.[152]

On the day of his entry into Geneva (Sept. 13th, 1541) the Council
resolved that a Constitution should be given to the Church of the city,
and a committee was formed, consisting of Calvin, his colleagues in the
ministry, and six members of the Council, to prepare the draft. The work
was completed in twenty days, and ready for presentation. On September
16th, however, it had been resolved that the draft when prepared should
be submitted for revision to the _Smaller Council_, to the _Council of
Sixty_, and finally to the _Council of Two Hundred_. The old opposition
at once manifested itself within these Councils. There seem to have been
alterations, and at the last moment Calvin thought that the Constitution
would be made worthless for the purpose of discipline and orderly
ecclesiastical rule. In the end, however, the drafted ordinances were
adopted unanimously by the _Council of Two Hundred_ without serious
alteration. The result was the famous _Ecclesiastical Ordinances of
Geneva_ in their first form. They did not assume their final form until

When these _Ordinances_ of 1541 are compared with the principles of
ecclesiastical government laid down in the _Institutio_, with the
_Articles_ of 1537, and with the _Ordinances_ of 1561, it can be seen
that Calvin must have sacrificed a great deal in order to content the
magistrates of Geneva.

He had contended for the self-government of the Church, especially in
matters of discipline; the principle runs all through the chapters of
the fourth book of the _Institutio_. The _Ordinances_ give a certain
show of autonomy, and yet the whole authority really rests with the
Councils. The discipline was exercised by the _Consistory_ or session of
Elders (_Anciens_); but this Consistory was chosen by the _Smaller
Council_ on the advice of the ministers, and was to include two members
of the _Smaller Council_, four from the _Council of Sixty_, and six from
the _Council of Two Hundred_, and when they had been chosen they were to
be presented to the _Council of Two Hundred_ for approval. When the
Consistory met, one of the four Syndics sat as president, holding his
baton, the insignia of his magisterial office, in his hand, which, as
the revised _Ordinances_ of 1561 very truly said, "had more the
appearance of civil authority than of spiritual rule." The revised
_Ordinances_ forbade the president to carry his baton when he presided
in The Consistory, in order to render obedience to the distinction which
is "clearly shown in Holy Scripture to exist between the magistrate's
sword and authority and the superintendence which ought to be in the
Church"; but the obedience to Holy Scripture does not seem to have gone
further than laying aside the baton for the time. It appears also that
the rule of consulting the ministers in the appointments made to the
Consistory was not unfrequently omitted, and that it was to all intents
and purposes simply a committee of the Councils, and anything but
submissive to the pastors.[154] The Consistory had no power to inflict
civil punishments on delinquents. It could only admonish and warn. When
it deemed that chastisements were necessary, it had to report to the
Council, who sentenced. This was also done in order to maintain the
separation between the civil and ecclesiastical power; but, in fact, it
was a committee of the Council that reported to the Council, and the
distinction was really illusory. This state of matters was quite
repugnant to Calvin's cherished idea, not only as laid down in the
_Institution_, but as seen at work in the Constitution of the French
Protestant Church, which was mainly his authorship. "The magnificent,
noble, and honourable Lords" of the Council (such was their title) of
this small town of 13,000 inhabitants deferred in _words_ to the
teachings of Calvin about the distinction between the civil and the
spiritual powers, but in _fact_ they retained the whole power of rule or
discipline in their own hands; and we ought to see in the disciplinary
powers and punishments of the Consistory of Geneva, not an exhibition of
the working of a Church organised on the principles of Calvin, but the
ordinary procedure of the Town Council of a mediæval city. Their petty
punishments and their minute interference with private life are only
special instances of what was common to all municipal rule in the
sixteenth century.

Through that century we find a protest against the mediæval intrusion of
the ecclesiastical power into the realm of civil authority, with the
inevitable reaction which made the ecclesiastical a mere department of
national or civic administration. Zurich under Zwingli, although it is
usually taken as the extreme type of this Erastian policy, as it came to
be called later, went no further than Bern, Strassburg, or other places.
The Council of Geneva had legal precedent when they insisted that the
supreme ecclesiastical power belonged to them. The city had been an
ecclesiastical principality, ruled in civil as well as in
ecclesiastical things by its Bishop, and the Council were legally the
inheritors of the Bishop's authority. This meant, among other things,
that the old laws against heresy, unless specially repealed, remained on
the Statute Book, and errors in doctrine were reckoned to be of the
nature of treasonable things; and this made heresies, or variations in
religious opinion from what the Statute Book had declared to be the
official view of truth, liable to civil pains and penalties.

     "Castellio's doubts as to the canonicity of the Song of Songs and
     as to the received interpretation of Christ's descent into Hades,
     Bolsec's criticism of predestination, Gryet's suspected scepticism
     and possession of infidel books, Servetus' rationalism and
     anti-Trinitarian creed, were all opinions judged to be criminal....
     The heretic may be a man of irreproachable character; but if heresy
     be treason against the State,"[155]

he was a criminal, and had to be punished for the crime on the Statute
Book. To say that Calvin burnt Servetus, as is continually done, is to
make one man responsible for a state of things which had lasted in
western Europe ever since the Emperor Theodosius declared that all men
were out of law who did not accept the Nicene Creed in the form issued
by Damasus of Rome. On the other hand, to release Calvin from his share
in that tragedy and crime by denying that he sat among the judges of the
heretic, or to allege that Servetus was slain because he conspired
against the liberties of the city, is equally unreasonable. Calvin
certainly believed that the execution of the anti-Trinitarian was right.
The Protestants of France and of Switzerland in 1903 (Nov. 1st) erected
what they called a _monument expiatoire_ to the victim of sixteenth
century religious persecution, and placed on it an inscription in which
they acknowledged their debt to the great Reformer, and at the same
time condemned his error,--surely the right attitude to assume.[156]

Calvin did three things for Geneva, all of which went far beyond its
walls. He gave its Church a trained and tested ministry, its homes an
educated people who could give a reason for their faith, and to the
whole city an heroic soul which enabled the little town to stand forth
as the Citadel and City of Refuge for the oppressed Protestants of

The earlier preachers of the Reformed faith had been stray scholars,
converted priests and monks, pious artisans, and such like. They were
for the most part heroic men who did their work nobly. But some of them
had no real vocation for the position into which they had thrust
themselves. They had been prompted by such ignoble motives as discontent
with their condition, the desire to marry or to make legitimate
irregular connections,[157] or dislike to all authority and wholesome
restraints. They had brought neither change of heart nor of conduct into
their new surroundings, and had become a source of danger and scandal to
the small Protestant communities.

The first part of the _Ordinances_ was meant to put an end to such a
condition of things, and aimed at giving the Reformed Church a ministry
more efficient than the old priesthood, without claiming any specially
priestly character. The ministers were to be men who believed that they
were called by the voice of God speaking to the individual soul, and
this belief in a divine vocation was to be tested and tried in a
threefold way--by a searching examination, by a call from their
fellow-men in the Church, and by a solemn institution to office.

The examination, which is expressly stated to be the most important, was
conducted by those who were already in the office of the ministry. It
concerned, first, the knowledge which the candidate had of Holy
Scripture, and of his ability to make use of it for the edification of
the people; and, second, his walk and conversation in so far as they
witnessed to his power to be an example as well as a teacher. The
candidate was then presented to the _Smaller Council_. He was next
required to preach before the people, who were invited to say whether
his ministrations were likely to be for edification. These three tests
passed, he was then to be solemnly set apart by the laying on of the
hands of ministers, according to the usage of the ancient Church. His
examination and testing did not end with his ordination. All the
ministers of the city were commanded to meet once a week for the
discussion of the Scriptures, and at these meetings it was the duty of
every one, even the least important, to bring forward any cause of
complaint he believed to exist against any of his brethren, whether of
doctrine, or of morals, or of inefficient discharge of the duties
entrusted to his care. The pastors who worked in the villages were
ordered to attend as often as they could, and none of them were
permitted to be absent beyond one month. If the meeting of ministers
failed to agree on any matter brought before them, they were enjoined to
call in the Elders to assist them; and a final appeal was always allowed
to the Signory, or civil authority. The same rigid supervision was
extended to the whole people, and in the visitations for this purpose
Elders were always associated with ministers.[158] Every member of the
little republic, surrounded by so many and powerful enemies, was meant
to be a soldier trained for spiritual as for temporal warfare. Calvin
added a spiritual side to the military training which preserved the
independence of the little mediæval city republics.

He was unwearied in his exertions to make Geneva an enlightened town.
His educational policy adopted by the Councils was stated in a series of
famous regulations for the management of the schools and College of the
city.[159] He sought out and presented to the Council the most noted
scholars he could attract to Geneva. Mathurin Cordier, the ablest
preceptor that France had produced in his generation; Beza, its most
illustrious Humanist; Castellio and Saunier, were all teachers in the
city. The fame of its schools attracted almost as many as persecution
drove to take refuge within its walls. The religious instruction of the
young was carefully attended to. Calvin's earlier Catechism was revised,
and made more suitable for the young; and the children were so well
grounded that it became a common saying that a boy of Geneva could give
an answer for his faith as ably as a "doctor of the Sorbonne." But what
Geneva excelled in was its training for the ministry and other learned
professions. Men with the passion of learning in their blood came from
all lands--from Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, even from Russia, and,
above all, from France. Pastors educated in Geneva, taught by the most
distinguished scholars of the day, who had gained the art of ruling
others in having learned how to command themselves, went forth from its
schools to become the ministers of the struggling Protestants in the
Netherlands, in England, in Scotland, in the Rhine Provinces, and, above
all, in France. They were wise, indefatigable, fearless, ready to give
their lives for their work, extorting praise from unwilling mouths, as
modest, saintly, "with the name of Jesus ever on their lips" and His
Spirit in their hearts. What they did for France and other countries
must be told elsewhere.

The once disorderly city, a prey to its own internal factions, became
the citadel of the Reformation, defying the threats of Romanist France
and Savoy, and opening its gates to the persecuted of all lands. It
continued to be so for generations, and the victims of the _dragonnades_
of Louis XIV. received the welcome and protection accorded to the
sufferers under the Valois in the sixteenth century. What it did for
them may be best told in the words of a refugee:

     "On the next day, a Sunday, we reached a small village on a hill
     about a league from Geneva, from which we could see that city with
     a joy which could only be compared to the gladness with which the
     Israelites beheld the Land of Canaan. It was midday when we reached
     the village, and so great was our eagerness to be as soon as
     possible within the city which we looked on as our Jerusalem, that
     we did not wish to stay even for food. But our conductor informed
     us that on the Sunday the gates of Geneva were never opened until
     after divine service, that is, until after four o'clock. We had
     therefore to remain in the village until about that hour, when we
     mounted our horses again. When we drew near to the town we saw a
     large number of people coming out. Our guide was surprised, and the
     more so when, arriving at the Plain-Palais, a quarter of a league
     from the town, we saw coming to meet us, three carriages escorted
     by halberdiers and followed by an immense crowd of people of both
     sexes and of every age. As soon as we were seen, a servant of the
     Magistracy approached us and prayed us to dismount to salute
     respectfully 'Their Excellencies of Geneva,' who had come to meet
     us and to bid us welcome. We obeyed. The three carriages having
     drawn near, there alighted from each a magistrate and a minister,
     who embraced us with tears of joy and with praises of our constancy
     and endurance far greater than we merited.... Their Excellencies
     then permitted the people to approach, and there followed a
     spectacle more touching than imagination could picture. Several of
     the inhabitants of Geneva had relatives suffering in the French
     galleys (from which we had been delivered), and these good people
     did not know whether any of them might be among our company. So one
     heard a confused noise, 'My son so and so, my husband, my brother,
     are you there?' One can imagine what embracings welcomed any of
     our troop who could answer. All this crowd of people threw itself
     on our necks with inexpressible transports of joy, praising and
     magnifying the Lord for the manifestation of His grace in our
     favour; and when Their Excellencies asked us to get on horseback
     again to enter the city, we were scarcely able to obey, so
     impossible did it seem to detach ourselves from the arms of these
     pious and zealous brethren, who seemed afraid to lose sight of us.
     At last we remounted and followed Their Excellencies, who conducted
     us into the city as in triumph. A magnificent building had been
     erected in Geneva to lodge citizens who had fallen into poverty. It
     had just been finished and furnished, and no one had yet lived in
     it. Their Excellencies thought it could have no better dedication
     than to serve as our habitation. They conducted us there, and we
     were soon on foot in a spacious court. The crowd of people rushed
     in after us. Those who had found relatives in our company begged
     Their Excellencies to permit them to take them to their houses--a
     request willingly granted. M. Bosquet, one of us, had a mother and
     two sisters in Geneva, and they had come to claim him. As he was my
     intimate friend, he begged Their Excellencies to permit him to take
     me along with him, and they willingly granted his request. Fired by
     this example, all the burghers, men and women, asked Their
     Excellencies to allow them the same favour of lodging these dear
     brethren in their own houses. Their Excellencies having permitted
     some to do this, a holy jealousy took possession of the others, who
     lamented and bewailed themselves, saying that they could not be
     looked on as good and loyal citizens if they were refused the same
     favour; so Their Excellencies had to give way, and not one of us
     was left in the Maison Française, for so they had called the
     magnificent building."[160]

The narrative is that of a Protestant condemned to the galleys under
Louis XIV.; but it may serve as a picture of how Geneva acted in the
sixteenth century when the small city of 13,000 souls received and
protected nearly 6000 refugees driven from many different lands for
their religion.



§ 1. _Marguerite d'Angoulême and the "group of Meaux."_

Perhaps no one so thoroughly represents the sentiments which inspired
the beginnings of the movement for Reformation in France as Marguerite
d'Angoulême,[162] the sister of King Francis I. A study of her letters
and of her writings--the latter being for the most part in verse--is
almost essential for a true knowledge of the aspirations of the noblest
minds of her generation. Not that she possessed creative energy or was
herself a thinker of any originality, but her soul, like some clear
sensitive mirror, received and reflected the most tremulous throb of the
intellectual and religious movements around her. She had, like many
ladies of that age, devoted herself to the New Learning. She had
mastered Latin, Italian, and Spanish in her girlhood, and later she
acquired Greek and even Hebrew, in order to study the Scriptures in
their original tongues. In her the French Renaissance of the end of the
fifteenth was prolonged throughout the first half of the sixteenth
century. She was all sentiment and affection, full of that gentle
courage which soft feminine enthusiasm gives, and to her brother and
more masculine mother (Louise of Savoy)[163] she was a being to be
protected against the consequences of her own tender daring.
Contemporary writers of all parties, save the more bitter defenders of
the prevalent Scholastic Theology, have something good to say about the
pure, bright, ecstatic Queen of Navarre. One calls her the "violet in
the royal garden," and says that she unconsciously gathered around her
all the better spirits in France, as the wild thyme attracts the bees.

Marsiglio Ficino had taught her to drink from the well of Christian
Platonism;[164] and this mysticism, which had little to do with dogma,
which allied itself naturally with the poetical sides of philosophy and
morals which suggested great if indefinite thoughts about God,--_le
Tout_, _le Seul Nécessaire_, _la Seule Bonté_,--the human soul and the
intimate union between the two, was perhaps the abiding part of her
ever-enlarging religious experience. Nicholas of Cusa, who tried to
combine the old Scholastic with the new thoughts of the Renaissance,
taught her much which she never unlearnt. She studied the Holy
Scriptures carefully for herself, and was never weary of discussing with
others the meaning of passages which seemed to be difficult. She
listened eagerly to the preaching of Lefèvre and Roussel, and carried on
a long private correspondence with Briçonnet, being passionately
desirous, she said, to learn "the way of salvation."[165] Both Luther
and Calvin made a strong impression upon her, but their schemes of
theology never attracted nor subjugated her intelligence. Her sympathies
were drawn forth by their disdain of Scholastic Theology, by their
denial of the supernatural powers of the priesthood, by their
proclamation of the power and of the love of God, and by their
conception that faith unites man with God--by all in their teaching
which would assimilate with the Christian mysticism to which she had
given herself with all her soul. When her religious poems are studied,
it will be found that she dwells on the infinite power of God, the
mystical absorption of the human life within the divine, and praises
passionately self-sacrifice and disdain of all earthly pleasures. She
extols the Lord as the one and only Saviour and Intercessor. She
contrasts, as Luther was accustomed to do, the Law which searches,
tries, and punishes, with the Gospel which pardons the sinner for the
sake of Christ and of the work which He finished on the Cross. She looks
forward with eager hope to a world redeemed and regenerated through the
Evangel of Jesus Christ. She insists on justification by faith, on the
impossibility of salvation by works, on predestination in the sense of
absolute dependence on God in the last resort. Works are good, but no
one is saved by works; salvation comes by grace, and "is the gift of the
Most High God." She calls the Virgin the most blessed among women,
because she had been chosen to be the mother of the "Sovereign
Saviour," but refused her any higher place; and in her devotions she
introduced an invocation of Our Lord instead of the _Salve Regina_. This
way of thinking about the Blessed Virgin, combined with her indifference
to the Saints and to the Mass, and her undisguised contempt for the more
superstitious ecclesiastical ceremonies, were the chief reasons for the
strong attacks made on Marguerite by the Faculty of Theology (the
Sorbonne) of Paris. She cannot be called a Protestant, but she had
broken completely with mediæval modes of religious life and thought.

Marguerite's letters contain such graphic glimpses, that it is possible
to see her daily life, whether at Bourges, where she held her Court as
the Duchess of Alençon, or at Nérac, where she dwelt as the Queen of
Navarre. Every hour was occupied, and was lived in the midst of company.
Her _Contes_ and her poetry were for the most part written in her litter
when she was travelling from one place to another. Her "Household" was
large even for the times. No less than one hundred and two
persons--ladies, secretaries, almoners, physicians, etc.--made her
Court; and frequently many visitors also were present. The whole
"Household," with the visitors, met together every forenoon in one of
the halls of the Palace, a room "well-paved and hung with tapestry," and
there the Princess commonly proposed some text of Scripture for
discussion. It was generally a passage which seemed obscure to
Marguerite; for example, "The meek shall inherit the earth." All were
invited to make suggestions about its meaning. The hostess was learned,
and no one scrupled to quote the Scriptures in their original languages,
or to adduce the opinions of such earlier Fathers as Augustine, Jerome,
Chrysostom, or the Gregories. If it surprises us to find one or other of
the twenty _valets de chambre_, who were not menials and were privileged
to be present, familiar with theology, and able to quote Greek and even
Hebrew, it must not be forgotten that Marguerite's _valets de chambre_
included distinguished Humanists and Reformers, to whom she extended the
protective privilege of being enrolled in her "Household." When the
weather permitted, the whole company went for a stroll in the park after
the discussion, and then seated themselves near a "pleasant fountain" on
the turf, "so soft and delicate that they needed neither carpet nor
cushions."[166] There one of the ladies-in-waiting (thirty _dames_ or
_demoiselles_ belonged to the "Household") read aloud a tale from the
_Heptameron_, not forgetting the improving conversation which concludes
each story. This gave rise to an animated talk, after which they
returned to the Palace. In the evening the "Household" assembled again
in a hall, fitted as a simple theatre, to witness one of the Comedies or
Pastorals which the Queen delighted to write, and in which, through a
medium as strange as the _Contes_, she inculcated her mystical
Christianity, and gave expression to her longings for a reformation in
the Church and society. Her Court was the precursor of the _salons_
which in a later age exercised such a powerful influence on French
political, literary, and social life.

Marguerite is chiefly remembered as the author of the _Heptameron_,
which modern sentiment cannot help regarding as a collection of
scandalous, not to say licentious, tales. The incongruity, as it appears
to us, of making such tales the vehicle of moral and even of evangelical
instruction, causes us frequently to forget the conversations which
follow the stories--conversations which generally inculcate moral
truths, and sometimes wander round the evangelical thought that man's
salvation and all the fruits of holy living rest on the finished work of
Christ, the only Saviour. "_Voilà, Mesdames, comme la foy du bon Comte
ne fut vaincue par signes ne par miracles extérieurs, sachant très bien
que nous n'avons qu'un Sauveur, lequel en disant Consummatum est, a
monstré qu'il ne laissoit point à un autre successeur pour faire notre
salut._"[167] So different was the sentiment of the sixteenth from that
of the twentieth century, that Jeanne d'Albret, puritan as she
undoubtedly was, took pains that a scrupulously exact edition of her
mother's _Contes_ should be printed and published, for all to read and
profit by.

The Reformers with whom Marguerite was chiefly associated were called
the "group of Meaux." Guillaume Briçonnet,[168] Bishop of Meaux, who
earnestly desired reform but dreaded revolution, had gathered round him
a band of scholars whose idea was a reformation of the Church by the
Church, in the Church, and with the Church. They were the heirs of the
aspirations of the great conciliar leaders of the fifteenth century,
such as Gerson, deeply religious men, who longed for a genuine revival
of faith and love. They hoped to reconcile the great truths of Christian
dogma with the New Learning, and at once to enlarge the sphere of
Christian intelligence, and to impregnate Humanism with Christian

The man who inspired the movement and defined its aims--"to preach
Christ from the sources"--was Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples
(Stapulensis).[169] He had been a distinguished Humanist, and in 1507
had resolved to consecrate his learning to a study of the Holy
Scriptures. The first fruit of this resolve was a new Latin translation
of the Epistles of St. Paul (1512), in which a revised version of the
Vulgate was published along with the traditional text. In his notes he
anticipated two of Luther's ideas--that works have no merit apart from
the grace of God, and that while there is a Real Presence of Christ in
the Sacrament of the Supper, there is no transubstantiation. The
Reformers of Meaux believed that the Holy Scriptures should be in the
hands of the Christian people, and Lefèvre took Jean de Rély's version
of the Bible,--itself a revision of an old thirteenth century French
translation,--revised it, published the Gospels in June 1523, and the
whole of the New Testament before the end of the year. The Old Testament
followed in 1525. The book was eagerly welcomed by Marguerite, and
became widely known and read throughout France. The Princess was able to
write to Briçonnet that her brother and mother were interested in the
spread of the Holy Scriptures, and in the hope of a reform of the

Neither Lefèvre nor Briçonnet was the man to lead a Reformation. The
Bishop was timid, and feared the "tumult"; and Lefèvre, like Marguerite,
was a Christian mystic,[171] with all the mystic's dislike to change in
outward and fixed institutions. More radical ideas were entering France
from without. The name of Luther was known as early as 1518, and by
1520, contemporary letters tell us that his books were selling by the
hundred, and that all thinking men were studying his opinions.[172] The
ideas of Zwingli were also known, and appeared more acceptable to the
advanced thinkers in France. Some members of the group of Meaux began to
reconsider their position. The Pope's Bull excommunicating Luther in
1520, the result of the Diet of Worms in 1521, and the declaration of
the Faculty of Theology of the University of Paris (the Sorbonne)
against the opinions of Luther, and their vindication of the authority
of Aristotle and Scholastic Theology made it apparent that even modest
reforms would not be tolerated by the Church as it then existed. The
_Parlement_ of Paris (August 1521) ordered Luther's books to be given

Lefèvre did not falter. He remained what he had been--a man on the
threshold of a new era who refused to enter it. One of his
fellow-preachers retracted his opinions, and began to write against his
leader. The young and fiery Guillaume Farel boldly adopted the views of
the Swiss Reformers. Briçonnet temporised. He forbade the preaching of
Lutheran doctrine within his diocese, and the circulation of the
Reformer's writings; but he continued to protect Lefèvre, and remained
true to his teaching.[174]

The energetic action of the Sorbonne and of the _Parlement_ of Paris
showed the obstacles which lay in the path of a peaceful Reformation.
The library of Louis de Berquin was seized and condemned (June 16th,
1523), and several of his books burnt in front of Notre Dame by the
order of _Parlement_ (August 8th). Berquin himself was saved by the
interposition of the King.[175] In March 1525, Jean Leclerc, a
wool-carder, was whipt and branded in Paris; and six months later was
burnt at Metz for alleged outrages on objects of reverence. The
Government had to come to some decision about the religious question.

Marguerite could write that her mother and her brother were "more than
ever well disposed towards the reformation of the Church";[176] but
neither of them had her strong religious sentiment, and policy rather
than conviction invariably swayed their action. The Reformation promoted
by Lefèvre and believed in by Marguerite was at once too moderate and
too exacting for Francis I. It could never be a basis for an alliance
with the growing Protestantism of Germany, and it demanded a purity of
individual life ill-suited either with the personal habits of the King
or with the manners of the French Court. It is therefore not to be
wondered that the policy of the Government of Francis I. wavered between
a negligent protection and a stern repression of the French Reformers.

§ 2. _Attempts to repress the Movement for Reform._

The years 1523-26 were full of troubles for France. The Italian war had
been unsuccessful. Provence had been invaded. Francis I. had been
totally defeated and taken prisoner at Pavia. Dangers of various kinds
within France had also confronted the Government. Bands of
marauders--_les aventuriers_[177]--had pillaged numerous districts; and
so many conflagrations had taken place that people believed they were
caused by emissaries of the public enemies of France. Louise of Savoy,
the Queen-Mother, and Regent during her son's captivity in Madrid, had
found it necessary to conciliate the formidable powers of the
_Parlement_ of Paris and of the Sorbonne. Measures were taken to
suppress the printing of Lutheran and heretical books, and the
_Parlement_ appointed a commission to discover, try, and punish
heretics. The result was a somewhat ineffective persecution.[178] The
preachers of Meaux had to take refuge in Strassburg, and Lefèvre's
translation of the Scriptures was publicly burnt.

When the King returned from his imprisonment at Madrid (March 1525), he
seemed to take the side of the Reformers. The Meaux preachers came back
to France, and Lefèvre himself was made the tutor to the King's youngest
son. In 1528-29 the great French Council of Sens met to consider the
state of the Church. It reaffirmed most of the mediæval positions, and,
in opposition to the teachings of Protestants, declared the unity,
infallibility, and visibility of the Church, the authority of Councils,
the right of the Church to make canonical regulations, fasts, the
celibacy of priests, the seven sacraments, the Mass, purgatory, the
veneration of saints, the worship of images, and the Scholastic
doctrines of free will and faith and works. It called on civil rulers to
execute the censures of the Church on heretics and schismatics. It also
published a series of reforms necessary--most of which were already
contained in the canon law.

While the Council was sitting, the Romanists of France were startled
with the news that a statue of the Blessed Virgin had been beheaded and
otherwise mutilated. It was the first manifestation of the revolutionary
spirit of the Reformation in France. The King was furious. He caused a
new statue to be made in silver, and gave his sanction to the renewal of
the persecutions (May 31st, 1528). Four years later his policy altered.
He desired alliances with the English and German Protestants; one of the
Reformers of Meaux preached in the Louvre during Lent (1533), and some
doctors of the Sorbonne, who accused the King and Queen of Navarre of
heresy, were banished from Paris. In spite of the ferment caused by the
Evangelical address of Nicolas Cop, and the flight of Cop and of Calvin,
the real author of the address, the King still seemed to favour reform.
Evangelical sermons were again preached in the Louvre, and the King
spoke of a conference on the state of religion within France.

The affair of the _Placards_ caused another storm. On the morning of
Oct. 18th, 1534, the citizens of Paris found that broadsides or
_placards_, attacking in very strong language the ceremony of the Mass,
had been affixed to the walls of the principal streets. These _placards_
affirmed that the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross was perfect and
unique, and therefore could never be repeated; that it was sheer
idolatry to say that the corporeal presence of Christ was enclosed
within the wafer, "a man of twenty or thirty years in a morsel of
paste"; that transubstantiation was a gross error; that the Mass had
been perverted from its true meaning, which is to be a memorial of the
sacrifice and death of our Lord; and that the solemn ceremony had
become a time "of bell-ringings, shoutings, singing, waving of lamps and
swinging of incense pots, after the fashion of sorcerers." The violence
of language was extreme. "The Pope and all his vermin of cardinals, of
bishops, of priests, of monks and other hypocrites, sayers of the Mass,
and all those who consent thereto," were liars and blasphemers. The
author of this broadside was a certain Antoine Marcourt, who had fled
from France and taken refuge in Neuchâtel. The audacity of the men who
had posted the _placards_ in Paris and in other towns,--Orléans, Blois,
Amboise,--and had even fixed one on the door of the King's bedchamber,
helped to rouse the Romanists to frenzy. The _Parlement_ and the
University demanded loudly that extreme measures should be taken to
crush the heretics;[179] and everywhere expiatory processions were
formed to protest against the sacrilege. The King himself and the great
nobles of the Court took part in one in January,[180] and during that
month more than thirty-five Lutherans were arrested, tried, and burnt.
Several well-known Frenchmen (seventy-three at least), among them
Clement Marot and Mathurin Cordier, fled the country, and their
possessions were confiscated.

After this outburst of persecution the King's policy again changed. He
was once more anxious for an alliance with the Protestants of Germany.
An amnesty was proclaimed for all save the "Sacramentarians," _i.e._ the
followers of Zwingli. A few of the exiled Frenchmen returned, among them
Clement Marot. The Chancellor of France, Antoine du Bourg, went the
length of inviting the German theologians to come to France for the
purpose of sharing in a religious conference, and adhered to his
proposal in spite of the protests of the Sorbonne. But nothing came of
it. The German Protestant theologians refused to risk themselves on
French soil; and the exiled Frenchmen mistrusted the King and his
Chancellor. The amnesty, however, deserves remark, because it called
forth the letter of Calvin to Francis I. which forms the "dedication" or
preface to his _Christian Institution_.

The work of repression was resumed with increased severity. Royal edicts
and mandates urging the extirpation of heresy followed each other in
rapid succession--Edict to the _Parlement_ of Toulouse (Dec. 16th,
1538), to the _Parlements_ of Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Rouen (June 24th,
1539); a general edict issued from Fontainebleau (June 1st, 1540); an
edict to the _Parlement_ of Toulouse (Aug. 29th, 1542); _mandats_ to the
_Parlements_ of Paris, Bordeaux, Dijon, Grenoble, and Rouen (Aug. 30th,
1542). The general Edict of Fontainebleau was one of exceptional
severity. It was intended to introduce a more summary procedure in
heresy trials, and enjoined officials to proceed against all persons
tainted with heresy, even against ecclesiastics or those who had the
"benefit of clergy"; the right of appeal was denied to those suspected;
negligent judges were threatened with the King's displeasure; and the
ecclesiastical courts were urged to show greater zeal, and to take
advantage of the powers given to the civil courts. "Every loyal
subject," the edict said, "must denounce heretics, and employ all means
to root them out, just as all men are bound to run to help to extinguish
a public conflagration." This edict, slightly modified by the
_Parlement_ of Paris (July 1543) by enlarging the powers of the
ecclesiastical courts, remained in force in France for the nine
following years. Yet in spite of its thoroughness, succeeding edicts and
_mandats_ declare that heresy was making rapid progress in France.

The Sorbonne and the _Parlements_ (especially those of Paris and Aix)
urged on the persecution of the "Lutherans." The former drafted a series
of twenty-five articles (a refutation of the 1541 edition of Calvin's
_Institution_), which were meant to assert concisely the dogma of the
Church, and to deny whatever the Reformers taught prejudicial to the
doctrines and practices of the mediæval Church. These articles were
approved by the King and his Privy Council, who ordered them to be
published throughout the whole kingdom, and gave instructions to deal
with all who preached or taught anything contrary or repugnant to them.
This ordinance was at once registered by the _Parlement_ of Paris. Thus
all the powers of the realm committed themselves to a struggle to
extirpate the Reformed teaching, and were armed with a test which was at
once clear and comprehensive. Not content with this, the Sorbonne began
a list of prohibited books (1542-43)--a list containing the works of
Calvin, Luther, Melanchthon, Clement Marot, and the translations of
scripture edited by Robert Estienne, and the _Parlement_ issued a severe
ordinance against all Protestant propaganda by means of printing or the
selling of books (July 1542).

These various ordinances for the extirpation of heresy were applied
promptly and rigorously, and the fires of persecution were soon kindled
all over France. The _place_ Maubert was the scene of the martyrdoms in
Paris. There were no great _auto-da-fés_, but continual mention is made
of burning two or three martyrs at once. Two acts of persecution cast a
dark stain on the last years of Francis I.--the slaughter of the
Waldenses of the Durance in 1545, and the martyrdom of the "fourteen of

A portion of Provence, skirting the Durance where that river is about to
flow into the Rhone, had been almost depopulated in the fourteenth
century, and the landowners had invited peasants from the Alps to settle
within their territories. The incomers were Waldenses; their religion
was guaranteed protection, and their industry and thrift soon covered
the desolate region with fertile farms. When the Reformation movement
had established itself in Germany and Switzerland, these villagers were
greatly interested. They drew up a brief statement of what they
believed, and sent it to the leading Reformers, accompanied by a number
of questions on matters of religion. They received long answers from
Bucer and from Oecolampadius, and, having met in conference (Sept. 1532)
at Angrogne in Piedmont, they drafted a simple confession of faith based
on the replies of the Reformers to their questions. It was natural that
they should view the progress of the Reformation within France with
interest, and that they should contribute 500 crowns to defray the
expense of printing a new translation of the Scriptures into French by
Robert Olivétan. Freedom to practise their religion had been granted for
two centuries to the inhabitants of the thirty Waldensian villages, and
they conceived that in exhibiting their sympathy with French
Protestantism they were acting within their ancient rights. Jean de
Roma, Inquisitor for Provence, thought otherwise. In 1532 he began to
exhort the villagers to abjure their opinions; and, finding his
entreaties without effect, he set on foot a severe persecution. The
Waldenses appealed to the King, who sent a commission to inquire into
the matter, with the result that Jean de Roma was compelled to flee the

The persecution was renewed in 1535 by the Archbishop and _Parlement_ of
Aix, who cited seventeen of the people of Merindol, one of the villages,
before them on a charge of heresy. When they failed to appear, the
_Parlement_ published (Nov. 18th, 1540) the celebrated _Arrêt de
Merindol_, which sentenced the seventeen to be burnt at the stake. The
Waldenses again appealed to the King, who pardoned the seventeen on the
condition that they should abjure their heresy within three months (Feb.
8th, 1541). There was a second appeal to the King, who again protected
the Waldenses; but during the later months of 1541 the _Parlement_ of
Aix sent to His Majesty the false information that the people of
Merindol were in open insurrection, and were threatening to sack the
town of Marseilles. Upon this, Francis, urged thereto by Cardinal de
Tournon, recalled his protection, and ordered all the Waldenses to be
exterminated (Jan. 1st, 1545). An army was stealthily organised, and
during seven weeks of slaughter, amid all the accompaniments of
treachery and brutality, twenty-two of the thirty Waldensian villages
were utterly destroyed, between three and four thousand men and women
were slain, and seven hundred men sent to the galleys. Those who escaped
took refuge in Switzerland.[181]

The persecution at Meaux (1546) was more limited in extent, but was
accompanied by such tortures that it formed a fitting introduction to
the severities of the reign of Henri II.

The Reformed at Meaux had organised themselves into a congregation
modelled on that of the French refugees in Strassburg. They had chosen
Pierre Leclerc to be their pastor, and one of their number, Étienne
Mangin, gave his house for the meetings of the congregation. The
authorities heard of the meetings, and on Sept 8th, 1546, a sudden visit
was made to the house, and sixty-one persons were arrested and brought
before the _Parlement_ of Paris. Their special crime was that they had
engaged in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The sentence of the
Court declared that the Bishop of Meaux had shown culpable negligence in
permitting such meetings; that the evidence indicated that there were
numbers of "Lutherans" and heretics in Meaux besides those brought
before it, and that all such were to be sought out; that all books in
the town which concerned the Christian religion were to be deposited in
the record-office within eight days; that special sermons were to be
delivered and expiatory processions organised; and that the house of
Étienne Mangin was to be razed to the ground, and a chapel in honour of
the Holy Sacrament erected on the site. It condemned fourteen of the
accused to be burnt alive, after having suffered the severest tortures
which the law permitted; five to be hung up by the armpits to witness
the execution, and then to be scourged and imprisoned; others to witness
the execution with cords round their necks and with their heads bare, to
ask pardon for their crime, to take part in an expiatory procession, and
to listen to a sermon on the adoration due to the Body of Christ
present in the Holy Sacrament. A few, mostly women, were acquitted.[182]

Francis I. died in March 1547. The persistent persecution which had
marked the later years of his reign had done little or nothing to quench
the growing Protestantism of France. It had only succeeded in driving it
beneath the surface.

Henry II. never indulged in the vacillating policy of his father. From
the beginning of his reign he set himself resolutely to combat the
Reformation. His favourite councillors--his all-powerful mistress, Diane
of Poitiers; his chief Minister, the Constable Montmorency, in high
repute for his skill in the arts of war and of government; the Guises, a
great family, originally belonging to Lorraine, who had risen to power
in France--were all strong supporters of the Roman Catholic religion,
and resolute to destroy the growing Protestantism of France. The
declared policy of the King was to slay the Reformation by attacking it
through every form of legal suppression that could be devised.

§ 3. _Change in the Character of the Movement for Reform._

The task was harder than it had been during the reign of Francis. In
spite of the persecutions, the adherents of the new faith had gone on
increasing in a wonderful way. Many of the priests and monks had been
converted to Evangelical doctrines. They taught them secretly and
openly; and they could expose in a telling way the corruptions of the
Church, having known them from the inside. Schoolmasters, if one may
judge from the _arréts_ of the _Parlements_, were continually blamed for
dissuading their pupils from going to Mass, and for corrupting the youth
by instructing them in the "false and pernicious doctrines of Geneva."
Many Colleges were named as seed-beds of the Reformation--Angers,
Bourges, Fontenay, La Rochelle, Loudun, Niort, Nimes, and Poitiers. The
theatre itself became an agent for reform when the corruptions of the
Church and the morals of the clergy were attacked in popular plays. The
refugees in Strassburg, Geneva, and Lausanne spared no pains to send the
Evangelical doctrines to their countrymen. Ardent young Frenchmen,
trained abroad, took their lives in their hand, and crept quietly
through the length and breadth of France. They met converts and
inquirers in solitary suburbs, in cellars of houses, on highways, and by
the rivers. The records of the ecclesiastical police enable us to trace
the spread of the Reformation along the great roads and waterways of
France. The missioners changed their names frequently to elude
observation. Some, with a daring beyond their fellows, did not hesitate
to visit the towns and preach almost openly to the people. The
propaganda carried on by colporteurs was scarcely less successful. These
were usually young men trained at Geneva or Strassburg. They carried
their books in a pack on their backs, and hawked them in village and
town, describing their contents, and making little sermons for the
listeners. Among the notices of seizures we find such titles as the
following:--_Les Colloques_ of Erasmus, _La Fontaine de Vie_ (a
selection of scriptural passages translated into French), the _Livre de
vraye et parfaicte oraison_ (a translation of extracts from Luther's
writings), the _Cinquante-deux psaumes_, the _Catéchisme de Genève,
Prières ecclésiastiques avec la manière d'administrer les sacrements_,
an _Alphabet chrétien_ and an _Instruction chrétienne pour les petits
enfants_. No edicts against printing books which had not been submitted
to the ecclesiastical authorities were able to put an end to this secret

In these several ways the Evangelical faith was spread abroad, and
before the death of Francis there was not a district in France with the
single exception of Brittany which had not its secret Protestants, while
many parts of the country swarmed with them.

§ 4. _Calvin and his Influence in France._

The Reformation in France had been rapidly changing its character since
1536, the year in which Lefèvre died, and in which Calvin's _Christian
Institution_ was published. It was no longer a Christian mysticism
supplemented by a careful study of the Scriptures; it had advanced
beyond the stage of individual followers of Luther or Zwingli; it had
become united, presenting a solid phalanx to its foes; it had rallied
round a manifesto which was at once a completed scheme of doctrine, a
prescribed mode of worship, and a code of morals; it had found a leader
who was both a master and a commander-in-chief. The publication of the
_Christian Institution_ had effected this. The young man whom the Town
Council of Geneva could speak of as "a certain Frenchman" (_Gallus
quidam_) soon took a foremost place among the leaders of the whole
Reformation movement, and moulded in his plastic hands the Reformation
in France.

Calvin's early life and his work in Geneva have already been described;
but his special influence on France must not pass unnoticed.[183] He had
an extraordinary power over his co-religionists in his native land.[184]
He was a Frenchman--one of themselves; no foreigner speaking an
unfamiliar tongue; no enemy of the Fatherland to follow whom might seem
to be unpatriotic. It is true that his fixed abode lay beyond the
confines of France; but distance, which gave him freedom of action, made
him the more esteemed. He was the apostle who wrote "to all that be in
France, beloved of God, called to be saints."

While still a student, Calvin had shown that he possessed, besides a
marvellous memory, an acute and penetrating intellect, with a great
faculty for assimilating ideas and modes of thought; but he lacked what
may be called artistic imagination,[185] and neither poetry nor art
seemed to strike any responsive chord in his soul. His conduct was
always straightforward, irreproachable, and dignified; he was by
education and breeding, if not by descent, the polished French
gentleman, and was most at home with men and women of noble birth. His
character was serious, with little playfulness, little vivacity, but
with a wonderful power of sympathy. He was reserved, somewhat shy, slow
to make intimate friends, but once made the friendships lasted for life.
At all periods of age, boy, student, man of letters, leader of a great
party, he seems to have been a centre of attraction and of deferential
trust. The effect of this mysterious charm was felt by others besides
those of his own age. His professor, Mathurin Cordier, became his
devoted disciple. Melanchthon wished that he might die with his head on
Calvin's breast. Luther, in spite of his suspicion of everything that
came from Switzerland, was won to love and trust him. And Knox, the most
rugged and independent of men, acknowledged Calvin as his master,
consulted him in every doubt and difficulty, and on all occasions save
one meekly followed his counsels. He loved children, and had them at his
house for Christmas trees; but (and this is characteristically French)
always addressed them with ceremonious politeness, as if they were
grown men and women deserving as much consideration as himself. It was
this trait that captivated de Bèze when he was a boy of twelve.

Calvin was a democrat intellectually and by silent principle. This
appears almost everywhere in his private writings, and was noted by such
a keen observer as Tavannes. It was never more unconsciously displayed
than in the preface or dedication of the _Christian Institution_.

     "This preface, instead of pleading with the King on behalf of the
     Reformation, places the movement right before him, and makes him
     see it. Its tone throughout firm and dignified, calm and stately
     when Calvin addresses Francis I. directly, more bitter and
     sarcastic when he is speaking of theologians, _la pensée et la
     forme du style toutes vibrantes du ton biblique_, the very
     simplicity and perfect frankness of the address, give the
     impression of one who is speaking on equal terms with his peer. All
     suggest the Christian democrat without a trace of the

The source of his power--logic impregnated by the passion of
conviction--is so peculiarly French that perhaps only his countrymen can
fully understand and appreciate it, and they have not been slow to do

All these characteristic traits appealed to them. His passion for
equality, as strong as the Apostle Paul's, compelled him to take his
followers into his confidence, to make them apprehend what he knew to
the innermost thoughts of his heart. It forced him to exhibit the
reasons for his faith to all who cared to know them, to arrange them in
a logical order which would appeal to their understanding, and his
passion of conviction assured him and them that what he taught was the
very truth of God. Then he was a very great writer,[187] one of the
founders of modern French prose, the most exquisite literary medium
that exists, a man made to arrest the attention of the people. He wrote
all his important works in French for his countrymen, as well as in
Latin for the learned world. His language and style were fresh, clear,
and simple; without affected elegance or pedantic display of erudition;
full of vigour and verve; here, caustic wit which attracted; there,
eloquence which spoke to the hearts of his readers because it throbbed
with burning passion and strong emotion.

It is unlikely that all his disciples in France appreciated his
doctrinal system in its details. The _Christian Institution_ appealed to
them as the strongest protest yet made against the abuses and scandals
of the Roman Church, as containing a code of duties owed to God and man,
as exhibiting an ideal of life pure and lofty, as promising everlasting
blessedness for the called and chosen and faithful. "It satisfied at one
and the same time the intellects which demanded logical proof and the
souls which had need of enthusiasm."

It has been remarked that Calvin's theology was less original and
effective than his legislation or policy.[188] The statement seems to
overlook the peculiar service which was rendered to the Reformation
movement by the _Institution_. The Reformation was a rebellion against
the external authority of the mediæval Church; but every revolt, even
that against the most flagrant abuses and the most corrupt rule, carries
in it seeds of evil which must be slain if any real progress is to be
made. For it instinctively tends to sweep away all restraints--those
that are good and necessary as well as those that are bad and harmful.
The leaders of every movement for reform have a harder battle to fight
against the revolutionaries in their following than against their avowed
opponents. At the root of the Reformation of the sixteenth century lay
an appeal from man to God--from the priest, granting or withholding
absolution in the confessional, to God making the sinner, who turns from
his sins and has faith in the person and work of Christ, know in his
heart that he is pardoned; from the decision of Popes and Councils to
the decrees of God revealed in His Holy Word. This appeal was in the
nature of the case from the seen to the unseen, and therein lay the
difficulty; for unless this unseen could be made visible to the eye of
the intelligence to such a degree that the restraining authority which
it possessed could impress itself on the will, there was risk of its
proving to be no restraining authority whatsoever, and of men fancying
that they had been left to be a law unto themselves. What the _Christian
Institution_ did for the sixteenth century was to make the unseen
government and authority of God, to which all must bow, as visible to
the intellectual eye of faith as the mechanism of the mediæval Church
had been to the eye of sense. It proclaimed that the basis of all
Christian faith was the Word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures; it
taught the absolute dependence of all things on God Himself immediately
and directly; it declared that the sin of man was such that, apart from
the working of the free grace of God, there could be neither pardon nor
amendment, nor salvation; and it wove all these thoughts into a logical
unity which revealed to the intellectual eye of its generation the
"House of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Men as they
gazed saw that they were in the immediate presence of the authority of
God Himself, directly responsible to Him; that they could test "the
Pope's House" by this divine archetype; that it was their duty to reform
all human institutions, ecclesiastical or political, in order to bring
them into harmony with the divine vision. It made men know that to
separate themselves from the visible mediæval Church was neither to step
outside the sphere of the purpose of God making for their redemption,
nor to free themselves from the duties which God requires of man.

The work which Calvin did for his co-religionists in France was immense.
He carried on a constant correspondence with them; he sustained their
courage; he gave their faith a sublime exaltation. When he heard of a
French Romanist who had begun to hesitate, he wrote to him combining
persuasion with instruction. He pleaded the cause of the Reformation
with its nominal supporters. He encouraged the weak. He sent letters to
the persecuted. He forwarded short theological treatises to assist those
who had got into controversies concerning their faith. He advised the
organisation of congregations. He recommended energetic pastors. He
warned slothful ministers.

     "We must not think," he says, "that our work is confined within
     such narrow limits that our task is ended when we have preached
     sermons ... it is our part to maintain a vigilant oversight of
     those committed to our care, and take the greatest pains to guard
     from evil those whose blood will one day be demanded from us if
     they are lost through our negligence."[189]

He answered question after question about the difficulty of reconciling
the demands of the Christian life with what was required by the world
around--a matter which pressed hard on the consciences of men and women
who belonged to a religious minority in a great Roman Catholic kingdom.
He was no casuist. He wrote to Madame de Cany, the sister of the Duchess
d'Étampes, that "no one, great or small, ought to believe themselves
exempt from suffering for the sake of our sovereign King." He was
listened to with reverence; for he was not a counsellor who advised
others to do what he was not prepared to do himself. He could say, "Be
ye followers of me, as I am of the Lord Jesus Christ." Frenchmen and
Frenchwomen knew that the master whom they obeyed, the director they
consulted, to whom they whispered the secrets of their souls, lived the
hardest and most ascetic life of any man in Europe,--scarcely eating,
drinking, or sleeping; that his frail body was kept alive by the energy
of his indomitable soul.

Frenchmen of varying schools of thought have not been slow to recognise
the secret of the power of their great countryman. Jules Michelet says:

     "Among the martyrs, with whom Calvin constantly conversed in
     spirit, he became a martyr himself; he lived and felt like a man
     before whom the whole earth disappears, and who tunes his last
     Psalm his whole eye fixed upon the eye of God, because he knows
     that on the following morning he may have to ascend the pyre."

Ernest Renan is no less emphatic:

     "It is surprising that a man who appears to us in his life and
     writings so unsympathetic should have been the centre of an immense
     movement in his generation, and that this harsh and severe tone
     should have exercised so great an influence on the minds of his
     contemporaries. How was it, for example, that one of the most
     distinguished women of her time, Renée of France, in her Court at
     Ferrara, surrounded by the flower of European wits, was captivated
     by that stern master, and by him drawn into a course that must have
     been so thickly strewn with thorns? This kind of austere seduction
     is exercised only by those who work with real conviction. Lacking
     that vivid, deep, sympathetic ardour which was one of the secrets
     of Luther's success, lacking the charm, the perilous, languishing
     tenderness of Francis de Sales, Calvin succeeded, in an age and in
     a country which called for a reaction towards Christianity, simply
     because _he was the most Christian man of his generation_."

Thus it was that all those in France who felt the need of intimate
fellowship with God, all to whom a religion, which was at once
inflexible in matters of moral living and which appealed to their
reasoning faculties, was a necessity, hailed the _Christian Institution_
as the clearest manifesto of their faith, and grouped themselves round
the young author (Calvin was barely twenty-six when he wrote it) as
their leader. Those also who suffered under the pressure of a despotic
government, and felt the evils of a society constituted to uphold the
privileges of an aristocracy, learnt that in a neighbouring country
there was a city which had placed itself under the rule of the Word of
God; where everyone joined in a common worship attractive from its
severe simplicity; where the morals, public and private, were pure;
where the believers selected their pastors and the people their rulers;
where there were neither masters nor subjects; where the ministers of
religion lived the lives of simple laymen, and were distinguished from
them only by the exercise of their sacred service. They indulged in the
dream that all France might be fashioned after the model of Geneva.

Many a Frenchman who was dissatisfied with the condition of things in
France, but had come to no personal decision to leave the mediæval
Church, could not help contrasting what he saw around him with the life
and aspiration of those "of the religion,"[190] as the French
Protestants began to be called. They saw themselves confronted by a
religion full of mysteries inaccessible to reason, expressing itself
even in public worship in a language unintelligible to most of the
worshippers, full of pomp, of luxury, of ceremonies whose symbolical
meaning had been forgotten. They saw a clergy commonplace and ignorant,
or aristocratic and indifferent; a nobility greedy and restless; a Court
whose luxurious display and scandals were notorious; royal mistresses
and faithless husbands and wives. Almost everywhere we find a growing
tendency to contrast the purity of Protestantism and the corruption of
Roman Catholicism. It found outcome in the famous scene in the
_Parlement_ of Paris (1559), when Antoine de Bourg, son of a former
Chancellor, advocated the total suspension of the persecution against
those "who were called heretics," and enforced his opinion by
contrasting the blasphemies and scandals of the Court with the morality
and the purity of the lives of those who were being sent to the
stake,--a speech for which he afterwards lost his life.[191]

It was this growing united Protestantism which Henry II. and his
advisers had determined to crush by the action of the legislative

§ 5. _Persecution under Henry II._[192]

The repressive legal measures introduced by Francis I. were retained,
and a new law against blasphemy (prepared, no doubt, during the last
days of Francis) was published five days after the King's death (April
5th, 1547). But more was believed to be necessary. So a series of
edicts, culminating in the Edict of Chateaubriand, were published, which
aimed at uniting all the forces of the kingdom to extirpate the
Reformed faith.

On October 8th, 1547, a second criminal court was added to the
_Parlement_ of Paris, to deal solely with cases of heresy. This was the
famous _Chambre Ardente_. It was ordered to sit continuously, even
during the ordinary Parliamentary vacancies in August and September; and
its first session lasted from Dec. 1547 to Jan. 1550, during which time
it must have passed more than five hundred judgments. The clergy felt
that this special court took from them one of their privileges, the
right of trying all cases of heresy. They petitioned against it. A
compromise was arranged (Edict of Nov. 19th, 1549), by which all cases
of simple heresy (_cas communes_) were to be sent to the ecclesiastical
courts, while cases of heresy accompanied by public scandal (_cas
privilégiés_) were to be judged in the civil courts. In practice it
usually happened that all cases of heresy went first before the
ecclesiastical courts and, after judgment there, those which were
believed to be attended by public scandal (the largest number) were sent
on to the civil courts. These measures were not thought sufficient, and
the Edict of Chateaubriand (June 27th, 1551) codified and extended all
the various legal measures taken for the defence of the Roman Catholic

The edict was lengthy, and began with a long preamble, which declared
that in spite of all measures of repression, heresy was increasing; that
it was a pestilence "so contagious that it had infected most of the
inhabitants, men, women, and even little children, in many of the towns
and districts of the kingdom," and asked every loyal subject to aid the
Government in extirpating the plague. It provided that, as before, all
cases of simple heresy should be judged in the ecclesiastical courts,
and that heresy accompanied with public scandal should be sent to the
civil courts of the _Parlements_. It issued stringent regulations about
the publication and sale of books; forbidding the introduction into
France of volumes from Protestant countries; forbidding the printing of
books which had not passed the censor of the Faculty of Theology, and
all books published anonymously; and ordering an examination of all
printing houses and bookshops twice in the year. Private persons who did
not inform against heretics were liable to be considered heretics
themselves, and punished as such; and when they did denounce them they
were to receive one-third of the possessions of the persons condemned.
Parents were charged "by the pity, love, and charity which they owed to
their children," not to engage any teachers who might be "suspect"; no
one was permitted to teach in school or college who was not certified to
be orthodox; and masters were made responsible for their servants.
Intercourse with those who had taken refuge in Geneva was prohibited,
and the goods of the refugees were confiscated. All Catholics, and more
especially persons of rank and in authority, were required to give the
earnest example of attending carefully to outward observances of
religion, and in particular to kneel in adoration of the Host.

The edict was registered on Sept. 3rd, 1551, and immediately put in
force. Six years later, the King had to confess that its stringent
provisions had failed to arrest the spread of the Protestant faith. He
proposed to establish the Inquisition in France, moved thereto by the
Cardinal of Lorraine and Pope Paul IV.; and was prevented only by the
strenuous opposition of his _Parlement_.[193] He had to content himself
with issuing the Edict of Compiègne (1557), which, while nominally
leaving trials for heresy in the hands of the ecclesiastical courts,
practically handed them over to the civil courts, where the judges were
not allowed to inflict any lesser punishment than death. They were
permitted to increase the penalty by inflicting torture, or to mitigate
it by strangling the victims before burning them.

Armed with this legislation, the work of hunting out the Reformed was
strenuously carried on. Certain prisons were specially reserved for the
Protestant martyrs--the Conciergerie, which was part of the building of
the Palace, and the Grand Châtelet, which faced it on the opposite bank
of the Seine. They soon overflowed, and suspects were confined in the
Bastille, in the Petit Châtelet, and in episcopal prisons. The cells of
the Conciergerie were below the level of the river, and water oozed from
the walls; the Grand Châtelet was noted for its terrible dungeons, so
small that the prisoner could neither stand upright nor lie at full
length on the floor. Diseases decimated the victims; the plague slew
sixty who were waiting for trial in the Grand Châtelet in 1547. Few were
acquitted; almost all, once arrested, suffered death and torture.[194]

§ 6. _The Organisation of the French Protestant Church._

It was during these years of terrible persecution that the Protestant
Church of France organised itself--feeling the need for unity the better
to sustain the conflict in which it was engaged, and to assist its
weaker members. Calvin was unwearied in urging on this work of
organisation. With the fire of a prophet and the foresight of a
statesman he insisted on the necessity of unity during the storm and
strain of a time of persecution. He had already shown what form the
ecclesiastical organisation ought to take.[195] He proposed to revive
the simple threefold ministry of the Church of the early centuries--a
congregation ruled by a bishop or pastor, a session of elders, and a
body of deacons. This was adopted by the French Protestants. A group of
believers, a minister, a "consistory" of elders and deacons, regular
preaching, and the sacraments duly administered, made a Church properly
constituted. The minister was the chief; he preached; he administered
the sacraments; he presided at the "consistory." The "consistory" was
composed of elders charged with the spiritual oversight of the
community, and of deacons who looked after the poor and the sick. The
elders and the deacons were chosen by the members of the congregation;
and the minister by the elders and the deacons. An organised Church did
not come into existence all at once as a rule, and a distinction was
drawn between an _église plantée_, and an _église dressée_. The former
was in an embryonic state, with a pastor, it might be, but no
consistory; or it might be only a group of people who welcomed the
occasional services of a wandering missioner, or held simple services
without any definite leader.

The year 1555 may be taken as the date when French Protestantism began
to organise Churches. It is true that a few had been established
earlier--at Meaux in 1546 and at Nimes in 1547, but the congregations
had been dispersed by persecution. Before 1555 the Protestants of France
had been for the most part solitary Bible students, or little companies
meeting together for common worship without any organisation.

Paris set the example. A small company of believers had been accustomed
to meet in the lodging of the Sieur de la Ferriere, near the
Pré-aux-Clercs. The birth of a child hastened matters. The father
explained that he could not go outside France to seek a pure baptism,
and that his conscience would not permit his child to be baptized
according to the rites of the Roman Church. After prayer the company
resolved to constitute themselves into a Church. Jean le Maçon was
called to be the minister or pastor; elders and deacons were chosen; and
the organisation was complete.[196] It seemed as if all Protestant
France had been waiting for the signal, and organised Churches sprang up

Crespin names thirteen Churches, completely organised in the manner of
the Church of Paris, founded between 1555 and 1557--Meaux, Poitiers,
Angers, les Iles de Saintonge, Agen, Bourges, Issoudun, Aubigny, Blois,
Tours, Lyon, Orléans, and Rouen. He adds that there were others.
Documentary evidence now available enables us to give thirty-six more,
all _dressées_, or completely organised, with a consistory or
kirk-session, before 1560. One hundred and twenty pastors were sent to
France from Geneva before 1567. The history of these congregations
during the reign of Henry II. was full of tragic and dramatic
incidents.[197] They existed in the midst of a population which was for
the most part fanatically Romanist, easily excited by priests and monks,
who poured forth violent addresses from the pulpits of neighbouring
churches. Law-courts, whether in the capital or in the provinces, the
public officials, all loyal subjects of the King, were invited,
commanded by the Edict of Chateaubriand, to ferret out and hunt down
those suspected of Protestant sympathies. To fail to make a reverence
when passing a crucifix, to speak unguardedly against an ecclesiastical
ceremony, to exhibit the slightest sympathy for a Protestant martyr, to
be found in possession of a book printed in Geneva, was sufficient to
provoke a denunciation, an arrest, a trial which must end in torture
and death. Protestants were compelled to worship in cellars, to creep
stealthily to their united devotions; like the early Christians during
the persecutions under Decius or Diocletian, they had to meet at
midnight; and these midnight assemblies gave rise to the same infamous
reports about their character which the Jews spread abroad regarding the
secret meetings of the Christians of the first three centuries.[198]
Every now and then they were discovered, as in the incident of the Rue
Saint Jacques in Paris, and wholesale arrests and martyrdoms followed.

The organisation of the faithful into Churches had done much for French
Protestantism in bestowing upon them the power which association gives;
but more was needed to weld them into one. In 1558, doctrinal
differences arose in the congregation at Poitiers. The Church in Paris
was appealed to, and its minister, Antoine de Chandieu, went to Poitiers
to assist at the celebration of the Holy Supper, and to heal the
dispute. There, it is said, the idea of a Confession of Faith for the
whole Church was suggested. Calvin was consulted, but did not approve.
Notwithstanding, on May 25th, 1559, a number of ministers and elders,
coming from all parts of France, and representing, according to a
contemporary document whose authority is somewhat doubtful, sixty-six
Churches,[199] met in Paris for conference. Three days were spent in
deliberations, under the presidency of Morel, one of the Parisian
ministers. This was the _First National Synod_ of the French Protestant
Church. It compiled a Confession of Faith and a Book of Discipline.

The Confession of Faith[200] (_Confession de Foi faite d'un commun
accord par les François, qui desirent vivre selon la pureté de
l'évangile de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ_) consists of forty articles.
It was revised more than once by subsequent Synods, but may still be
called the Confession of the French Protestant Church. It was based on a
short Confession drafted by Calvin in 1557, and embodied in a letter to
the King on behalf of his persecuted subjects. "It seemed useful," one
of the members of the Synod wrote to Calvin, "to add some articles to
your Confession, and to modify it slightly on some points." Probably out
of deference to Calvin's objection to a creed for the whole Church, it
was resolved to keep it secret for some time. The resolution was in
vain. The Confession was in print, and known before the end of 1559.

The Book of Discipline (_Discipline ecclésiastique des églises réformées
de France_) regulated the organisation and the discipline of the
Churches. It was that kind of ecclesiastical polity which has become
known as Presbyterian, but which might be better called Conciliar. A
council called the _Consistory_, consisting of the minister or
ministers, elders, and deacons, ruled the congregation. Congregations
were formed into groups, over which was the _Colloquy_, composed of
representatives from the Consistories; over the _Colloquies_ were the
_Provincial Synods_; and over all the _General_ or _National Synod_.
Rules were laid down about how discipline was to be exercised. It was
stated clearly that no Church could claim a primacy over the others. All
ministers were required to sign the Confession of Faith, and to
acknowledge and submit to the ecclesiastical discipline.[201]

It is interesting to see how in a country whose civil rule was becoming
gradually more absolutist, this "Church under the Cross" framed for
itself a government which reconciled, more thoroughly perhaps than has
ever been done since, the two principles of popular rights and supreme
central control. Its constitution has spread to Holland, Scotland, and
to the great American Churches. Their ecclesiastical polity came much
more from Paris than from Geneva.

§ 7. _Reaction against Persecution._

An attentive study of the sources of the history of the period shows
that the excessive severity of King and Court towards Protestants had
excited a fairly widespread reaction in favour of the persecuted, and
had also impelled the King to action which was felt by many to be
unconstitutional. This sympathy with the persecuted and repugnance to
the arbitrary exercise of kingship did much to mould the Huguenot
movement which lay in the immediate future.

The protests against the institution of the _Chambre Ardente_, the
refusal of the _Parlement_ of Paris to register the edict establishing
the Inquisition in France, and the hesitancy to put in execution
extraordinary powers bestowed on French Cardinals for the punishing of
heretics by the Bull of Pope Paul IV. (Feb. 26th, 1557), may all be
ascribed to the jealousy with which the Courts, ecclesiastical and
civil, viewed any interference with their privileged jurisdiction. But
the Edict of Chateaubriand (1551), with its articles declaring the
unwillingness or negligence shown by public officials in finding out and
punishing heretics, making provisions against this, and ordaining that
none but persons of well-known orthodoxy were to be appointed
magistrates (Arts. 23, 28, 24), confessed that there were many even
among those in office who disliked the policy of persecution.
Contemporary official documents confirm this unwillingness. We hear of
municipal magistrates intervening to protect their Protestant
fellow-citizens from punishment in the ecclesiastical courts; of town's
police conniving at the escape of heretics; of a procurator at law who
was suspended from office for a year for such connivance;[202] and of
civil courts who could not be persuaded to pass sentences except merely
nominal ones.

The growing discontent at the severe treatment of the persecuted
Protestants made itself manifest, even within the _Parlement_ of Paris,
so long notorious for its persecuting zeal. This became evident when the
criminal court of the _Parlement_ (la Tournelle, 1559) commuted a
sentence of death passed on three Protestants into one of banishment.
The violent Romanists protested against this, and demanded a meeting of
the whole _Parlement_ to fix its mode of judicial action. At this
meeting some of the members--Antoine Fumée, du Faur, Viole, and Antoine
du Bourg (the son of a Chancellor in the days of Francis I.)--spoke
strongly on behalf of the Protestants. They pleaded that a space of six
months after trial should be given to the accused to reconsider their
position, and that, if they resolve to stand fast in the faith, they
should be allowed to withdraw from the kingdom. Their boldness
encouraged others. The Cardinal Lorraine and the Constable Montmorency
dreaded the consequences of prolonged discussion, and communicated their
fears to the King. Henry, accompanied by the Cardinals of Lorraine and
of Guise, the Constable, and Francis, Duke de Guise, entered the hall
where _Parlement_ sat, and ordered the discussion to be continued in his
presence. The minority were not intimidated. Du Faur and Viole demanded
a total cessation of the persecution pending the summoning of a Council.
Du Bourg went further. He contrasted the pure lives and earnest piety of
the persecuted with the scandals which disgraced the Roman Church and
the Court. "It is no light matter," he said, "to condemn to the stake
men who invoke the name of Jesus in the midst of the flames." The King
was furious. He ordered the arrest of du Bourg and du Faur on the spot,
and shortly afterwards Fumée and La Porte were also sent to the
Bastille. This arbitrary seizure of members of the _Parlement_ of Paris
may be said to mark the time when the Protestants of France began to
assume the form of a political as well as of a religious party. At this
anxious juncture Henry II. met his death, on June 30th, by the
accidental thrust of a lance at a tournament held in honour of the
approaching marriage of his daughter Elizabeth with Philip of Spain. He
lingered till July 10th, 1559.

§ 8. _The higher Aristocracy won for the Reformation._

When the lists of Protestants who suffered for their faith in France or
who were compelled to take refuge in Geneva and other Protestant towns
are examined and analysed, as they have been by French archæologists, it
is found that the great number of martyrs and refugees were artisans,
tradesmen, farmers, and the like.[203] A few names of "notables"--a
general, a member of the _Parlement_ of Toulouse, a "gentleman" of
Limousin--are found among the martyrs, and a much larger proportion
among the fugitives. The names of members of noble houses of France are
conspicuous by their absence. This does not necessarily mean that the
new teaching had not found acceptance among men and women in the upper
classes of French society. The noble of the sixteenth century, so long
as he remained within his own territory and in his château, was almost
independent. He was not subject to the provincial tribunals.
Protestantism had been spreading among such. We hear of several
high-born ladies present in the congregation of three or four hundred
Protestants who were surrounded in a large house in the Rue St. Jacques
(Sept. 4th, 1558), and who were released. Renée, daughter of Louis
XII., Duchess of Ferrara, had declared herself a Protestant, and had
been visited by Calvin as early as 1535.[204] Francis d'Andelot, the
youngest of the three Chatillons, became a convert during his
imprisonment at Melun (1551-56). His more celebrated brother, Gaspard de
Coligny, the Admiral of France, became a Protestant during his
imprisonment after the fall of St. Quentin (1558).[205] De Bèze (Beza)
tells us that as early as 1555, Antoine de Bourbon, titular King of
Navarre in right of his wife Jeanne d'Albret, and next in succession to
King Henri II. and his sons, had the new faith preached in the chapel at
Nérac, and that he asked a minister to be sent to him from Geneva. His
brother Louis, Prince of Condé, also declared himself on the Protestant
side. The wives of the brothers Bourbon, Jeanne d'Albret and Eléanor de
Roye, were more determined and consistent Protestants than their
husbands. The two brothers were among those present at the assemblies in
the Pré-aux-Clercs, where for five successive evenings (May 13-17) more
than five thousand persons met to sing Clement Marot's Psalms.[206]
Calvin wrote energetically to all these great nobles, urging them to
declare openly on the side of the Gospel, and protect their brethren in
the faith less able to defend themselves.

§ 9. _France ruled by the Guises._[207]

The successor of Henry II. was his son Francis II., who was fifteen
years of age, and therefore entitled by French law to rule in his own
name. He was a youth feeble in mind and in body, and devotedly attached
to his young and accomplished wife, Mary Queen of Scots. She believed
naturally that her husband could not do better than entrust the
government of the kingdom to her uncles, Charles the Cardinal of
Lorraine, and Francis the Duke de Guise. The Cardinal had been Henry
II.'s most trusted Minister; and his brother was esteemed to be the best
soldier in France. When the _Parlement_ of Paris, according to ancient
custom, came to congratulate the King on his succession, and to ask to
whom they were to apply in affairs of State, they were told by the King
that they were to obey the Cardinal and the Duke "as himself." The
Constable de Montmorency and the favourite, Diane de Poitiers, were sent
from the Court, and the Queen-Mother, Catherine de' Medici, that
"shopkeeper's daughter," as the young Queen called her, found herself as
devoid of influence as she had been during the lifetime of her husband.

The Cardinal of Lorraine had been the chief adviser of that policy of
extirpating the Protestants to which the late King had devoted himself,
and it was soon apparent that it would be continued by the new
government. The process against Antoine du Bourg and his fellow-members
of the _Parlement_ of Paris who had dared to remonstrate against the
persecution, was pushed forward with all speed. They were condemned to
the stake, and the only mitigation of sentence was that Du Bourg was to
be strangled before he was burnt. His fate provoked much sympathy. As he
was led to the place of execution the crowd pleaded with him to recant.
His resolute, dignified bearing made a great impression; and his dying
speech, according to one eye-witness, "did more harm to the Roman Church
than a hundred ministers could have done," and, according to another,
"made more converts among the French students than all the books of
Calvin." The persecutions of Protestants of lower rank increased rather
than diminished. Police made descents on the houses in the Rue de
Marais-Saint-Germain and neighbouring streets.[208] Spies were hired to
insinuate themselves into the confidence of the suspected for the
purpose of denouncing them. The _Parlement_ of Paris instituted four
separate criminal courts for the sole purpose of trying heretics brought
before them. The prisons were no sooner filled than they were emptied by
sentences which sent the condemned to the galleys or to death. The
government incited to persecution by new declarations and edicts. It
declared that houses in which conventicles were held were to be razed to
the ground (Sept. 4th, 1559); that all who organised unlawful assemblies
were to be punished by death (Nov. 9th, 1559); that nobles who had
justiciary courts were to act according to law in the matter of heresy,
or to be deprived of their justiciary rights (Feb. 1560). In spite of
all this stern repression, the numbers of the Protestants increased,
and Calvin could declare that there were at least 300,000 in France.

The character of Protestantism in France had been changing. In the
earlier years of the persecution they had submitted meekly without
thought of revolt, resigned to their fate, rejoicing to suffer in the
cause of Christ. But under this rule of the Guises the question of
resistance was discussed. It could be said that revolt did not mean
revenge for injuries done to themselves. A foreign family had overawed
their King and imposed themselves on France. The Princes of the Blood,
Antoine de Bourbon and his brother Louis de Condé, in whose veins ran
the blood of Saint Louis, who were the natural leaders of the people,
were flouted by the Guises. The inviolability of _Parlement_ had been
attacked in the execution of Antoine du Bourg, and the justiciary rights
of great nobles were threatened simply in order to extirpate "those of
the religion." They believed that France was full of men who had no good
will to the tyranny of the "foreigners." They consulted their brethren
in exile, and Calvin himself, on the lawfulness and expediency of an
armed insurrection. The refugees favoured the plan. Calvin denounced it.
"If one drop of blood is shed in such a revolt, rivers will flow; it is
better that we all perish than cause such a scandal to the cause of
Christ and His Evangel." Some of the Protestants were not to be
convinced. They only needed a leader. Their natural head was the King of
Navarre; but Antoine de Bourbon was too unstable. Louis de Condé, his
brother, was sounded.[209] It is said that he promised to come forward
if the enterprise was confined to the seizure of the Guises, and if it
was successful in effecting this. A Protestant gentleman, Godefroy de
Barry, Seigneur de la Renaudie, became temporary leader. He had wrongs
to avenge. He had been condemned by the _Parlement_ of Dijon (Burgundy),
had escaped to Geneva, and had been converted there; his brother-in-law,
Gaspard de Heu, of Metz, had been strangled by the Guises in the castle
of Vincennes without form of trial. A number of gentlemen and nobles
promised their assistance. The conspirators swore to undertake nothing
against the King; the enterprise was limited to the arrest of the
Guises. News of the project began to leak out. Every information went to
show that the Guises were the objects of attack. The Court was moved
from Blois to Amboise, which was a fortified city. More precise
information filtered to headquarters. The Duke of Guise captured some
small bands of conspirators, and de la Renaudie himself was slain in a
skirmish. The Guises took summary vengeance. Their prisoners were often
slaughtered when caught; or were tied hand and foot and thrown into the
Loire. Others were hurried through a form of trial. So many gallows were
needed that there was not wood enough, and the prisoners were hung from
the doors and battlements of the castle of Amboise. The young King and
Queen, with their ladies, walked out after dinner to feast their eyes on
the dead bodies.

Even before the Conspiracy of Amboise had run its length, members of the
Court had begun to protest against the religious policy of the Guises.
Catherine de' Medici had talked the matter over with the Admiral
Coligny, had been told by him that the religious persecutions were at
the bottom of the troubles in the kingdom, and had listened to his
proposal that all such should be suspended until the meeting of a
Council. The result was that government decided to pardon those accused
of heresy if they would promise for the future to live as good
Catholics. The brutalities of the methods by which the sharers in the
foolishly planned and feebly executed Conspiracy of Amboise were
punished increased the state of disorder in the kingdom, and the hatred
against the Guises found vent in an _Epistle sent to the Tiger of
France_, in which the Duke is addressed as a "mad tiger, a venomous
viper, a sepulchre of abominations."

Catherine de' Medici deemed the opportunity favourable for exercising
her influence. She contrived to get Michel de l'Hôpital appointed as
Chancellor, knowing that he was opposed to the sanguinary policy
pursued. He was able to inspire the Edict of Romorantin (May 18th,
1560), which made the Bishops judges of the crime of heresy, imposed
penalties on false accusers, and left the punishment to be bestowed on
attendance at conventicles in the hands of the presidents of the
tribunals. Then, with the help of the Chancellor, Catherine managed to
get an _Assembly of the Notables_ summoned to meet at Fontainebleau.
There, many of the members advocated a cessation of the religious
persecution. One Archbishop, Marillac of Vienne, and the Bishops of
Orléans and Valence, asserted boldly that the religious disorders were
really caused by the scandals in the Church; spoke against severe
repression until a Council, national or general, had been held; and
hinted that the services of the Guises were not indispensable. At the
beginning of the second session Coligny spoke. He had the courage to
make himself the representative of the Huguenots, as the Protestants now
began to be nicknamed. He attacked boldly the religious policy of the
Guises, charged them with standing between the King and loyal subjects,
and declared that the persecuted were Christians who asked for nothing
but to be allowed to worship God as the Gospel taught them. He presented
a petition to the King from the Protestants asserting their loyalty,
begging that the persecution should cease, and asking that "temples"
might be assigned for their worship. The petition was unsigned, but
Coligny declared that fifty thousand names could be obtained in Normandy
alone. The Duke of Guise spoke with great violence, but the more politic
Cardinal induced him to agree with the other members to call a meeting
of the States General of France, to be held on the 10th of December

Shortly after the Notables had dispersed, word came of another
conspiracy, in which not only the Bourbon Princes, but also the
Constable Montmorency were said to be implicated. Disturbances broke out
in Provence and Dauphiné. The Guises went back to their old policy of
violence. The King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé were summoned by
the King to appear before him to justify themselves. Although well
warned of what might happen, they obeyed the summons, and presented
themselves unattended by armed men. Condé was seized and imprisoned. He
was condemned to death, and his execution was fixed for the 10th of
December. The King of Navarre was left at liberty, but was closely
watched; and more than one attempt was made to assassinate him. It was
vaguely believed that the Cardinal of Lorraine had resolved to get rid
of all the leaders of the Huguenots by death or imprisonment.

While these terrifying suggestions were being whispered, the young King
fell ill, and died suddenly. This ended the rule of the Guises, and the
French Protestants breathed freely again.

"Did you ever read or hear," said Calvin in a letter to Sturm, "of
anything more opportune than the death of the King? The evils had
reached an extremity for which there was no remedy, when suddenly God
shows Himself from heaven. He who pierced the eye of the father has now
stricken the ear of the son."

§ 10. _Catherine de' Medici becomes Regent._

In the confusion which resulted, Catherine recognised that at last the
time had come when she could gratify the one strong passion which
possessed her--the passion to govern. Charles IX. was a boy of ten. A
Regent was essential. Antoine de Bourbon, as the first Prince of the
Blood, might have claimed the position; but Catherine first terrified
him with what might be the fate of Condé, and then proposed that the
Constable Montmorency and himself should be her principal advisers. The
facile Antoine accepted the situation: the Constable was recalled to
the Court; Louis de Condé was released from prison. His imprisonment had
made a deep impression all over France. The Protestants believed that he
had suffered for their sakes. Hymns of prayer had been sung during his
captivity, and songs of thanksgiving greeted his release.[210]

    "Le pauvre Chrestien, qui endure
       Prison, pour verité;
     Le Prince, en captivité dure
       Sans l'avoir mérité?
     An plus fort de leurs peines entendent
       Tes oeuvres tons parfaits,
     Et gloire et louange te rendent
       De tes merveilleux faits."

This was sung all over France during Condé's imprisonment; after his
release the tone varied:

     "Resjonissez vons en Dieu
    Fidéles de chacun lieu;
      Car Dieu pour nous a mandé (envoyé)
      Le bon prince de Condé;

      Et vous nobles protestans
    Princes, seigneurs attestans;
      Car Dieu pour nous a maudé
      Le bon prince de Condé."

Catherine de' Medici was forty-one years of age when she became the
Regent of France.[211] Her life had been hard. Born in 1519, the niece
of Pope Clement VII, she was married to Henry of France in 1534. She had
been a neglected wife all the days of her married life. For ten years
she had been childless,[212] and her sonnets breathe the prayer of
Rachel--Give me children, or else I die. During Henry's absence with the
army in 1552, he had grudgingly appointed her Regent, and she had shown
both ability and patience in acquiring a knowledge of all the details of
government. After the defeat of Saint-Quentin she for once earned her
husband's gratitude and praise by the way in which she had promptly
persuaded the Parliament to grant a subsidy of 300,000 livres. These
incidents were her sole apprenticeship in the art of ruling. She had
always been a great eater, walker, and rider.[213] Her protruding eyes
and her bulging forehead recalled the features of her grand-uncle, Pope
Leo X. She had the taste of her family for art and display. Her
strongest intellectual force was a robust, hard, and narrow common sense
which was responsible both for her success and for her failures. She can
scarcely be called immoral; it seemed rather that she was utterly
destitute of any moral sense whatsoever.

The difficulties which confronted the Regent were great, both at home
and abroad. The question of questions was the treatment to be given to
her Protestant subjects. She seems from the first to have been in favour
of a measure of toleration; but the fanatically Roman Catholic party was
vigorous in France, especially in Paris, and was ably led by the Guises;
and Philip of Spain had made the suppression of the Reformation a matter
of international policy.

Meanwhile Catherine had to face the States General, summoned by the late
King in August 1560. While the Guises were still in power, strict orders
had been given to see that none but ardent Romanists should be elected;
but the excitement of the times could not be restrained by any
management. It was nearly half a century since a King of France had
invited a declaration of the opinions of his subjects; the last meeting
of the States General had been in 1484.[214] Catherine watched the
elections, and the expression of sentiments which they called forth. She
saw that the Protestants were active. Calvinist ministers traversed the
West and the South almost unhindered, encouraging the people to assert
their liberties. They were even permitted to address some of the
assemblies met to elect representatives. A minister, Charles Dalbiac,
expounded the Confession of Faith to the meeting of the nobles at
Angers, and showed how the Roman Church had enslaved and changed the
whole of the Christian faith and practice. In other places it was said
that Antoine de Bourbon had no right to allow Catherine to assume the
Regency, and that he ought to be forced to take his proper place. The
air seemed full of menaces against the Regent and in favour of the
Princes of the Blood. Catherine hastened to place the King of Navarre in
a position of greater dignity. She shared the Regency nominally with the
premier Prince of the Blood, who was Lieutenant-General of France. If
Antoine had been a man of resolution, he might have insisted on a large
share in the government of the country, but his easy, careless
disposition made him plastic in the hands of Catherine, and she could
write to her daughter that he was very obedient, and issued no order
without her permission.

The Estates met at Orléans on the 13th of December. The opening speech
by the Chancellor, Michel de l'Hôpital, showed that the Regent and her
councillors were at least inclined to a policy of tolerance. The three
orders (Clergy, Nobles, and Third Estate), he said, had been summoned to
find remedies for the divisions which existed within the kingdom; and
these, he believed, were due to religion. He could not help recognising
that religious beliefs, good or bad, tended to excite burning passions.
He could not avoid seeing that a common religion was a stricter bond of
unity than belonging to the same race or living under the same laws.
Might they not all wait for the decision of a General Council? Might
they not cease to use the irritating epithets of _Lutherans_,
_Huguenots_, _Papists_, and remember that they were all good Christians.
The spokesmen of the three orders were heard at the second sitting. Dr.
Quintin, one of the Regents of the University of Paris, voiced the
Clergy. He enlarged against the proposals which were to be brought
forward by the other two orders to despoil the revenues of the Church,
to attempt its reform by the civil power, and to grant toleration and
even liberty of worship to heretics. Coligny begged the Regent to note
that Quintin had called subjects of the King heretics, and the spokesman
of the Clergy apologised. Jacques de Silly, Baron de Rochefort, and Jean
Lange, an advocate of Bordeaux, who spoke for the Nobles and for the
Third Estate, declaimed against the abuses of ecclesiastical courts, and
the avarice and ignorance of the clergy.

At the sitting on Jan. 1st, 1561, each of the three Estates presented a
written list of grievances (_cahiers_). That of the Third Estate was a
memorable and important document in three hundred and fifty-four
articles, and reveals, as no other paper of the time does, the evils
resulting from absolutist and aristocratic government in France. It
asked for complete toleration in matters of religion, for a Reformation
of the Church in the sense of giving a large extension of power to the
laity, for uniformity in judicial procedure, for the abolition or
curtailment of powers in signorial courts, for quinquennial meetings of
the Estates General, and demanded that the day and place of the next
meeting should be fixed before the end of the present sitting. The
Nobles were divided on the question of toleration, and presented three
separate papers. In the first, which came from central Prance, stern
repression of the Protestant faith was demanded; in the second, coming
from the nobles of the Western provinces, complete toleration was
claimed; in the third it was asked that both parties should be made to
keep the peace, and that only preachers and pastors be punished. The
list presented by the Clergy, like those of the other two orders,
insisted upon the reform of the Church; but it took the line of urging
the abolition of the Concordat, and a return to the provisions of the
Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges.

The Government answered these lists of grievances presented by an edict
and an ordinance. In the edict (Jan. 28th, 1561) the King ordered that
all prosecutions for religion should cease, and that all prisoners
should be released, with an admonition "to live in a catholic manner"
for the future. The ordinance (dated Jan. 31st, but not completed till
the following August), known as the _Ordinance of Orléans_, was a very
elaborate document. It touched upon almost all questions brought forward
in the lists of grievances, and enacted various reforms, both civil and
ecclesiastic--all of which were for the most part evaded in practice.
The Estates were adjourned until the 1st of May.

The Huguenots had gained a suspension of persecution, if not toleration,
by the edict of Jan. 28th, and the disposition of the Government made
them hope for still further assistance. Refugees came back in great
numbers from Switzerland, Germany, England, and even from Italy. The
number of Protestant congregations increased, and Geneva provided the
pastors. The edict did not give liberty of worship, but the Protestants
acted as if it did. This roused the wrath of the more fanatically
disposed portion of the Roman Catholic population. Priests and monks
fanned the flames of sectarian bitterness. The Government was denounced,
and anti-Protestant riots disturbed the country. When the Huguenots of
Paris attempted to revive the psalm-singings in the Pré-aux-Clercs, they
were mobbed, and beaten with sticks by the populace. This led to
reprisals in those parts of the country where the Huguenots were in a
majority. In some towns the churches were invaded, the images torn down,
and the relics burnt. The leaders strove to restrain their
followers.[215] Calvin wrote energetically from Geneva against the

     "God has never enjoined on any one to destroy idols, save on every
     man in his own house or on those placed in authority in public
     places.... Obedience is better than sacrifice; we must look to what
     it is lawful for us to do, and must keep ourselves within bounds."

At the Court at Fontainebleau, Renée, Duchess of Ferrara, and the
Princess of Condé were permitted by the Regent to have worship in their
rooms after the Reformed rite; and Coligny had in his household a
minister from Geneva, Jean Raymond Merlin, to whose sermons outsiders
were not only admitted but invited. These things gave great offence to
the Constable Montmorency, who was a strong Romanist. He was still more
displeased when Monluc, Bishop of Valence, preached in the State
apartments before the boy King and the Queen Mother. He thought it was
undignified for a Bishop to preach, and he believed that Monluc's
sermons contained something very like Lutheran theology. He invited the
Duke of Guise and Saint-André, both old enemies, to supper (April 16th,
1561), and the three pleged themselves to save the Romanism of France.
This union was afterwards known as the Triumvirate.

Meanwhile religious disturbances were increasing. The Huguenots demanded
the right to have "temples" granted to them or built at their own
expense; and in many places they openly gathered for public worship and
for the celebration of the Lord's Supper. They frequently met armed to
protect themselves from attack. The Government at length interfered, and
by an edict (July 1561) prohibited, under penalty of confiscation of
property, all conventicles, public or private, whether the worshippers
were armed or unarmed, where sermons were made and the sacraments
celebrated in any other fashion than that of the Catholic Church. The
edict declared, on the other hand, that magistrates were not to be too
zealous; persons who laid false information were to be severely
punished; and all attacks on houses were forbidden. It was evidently
meant to conciliate both parties. Coligny did not discontinue the
services in his apartments, and wrote to his co-religionists that they
had nothing to fear so long as they worshipped in private houses. Jeanne
d'Albret declared herself openly a Protestant; and as she travelled from
Nérac to Fontainebleau she restored to the Huguenots churches which the
magistrates had taken from them in obedience to the edict of July.

The prorogued meeting of the States General did not assemble until the
1st of August, and even then representatives of two orders only were
present. An ecclesiastical synod was sitting at Poissy (opened July
28th), and the clerical representatives were there. It was the 27th of
August before the three orders met together in presence of the King and
the members of his Council at Saint-Germain. The meeting had been called
for the purpose of discussing the question of national finance; but it
was impossible to ignore the religious question.

In their _cahiers_, both the Nobles and the Third Estate advocated
complete toleration and the summoning a National Council. The financial
proposals of the Third Estate were thoroughgoing. After a statement of
the national indebtedness, and a representation that taxation had
reached its utmost limits, they proposed that money should be obtained
from the superfluity of ecclesiastical wealth. In their _cahier_ of Jan.
1st, the Third Estate had sketched a civil constitution for the French
Church; they now went further, and proposed that all ecclesiastical
revenues should be nationalised, and that the clergy should be paid by
the State. They calculated that a surplus of seventy-two million livres
would result, and proposed that forty-two millions should be set aside
to liquidate the national debt.

This bold proposal was impracticable in the condition of the kingdom.
The _Parlement_ of Paris regarded it as a revolutionary attack on the
rights of property, and it alienated them for ever from the Reformation
movement; but it enabled the Government to wring from the alarmed
Churchmen a subsidy of sixteen million livres, to be paid in six annual

§ 11. _The Conference at Poissy._

It was scarcely possible, in view of the Pope and Philip of Spain, to
assemble a National Council, but the Government had already conceived
the idea of a meeting of theologians, which would be such an assembly in
all but the name. They had invited representatives of the Protestant
ministers (July 25th) to attend the synod of the clergy sitting at
Poissy. The invitation had been accepted, and the Government intended to
give an air of unusual solemnity to the meeting. The King, surrounded by
his mother, his brothers, and the Princes of the Blood, presided as at a
sitting of the States General. The Chancellor, in the King's name,
opened the session with a remarkable speech, in which he set forth the
advantages to be gained from religious union. He addressed the assembled
bishops and Roman Catholic theologians, assuring them that they ought to
have no scruples in meeting the Protestant divines. The latter were not
heretics like the old Manicheans or Arians. They accepted the Scriptures
as the Rule of Faith, the Apostles' Creed, the four principal Councils
and _their_ Creeds (the symbols of Nicea, Constantinople, and
Chalcedon). The main difference between them was that the Protestants
wished the Church to be reformed according to the primitive pattern.
They had given proof of their sincerity by being content to die for
their faith.

The Reformers were represented by twelve ministers, among whom were
Morel of Paris; Nicolas des Gallars, minister of the French Protestant
Church in London, and by twenty laymen. Their leader was Théodore de
Bèze (Beza), a man of noble birth, celebrated as a Humanist, a brilliant
writer and controversialist, whom Calvin, at the request of Antoine de
Bourbon, Catherine de' Medici, and Coligny, had commissioned to
represent him. De Bèze was privately presented to the King and the
Regent by the King of Navarre and by the Prince de Condé, and his
learning, presence, and stately courtesy made a great impression upon
the Court. He had been born in the same year as the Regent (1519), and
had thrown away very brilliant prospects to become a minister of the
Reformed Church.

The meeting was held in the refectory of the nuns of Poissy.[216] The
King and his suite were placed at one end of the hall, and the Romanist
bishops and theologians were arranged by the walls on the two sides.
After the Chancellor had finished his speech, the representatives of the
Protestants were introduced by the Duke of Guise, in command of an
escort of the King's archers. They were placed in front of a barrier
which separated them from the Romanist divines. "There come the dogs of
Geneva," said the Cardinal of Tournon as they entered the hall.

The speech of de Bèze, delivered on the first day (Sept. 7th) of the
Colloquy, as it came to be called, made a great impression. He expounded
with clearness of thought and precision of language the creed of his
Church, showing where it agreed and where it differed from that of the
Roman Catholic. The gravity and the charm of his eloquence compelled
attention, and it was not until he began to criticise with frank
severity the doctrine of transubstantiation that he provoked murmurs of
dissent. The speech must have disappointed Catherine. It had made no
attempt to attenuate the differences between the two confessions, and
held out no hopes of a reunion of the Churches.

The Cardinal of Lorraine was charged to reply on behalf of the Roman
Catholic party (Sept. 16th). His speech was that of a strong partisan,
and dealt principally with the two points of the authority of the Church
in matters of faith and usage, and the doctrine of the Sacrament of the
Holy Supper. There was no attempt at conciliation.

Three days after (Sept. 19th), Cardinal Ippolito d'Este arrived at
Saint-Germain, accompanied by a numerous suite, among whom was Laynez,
the General of the Society of Jesus. He had been sent by the Pope,
legate _a latere_, to end, if possible, the conference at Poissy, and to
secure the goodwill of the French Government for the promulgation of the
decrees of the Council of Trent. He so far prevailed that the last two
sittings of the conference (Sept. 24th, 26th) were with closed doors,
and were scenes of perpetual recriminations. Laynez distinguished
himself by his vituperative violence. The Protestant ministers were
"wolves," "foxes," "serpents," "assassins." Catherine persevered. She
arranged a conference between five of the more liberal Roman Catholic
clergy and five Protestant ministers. It met (Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st), and
managed to draft a formula about the Holy Supper which was at once
rejected by the Bishops of the French Church (Oct. 9th).

Out of this Colloquy of Poissy came the edict of January 17th, 1562,
which provided that Protestants were to surrender all the churches and
ecclesiastical buildings they had seized, and prohibited them from
meeting for public worship, whether within a building or not, inside the
walls of any town. On the other hand, they were to have the right to
assemble for public worship anywhere outside walled towns, and meetings
in private houses within the walls were not prohibited. Thus the
Protestants of France secured legal recognition for the first time, and
enjoyed the right to worship according to their conscience. They were
not satisfied--they could scarcely be, so long as they were kept outside
the walls; but their leaders insisted on their accepting the edict as a
reasonable compromise. "If the liberty promised us in the edict lasts,"
Calvin wrote, "the Papacy will fall to the ground of itself." Within one
year the Huguenots of France found themselves freed from persecution,
and in the enjoyment of a measured liberty of public worship. It can
scarcely be doubted that they owed this to Catherine de' Medici. She
was a child of the Renaissance, and was naturally on the side of free
thought; and she was, besides, at this time persuaded that the Huguenots
had the future on their side. In the coming struggle they regarded this
edict as their charter, and frequently demanded its restitution and

Catherine de' Medici had shown both courage and constancy in her
attempts at conciliation. To the remonstrances of Philip of Spain she
had replied that she meant to be master in her own house; and when the
Constable de Montmorency had threatened to leave the Court, he had been
told that he might do as he pleased. But she was soon to be convinced
that she had overestimated the strength of the Protestants, and that she
could never count on the consistent support of their nominal leader, the
vain and vacillating Antoine de Bourbon. Had Jeanne d'Albret been in her
husband's place, things might have been different.

The edict of January 17th, 1562, had exasperated the Romanists without
satisfying the mass of the Protestants. The marked increase in the
numbers of Protestant congregations, and their not very strict
observance of the limitations of the edict, had given rise to
disturbances in many parts of the country. Everything seemed to tend
towards civil war. The spark which kindled the conflagration was the
Massacre of Vassy.[217]

§ 12. _The Massacre of Vassy._

The Duke of Guise, travelling from Joinville to Paris, accompanied by
his brother, the Cardinal of Guise, his children and his wife, and
escorted by a large armed retinue, halted at Vassy (March 1st, 1562). It
was a Sunday, and the Duke wished to hear Mass. Scarcely a gunshot from
the church was a barn where the Protestants (in defiance of the edict,
for Vassy was a walled town) were holding a service. The congregation,
barely a year old, was numerous and zealous. It was an eyesore to
Antoinette de Bourbon, the mother of the Guises, who lived in the
neighbouring château of Joinville, and saw her dependants attracted by
the preaching at Vassy. The Duke was exasperated at seeing men whom he
counted his subjects defying him in his presence. He sent some of his
retainers to order the worshippers to quit the place. They were received
by cries of "Papists! idolaters!" When they attempted to force an
entrance, stones began to fly, and the Duke was struck. The barn was
rushed, the worshippers fusilladed, and before the Duke gave orders to
cease firing, sixty-three of the six or seven hundred Protestants were
slain, and over a hundred wounded.

The news of the massacre spread fast; and while it exasperated the
Huguenots, the Romanists hailed it as a victory. The Constable de
Montmorency and the Marshal Saint André went out to meet the Duke, and
the Guises entered Paris in triumph, escorted by more than three
thousand armed men. The Protestants began arming themselves, and crowded
to Paris to place themselves under the orders of the Prince of Condé. It
was feared that the two factions would fight in the streets.

The Regent with the King retired to Fontainebleau. She was afraid of the
Triumvirs (Montmorency, the Duke of Guise, and Marshal Saint-André), and
she invited the Prince de Condé to protect her and her children. Condé
lost this opportunity of placing himself and his co-religionists in the
position of being the support of the throne. The Triumvirate, with
Antoine de Bourbon, who now seemed to be their obedient servant, marched
on Fontainebleau, and compelled the King and the Queen Mother to return
to Paris. Catherine believed that the Protestants had abandoned her, and
turned to the Romanists.

The example of massacre given at Vassy was followed in many places where
the Romanists were in a majority. In Paris, Sens, Rouen, and elsewhere,
the Protestant places of worship were attacked, and many of the
worshippers slain. At Toulouse, the Protestants shut themselves up in
the Capitol, and were besieged by the Romanists. They at last
surrendered, trusting to a promise that they would be allowed to leave
the town in safety. The promise was not kept, and three thousand men,
women, and children were slain in cold blood. This slaughter, in
violation of oath, was celebrated by the Roman Catholics of Toulouse in
centenary festivals, which were held in 1662, in 1762, and would have
been celebrated in 1862 had the Government of Napoleon III. not
interfered to forbid it.

These massacres provoked reprisals. The Huguenots broke into the
Romanist churches, tore down the images, defaced the altars, and
destroyed the relics.

§ 13. _The Beginning of the Wars of Religion._

Gradually the parties faced each other with the Duke of Guise and the
Constable Montmorency at the head of the Romanists, and the Prince of
Condé and Admiral Coligny at the head of the Huguenots. France became
the scene of a civil conflict, where religious fanaticism added its
cruelties to the ordinary barbarities of warfare.

The Venetian Ambassador, writing home to the chiefs of his State, was of
opinion that this first war of religion prevented France from becoming
Protestant. The cruelties of the Romanists had disgusted a large number
of Frenchmen, who, though they had no great sympathy for the Protestant
faith, would have gladly allied themselves with a policy of toleration.
The Huguenot chiefs themselves saw that the desecration of churches did
not serve the cause they had at heart. Calvin and de Bèze wrote,
energetically urging their followers to refrain from attacks on
churches, images, and relics. But it was all to no purpose. At Orléans,
Coligny and Condé heard that their men were assaulting the Church of the
Holy Spirit. They hastened there, and Condé saw a Huguenot soldier on
the roof of the church about to cast an image to the ground. Seizing an
arquebus, he pointed it at the man, and ordered him to desist and come
down. The soldier did not stop his work for an instant. "Sire," he said,
"have patience with me until I destroy this idol, and then let me die if
it be your pleasure." When men were content to die rather than refrain
from iconoclasm, it was in vain to expect to check it. Somehow the
slaughter of men made less impression than the sack of churches, and
moderate men came to the opinion that if the Huguenots prevailed, they
would be as intolerant as the Romanists had been. The rising tide of
sympathy for the persecuted Protestants was checked by these deeds of

The progress of the war was upon the whole unfavourable to the
Huguenots, and in the beginning of 1553 both parties were exhausted. The
Constable Montmorency had been captured by the Huguenots, and the Prince
de Condé by the Romanists. The Duke of Guise was shot from behind by a
Huguenot, and died six days later (Feb. 24th, 1563). The Marshal
Saint-André and Antoine de Bourbon had both died during the course of
the war. Catherine de' Medici was everywhere recognised as the head of
the Romanist party. She no longer needed the Protestants to
counterbalance the Guises and the Constable. She could now pursue her
own policy.

From this time forward she was decidedly hostile to the Huguenots. She
had learned the resources and popularity of the Romanists. But she
disliked fighting, and the religious war was ruining France. Her idea
was that it would be necessary to tolerate the Protestants, but
impossible to grant them common rights with the Romanists. She applied
herself to win over the Prince de Condé, who was tired of his captivity.
Negotiations were opened. Catherine, the Constable, Condé, and d'Andelot
met at Orléans; and, after discussion, terms were agreed upon (March
7th), and the Edict of Amboise incorporating them was published (March
18th, 1563).

Condé had asked for the restitution of the edict of Jan. 17th, 1561, and
the strict enforcement of its terms. This was refused. The terms of the
new edict were as favourable for men of good birth, but not for others.
Condé had to undergo the reproaches of Coligny, that he had secured
rights for himself but had betrayed his poorer brethren in the faith;
and that he had destroyed by his signature more churches than the united
forces of Romanism had done in ten years. Calvin spoke of him as a poor
Prince who had betrayed God for his own vanity.

The truce, for it was no more than a truce, concluded by the Edict of
Amboise lasted nearly five years. It was broken by the Huguenots, who
were suspicious that Catherine was plotting with the Duke of Alva
against them. Alva was engaged in a merciless attempt to exterminate the
Protestants of the Low Countries, and Catherine had been at pains to
provide provisions for his troops. The Protestant leaders came to the
desperate conclusion to imitate the Triumvirate in 1561, and seize upon
the King's person. They failed, and their attempt began the Second War
of Religion. The indecisive battle of Saint Denis was fought on Nov.
10th, 1567, and the Constable Montmorency fell in the fight. Both
parties were almost exhausted, and the terms of peace were the same as
those in the Edict of Amboise.

The close of this Second War of Religion saw a determined attempt,
mainly directed by the Jesuits, to inspire the masses of France with
enthusiasm for the Roman Catholic Church. Eloquent preachers traversed
the land, who insisted on the antiquity of the Roman and the novelty of
the Protestant faith. Brotherhoods were formed, and enrolled men of all
sorts and conditions of life sworn to bear arms against every kind of
heresy. Outrages and assassinations of Protestants were common; and the
Government appeared indifferent. It was, however, the events in the Low
Countries which again alarmed the Protestants. The Duke of Alva, who had
begun his rule there with an appearance of gentleness, had suddenly
seized and executed the Counts Egmont and Horn. He had appointed a
commission to judge the leaders and accomplices in the earlier rising--a
commission which from its deeds gained for itself the name of the
Tribunal of Blood. Huguenot soldiers hastened to enrol themselves in the
levies which the Prince of Orange was raising for the deliverance of his
countrymen. But the Huguenot leaders had other thoughts. Was Catherine
meaning to treat them as Alva had treated Egmont and Horn? They found
that they were watched. The suspicion and suspense became intolerable.
Coligny and Condé resolved to take refuge in La Rochelle. As they passed
through the country they were joined by numbers of Huguenots, and soon
became a small army. Their followers were eager to avenge the murders
committed on those of their faith, and pillage and worse marked the
track of the army. Condé and the Admiral punished some of their
marauding followers by death; and this, says the chronicler, "made the
violence of the soldier more secret if not more rare."

D'Andelot had collected his Normans and Bretons. Jeanne d'Albret had
roused her Gascons and the Provençals, and appeared with her son, Henry
of Navarre, a boy of fifteen, at the head of her troops. She published a
manifesto to justify her in taking up arms. In the camp at La Rochelle
she was the soul of the party, fired their passions, and sustained their

In the war which followed, the Huguenots were unfortunate. At the battle
of Jarnac, Condé's cavalry was broken by a charge on their flank made by
the German mercenaries under Tavannes. He fought till he was surrounded
and dismounted. After he had surrendered he was brutally shot in cold
blood. The Huguenots soon rallied at Cognac, where the Queen of Navarre
joined them. She presented her son and her nephew, young Henry of
Condé, to the troops, and was received with acclamations. Young Henry of
Navarre was proclaimed head of the party, and his cousin, Henry of
Condé, a boy of the same age, was associated with him. The war went on.
The Battle of Moncontour ended in the most disastrous defeat the
Huguenots had ever sustained. Catherine de' Medici thought that she had
them at her mercy, and proposed terms of submission which would have
left them liberty of conscience but denied the right to worship. The
heroic Queen of Navarre declared that the names of Jeanne and Henry
would never appear on a treaty containing these conditions; and Coligny,
like his contemporary, William the Silent, was never more dangerous than
after a defeat. The Huguenots announced themselves ready to fight to the
last; and Catherine, to her astonishment, saw them stronger than ever.
An armistice was arranged, and the Edict of Saint-Germain (Aug. 8th,
1570) published the terms of peace. It was more favourable to the
Huguenots than any earlier one. They were guaranteed freedom of
conscience throughout the whole kingdom. They had the liberty of public
worship in all places where it had been practised before the war, in the
suburbs of at least two towns in every government, and in the residences
of the great nobles. Four strongly fortified towns--La Rochelle,
Montauban, Cognac, and La Charité--were to be held by them as pledges
for at least two years. The King withdrew himself from the Spanish
alliance and the international policy of the suppression of the
Protestants. William of Orange and Ludovic of Nassau were declared to be
his friends, in spite of the fact that they were the rebel subjects of
Philip of Spain and had assisted the Huguenots in the late war.

After the peace of Saint-Germain, Coligny, now the only great leader
left to the Huguenots, lived far from the Court at La Rochelle, acting
as the guardian of the two young Bourbon Princes, Henry of Navarre and
Henry of Condé. He occupied himself in securing for the Reformed the
advantages they had won in the recent treaty of peace.

Catherine de' Medici had begun to think of strengthening herself at home
and abroad by matrimonial alliances. She wished one of her sons, whether
the Duke of Anjou or the Duke of Alençon it mattered little to her, to
marry Elizabeth of England, and her daughter Marguerite to espouse the
young King of Navarre. Both designs meant that the Huguenots must be
conciliated. They were in no hurry to respond to her advances. Both
Coligny and Jeanne d'Albret kept themselves at a distance from the
Court. Suddenly the young King, Charles IX., seemed to awaken to his
royal position. He had been hitherto entirely submissive to his mother,
expending his energies now in hunting, now in lock-making; but, if one
can judge from what awakened him, cherishing a sullen grudge against
Philip of Spain and his pretensions to guide the policy of Roman
Catholic Europe.

Pope Pius V. had made Cosmo de' Medici, the ruler of Florence, a Grand
Duke, and Philip of Spain and Maximilian of Austria had protested. Cosmo
sent an agent to win the German Protestants to side with him against
Maximilian, and to engage the Dutch Protestants to make trouble in the
Netherlands. Charles saw the opportunity of gratifying his grudge, and
entered eagerly into the scheme. His wishes did not for the time
interfere with his mother's plans. If her marriage ideas were to
succeed, she must break with Spain. Coligny saw the advantages which
might come to his fellow-believers in the Netherlands--help in money
from Italy and with troops from France. He resolved to make his peace
with Catherine, respond to her advances, and betake himself to Court. He
was graciously received, for Catherine wished to make use of him; was
made a member of the Council, received a gift of one hundred and fifty
thousand livres, and, although a heretic, was put into possession of an
Abbey whose revenues amounted to twenty thousand livres a year. The
Protestant chiefs were respectfully listened to when they stated
grievances, and these were promptly put right, even at the risk of
exasperating the Romanists. The somewhat unwilling consent of Jeanne
d'Albret was won to the marriage of her son with Marguerite, and she
herself came to Paris to settle the terms of contract. There she was
seized with pleurisy, and died--an irreparable loss to the Protestant
cause. Catherine's home policy had been successful.

But Elizabeth of England was not to be enticed either into a French
marriage or a stable French alliance, and Catherine de' Medici saw that
her son's scheme might lead to France being left to confront Spain
alone; and the Spain of the sixteenth century played the part of Russia
in the end of the nineteenth--fascinating the statesmen of the day with
its gloomy, mysterious, incalculable power. She felt that she must
detach Charles at whatever cost from his scheme of flouting Philip by
giving assistance to the Protestants of the Low Countries. Coligny was
in her way--recognised to be the greatest statesman in France,
enthusiastically bent on sending French help to his struggling
co-religionists, and encouraging Charles IX. Coligny must be removed.
The Guises were at deadly feud with him, and would be useful in putting
him out of the way. The Ambassador of Florence reported significantly
conferences between Catherine and the Duchess de Nemours, the mother of
the Guises (July 23rd, 1572). The Queen had secret interviews with
Maureval, a professional bravo, who drew a pension as "tueur du Roy."

Nothing could be done until Henry, now King of Navarre by his mother's
death, was safely married to Marguerite. The wedding took place on
August 18th, 1572. On Friday (Aug. 22nd), between ten and eleven
o'clock, Coligny left the Louvre to return to his lodging. The assassin
was stationed in a house belonging to a retainer of the Guises, at a
grated window concealed by a curtain. The Admiral was walking slowly,
reading a letter. Suddenly a shot carried away the index finger of his
right hand and wounded his left arm. He calmly pointed to the window
from whence the shot had come; and some of his suite rushed to the
house, but found nothing but a smoking arquebus. The news reached the
King when he was playing tennis. He became pallid, threw down his
racquet, and went to his rooms.

Catherine closeted herself with the Duke of Anjou to discuss a situation
which was fraught with terror.[219]

§ 14. _The Massacre of St. Bartholomew._

Paris was full of Huguenot gentlemen, drawn from all parts of the
country for the wedding of their young chief with the Princess
Marguerite. They rushed to the house in which Coligny lay. The young
King of Navarre and his cousin, Henry de Condé, went to the King to
demand justice, which Charles promised would be promptly rendered.
Coligny asked to see the King, who proposed to go at once. Catherine
feared to leave the two alone, and accompanied him, attended by a number
of her most trusty adherents. Even the Duke of Guise was there. The King
by Coligny's bedside swore again with a great oath that he would avenge
the outrage in a way that it would never be forgotten. A commission was
appointed to inquire into the affair, and they promptly discovered that
retainers of the Guises were implicated. If the investigations were
pursued in the King's temper, Guise would probably seek to save himself
by revealing Catherine's share in the attempted assassination. She
became more and more a prey to terror. The Huguenots grew more and more
violent. At last Catherine, whether on her own initiative or prompted by
others will never be known, believed that she could only save herself by
a prompt and thorough massacre of the Huguenots, gathered in unusual
numbers in Paris.[220]

She summoned a council (Aug. 23rd), at which were present, so far as is
known, the Duke of Anjou, her favourite son, afterwards Henry III.,
Marshal Tavannes, Nevers, Nemours (the stepfather of the Guises), Birago
(Chancellor), the Count de Retz, and the Chevalier d'Angoulême--four of
them Italians. They were unanimous in advising an instant massacre.
Tavannes and Nevers, it is said, pled for and obtained the lives of the
two young Bourbons, the King of Navarre and the Prince de Condé. The
Count de Retz, who was a favourite with Charles, was engaged to win the
King's consent by appealing to his fears, and by telling him that his
mother and brother were as deeply implicated as Guise.

Night had come down before the final resolution was taken; but the
fanatical and bloodthirsty mob of Paris might be depended upon. At the
last moment, Tavannes (the son) tells us in his Memoirs, Catherine
wished to draw back, but the others kept her firm. The Duke of Guise
undertook to slay Coligny. The Admiral was run through with a pike, and
the body tossed out of the window into the courtyard where Guise was
waiting. At the Louvre the young Bourbon Princes were arrested, taken to
the King, and given their choice between death and the Mass. The other
Huguenot gentlemen who were in the Louvre were slain. In the morning the
staircases, balls, and anti-chambers of the Palace were deeply stained
with blood. When the murders had been done in the Louvre, the troops
divided into parties and went to seek other victims. Almost all the
Huguenot gentlemen on the north side of the river were slain, and all
in the Quartier Latin. But some who lodged on the south side (among them
Montgomery, and Jean de Ferrières, the Vidame de Chartres) escaped.

Orders were sent to complete the massacre in the provinces. At Orléans
the slaughter lasted five days, and Protestants were slain in numbers at
Meaux, Troyes, Rouen, Lyons, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and in many other
places. The total number of victims has been variously estimated. Sully,
the Prime Minister of Henry IV., who had good means of knowing, says
that seventy thousand perished. Several thousands were slain in Paris

The news was variously received by Roman Catholic Europe. The German
Romanists, including the Emperor, were not slow to express their
disapprobation. But Rome was illuminated in honour of the event, a medal
was struck to commemorate the _Hugonotorum Strages_,[221] and Cardinal
Orsini was sent to convey to the King and Queen Mother the
congratulations of the Pope and the College of Cardinals. Philip of
Spain was delighted, and is said to have laughed outright for the first
and last time in his life. He congratulated the son on having such a
mother, and the mother on having such a son.

Catherine herself believed that the massacre had ended all her troubles.
The Huguenots had been annihilated, she thought; and it is reported that
when she saw Henry of Navarre bowing to the altar she burst out into a
shrill laugh.

§ 15. _The Huguenot resistance after the Massacre._

Catherine's difficulties were not ended. It was not so easy to
exterminate the Huguenots. Most of the leaders had perished, but the
people remained, cowed for a time undoubtedly, but soon to regain their
courage. The Protestants held the strongholds of La Rochelle and
Sancerre, the one on the coast and the other in central France. The
artisans and the small shopkeepers insisted that there should be no
surrender. The sailors of La Rochelle fraternised with the Sea-Beggars
of Brill, and waged an implacable sea-war against the ships of Spain.
Nimes and Montauban closed their gates against the soldiers of the King.
Milhaud, Aubenas, Privas, Mirabel, Anduze, Sommières, and other towns of
the Viverais and of the Cevennes became cities of refuge. All over
France, the Huguenots, although they had lost their leaders, kept
together, armed themselves, communicated with each other, maintained
their religious services--though compelled generally to meet at night.

The attempt to capture these Protestant strongholds made the Fourth
Religious War. La Rochelle was invested, beat back many assaults, was
blockaded and endured famine, and in the end compelled its enemies to
retire from its walls. Sancerre was less fortunate. After the failure of
an attempt to take it by assault, La Châtre, the general of the
besieging army, blockaded the town in the closest fashion. The citizens
endured all the utmost horrors of famine. Five hundred adults and all
the children under twelve years of age died of hunger. "Why weep," said
a boy of ten, "to see me die of hunger? I do not ask bread, mother: I
know that you have none. Since God wills that I die, thus we must accept
it cheerfully. Was not that good man Lazarus hungry? Have I not so read
in the Bible?" The survivors surrendered: their lives were spared; and
on payment of a ransom of forty thousand livres the town was not

The war ended with the peace of Rochelle (July 1573), when liberty of
conscience was accorded to all, but the right of public worship was
permitted only to Rochelle, Nimes, Montauban, and in the houses of some
of the principal Protestant nobles. These terms were hard in comparison
with the rights which had been won before the Massacre of Saint
Bartholomew; but the Huguenots had reason for rejoicing. Their cause was
still alive. Neither war, nor massacre, nor frauds innumerable had made
any impression on the great mass of the French Protestants.

The peace declared by the treaty of La Rochelle did not last long, and
indeed was never universal. The Protestants of the South used it to
prepare for a renewal of conflict. They remained under arms, perfecting
their military organisation. They divided the districts which they
controlled into regular governments, presided over by councils whose
members were elected and were the military leaders of a Protestant
nation for the time being separate from the kingdom of France. They
imposed taxes on Romanists and Protestants, and confiscated the
ecclesiastical revenues. They were able to stock their strongholds with
provisions and munitions of war, and maintain a force of twenty thousand
men ready for offensive action.

Their councils at Nimes and Montauban formulated the conditions under
which they would submit to the French Government. Nimes sent a
deputation to the King furnished with a series of written articles, in
which they demanded the free exercise of their religion in every part of
France, the maintenance at royal expense of Huguenot garrisons in all
the strongholds held by them, and the cession of two strong posts to be
cities of refuge in each of the provinces of France. The demands of the
council of Montauban went further. They added that the King must condemn
the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, execute justice on those who had
perpetrated it, reverse the sentences passed on all the victims, approve
of the Huguenot resistance, and declare that he praised _la singulière
et admirable bonté de Dieu_ who had still preserved his Protestant
subjects. They required also that the rights of the Protestant minority
in France should be guaranteed by the Protestant States of Europe--by
the German Protestant Princes, by Switzerland, England, and Scotland.
They dated their document significantly August 24th--the anniversary of
the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. The deputies refused to discuss these
terms; they simply presented them. The King might accept them; he might
refuse them. They were not to be modified.

Catherine was both furious and confounded at the audacity of these
"rascals" (_ces misérables_), as she called them. She declared that
Condé, if he had been at the head of twenty thousand cavalry and fifty
thousand infantry, would never have asked for the half of what these
articles demanded. The Queen Mother found herself face to face with men
on whom she might practise all her arts in vain, very different from the
_debonnaire_ Huguenot princes whom she had been able to cajole with
feminine graces and enervate with her "Flying Squadron." These farmers,
citizens, artisans knew her and her Court, and called things by rude
names. She herself was a "murderess," and her "Flying Squadron" were
"fallen women." She had cleared away the Huguenot aristocracy to find
herself in presence of the Protestant democracy.

The worst of it was that she dared not allow the King to give them a
decided answer. A new force had been rising in France since Saint
Bartholomew's Day--the _Politiques_,[222] as they were called. They put
France above religious parties, and were weary of the perpetual
bloodshed; they said that "a man does not cease to be a citizen because
he is excommunicated"; they declared that "with the men they had lost in
the religious wars they could have driven Spain out of the Low
Countries." They chafed under the rule of "foreigners," of the Queen
Mother and her Italians, of the Guises and their Jesuits. They were
prepared to unite with the Huguenots in order to give France peace. They
only required leaders who could represent the two sides of the
coalition. If the Duke of Alençon, the youngest brother of the King, and
Henry of Navarre could escape from the Court and raise their standards
together, they were prepared to join them.

Charles IX. died on Whitsunday 1574 of a disease which the tainted
blood of the Valois and the Médicis induced. The memories of Saint
Bartholomew also hastened his death. Private memoirs of courtiers tell
us that in his last weeks of fever he had frightful dreams by day and by
night. He saw himself surrounded by dead bodies; hideous faces covered
with blood thrust themselves forward towards his. The crime had not been
so much his as his mother's, but _he_ had something of a conscience, and
felt its burden. "Et ma Mère" was his last word--an appeal to his
mother, whom he feared more than his God.

On Charles' death, Henry, Duke of Anjou, succeeded as Henry III.[223] He
was in Poland--king of that distracted country. He abandoned his crown,
evaded his subjects, and reached France in September 1574. His advent
did not change matters much. Catherine still ruled in reality. The war
went on with varying success in different parts of France. But the Duke
of Anjou (the Duke of Alençon took this title on his brother's
accession) succeeded in escaping from Court (Sept. 15th, 1575), and the
King of Navarre also managed to elude his guardians (Feb. 3rd, 1576).
Anjou joined the Prince of Condé, who was at the head of a mixed force
of Huguenots and Politiques. Henry of Navarre went into Poitou and
remained there. His first act was to attend the Protestant worship, and
immediately afterwards he renounced his forced adhesion to Romanism. He
did not join any of the parties in the field, but sent on his own
demands to be forwarded to the King along with those of the
confederates, adding to them the request that the King should aid him to
recover the Spanish part of Navarre which had been forcibly annexed to
Spain by Ferdinand of Aragon.

The escape of the two Princes led in the end to the "Peace of Monsieur,"
the terms of which were published in the Edict of Beaulieu (May 6th,
1576). The right of public worship was given to Protestants in all
towns and places within the kingdom of France, Paris only and towns
where the Court was residing being excepted. Protestants received eight
strongholds, partly as cities of refuge and partly as guarantees.
Chambers of Justice "mi-parties" (composed of both Protestants and Roman
Catholics) were established in each Parliament. The King actually
apologised for the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, and declared that it
had happened to his great regret; and all sentences pronounced on the
victims were reversed. This edict was much more favourable to the
Protestants than any that had gone before. Almost all the Huguenots'
demands had been granted.

§ 16. _The beginnings of the League._

Neither the King, who felt himself humiliated, nor the Romanists, who
were indignant, were inclined to submit long to the terms of peace. Some
of the Romanist leaders had long seen that the Huguenot enthusiasm and
their organisation were enabling an actual minority to combat, on more
than equal terms, a Romanist majority. Some of the provincial leaders
had been able to inspire their followers with zeal, and to bind them
together in an organisation by means of leagues. These provincial
leagues suggested a universal organisation, which was fostered by Henry,
Duke of Guise, and by Catherine de' Medici. This was the first form of
that celebrated League which gave twenty years' life to the civil war in
France. The Duke of Guise published a declaration in which he appealed
to all France to associate together in defence of the Holy Church,
Catholic and Roman, and of their King Henry III., whose authority and
rights were being taken from him by rebels. All good Catholics were
required to join the association, and to furnish arms for the
accomplishment of its designs. Those who refused were to be accounted
enemies. Neutrals were to be harassed with "toutes sortes d'offences et
molestes"; open foes were to be fought strenuously. Paris was easily
won to the League, and agents were sent abroad throughout France to
enrol recruits. Henry III. himself was enrolled, and led the movement.

The King had summoned the States General to meet at Blois and hold their
first session there on Dec. 6th, 1576. The League had attended to the
elections, and the Estates declared unanimously for unity of religion.
Upon this the King announced that the Edict of Beaulieu had been
extracted from him by force, and that he did not intend to keep it. Two
of the Estates, the Clergy and the Nobles, were prepared to compel unity
at any cost. The Third Estate was divided. A minority wished the unity
brought about "by gentle and pacific ways"; the majority asked for the
immediate and complete suppression of the public worship of the
Protestants, and for the banishment of all ministers, elders, and

These decisions of the States General were taken by the Huguenots as a
declaration of war, and they promptly began to arm themselves. It was
the first war of the League, and the sixth of Religion. It ended with
the Peace of Bergerac (Sept. 15th, 1578), in which the terms granted to
the Huguenots were rather worse than those of the Edict of Beaulieu. A
seventh war ensued, terminated by the Peace of Fleix (Nov. 1580).

The Duke of Anjou died (June 10th, 1584), and the King had no son. The
heir to the throne, according to the Salic Law, which excluded females,
was Henry of Navarre, a Protestant. On the death of Anjou, Henry III.
found himself face to face with this fact. He knew and felt that he was
the guardian of the dynastic rights of the French throne, and that his
duty was to acknowledge Henry of Navarre as his successor. He
accordingly sent one of his favourites, Éperon, to prevail upon Henry of
Navarre to become a Roman Catholic and come to Court. Henry refused to
do either.

§ 17. _The League becomes disloyal._[224]

Meanwhile the Romanist nobles were taking their measures. Some of them
met at Nancy towards the close of 1584 to reconstruct the League. They
resolved to exclude the Protestant Bourbons from the throne, and
proclaim the Cardinal Bourbon as the successor of Henry III. They hoped
to obtain a Bull from the Pope authorising this selection; and they
received the support of Philip of Spain in the Treaty of Joinville (Dec.
31st, 1584).

Paris did not wait for the sanction or recommendation of the nobles. A
contemporary anonymous pamphlet, which is the principal source of our
information, describes how four men, three of them ecclesiastics, met
together to found the League of Paris. They discussed the names of
suitable members, and, having selected a nucleus of trustworthy
associates, they proceeded to elect a secret council of eight or nine
who were to direct and control everything. The active work of recruiting
was superintended by six associates, of whom one, the Sieur de la
Rocheblond, was a member of the secret council. Soon all the most
fanatical elements of the population of Paris belonged to this secret
society, sworn to obey blindly the orders of the mysterious council who
from a concealed background directed everything. The corporations of the
various trades were won to the League; the butchers of Paris, for
example, furnished a band of fifteen hundred resolute and dangerous men.
Trusty emissaries were sent to the large towns of France, and secret
societies on the plan of the one in Paris were formed and affiliated
with the mother-society in Paris, all bound to execute the orders of the
secret council of the capital. The Sieur de la Rocheblond, whose brain
had planned the whole organisation, was the medium of communication with
the Romanist Princes; and through him Henry, Duke of Guise, le Balafré
as he was called from a scar on his face, was placed in command of this
new and formidable instrument, to be wielded as he thought best for the
extirpation of the Protestantism of France.

The King had published an edict forbidding all armed assemblies, and
this furnished the Leaguers with a pretext for sending forth their
manifesto: _Déclaration des causes qui ont meu Monseigneur le Cardinal
de Bourbon et les Pairs, Princes, Seigneurs, villes et communautez
catholiques de ce royaume de France: De s'opposer à ceux qui par tous
moyens s'efforcent de subvertir la religion catholique et l'Estat (30
Mars 1585)._ It was a skilfully drafted document, setting forth the
danger to religion in the foreground, but touching on all the evils and
jealousies which had arisen from the favouritism of Henry III. Guise at
once began to enrol troops and commence open hostilities; and almost all
the great towns of France and most of the provinces in the North and in
the Centre declared for the League.

Henry III. was greatly alarmed. With the help of his mother he
negotiated a treaty with the Leaguers, in which he promised to revoke
all the earlier Edicts of Toleration, to prohibit the exercise of
Protestant public worship throughout the kingdom, to banish the
ministers, and to give all Protestants the choice between becoming Roman
Catholics or leaving the realm within six months (Treaty of Nemours,
July 7th, 1585). These terms were embodied in an edict dated July 18th,
1585. The Pope, Sixtus V., thereupon published a Bull, which declared
that the King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé, being heretics, were
incapable of succeeding to the throne of France, deprived them of their
estates, and absolved all their vassals from allegiance. The King of
Navarre replied to "Monsieur Sixtus, self-styled Pope, saving His
Holiness," and promised to avenge the insult done to himself and to the
_Parlements_ of France.

"The war of the three Henrys," from Henry III., Henry of Guise, and
Henry of Navarre, began in the later months of 1585. It was in some
respects a triangular fight; for although the King and the Guises were
both ostensibly combating the Huguenots, the Leaguers, headed by Guises,
and the Loyalists, were by no means whole-hearted allies. It began
unfavourably for the Protestants, but as it progressed the skilful
generalship of the King of Navarre became more and more apparent--at
Coutras (Oct. 20th, 1587) he almost annihilated the royalist army. The
King made several ineffectual attempts to win the Protestant leader to
his side. Navarre would never consent to abjure his faith, and Henry
III. made that an absolute condition.

While the war was going on in the west and centre of France, the League
was strengthening its organisation and perfecting its plans. It had
become more and more hostile to Henry III., and had become a secret
revolutionary society. It drafted a complete programme for the immediate
future. The cities and districts of France which felt themselves
specially threatened by the Huguenots were to beseech the King to raise
levies for their protection. If he refused or procrastinated, they were
to raise the troops themselves, to be commanded by officers in whom the
League had confidence. They could then compel the King to place himself
at the head of this army of the Leaguers, or show himself to be their
open enemy by refusing. If the King died childless, the partisans of the
League were to gather at Orléans and Paris, and were there to elect the
Cardinal de Bourbon as the King of France. The Pope and the King of
Spain were to be at once informed, when it had been arranged that His
Holiness would send his benediction, and that His Majesty would assist
them with troops and supplies. A new form of oath was imposed on all the
associates of the League. They were to swear allegiance to the King so
long as he should show himself to be a good Catholic and refrained from
favouring heretics. These instructions were sent down from the
mother-society in Paris to the provinces, and the affiliated societies
were recommended to keep in constant communication with Paris. Madame de
Montpensier, sister to the Guises, at the same time directed the work of
a band of preachers whose business it was to inflame the minds of the
people in the capital and the provinces against the King and the
Huguenots. She boasted that she did more work for the cause than her
brothers were doing by the sword.

The Guises, with this force behind them, tried to force the King to make
new concessions--to publish the decisions of the Council of Trent in
France (a thing that had not been done); to establish the Inquisition in
France; to order the execution of all Huguenot prisoners who would not
promise to abjure their religion; and to remove from the armies all
officers of whom the League did not approve. The mother-society in Paris
prepared for his refusal by organising a secret revolutionary government
for the city. It was called "The Sixteen," being one for each of the
sixteen sections of Paris. This government was under the orders of
Guise, who communicated with them through an agent of his called
Mayneville. Plot after plot was made to get possession of the King's
person; and but for the activity and information of Nicholas Poulain, an
officer of police who managed to secure private information, they would
have been successful.

§ 18. _The Day of Barricades._[225]

The King redoubled his guards, and ordered four thousand Swiss troops
which he had stationed at Lagny into the suburbs of Paris. The Parisian
Leaguers in alarm sent for the Duke of Guise; and Guise, in spite of a
prohibitive order from the King, entered the city. When he was
recognised he was received with acclamations by the Parisian crowd. The
Queen-Mother induced the King to receive him, which he did rather
ungraciously. Officers and men devoted to the League crowded into Paris.
The King, having tried in vain to prevent the entry of all suspected
persons, at last ordered the Swiss into Paris (May 12th, 1588). The
citizens flew to arms, and converted Paris into a stronghold. It was
"the day of Barricades." Chains were stretched across the streets, and
behind them were piled beams, benches, carts, great barrels filled with
stones or gravel. Houses were loop-holed and windows protected. Behind
these defences men were stationed with arquebuses; and the women and
children were provided with heaps of stones. Guise had remained in his
house, but his officers were to be seen moving through the crowds and
directing the defence. The Swiss troops found themselves caught in a
trap, and helpless. Henry III. was compelled to ask Guise to interfere
in order to save his soldiers. The King had to undergo further
humiliation. The citizens proposed to attack the Louvre and seize the
King's person. Guise had to be appealed to again. He had an interview
with the King on the 13th, at which Henry III. was forced to agree to
all the demands of the League, and to leave the conduct of the war
against the Huguenots in the hands of the leader of the League. After
the interview the King was able to escape secretly from Paris.

The day of the "Barricades" had proved to Henry III. that the League was
master in his capital. The meeting of the States General at Blois (Oct.
1588) was to show him that the country had also turned against him.

The elections had been looked after by the Guises, and had taken place
while the impression produced by the revolt of Paris was at its height.
The League commanded an immense majority in all the three Estates. The
business before them was grave. The finances of the kingdom were in
disorder; favouritism had not been got rid of; and no one could trust
the King's word. Above all, the religious question was embittering every
mind. The Estates met under the influence of a religious exaltation
fanned by the priests. On the 9th of Oct. representatives of the three
Estates went to Mass together. During the communion the assistant clergy
chanted the well-known hymns,--_Pange lingua gloriosi, O salutaris
Hostia, Ave verum Corpus natum_,--and the excitement was immense. The
members of the Estates had never been so united.

Yet the King had a moment of unwonted courage. He had resolved to
denounce the League as the source of the disorders in the kingdom. He
declared that he would not allow a League to exist within the realm. He
only succeeded in making the leaders furious. His bravado soon ceased.
The Cardinal de Bourbon compelled him to omit from the published version
of his speech the objectionable expressions. The Estates forced him to
swear that he would not permit any religion within the kingdom but the
Roman. This done, he was received with cries of _Vive le Roi_, and was
accompanied to his house with acclamations. But he was compelled to see
the Duke of Guise receive the office of Lieutenant-General, which placed
the army under his command; and he felt that he would never be "master
in his own house" until that man had been removed from his path.

The news of the completeness of the destruction of the Armada had been
filtering through France; the fear of Spain was to some extent removed,
and England might help the King if he persisted in a policy of
tolerating his Protestant subjects. It is probable that he confided his
project of getting rid of Guise to some of his more intimate
councillors, and that they assured him that it would be impossible to
remove such a powerful subject by legal means. The Duke and his brother
the Cardinal of Guise were summoned to a meeting of the Council. They
had scarcely taken their seats when they were asked to see the King in
his private apartments. There Guise was assassinated, and the Cardinal
arrested, and slain the next day.[226] The Cardinal de Bourbon and the
young Prince de Joinville (now Duke of Guise by his father's death) were
arrested and imprisoned. Orders were given to arrest the Duchess of
Nemours (Guise's mother), the Duke and Duchess of Elboeuf, the Count de
Brissac, and other prominent Leaguers. The King's guards invaded the
sittings of the States General to carry out these orders. The bodies of
the two Guises were burnt, and the ashes thrown into the Loire.

The news of the assassination raised the wildest rage in Paris. The
League proclaimed itself a revolutionary society. The city organised
itself in its sections. A council was appointed for each section to
strengthen the hands of the "Sixteen." Preachers caused their audiences
to swear that they would spend the last farthing in their purses and the
last drop of blood in their bodies to avenge the slaughtered princes.
The Sorbonne in solemn conclave declared that the actions of Henry III.
had absolved his subjects from their allegiance. The "Sixteen" drove
from _Parlement_ all suspected persons; and, thus purged, the
_Parlement_ of Paris ranged itself on the side of the revolution. The
Duke of Mayenne, the sole surviving brother of Henry of Guise, was
summoned to Paris. An assembly of the citizens of the capital elected a
_Council General of the Union of Catholics_ to manage the affairs of the
State and to confer with all the Catholic towns and provinces of France.
Deputies sent by these towns and provinces were to be members of the
Council. The Duke of Mayenne was appointed by the Council the
_Lieutenant-General of the State and Crown of France_. The new
Government had its seal--_the Seal of the Kingdom of France_. The larger
number of the great towns of France adhered to this provisional and
revolutionary Government.

In the midst of these tumults Catherine de' Medici died (Jan. 5th,

§ 19. _The King takes refuge with the Huguenots._

The miserable King had no resource left but to throw himself upon the
protection of the Protestants. He hesitated at first, fearing threatened
papal excommunication. Henry of Navarre's bearing during these months of
anxiety had been admirable. After the meeting of the States General at
Blois, he had issued a stirring appeal to the nation, pleading for
peace--the one thing needed for the distracted and fevered country. He
now assured the King of his loyalty, and promised that he would never
deny to Roman Catholics that liberty of conscience and worship which he
claimed. A treaty was arranged, and the King of Navarre went to meet
Henry III. at Tours. He arrived just in time. Mayenne at the head of an
avenging army of Leaguers had started as soon as the provisional
government had been established in Paris. He had taken by assault a
suburb of the town, and was about to attack the city of Tours itself,
when he found the Protestant vanguard guarding the bridge over the
Loire, and had to retreat. He was slowly forced back towards Paris. The
battle of Senlis, in which a much smaller force of Huguenots routed the
Duke d'Aumale, who had been reinforced by the Parisian militia, opened
the way to Paris. The King of Navarre pressed on. Town after town was
taken, and the forces of the two kings, increased by fourteen thousand
Swiss and Germans, were soon able to seize the bridge of St. Cloud and
invest the capital on the south and west (July 29th, 1589). An assault
was fixed for Aug. 2nd.

Since the murder of the Guises, Paris had been a caldron of seething
excitement. The whole population, "_avec douleur et gemissements bien
grands_," had assisted at the funeral service for "the Martyrs," and the
baptism of the posthumous son of the slaughtered Duke had been a civic
ceremony. The Bull "monitory" of Pope Sixtus V., posted up in Rome on
May 24th, which directed Henry III. on pain of excommunication to
release the imprisoned prelates within ten days, and to appear either
personally or by proxy within sixty days before the Curia to answer for
the murder of a Prince of the Church, had fanned the excitement. Almost
every day the Parisians saw processions of students, of women, of
children, defiling through their streets. They marched from shrine to
shrine, with naked feet, clad only in their shirts, defying the cold of
winter. Parishioners dragged their priests out of bed to head nocturnal
processions. The hatred of Henry III. became almost a madness. The
Cordeliers decapitated his portraits. Parish priests made images of the
King in wax, placed them on their altars, and practised on them magical
incantations, in the hope of doing deadly harm to the living man. Bands
of children carried lighted candles, which they extinguished to cries
of, "_God extinguish thus the race of the Valois._"

Among the most excited members of this fevered throng was a young
Jacobin monk, Jacques Clément, by birth a peasant, of scanty
intelligence, and rough, violent manners. His excitement grew with the
perils of the city. He consulted a theologian in whom he had confidence,
and got from him a guarded answer that it might be lawful to slay a
tyrant. He prayed, fasted, went through a course of maceration of the
body. He saw visions. He believed that he heard voices, and that he
received definite orders to give his life in order to slay the King. He
confided his purpose to friends, who approved of it and helped his
preparations. He was able to leave the city, to pass through the
beleaguering lines, and to get private audience of the King. He
presented a letter, and while Henry was reading it stabbed him in the
lower part of the body. The deed done, the monk raised himself to his
full height, extended his arms to form himself into a crucifix, and
received without flinching his deathblow from La Guesle and other
attendants (Aug. 1st, 1589).[227]

The King lingered until the following morning, and then expired,
commending Henry of Navarre to his companions as his legitimate

The news of the assassination was received in Paris with wild delight.
The Duchess de Nemours, the mother of the Guises, and the Duchess de
Montpensier, their sister, went everywhere in the streets describing
"the heroic act of Jacques Clément." The former mounted the steps of the
High Altar in the church of the Cordeliers to proclaim the news to the
people. The citizens, high and low, brought out their tables into the
streets, and they drank, sang, shouted and danced in honour of the news.
They swore that they would never accept a Protestant king[228] and the
Cardinal de Bourbon, still a prisoner, was proclaimed as Charles x.

At Tours, on the other hand, the fact that the heir to the throne was a
Protestant, threw the Roman Catholic nobles into a state of perplexity.
They had no sympathy with the League, but many felt that they could not
serve a Protestant king. They pressed round the new King, beseeching him
to abjure his faith at once. Henry refused to do what would humiliate
himself, and could not be accepted as an act of sincerity. On the other
hand, the nobles of Champagne, Picardy, and the Isle of France sent
assurances of allegiance; the Duke of Montpensier, the husband of the
Leaguer Duchess, promised his support; and the Swiss mercenaries
declared that they would serve for two months without pay.

§ 20. _The Declaration of Henry IV._[229]

Thus encouraged, Henry published his famous declaration (Aug. 4th,
1589). He promised that the Roman Catholic would remain the religion of
the realm, and that he would attempt no innovations. He declared that he
was willing to be instructed in its tenets, and that within six months,
if it were possible, he would summon a National Council. The Roman
Catholics would be retained in their governments and charges; the
Protestants would keep the strongholds which were at present in their
hands; but all fortified places when reduced would be entrusted to Roman
Catholics and none other. This declaration was signed by two Princes of
the Blood, the Prince of Conti and the Duke of Montpensier; by three
Dukes and Peers, Longueville, Luxembourg-Piney, and Rohan-Montbazon; by
two Marshals of France, Biron and d'Aumont; and by several great
officers. Notwithstanding, the defections were serious; all the
_Parlements_ save that of Bordeaux thundered against the heretic King;
all the great towns save Tours, Bordeaux, Châlons, Langres, Compiègne,
and Clermont declared for the League. The greater part of the kingdom
was in revolt. The royalist troops dwindled away. It was hopeless to
think of attacking Paris, and Henry IV. marched for Normandy with
scarcely seven thousand men. He wished to be on the sea coast in hope of
succour from England.

The Duke of Mayenne followed him with an army of thirty thousand men. He
had promised to the Parisians to throw the "Bearnese" into the sea, or
to bring him in chains to Paris, But it was not so easy to catch the
"Bearnese." In the series of marches, countermarches, and skirmishes
which is known as the battle of Arques, the advantage was on the side of
the King; and when Mayenne attempted to take Dieppe by assault, he was
badly defeated (Sept. 24th, 1589). Then followed marches and
countermarches; the King now threatening Paris and then retreating,
until at last the royalist troops and the Leaguers met at Ivry. The King
had two thousand cavalry and eight thousand infantry to meet eight
thousand cavalry and twelve thousand infantry (including seventeen
hundred Spanish troops sent by the Duke of Parma) under the command of
Mayenne. The battle resulted in a surprising and decisive victory for
the King. Mayenne and his cousin d'Aumale escaped only by the swiftness
of their horses (March 14th, 1590).

It is needless to say much about the war or about the schemes of
parties. Henry invested Paris, and had almost starved it into surrender,
when it was revictualled by an army led from the Low Countries by the
Duke of Parma. Henry took town after town, and gradually isolated the
capital. In 1590 (May 10th) the old Cardinal Bourbon (Charles X.) died,
and the Leaguers lost even the semblance of a legitimate king. The more
fanatical members of the party, represented by the "Sixteen" of Paris,
would have been content to place France under the dominion of Spain
rather than see a heretic king. The Duke of Mayenne had long cherished
dreams that the crown might come to him. But the great mass of the
influential people of France who had not yet professed allegiance to
Henry IV. (and many who had) had an almost equal dread of Spanish
domination and of a heretic ruler.

§ 21. _Henry IV. becomes a Roman Catholic._

Henry at last resolved to conform to the Roman Catholic religion as the
only means of giving peace to his distracted kingdom. He informed the
loyalist Archbishop of Bourges of his intention to be instructed in the
Roman Catholic religion with a view to conversion. The Archbishop was
able to announce this at the conference of Suresnes, and the news spread
instantly over France. With his usual tact, Henry wrote with his own
hand to several of the parish priests of Paris announcing his intention,
and invited them to meet him at Mantes to give him instruction. At least
one of them had been a furious Leaguer, and was won to be an
enthusiastic loyalist.

The ceremony of the reception of Henry IV. into the Roman Catholic
Church took place at Saint Denis, about four and a half miles to the
north of Paris. The scene had all the appearance of some popular
festival. The ancient church in which the Kings of France had for
generations been buried, in which Jeanne d'Arc had hung up her arms, was
decked with splendid tapestries, and the streets leading to it festooned
with flowers. Multitudes of citizens had come from rebel Paris to swell
the throng and to shout _Vive le Roi!_ as Henry, escorted by a brilliant
procession of nobles and guards, passed slowly to the church. The
clergy, headed by the Archbishop of Bourges, met him at the door. The
King dismounted, knelt, swore to live and die in the catholic apostolic
and Roman religion, and renounced all the heresies which it condemned.
The Archbishop gave him absolution, took him by the hand and led him
into the church. There, kneeling before the High Altar, the King
repeated his oath, confessed, and communicated. France had now a Roman
Catholic as well as a legitimate King. Even if it be admitted that Henry
IV. was not a man of any depth of religious feeling, the act of
abjuration must have been a humiliation for the son of Jeanne d'Albret.
He never was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, and his well-known
saying, that "Paris was well worth a Mass," had as much bitterness in it
as gaiety. He had paled with suppressed passion at Tours (1589) when the
Roman Catholic nobles had urged him to become a Romanist. Had the
success which followed his arms up to the battle of Ivry continued
unbroken, it is probable that the ceremony at Saint Denis would never
have taken place. But Parma's invasion of France, which compelled the
King to raise the siege of Paris, was the beginning of difficulties
which seemed insurmountable. The dissensions of parties within the
realm, and the presence of foreigners on the soil of France (Walloon,
Spanish, Neapolitan, and Savoyard), were bringing France to the verge of
dissolution. Henry believed that there was only one way to end the
strife, and he sacrificed his convictions to his patriotism.

With Henry's change of religion the condition of things changed as if by
magic. The League seemed to dissolve. Tenders of allegiance poured in
from all sides, from nobles, provinces, and towns. Rheims was still in
possession of the Guises, and the anointing and crowning took place at
Chartres (Feb. 27th, 1594). The manifestations of loyalty increased.

On the evening of the day on which Henry had been received into the
Roman Catholic Church at Saint Denis, he had recklessly ridden up to the
crest of the height of Montmartre and looked down on Paris, which was
still in the hands of the League. The feelings of the Parisians were
also changing. The League was seamed with dissensions; Mayenne had
quarrelled with the "Sixteen," and the partisans of these fanatics of
the League had street brawls with the citizens of more moderate
opinions. _Parlement_ took courage and denounced the presence of Spanish
soldiers within the capital. The loyalists opened the way for the royal
troops, Henry entered Paris (March 22nd), and marched to Notre Dame,
where the clergy chanted the _Te Deum_. From the cathedral he rode to
the Louvre through streets thronged with people, who pressed up to his
very stirrups to see their King, and made the tall houses re-echo with
their loyalist shoutings. Such a royal entry had not been seen for
generations, and took everyone by surprise. Next day the foreign troops
left the city. The King watched their departure from an open window in
the Louvre, and as their chiefs passed he called out gaily, "My
compliments to your Master. You need not come back."

With the return of Paris to fealty, almost all signs of disaffection
departed; and the King's proclamation of amnesty for all past rebellions
completed the conquest of his people. France was again united after
thirty years of civil war.

§ 22. _The Edict of Nantes._

The union of all Frenchmen to accept Henry IV. as their King had not
changed the legal position of the Protestants. The laws against them
were still in force; they had nothing but the King's word promising
protection to trust to. The war with Spain delayed matters, but when
peace was made the time came for Henry to fulfil his pledges to his
former companions. They had been chafing under the delay. At a General
Assembly held at Mantes (October 1593-January 1594), the members had
renewed their oath to live and to die true to their confession of faith,
and year by year a General Assembly met to discuss their political
disabilities as well as to conduct their ecclesiastical business. They
had divided France into nine divisions under provincial synods, and had
the appearance to men of that century of a kingdom within a kingdom.
They demanded equal civic rights with their Roman Catholic
fellow-subjects, and guarantees for their protection. At length, in
1597, four delegates were appointed with full powers to confer with the
King. Out of these negotiations came the Edict of Nantes, the Charter of
French Protestantism.

This celebrated edict was drawn up in ninety-five more general articles,
which were signed on April 13th, and in fifty-six more particular
articles which were signed on May 2nd (1598). Two _Brevets_, dated 13th
and 30th of April, were added, dealing with the treatment of Protestant
ministers, and with the strongholds given to the Protestants. The
Articles were verified and registered by _Parlements_; the _Brevets_
were guaranteed simply by the King's word.

The Edict of Nantes codified and enlarged the rights given to the
Protestants of France by the Edict of Poitiers (1577), the Convention of
Nérac (1578), the treaty of Fleix (1580), the Declaration of Saint-Cloud
(1589), the Edict of Mantes (1591), the Articles of Mantes (1593), and
the Edict of Saint-Germain (1594).

It secured complete liberty of conscience everywhere within the realm,
to the extent that no one was to be persecuted or molested in any way
because of his religion, nor be compelled to do anything contrary to its
tenets; and this carried with it the right of private or secret worship.
The full and free right of public worship was granted in all places in
which it existed during the years 1596 and 1597, or where it had been
granted by the Edict of Poitiers interpreted by the Convention of Nérac
and the treaty of Fleix (some two hundred towns); and, in addition, in
two places within every _bailliage_ and _sénéchaussée_ in the realm. It
was also permitted in the principal castles of Protestant _seigneurs
hauts justiciers_ (some three thousand), whether the proprietor was in
residence or not, and in their other castles, the proprietor being in
residence; to nobles who were not _hauts justiciers_, provided the
audience did not consist of more than thirty persons over and above
relations of the family. Even at the Court the high officers of the
Crown, the great nobles, all governors and lieutenants-general, and
captains of the guards, had the liberty of worship in their apartments
provided the doors were kept shut and there was no loud singing of
psalms, noise, or open scandal.

Protestants were granted full civil rights and protection, entry into
all universities, schools, and hospitals, and admission to all public
offices. The _Parlement_ of Paris admitted six Protestant councillors.
And Protestant ministers were granted the exemptions from military
service and such charges as the Romanist clergy enjoyed. Special
Chambers (_Chambres d'Édit_) were established in the _Parlements_ to try
cases in which Protestants were interested. In the _Parlement_ of Paris
this Chamber consisted of six specially chosen Roman Catholics and one
Protestant; in other _Parlements_, the Chambers were composed of equal
numbers of Romanists and Protestants (_mi-parties_). The Protestants
were permitted to hold their ecclesiastical assemblies--consistories,
colloquies, and synods, national and provincial; they were even allowed
to meet to discuss political questions, provided they first secured the
permission of the King.

They remained in complete control of two hundred towns, including La
Rochelle, Montauban, and Montpellier, strongholds of exceptional
strength. They were to retain these places until 1607, but the right was
prolonged for five years more. The State paid the expenses of the troops
which garrisoned these Protestant fortified places; it paid the
governors, who were always Protestants. When it is remembered that the
royal army in time of peace did not exceed ten thousand men, and that
the Huguenots could raise twenty-five thousand troops, it will be seen
that Henry IV. did his utmost to provide guarantees against a return to
a reign of intolerance.

Protected in this way, the Huguenot Church of France speedily took a
foremost place among the Protestant Churches of Europe. Theological
colleges were established at Sedan, Montauban, and Saumur. Learning and
piety flourished, and French theology was always a counterpoise to the
narrow Reformed Scholastic of Switzerland and of Holland.



§ 1. _The Political Situation._

It was not until 1581 that the _United Provinces_ took rank as a
Protestant nation, notwithstanding the fact that the Netherlands
furnished the first martyrs of the Reformation in the persons of Henry
Voes and John Esch, Augustinian monks, who were burnt at Antwerp (July
31st, 1523).

     "As they were led to the stake they cried with a loud voice that
     they were Christians; and when they were fastened to it, and the
     fire was kindled, they rehearsed the twelve articles of the Creed,
     and after that the hymn _Te Deum laudamus_, which each of them sang
     verse by verse alternately until the flames deprived them both of
     voice and life."[231]

The struggle for religious liberty, combined latterly with one for
national independence from Spain, lasted therefore for almost sixty

When the lifelong duel between Charles the Bold of Burgundy and Louis
XI. of France ended with the death of the former on the battlefield
under the walls of Nancy (January 4th, 1477), Louis was able to annex to
France a large portion of the heterogeneous possessions of the Dukes of
Burgundy, and Mary of Burgundy carried the remainder as her marriage
portion (May 1477) to Maximilian of Austria, the future Emperor.
Speaking roughly, and not quite accurately, those portions of the
Burgundian lands which had been _fiefs_ of France went to Louis, while
Mary and Maximilian retained those which were _fiefs_ of the Empire. The
son of Maximilian and Mary, Philip the Handsome, married Juana (August
1496), the second daughter and ultimate heiress of Isabella and
Ferdinand of Spain, and their son was Charles V., Emperor of Germany (b.
February 24th, 1500), who inherited the Netherlands from his father and
Spain from his mother, and thus linked the Netherlands to Spain. Philip
died in 1506, leaving Charles, a boy of six years of age, the ruler of
the Netherlands. His paternal aunt, Margaret, the daughter of the
Emperor Maximilian, governed in the Netherlands during his minority,
and, owing to Juana's illness (an illness ending in madness), mothered
her brother's children. Margaret's regency ended in 1515, and the
earlier history of the Reformation in the Netherlands belongs either to
the period of the personal rule of Charles or to that of the Regents
whom he appointed to act for him.

The land, a delta of great rivers liable to overflow their banks, or a
coast-line on which the sea made continual encroachment, produced a
people hardy, strenuous, and independent. Their struggles with nature
had braced their faculties. Municipal life had struck its roots deeply
into the soil of the Netherlands, and its cities could vie with those of
Italy in industry and intelligence. The southern provinces were the
home of the Trouvères.[232] Jan van-Ruysbroec, the most heart-searching
of speculative Mystics, had been a curate of St. Gudule's in Brussels.
His pupil, Gerard Groot, had founded the lay-community of the Brethren
of the Common Lot for the purpose of spreading Christian education among
the laity; and the schools and convents of the Brethren had spread
through the Netherlands and central Germany. Thomas à Kempis, the author
of the _Imitatio Christi_, had lived most of his long life of ninety
years in a small convent at Zwolle, within the territories of Utrecht.
Men who have been called "Reformers before the Reformation," John Pupper
of Goch and John Wessel, both belonged to the Netherlands. Art
flourished there in the fifteenth century in the persons of Hubert and
Jan van Eyck and of Hans Memling. The Chambers of Oratory
(_Rederijkers_) to begin with probably unions for the performance of
miracle plays or moralities, became confraternities not unlike the
societies of _meistersänger_ in Germany, and gradually acquired the
character of literary associations, which diffused not merely culture,
but also habits of independent thinking among the people.

Intellectual life had become less exuberant in the end of the fifteenth
century; but the Netherlands, nevertheless, produced Alexander Hegius,
the greatest educational reformer of his time, and Erasmus the prince of
the Humanists. Nor can the influence of the Chambers of Oratory have
died out, for they had a great effect on the Reformation movement.[233]

When Charles assumed the government of the Netherlands, he found himself
at the head of a group of duchies, lordships, counties, and
municipalities which had little appearance of a compact principality,
and he applied himself, like other princes of his time in the same
situation, to give them a unity both political and territorial. He was
so successful that he was able to hand over to his son, Philip II. of
Spain, an almost thoroughly organised State. The divisions which Charles
largely overcame reappeared to some extent in the revolt against Philip
and Romanism, and therefore in a measure concern the history of the
Reformation. How Charles made his scattered Netherland inheritance
territorially compact need not be told in detail. Friesland was secured
(1515); the acquisition of temporal sovereignty over the ecclesiastical
province of Utrecht (1527) united Holland with Friesland; Gronningen and
the lands ruled by that turbulent city placed themselves under the
government of Charles (1536); and the death of Charles of Egmont (1538),
Count of Gueldres, completed the unification of the northern and central
districts. The vague hold which France kept in some of the southern
portions of the country was gradually loosened. Charles failed in the
south-east. The independent principality of Lorraine lay between
Luxemburg and Franche-Comté, and the Netherland Government could not
seize it by purchase, treaty, or conquest. One and the same system of
law regulated the rights and the duties of the whole population; and all
the provinces were united into one principality by the reorganisation of
a States General, which met almost annually, and which had a real if
vaguely defined power to regulate the taxation of the country.

But although political and geographical difficulties might be more or
less overcome, others remained which were not so easily disposed of. One
set arose from the fact that the seventeen provinces were divided by
race and by language. The Dutchmen in the north were different in
interests and in sentiment from the Flemings in the centre; and both had
little in common with the French-speaking provinces in the south. The
other was due to the differing boundaries of the ecclesiastical and
civil jurisdictions. When Charles began to rule in 1515, the only
territorial see was Arras. Tournai, Utrecht, and Cambrai became
territorial before the abdication of Charles. But the confusion between
civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction may be seen at a glance when it is
remembered that a great part of the Frisian lands were subject to the
German Sees of Münster, Minden, Paderborn, and Osnabrück; and that no
less than six bishops, none of them belonging to the Netherlands,
divided the ecclesiastical rule over Luxemburg. Charles' proposals to
establish six new bishoprics, plans invariably thwarted by the Roman
Curia, were meant to give the Low Countries a national episcopate.

§ 2. _The Beginnings of the Reformation._

The people of the Netherlands had been singularly prepared for the great
religious revival of the sixteenth century by the work of the _Brethren
of the Common Lot_ and their schools. It was the aim of Gerard Groot,
their founder, and also of Florentius Radevynszoon, his great
educational assistant, to see "that the root of study and the mirror of
life must, in the first place, be the Gospel of Christ." Their pupils
were taught to read the Bible in Latin, and the Brethren contended
publicly for translations of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongues. There
is evidence to show that the Vulgate was well known in the Netherlands
in the end of the fifteenth century, and a translation of the Bible into
Dutch was published at Delft in 1477[234]. Small tracts against
Indulgences, founded probably on the reasonings of Pupper and Wessel,
had been in circulation before Luther had nailed his _Theses_ to the
door of All Saints' church in Wittenberg. Hendrik of Zutphen, Prior of
the Augustinian Eremite convent at Antwerp, had been a pupil of
Staupitz, a fellow student with Luther, and had spread Evangelical
teaching not only among his order, but throughout the town.[235] It need
be no matter for surprise, then, that Luther's writings were widely
circulated in the Netherlands, and that between 1513 and 1531 no fewer
than twenty-five translations of the Bible or of the New Testament had
appeared in Dutch, Flemish, and French.

When Aleander was in the Netherlands, before attending the Diet of Worms
he secured the burning of eighty Lutheran and other books at
Louvain;[236] and when he came back ten months later, he had regular
literary _auto-da-fés_. On Charles' return from the Diet of Worms, he
issued a proclamation to all his subjects in the Netherlands against
Luther, his books and his followers, and Aleander made full use of the
powers it gave. Four hundred Lutheran books were burnt at Antwerp, three
hundred of them seized by the police in the stalls of the booksellers,
and one hundred handed over by the owners; three hundred were burnt at
Ghent, "part of them printed here and part in Germany," says the Legate;
and he adds that "many of them were very well bound, and one gorgeously
in velvet." About a month later he is forced to confess that these
burnings had not made as much impression as he had hoped, and that he
wishes the Emperor would "burn alive half a dozen Lutherans and
confiscate their property." Such a proceeding would make all see him to
be the really Christian prince that he is.[237]

Next year (1522) Charles established the Inquisition within the
seventeen provinces. It was a distinctively civil institution, and this
was perhaps due to the fact that there was little correspondence between
the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the Netherlands; but it
must not be forgotten that the Kings of Spain had used the Holy Office
for the purpose of stamping out political and local opposition, and
also that the civil courts were usually more energetic and more severe
than the ecclesiastical. The man appointed was unworthy of any place of
important trust. Francis van de Hulst, although he had been the Prince's
counsellor in Brabant, was a man accused both of bigamy and murder, and
was hopelessly devoid of tact. He quarrelled violently with the High
Court of Holland; and the Regent, Margaret of Austria, who had resumed
her functions, found herself constantly compromised by his continual
defiance of local privileges. He was a "wonderful enemy to learning,"
says Erasmus. His colleague, Nicolas van Egmont, a Carmelite monk, is
described by the same scholar as "a madman with a sword put into his
hand who hates me worse than he does Luther." The two men discredited
the Inquisition from its beginning. Erasmus affected to believe that the
Emperor could not know what they were doing.

The first victim was Cornelius Graphæus, town clerk of Antwerp, a poet
and Humanist, a friend of Erasmus; and his offence was that he had
published an edition of John Pupper of Goch's book, entitled the
_Liberty of the Christian Religion_, with a preface of his own. The
unfortunate man was set on a scaffold in Brussels, compelled to retract
certain propositions which were said to be contained in the preface, and
obliged to throw the preface itself into a fire kindled on the scaffold
for the purpose. He was dismissed from his office, declared incapable of
receiving any other employment, compelled to repeat his recantation at
Antwerp, imprisoned for two years, and finally banished.[238]

The earliest deaths were those of Henry Voes and John Esch, who have
already been mentioned. Their Prior, Hendrik of Zutphen, escaped from
the dungeon in which he had been confined. Luther commemorated them in a
long hymn, entitled _A New Song of the two Martyrs of Christ burnt at
Brussels by the Sophists of Louvain_:

    "Der erst recht wol Johannes heyst,
       So reych an Gottes hulden
     Seyn Bruder Henrch nach dem geyst,
       Eyn rechter Christ on schulden:
           Vonn dysser welt gescheyden synd,
     Sye hand die kron erworben,
       Recht wie die frumen gottes kind
     Fur seyn wort synd gestorben,
       Sein Marter synd sye worden."[239]

Charles issued proclamation after proclamation, each of increasing
severity. It was forbidden to print any books unless they had been first
examined and approved by the censors (April 1st, 1524). "All open and
secret meetings in order to read and preach the Gospel, the Epistles of
St. Paul, and other spiritual writings," were forbidden (Sept. 25th,
1525), as also to discuss the Holy Faith, the Sacraments, the Power of
the Pope and Councils, "in private houses and at meals." This was
repeated on March 14th, 1526, and on July 17th there was issued a long
edict, said to have been carefully drafted by the Emperor himself,
forbidding all meetings to read or preach about the Gospel or other holy
writings in Latin, Flemish, or Walloon. In the preamble it is said that
ignorant persons have begun to expound Scripture, that even regular and
secular clergy have presumed to teach the "errors and sinister doctrines
of Luther and his adherents," and that heresies are increasing in the
land. Then followed edicts against unlicensed books, and against monks
who had left their cloisters (Jan. 28th, 1528); against the possession
of Lutheran books, commanding them upon pain of death to be delivered up
(Oct. 14th, 1529); against printing unlicensed books--the penalties
being a public whipping on the scaffold, branding with a red-iron, or
the loss of an eye or a hand, at the discretion of the judge (Dec. 7th,
1530); against heretics "who are more numerous than ever," against
certain books of which a long list is given, and against certain hymns
which increase the zeal of the heretics (Sept. 22nd, 1540); against
printing and distributing unlicensed books in the Italian, Spanish, or
English languages (Dec. 18th, 1544); warning all schoolmasters about the
use of unlicensed books in their schools, and giving a list of those
only which are permitted (July 31st, 1546). The edict of 1546 was
followed by a long list of prohibited books, among which are eleven
editions of the Vulgate printed by Protestant firms, six editions of the
Bible and three of the New Testament in Dutch, two editions of the Bible
in French, and many others. Lastly, an edict of April 29th, 1550,
confirmed all the previous edicts against heresy and its spread, and
intimated that the Inquisitors would proceed against heretics
"notwithstanding any privileges to the contrary, which are abrogated and
annulled by this edict." This was a clear threat that the terrible
Spanish Inquisition was to be established in the Netherlands, and
provoked such remonstrances that the edict was modified twice (Sept.
25th, Nov. 5th) before it was finally accepted as legal within the
seventeen provinces.

All these edicts were directed against the Lutheran or kindred teaching.
They had nothing to do with the Anabaptist movement, which called forth
a special and different set of edicts. It seems against all evidence to
say that the persecution of the Lutherans had almost ceased during the
last years of Charles' rule in the Netherlands, and Philip II. could
declare with almost perfect truth that his edicts were only his father's

The continuous repetition and increasing severity of the edicts revealed
not merely that persecution did not hinder the spread of the Reformed
faith, but that the edicts themselves were found difficult to enforce.
What Charles would have done had he been able to govern the country
himself it is impossible to say. He became harder and more intolerant of
differences in matters of doctrine as years went on, and in his latest
days is said to have regretted that he had allowed Luther to leave Worms
alive; and he might have dealt with the Protestants of the seventeen
provinces as his son afterwards did. His aunt, Margaret of Austria, who
was Regent till 1530, had no desire to drive matters to an extremity;
and his sister Mary, who ruled from 1530 till the abdication of Charles
in 1555, was suspected in early life of being a Lutheran herself. She
never openly joined the Lutheran Church as did her sister the Queen of
Denmark, but she confessed her sympathies to Charles, and gave them as a
reason for reluctance to undertake the regency of the Netherlands. It
may therefore be presumed that the severe edicts were not enforced with
undue stringency by either Margaret of Austria or by the widowed Queen
of Hungary. There is also evidence to show that these proclamations
denouncing and menacing the unfortunate Protestants of the Netherlands
were not looked on with much favour by large sections of the population.
Officials were dilatory, magistrates were known to have warned suspected
persons to escape before the police came to arrest them; even to have
given them facilities for escape after sentence had been delivered.
Passive resistance on the part of the inferior authorities frequently
interposed itself between the Emperor and the execution of his
bloodthirsty proclamations. Yet the number of Protestant martyrs was
large, and women as well as men suffered torture and death rather than
deny their faith.

The edicts against conventicles deterred neither preachers nor audience.
The earliest missioners were priests and monks who had become convinced
of the errors of Romanism. Later, preachers were trained in the south
German cities and in Geneva, that nursery of daring agents of the
Reformed propaganda. But if trained teachers were lacking, members of
the congregation took their place at the peril of their lives. Brandt
relates how numbers of people were accustomed to meet for service in a
shipwright's yard at Antwerp to hear a monk who had been "proclaimed":

"The teacher, by some chance or other, could not appear, and one of the
company named Nicolas, a person well versed in Scripture, thought it a
shame that such a congregation, hungering after the food of the Word,
should depart without a little spiritual nourishment; wherefore,
climbing the mast of a ship, he taught the people according to his
capacity; and on that account, and for the sake of the reward that was
set upon the preacher, he was seized by two butchers and delivered to
the magistrates, who caused him to be put into a sack and thrown into
the river, where he was drowned."[240]

§ 3. _The Anabaptists._

The severest persecutions, however, before the rule of Philip II., were
reserved for those people who are called the Anabaptists.[241] We find
several edicts directed against them solely. In February 1532 it was
forbidden to harbour Anabaptists, and a price of 12 guilders was offered
to informants. Later in the same year an edict was published which
declared "that all who had been rebaptized, were sorry for their fault,
and, in token of their repentance, had gone to confession, would be
admitted to mercy for that time only, provided they brought a
certificate from their confessor within twenty-four days of the date of
the edict; those who continued obdurate were to be treated with the
utmost rigour of the laws" (Feb. 1533). Anabaptists who had abjured were
ordered to remain near their dwelling-places for the space of a year,
"unless those who were engaged in the herring fishery" (June 1534). In
1535 the severest edict against the sect was published. All who had
"seduced or perverted any to this sect, or had rebaptized them," were to
suffer death by fire; all who had suffered themselves to be rebaptized,
or who had harboured Anabaptists, and who recanted, were to be favoured
by being put to death by the sword; women were "only to be buried

To understand sympathetically that multiform movement which was called
in the sixteenth century _Anabaptism_, it is necessary to remember that
it was not created by the Reformation, although it certainly received an
impetus from the inspiration of the age. Its roots can be traced back
for some centuries, and its pedigree has at least two stems which are
essentially distinct, and were only occasionally combined. The one stem
is the successions of the _Brethren_, a mediæval, anti-clerical body of
Christians whose history is written only in the records of Inquisitors
of the mediæval Church, where they appear under a variety of names, but
are universally said to prize the Scriptures and to accept the Apostles'
Creed.[243] The other existed in the continuous uprisings of the
poor--peasants in rural districts and the lower classes in the
towns--against the rich, which were a feature of the later Middle

So far as the Netherlands are concerned, these popular outbreaks had
been much more frequent among the towns' population than in the rural
districts. The city patriciate ordinarily controlled the magistracy; but
when flagrant cases of oppression arose, all the judicial, financial,
and other functions of government were sure to be swept out of their
hands in an outburst of popular fury. So much was this the case, that
the real holders of power in the towns in the Netherlands during the
first half of the sixteenth century were the artisans, strong in their
trade organisations. They had long known their power, and had been
accustomed to exert it. The blood of a turbulent ancestry ran in their
veins--of men who could endure for a time, but who, when roused by
serious oppression, had been accustomed to defend themselves, and to
give stroke for stroke. It is only natural to find among the artisans of
the Flemish and Dutch towns a curious mingling of sublime self-sacrifice
for what they believed to be the truth, of the mystical exaltation of
the martyr occasionally breaking out in hysterical action, and the habit
of defending themselves against almost any odds.

So far as is known, the earliest Anabaptist martyrs were Jan Walen and
two others belonging to Waterlandt. They were done to death in a
peculiarly atrocious way at The Hague in 1527. Instead of being burnt
alive, they were chained to a stake at some distance from a huge fire,
and were slowly roasted to death. This frightful punishment seems to
have been reserved for the Anabaptist martyrs. It was repeated at
Haarlem in 1532, when a woman was drowned and her husband with two
others was roasted alive. Some time in 1530, Jan Volkertz founded an
Anabaptist congregation in Amsterdam which became so large as to attract
the attention of the authorities. The head of the police (_schout_) in
the city was ordered to apprehend them. Volkertz delivered himself up
voluntarily. The greater part of the accused received timely warning
from the _schout's_ wife. Nine were taken by night in their beds. These
with their pastor were carried to The Hague and beheaded by express
order of the Emperor. He also commanded that their heads should be sent
to Amsterdam, where they were set on poles in a circle, the head of
Volkertz being in the centre. This ghastly spectacle was so placed that
it could be seen from the ships entering and leaving the harbour. All
these martyrs, and many others whose deaths are duly recorded, were
followers of Melchior Hoffman. Hoffman's views were those of the
"Brethren" of the later Middle Ages, the _Old Evangelicals_ as they were
called. In a paper of directions sent to Emden to assist in the
organisation of an Anabaptist congregation there, he says:

     "God's community knows no head but Christ. No other can be endured,
     for it is a brother- and sisterhood. The teachers have none who
     rule them spiritually but Christ. Teachers and ministers are not
     lords. The pastors have no authority except to preach God's Word
     and punish sins. A bishop must be elected out of his community.
     Where a pastor has thus been taken, and the guidance committed to
     him and to his deacon, a community should provide properly for
     those who help to build the Lord's house. When teachers are thus
     found, there is no fear that the communities will suffer spiritual
     hunger. A true preacher would willingly see the whole community

But the persecution, with its peculiar atrocities, had been acting in
its usual way on the Anabaptists of the Netherlands. They had been
tortured on the rack, scourged, imprisoned in dungeons, roasted to death
before slow fires, and had seen their women drowned, buried alive,
pressed into coffins too small for their bodies till their ribs were
broken, others stamped into them by the feet of the executioners. It is
to be wondered at that those who stood firm sometimes gave way to
hysterical excesses; that their leaders began to preach another creed
than that of passive resistance; that wild apocalyptic visions were
reported and believed?

Melchior Hoffman had been imprisoned in Strassburg in 1533, and a new
leader arose in the Netherlands--Jan Matthys, a baker of Haarlem. Under
his guidance an energetic propaganda was carried on in the Dutch towns,
and hundreds of converts were made. One hundred persons were baptized in
one day in February (1534); before the end of March it was reported that
two-thirds of the population in Monnikendam were Anabaptists; and a
similar state of matters existed in many of the larger Dutch towns.
Deventer, Zwolle, and Kampen were almost wholly Anabaptist. The
Government made great exertions to crush the movement. Detachments of
soldiers were divided into bands of fifteen or twenty, and patrolled the
environs of the cities, making midnight visitations, and haling men and
women to prison until the dungeons were overcrowded with captured

Attempts were made by the persecuted to leave the country for some more
hospitable place where they could worship God in peace in the way their
consciences directed them. East Friesland had once been a haven, but was
so no longer. Münster offered a refuge. Ships were chartered,--thirty of
them,--and the persecuted people proposed to sail round the north of
Friesland, land at the mouth of the Ems, and travel to Münster by
land.[245] The Emperor's ships intercepted the little fleet, sank five
of the vessels with all the emigrants on board, and compelled the rest
to return. The leaders found on board were decapitated, and their heads
stuck on poles to warn others. Hundreds from the provinces of
Guelderland and Holland attempted the journey by land. They piled their
bits of poor furniture and bundles of clothes on waggons; some rode
horses, most trudged on foot, the women and children, let us hope,
getting an occasional ride on the waggons. Soldiers were sent to
intercept them. The leaders were beheaded, the men mostly imprisoned,
and the women and children sent back to their towns and villages.

Then, and not till they had exhausted every method of passive
resistance, the Anabaptists began to strike back. They wished to seize a
town already containing a large Anabaptist population, and hold it as a
city of refuge. Deventer, which was full of sympathisers, was their
first aim. The plot failed, and the burgomaster's son Willem, one of the
conspirators, was seized, and with two companions beheaded in the
market-place (Dec. 25th, 1534). Their next attempt was on Leyden. It was
called a plot to burn the town. The magistrates got word of it, and, by
ordering the great town-clock to be stopped, disconcerted the plotters.
Fifteen men and five women were seized; the men were decapitated, and
the women drowned (Jan. 1535). Next month (Feb. 28th, 1535), Jan van
Geelen, leading a band of three hundred refugees through Friesland, was
overtaken by some troops of soldiers. The little company entrenched
themselves, fought bravely for some days, until nearly all were killed.
The survivors were almost all captured and put to death, the men by the
sword, and the women by drowning. One hundred soldiers fell in the
attack. A few months later (May 1535), an attempt was made to seize
Amsterdam. It was headed by van Geelen, the only survivor of the
skirmish in Friesland. He and his companions were able to get possession
of the Stadthaus, and held it against the town's forces until cannon
were brought to batter down their defences.

In the early days of the same year an incident occurred which shows how,
under the strain of persecution, an hysterical exaltation took
possession of some of these poor people. It is variously reported.
According to Brandt, seven men and five women having stript off their
clothes, as a sign, they said, that they spoke the naked truth, ran
through the streets of Amsterdam, crying _Woe! Woe! Woe!_ The Wrath of
God! They were apprehended, and slaughtered in the usual way. The woman
in whose house they had met was hanged at her own door.

The insurrections were made the pretext for still fiercer persecutions.
The Anabaptists were hunted out, tortured and slain without any attempt
being made by the authorities to discriminate between those who had and
those who had not been sharers in any insurrectionary attempt. It is
alleged that over thirty thousand people were put to death in the
Netherlands during the reign of Charles V. Many of the victims had no
connection with Anabaptism whatsoever; they were quiet followers of
Luther or of Calvin. The authorities discriminated between them in their
proclamations, but not in the persecution.

§ 4. _Philip of Spain and the Netherlands._

How long the Netherlands would have stood the continual drain of money
and the severity of the persecution which the foreign and religious
policy of Charles enforced upon them, it is impossible to say. The
people of the country were strongly attached to him, as he was to them.
He had been born and had grown from childhood to manhood among them.
Their languages, French and Flemish, were the only speech he could ever
use with ease. He had been ruler in the Netherlands before he became
King of Spain, and long before he was called to fill the imperial
throne. When he resolved to act on his long meditated scheme of
abdicating in favour of his son Philip, it was to the Netherlands that
he came. Their nobles and people witnessed the scene with hardly less
emotion than that which showed itself in the faltering speech of the

The ceremony took place in the great Hall of the palace in Brussels
(Oct. 25th, 1555), in presence of the delegates of the seventeen
provinces. Mary, the widowed Queen of Hungary, who had governed the land
for twenty-five years, witnessed the scene which was to end her rule.
Philip, who was to ruin the work of consolidation patiently planned and
executed by his father and his aunt, was present, summoned from his
uncongenial task of eating roast beef and drinking English ale in order
to conciliate his new subjects across the Channel, and from the
embarrassing endearments of his elderly spouse. The Emperor, aged by
toil rather than by years, entered the Hall leaning heavily on his
favourite page and trusty counsellor, the youthful William, Prince of
Orange, who was to become the leader of the revolt against Philip's
rule, and to create a new Protestant State, the United Provinces.

The new lord of the Netherlands was then twenty-eight. In outward
appearance he was a German like his father, but in speech he was a
Spaniard. He had none of his father's external geniality, and could
never stoop to win men to his ends. But Philip II. was much liker
Charles V. than many historians seem willing to admit. Both had the
same slow, patient industry--but in the son it was slower; the same
cynical distrust of all men; the same belief in the divine selection of
the head of the House of Hapsburg to guide all things in State and
Church irrespective of Popes or Kings--only in the son it amounted to a
sort of gloomy mystical assurance; the same callousness to human
suffering, and the same utter inability to comprehend the force of
strong religious conviction. Philip was an inferior edition of his
father, succeeding to his father's ideas, pursuing the same policy,
using the same methods, but handicapped by the fact that he had not
originated but had inherited both, and with them the troubles brought in
their train.

Philip II. spent the first four years of his reign in the Netherlands,
and during that short period of personal rule his policy had brought
into being all the more important sources of dissatisfaction which ended
in the revolt. Yet his policy was the same, and his methods were not
different from those of his father. In one respect at least Charles had
never spared the Netherlands. That country had to pay, as no other part
of his vast possessions was asked to do, the price of his foreign
policy, and Charles had wrung unexampled sums from his people.

When Philip summoned the States General (March 12th, 1556) and asked
them for a very large grant (Fl. 1,300,000), he was only following his
father's example, and on that occasion was seeking money to liquidate
the deficit which his father had bequeathed. Was it that the people of
the Netherlands had resolved to end the practice of making them pay for
a foreign policy which had hitherto concerned them little, or was it
because they could not endure the young Spaniard who could not speak to
them in their own language? Would Charles have been refused as well as
Philip? Who can say?

When Philip obtained a Bull from Pope Paul IV. for creating a
territorial episcopate in the Netherlands, he was only carrying out the
policy which his father had sketched as early as 1522, and which but
for the shortness of the pontificate of Hadrian VI. would undoubtedly
have been executed in 1524 without any popular opposition. Charles'
scheme contemplated six bishoprics, Philip's fourteen; that was the sole
difference; and from the ecclesiastical point of view Philip's was
probably the better. Why then the bitter opposition to the change in
1557? Most historians seem to think that had Charles been ruling, there
would have been few murmurs. Is that so certain? The people feared the
institution of the bishoprics, because they dreaded and hated an
Inquisition which would override their local laws, rights, and
privileges; and Charles had been obliged to modify his "Placard" of 1549
against heresy, because towns and districts protested so loudly against
it. During these early years Philip made no alterations on his father's
proclamations against heresy. He contented himself with reissuing the
"Placard" of 1549 as that had been amended in 1550 after the popular
protests. The personality of Philip was no doubt objectionable to his
subjects in the Netherlands, but it cannot be certainly affirmed that
had Charles continued to reign there would have been no widespread
revolt against his financial, ecclesiastical, and religious policy. The
Regent Mary had been finding her task of ruling more and more difficult.
A few weeks before the abdication, when the Emperor wished his sister to
continue in the Regency, she wrote to him:

     "I could not live among these people even as a private citizen, for
     it would be impossible to do my duty towards God and my Prince. As
     to governing them, I take God to witness that the task is so
     abhorrent to me that I would rather earn my daily bread by labour
     than attempt it."

In 1559 (Aug. 26th), Philip left the Netherlands never to return. He had
selected Margaret of Parma, his half-sister, the illegitimate daughter
of Charles V., for Regent. Margaret had been born and brought up in the
country; she knew the language, and she had been so long away from her
native land that she was not personally committed to any policy nor
acquainted with the leaders of any of the parties.

The power of the Regent, nominally extensive, was in reality limited by
secret instructions.[246] She was ordered to put in execution the edicts
against heresy without any modification; and she was directed to submit
to the advice given her by three Councils, a command which placed her
under the supervision of the three men selected by Philip to be the
presidents of these Councils. The Council of State was the most
important, and was entrusted with the management of the whole foreign
and home administration of the country. It consisted of the Bishop of
Arras (Antoine Perronet de Granvelle, afterwards Cardinal de
Granvelle);[247] the Baron de Barlaymont, who was President of the
Council of Finance; Vigilius van Aytta, a learned lawyer from Friesland,
"a small brisk man, with long yellow hair, glittering green eyes, fat
round rosy cheeks, and flowing beard," who was President of the Privy
Council, and controlled the administration of law and justice; and two
of the Netherland nobles, Lamoral, Count of Egmont and Prince of Gavre,
and William, Prince of Orange. The two nobles were seldom consulted or
even invited to be present. The three Presidents were the _Consulta_, or
secret body of confidential advisers imposed by Philip upon his Regent,
without whose advice nothing was to be attempted. Of the three, the
Bishop of Arras (Cardinal de Granvelle) was the most important, and the
government was practically placed in his hands by his master. Behind the
_Consulta_ was Philip II. himself, who in his business room in the
Escurial at Madrid issued his orders, repressing every tendency to treat
the people with moderation and humanity, thrusting aside all suggestions
of wise tolerance, and insisting that his own cold-blooded policy should
be carried out in its most objectionable details. It was not until the
publication of de Granvelle's State Papers and Correspondence that it
came to be known how much the Bishop of Arras has been misjudged by
history, how he remonstrated unavailingly with his master, how he was
forced to put into execution a sanguinary policy of repression which was
repugnant to himself, and how Philip compelled him to bear the obloquy
of his own misdeeds. The correspondence also reveals the curiously
minute information which Philip must have privately received, for he was
able to send to the Regent and the Bishop the names, ages, personal
appearance, occupations, residence of numbers of obscure people whom he
ordered to execution for their religious opinions.[248] No rigour of
persecution seemed able to prevent the spread of the Reformation.[249]

The Government--Margaret and her _Consulta_--offended grievously not
merely the people, but the nobility of the Netherlands. The nobles saw
their services and positions treated as things of no consequence, and
the people witnessed with alarm that the local charters and privileges
of the land--charters and rights which Philip at his coronation had
sworn to maintain--were totally disregarded. Gradually all classes of
the population were united in a silent opposition. The Prince of Orange
and Count Egmont became almost insensibly the leaders.

They had been dissatisfied with their position on the Council of State;
they had no real share in the business; the correspondence was not
submitted to them, and they knew such details only as Granvelle chose
to communicate to them. Their first overt act was to resign the
commissions they held in the Spanish troops stationed in the country;
their second, to write to the King asking him to relieve them of their
position on the Council of State, telling him that matters of great
importance were continually transacted without their knowledge or
concurrence, and that in the circumstances they could not
conscientiously continue to sustain the responsibilities of office.[250]

The opposition took their stand on three things, all of which hung
together--the presence of Spanish troops on the soil of the Netherlands,
the cruelties perpetrated in the execution of the _Placards_ against
heresy, and the institution of the new bishoprics in accordance with the
Bull of Pope Paul IV., reaffirmed by Pius IV. in 1560 (Jan.). The common
fighting ground for the opposition to all the three was the invasion of
the charters and privileges of the various provinces which these
measures necessarily involved, and the consequent violation of the
King's coronation oath.

Philip had solemnly promised to withdraw the Spanish troops within three
or four months after he left the country. They had remained for
fourteen, and the whole land cried out against the pillage and rapine
which accompanied their presence. The people of Zeeland declared that
they would rather see the ocean submerge their country--that they would
rather perish, men, women, and children, in the waves--than endure
longer the outrages which these mercenaries inflicted upon them. They
refused to repair the Dykes. The presence of these troops had been early
seen to be a degradation to his country by William of Orange.[251] At
the States General held on the eve of Philip's departure, he had urged
the Assembly to make the departure of the troops a condition of
granting subsidies, and had roused Philip's wrath in consequence. He now
voiced the cry of the whole country. It was so strong that Granvelle
sent many an urgent request to the King to sanction their removal; and
at length he and the Regent, without waiting for orders, had the troops
embarked for Madrid.

The rigorous repression of heresy compelled the Government to override
the charters of the several provinces. Many of these charters contained
very strong provisions, and the King had sworn to maintain them. The
constitution of Brabant, known as the _joyeuse entrée_ (_blyde
inkomst_), provided that the clergy should not be given unusual powers;
and that no subject, nor even a foreign resident, could be prosecuted
civilly or criminally except in the ordinary courts of the land, where
he could answer and defend himself with the help of advocates. The
charter of Holland contained similar provisions. Both charters declared
that if the Prince transgressed these provisions the subjects were freed
from their allegiance. The inquisitorial courts violated the charters of
those and of the other provinces. The great objection taken to the
increase of the episcopate, according to the provisions of the Bulls of
Paul IV. and of Pius IV., was that it involved a still greater
infringement of the chartered rights of the land. For example, the Bulls
provided that the bishops were to appoint nine canons, who were to
assist them in all inquisitorial cases, while at least one of them was
to be an Inquisitor charged with ferreting out and punishing heresy.
This was apparently their great charm for Philip II. He desired an
instrument to extirpate heretics. He knew that the Reformation was
making great progress in the Netherlands, especially in the great
commercial cities. "I would lose all my States and a hundred lives if I
had them," he wrote to the Pope, "rather than be the lord of heretics."

The opposition at first contented itself with protesting against the
position and rule of Granvelle, and with demanding his recall. Philip
came to the reluctant conclusion to dismiss his Minister, and did so
with more than his usual duplicity. The nobles returned to the Council,
and the Regent affected to take their advice. But they were soon to
discover that the recall of the obnoxious Minister did not make any
change in the policy of Philip.

The Regent read them a letter from Philip ordering the publication and
enforcement of the Decrees of the Council of Trent in the
Netherlands.[252] The nobles protested vehemently on the ground that
this would mean a still further invasion of the privileges of the
provinces. After long deliberation, it was resolved to send Count Egmont
to Madrid to lay the opinions of the Council before the King. The debate
was renewed on the instructions to be given to the delegate. Those
suggested by the President, Vigilius, were colourless. Then William the
Silent spoke out. His speech, a long one, full of suppressed passionate
sympathy with his persecuted fellow-countrymen, made an extraordinary
impression. It is thus summarised by Brandt:

     That they ought to speak their minds freely; that there were such
     commotions and revolutions on account of religion in all the
     neighbouring countries, that it was impossible to maintain the
     present régime, and think to suppress disturbances by means of
     _Placards_, Inquisitions, and Bishops; that the King was mistaken
     if he proposed to maintain the Decrees of the Council of Trent in
     these Provinces which lay so near Germany, where all the Princes,
     Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, have justly rejected them;
     that it would be better that His Majesty should tolerate these
     things as other Princes were obliged to do, and annul or else
     moderate the punishments proclaimed in the _Placards_; that though
     he himself had resolved to adhere to the Catholic religion, yet he
     could not approve that Princes should aim at dominion over the
     souls of men, or deprive them of the freedom of their faith and

The instructions given to Egmont were accordingly both full and

Count Egmont departed leisurely to Madrid, was well received by Philip,
and left thoroughly deceived, perhaps self-deceived, about the King's
intentions. He had a rude awakening when the sealed letter he bore was
opened and read in the Council. It announced no real change in policy,
and in the matter of heresy showed that the King's resolve was
unaltered. A despatch to the Regent (Nov. 5th, 1565) was still more
unbending. Philip would not enlarge the powers of the Council in the
Netherlands; he peremptorily refused to summon the States General; and
he ordered the immediate publication and enforcement of the Decrees of
the Council of Trent in every town and village in the seventeen
provinces. True to the policy of his house, the Decrees of Trent were to
be proclaimed in _his_ name, not in that of the Pope. It was the
beginning of the tragedy, as William of Orange remarked.

The effect of the order was immediate and alarming. The Courts of
Holland and Brabant maintained that the Decrees infringed their
charters, and refused to permit their publication. Stadtholders and
magistrates declared that they would rather resign office than execute
decrees which would compel them to burn over sixty thousand of their
fellow-countrymen. Trade ceased; industries died out; a blight fell on
the land. Pamphlets full of passionate appeals to the people to put an
end to the tyranny were distributed and eagerly read. In one of them,
which took the form of a letter to the King, it was said:

     "We are ready to die for the Gospel, but we read therein, 'Render
     unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things
     that are God's.' We thank God that even our enemies are constrained
     to bear witness to our piety and innocence, for it is a common
     saying: 'He does not swear, for he is a Protestant. He is not an
     immoral man, nor a drunkard, for he belongs to the new sect'; yet
     we are subjected to every kind of punishment that can be invented
     to torment us."[254]

The year 1566 saw the origin of a new confederated opposition to
Philip's mode of ruling the Netherlands. Francis Du Jon, a young
Frenchman of noble birth, belonging to Bourges, had studied for the
ministry at Geneva, and had been sent as a missioner to the Netherlands,
where his learning and eloquence had made a deep impression on young men
of the upper classes. His life was in constant peril, and he was
compelled to flit secretly from the house of one sympathiser to that of
another. During the festivities which accompanied the marriage of the
young Alexander of Parma with Maria of Portugal, he was concealed in the
house of the Count of Culemburg in Brussels. On the day of the wedding
he preached and prayed with a small company of young nobles, twenty in
all. There and at other meetings held afterwards it was resolved to form
a confederacy of nobles, all of whom agreed to bind themselves to
support principles laid down in a carefully drafted manifesto which went
by the name of the _Compromise_. It was mainly directed against the
Inquisition, which it calls a tribunal opposed to all laws, divine and
human. Copies passed from hand to hand soon obtained over two thousand
signatures among the lower nobility and landed gentry. Many substantial
burghers also signed. The leading spirits in the confederacy were Louis
of Nassau, the younger brother of the Prince of Orange, then a Lutheran;
Philip de Marnix, lord of Sainte Aldegonde, a Calvinist; and Henry
Viscount Brederode, a Roman Catholic. The confederates declared that
they were loyal subjects; but pledged themselves to protect each other
if any of them were attacked.

The confederates met privately at Breda and Hoogstraten (March 1566),
and resolved to present a petition to the Regent asking that the King
should be recommended to abolish the _Placards_ and the Inquisition, and
that the Regent should suspend their operation until the King's wishes
were known; also that the States General should be assembled to consider
other ordinances dangerous to the country. The Regent had called an
assembly of the Notables for March 28th, and it was resolved to present
the petition then. The confederation and its _Compromise_ were rather
dreaded by the great nobles who had been the leaders of the
constitutional opposition, and there was some debate about the
presentation of the _Request_. The Baron de Barlaymont went so far as to
recommend a massacre of the petitioners in the audience hall; but wiser
counsels prevailed. The confederates met and marshalled themselves,--two
hundred young nobles,--and marched through the streets to the Palace,
amid the acclamations of the populace, to present the _Request_.[255]
The Regent was somewhat dismayed by the imposing demonstration, but
Barlaymont reassured her with the famous words: "Madame, is your
Highness afraid of these beggars (_ces gueux_)?" The deputation was
dismissed with fair words, and the promise that although the Regent had
no power to suspend the _Placards_ or the Inquisition, there would be
some moderation used until the King's pleasure was known.

Before leaving Brussels, three hundred of the confederates met in the
house of the Count of Culemburg to celebrate their league at a banquet.
The Viscount de Brederode presided, and during the feast he recalled to
their memories the words of Barlaymont: "They call us beggars," he said;
"we accept the name. We pledge ourselves to resist the Inquisition, and
keep true to the King and the beggar's wallet." He then produced the
leathern sack of the wandering beggars, strapped it round his shoulder,
and drank prosperity to the cause from a beggar's wooden bowl. The name
and the emblem were adopted with enthusiasm, and spread far beyond the
circle of the confederacy.[256] Everywhere burghers, lawyers, peasants
as well as nobles appeared wearing the beggar's sack. Medals, made
first of wax set in a wooden cup, then of gold and silver, were adopted
by the confederated nobles. On the one side was the effigies of the
King, and on the obverse two hands clasped and the beggar's sack with
the motto, _Fidelles au Roi jusques à porter la besace_ (beggar's sack).

All these things were faithfully reported by the Regent to Philip, and
she besought him either to permit her to moderate the _Placards_ and the
Inquisition, or to come to the Netherlands himself. He answered,
promising to come, and permitted her some discretion in the matter of
repression of heresy.

Meanwhile the people were greatly encouraged by the success, or
appearance of success, attending the efforts of the confederates.
Refugees returned from France, Germany, and Switzerland. Missioners of
the Reformed faith came in great numbers. Field-preachings were held all
over the country. The men came armed, planted sentinels, placed their
women and children within the square, and thus listened to the services
conducted by the excommunicated ministers. They heard the Scriptures
read and prayers poured forth in their own tongue. They sang hymns and
psalms in French, Flemish, and Dutch. The crowds were so large, the
sentinels so wary, the men so well armed, that the soldiers dared not
attempt to disperse them. At first the meetings were held at night in
woods and desolate places, but immunity created boldness.

     "On July 23rd (1566) the Reformed rendezvoused in great numbers in
     a large meadow not far from Ghent. There they formed a sort of
     camp, fortifying themselves with their waggons, and setting
     sentinels at all the roads. Some brought pikes, some hatchets, and
     others guns. In front of them were pedlars with prohibited books,
     which they sold to such as came. They planted several along the
     road whose business it was to invite people to come to the
     preaching and to show them the way. They made a kind of pulpit of
     planks, and set it upon a waggon, from which the minister preached.
     When the sermon was ended, all the congregation sang several
     psalms. They also drew water out of a well or brook near them, and
     a child was baptized. Two days were spent there, and then they
     adjourned to Deinsen, then to Ekelo near Bruges, and so through all
     West Flanders."[257]

Growing bolder still, the Reformed met in the environs and suburbs of
the great towns. Bands of men marched through the streets singing
Psalms, either the French versions of Clement Marot or Bèze or the Dutch
one of Peter Dathenus. It was in vain that the Regent issued a new
_Placard_ against the preachers and the conventicles. It remained a dead
letter. In Antwerp, bands of the Reformed, armed, crowded to the
preachings in defiance of the magistrates, who were afraid of fighting
in the streets. In the emergency the Regent appealed to William of
Orange, and he with difficulty appeased the tumults and arranged a
compromise. The Calvinists agreed to disarm on the condition that they
were allowed the free exercise of their worship in the suburbs although
not within the towns.[258]

The confederates were so encouraged with their successes that they
thought of attempting more. A great conference was held at St. Trond in
the principality of Liège (July 1566), attended by nearly two thousand
members. The leader was Louis of Nassau. They resolved on another
deputation to the Regent, and twelve of their number were selected to
present their demands. These "Twelve Apostles," as the courtiers
contemptuously termed them, declared that the persecution had not been
mitigated as promised, and not obscurely threatened that if some remedy
were not found they might be forced to invoke foreign assistance. The
threat enraged the Regent; but she was helpless; she could only urge
that she had already made representations to the King, and had sent two
members of Council to inform the King about the condition of the

It seemed as if some impression had been made on Philip. The Regent
received a despatch (July 31st, 1566) saying that he was prepared to
withdraw the papal Inquisition from the Netherlands, and that he would
grant what toleration was consistent with the maintenance of the
Catholic religion; only he would in no way consent to a summoning of the
States General.

There was great triumphing in the Netherlands at this news. Perhaps
every one but the Prince of Orange was more or less deceived by Philip's
duplicity. It is only since the archives of Simancas have yielded their
secrets that its depth has been known. They reveal that on Aug. 9th he
executed a deed in which he declared that the promise of pardon had been
won from him by force, and that he did not mean to keep it, and that on
Aug. 12th he wrote to the Pope that his declaration to withdraw the
Inquisition was a mere blind. William only knew that the King was
levying troops, and that he was blaming the great nobles of the
Netherlands for the check inflicted upon him by the confederates.

Long before Philip's real intentions were unmasked, a series of
iconoclastic attacks not only gave the King the pretext he needed, but
did more harm to the cause of the Reformation in the Low Countries than
all the persecutions under Charles V. and his son. The origin of these
tumultuous proceedings is obscure. According to Brandt, who collects
information from all sides:

     "Some few of the vilest of the mob ... were those who began the
     dance, being hallooed on by nobody knows whom. Their arms were
     staves, hatchets, hammers, ladders, ropes, and other tools more
     proper to demolish than to fight with; some few were provided with
     guns and swords. At first they attacked the crosses and the images
     that had been erected on the great roads in the country; next,
     those in the villages; and, lastly, those in the towns and cities.
     All the chapels, churches, and convents which they found shut they
     forced open, breaking, tearing, and destroying all the images,
     pictures, shrines and other consecrated things they met with; nay,
     some did not scruple to lay their hands upon libraries, books,
     writings, monuments, and even on the dead bodies in churches and

According to almost all accounts, the epidemic, for the madness
resembled a disease, first appeared at St. Omer (Aug. 14th, 1566), then
at Ypres, and extended rapidly to other towns. It came to a height at
Antwerp (16th and 17th Aug. 1566), when the mob sacked the great
cathedral and destroyed some of its richest treasures.[260] An
eye-witness declared that the rioters in the cathedral did not number
more than one hundred men, women, and boys, drawn from the dregs of the
population, and that the attacks on the other churches were made by
small parties of ten or twelve persons.

These outrages had a disastrous effect on the Reformation movement in
the Netherlands, both immediately and in the future. They at once
exasperated the more liberal-minded Roman Catholics and enraged the
Regent: they began that gradual cleavage which ended in the separation
of the Protestant North from the Romanist South. The Regent felt herself
justified in practically withdrawing all the privileges she had accorded
to the Reformed, and in raising German and Walloon troops to overawe the
Protestants. The presence of these troops irritated some of the
Calvinist nobles, and John de Marnix, elder brother of Sainte Aldegonde,
attempted to seize the Island of Walcheren in order to hold it as a city
of refuge for his persecuted brethren. He was unsuccessful; a fight took
place not far from Antwerp itself, in which de Marnix was routed and
slain (March 13th, 1567).

§ 5. _William of Orange._

Meanwhile William of Orange had come to the conclusion that Philip was
meditating the suppression of the rights and liberties of the Low
Countries by Spanish troops, and was convinced that the great nobles who
had hitherto headed the constitutional opposition would be the first to
be attacked. He had conferences with Egmont and Hoorn at Dendermonde
(Oct. 3rd, 1566), and at Willebroek (April 2nd, 1567), and endeavoured
to persuade them that the only course open to them was to resist by
force of arms. His arguments were unavailing, and William sadly
determined that he must leave the country and retire to his German

His forebodings were only too correct. Philip had resolved to send the
Duke of Alva to subdue the Netherlands. A force of nine thousand veteran
Spanish infantry with thirteen hundred Italian cavalry had been
collected from the garrisons of Lombardy and Naples, and Alva began a
long, difficult march over the Mt. Cenis and through Franche-Comté,
Lorraine, and Luxemburg. William had escaped just in time. When the Duke
arrived in Brussels and presented his credentials to the Council of
State, it was seen that the King had bestowed on him such extensive
powers that Margaret remained Regent in name only. One of his earliest
acts was to get possession of the persons of Counts Egmont and Hoorn,
with their private secretaries, and to imprison Antony van Straelen,
Burgomaster of Antwerp, and a confidential friend of the Prince of
Orange. Many other arrests were made; and Alva, having caught his
victims, invented an instrument to help him to dispose of them.

By the mere fiat of his will he created a judicial chamber, whose
decisions were to override those of any other court of law in the
Netherlands, and which was to be responsible to none, not even to the
Council of State. It was called the _Council of Tumults_, but is better
known by its popular name, _The Bloody Tribunal_. It consisted of twelve
members, among whom were Barlaymont and a few of the most violent
Romanists of the Netherlands; but only two, Juan de Vargas and del Rio,
both Spaniards, were permitted to vote and influence the decisions. Del
Rio was a nonentity; but de Vargas was a very stern reality--a man of
infamous life, equally notorious for the delight he took in slaughtering
his fellow-men and the facility with which he murdered the Latin
language! He brought the whole population of the Netherlands within the
grip of the public executioner by his indictment: _Hæretici fraxerunt
templa, boni nihil faxerunt contra; ergo debent omnes patibulure:_ by
which he meant, _The heretics have broken open churches, the orthodox
have done nothing to hinder them; therefore they ought all of them to be
hanged together._ Alva reserved all final decisions for his own
judgment, in order that the work might be thoroughly done. He wrote to
the King, "Men of law only condemn for crimes that are proved, whereas
your Majesty knows that affairs of State are governed by very different
rules from the laws which they have here."

At its earlier sittings this terrible tribunal defined the crime of
treason, and stated that its punishment was death. The definition
extended to eighteen articles, and declared it to be treason--to have
presented or signed any petition against the new bishoprics, the
Inquisition, or the _Placards_; to have tolerated public preaching under
any circumstances; to have omitted to resist iconoclasm, or
field-preaching, or the presentation of the _Request_; to have asserted
that the King had not the right to suspend the charters of the
provinces; or to maintain that the Council of Tumults had not a right to
override all the laws and privileges of the Netherlands. All these
things were treason, and all of them were capital offences. Proof was
not required; all that was needed was reasonable suspicion, or rather
what the Duke of Alva believed to be so. The Council soon got to work.
It sent commissioners through every part of the land--towns, villages,
districts--to search for any who might be suspected of having committed
any act which could be included within their definition of treason.
Informers were invited, were bribed, to come forward; and soon shoals of
denunciations and evidence flowed in to them. The accused were brought
before the Council, tried (if the procedure could be called a trial),
and condemned in batches. The records speak of ninety-five, eighty-four,
forty-six, thirty-five at a time. Alva wrote to Philip that no fewer
than fifteen hundred had been taken in their beds early on Ash-Wednesday
morning, and later he announces another batch of eight hundred. In each
case he adds, "I have ordered all of them to be executed." In view of
these records, the language of a contemporary chronicler does not
appeared exaggerated:

     "The gallows, the wheel, stakes, trees along the highways, were
     laden with carcasses or limbs of those who had been hanged,
     beheaded, or roasted; so that the air which God made for the
     respiration of the living, was now become the common grave or
     habitation of the dead. Every day produced fresh objects of pity
     and of mourning, and the noise of the bloody passing-bell was
     continually heard, which by the martyrdom of this man's cousin, and
     the other's brother or friend, rang dismal peals in the hearts of
     the survivors."[261]

Whole families left their dwellings to shelter themselves in the woods,
and, goaded by their misery, pillaged and plundered. The priests had
been active as informers, and these _Wild-Beggars_, as they were called,
"made excursions on them, serving themselves of the darkest nights for
revenge and robbery, punishing them not only by despoiling them of their
goods, but by disfiguring their faces, cutting off ears and noses." The
country was in a state of anarchy.

Margaret, Duchess of Parma, the nominal Regent of the Netherlands, had
found her position intolerable since the arrival of the Duke of Alva,
and was permitted by Philip to resign (Oct. 6th, 1567). Alva henceforth
was untrammelled by even nominal restraint. A process was begun against
the Counts Egmont and Hoorn, and William of Orange was proclaimed an
outlaw (Jan. 24th, 1568) unless he submitted himself for trial before
the _Council of Tumults_. Some days afterwards, his eldest son, a boy of
fifteen and a student in the University of Louvain, was kidnapped and
carried off to Spain.[262]

William replied in his famous _Justification of the Prince of Orange
against his Calumniators_, in which he declared that he, a citizen of
Brabant, a Knight of the Golden Fleece, a Prince of the Holy Roman
Empire, one of the sovereign Princes of Europe (in virtue of the
principality of Orange), could not be summoned before an incompetent
tribunal. He reviewed the events in the Netherlands since the accession
of Philip II., and spoke plainly against the misgovernment caused, he
said diplomatically, by the evil counsels of the King's advisers. The
_Justification_ was published in several languages, and was not merely
an act of defiance to Philip, but a plea made on behalf of his country
to the whole of civilised Europe.

The earlier months of 1568 had been spent by the Prince of Orange in
military preparations for the relief of his countrymen, and in the
spring his army was ready. The campaign was a failure. Hoogstraten was
defeated. Louis of Nassau had a temporary success at Heiliger-Lee (May
23rd, 1568), only to be routed at Jemmingen (July 21st, 1568). After
William had issued a pathetic but unavailing manifesto to Protestant
Europe, a second expedition was sent forth only to meet defeat. The
cause of the Netherlands seemed hopeless.

But Alva was beginning to find himself in difficulties. On the news of
the repulse of his troops at Heiliger-Lee he had hastily beheaded the
Counts Egmont and Hoorn. Instead of striking terror into the hearts of
the Netherlanders, the execution roused them to an undying hatred of the
Spaniard. He was now troubled by lack of money to pay his troops. He had
promised Philip to make gold flow from the Low Countries to Spain; but
his rule had destroyed the commerce and manufactures of the country, the
source of its wealth. He was almost dependent on subsidies from Spain.
Elizabeth of England had been assisting her fellow Protestants in the
way she liked best, by seizing Spanish treasure ships; and Alva was
reduced to find the money he needed within the Netherlands.

It was then that he proposed to the States General, summoned to meet him
(March 20th, 1569), his notorious scheme of taxation, which finally
ruined him--a tax of one per cent. (the "hundredth penny") to be levied
once for all on all property; a tax of five per cent. (the "twentieth
penny") to be levied at every sale or transfer of landed property: and a
tax of ten per cent. (the "tenth penny") on all articles of commerce
each time they were sold. This scheme of taxation would have completely
ruined a commercial and manufacturing country. It met with universal
resistance. Provinces, towns, magistrates, guilds, the bishops and the
clergy--everyone protested against the taxation. Even Philip's Council
at Madrid saw the impossibility of exacting such taxes from a country.
Alva swore that he would have his own way. The town and district of
Utrecht had been the first to protest. Alva quartered the regiment of
Lombardy upon them; but not even the licence and brutality of the
soldiers could force the wretched people to pay. Alva proclaimed the
whole of the inhabitants to be guilty of high treason; he took from them
all their charters and privileges; he declared their whole property
confiscated to the King. But these were the acts of a furious madman,
and were unavailing. He then postponed the collection of the hundredth
and of the tenth pennies; but the need of money forced him on, and he
gave definite orders for the collection of the "tenth" and the
"twentieth pennies." The trade and manufactures of the country came to a
sudden standstill, and Alva at last knew that he was beaten. He had to
be satisfied with a payment of two millions of florins for two years.

The real fighting force among the Reformed Netherlanders was to be
found, not among the landsmen, but in the sailors and fishermen. It is
said that Admiral Coligny was the first to point this out to the Prince
of Orange. He acted upon the advice, and in 1569 he had given letters of
marque to some eighteen small vessels to cruise in the narrow seas and
attack the Spaniards. At first they were little better than
pirates,--men of various nationalities united by a fierce hatred of
Spaniards and Papists, feared by friends and foes alike. William
attempted, at first somewhat unsuccessfully, to reduce them to
discipline and order, by issuing with his letters of marque orders
limiting their indiscriminate pillage, insisting upon the maintenance of
religious services on board, and declaring that one-third of the booty
was to be given to himself for the common good of the country. In their
earlier days they were allowed to refit and sell their plunder in
English ports, but these were closed to them on strong remonstrances
from the Court of Spain. It was almost by accident that they seized and
held (April 1st, 1572) Brill or Brielle, a strongly fortified town on
Voorn, which was then an island at the mouth of the Maas, some twenty
miles west or seaward from Rotterdam. The inhabitants were forced to
take an oath of allegiance to William as Stadtholder under the King, and
the flag of what was afterwards to become the United Provinces was
hoisted on land for the first time. It was not William, but his brother
Louis of Nassau, who was the first to see the future possibilities in
this act. He urged the seizure of Flushing or Vlissingen, the chief
stronghold in Zeeland, situated on an island at the mouth of the Honte
or western Scheldt, and commanding the entrance to Antwerp. The citizens
rose in revolt against the Spanish garrison; the _Sea-Beggars_, as they
were called, hurried to assist them; the town was taken, and the Spanish
commander, Pachecho, was captured and hanged. This gave the seamen
possession of the whole island of Walcheren save the fortified town of
Middleburg. Delfshaven and Schiedam were seized. The news swept through
Holland, Zeeland, Guelderland, Utrecht, and Friesland, and town after
town declared for William of Orange the Stadtholder. The leaders were
marvellously encouraged to renewed exertions.[263] Proclamations in the
name of the new ruler were scattered broadcast through the country, and
the people were fired by a song said to be written by Sainte Aldegonde,
_Wilhelmus van Nassouwe_, which is still the national hymn of Holland.
The Prince of Orange thought he might venture on another invasion, and
was already near Brussels when the news of the Massacre of Saint
Bartholomew reached him. His plans had been based on assistance from
France, urged by Coligny and promised by Charles IX. "What a
sledge-hammer blow (_coup de massue_) that has been," he wrote to his
brother; "my only hope was from France."[264] Mons, which Louis had
seized in the south with his French troops, had to be abandoned; and
William, after some vain efforts, had to disband his troops.

Then Alva came out from Brussels to wreak a fearful vengeance on Mons,
Mechlin, Tergoes, Naarden, Haarlem, and Zutphen. The terms of the
capitulation of Mons were violated. Mechlin was plundered and set on
fire by the Spanish troops. The Spanish commander sent against Zutphen
had orders to burn every house, and to slay men, women, and children.
Haarlem was invested, resisted desperately, and then capitulated on
promise of lenient treatment. When the Spaniards entered they butchered
in cold blood all the Dutch soldiers and some hundreds of the citizens;
and, tying the bodies two and two together, they cast them into the
Haarlem lake. It seemed as if the Papists had determined to exterminate
the Protestants when they found that they could not convert them.

Some towns, however, held out. Don Frederick, the son of Alva and the
butcher of Haarlem, was beaten back from the little town of Alkmaar. The
_Sea-Beggars_ met the Spanish fleet sent to crush them, sank or
scattered the ships, and took the Admiral prisoner. The nation of
fishermen and shopkeepers, once the scorn of Spain and of Europe for
their patient endurance of indignities, were seen at last to be a race
of heroes, determined never again to endure the yoke of the Spaniard.
Alva had soon to face a soldiery mutinous for want of pay, and to see
all his sea approaches in the hands of Dutch sailors, whom the strongest
fleets of Spain could not subdue. The iron pitiless man at last
acknowledged that he was beaten, and demanded his recall. He left
Brussels on Dec. 18th, 1573, and did not again see the land he had
deluged with blood during a space of six years. Like all tyrants, he had
great faith in his system, even when it had broken in his hand. Had he
been a little more severe, added a few more drops to the sea of blood he
had spilled, all would have gone well. The only advice he could give to
his successor was, to burn down every town he could not garrison with
Spanish troops.

The new Spanish Regent was Don Louis Requesens-y-Zuniga, a member of the
higher nobility of Spain, and a Grand Commander of the Knights of Malta.
He was high-minded, and of a generous disposition. Had he been sent to
the Netherlands ten years sooner, and allowed to act with a free hand,
the history of the Netherlands might have been different. His earlier
efforts at government were marked by attempts to negotiate, and he was
at pains to give Philip his reasons for his conduct.

     "Before my arrival," he wrote, "I could not comprehend how the
     rebels contrived to maintain fleets so considerable, while your
     Majesty could not maintain one. Now I see that men who are fighting
     for their lives, their families, their property, and their false
     religion, in short, for their own cause, are content if they
     receive only rations without pay."

He immediately reversed the policy of Alva: he repealed the hated taxes;
dissolved the Council of Blood, and published a general amnesty. But he
could not come to terms with the "rebels." William of Orange refused
all negotiation which was not based on three preliminary
conditions--freedom of conscience, and liberty to preach the Gospel
according to the Word of God; the restoration of all the ancient
charters; and the withdrawal of all Spaniards from all posts military
and civil. He would accept no truce nor amnesty without these. "We have
heard too often," he said, "the words _Agreed_ and _Eternal_. If I have
your word for it, who will guarantee that the King will not deny it, and
be absolved for his breach of faith by the Pope?" Requesens, hating the
necessity, had to carry on the struggle which the policy of his King and
of the Regents who preceded him had provoked.

The fortune of war seemed to be unchanged. The patriots were always
victorious at sea and tenacious in desperate defence of their fortified
towns when they were besieged, but they went down before the veteran
Spanish infantry in almost every battle fought on land. In the beginning
of 1574 two fortresses were invested. The patriots were besieging
Middleburg, and the Spaniards had invested Leyden. The _Sea-Beggars_
routed the Spanish fleet in a bloody fight in the mouth of the Scheldt,
and Middleburg had to surrender. Leyden had two months' respite owing to
a mutiny among the Spanish soldiers, but the citizens neglected the
opportunity thus given them to revictual their town. It was again
invested (May 26th), and hardly pressed. Louis of Nassau, leading an
army to its assistance, was totally routed at Mookerheide, and he and
his younger brother Henry were among the slain. The fate of Leyden
seemed to be sealed, when William suggested to the Estates of Holland to
cut the dykes and let in the sea. The plan was adopted. But the dykes
took long to cut, and when they were opened and the water began to flow
in slowly, violent winds swept it back to the sea. Within Leyden the
supply of food was melting away; and the famished and anxious burghers,
looking over the plain from the steeples of the town, saw help coming so
slowly that it seemed as if it could arrive only when it was too late.
The Spaniards knew also of the coming danger, and, calculating on the
extremities of the townsfolk, urged on them to surrender, with promises
of an honourable capitulation. "We have two arms," one of the defenders
on the walls shouted back, "and when hunger forces us we will eat the
one and fight you with the other." Four weary months passed amidst
indescribable sufferings, when at last the sea reached the walls. With
it came the patriotic fleet, sailing over buried corn fields and
gardens, piloted through orchards and villages. The Spaniards fled in
terror, for the _Sea-Beggars_ were upon them, shouting their battle-cry,
"Sooner Turks than Papists." Townsmen and sailors went to the great
church to offer thanksgiving for the deliverance which had been brought
them from the sea. When the vast audience was singing a psalm of
deliverance, the voices suddenly ceased, and nothing was heard but low
sobbing; the people, broken by long watching and famine, overcome by
unexpected deliverance, could only weep.

The good news was brought to Delft by Hans Brugge, who found William in
church at the afternoon service. When the sermon was ended, the
deliverance of Leyden was announced from the pulpit. William, weak with
illness as he was, rode off to Leyden at once to congratulate the
citizens on their heroic defence and miraculous deliverance. There he
proposed the foundation of what became the famous University of Leyden,
which became for Holland what Wittenberg had been to Germany, Geneva to
Switzerland, and Saumur to France.

The siege of Leyden was the turning-point in the war for independence.
The Spanish Regent saw that a new Protestant State was slowly and almost
imperceptibly forming. His troops were almost uniformly victorious in
the field, but the victories did not seem to be of much value. He
decided once more to attempt negotiation. The conferences came to
nothing. The utmost that Philip II. would concede was that the
Protestants should have time to sell their possessions and leave the
country. The war was again renewed, when death came to relieve
Requesens of his difficulties (March 1575). His last months were
disgraced by the recommendation he made to his master to offer a reward
for the assassination of the Prince of Orange.

The history of the next few years is a tangled story which would take
too long to tell. When Requesens died the treasury was empty, and no
public money was forthcoming. The Spanish soldiers mutinied, clamouring
for their pay. They seized on some towns and laid hold on the citadel of
Antwerp. Then occurred the awful pillage of the great city, when, during
three terrible November days, populous and wealthy Antwerp suffered all
the horrors that could be inflicted upon it.

The sudden death of Requesens had left everything in confusion; and
leading men, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, conceived that
advantage should be taken of the absence of any Spanish Governor to see
whether all the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands could not combine
on some common programme which would unite the country in spite of their
religious differences. Delegates met together at Ghent (Oct. 28th, 1576)
and drafted a treaty. A meeting of States General for the southern
provinces was called to assemble at Brussels in November, and the
members were discussing the terms of the treaty when the news of the
"Spanish Fury" at Antwerp reached them. The story of the ghastly horrors
perpetrated on their countrymen doubtless hastened their decision, and
the treaty was ratified both by the States General and by the Council of
State. The _Pacification of Ghent_ cemented an alliance between the
southern provinces represented in the States General which met at
Brussels and the northern provinces of Holland and Zeeland. Its chief
provisions were that all should combine to drive the Spanish and other
foreign troops out of the land, and that a formal meeting of delegates
from all the seventeen provinces should be called to deliberate upon the
religious question. In the meantime the Roman Catholic religion was to
be maintained; the _Placards_ were to be abolished; the Prince of
Orange was declared to be the Governor of the seventeen provinces and
the Admiral-General of Holland and Zeeland; and the confiscation of the
properties of the houses of Nassau and Brederode was rescinded.

Don John of Austria had been appointed by Philip Regent of the
Netherlands, and was in Luxemburg early in November. His arrival there
was intimated to the States General, who refused to acknowledge him as
Regent unless he would approve of the _Pacification of Ghent_ and swear
to maintain the ancient privileges of the various provinces. Months were
spent in negotiations, but the States General were unmovable. He yielded
at length, and made his State entry into Brussels on May 1st, 1577. When
once there he found himself overshadowed by William, who had been
accepted as leader by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike. But Philip
with great exertions had got together an army of twenty thousand veteran
Spanish and Italian troops, and sent them to the Netherlands under the
command of Alexander Farnese, the son of the former Regent, Margaret
Duchess of Parma. The young Duke of Parma was a man of consummate
abilities, military and diplomatic, and was by far the ablest agent
Philip ever had in the Low Countries. He defeated the patriotic army at
Gemblours (Jan. 31st, 1578), and several towns at once opened their
gates to Parma and Don John. To increase the confusion, John Casimir,
brother of the Elector Palatine, invaded the land from the east at the
head of a large body of German mercenary soldiers to assist the
Calvinists; the Archduke Matthias, brother of the Emperor Rudolph, was
already in the country, invited by the Roman Catholics; and the Duke of
Anjou had invaded the Netherlands from the south to uphold the interests
of those Romanists who did not wish to tolerate Protestantism but hated
the Spaniards. These foreigners represented only too well the latent
divisions of the country--divisions which were skilfully taken advantage
of by the Duke of Parma. After struggling in vain for a union of the
whole seventeen provinces on the basis of complete religious toleration,
William saw that his task was hopeless. Neither the majority of the
Romanists nor the majority of the Protestants could understand
toleration. Delegates of the Romanist provinces of Hainault, Douai, and
Artois met at Arras (Jan. 5th, 1579) to form a league which had for its
ultimate intention a reconciliation with Spain on the basis of the
_Pacification of Ghent_, laying stress on the provision for the
maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion. Thus challenged, the
northern provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelderland, and
Zutphen met at Utrecht (Jan. 29th, 1579), and formed a league to
maintain themselves against all foreign Princes, including the King of
Spain. These two leagues mark the definite separation of the Romanist
South from the Protestant North, and the creation of a new Protestant
State, the United Provinces. William did not sign the Treaty of Utrecht
until May 3rd.

In 1581, Philip made a last attempt to overcome his indomitable
antagonist. He published the Ban against him, denouncing him as a
traitor and an enemy of the human race, and offering a reward of
twenty-five thousand crowns and a patent of nobility to anyone who
should deliver him to the King dead or alive. William answered in his
famous _Apology_, which gives an account of his whole career, and
contains a scathing exposure of Philip's misdeeds. The _Apology_ was
translated into several languages, and sent to all the Courts of Europe.
Brabant, Flanders, Utrecht, Guelderland, Holland, and Zeeland answered
Philip by the celebrated Act of Abjuration (July 26th, 1581), in which
they solemnly renounced allegiance to the King of Spain, and constituted
themselves an independent republic.

The date of the abjuration may be taken as the beginning of the new era,
the birth of another Protestant nation. Its young life had been
consecrated in a baptism of blood and fire such as no other nation in
Europe had to endure. Its Declaration of Independence did not procure
immediate relief. Nearly thirty years of further struggle awaited it;
and it was soon to mourn the loss of its heroic leader. The rewards
promised by Philip II. were a spur to the zeal of Romanist fanatics. In
1582 (March 18th), Juan Jaureguy, a Biscayan, made a desperate attempt
at assassination, which for the moment was thought to be successful. The
pistol was so close to the Prince that his hair and beard were set on
fire, and the ball entering under the right ear, passed through the
palate and out by the left jaw. Two years later (July 9th, 1584),
William fell mortally wounded by Balthasar Gerard, whose heirs claimed
the reward for assassination promised by Philip, and received part of it
from the King. The Prince's last words were: "My God, have mercy on my
soul and on these poor people."

The sixteenth century produced no nobler character than that of William,
Prince of Orange. His family were Lutherans, but they permitted the lad
to be brought up in the Roman Catholic religion--the condition which
Charles v. had imposed before he would consent to give effect to the
will of René, Prince of Orange,[265] who, dying at the early age of
twenty-six, had left his large possessions to his youthful cousin,
William of Nassau. In an intolerant age he stands forth as the one great
leader who rose above the religious passions of the time, and who strove
all his life to secure freedom of conscience and right of public worship
for men of all creeds.[266] He was a consistent liberal Roman Catholic
down to the close of 1555. His letter (January 24th, 1566) to Margaret
of Parma perhaps reveals the beginnings of a change. He called himself
"a good Christian," not a "good Catholic." Before the end of that year
he had said privately that he was ready to return to the faith of his
childhood and subscribe the Augsburg Confession. During his exile in
1568 he had made a daily study of the Holy Scriptures, and, whatever the
exact shade of his theological opinions, had become a deeply religious
man, animated with the lofty idea that God had called him to do a great
work for Him and for His persecuted people. His private letters, meant
for no eyes but those of his wife or of his most familiar friends, are
full of passages expressing a quiet faith in God and in the leadings of
His Providence.[267] During the last years of his life the teachings of
Calvin had more and more taken hold on his intellect and sympathy, and
he publicly declared himself a Calvinist in 1573 (October 23rd). A
hatred of every form of oppression was his ruling passion, and he
himself has told us that it was when he learnt that the Kings of France
and Spain had come to a secret understanding to extirpate heresy by fire
and sword, that he made the silent resolve to drive "This vermin of
Spaniards out of his country."[268]

The Protestant Netherlands might well believe themselves lost when he
fell under the pistol of the assassin; but he left them a legacy in the
persons of his confidential friend Johan van Oldenbarneveldt and of his
son Maurice. Oldenbarneveldt's patient diplomatic genius completed the
political work left unfinished by William; and Maurice,[269] a lad of
seventeen at his father's death, was acknowledged only a few years
afterwards as the greatest military leader in Europe. The older man in
the politician's study, and the boy-general in the field, were able to
keep the Spaniards at bay, until at length, in 1607 (October), a
suspension of arms was agreed to. This resulted in a truce for twelve
years (April 9th, 1609), which was afterwards prolonged indefinitely.
The Dutch had won their independence, and had become a strong Protestant
power whose supremacy at sea was challenged only by England.

Notwithstanding the severity of the persecutions which they endured, the
Protestants of the Netherlands organised themselves into churches, and
as early as 1563 the delegates from the various churches met in a synod
to settle the doctrine and discipline which was to bind them together.
This was not done without internal difficulties. The people of the
Netherlands had received the Evangelical faith from various sources, and
the converts tenaciously clung to the creed and ecclesiastical system
with which they were first acquainted. The earliest Reformation
preachers in the Low Countries were followers of Luther, and many of
them had been trained at Wittenberg. Lutherans were numerous among the
lesser nobility and the more substantial burghers. Somewhat later the
opinions of Zwingli also found their way into the Netherlands, and were
adopted by many very sincere believers. The French-speaking provinces
in the south had been evangelised for the most part by missioners
trained under Calvin at Geneva, and they brought his theology with them.
Thus Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin had all attached followers in the Low
Countries. The differences found expression, not so much in matters of
doctrine as in preferences for different forms of Church government; and
although they were almost overcome, they reappeared later in the contest
which emerged in the beginning of the seventeenth century about the
relation which ought to subsist between the civil and the ecclesiastical
authorities. In the end, the teaching of Geneva displaced both
Lutheranism and Zwinglianism, and the Reformed in the Netherlands became
Calvinist in doctrine and discipline.

Accordingly, most of the churches were early organised on the principles
of the churches in France, with a minister and a consistory of elders
and deacons; and when delegates from the churches met to deliberate upon
an organisation which would bind all together, the system which was
adopted was the Presbyterian or Conciliar. The meeting was at Emden
(1569), as it was too dangerous to assemble within the jurisdiction of
the Government of the Netherlands. It was resolved that the Church
should be ruled by _consistories, classes_, and _synods_. This Conciliar
organisation, thus adopted at Emden in 1569, might not have met with
unanimous support had not the Reformed been exposed to the full fury of
Alva's persecution. The consistorial system of the Lutheran Church, and
the position which Zwingli assigned to the magistracy, are possible only
when the civil government is favourably disposed towards the Church
within the land which it rules; but Presbyterianism, as France,
Scotland, and the Netherlands have proved, is the best suited for "a
Church under the Cross." Nor need this be wondered at, for the
Presbyterian or Conciliar is the revival of the government of the Church
of the early centuries while still under the ban of the Roman

A synod which met at Dordrecht (Dort) in 1572 revised, enlarged, and
formally adopted the articles of this Emden synod or conference.

Two peculiarities of the Dutch organisation ought to be explained. The
_consistory_ or kirk-session is the court which rules the individual
congregation in Holland as in all other Presbyterian lands; but in the
Dutch Church all Church members inhabiting a city are regarded as one
congregation; the ministers are the pastors of the city, preaching in
turn in all its buildings set apart for public worship, and the people
are not considered to be specially attached to any one of the buildings,
nor to belong to the flock of any one of the ministers; and therefore
there is one consistory for the whole city. This peculiarity was also
seen in the early centuries. Then it must be noticed that, owing to the
political organisation of the United Provinces, it was difficult to
arrange for a National Synod. The civil constitution was a federation of
States, in many respects independent of each other, who were bound to
protect each other in war, to maintain a common army, and to contribute
to a common military treasury. When William of Orange was elected
Stadtholder for life, one of the laws which bound him was that he should
not acknowledge any ecclesiastical assembly which had not the approval
of the civil authorities of the province in which it proposed to meet.
This implied that each province was entitled to regulate its own
ecclesiastical affairs. There could be no meeting of a National Synod
unless all the United Provinces gave their approval. Hence the tendency
was to prevent corporate and united action.

According to the articles of Emden, and the revised and enlarged edition
approved at Dordrecht in 1572, it was agreed that office-bearers in the
Church were to sign the _Confession of Faith_. This creed had been
prepared by Guido de Brès (born at Mons in 1540) in 1561, and had been
revised by several of his friends. It was based on the Confession of the
French Church, and was originally written in French. It was approved by
a series of Synods, and was translated into Dutch, German, and Latin.
It is known as the Belgic Confession. Its original title was, _A
Confession of Faith, generally and unanimously maintained by Believers
dispersed throughout the Low Countries who desire to live according to
the purity of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ._[271] The Church
also adopted the _Heidelberg Catechism_[272] for the instruction of the

The long fight against Spain and the Inquisition had stimulated the
energies of the Church and the people of the Netherlands, and their
Universities and theological schools soon rivalled older seats of
learning. The University of Leyden, a thank-offering for the wonderful
deliverance of the town, was founded in 1575; Franecker, ten years
later, in 1585; and there followed in rapid succession the Universities
of Gronningen (1612), Utrecht (1636), and Harderwyk (1648). Dutch
theologians and lawyers became famous during the seventeenth century for
their learning and acumen.



If civilisation means the art of living together in peace, Scotland was
almost four hundred years behind the rest of Western Europe in the
beginning of the sixteenth century.

The history of her kings is a tale of assassinations, long minorities,
regencies scrambled and fought for by unscrupulous barons; and kingly
authority, which had been growing in other countries, was on the verge
of extinction in Scotland. Her Parliament or Estates of the Realm was a
mere feudal assembly, with more than the usual uncertainty regarding who
were entitled to be present; while its peculiar management by a
Committee of the Estates made it a facile instrument in the hands of the
faction who were for the moment in power, and robbed it of any stable
influence on the country as a whole. The Church, wealthy so far as
acreage was concerned, had become secularised to an extent unknown
elsewhere, and its benefices served to provide for the younger sons of
the great feudal families in a manner which recalls the days of Charles
the Hammer.[274]

Yet the country had been prepared for the Reformation by the education
of the people, especially of the middle class, by constant intercourse
between Scotland and France and the Low Countries, and by the sympathy
which Scottish students had felt for the earlier movements towards
Church reform in England and Bohemia; while the wealth and immorality of
the Romish clergy, the poverty of the nobility and landed gentry, and
the changing political situation, combined to give an impetus to the
efforts of those who longed for a Reformation.

More than one historian has remarked that the state of education in
Scotland had always been considerably in advance of what might have been
expected from its backward civilisation. This has been usually traced to
the enduring influence of the old Celtic Church--a Church which had
maintained its hold on the country for more than seven centuries, and
which had always looked upon the education of the people as a religious
duty. Old Celtic ecclesiastical rules declared that it was as important
to teach boys and girls to read, as to dispense the sacraments, and to
take part in _soul-friendship_ (confession). The Celtic monastery had
always been an educational centre; and when Charles the Great
established the High Schools which grew to be the older Universities of
northern Europe, the Celtic monasteries furnished many of the teachers.
The very complete educational system of the old Church had been taken
over into the Roman Church which supplanted it, under Queen Margaret and
her sons. Hence it was that the Cathedral and Monastery Schools produced
a number of scholars who were eager to enrich their stores of learning
beyond what the mother-country could give them, and the Scotch wandering
student was well known during the Middle Ages on the Continent of
Europe. One Scottish bishop founded a Scots College in Paris for his
countrymen; other bishops obtained from English kings safe-conducts for
their students to reside at Oxford and Cambridge.

This scholastic intercourse brought Scotland in touch with the
intellectual movements in Europe. Scottish students at Paris listened to
the lectures of Peter Dubois and William of Ockham when they taught the
theories contained in the _Defensor Pacis_ of Marsiglio of Padua, who
had expounded that the Church is not the hierarchy, but the Christian
people, and had denied both the temporal and spiritual supremacy of the
Pope. The _Rotuli Scotiæ_,[275] or collection of safe-conducts issued by
English monarchs to inhabitants of the northern kingdom, show that a
continuous stream of Scottish students went to the English Universities
from 1357 to 1389. During the earlier years of this period--that is, up
to 1364--the safe-conducts applied for and granted entitled the bearers
to go to Oxford or Cambridge or any other place of learning in England;
but from 1364 to 1379 Oxford seems to have been the only University
frequented. During one of these years (1365) safe-conducts were given to
no fewer than eighty-one Scottish students to study in Oxford. The
period was that during which the influence of Wiclif was most powerful,
when Oxford seethed with Lollardy; and the teachings of the great
Reformer were thus brought into Scotland.

Lollardy seems to have made great progress. In 1405, Robert, Duke of
Albany, was made Governor of Scotland, and Andrew Wyntoun in his
Metrical Chronicle praises him for his fidelity to the Church:

    "He wes a constant Catholike,
     All Lollard he hatyt and heretike."[276]

From this time down to the very dawn of the Reformation we find
references to Lollardy in contemporary writers and in Acts of the Scots
Parliament; and all the earlier histories of the Reformation movement in
Scotland relate the story of the Lollards of Kyle and their interview
with King James IV.[277]

The presence of Lollard opinions in Scotland must have attracted the
attention of the leaders of the Hussites in Bohemia. In 1433 (July
23rd), Paul Craw or Crawar was seized, tried before the Inquisitorial
court, condemned, and burnt as a heretic. He had brought letters from
the Hussites of Prag, and acknowledged that he had been sent to interest
the Scots in the Hussite movement--one of the many emissaries who were
despatched in 1431 and 1432 by Procopius and John Rokycana into all
European lands. He was found by the Inquisitor to be a man _in sacris
literis et in allegatione Bibliæ promptus et exercitatus_. Knox tells us
that he was condemned for denying transubstantiation, auricular
confession to the priests, and prayers to saints departed. We learn also
from Knox that at his burning the executioner put a ball of brass in his
mouth that the people might not hear his defence. His execution did not
arrest the progress of Lollardy. The earlier poems of Sir David Lindsay
contain Lollard opinions. By the time that these were published
(1529-1530), Lutheran writings had found their way into Scotland, and
may have influenced the writer; but the sentiments in the _Testament and
Complaynt of the Papyngo_ are more Lollard than Lutheran.

The Romish Church in Scotland was comparatively wealthy, and the rude
Scottish nobles managed to place their younger sons in many a fat
living, with the result that the manners of the clergy did little honour
to their sacred calling. Satirists began to point the moral. John Row

     "As for the more particulare means whereby many in Scotland got
     some knowledge of God's trueth, in the time of great darkness,
     there were some books sett out, such as Sir David Lindesay his
     poesie upon the _Four Monarchies_, wherein many other treatises are
     conteined, opening up the abuses among the Clergie at that tyme;
     Wedderburn's Psalms and _Godlie Ballads_, changing many of the old
     Popish songs unto Godlie purposes; a _Complaint_ given in by the
     halt, blinde and poore of England, aganis the prelats, preists,
     friers, and others such kirkmen, who prodigallie wasted all the
     tithes and kirk liveings upon their unlawfull pleasures, so that
     they could get no sustentation nor releef as God had ordained. This
     was printed and came into Scotland. There were also some
     theatricall playes, comedies, and other notable histories acted in
     publict; for Sir David Lindesay his Satyre was acted in the
     Amphitheater of St. Johnestoun (Perth), before King James the V.,
     and a great part of the nobilitie and gentrie, fra morn to even,
     whilk made the people sensible of the darknes wherein they lay, of
     the wickednes of their kirkmen, and did let them see how God's Kirk
     should have bene otherwayes guyded nor it was; all of whilk did
     much good for that tyme."[278]

It may be doubted, however, whether the Scottish people felt the real
sting in such satires until they began to be taught by preachers who
had been to Wittenberg, or who had studied the writings of Luther and
other Reformers, or who had learned from private perusal of the
Scriptures what it was to be in earnest about pardon of sin and
salvation of soul.

Some of the towns on the East Coast were centres of trade with the
Continent, and Leith had once been an obscure member of the great
Hanseatic League. Lutheran and other tracts were smuggled into Scotland
from Campvere by way of Leith, Dundee, and Montrose. The authorities
were on the alert, and tried to put an end to the practice. In 1525,
Parliament forbade strangers bringing Lutheran books into Scotland on
pain of imprisonment and forfeiture of their goods and ships;[279] and
in the same year the Government were informed that "sundry strangers and
others within the diocese of Aberdeen were possessed of Luther's books,
and favoured his errors and false opinions." Two years later (1527), the
Act was made to include those who assisted in spreading Lutheran views.
An agent of Wolsey informed the Cardinal that Scottish merchants were
purchasing copies of Tyndale's New Testament in the Low Countries and
sending them to Scotland.[280] The efforts of the Government do not seem
to have been very successful. Another Act of Parliament in 1535 declared
that none but the clergy were to be allowed to purchase heretical books;
all others possessing such were required to give them up within forty
days.[281] This legislation clearly shows the spread of Reformed
writings among the people of Scotland.

The first Scottish martyr was Patrick Hamilton, a younger son of Sir
Patrick Hamilton of Kincavel and Stanehouse. He had studied at Paris and
Louvain. As he took his degree of M.A. in Paris in 1520, he had been
there when the writings of Luther were being studied by all learned men,
including the theological students of the Sorbonne (the theological
faculty).[282] Hamilton must have been impressed by the principles of
the German Reformer, and have made no secret of his views when he
returned to Scotland; for in the beginning of 1527 he was a suspected
heretic, and was ordered to be summoned and accused as such. He fled
from Scotland, went to Wittenberg, was at the opening of Philip of
Hesse's new Evangelical University of Marburg (May 30th, 1527), and
drafted the theses for the first academic Disputation.[283] He felt
constrained, however, to return to his native land to testify against
the corruptions of the Roman Church, and was preaching in Scotland in
the end of autumn 1527. The success attending his ministry excited the
fears of the prelates. He was invited, or rather enticed, to St.
Andrews; allowed for nearly a month to preach and dispute in the
University; and was then arrested and tried in the cathedral. The trial
took place in the forenoon, and at mid-day he was hurried to the stake
(Feb. 27th, 1528). The fire by carelessness rather than with intention
was slow, and death came only after lingering hours of agony.

If the ecclesiastical authorities thought to stamp out the new faith by
this martyrdom, they were soon to discover their mistake. Alexander
Alane (Alesius), who had undertaken to convince Patrick Hamilton of his
errors, had been himself converted. He was arrested and imprisoned, but
escaped to the Continent. The following years witnessed a succession of
martyrs--Henry Forrest (1533), David Stratton and Norman Gourlay (1534),
Duncan Simpson, Forrester, Keillor, Beverage, Forret, Russell, and
Kennedy (1539). The celebrated George Buchanan was imprisoned, but
managed to escape.[284] The Scots Parliament and Privy Council assisted
the Churchmen to extirpate the new faith in a series of enactments which
themselves bear witness to its spread. In 1540, in a series of Acts
(March 14th) it was declared that the Virgin Mary was "to be reverently
worshipped, and prayers made to her" for the King's prosperity, for
peace with all Christian princes, for the triumph of the "Faith
Catholic," and that the people "may remain in the faith and conform to
the statutes of Holy Kirk." Prayers were also ordered to be made to the
saints. It was forbidden to argue against, or impugn, the papal
authority under pain of death and confiscation of "goods movable and
immovable." No one is to "cast down or otherwise treat irreverently or
in any ways dishonour" the images of saints canonised by the Church.
Heretics who have seen the error of their ways are not to discuss with
others any matters touching "our holy faith." No one suspected of
heresy, even if he has recanted, is to be eligible to hold any office,
nor to be admitted to the King's Council. All who assist heretics are
threatened with severe punishment. In 1543, notwithstanding all this
legislation, the Lord Governor (the Earl of Arran) had to confess that
heretics increase rapidly, and spread opinions contrary to the
Church.[285] The terms of some of these enactments show that the new
faith had been making converts among the nobility; and they also
indicate the chief points of attack on the Roman Church in Scotland.

In 1542 (Dec. 14th), James V. died, leaving an infant daughter, Mary (b.
Dec. 8th), who became the Queen of Scots when barely a week old. Thus
Scotland was again harassed with an infant sovereign; and there was the
usual scramble for the Regency, which this time involved questions of
national policy as well as personal aggrandisement.

It was the settled policy of the Tudor kings to detach Scotland from the
old French alliance, and secure it for England. The marriage of Margaret
Tudor to James iv. shows what means they thought to employ, and but for
Margaret's quarrel with the Earl of Angus, her second husband, another
wedding might have bound the nations firmly together. The French
marriages of James V., first with Madeleine, daughter of Francis I.
(1537), and on her premature death with Mary of Guise (1538), showed the
recoil of Scotland from the English alliance. James' death gave Henry
VIII. an opportunity to renew his father's schemes, and his idea was to
betroth his boy Edward to the baby Mary, and get the "little Queen"
brought to England for education. Many Scotsmen thought the proposal a
good one for their country, and perhaps more were induced to think so by
the money which Henry lavished upon them to secure their support They
made the English party in Scotland. The policy of English alliance as
against French alliance was complicated by the question of religion.
Whatever may be thought of the character of the English Reformation at
this date, Henry VIII. had broken thoroughly with the Papacy, and union
with England would have dragged Scotland to revolt against the mediæval
Church. The leader of the French and Romanist party in Scotland was
David Beaton, certainly the ablest and perhaps the most unscrupulous man
there. He had been made Archbishop of St. Andrews, coadjutor to his aged
uncle, in 1538. In the same month, Pope Paul iii., who needed a
Churchman of the highest rank to publish his Bull against Henry VIII. in
a place as near England as was possible to find, had sent him a
Cardinal's Hat. The Cardinal, Beaton, stood in Scotland for France and
Rome against England and the Reformation. The struggle for the Regency
in Scotland in 1542 carried with it an international and a religious
policy. The clouds heralding the storm which was to destroy Mary,
gathered round the cradle of the baby Queen.

At first the English faction prevailed. The claims of the Queen Mother
were scarcely considered. Beaton produced a will, said to have been
fraudulently obtained from the dying King, appointing him and several of
the leading nobles of Scotland, Governors of the kingdom. This
arrangement was soon set aside, the Earl of Arran was appointed Governor
(Jan. 3rd, 1543), and Beaton was confined in Blackness Castle.

The Governor selected John Rough for his chaplain and Thomas Williams
for his preacher, both ardent Reformers. The Acts of the previous reign
against heresy were modified to the extent that men suspect of heresy
might enjoy office, and heretics were accorded more merciful treatment.
Moreover, an Act of Parliament (March 15th, 1543) permitted the
possession and reading of a good and true translation of the Old and New
Testaments. But the masterful policy of Henry VIII. and the weakness of
the Governor brought about a change. Beaton was released from Blackness
and restored to his own Castle of St. Andrews; the Governor dismissed
his Reformed preachers; the Privy Council (June 2nd, 1543) forbade on
pain of death and confiscation of goods all criticism of the mediæval
doctrine of the Sacraments, and forbade the possession of heretical
books. In September, Arran and Beaton were reconciled; in December, the
Parliament annulled the treaties with England consenting to a marriage
between Edward and Mary, and the ancient league with France was renewed.
This was followed by the revival of persecution, and almost all that had
been gained was lost. Henry's ruthless devastation of the Borders did
not mend matters. The more enlightened policy of Lord Protector Somerset
could not allay the suspicions of the Scottish nation. Their "little
Queen" was sent to France to be educated by the Guises, "to the end that
in hir youth she should drynk of that lycour, that should remane with
hir all hir lyfetyme, for a plague to this realme, and for hir finall

But if the Reformation movement was losing ground as a national policy,
it was gaining strength as a spiritual quickening in the hearts of the
people. George Wishart, one of the Wisharts of Pittarrow, who had fled
from persecution in 1538 and had wandered in England, Germany, and
Switzerland, returned to his native country about 1543, consumed with
the desire to bear witness for the Gospel. He preached in Montrose, and
Dundee during a visitation of the plague, and Ayrshire. Beaton's party
were anxious to secure him, and after a preaching tour in the Lothians
he was seized in Ormiston House and handed over to the Earl of Bothwell,
who, breaking pledges he had made, delivered him to the Cardinal; he
lodged him in the dungeon at St. Andrews (end of Jan. 1546), and had him
tried in the cathedral, when he was condemned to the stake (March 1st,

Wishart was Knox's forerunner, and during this tour in the Lothians,
Knox had been his constant companion. The Romanist party had tried to
assassinate the bold preacher, and Knox carried a two-handed sword ready
to cut down anyone who attempted to strike at the missionary while he
was speaking. All the tenderness which lay beneath the sternness of
Knox's character appears in the account he gives of Wishart in his
_History_. And to Wishart, Knox was the beloved disciple. When he
foresaw that the end was near, he refused to allow Knox to share his

Assassination was a not infrequent way of getting rid of a political
opponent in the sixteenth century, and Beaton's death had long been
planned, not without secret promptings from England. Three months after
Wishart's martyrdom (May 29th, 1546), Norman Lesley and Kirkcaldy of
Grange at the head of a small band of men broke into the Castle of St.
Andrews and slew the Cardinal. They held the stronghold, and the castle
became a place of refuge for men whose lives were threatened by the
Government, and who sympathised with the English alliance. The
Government laid siege to the place but were unable to take it, and
their troops withdrew. John Rough, who had been Arran's Reformed
chaplain, joined the company, and began to preach to the people of St.
Andrews. Knox, who had become a marked man, and had thought of taking
refuge in Germany, was persuaded to enter the castle, and there, sorely
against his will, he was almost forced to stand forth as a preacher of
the Word. His first sermon placed him at once in the foremost rank of
Scottish Reformers, and men began to predict that he would share the
fate of Wishart. "Master George Wishart spak never so plainelye, and
yitt he was brunt: evin so will he be."[288]

Next to nothing is known about the early history of John Knox. He came
into the world at or near Haddington in the year 1515,[289] but on what
day or month remains hidden. He sprang from the commons of Scotland, and
his forebears were followers of the Earls of Bothwell; he was a papal
notary, and in priest's orders in 1540; he was tutor to the sons of the
lairds of Ormiston and Longniddry in 1545; he accompanied Wishart in
December and January 1545, 1546--these are the facts known about him
before he was called to stand forward as a preacher of the Reformation
in Scotland. He was then thirty-two--a silent, slow ripening man, with
quite a talent for keeping himself in the background.

Knox's work in the castle and town of St. Andrews was interrupted by the
arrival of a French fleet (July 1547), which battered the walls with
artillery until the castle was compelled to surrender. He and all the
inmates were carried over to France. They had secured as terms of
surrender that their lives should be spared; that they should be safely
transported to France; and that if they could not accept the terms there
offered to them by the French King, they should be allowed to depart to
any country they might select for their sojourn, save Scotland. It was
not the custom, however, for French kings to keep promises made to
heretics, and Knox and his companions were made galley-slaves. For
nineteen months he had to endure this living death, which for long drawn
out torture can only be compared with what the Christians of the
earliest centuries had to suffer when they were condemned to the mines.
He had to sit chained with four or six others to the rowing benches,
which were set at right angles to the side of the ship, without change
of posture by day, and compelled to sleep, still chained, under the
benches by night; exposed to the elements day and night alike; enduring
the lash of the overseer, who paced up and down the gangway which ran
between the two lines of benches; feeding on the insufficient meals of
coarse biscuit and porridge of oil and beans; chained along with the
vilest malefactors. The French Papists had invented this method of
treating all who differed from them in religious matters. It could
scarcely make Knox the more tolerant of French policy or of the French
religion. He seldom refers to this terrible experience. He dismisses it

     "How long I continewed prisoneir, what torment I susteaned in the
     galaies, and what war the sobbes of my harte, is now no time to
     receat: This onlie I can nocht conceall, which mo than one have
     hard me say, when the body was far absent from Scotland, that my
     assured houp was, in oppin audience, to preache in Sanctandrois
     befoir I depairted this lyeff."[290]

The prisoners were released from the galleys through the instrumentality
of the English Government in the early months of 1549, and Knox reached
England by the 7th of April. It was there that he began his real work as
a preacher of the Reformation. He spent nearly five years as minister at
Berwick, at Newcastle, and in London. He was twice offered
preferment--the vacant bishopric of Rochester in 1552, and the vicarage
of All Hallows in Bread St., London, in the beginning of 1553. He
refused both, and was actually summoned before the Privy Council to
explain why he would not accept preferment.[291] It is probable that he
had something to do with the production of _The Book of Common Prayer
and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies in
the Church of England, 1552_, commonly called the _Second Prayer-Book_
of King Edward VI. The rubric explaining kneeling at the partaking of
the Holy Supper, or at least one sentence in it, is most probably due to
his remonstrances or suggestions.[292] The accession of Mary Tudor to
the throne closed his career in England; but he stuck to his work long
after his companion preachers had abandoned it. He was in London, and
had the courage to rebuke the rejoicings of the crowd at her entry into
the capital--a fearless, outspoken man, who could always be depended on
for doing what no one else dared.

Knox got safely across the Channel, travelled through France by ways
unknown, and reached Geneva. He spent some time with Calvin, then went
on to Zurich to see Bullinger. He appears to have been meditating deeply
on the condition of Scotland and England, and propounded a set of
questions to these divines which show that he was trying to formulate
for himself the principles he afterwards asserted on the rights of
subjects to restrain tyrannical sovereigns.[293] The years 1554-58, with
the exception of a brief visit to Scotland in the end of 1555, were
spent on the Continent, but were important for his future work in
Scotland. They witnessed the troubles in the Frankfurt congregation of
English exiles, where Knox's broad-minded toleration and
straightforward action stands in noble contrast with the narrow-minded
and crooked policy of his opponents. They were the time of his peaceful
and happy ministrations among the refugees at Geneva. They made him
familiar with the leading Protestants of France and of Switzerland, and
taught him the inner political condition of the nations of Europe. They
explain Knox's constant and accurate information in later years, when he
seemed to learn about the doings of continental statesmen as early as
Cecil, with all the resources of the English Foreign Office behind him.
Above all, they made him see that, humanly speaking, the fate of the
whole Reformation movement was bound up with an alliance between a
Protestant England and a Protestant Scotland.

Knox returned to Scotland for a brief visit of about ten months (Sept.
1555-July 1556). He exhorted those who visited him in his lodgings in
Edinburgh, and made preaching tours, dispensing the Lord's Supper
according to the Reformed rite on several occasions. He visited Dun,
Calder House, Barr, Ayr, Ochiltree, and several other places, and was
welcomed in the houses of many of the nobility. He left for Geneva in
July, having found time to marry his first wife, Marjory Bowes,--_uxor
suavissima_, and "a wife whose like is not to be found everywhere,"[294]
Calvin calls her,--and having put some additional force into the growing
Protestantism of his native land. He tells us that most part of the
gentlemen of the Mearns "band thame selfis, to the uttermost of thare
poweris, to manteane the trew preaching of the Evangell of Jesus Christ,
as God should offer unto thame preacheris and opportunitie"--whether by
word of mouth or in writing, is not certain.[295]

In 1557 (Dec. 3rd) the Protestants of Scotland laid the foundations of a
definite organisation. It took a form familiar enough in the civil
history of the country, where the turbulent character of the Scottish
barons and the weakness of the central authority led to constant
confederations to carry out with safety enterprises sometimes legal and
sometimes outside the law. The confederates promised to assist each
other in the work proposed, and to defend each other from the
consequences following. Such agreements were often drafted in legal
fashion by public notaries, and made binding by all forms of legal
security known. The _Lords of the Congregation_, as they came to be
called, followed a prevailing custom when they promised--

     "Befoir the Majestie of God and His congregatioun, that we (be His
     grace) shall with all diligence continually apply our hole power,
     substance, and our verray lyves, to manteane, sett fordward, and
     establish the most blessed word of God and His Congregatioun; and
     shall laubour at our possibilitie to have faythfull Ministeris
     purely and trewlie to minister Christis Evangell and Sacramentes to
     His people."[296]

This "Band subscrived by the Lords" was the first (if the promise made
by the gentlemen of the Mearns be excepted) of the many Covenants famous
in the history of the Church of Scotland Reformed.[297] It was an old
Scottish usage now impregnated with a new spiritual meaning, and become
a public promise to God, after Old Testament fashion, to be faithful to
His word and guidance.

This important act had immediate consequences. The confederated Lords
sent letters to Knox, then at Geneva, and to Calvin, urging the return
of the Scottish Reformer to his native land. They also passed two
notable resolutions:

     "First, It is thought expedient, devised and ordeaned that in all
     parochines of this Realme the Common Prayeris (probably the Second
     Prayer-Book of Edward VI.)[298] be redd owklie (weekly) on Sounday,
     and other festuall dayis, publictlie in the Paroche Kirkis, with
     the Lessonis of the New and Old Testament, conforme to the ordour
     of the Book of Common Prayeris: And yf the curattis of the
     parochynes be qualified to cause thame to reid the samyn; and yf
     thei be nott, or yf thei refuise, that the maist qualified in the
     parish use and read the same. Secoundly, it is thought necessare
     that doctrin, preacheing and interpretatioun of Scriptures be had
     and used privatlie in Qwyet housis, without great conventionis of
     the people tharto, whill afterward that God move the Prince to
     grant publict preacheing be faithful and trew ministeris."[299]

The Earl of Argyle set the example by maintaining John Douglas, and
making him preach publicly in his mansion.

This conduct evidently alarmed the Queen Mother, who had been made
Regent in 1554 (April 12th), and she attempted to stir the Primate to
exercise his powers for the repression of heresy. The Archbishop wrote
to Argyle urging him to dismiss Douglas, apologising at the same time
for his interference by saying that the Queen wondered that he could
"thole" persons with perverted doctrine within his diocese.

Another step in advance was taken some time in 1558, when it was
resolved to give the _Congregation_, the whole company of those in
Scotland who sincerely accepted the Evangelical Reformation, "the face
of a Church," by the creation and recognition of an authority which
could exercise discipline. A number of elders were chosen "by common
election," to whom the whole of the brethren promised obedience. The
lack of a publicly recognised ministry was supplied by laymen, who gave
themselves to the work of exhortation; and at the head of them was to
be found Erskine of Dun. The first regularly constituted Reformed church
in Scotland was in the town of Dundee.[300]

The organisation gave the Protestant leaders boldness, and, through Sir
James Sandilands, they petitioned the Regent to permit them to worship
publicly according to the Reformed fashion, and to reform the wicked
lives of the clergy. This led to the offer of a compromise, which was at
once rejected, as it would have compelled the Reformed to reverence the
Mass, and to approve of prayers to the saints. The Queen Mother then
permitted public worship, save in Leith and Edinburgh. The Lords of the
Congregation next demanded a suspension of the laws which gave the
clergy power to try and punish heresy, until a General Council, lawfully
assembled, should decide upon points then debated in religion; and that
all suspected of heresy should have a fair trial before "temporal
judges."[301] When the Regent, who gave them "amyable lookis and good
wordes in aboundance," refused to allow their petition to come before
the Estates, and kept it "close in hir pocket," the Reformers resolved
to go to Parliament directly with another petition, in which they
declared that since they had not been able to secure a reformation, they
had resolved to follow their own consciences in matters of religion;
that they would defend themselves and all of their way of thinking if
attacked; that if tumults arose in consequence, the blame was with those
who refused a just reformation; and that in forwarding this petition
they had nothing in view but the reformation of abuses in religion.[302]

Knox had been invited by the Earl of Glencairn, the Lords Erskine and
Lorn, and James Stewart (afterwards the Earl of Moray), to return to
Scotland in 1557.[303] He reached Dieppe in October, and found letters
awaiting him which told him that the times were not ripe. The answer he
sent spurred the Reforming lords to constitute the _Band_ of December
1557. It was while he was at Dieppe, chafing at the news he had
received, that he composed the violent treatise, entitled _The First
Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women_[304]--a
book which did more to hamper his future than anything else. The state
of things was exasperating to a man who longed to be at work in Scotland
or England. "Bloody" Mary in England was hounding on her officials to
burn Knox's co-religionists, and the Reformation, which had made so much
progress under Edward VI., seemed to be entirely overthrown; while Mary
of Guise, the Queen Mother and Regent in Scotland, was inciting the
unwilling Archbishop of St. Andrews to make use of his legatine and
episcopal powers to repress the believers of his native land. But as
chance would have it, Mary Tudor was dead before the pamphlet was widely
known, and the Queen whom of all others he desired to conciliate was
seated on the throne of England, and had made William Cecil, the
staunchest of Protestants, her Secretary of State. She could scarcely
avoid believing that the _Blast_ was meant for her; and, even if not, it
was based on such general principles that it might prove dangerous to
one whose throne was still insecure. It is scarcely to be wondered at
that the Queen never forgave the vehement writer, and that the _Blast_
was a continual obstacle to a complete understanding between the
Scottish Reformer and his English allies.[305] If Knox would never
confess publicly to queens, whether to Elizabeth Tudor or to Mary
Stuart; that he had done wrong, he was ready to say to a friend whom he

     "My rude vehemencie and inconsidered affirmations, which may rather
     appear to procead from coler then of zeal and reason, I do not

It was the worse for Knox and for Scotland, for the reign of women had
begun. Charles V., Francis I., and Henry VIII. had passed away, and the
destinies of Europe were to be in the hands of Elizabeth, Catherine de'
Medici, Mary Stuart, and Philip of Spain, the most felinely feminine of
the four.

Events marched fast in Scotland after Knox returned in the early summer
of 1559. The Queen Regent and the Lords of the Congregation were facing
each other, determined on a trial of strength. Knox reached Edinburgh on
May 2nd, 1559, and hurried on to Dundee, where the Reformed had gathered
in some force. They had resolved to support their brethren in
maintaining public worship according to the usages of the Reformed
Church, and in repressing "idolatrie" in all towns where a majority of
the inhabitants had declared for the Reformed religion. The Regent threw
down the gauntlet by summoning the preachers to appear before her, and
by inhibiting their preaching. The Lords took it up by resolving that
they would answer the summons and appear along with their preachers. A
letter was addressed to the Regent (May 6th, 1559) by "The professouris
of Christis Evangell in the realme of Scotland." It was an admirable
statement of the principles of the Scottish Reformation, and may be thus

     "It records the hope, once entertained by the writers, that God
     would make her the instrument of setting up and maintaining his
     Word and true worship, of defending his congregation, and of
     downputting all idolatry, abomination, and superstition in the
     realm; it expresses their grief on learning that she was determined
     to do the very opposite; it warns her against crossing the bounds
     of her own office, and usurping a power in Christ's kingdom which
     did not belong to her; it distinguishes clearly between the civil
     jurisdiction and the spiritual; it asks her to recall her letters
     inhibiting God's messengers; it insists that His message ought to
     be received even though the speaker should lack the ordinary
     vocation; it claims that the ministers who had been inhibited were
     sent by God, and were also called according to Scriptural order;
     it points out that her commands must be disobeyed if contrary to
     God's, and that the enemies were craftily inducing her to command
     unjust things so that the professors, when they disobeyed, might be
     condemned for sedition and rebellion; it pled with her to have pity
     on those who were seeking the glory of God and her true obedience;
     it declared that, by God's help, they would go forward in the way
     they had begun, that they would receive and assist His ministers
     and Word, and that they would never join themselves again to the
     abominations they had forsaken, though all the powers on earth
     should command them to do so; it conveyed their humble submission
     to her, in all obedience due to her in peace, in war, in body, in
     goods and in lands; and it closed with the prayer that the eternal
     God would instruct, strengthen, and lead her by His Spirit in the
     way that was acceptable to Him."[307]

Then began a series of trials of strength in which the Regent had
generally the better, because she was supplied with disciplined troops
from France, which were more than a match for the feudal levies of the
Lords of the Congregation. The uprising of the people against the Regent
and the Prelates was characterised, as in France and the Low Countries,
with an outbreak of iconoclasm which did no good to the Protestant
cause. In the three countries the "raschall multitude" could not be
restrained by the exhortation of the preachers nor by the commandment of
the magistrates from destroying "the places of idolatrie."[308]

From the beginning, Knox had seen that the Reformers had small hope of
ultimate success unless they were aided from England; and he was
encouraged to expect help because he knew that the salvation of
Protestant England lay in its support of the Lords of the Congregation
in Scotland.

The years from 1559 to 1567 were the most critical in the whole history
of the Reformation. The existence of the Protestantism of all Europe
was involved in the struggle in Scotland; and for the first and perhaps
last time in her history the eyes that had the furthest vision, whether
in Rome, for centuries the citadel of mediævalism, or in Geneva, the
stronghold of Protestantism, were turned towards the little backward
northern kingdom. They watched the birth-throes of a new nation, a
British nation which was coming into being. Two peoples, long hereditary
foes, were coalescing; the Romanists in England recognised the Scottish
Queen as their legitimate sovereign, and the Protestants in Scotland
looked for aid to their brethren in England. The question was: Would the
new nation accept the Reformed religion, or would the reaction triumph?
If Knox and the Congregation gained the upper hand in Scotland, and if
Cecil was able to guide England in the way he meant to lead it (and the
two men were necessary to each other, and knew it), then the Reformation
was safe. If Scotland could be kept for France and the Roman Church, and
its Romanist Queen make good her claim to the English throne, then the
Reformation would be crushed not merely within Great Britain, but in
Germany and the Low Countries also. So thought the politicians, secular
and ecclesiastical, in Rome and Geneva, in Paris, Madrid, and in London.
The European situation had been summed up by Cecil: "The Emperor is
aiming at the sovereignty of Europe, which he cannot obtain without the
suppression of the Reformed religion, and, unless he crushes England, he
cannot crush the Reformation." In this peril a Scotland controlled by
the Guises would have been fatal to the existence of the Reformation.

In 1559 the odds seemed in favour of reaction, if only its supporters
were whole-hearted enough to put aside for the time national rivalries.
The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, concluded scarcely a month before Knox
reached Scotland (April 1559), had secret clauses which bound the Kings
of France and Spain to crush the Protestantism of Europe, in terms which
made the young Prince of Orange, when he learned them, vow silently to
devote his life to protect his fellow-countrymen and drive the "scum of
the Spaniards" out of the Netherlands. Henry II. of France, with his
Edict of Chateaubriand and his _Chambre Ardente_, with the Duke of Guise
and the Cardinal Lorraine to counsel him, and Diane of Poitiers to keep
him up to the mark, was doing his best to exterminate the Protestants of
France. Dr. Christopher Mundt kept reporting to Queen Elizabeth and her
Minister the symptoms of a general combination against the Protestants
of Europe--symptoms ranging from a proposed conquest of Denmark to the
Emperor's forbidding members of his Household to attend Protestant
services.[309] Throckmorton wrote almost passionately from Paris urging
Cecil to support the Scottish Lords of the Congregation; and even Dr.
Mundt in Strassburg saw that the struggle in Scotland was the most
important fact in the European situation.[310]

Yet it was difficult for Cecil to send the aid which Knox and the
Scottish Protestants needed sorely. It meant that the sovereign of one
country aided men of another country who were _de jure_ rebels against
their own sovereign. It seemed a hazardous policy in the case of a Queen
like Elizabeth, who was not yet freed from the danger arising from
rebellious subjects. There was France, with which England had just made
peace. Cecil had difficulties with Elizabeth. She did not like Calvin
himself. She had no sympathy with his theology, which, with its mingled
sob and hosanna, stirred the hearts of oppressed peoples. There was Knox
and his _Blast_, to say nothing of his appealing to the commonalty of
his country. "God keep us from such visitations as Knockes hath
attempted in Scotland; the people to be orderers of things!" wrote Dr.
Parker to Cecil on the 6th of November.[311] Yet Cecil knew--no man
better--that if the Lords of the Congregation failed there was little
hope for a Protestant England, and that Elizabeth's crown and Dr.
Parker's mitre depended on the victory of Knox in Scotland.

He watched the struggle across the border. He had made up his mind as
early as July 8th, 1559, that assistance must be given to the Lords of
the Congregation "with all fair promises first, next with money, and
last with arms."[312] The second stage of his programme was reached in
November; and, two days before the Archbishop of Canterbury was piously
invoking God's help to keep Knox's influences out of England, Cecil had
resolved to send money to Scotland and to entrust its distribution to
Knox. The memorandum runs: Knox to be a counsel with the payments, to
see that they be employed to the common action.[313]

The third stage--assistance with arms--came sooner than might have been
expected. The condition of France became more favourable. Henry II. had
died (July 10th, 1559), and the Guises ruled France through their niece
Mary and her sickly devoted husband. But the Bourbon Princes and many of
the higher nobles did not take kindly to the sudden rise of a family
which had been French for only two generations, and the easiest way to
annoy them was to favour publicly or secretly "those of the religion."
There was unrest in France. "Beat the iron while it is hot,"
Throckmorton wrote from Paris; "their fair flatterings and sweet
language are only to gain time."[314] Cecil struck. He had a sore battle
with his royal mistress, but he won.[315] An arrangement was come to
between England and the Lords of the Congregation acting on behalf "of
the second person of the realm of Scotland" (Treaty of Berwick, May
10th, 1560).[316] An English fleet entered the Firth of Forth; an
English army beleaguered the French troops in Leith Fort; and the end of
it was that France was obliged to let go its hold on Scotland, and never
thoroughly recovered it (Treaty of Edinburgh, July 6th, 1560).[317] The
great majority of the Scottish people saw in the English victory only
their deliverance from French tyranny, and for the first time a
conquering English army left the Scottish soil followed by blessings and
not curses. The Scottish Liturgy, which had contained _Prayers used in
the Churches of Scotland in the time of their persecution by the
Frenchmen_, was enriched by a _Thanksgiving unto God after our
deliverance from the tyranny of the Frenchmen; with prayers made for the
continuance of the peace betwixt the realms of England and Scotland_,
which contained the following petition:

     "And seeing that when we by our owne power were altogether unable
     to have freed ourselves from the tyranny of strangers, and from the
     bondage and thraldome pretended against us, Thou of thyne especial
     goodnes didst move the hearts of our neighbours (of whom we
     deserved no such favour) to take upon them the common burthen with
     us, and for our deliverance not only to spend the lives of many,
     but also to hazards the estate and tranquillity of their Realme and
     commonwealth: Grant unto us, O Lord, that with such reverence we
     may remember thy benefits received that after this in our defaute
     we never enter into hostilitie against the Realme and nation of

The Regent had died during the course of the hostilities, and Cecil,
following and improving upon the wise policy of Protector Somerset,
left it entirely to the Scots to settle their own affairs.[319]

Now or never was the opportunity for Knox and the Lords of the
Congregation. They had not been idle during the months since Knox had
arrived in Scotland. They had strengthened the ties uniting them by
three additional _Bands_. At a meeting of the Congregation of the West
with the Congregations of Fife, Perth, Dundee, Angus, Mearns, and
Montrose, held in Perth (May 31st, 1559), they had covenanted to spare

     "labouris, goodis, substancis, bodyis, and lives, in manteaning the
     libertie of the haill Congregatioun and everie member thairof,
     aganis whatsomevir power that shall intend trubill for the caus of

They had renewed this _Band_ in Edinburgh on July 13th; and at Stirling
(Aug. 1st) they had covenanted,

     "that nane of us sall in tymeis cuming pas to the Quenis Grace
     Dowriare, to talk or commun with hir for any letter without consent
     of the rest and commone consultatioun."[321]

They had the bitter satisfaction of knowing that although the French
troops and officers of the Regent were too strong for them in the field,
the insolence and rapine of these foreigners was rousing all ranks and
classes in Scotland to see that their only deliverance lay in the
English alliance and the triumph of the Reformation. The _Band_ of 1560
(April 27th) included, with "the nobilitie, barronis, and gentilmen
professing Chryst Jesus in Scotland ... dyveris utheris that joyint with
us, for expelling of the French army: amangis quham the Erle of Huntlie
was principall."[322]

The Estates or Parliament met in Edinburgh on July 10th, 1560. Neither
the French nor the English soldiers had left; so they adjourned to
August 1st, and again to the 8th.[323]

Meanwhile Knox and the Congregation were busy. The Reformer excelled
himself in the pulpit of St. Giles', lecturing daily on the Book of the
Prophet Haggai (on the building of the Temple)--"a doctrine proper for
the time."[324] Randolph wrote to Cecil, Aug. 15th:

     "Sermons are daylie, and greate audience; though dyvers of the
     nobles present ar not resolved in religion, yet do thei repayre to
     the prechynges, which gevethe a good hope to maynie that God wyll
     bowe their hartes."[325]

The Congregation held a great thanksgiving service in St. Giles'; and
after it arranged for eight fully constituted churches, and appointed
five superintendents in matters of religion.[326] They also prepared a
petition for Parliament asking for a settlement of the religious
question in the way they desired.[327] At the request of the Estates or
Parliament, Knox and five companions prepared _The Confessioun of Faith
professit and belevit be the Protestantis within the Realme of
Scotland_, which was ratified and approved as "hailsome and sound
doctrine, groundit upoun the infallible trewth of Godis Word." It was
afterwards issued by the Estates as the "summe of that doctrin quhilk we
professe, and for the quhilk we haif sustenit infamy and daingear."[328]
Seven days later (Aug. 24th), the Estates decreed that "the Bischope of
Rome have na jurisdictioun nor authoritie in this Realme in tymes
cuming"; they annulled all Acts of previous Parliaments which were
contrary to the Confession of Faith; and they forbade the saying,
hearing, or being present at Mass, under penalty of confiscation of
goods and bodily punishment at the discretion of the magistrates for the
first offence, of banishment for the second, and of death for the
third.[329] These severe penalties, however, were by no means rigidly
enforced. Lesley (Roman Catholic Bishop of Ross) says in his _History_:

     "The clemency of the heretic nobles must not be left unmentioned,
     since at that time they exiled few Catholic on the score of
     religion, imprisoned fewer, and put none to death."[330]

One thing still required to be done--to draft a constitution for the new
Protestant Church. The work was committed to the same ministers who had
compiled the Confession. They had been asked to prepare it as early as
April 29th, and they had it ready for the Lords of the Congregation
within a month. It was not approved by the Estates; but was ordered to
be submitted to the next general meeting, and was meanwhile translated
into Latin, to be sent to Calvin, Viret, and Beza in Geneva.[331] The
delay seemed to some to arise from the unwillingness of many of the
lords to see "their carnal liberty and worldly commoditie
impaired";[332] but another cause was also at work. Cecil evidently
wished that the Church in Scotland should be uniform with the Church in
England, and had instructed Randolph to press this question of
uniformity. It was a favourite idea with statesmen of both
countries--pressed on Scotland by England during the reigns of James I.
and Charles I., and by Scotland on England in the Solemn League and
Covenant. Randolph was wise enough to see that such uniformity was an

_The Confession of the Faith and Doctrine, Believed and Professed by the
Protestants of Scotland_, was translated into Latin, and, under the
title _Confessio Scoticana_, occupies an honoured place in the
collections of the creeds of the Reformed Churches. It remained the
symbol of the Church of Scotland during the first stormy century of its
existence. It was displaced by the Westminster Confession in 1647, only
on the understanding that the later document was "in nothing contrary"
to the former; and continued authoritative long after that date.[334]
Drawn up in haste by a small number of theologians, it is more
sympathetic and human than most creeds, and has commended itself to many
who object to the impersonal logic of the Westminster Confession.[335]
The first sentence of the preface gives the tone to the whole:

     "Lang have we thirsted, dear Brethren, to have notified to the
     Warld the Sum of that Doctrine quhilk we professe, and for quhilk
     we have susteined Infamie and Danger; Bot sik has bene the Rage of
     Sathane againis us, and againis Christ Jesus his eternal Veritie
     latlie now againe born amangst us, that to this daie na Time has
     been graunted unto us to cleir our Consciences as maist gladlie we
     wald have done."[336]

The preface also puts more clearly than any similiar document save the
First Confession of Basel the reverence felt by the early Reformers for
the Word of God and the renunciation of any claim to infallibility of

     "Protestand that gif onie man will note in this our confessioun
     onie Artickle repugnand to Gods halie word, that it wald pleis him
     of his gentleness and for christian charities sake to admonish us
     of the same in writing; and we upon our honoures and fidelitie, be
     Gods grace do promise unto him satisfaction fra the mouth of God,
     that is fra his haly scriptures, or else reformation of that quhilk
     he sal prove to be amisse."

The Confession itself contains the truths common to the Reformed creeds
of the Reformation. It contains all the Oecumenical doctrines, as they
have been called--that is, the truths taught in the early Oecumenical
Councils, and embodied in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds; and adds
those doctrines of grace, of pardon, and of enlightenment through Word
and Spirit which were brought into special prominence by the Reformation
revival of religion. The Confession is more remarkable for quaint
suggestiveness of titles than for any special peculiarity of doctrine.
Thus the doctrine of revelation is defined by itself, apart from the
doctrine of Scripture, under the title of "The Revelation of the
Promise." Election is treated according to the view of earlier Calvinism
as a means of grace, and an evidence of the "invincible power" of the
Godhead in salvation. The "notes by which the true Kirk is discerned
from the false" are said to be the true preaching of the Word of God,
the right administration of the sacraments, and ecclesiastical
discipline rightly administered. The authority of Scriptures is said to
come from God, and to depend neither "on man nor angels"; and the Church
knows them to be true, because "the true kirk always heareth and obeyeth
the voice of her own spouse and pastor."

Randolph says in a letter to Cecil (September 7th, 1560) that before the
Confession was publicly read it was revised by Lethington and Lord James
Stewart, who "dyd mytigate the austeritie of maynie wordes and
sentences," and that a certain article which dealt with the "dysobediens
that subjects owe unto their magistrates" was advised to be left
out.[337] Thus amended it was read over, and then re-read article by
article in the Estates, and passed without alteration,[338]--"no man
present gainsaying."[339] When it was read before the Estates:

     "Maynie offered to sheede ther blude in defence of the same. The
     old Lord of Lynsay, as grave and goodly a man as ever I sawe, said,
     'I have lyved maynie yeres, I am the eldest in thys Compagnie of my
     sorte; nowe that yt hathe pleased God to lett me see thys daye wher
     so maynie nobles and other have allowed so worthie a work, I will
     say with Simion, _Nunc dimittis_.'"[340]

A copy was sent to Cecil, and Maitland of Lethington assured him that if
there was anything in the Confession of Faith which the English Minister
misliked, "It may eyther be changed (if the mater so permit) or at least
in some thyng qualifieed"; which shows the anxiety of the Scots to keep
step with their English allies.[341]

The authors of the Confession were asked to draw up a short statement
showing how a Reformed Church could best be governed. The result was the
remarkable document which was afterwards called the _First Book of
Discipline_, or _the Policie and Discipline of the Church_.[342] It
provided for the government of the Church by kirk-sessions, synods, and
general assemblies; and recognised as office-bearers in the Church,
ministers, teachers, elders, deacons, superintendents, and readers. The
authors of this Book of Discipline professed to go directly to Scripture
for the outlines of the system of Church government which they advised
their countrymen to adopt, and their profession was undoubtedly sincere
and likewise just. They were, however, all of them men in sympathy with
Calvin, and had had personal intercourse with the Protestants of France.
Their form of government is clearly inspired by Calvin's ideas as stated
in his _Institution_, and follows closely the Ecclesiastical Ordinances
of the French Church. The offices of superintendent and reader were
added to the usual threefold or fourfold Presbyterian form of
government. The former was due to the unsettled state of the country and
the scarcity of Protestant pastors. The _Superintendents_ took charge of
districts corresponding not very exactly with the Episcopal dioceses,
and were ordered to make annual reports to the General Assembly of the
ecclesiastical and religious state of their provinces, and to preach in
the various churches in their district. The _Readers_ owed their
existence to the small number of Protestant pastors, to the great
importance attached by the early Scottish Reformers to an educated
ministry, and also to the difficulty of procuring funds for the support
of pastors in every parish. They were of two classes--those of a higher
grade, who were permitted to deliver addresses and who were called
_Exhorters_; and those of the lower grade, whose duty it was to read
"distinctly" the Common Prayers and the Scriptures. Both classes were
expected to teach the younger children. _Exhorters_ who studied theology
diligently and satisfied the synod of their learning could rise to be
ministers. The Book of Discipline contains a chapter on the patrimony of
the Church which urges the necessity of preserving monies possessed by
the Church for the maintenance of religion, the support of education,
and the help of the poor. The presence of this chapter prevented the
book being accepted by the Estates in the same way as the Confession of
Faith. The barons, greater and lesser, who sat there had in too many
cases appropriated the "patrimony of the Kirk" to their own private
uses, and were unwilling to sign a document which condemned their
conduct. The Book of Discipline approved by the General Assembly, and
signed by a large number of the nobles and burgesses, never received the
legal sanction accorded to the Confession.

The General Assembly of the Reformed Church of Scotland met for the
first time in 1560; and thereafter, in spite of the struggle in which
the Church was involved, meetings were held generally twice a year,
sometimes oftener, and the Church was organised for active work.

A third book, variously called _The Book of Common Order_,[343] _The
Order of Geneva_, and now frequently _Knox's Liturgy_, was a directory
for the public worship and services of the Church. It was usually bound
up with a metrical version of the Psalms, and is often spoken of as the
_Psalm Book_.

_Calvin's Catechism_ was translated and ordered to be used for the
instruction of the youth in the faith. Later, the _Heidelberg Catechism_
was translated and annotated for the same purpose. They were both
superseded by _Craig's Catechism_, which in its turn gave way to the
_Larger_ and _Shorter Catechisms_ of the Westminster Divines.[344]

The democratic ideas of Presbyterianism, enforced by the practical
necessity of trusting in the people, made the Scotch Reformers pay great
attention to education. All the leaders of the Reformation, whether in
Germany, France, or Holland, had felt the importance of enlightening the
commonalty; but perhaps Scotland and Holland were the two countries
where the attempt was most successful. The education of the people was
no new thing in Scotland; and although in the troublous times before and
during the Reformation high schools had disappeared and the
Universities had decayed, still the craving for learning had not
altogether died out. Knox and his friend George Buchanan had a
magnificent scheme of endowing schools in every parish, high schools or
colleges in all important towns, and of increasing the power and
influence of the Universities. Their scheme, owing to the greed of the
Barons, who had seized the Church property, was little more than a
devout imagination; but it laid hold on the mind of Scotland, and the
lack of endowments was more than compensated by the craving of the
people for education. The three Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow,
and Aberdeen took new life, and a fourth, the University of Edinburgh,
was founded. Scotch students who had been trained in the continental
schools of learning, and who had embraced the Reformed faith, were
employed to superintend the newly-organised educational system of the
country, and the whole organisation was brought into sympathy with the
everyday life of the people by the preference given to day schools over
boarding schools, and by a system of inspection by the most pious and
learned men in each circle of parishes. Knox also was prepared to order
compulsory attendance at school on the part of two classes of society,
the upper and the lower--the middle class he thought might be trusted to
its own natural desire for learning; and he wished to see the State so
exercise power and patronage as to lay hold on all youths "of parts" and
compel them to proceed to the high schools and Universities, that the
commonwealth might get the greatest good of their service.

The form of Church government given in the _First Book of Discipline_
represented rather an outline requiring to be filled in than a picture
of what actually existed for many a year after 1560. It provided for a
form of Church government by ecclesiastical councils rising from the
Session of the individual congregation up to a National Assembly, and
its first requisite was a fully organised church in every parish ruled
by a minister with his Session or council of Elders and his body of
Deacons. But there was a great lack of men having the necessary amount
of education to be ordained as ministers, and consequently there were
few fully equipped congregations. The first court in existence was the
Kirk-Session; it was in being in every organised congregation. The
second in order of time was the General Assembly. Its first meeting was
in Edinburgh, Dec. 20th, 1560. Forty-two members were present, of whom
only six were ministers. These were the small beginnings from which it
grew. The Synods came into existence later. At first they were yearly
gatherings of the ministry of the Superintendent's district, to which
each congregation within the district was asked to send an Elder and a
Deacon. The Court of the Presbytery came latest into existence; it had
its beginnings in the "weekly exercise."

The work had been rapidly done. Barely a year had elapsed between the
return of Knox to Scotland and the establishment of the Reformed
religion by the Estates. Calvin wrote from Geneva (Nov. 8th, 1559):

     "As we wonder at success incredible in so short a time, so also we
     give great thanks to God, whose special blessing here shines

And Knox himself, writing from the midst of the battle, says:[345]

     "We doe nothing but goe about Jericho, blowing with trumpets, as
     God giveth strength, hoping victorie by his power alone."[346]

But dangers had been imminent; shot at through his window, deadly
ambushes set, and the man's powers taxed almost beyond endurance:

     "In twenty-four hours I have not four free to naturall rest and
     ease of this wicked carcass ... I have nead of a good and an
     assured horse, for great watch is laid for my apprehension, and
     large money promissed till any that shall kyll me."[347]

If the victory had been won, it was not secured. The sovereigns Mary and
Francis had refused to ratify the Acts of their Estates; and it was not
until Mary was deposed in 1567 that the Acts of the Estates of 1560 were
legally placed on the Statute Book of Scotland. Francis II. died in 1560
(Dec. 5th), and Mary the young and widowed Queen returned to her native
land (Aug. 19th, 1561). Her coming was looked forward to with dread by
the party of the Reformation.

There was abundant reason for alarm. Mary was the Stuart Queen; she
represented France, the old hereditary ally; she had been trained from
childhood by a consummate politician and deadly enemy of the
Reformation, her uncle the Cardinal of Lorraine, to be his instrument to
win back Scotland and England to the deadliest type of Romanism. She was
a lovely creature, and was, besides, gifted with a power of personal
fascination greater than her physical charms, and such as no other woman
of her time possessed; she had a sweet caressing voice, beautiful hands;
and not least, she had a gift of tears at command. She had been brought
up at a Court where women were taught to use all such charms to win men
for political ends. The _Escadron volant de la Reine_ had not come into
existence when Mary left France, but its recruits were ready, and some
of them had been her companions. She had made it clearly understood that
she meant to overthrow the Reformation in Scotland.[348] Her
unscrupulous character was already known to Knox and the other
Protestant leaders. Nine days before her marriage she had signed deeds
guaranteeing the ancient liberties and independence of Scotland; six
days after her marriage she and her husband had appended their
signatures to the same deeds; but twenty days before her wedding she had
secretly signed away these very liberties, and had made Scotland a mere
appanage of France.[349] They suspected that the party in France whose
figure-head she was, would stick at no crime to carry out their designs,
and had shown what they were ready to do by poisoning four of the Scotch
Commissioners sent to Paris for their young Queen's wedding, because
they refused to allow Francis to be immediately crowned King of
Scotland.[350] They knew how apt a pupil she had already shown herself
in their school, when she led her boy husband and her ladies for a walk
round the Castle of Amboise, to see the bodies of dozens of Protestants
hung from lintels and turrets, and to contemplate "the fair clusters of
grapes which the grey stones had produced."[351]

It was scarcely wonderful that Lord James, Morton, and Lethington, were
it not for obedience' sake, "cared not thoughe theie never saw her
face," and felt that there was no safety for them but in Elizabeth's
protection. As for Knox, we are told: "Mr. Knox is determined to abide
the uttermost, and others will not leave him till God have taken his
life and theirs together."[352] What use might she not make of these
fascinations of hers on the vain, turbulent nobles of Scotland? Is it
too much to say that but for the passionate womanly impulse--so like a
Stuart[353]--which made her fling herself first into the arms of Darnley
and then of Bothwell, and but for Knox, she might have succeeded in
re-establishing Popery in Scotland and in reducing Protestant England?

Cecil himself was not without his fears, and urged the Protestants in
Scotland to stand firm. Randolph's answer shows how much he trusted
Knox's tenacity, however much he might sometimes deprecate his violence:

     "Where your honour exhortethe us to stowteness, I assure you the
     voyce of one man is hable in one hower to put more lyf in us than
     five hundred trompettes contynually blusteringe in our eares."[354]

He was able to write after Mary's arrival:

     "She (Mary) was four days without Mass; the next Sunday after
     arrival she had it said in her chapel by a French priest. There
     were at it besides her uncles and her own Household, the Earle of
     Montrose, Lord Graham ... the rest were at Mr. Knox sermon, as
     great a number as ever was any day."[355]

Mary's advisers, her uncles, knew how dangerous the state of Scotland
was for their designs, and counselled her to temporise and gradually win
over the leading Reforming nobles to her side. The young Queen entered
on her task with some zest. She insisted on having Mass for her own
household; but she would maintain, she promised, the laws which had made
the Mass illegal in Scotland; and it says a great deal for her powers of
fascination and dissimulation that there was scarcely one of the
Reforming nobles that she did not win over to believe in her sincerity
at one time or another, and that even the sagacious Randolph seemed for
a time to credit that she meant what she said.[356] Knox alone in
Scotland read her character and paid unwilling tribute to her abilities
from his first interview with her.[357]

He saw that she had been thoroughly trained by her uncles, and
especially by the Cardinal of Lorraine, and that it was hopeless to
expect anything like fair dealing from her:

     "In verry dead hir hole proceadings do declayr that the Cardinalles
     lessons ar so deaplie prented in hir heart, that the substance and
     the qualitie ar liek to perische together. 1 wold be glaid to be
     deceaved, but I fear I shall not. In communication with her, I
     espyed such craft as I have not found in such aige."[358]

Maitland of Lethington thought otherwise. Writing to Cecil (Oct. 25th,
1561) he says:

     "You know the vehemency of Mr. Knox spreit, which cannot be
     brydled.... I wold wishe he shold deale with her more gently,
     _being a young princess unpersuaded_."[359]

It was thought that Mary might be led to adopt the Reformation if she
were only tenderly guided. When Mary's private correspondence is read,
when the secret knowledge which her co-religionists abroad had of her
designs is studied and known, it can be seen how true was Knox's reading
of her character and of her intentions.[360] He stood firm, almost alone
at times among the leading men, but faithfully supported by the commons
of Scotland.[361]

Then began the struggle between the fascinating Queen, Mary Stuart, one
of the fairest flowers of the French Renaissance, and the unbending
preacher, trained in the sternest school of the Reformation movement--a
struggle which was so picturesque, in which the two opponents had each
such strongly marked individuality, and in which the accessories were
so dramatic, that the spectator insensibly becomes absorbed in the
personal side of the conflict, and is tempted to forget that it was part
of a Revolution which was convulsing the whole of middle and western

A good deal has been written about the rudeness with which Knox assailed
Mary in public and in private, and his conversations with her are
continually referred to but seldom quoted in full. It is forgotten that
it was Mary who wished to try her gifts of fascination on the preacher,
just as Catherine de' Medici tried to charm de Bèze before Poissy; that
Knox never sought an interview; that he never approached the Court
unless he was summoned by the sovereign to her presence; that he was
deferential as a subject should be; and it was only when he was
compelled by Mary herself to speak on themes for which he was ready to
lay down his life that he displayed a sternness which monarchs seldom
experience in those to whom they give audience. What makes these
interviews stand forth in history is that they exhibit the first clash
of autocratic kingship and the hitherto unknown power of the people. It
was an age in which sovereigns were everywhere gaining despotic power,
when the might of feudal barons was being broken, when the commonalty
was dumb. A young Queen, whose training from childhood had stamped
indelibly on her character that kingship meant the possession of
unlimited autocratic privileges before which everything must give way,
who had seen that none in France had dared dispute the will of her
sickly, dull boy-husband simply because he was King, was suddenly
confronted by something above and beyond her comprehension:

     "'What have ye to do,' said sche, 'with my marriage? Or what ar ye
     within this Commounwealth?' '_A subject borne within the same_,'
     said he, 'Madam. And albeit I neather be Erle, Lord, nor Barroun
     within it, yitt hes God maid me (how abject that ever I be in your
     eyes) a profitable member within the same.'"[362]

Modern democracy came into being in that answer. It is curious to see
how this conflict between autocratic power and the civil and religious
rights of the people runs through all the interviews between Mary and
Knox, and was, in truth, the question of questions between them.[363]

It is unnecessary to tell the story of the seven years of struggle
between 1560 and 1567. In the end, Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven
Castle, deposed, and her infant son, James VI., was placed on the
throne. Lord James Stewart, Earl of Moray, was made Regent. The Estates
or Parliament again voted the Confession of Faith, and engrossed it in
their Acts. The Regent, acting for the sovereign, signed the Acts. The
Confession thus became part of the law of the land, and the Reformed
Church was legally recognised in Scotland.





The Church and people of England broke away from the mediæval papal
ecclesiastical system in a manner so exceptional, that the rupture had
not very much in common with the contemporary movements in France and
Germany. Henry VIII. destroyed the papal supremacy, spiritual and
temporal, within the land which he governed; he cut the bands which
united the Church of England with the great Western Church ruled over by
the Bishop of Rome; he built up what may be called a kingly papacy on
the ruins of the jurisdiction of the Pope. His starting-point was a
quarrel with the Pope, who refused to divorce him from Catharine of

It would be a mistake, however, to think that Henry's eagerness to be
divorced from Catharine accounts for the English Reformation. No king,
however despotic, could have forced on such a revolution unless there
was much in the life of the people that reconciled them to the change,
and evidence of this is abundantly forthcoming.

There was a good deal of _heresy_, so called, in England long before
Luther's voice had been heard in Germany. Men maintained that the tithes
were exactions of covetous priests, and were not sanctioned by the law
of God; they protested against the hierarchical constitution of the
mediæval Church; they read the Scriptures, and attended services in the
vernacular; and they scoffed at the authority of the Church and attacked
some of its doctrines. Lollardy had never died out in England, and
Lollardy was simply the English form of that passive protest against the
mediæval Church which under various names had maintained itself in
France, Germany, and Bohemia for centuries in spite of persecution.
Foxe's _Acts and Monuments_ show that there was a fairly active
repression of so-called heresy in England before Luther's days, and his
accounts are confirmed by the State Papers of the period. In 1511,
Andreas Ammonius, the Latin secretary of Henry VIII., writing to
Erasmus, says that wood has grown scarce and dear because so much was
needed to burn heretics, "and yet their numbers grow." Yet Dr. James
Gairdner declares that only a solitary pair had suffered during that
year at the stake![365] Early in 1512 the Archbishop of Canterbury
summoned a meeting of convocation for the express purpose of arresting
the spread of heresy;[366] in that same year Erasmus was told by More
that the _Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum_ were popular everywhere
throughout England;[367] and a commission was given to the Bishop of
Coventry and others to inquire about Lollards in Wales and other
parts;[368] and as late as 1521 the Bishop of London arrested five
hundred Lollards.[369] In 1530, Henry VIII. himself, always curious
about theology and anxious to know about the books which interested his
subjects, sent to Oxford for a copy of the Articles on which Wiclif had
been condemned.[370] Anyone who scoffed at relics or pilgrimages was
thought to be a Wiclifite.[371] In 1531, divinity students were required
to take an oath to renounce the doctrines of Wiclif, Hus, and
Luther;[372] and in 1533, More, writing to Erasmus, calls Tyndale and
his sympathisers Wiclifites.[373] Henry VIII. was engaged as early as
1518 in composing a book against heresy and vindicating the claims of
the Roman See, which in its first inception could scarcely be directed
against Luther, and probably dealt with the views of home heretics.[374]
Some modern historians are inclined to find a strong English revolt
against Rome native to the soil and borrowing little or nothing from
Luther, which they believe to have been the initial force at work in
shaping the English Reformation. Mr. Pollard points out that in many
particulars this Reformation followed the lines laid down by Wiclif. Its
leaders, like Wiclif, denounced the Papal Supremacy on the ground of the
political injury it did to the English people; declaimed against the
sloth, immorality, and wealth of the English ecclesiastics; advocated a
preaching ministry; and looked to the secular power to restrain the
vices and reform the manners of the clergy, and to govern the Church. He
shows that

     "most of the English Reformers were acquainted with Wycliffe's
     works: Cranmer declares that he set forth the truth of the Gospel;
     Hooper recalls how he resisted 'the popish doctrine of the Mass';
     Ridley, how he denied transubstantiation; and Bale, how he
     denounced the friars.... Bale records with triumph that, in spite
     of the efforts to suppress (the writings of Wicliffe), not one had
     utterly perished."[375]

And Dr. Rashdall goes the length of saying:

     "It is certain that the Reformation had virtually broken out in the
     secret Bible-readings of the Cambridge Reformers before either the
     trumpet-call of Luther or the exigencies of Henry VIII.'s personal
     and political position set men free once more to talk openly
     against the Pope and the monks, and to teach a simpler and more
     spiritual gospel than the system against which Wycliffe had

Even if it be admitted that these statements are somewhat strong, they
at least call attention to the fact of the vigorous Lollard leaven which
permeated the English people, and are a very necessary corrective of the
misleading assertions of Dr. James Gairdner on the matter.

Henry VIII. had other popular forces behind him--the rooted dislike to
the clergy which characterised a large mass of the people, the effects
of the teaching of the Christian Humanists of England, and the spread of
Lutheran opinions throughout the land.

The Bishop of London, writing to Wolsey about the proposal to try his
Chancellor, Dr. Horsey, for complicity in the supposed murder of Richard
Hunne, declared that if the Chancellor

     "be tried by any twelve men in London, they be so maliciously set
     _in favorem hæreticæ pravitatis_ that they will cast and condemn
     any clerk though he were as innocent as Abel."[377]

This dislike was not confined to the capital. The Parliaments showed
themselves anti-clerical long before Henry had thrown off his allegiance
to Rome;[378] and Englishmen could find no better term of insult to
throw at the Scots than to call them "Pope's men."[379]

Nor should the work of the Christian Humanists be forgotten. The double
tendency in their longings for a reformation of the abuses of
superstition, of pilgrimages, of relic-worship, etc., may be seen in the
lives of Sir Thomas More and of William Tyndale. When the former saw
that reform meant the breaking up of the mediæval Church, he became more
and more conservative. But More in 1520 (Feb. 28th) could write to Lea
that if the Pope (Leo X.) should withdraw his approval of Erasmus' Greek
New Testament, Luther's attacks on the Holy See were piety itself
compared with such a deed.[380] Tyndale, the favourite pupil of Dean
Colet, on the other hand, went forward and earned the martyr's crown.
These Christian Humanists had expected much from Henry VIII., whom they
looked on as imbued with the New Learning; and in the end perhaps they
were not altogether mistaken. If the _Bishops' Book_ and the _King's
Book_ be studied, it will be seen that in both what is insisted upon is
a reformation of conduct and a study of the Bible--quite in the spirit
of Colet and of Erasmus.

The writings of Luther found early entrance into England, and were read
by King[381] and people. A long list of them, including six copies of
his work _De potestate Papæ_, is to be found in the stock of the Oxford
bookseller, John Dorne[382] (1520). Erasmus, writing to Oecolampadius
(May 15th, 1521), declares that there are many of Luther's books in
England, and hints that but for his exertions they would have been
burnt.[383] That was before Luther's official condemnation. On May 28th,
Silvester, Bishop of Worcester, wrote to Wolsey from Rome announcing
that the Cardinals had agreed to declare Martin a heretic, and that a
Bull was being prepared on the subject.[384] The Bull itself appeared in
Rome on the 15th of June; and thereafter our information about Luther's
writings in England comes from evidence of endeavours to destroy them.
Warham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to Wolsey (March 8th, 1521)
that he had received letters from Oxford which declared that the
University was infected with Lutheranism, and that the forbidden books
were in circulation there.[385] Indeed, most of the canons appointed to
Wolsey's new foundation of the Cardinal College were suspect. Cambridge
was as bad, if not worse. Members of the University met at the White
Horse Tavern to read and discuss Luther's writings; the inn was called
"Germany," and those who frequented it "the Germans." Pope Leo urged
both the King and Wolsey to prevent the circulation of Lutheran
literature; and they did their best to obey. We read that on May 12th,
1521, Wolsey went in great state to St. Paul's, and after various
ceremonies mounted a scaffold, seated himself "under a cloth of estate,"
and listened to a sermon preached by Bishop Fisher against Lutheran
errors. At his feet on the right side sat the Pope's ambassadors and
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and on the left side the imperial
ambassadors and the Bishop of Durham. While the sermon was being
preached, numbers of Lutheran books were burnt in a huge bonfire kindled
hard by in St. Paul's Churchyard.[386] The representatives of Pope and
Emperor saw it all, and doubtless reported to their respective Courts
that Wolsey was doing his duty by Church and Empire. It may be doubted
whether such theatrical exhibitions hindered the spread of Luther's
books in England or prevented them being read.

All these things indicated a certain preparedness in England for the
Reformation, and all meant that there was a strong national force behind
Henry VIII. when he at last made up his mind to defy Rome.

Nor was a national separation from Rome so formidable an affair as Dr.
Gairdner would have us believe. The Papacy had secularised itself, and
European monarchs were accustomed to treat the Popes as secular princes.
The possibility of England breaking away from papal authority and
erecting itself into a separate patriarchate under the Archbishop of
Canterbury had been thought probable before the divorce was talked

It was Henry himself who clung strenuously to the conception of papal
supremacy, and who advocated it in a manner only done hitherto by
canonists of the Roman Curia. Whatever be the secret reason which he
gave to Sir Thomas More, and which silenced the latter's remonstrances,
it is evident that the validity of Henry's marriage and the legitimacy
of his children by Catharine of Aragon depended on the Pope being in
possession of the very fullest powers of dispensation. Henry had been
married to Catharine under very peculiar circumstances, which might
well suggest doubts about the validity of the marriage ceremony.

The England of Henry VII. was almost as much a satellite of Spain as
Scotland was of France, and to make the alliance still stronger a
marriage was arranged between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Catharine the
youngest of the three daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The
Spanish Princess landed at Plymouth (October 2nd, 1501), and the wedding
took place in St. Paul's on November 14th. But Prince Arthur died a few
months afterwards (April 2nd, 1502), and Catharine became a widow. The
circumstances of the two nations appeared to require more than ever the
cementing of the alliance by intermarriage, and it was proposed from the
side of Spain that the young widow should marry Henry, her
brother-in-law, now Prince of Wales.[388] Ferdinand brought pressure to
bear on England by insisting that if this were not done Catharine should
be sent back to Spain and the first instalment of her dowry (all that
had been paid) returned. The two Kings then besieged the Pope, Julius
II., to grant a dispensation for the marriage. At first His Holiness was
very unwilling to consent. Such a marriage had been branded as sin by
canonical law, and the Pope himself had great doubts whether it was
competent for him to grant a dispensation in such a case.[389] In the
end he was persuaded to give it. The two young people had their own
scruples of conscience. Ferdinand felt called upon to reason with his
proposed son-in-law.[390] The confessor of his daughter was
changed.[391] The Archbishop of Canterbury, who doubted whether the Pope
could grant dispensation for what was a mortal sin in his eyes, was
silenced.[392] The wedding took place (June 11th, 1509).

The marriage was in one sense singularly unfortunate. The first four
children were either stillborn or died soon after birth; and it was
rumoured in Rome as early as 1514 that Henry might ask to be divorced in
order to save England from a disputed succession. Mary was born in 1516
and survived, but all the children who came afterwards were either
stillborn or died in early infancy. It became evident by 1525 that if
Henry did not divorce his wife he would have no male heir.

There is no doubt that the lack of a male heir troubled Henry greatly.
The English people had not been accustomed to a female sovereign; it was
currently, if erroneously, reported in England that the laws of the land
did not permit a woman to be sovereign, and such well-informed
diplomatists as the Venetian Ambassadors believed the statement;[393]and
the Tudor dynasty was not so firmly settled on the throne that it could
afford to look forward to a disputed succession. The King's first idea
was to ask the Pope to legitimise his illegitimate son the Duke of
Richmond;[394]and Cardinal Campeggio actually suggested that the
Princess Mary should be married to her half-brother.[395] These projects
came to an end with the death of the young Prince.

There seems to be no reason for questioning the sincerity of Henry's
doubts about the legitimacy of his marriage with Catharine, or that he
actually looked upon the repeated destruction of his hopes of a male
heir as a divine punishment for the sin of that contract.[396]Questions
of national policy and impulses of passion quicken marvellously
conscientious convictions, but they do not show that the convictions are
not real. In the perplexities of his position the shortest way out
seemed to be to ask the Pope to declare that he had never been legally
married to Catharine. If he had scruples of conscience about his
marriage with his brother's widow, this would end them; if the fears of
a disputed succession haunted him, he could marry again, and might hope
for a son and a lawful heir whose succession none would dispute.
Cardinal Wolsey adopted his master's plans, and the Pope was to be asked
for a declaration that the marriage with Catharine had been no marriage
at all.

There entered, however, into all this, at what time it is not easy to
determine, an element of sordidness which goes ill with asserted
scruples of conscience and imperious necessities of State. Wolsey was
astonished when he learned that Henry had made up his mind to marry Anne
Boleyn, a lady whose station in life and personal reputation unfitted
her for the position of Queen of England. It was Henry's inordinate, if
not very long-lived, passion for this lady that put him in the wrong,
and enabled the Pope to pose as the guardian of the public morality of

It is plain that Henry VIII. fully expected that the Pope would declare
his first marriage invalid; there was many a precedent for such
action--two in Henry's own family;[397] and the delay had nothing to do
with the interests of public morality. The Pope was at the time
practically in the power of Charles V., to whom his aunt, the injured
Catharine, had appealed, and who had promised her his protection. One
has only to study the phases of the protracted proceedings in the
"Divorce" and compare them with the contemporary situation in Italy to
see that all that the Curia cared for was the success of the papal
diplomacy in the Italian peninsula. The interests of morality were so
little in his mind that Clement proposed to Henry more than once that
the King might take a second wife without going through the formality of
having his first marriage declared null and void.[398] This had been
the papal solution of the matter in an earlier instance, and Clement
VII. saw no reasons why what had been allowed to a King of Spain should
be denied to the King of England.[399] He was prepared to tolerate
bigamy, but not to thwart Charles, so long as the Emperor was master
within Italy.[400]

It is needless to follow the intricacies of the Divorce. The protracted
proceedings were an object lesson for English statesmen. They saw a
grave moral question--whether a man could lawfully marry his deceased
brother's widow; a matter vitally affecting the welfare of the English
people--the possibility of a disputed succession; the personal wishes of
a powerful, strong-willed, and choleric sovereign (for all
considerations were present, not only the last)--all subjected to the
shifting needs of a petty Italian prince. So far as England was
concerned, the grave interest in the case ended when Campeggio adjourned
the inquiry (July 23rd, 1529). Henry knew that he could not expect the
Pope to give him what he wanted; and although his agents fought the case
at Rome, he at once began preparing for the separation from papal

The English nobles, who had long chafed under the rule of Wolsey, took
advantage of the great Minister's failure in the Divorce negotiations to
press forward his downfall. He was deprived of the Lord Chancellorship,
which was given to Sir Thomas More, and was further indicted before the
King's Bench for infringement of the law of _Præmunire_--an accusation
to which he pleaded guilty.[401]

Meanwhile Henry had taken measures to summon a Parliament; and in the
interval between summons and assembly, it had been suggested to him
that Cranmer was of opinion that the best way to deal with the Divorce
was to take it out of the hands of the Curia and consult the canonists
of the various Universities of Europe. Cranmer was instructed to prepare
the case to be laid before them. This was done so successfully that the
two great English Universities, the French Universities of Paris,
Orleans, Bourges, and Toulouse, decided that the King's marriage with
Catharine was not valid; the Italian Universities of Ferrara, Padua,
Pavia, and Bologna came to the same conclusion in spite of a
proclamation issued by the Pope prohibiting all doctors from maintaining
the invalid nature of the King's marriage.[402]

Parliament met on November 3rd, 1529, and, from the matters brought
before it, received the name of the "Parliament for the enormities of
the clergy."[403] It revealed the force of lay opinion on which Henry
might count in the struggle he was about to begin with the clergy. With
a view of strengthening his hands still further, the King summoned an
assembly of Notables,[404] which met on June 12th, 1530, and addressed
the Pope in a letter in which they prayed him to consent to the King's
desire, pointed out the evils which would follow from delaying the
Divorce, and hinted that they might be compelled to take the matter into
their own hands. This seems to have been the general feeling among the
laity of England; for a foreigner writing to the Republic of Florence
says: "Nothing else is thought of in that island every day, except of
arranging affairs in such a way that they do no longer be in want of the
Pope, neither for filling vacancies in the Church, nor for any other

Having made himself sure of the great mass of the laity, Henry next set
himself to force the clergy into submission. He suddenly charged them
all with being guilty of _Præmunire_ because they had accepted the
authority of Papal Legates within the kingdom; and managed to extort a
sum of £100,000, to be paid in five yearly instalments, by way of a fine
from the clergy of the Province of Canterbury.[406] At the same meeting
of Convocation (1531) the clergy were compelled, under threat of the law
of _Præmunire_, to declare that the King was "their singular protector
and only supreme lord, and, _as far as that is permitted by the law of
Christ_, the Supreme Head of the Church and of the clergy." The
ambiguity in the acknowledgment left a loophole for weak consciences;
but the King was satisfied with the phrase, feeling confident that he
could force his own interpretation of the acknowledgment on the Church.
"It is all the same," Charles V.'s ambassador wrote to his master, "as
far as the King is concerned, as if they had made no reservation; for no
one now will be so bold as to contest with his lord the importance of
this reservation."[407]

This acknowledgment was, according to the King, simply a clearer
statement of what was contained in the old statutes of _Præmunire_, and
in all his subsequent ecclesiastical legislation he claimed that he was
only giving effect to the earlier laws of England.

The Parliament of 1532 gave the King important assistance in forcing on
the submission, not only of the clergy of England, but of the Pope, to
his wishes. The Commons presented a petition complaining of various
grievances affecting the laity in the working of the ecclesiastical
courts, which was sent with a set of demands from the King to the
Convocation. The result was the important resolution of Convocation (May
15th, 1532) which is called the _Submission of the Clergy_, where it is
promised not to make any new canons without the King's licence and
ratification, and to submit all previous canons to a committee of
revision, to consist of thirty-two persons, sixteen from Parliament and
sixteen from the clergy, and all to be chosen by the King. This
committee was to expunge all containing anything prejudicial to the
King's prerogative. This Act of Convocation practically declared that
the Church of England could neither make any rules for its own guidance
without the King's permission, nor act according to the common law of
the mediæval Church when that, in the King's opinion, invaded the royal
prerogative.[408] From this Act the Church of England has never been
able to free itself. The other deed of this Parliament which was
destined to be of the greatest use to Henry in his dealings with the
Pope was an Act dealing with the _annates_, _i.e._ one year's income
from all ecclesiastical benefices paid to the Pope on entrance into any
benefice. The Act declared that the _annates_ should be withheld from
the Pope and given to the King, but permitted His Majesty to suspend its
operation so long as it pleased him.[409] It was the suspensory clause
which enabled Henry to coerce the Pope, and he was not slow to take
advantage of it.[410] Writing to Rome (March 21st, 1532), he said: "The
Pope and Cardinals may gain our friendship by truth and justice. Take
care that they do not hope or despair too much from this power which has
been committed to us by the statute. I do not mean to deceive them, but
to tell them the fact that this statute will be to their advantage, if
they show themselves deserving of it; if not, otherwise. Nothing has
been defined at present, which must be to their advantage if they do not
despise my friendship."[411]

Archbishop Warham, who had presided at the Convocation which made the
submission of the clergy, died in August 1532; and Henry resolved that
Cranmer, notwithstanding his unwillingness, should succeed him as
Archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer conscientiously believed that the
royal supremacy was a good thing, and would cure many of the
ecclesiastical evils which no appeals to the Pope seemed able to reform;
and he was also convinced that the marriage of Henry with Catharine had
been one for which not even the highest ecclesiastical authority could
give a dispensation. He was prepared to carry out the King's wishes in
both respects. He could not be an acceptable Primate to the Roman Curia.
Yet Henry, by threatening the Pope with the loss of the _annates_,
actually compelled him to send Bulls to England, and that with unusual
speed, ratifying the appointment to the Primacy of a man who was known
to believe in the nullity of the King's marriage, and to be ready to
give effect to his opinion; and this at a time when the Parliament of
England had declared that the Primate's court was the supreme
ecclesiastical tribunal for the English Church and people. The deed made
the Curia really responsible for almost all that followed in England.
For Parliament in February 1533, acting on the submission of the clergy,
had passed an Act prohibiting all appeals to Rome from the Archbishop's
court, and ordering that, if any appeals were taken, they must be to the
King's Court of Chancery. This was the celebrated Act of Restraint of

In the beginning of 1533 (Jan. 25th), Henry VIII. was privately married
to Anne Boleyn. He had taken the Pope's advice in this one particular,
to get married without waiting for the Divorce; but soon afterwards
(April 5th) he got from the Convocation of Canterbury a document
declaring that the Pope had no power to grant a dispensation in such a
case as the marriage of Henry with Catharine;[413] and the Act of
Restraint of Appeals had made such a decision practically final so far
as England was concerned.

Cranmer was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on March 30th, 1533.
His opinions were known. He had been one of the Cambridge "Germans"; he
had freely consorted with Lutheran divines in Germany; he had begun to
pray in private for the abolition of the Pope's power in England as
early as 1525; and it was not without reason that Chapuys called him a

On April 11th, 1533, the new Primate asked the King to permit him to try
the question of the Divorce before his own ecclesiastical court; and
leave was granted him on the following day, as the principal minister
"of our spiritual jurisdiction."[415] The trial was begun, and the
court, acting on the decisions of Convocation two months earlier, which
had declared[416] that no dispensation could be given for a marriage
with the widow of a brother provided the marriage had been consummated,
and[417] that the marriage between Arthur and Catharine had been
consummated, pronounced that the marriage between the King and Catharine
of Aragon was null and void.[418] This was followed by an inquiry about
the marriage between the King and Anne Boleyn, which was pronounced
valid, and preparations were made for the coronation of Queen Anne,
which took place on June 1st, 1533.[419]

This act of defiance to Rome was at once resented by the Pope. The Curia
declared that the marriage between Henry and Catharine was lawful, and a
Bull was issued commanding Henry to restore Catharine and put away Anne
within ten days on pain of excommunication; which sentence the Emperor,
all Christian Princes, and Henry's own subjects were called upon to
execute by force of arms.[420]

The action at Rome was answered from England by the passing of several
strong Acts of Parliament--all in 1534. They completed the separation of
the Church and people of England from the See of Rome.

1. The Act forbidding the payment of _annates_ to the Pope was again
introduced, and this time made absolute; no _annates_ were for the
future to be sent to Rome as the first-fruits of any benefice. In the
same Act new provisions were made for the appointment of Bishops; they
were for the future to be elected by the Deans and Chapters on receiving
a royal letter of leave and nomination.[421]

2. An Act forbidding the payment of Peter's Pence to the Bishop of Rome;
forbidding all application to the Pope for dispensations; and declaring
that all such dispensations were to be sought for in the ecclesiastical
courts within England.[422]

3. The Act of Succession, which was followed by a second within the same
year in which the nullity of the marriage of Henry with Catharine of
Aragon was clearly stated, and Catharine was declared to be the
"Princess of Wales," _i.e._ the widow of Arthur; which affirms the
validity of the King's marriage with Anne Boleyn, and declares that all
the issue of that marriage are legitimate; and which affirms that,
failing male succession, the crown falls to the Princess Elizabeth.[423]

4. The Supremacy Act, which declares that the King is rightfully the
_Supreme Head of the Church of England_, has been recognised as such by
Convocation, and that it is within his powers to make ecclesiastical
visitations and to redress ecclesiastical abuses.[424]

5. The Treasons Act must also be included, inasmuch as one of its
provisions is that it is treason to deny to the King any of his lawful
titles (the Supreme Head of the Church of England being one), and that
treason includes calling the King a heretic or a schismatic.[425]

To complete the list, it is necessary to mention that the two
Convocations of Canterbury and of York solemnly declared that "the Roman
Pontiff had no greater jurisdiction bestowed on him by God in the Holy
Scriptures than any other foreign (_externus_) Bishop"--a declaration
called the _Abjuration of the Papal Supremacy by the Clergy_.[426]

This separation of the Church of England from Rome really meant that
instead of there being a dual control, there was to be a single one
only. The Kings of England had always claimed to have some control over
the Church of their realm; Henry went further, and insisted that he
would share that supervision with no one. But it should be noticed that
what he did claim was, to use the terms of canon law, the _potestas
jurisdictionis_, not the _potestas ordinis_; he never asserted his right
to ordain or to control the sacraments. Nor was there at first any
change in definition of doctrines. The Church of England remained what
it had been in every respect, with the exception that the Bishop of Rome
was no longer recognised as the _Episcopus Universalis_, and that, if
appeals were necessary from the highest ecclesiastical courts in
England, they were not to be taken as formerly to Rome, but were to be
settled in the King's courts within the land of England. The power of
jurisdiction over the affairs of the Church could scarcely be exercised
by the King personally. Appeals could be settled by his judges in the
law courts, but he required a substitute to exercise his power of
visitation. This duty was given to Thomas Cromwell, who was made
Vicar-General,[427] and the office to some small extent may be said to
resemble that of the Papal Legate; he represented the King as the Legate
had represented the Pope.

It was impossible, however, for the Church of England to maintain
exactly the place which it had occupied. There was some stirring of
Reformation life in the land. Cranmer had been early attracted by the
writings of Luther; Thomas Cromwell was not unsympathetic, and,
besides, he had the idea that there would be some advantage gained
politically by an approach to the German Protestants. There was soon
talk about a set of Articles which would express the doctrinal beliefs
of the Church of England. It was, however, no easy matter to draft them.
While Cranmer, Cromwell, and such new Bishops as Latimer, had decided
leanings towards the theology of the Reformation, the older Bishops held
strongly by the mediæval doctrines. The result was that, after prolonged
consultations, little progress was made, and very varying doctrines seem
to have been taught, all of which tended to dispeace. In the end, the
King himself, to use his own words, "was constrained to put his own pen
to the book, and conceive certain articles which were agreed upon by
Convocation as catholic and meet to be set forth by authority."[428]
They were published in 1536 under the title, _Articles devised by the
Kyng's Highnes Majestie to stablysh Christen quietnes_, and were ordered
to be read "plainly" in the churches.[429] They came to be called the
_Ten Articles_, the first doctrinal symbol of the Church of England.

According to the preface, they were meant to secure, by royal authority,
unity and concord in religious beliefs, and to repress and utterly
extinguish all dissent and discord. Foxe the Martyrologist describes
them very accurately as meant for "weaklings newly weaned from their
mother's milk of Rome." Five deal with doctrines and five with
ceremonies. The Bible, the Three Creeds (Apostles', Nicene, and
Athanasian), and the doctrinal decisions of the first four Oecumenical
Councils, are to be regarded as the standards of orthodoxy; baptism is
necessary for salvation--children dying in infancy "shall undoubtedly be
saved thereby, and _else not_"; the Sacrament of Penance is retained
with confession and absolution, which are declared to be expedient and
necessary; the substantial, real, corporeal Presence of Christ's Body
and Blood under the form of Bread and Wine in the Eucharist is taught;
faith as well as charity is necessary to salvation; images are to remain
in the churches; the saints and the Blessed Virgin are to be reverenced
as intercessors; the saints are to be invoked; certain rites and
ceremonies, such as clerical vestments, sprinkling with holy water,
carrying candles on Candlemas Day, and sprinkling ashes on
Ash-Wednesday, are good and laudable; the doctrines of Purgatory and of
prayers for the dead were not denied, but people were warned about them.
It should be noticed that while the three Sacraments of Baptism, the
Eucharist, and Penance are retained, no mention is made of the other
four, and that this is not unlike what Luther taught in the _Babylonian
Captivity of the Church of Christ_; that while the Real Presence is
maintained, nothing is said about Transubstantiation; that while images
are retained in churches, all incensing, kneeling, or offering to images
is forbidden; that while saints and the Virgin may be invoked as
intercessors, it is said that it is a vain superstition to believe that
any saint can be more merciful than Christ Himself; and that the whole
doctrine of Attrition and Indulgences is paralysed by the statement that
amendment of life is a necessary part of Penance.

It is only when these Articles are read along with the _Injunctions_
issued in 1536 and 1538 that it can be fully seen how much they were
meant to wean the people, if gradually, from the gross superstition
which disgraced the popular mediæval religion. If this be done, they
seem an attempt to fulfil the aspirations of Christian Humanists like
Dean Colet and Erasmus.

After warning the clergy to observe all the laws made for the abolition
of the papal supremacy, all those insisting on the supremacy of the King
as the "supreme Head of the Church of England," and to preach against
the Pope's usurped power within the realm of England, the _Injunctions_
proceed to say that the clergy are to expound the _Ten Articles_ to
their people. In doing so they are to explain why superfluous holy days
ought not to be observed; they are to exhort their people against such
superstitions as images, relics, and priestly miracles. They are to
tell them that it is best to keep God's commandments, to fulfil His
works of charity, to provide for their families, and to bestow upon the
poor the money they often lavish on pilgrimages, images, and relics.
They are to see that parents and teachers instruct children from their
earliest years in the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten
Commandments. They are to be careful that the sacraments are duly and
reverently administered within their parishes, are to set an example of
moral living, and are to give themselves to the study of the Scriptures.
The second set of _Injunctions_ (1538) goes further. The clergy are told
to provide "one whole Bible _of the largest volume_ in English," which
is to be set somewhere in the church where the parishioners can most
easily read it; and they are to beware of discouraging any man from
perusing it, "for it is the lively word of God that every Christian man
is bound to embrace and follow." They are to preach a sermon at least
every quarter, in which they are to declare the very gospel of Christ,
and to exhort the people to the works of charity, mercy, and faith
especially prescribed in the Scriptures. They are to warn them against
trusting to fancies entirely outside of Scripture, such as "wandering to
pilgrimages, offering of money or candles to images or relics, kissing
or licking the same, and saying over a number of beads or suchlike
superstitions." They are not to permit candles, tapers, or images of wax
to be placed before the images in the churches, in order to avoid "that
most detestable offence of idolatry."[430]

The _Ten Articles_ thus authoritatively expounded are anything but
"essentially Romish with the Pope left out in the cold." They are rather
an attempt to construct a brief creed which a pliant Lutheran and a
pliant Romanist might agree upon--a singularly successful attempt, and
one which does great credit to the theological attainments of the
English King.

It was thought good to have a brief manual of religious instruction to
place in the hands of the lower clergy and of the people, perhaps
because the _Ten Articles_ were not always well received. A committee of
divines, chiefly Bishops,[431] were appointed to "compile certain
rudiments of Christianity and a Catechism."[432] The result was a small
book, divided into four parts--an exposition of the Apostles' Creed, of
the _seven_ Sacraments, of the Ten Commandments, of the Lord's Prayer,
and the Ave Maria. Two other parts were added from the _Ten
Articles_--one on Justification, for which faith is said to be
necessary; and the other on Purgatory, which is stoutly denied. Great
difficulties were experienced in the compilation, owing to the "great
diversity of opinions"[433] which prevailed among the compilers; and the
book was a compromise between those who were stout for the old faith and
those who were keen for the new; but in the end all seemed satisfied
with their work. The chief difference between its teaching and that of
the _Ten Articles_ is that the name sacrament is given to seven and not
three of the chief ceremonies of the mediæval Church; but, on the other
hand, the doctrine of Purgatory is denied. It was expected that the King
would revise the book before its publication,[434] but he "had no time
convenient to overlook the great pains" bestowed upon it.[435] Drafts of
an imprimatur by the King have been found among the State Papers,[436]
but the book was finally issued in 1537 by the "Archbishops and Bishops
of England," and was therefore popularly called the _Bishops' Book_. All
the clergy were ordered "to read aloud from the pulpit every Sunday a
portion of this book" to their people.[437] The Catechism appears to
have been published at the same time, and to have been in large

Henry VIII. afterwards revised the _Bishops' Book_ according to his own
ideas. The revision was published in 1543, and was known as the _King's

Perhaps the greatest boon bestowed on the people of England by the _Ten
Articles_ and the _Injunctions_ which enforced them was the permission
to read and hear read a version of the Bible in their own tongue. For
the vernacular Scriptures had been banned in England as they had not
been on the Continent, save perhaps during the Albigensian persecution.
The seventh of the _Constitutions of Thomas Arundel_ ordains "that no
one hereafter translates into the English tongue or into any other, on
his own authority, the text of Holy Scripture either by way of book, or
booklet, or tract." This constitution was directed against Wiclif's
translation, which had been severely proscribed. That version, like so
many others during the Middle Ages, had been made from the Vulgate. But
Luther's example had fired the heart of William Tyndale to give his
countrymen an English version translated directly from the Hebrew and
the Greek originals.

Tyndale was a distinguished scholar, trained first at Oxford and then at
Cambridge. When at the former University he had belonged to that circle
of learned and pious men who had encouraged Erasmus to complete his
critical text of the New Testament. He knew, as did More, that Erasmus
desired that the weakest woman should be able to read the Gospels and
the Epistles of St. Paul; that the husbandman should sing portions of
them to himself as he followed the plough; that the weaver should hum
them to the tune of his shuttle; and that the traveller should beguile
the tedium of the road by repeating their stories; and he did not, like
More, turn his back on the ennobling enthusiasms of his youth.[440]

Tyndale found that he could not attempt his task in England. He went to
Germany and began work in Cologne; but, betrayed to the magistrates of
that centre of German Romanism, he fled to Worms. There he finished the
translation of the New Testament, and printed two editions, one in
octavo and the other in quarto--the latter being enriched with copious
marginal notes. The ecclesiastical authorities in England had early word
of this translation, and by Nov. 3rd, Archbishop Warham was exerting
himself to buy and destroy as many copies as he could get hold of both
in England and abroad; and, thanks to his exertions, Tyndale was
supplied with funds to revise his work and print a corrected edition.
This version was welcomed in England, and passed secretly from hand to
hand. It was severely censured by Sir Thomas More, not because the work
was badly done, but really because it was so scholarly. The faithful
translation of certain words and sentences was to the reactionary More
"a mischievous perversion of those writings intended to advance
heretical opinion";[441] and, strange to say, Dr. James Gairdner seems
to agree with him.[442] Tyndale's version had been publicly condemned in
England at the Council called by the King in 1530 (May), and copies of
his book had been publicly burnt in St. Paul's Churchyard, while he
himself had been tracked like a wild beast by emissaries of the English
Government in the Netherlands.

Cranmer induced Convocation in 1534 to petition for an English version
of the Bible, and next year Cromwell persuaded Miles Coverdale to
undertake his translation in 1535. It was made from the Vulgate with
some assistance from Luther's version, and was much inferior to the
proscribed version of Tyndale; but it had a large private sale in
England, and the King was induced to license it to enable the clergy to
obey the _Injunctions_ of 1536, which had ordered a copy of the English
Bible to be placed in all the churches before August 1537.[443]

The Archbishop, however, had another version in view, which he sent to
Cromwell (Aug. 1537), saying that he liked it better than any other
translation, and hoped it would be licensed to be read freely until the
Bishops could set forth a better, which he believes will not be until
after Doomsday. This version was practically Tyndale's.

Tyndale had entrusted one of his friends, Rogers, with his translation
of the Old Testament, finished as far as the Book of Jonah, and with his
complete version of the New Testament. Rogers had taken Tyndale's New
Testament, his Old Testament as far as the Book of Chronicles, borrowed
the remaining portion of the Old Testament from Coverdale's version, and
printed them with a dedication to the King, signed Thomas Matthew.[444]
This was the edition recommended by Cranmer to Cromwell, which was
licensed. The result was that Tyndale's New Testament (the same version
which had been denounced as pernicious, and which had been publicly
burnt only a few years before) and a large part of his Old Testament
were publicly introduced into the parish churches of England, and became
the foundation of all succeeding translations of the Bible into the
English language.[445] On reconsideration, the translation was found to
be rather too accurate for the Government, and some changes (certainly
not corrections) were made in 1538--39. Thus altered, the translation
was known as the _Great Bible_, and, because Cranmer wrote the preface,
as Cranmer's Bible.[446] This was the version, the Bible "of the
largest volume," which was ordered to be placed in the churches for the
people to read, and portions of which were to be read from the pulpit
every Sunday, according to the _Injunctions_ of 1538.

From 1533 on to the middle of 1539, there was a distinct if slow advance
in England towards a real Reformation; then the progress was arrested,
if the movement did not become decidedly retrograde. It seems more than
probable that if Henry had lived a few years longer, there would have
been another attempt at an advance.

Part of the advance had been a projected political and religious treaty
with the German Protestants. Neither Henry viii. nor John Frederick of
Saxony appears to have been much in earnest about an alliance, and from
the English King's instructions to his envoys it would appear that his
chief desire was to commit the German divines to an approval of the
Divorce.[447] Luther was somewhat scornful, and seems to have penetrated
Henry's design.[448] The German theologians had no doubt but that the
marriage of Henry with Catharine was one which should never have taken
place; but they all held that, once made, it ought not to be
broken.[449] Determined efforts were made to capture the sympathies of
Melanchthon. Bishop Foxe, selected as the theological ambassador, was
instructed to take him presents to the value of £70.[450] His books were
placed on the course of study for Cambridge at Cromwell's order.[451]
Henry exchanged complimentary letters, and graciously accepted the
dedication of Melanchthon's _De Locis Communibus_.[452] An embassy was
despatched, consisting of Foxe, Bishop elect of Hereford; Heath,
Archdeacon of Canterbury; and Dr. Barnes, an English divine, who was a
pronounced Lutheran. They met the Protestant Princes at Schmalkald and
had long discussions. The confederated Princes and Henry found
themselves in agreement on many points: they would stoutly disown the
primacy of the Pope; they would declare that they would not be bound by
the decrees of any Council which the Pope and the Emperor might
assemble; and they would pledge each other to get their Bishops and
preachers to declare them null and void. The German Princes were quite
willing to give Henry the title of "Defender of the Schmalkald League."
But they insisted as the first articles of any alliance that the English
Church and King must accept the theology of the Augsburg Confession and
adopt the ceremonies of the Lutheran Church; and on these rocks of
doctrine and ritual the proposed alliance was shattered.[453] The
Germans had their own private view of the English Reformation under
Henry VIII., which was neither very flattering nor quite accurate.

     "So far the King has become Lutheran, that, because the Pope has
     refused to sanction his divorce, he has ordered, on penalty of
     death, that every one shall believe and preach that not the Pope
     but himself is the head of the universal Church. All other
     papistry, monasteries, mass, indulgences, and intercessions for the
     dead, are pertinaciously adhered to."[454]

The English embassy went from Schmalkald to Wittenberg, where they met a
number of divines, including Luther and Melanchthon, and proceeded to
discuss the question of doctrinal agreement. Melanchthon had gone over
the Augsburg Confession, and produced a series of articles which
presented all that the Wittenberg theologians could concede, and Luther
had revised the draft.[455] Both the Germans were charmed with the
learning and courtesy of Archdeacon Heath. Bishop Foxe "had the manner
of prelates," says Melanchthon, and his learning did not impress the
Germans.[456] The conference came to nothing. Henry did not care to
accept a creed ready made for him, and thought that ecclesiastical
ceremonies might differ in different countries. He was a King "reckoned
somewhat learned, though unworthy," he said, "and having so many learned
men in his realm, he could not accept at any creature's hand the
observing of his and the realm's faith; but he was willing to confer
with learned men sent from them."[457]

Before the conference at Wittenberg had come to an end, Henry believed
that he had no need for a German alliance. The ill-used Queen Catharine,
who, alone of all persons concerned in the Divorce proceedings, comes
out unstained, died on Jan. 7th, 1536. Her will contained the touching
bequest: "To my daughter, the collar of gold which I brought out of
Spain"[458]--out of Spain, when she came a fair young bride to marry
Prince Arthur of England thirty-five years before.

There is no need to believe that Henry exhibited the unseemly
manifestations of joy which his enemies credit him with when the news of
Catharine's death was brought to him, but it did free him from a great
dread. He read men and circumstances shrewdly, and he knew enough of
Charles V. to believe that the Emperor, after his aunt's death, and when
he had no flagrant attack on the family honour of his house to protest
against, would not make himself the Pope's instrument against England.

Henry had always maintained himself and England by balancing France
against the Empire, and could in addition weaken the Empire by
strengthening the German Protestants. But in 1539, France and the
Emperor had become allies, and Henry was feeling himself very insecure.
It is probable that the negotiations which led to Henry's marriage with
Anne of Cleves were due to this new danger. On the other hand, there had
been discontent in England at many of the actions which were supposed
to come from the advance towards Reformation.

Henry VIII. had always spent money lavishly. His father's immense hoards
had disappeared, while England, under Wolsey, was the paymaster of
Europe, and the King was in great need of funds. In England as elsewhere
the wealth of the monasteries seemed to have been collected for the
purpose of supplying an empty royal exchequer. A visitation of
monasteries was ordered, under the superintendence of Thomas Cromwell;
and, in order to give him a perfectly free hand, all episcopal functions
were for the time being suspended. The visitation disclosed many
scandalous things. It was followed by the Act of Parliament (1536) for
_The Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries_.[459] The lands of all
monasteries whose annual rental was less than £200 a year were given to
the King, as well as all the ornaments, jewels, and other goods
belonging to them. The dislodged monks and nuns were either to be taken
into the larger houses or to receive some measure of support, and the
heads were to get pensions sufficient to sustain them. The lands thus
acquired might have been formed into a great crown estate yielding
revenues large enough to permit taxation to be dispensed with; but the
King was in need of ready money, and he had courtiers to gratify. The
convent lands were for the most part sold cheaply to courtiers, and the
numbers and power of the county families were largely increased. A new
visitation of the remaining monasteries was begun in 1538, this time
accompanied with an inquiry into superstitious practices indulged in in
various parts of the country, and notorious relics were removed. They
were of all sorts--part of St. Peter's hair and beard; stones with which
St. Stephen was stoned; the hair shirt and bones of St. Thomas the
martyr; a crystal containing a little quantity of Our Lady's milk, "with
two other bones"; the "principal relic in England, an angel with one
wing that brought to Caversham (near Reading) the spear's head that
pierced the side of our Saviour on the cross"; the ear of Malchus, which
St. Peter cut off; a foot of St. Philip at Winchester "covered with gold
plate and (precious) stones"; and so forth.[460] Miraculous images were
brought up to London and their mechanism exposed to the crowd, while an
eloquent preacher thundered against the superstition:

     "The bearded crucifix called the 'Rood of Grace' (was brought from
     Maidstone, and) while the Bishop of Rochester preached it turned
     its head, rolled its eyes, foamed at the mouth, and shed tears,--in
     the presence, too, of many other famous saints of wood and stone
     ... the satellite saints of the Kentish image acted in the same
     way. It is expected that the Virgin of Walsingham, St. Thomas of
     Canterbury, and other images will soon perform miracles also in the
     same place; for the trickery was so thoroughly exposed that every
     one was indignant at the monks and impostors."[461]

A second Act of Parliament followed, which vested all monastic property
in the King; and this gave the King possession not only of huge
estates, but also of an immense quantity of jewels and precious
metals.[462] The shrine of St. Thomas at Canterbury, when
"disgarnished," yielded, it is said, no fewer than twenty-six cartloads
of gold and silver.[463]

This wholesale confiscation of monastic property, plundering of shrines,
and above all the report that Henry had ordered the bones of St. Thomas
of Canterbury to be burned and the ashes scattered to the winds,
determined Pope Paul III. to renew (Dec. 17th, 1538) the execution of
his Bull of excommunication (Aug. 30th, 1535), which had been hitherto
suspended. It was declared that the Bull might be published in St.
Andrews or "in oppido Calistrensi" in Scotland, at Dieppe or Boulogne in
France, or at Tuam in Ireland.[464] The Pope knew that he could not get
it published in England itself.

The violent destruction of shrines and pilgrimage places, which had been
holiday resorts as well as places of devotion, could not fail to create
some popular uneasiness, and there were other and probably deeper roots
of discontent. England, like other nations, had been suffering from the
economic changes which were a feature of the times. One form peculiar to
England was that wool-growing had become more profitable than keeping
stock or raising grain, and landed proprietors were enclosing commons
for pasture land and letting much of their arable land lie fallow. The
poor men could no longer graze their beasts on the commons, and the
substitution of pasture for arable land threw great numbers out of
employment. They had to sell the animals they could no longer feed, and
did not see how a living could be earned; nor had they the compensation
given to the disbanded monks. The pressure of taxation increased the
prevailing distress. Risings took place in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and
Lincolnshire, and the insurgents marched singing:

    "Christ crucified,
     For Thy woundes wide,
     Us commons guyde,
     Which pilgrims be,
     Through Godes grace,
     For to purchache,
     Old wealth and peax
     Of the Spiritualitie."[465]

In their demands they denounced equally the contempt shown for Holy
Mother Church, the dissolution of the monasteries, the spoliation of
shrines, the contempt shown to "Our Ladye and all the saints," new
taxes, the enclosure of commons, the doing away with use and wont in
tenant rights, the branding of the Lady Mary as illegitimate, King's
counsellors of "low birth and small estimation," and the five reforming
Bishops--Cranmer and Latimer being considered as specially
objectionable.[466] The Yorkshire Rising was called the Pilgrimage of

The insurgents or "pilgrims" were not more consistent than other people,
for they plundered priests to support their "army";[467] and while they
insisted on the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, they had no wish to see
his authority re-established in England. They asked the King to admit
the Pope to be head of spiritual things, giving spiritual authority to
the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, "so that the said Bishop of Rome
have no further meddling."[468]

The insurrections were put down, and Henry did not cease his spoliation
of shrines and monasteries in consequence of their protests; but the
feelings of the people made known by their proclamations, at the
conferences held between their leaders and the representatives of
authority, and by the examination of prisoners and suspected persons,
must have suggested to his shrewd mind whether the Reformation was not
being pressed onward too hastily for the great majority of the English
laity. England did not produce in the sixteenth century a great
spiritual leader inspired by a prophetic conviction that he was speaking
the truth of God, and able to create a like conviction in the hearts of
his neighbours, while he was never so far before them that they could
not easily follow him step by step. The King cried halt; and when
Cromwell insisted on his plan of alliance with the Protestants of the
Continent of Europe, he went the way of all the counsellors of Henry who
withstood their imperious master (July 28th, 1540).

But this is to anticipate. Negotiations were still in progress with the
Lords of the Schmalkald League in the spring of 1539,[469] and the King
was thinking of cementing his connection with the German Lutherans by
marrying Anne of Cleves,[470] the sister-in-law of John Frederick of
Saxony. The Parliament of 1539 (April 28th to June 28th) saw the
beginnings of the change. Six questions were introduced for discussion:

     "Whether there be in the sacrament of the altar transubstantiation
     of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of flesh and
     blood or not? Whether priests may marry by the law of God or not?
     Whether the vow of chastity of men and women bindeth by the law of
     God or not? Whether auricular confession be necessary by the law of
     God or not? Whether private Masses may stand with the Word of God
     or not? Whether it be necessary by the Word of God that the
     sacrament of the altar should be administered under both kinds or

The opinions of the Bishops were divided; but the lay members of the
House of Lords evidently did not wish any change from the mediæval
doctrines, and believed that no one could be such a wise theologian as
their King when he confounded the Bishop with his stores of learning.
"We of the temporalitie," wrote one who was present, "have been all of
one opinion ... all England have cause to thank God and most heartily
to rejoice of the King's most godly proceedings."[472] So Parliament
enacted the _Six Articles Act_,[473] a ferocious statute commonly called
"the bloody whip with six strings." To deny transubstantiation or to
deprave the sacraments was to be reckoned heresy, and to be punished
with burning and confiscation of goods. It was made a felony, and
punishable with death, to teach that it was necessary to communicate in
both kinds in the Holy Supper; or that priests, monks, or nuns vowed to
celibacy might marry. All clerical marriages which had been contracted
were to be dissolved, and clerical incontinence was punishable by loss
of property and benefice. Special commissions were issued to hold
quarterly sessions in every county for the enforcement of the statute.
The official title of the Act was _An Act abolishing Diversity of
Opinion_. The first commission issued was for the county of London, and
at the first session five hundred persons were indicted within a
fortnight. The law was, however, much more severe than its enforcement.
The five hundred made their submission and received the King's pardon.
It was under this barbarous statute that so-called heretics were tried
and condemned during the last years of the reign of Henry VIII.

The revival of mediæval doctrine did not mean any difference in the
strong anti-papal policy of the English King. It rather became more
emphatic, and Henry spoke of the Pope in terms of the greatest
disrespect. "That most persistent idol, enemy of all truth, and
usurpator of Princes, the Bishop of Rome," "that cankered and venomous
serpent, Paul, Bishop of Rome," are two of his phrases.[474]

_The Act of the Six Statutes_ made Lutherans, as previous Acts had made
Papists, liable to capital punishment; but while Cromwell remained in
power he evidently was able to hinder its practical execution. Cromwell,
however, was soon to fall. He seemed to be higher in favour than ever.
He had almost forced his policy on his master, and the marriage of Henry
with Anne of Cleves (Jan. 6th, 1540) seemed to be his triumph. Then
Henry struck suddenly and remorselessly as usual. The Minister was
impeached, and condemned without trial. He was executed (July 28th); and
Anne of Cleves was got rid of on the plea of pre-contract to the son of
the Duke of Lorraine (July 9th). It was not the fault of Gardiner, the
sleuth-hound of the reaction, that Cranmer did not share the fate of the
Minister. Immediately after the execution of Cromwell (July 30th), the
King gave a brutal exhibition of his position. Three clergymen of
Lutheran views, Barnes, Garret, and Jerome, were burnt at Smithfield;
and three Romanists were beheaded and tortured for denying the King's
spiritual supremacy.

Henry had kept himself ostentatiously free from responsibility for the
manual of doctrine entitled _Institution of a Christian Man_. Perhaps he
believed it too advanced for his people; it was at all events too
advanced for the theology of the _Six Articles_; another manual was
needed, and was published in 1543 (May 19th). It was entitled _A
Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man; set forth by the
King's Majesty of England_.

It was essentially a revision of the former manual, and may have been of
composite authorship. Cranmer was believed to have written the chapter
on faith, and it was revised by Convocation. The King, who issued it
himself with a preface commending it, declared it to be "a true and
perfect doctrine for all people." It contains an exposition of the
Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and of some selected
passages of Scripture. Its chief difference from the former manual is
that it teaches unmistakably the doctrines of _Transubstantiation_, the
_Invocation of Saints_, and the _Celibacy of the Clergy_. It may be said
that it very accurately represented the theology of the majority of
Englishmen in the year 1543. For King and people were not very far
apart. They both clung to mediæval theology; and they both detested the
Papacy, and wished the clergy to be kept in due subordination. There
was a widespread and silent movement towards an Evangelical Reformation
always making itself apparent when least expected; but probably
three-fourths of the people had not felt it during the reign of Henry.
It needed Mary's burnings in Smithfield and the fears of a Spanish
overlord, before the leaven could leaven the whole lump.



When Henry VIII. died, in 1547 (Jan. 28th), the situation in England was
difficult for those who came after him. A religious revolution had been
half accomplished; a social revolution was in progress, creating popular
ferment; evicted tenants and uncloistered monks formed raw material for
revolt; the treasury was empty, the kingdom in debt, and the coinage
debased. The kingly authority had undermined every other, and the King
was a child. The new nobility, enriched by the spoils of the Church, did
not command hereditary respect; and the Council which gathered round the
King was torn by rival factions.[476]

Henry VIII. had died on a Friday, but his death was kept concealed till
the Monday (Jan. 31st), when Edward VI. was brought by his uncle, the
Earl of Hertford, and presented to the Council. There a will of the late
King was produced, the terms of which make it almost impossible to
believe that Henry did not contemplate a further advance towards a
Reformation. It appointed a Council of Regency, consisting of sixteen
persons who were named. Eleven belonged to the old Council, and among
them were five who were well known to desire an advance, while the two
most determined reactionaries were omitted--Bishop Gardiner and Thirlby.
The will also mentioned by name twelve men who might be added to the
Council if their services were thought to be necessary. These were
added. Then the Earl of Hertford was chosen to be Lord Protector of the
Realm, and was promoted to be Duke of Somerset. The coronation followed
(Feb. 20th), and all the Bishops were required to take out new
commissions in the name of the young King--the King's ecclesiastical
supremacy being thus rigidly enforced. Wriothesley, Henry's Lord
Chancellor, who had been created the Earl of Southampton, was compelled
to resign the Great Seal, and with his retirement the Government was
entirely in the hands of men who wished the nation to go forward in the
path of Reformation.

Signs of their intention were not lacking, nor evidence that such an
advance would be welcomed by the population of the capital at least. On
Feb. 10th a clergyman and churchwardens had removed the images from the
walls of their church, and painted instead texts of Scripture; an
eloquent preacher, Dr. Barlow, denounced the presence of images in
churches; images were pulled down from the churches in Portsmouth; and
so on. In May it was announced that a royal visitation of the country
would be made, and Bishops were inhibited from making their ordinary

In July (31st) the Council began the changes. They issued a series of
_Injunctions_[477] to the clergy, in which they were commanded to
preach against "the Bishop of Rome's usurped power and jurisdiction"; to
see that all images which had been "abused" as objects of pilgrimages
should be destroyed; to read the Gospels and Epistles in English during
the service; and to see that the Litany was no longer recited or sung in
processions, but said devoutly kneeling. They next issued _Twelve
Homilies_, meant to guard the people against "rash preaching." Such a
series had been suggested as early as 1542, and a proposed draft had
been presented to Convocation by Cranmer in that year, but had not been
authorised. They were now issued on the authority of the Council. Three
of them were composed by Cranmer. These sermons contain little that is
doctrinal, and confine themselves to inciting to godly living.[478]
Along with the _Homilies_, the Council authorised the issue of Udall's
translation of the _Paraphrases_ of Erasmus, which they meant to be read
in the churches.

The royal visitation seems to have extended over a series of years,
beginning in 1547. Dr. James Gairdner discovered, and has printed with
comments, an account or report of a visitation held by Bishop Hooper in
the diocese of Gloucester in 1551. One of the intentions of the
visitation was to discover how far it was possible to expect preaching
from the English clergy. Dr. Gairdner sums up the illiteracy exhibited
in the report as follows:--Three hundred and eleven clergymen were
examined, and of these one hundred and seventy-one were unable to repeat
the _Ten Commandments_, though, strangely enough, all but thirty-four
could tell the chapter (Ex. xx.) in which they were to be found; ten
were unable to repeat the Lord's Prayer; twenty-seven could not tell who
was its author: and thirty could not tell where it was to be found. The
Report deserves study as a description of the condition of the clergy of
the Church of England before the Reformation. These clergymen of the
diocese of Gloucester were asked nine questions--three under three
separate heads: (1) How many commandments are there? Where are they to
be found? Repeat them. (2) What are the Articles of the Christian Faith
(the Apostles' Creed)? Repeat them.--Prove them from Scripture. (3)
Repeat the Lord's Prayer. How do you know that it is the Lord's? Where
is it to be found? Only fifty out of the three hundred and eleven
answered all these simple questions, and of the fifty, nineteen are
noted as having answered _mediocriter_. Eight clergymen could not answer
any single one of the questions; and while one knew that the number of
the Commandments was ten, he knew nothing else. Two clergymen, when
asked why the Lord's Prayer was so called, answered that it was because
Christ had given it to His disciples when he told them to watch and
pray; another said that he did not know why it was called the Lord's
Prayer, but that he was quite willing to believe that it was the Lord's
because the King had said so; and another answered that all he knew
about it was that such was the common report. Two clergymen said that
while they could not prove the articles of the Creed from Scripture,
they accepted them on the authority of the King; and one said that he
could not tell what was the Scripture authority for the Creed, unless it
was the first chapter of Genesis, but that it did not matter, since the
King had guaranteed it to be correct.[479]

There is no reason to believe that the clergy of this diocese were worse
than those in other parts of England. If this report be compared with
the accounts of the unreformed clergy of central Germany given in the
reports of the visitations held there between 1528 and 1535, the
condition of things there which filled Luther with such despair, and
induced him to write his Small Cathechism, was very much better than
that of the clergy of England. Not more than three or perhaps four out
of the three hundred and eleven had ever preached or could preach. These
facts, extracted from the formal report of an authoritative visitation
made by a Bishop, explain the constant cry of the Puritans under
Elizabeth for a preaching ministry.

The Council were evidently anxious that the whole service should be
conducted in the English language, and that a sermon should always be
part of the public worship. The reports of the visitation showed that it
was useless to make any general order, but an example was given in the
services conducted in the Royal Chapel. Meanwhile (1547) Thomas Hopkins
was engaged in making a version of the Psalms in metre, to be sung both
in private and in the churches, and these soon became highly popular.
Like corresponding versions in France and in Germany, it served to
spread the Reformation among the people; and, as might have been
expected, Archbishop Laud did his best to stop the singing of these
Psalms in later days.

The first Parliament of Edward VI. (Nov. 4th to Dec. 24th, 1547) made
large changes in the laws of England affecting treason, which had the
effect of sweeping away the edifice of absolute government which had
been so carefully erected by Henry VIII. and his Minister Thomas
Cromwell. The kingly supremacy in matters of religion was maintained;
but the _Act of the Six Articles_ was erased from the Statute Book, and
with it all heresy Acts which had been enacted since the days of Richard
II., and treason was defined as it had been in the days of Edward III.
This legislation gave an unwonted amount of freedom to the English

Convocation had met in November and December (1547), and, among other
things, had agreed unanimously that in the Holy Supper the partakers
should communicate in both _kinds_, and had passed a resolution by
fifty-three votes to twelve that all canons against the marriage of the
clergy should be declared void. These two resolutions were communicated
to Parliament, with the result that an Act was passed ordaining that
"the most blessed Sacrament be hereafter commonly administered unto the
people within the Church of England and Ireland, and other the King's
dominions, under both the kinds, that is to say, of bread and wine,
except necessity otherwise require."[480] An Act was also framed
permitting the marriage of the clergy, which passed the Commons, but did
not reach the House of Lords in time to be voted upon, and did not
become law until the following year. Other two Acts bearing on the
condition of the Church of England were issued by this Parliament.
According to the one, Bishops were henceforth to be appointed directly
by the King, and their courts were to meet in the King's name. According
to the other, the property of all colleges, chantries, guilds, etc.,
with certain specified exceptions, was declared to be vested in the

Communion in both kinds made necessary a new Communion Service, and as a
tentative measure a new form for the celebration was issued by the
Council, which is called by Strype the _Book of Communion_.[482] It
enjoined that the essential words of the Mass should still be said in
Latin, but inserted seven prayers in English in the ceremony. The
Council also proceeded in their war against superstitions. They forbade
the creeping to the Cross on Good Friday, the use of ashes on
Ash-Wednesday, of palms on Palm Sunday, and of candles on Candlemas; and
they ordered the removal of _all_ images from the churches. Cranmer
asserted that all these measures had been intended by Henry VIII.

The next important addition to the progress of the Reformation was the
preparation and introduction of a Service Book[483]--_The Boke of the
Common Praier and Administration of the Sacramentes and other Rites and
Ceremonies after the use of the Churche of England_ (1549), commonly
called _The First Prayer-Book of King Edward VI._ It was introduced by
an _Act of Uniformity_,[484] which, after relating how there had been
for long time in England "divers forms of Common Prayer ... the use of
Sarum, York, Bangor, and of Lincoln," and that diversity of use caused
many inconveniences, ordains the universal use of this one form, and
enacts penalties on those who make use of any other. The origin of the
book is somewhat obscure. There is no trace of any commission appointed
to frame it, nor of any formally selected body of revisers. Cranmer had
the chief charge of it, and was assisted by a number of divines--though
where they met is uncertain, whether at Windsor as the King records in
his diary, or at Chertsey Abbey, as is said in the Grey Friars
Chronicle. About the end of October the Bishops were asked to subscribe
it, and it was subjected to some revision. It was then brought before
the House of Lords and discussed there. It was in this debate that
Cranmer disclosed that he had definitely abandoned the theory of
transubstantiation. The Prayer-Book, however, was eminently
conservative, and could be subscribed to by a believer in the old
theory. The giving and receiving of the _Bread_ is called the _Communion
of the Body of Christ_, of the _Wine_, the _Communion of the Blood of
Christ_; and the practice of making the sign of the Cross is adhered to
at stated points in the ceremony. An examination of its structure and
contents reveals that it was borrowed largely from the old English Use
of Sarum, and from a new Service Book drafted by the Cardinal Quignon
and dedicated to Pope Paul III. The feeling that a new Service Book was
needed was not confined to the Reformers, but was affecting all European
Christians. The great innovation in this Liturgy was that all its parts
were in the English language, and that every portion of the service
could be followed and understood by all the worshippers.

With the publication of this _First Prayer-Book of King Edward VI._
the first stage of the Reformation during his reign comes to an end. The
changes made had all been contemplated by Henry VIII. himself, if we are
to believe what Cranmer affirmed. They did not content the more advanced
Reformers, and they were not deemed sufficient by Cranmer himself.

The changes made in the laws of England--the repeal of the "bloody"
_Statue of the Six Articles_ and of the treason laws--had induced many
of the English refugees who had gone to Germany and to Switzerland to
return to their native land. The Emperor Charles V. had defeated the
German Protestants in the battle of Mühlberg in 1547 (April), and
England for a few years became a place of refuge for continental
Protestants fleeing from the requirements and penalties of the
_Interim_. All this gave a strong impetus to the Reformation movement in
England. Martin Bucer, compelled to leave Strassburg, found refuge and
taught in Cambridge, where he was for a time the regius professor of
divinity. Paul Büchlein (usually known by his latinised name of Fagius),
a compatriot of Bucer and a well-known Hebrew scholar, was also settled
at Cambridge, where he died (Nov. 1549). Peter Martyr Vermigli and
Bernardino Ochino, two illustrious Italian Protestants, came to England
at the invitation of Cranmer himself, and long afterwards Queen
Elizabeth confessed that she had been drawn towards their theology.
Peter Alexander of Arles and John à Lasco, the Pole, also received the
protection and hospitality of England.[485] The reception of these
foreign divines, and their appointment as teachers in the English
universities, did not escape protest from the local teachers of
theology, who were overruled by the Government.

Between the first and the second stage of the Reformation of the Church
of England in this reign, a political change occurred which must be
mentioned but need not be dwelt upon. The Duke of Somerset incurred the
wrath of his colleagues, and of the new nobility who had profited by the
sale of Church lands, by his active sympathy with the landless
peasantry, and by his proposals to benefit them. He was driven from
power, and his place was taken by the unscrupulous Earl of Warwick, who
became Lord Protector, and received the Dukedom of Northumberland. The
new Governor of England has been almost universally praised by the
advanced Reformers because of the way in which he pushed forward the
Reformation. It is well to remember in these days, when the noble
character of the Duke of Somerset has received a tardy recognition,[486]
that John Knox, no mean judge of men, never joined in the praise of
Northumberland, and greatly preferred his predecessor, although his
advance in the path of Reformation had been slower and much more

There was much in the times to encourage Northumberland and his Council
to think that they might hurry on the Reformation movement.

The New Learning had made great strides in England, and was leavening
all the more cultured classes, and it naturally led to the discredit of
the old theology. The English advanced Reformers who had taken refuge
abroad, and who now returned,--men like Ridley and Hooper,--could not
fail to have had some influence on their countrymen; they had almost all
become imbued with the Zwinglian type of theology, and Bullinger was
their trusted adviser. It seemed as if the feelings of the populace were
changing, for the mobs, instead of resenting the destruction of images,
were rather inspired by too much iconoclastic zeal, and tried to destroy
stained-glass windows and to harry priests. Cranmer's influence, always
on the side of reform, had much more weight with the Council than was
the case under Henry VIII. He had abandoned long ago his belief in
transubstantiation, he had given up the Lutheran doctrine of
consubstantiation, if he ever held it, and had now accepted a theory of
a real but spiritual Presence in the communion elements which did not
greatly differ from the more moderate Zwinglian view. The clergy, many
of them, were making changes which went far beyond the Act of
Uniformity. The removal of restrictions on printing the Bible had
resulted in the publication of more than twenty editions, most of them
with annotations which explained and enforced the new theology on the
authority of Scripture.

In these circumstances the Council enforced the Act of Uniformity in a
one-sided way--against the Romanist sympathisers. Many Romanist Bishops
were deprived of their sees, and their places were filled by such men as
Coverdale, Ridley, Ponet, and Scovey--all advanced Reformers. John Knox
himself, freed from his slavery in the French galleys by the
intervention of the English Government and made one of the King's
preachers, was offered the bishopric of Rochester, which he declined. It
must be remembered, however, that the Lord Protector and his _entourage_
seem to have been quite as much animated by a desire to fill their own
pockets as by zeal to promote the cause of the Reformation. Indeed,
there came to be in England at this time something like the _tulchan_
Bishops of a later period in Scotland; great nobles got possession of
the episcopal revenues and allowed the new Bishops a stipend out of

Then came a second revision of the Prayer-Book--_The Boke of Common
Prayer and Administration of the Sacramentes and other Rites and
Ceremonies in the Churche of England_ (1552). It is commonly called the
_Second Prayer-Book of King Edward the Sixth_.[488] Cranmer had
conferences with some of the Bishops as early as Jan. 1551 on the
subject, and also with some of the foreign divines then resident in
England; and it is more than probable that his intention was to frame
such a liturgy as would bring the worship of the Church of England into
harmony with that of the continental Reformers. There is no proof that
the book was ever presented to Convocation for revision, or that it was
subject to a debate in Parliament, as was its predecessor. The
authoritative proclamation says:

     "The King's most excellent majesty, with the assent of the Lords
     and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the
     authority of the same, has caused the aforesaid order of common
     service, entitled The Book of Common Prayer, to be faithfully and
     godly perused, explained, and made fully perfect, and by the
     aforesaid authority has annexed and joined it, so explained and
     perfected, to this present statute."[489]

This _Book of Common Prayer_ deserves special notice, because, although
some important changes were made, it is largely reproduced in the Book
of Common Prayer which is at present used in the Church of England. The
main differences between it and the _First Prayer-Book of King Edward_
appear for the most part in the communion service, and were evidently
introduced to do away with all thought of a propitiatory Mass. The word
_altar_ is expunged, and _table_ is used instead: _minister_ and
_priest_ are used indifferently as equivalent terms. "The minister at
the time of the communion, and at all other times in his ministration,
shall use neither Alb, Vestment, nor Cope; but being an archbishop or
bishop, he shall have or wear a rochet: and being a priest or deacon, he
shall have and wear a surplice only." Instead of "standing humbly afore
the midst of the altar," he was to stand "at the north side of the
table"; and the communion table was ordered to be removed from the east
end of the church and to be placed in the chancel. Ordinary instead of
unleavened bread was ordered to be used. In the older book the prayer,
_Have mercy on us, O Lord_, had been used as an invocation of God
present in the sacramental elements; in the new it became an ordinary
prayer to keep the commandments. The _Ten Commandments_ were introduced
for the first time. Some rubrics--that enjoining the minister to add a
little water to the wine--were omitted. Similar changes were made in the
services for baptism and confirmation, and in the directions for
ordination. One rubric was retained which the more advanced Reformers
wished done away with. Communicants were required to receive the
elements kneeling. But the difficulties were removed by a later rubric:

     "Yet lest the same kneeling might be thought or taken otherwise, we
     do declare that it is not meant thereby, that any adoration is
     done, or ought to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or
     wine there bodily received, or to any real or essential presence
     there being of Christ's natural flesh and blood."

This addition is said, on somewhat uncertain evidence, to have been
suggested by John Knox.

The most important change, however, was that made in the words to be
addressed to the communicant in the act of partaking. In the _First
Prayer-Book_ the words were:

     "When the priest delivereth the sacrament of the Body of Christ, he
     shall say to every one these words:

     _'The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given, for thee,
     preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.'_

     And the minister delivering the sacrament of the Blood, and giving
     every one once to drink and no more, shall say:

     _'The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee,
     preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.'_"[490]

In the _Second Prayer-Book_ the rubric was altered to:

     "Then the minister, when he delivereth the bread, shall say:

     _'Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and
     feed on Him in thy heart by faith and with thanksgiving.'_

     And the minister that delivereth the cup shall say:

     _'Drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee,
     and be thankful.'_"[491]

The difference represented by the change in these words is between what
_might_ be the doctrine of transubstantiation and a sacramental theory
distinctly lower than that of Luther or Calvin, and which _might_ be
pure Zwinglianism.

This _Second Prayer-Book of King Edward_ was enforced by a second _Act
of Uniformity_, which for the first time contained penalties against
laymen as well as clergymen--against "a great number of people in divers
parts of the realm, who did wilfully refuse to come to their parish
churches." The penalties themselves show that many of the population
refused to be dragged along the path of reformation as fast as the
Council wished them to go.[492]

Soon after there followed a new creed or statement of the fundamental
doctrines received by the Church of England. This was the _Forty-two
Articles_, interesting because they formed the basis of the later
Elizabethan _Thirty-nine Articles_. They were thrust on the Church of
England in a rather disreputable way. It was expressly slated on the
title-page that they had been agreed upon by the Bishops and godly
divines at the last Convocation in London--a statement which is not
correct. They were never presented to Convocation, and were issued on
the authority of the King alone, and received his signature on June 12th
(1553), scarcely a month before he died.

One other document belonging to the reign of Edward VI. must be
mentioned--the _Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum_, drafted by Cranmer.
The Archbishop had begun in 1544 to collect passages from the old Canon
Law which he thought might serve to regulate the government and
discipline of the Church of England. A commission of thirty-two was
appointed to assist him, and from these a committee of eight were
selected to "rough hew the Canon Law." When the selection was made, a
Bill to legalise it was introduced into Parliament, but it failed to
pass; and the _Reformatio Legum_ never became authoritative in England.
It was as well, for the book enacted death penalties for various
heresies, which would have made it a cruel weapon in the hands of a
persecuting government.

During the reign of Edward VI. the beginnings of that Puritanism which
was so prominent in the time of Elizabeth first manifested themselves.
Its two principal spokesmen were the Bishops Hooper and Ridley. Hooper
was an ardent follower of Zwingli, and was esteemed to be the leader of
the party; and Ridley's sentiments were not greatly different. Hooper
came into contact with the Government when he was appointed to the See
of Gloucester. He then objected to the oath required from Bishops at
their consecration, and to the episcopal robes, which he called
"Aaronic" vestments. The details of the contest are described by a
Zwinglian sympathiser, Macronius, in a letter to Bullinger at
Zurich[493] (Aug. 28th, 1550):

     "The King, as you know, has appointed him (Hooper) to the bishopric
     of Gloucester, which, however, he refused to accept unless he cd.
     be altogether relieved from all appearance of popish superstition.
     Here then a question immediately arises as to the form of oath
     which the Bishops have ordered to be taken in the name of God, the
     saints, and the Gospels; which impious oath Hooper positively
     refused to take. So, when he appeared before the King in the
     presence of the Council, Hooper convinced the King by many
     arguments that the oath should be taken in the name of God alone,
     who knoweth the heart. This took place on the 20th of July. It was
     so agreeable to the godly King, that with his own pen he erased the
     clause of the oath which sanctioned swearing by any creatures.
     Nothing could be more godly than this act, or more worthy of a
     Christian king. When this was done there remained the form of
     episcopal consecration, wh., as lately prescribed by the Bishops
     in Parliament, differs but little from the popish one. Hooper
     therefore obtained a letter from the King to the Archbishop of
     Canterbury (Cranmer), that he might be consecrated without
     superstition. But he gained nothing by this, as he was referred
     from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Bishop of London (Ridley),
     who refused to use any other form of consecration than that which
     had been subscribed by Parliament. Thus the Bishops mutually
     endeavour that none of their glory shall depart. A few days after,
     on the 30th of July, Hooper obtained leave from the King and the
     Council to be consecrated by the Bishop of London without any
     superstition. He replied that he would shortly send an answer
     either to the Council or to Hooper. While, therefore, Hooper was
     expecting the Bishop's answer, the latter went to court and
     alienated the minds of the Council from Hooper, making light of the
     use of the vestments and the like in the church, and calling them
     mere matters of indifference. Many were so convinced by him that
     they would hardly listen to Hooper's defence when he came into
     court shortly afterwards. He therefore requested them, that if they
     would not hear him speak, they would at least think it proper to
     hear and read his written apology. His request was granted:
     wherefore he delivered to the King's councillors, in writing, his
     opinion respecting the discontinuance of the use of vestments and
     the like puerilities. And if the Bishop cannot satisfy the King
     with other reasons, Hooper will gain the victory. We are daily
     expecting the termination of this controversy, which is only
     conducted between individuals, either by conference or by letter,
     for fear of any tumult being excited among the ignorant. You see
     in what a state of affairs the Church would be if they were left to
     the Bishops, even to the best of them."

In the end, Hooper allowed himself to be persuaded, and was consecrated
in the usual way.

The advanced Reformers in England were probably incited to demand more
freedom than the law permitted by the sight of the liberty enjoyed by
men who were not Englishmen. French and German Protestants had come to
England for refuge, and had been welcomed. The King had permitted them
to use the Augustines' church in London, that they might "have the pure
ministry of the Word and Sacraments according to the apostolic form,"
and they enjoyed their privileges.

     "We are altogether exempted by letters patent from the King and
     Council from the jurisdiction of the Bishops. To each church (I
     mean the German and the French) are assigned two ministers of the
     Word (among whom is my unworthy self), over whom has been appointed
     superintendent the most illustrious John à Lasco; by whose aid
     alone, under God, we foreigners have arrived at our present state
     of pure religion. Some of the Bishops, and especially the Bishop of
     London, with certain others, are opposed to our design; but I hope
     their opposition will be ineffectual. The Archbishop of Canterbury,
     the special patron of foreigners, has been the chief support and
     promoter of our church, to the great astonishment of some."[494]

These foreigners, outside episcopal control and not subject to the _Acts
of Uniformity_, enjoyed liberties of worship which were not granted to
Englishmen. They were driven out of the country when Mary succeeded; but
under Elizabeth and James they had the same privileges and were
naturally envied by the English Puritans, coerced by Bishops and harried
by Acts of Uniformity.

While the Reformation was being pushed forward in England at a speed
too great for the majority of the people, the King was showing the
feebleness of his constitution. He died on the 6th of July 1553, and the
collapse of the Reformation after his death showed the uncertainty of
the foundation on which it had been built.



One of the last acts of the dying King had been to make a will
regulating the succession. It was doubtless suggested to him by the Duke
of Northumberland, but, once adopted, the lad clung to it with Tudor
tenacity. It set aside as illegitimate both his sisters. It also set
aside the young Queen of Scotland, who, failing Mary and Elizabeth, was
the legitimate heir, being the granddaughter of Margaret, the eldest
sister of Henry VIII., and selected the Lady Jane Grey, the
representative (eldest child of eldest child) of Mary, the younger
sister of Henry VIII. Both the King and his Council seem to have thought
that the nation would not submit to a Roman Catholic on the throne; and
Charles V. appears to have agreed with them. He considered the chances
of Mary's succession small.

The people of England, however, rallied to Mary, as the nearest in blood
to their old monarch, who, notwithstanding his autocratic rule, had
never lost touch with his people.

The new Queen naturally turned to her cousin Charles V. for guidance. He
had upheld her mother's cause and her own; and in the dark days which
were past, his Ambassador Chapuys had been her indefatigable friend.

It was Mary's consuming desire to bring back the English Church and
nation to obedience to Rome--to undo the work of her father, and
especially of her brother. The Emperor recommended caution; he advised
the Queen to be patient; to watch and accommodate her policy to the
manifestations of the feelings of her people; to punish the leaders who
had striven to keep her from the throne, but to treat all their
followers with clemency. Above all, she was to mark carefully the
attitude of her sister Elizabeth, and to reorganise the finances of the

Mary had released Gardiner from the Tower, and made him her trusted
Minister. His advice in all matters, save that of her marriage,
coincided with the Emperor's. It was thought that small difficulty would
be found in restoring the Roman Catholic religion, but that difficulties
might arise about the papal supremacy, and especially about the
reception of a papal Legate. Much depended on the Pope. If His Holiness
did not demand the restoration of the ecclesiastical property alienated
during the last two reigns, and now distributed among over forty
thousand proprietors, all might go well.

Signs were not wanting, however, that if the people were almost
unanimous in accepting Mary as their Queen, they were not united upon
religion. When Dr. Gilbert Bourne, preaching at St. Paul's Cross (Aug.
13th, 1553) praised Bishop Bonner, he was interrupted by shouts; a
dagger was thrown at him; he was hustled out of the pulpit, and his life
was threatened. The tumult was only appeased when Bradford, a known
Protestant, appealed to the crowd. The Lord Mayor of London was
authorised to declare to the people that it was not the Queen's
intention to constrain men's consciences, and that she meant to trust
solely to persuasion to bring them to the true faith.

Five days later (August 18th), Mary issued her first _Proclamation about
Religion_, in which she advised her subjects "to live together in quiet
sort and Christian charity, leaving those new-found devilish terms of
papist or heretic and such like." She declared that she meant to support
that religion which she had always professed; but she promised "that she
would not compel any of her subjects thereunto, _unto such time as
further order, by common assent, may be taken therein_"--a somewhat
significant threat. The proclamation prohibited unlicensed preaching and
printing "any book, matter, ballad, rhyme, interlude, process, or
treatise, or to play any interlude, except they have Her Grace's special
licence in writing for the same," which makes it plain that from the
outset Mary did not intend that any Protestant literature should be read
by her subjects if she could help it.[496]

Mary was crowned with great ceremony on October 1st, and her first
Parliament met four days later (Oct. 5th to Dec. 6th, 1553). It reversed
a decision of a former Parliament, and declared that Henry VIII.'s
marriage with Catharine of Aragon had been valid, and that Mary was the
legitimate heir to the throne; and it wiped out all the religious
legislation under Edward VI. The Council had wished the anti-papal laws
of Henry VIII. to be rescinded; but Parliament, especially the House of
Commons, was not prepared for anything so sweeping. The Church of
England was legally restored to what it had been at the death of Henry,
and Mary was left in the anomalous position of being the supreme head of
the Church in England while she herself devoutly believed in the
supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. The title and the powers it gave were
useful to restore by royal proclamation the mediæval ritual and worship,
and Mass was reintroduced in this way in December.[497]

Meanwhile the marriage of the Queen was being discussed. Mary herself
decided the matter by solemnly promising the Spanish Ambassador (Oct.
19th) that she would wed Philip of Spain; the marriage treaty was signed
on January 12th, 1554; the formal betrothal took place in March, and the
wedding was celebrated on July 25th.[498] It was very unpopular from the
first. The boys of London pelted with snowballs the servants of the
Spanish embassy sent to ratify the wedding treaty (Jan. 1st, 1554); the
envoys themselves were very coldly received by the populace; and Mary
had to issue a proclamation commanding that all courtesy should be used
to the Prince of Spain and his train coming to England to marry the

In September (1553) the pronouncedly Protestant Bishops who had remained
in England to face the storm, Cranmer, Ridley, Coverdale, Latimer, were
ejected and imprisoned; the Protestant refugees from France and Germany
and many of the eminent Protestant leaders had sought safety on the
Continent; the deprived Romanist Bishops, Gardiner, Heath, Bonner, Day,
had been reinstated; and the venerable Bishop Tunstall, who had acted as
Wolsey's agent at the famous Diet of Worms, had been placed in the See
of Durham.

Various risings, one or two of minor importance and a more formidable
one under Sir Thomas Wyatt, had been crushed. Lady Jane Grey, Lord
Guilford Dudley (February 12th, 1554), Sir Thomas Wyatt, Lord Suffolk,
and others were executed. Charles V. strongly recommended the execution
of the Princess Elizabeth, but his advice was not followed.

England was still an excommunicated land, and both Queen and King
Consort were anxious to receive the papal peace. As soon as he had been
informed by Mary of her succession to the throne, the Pope, Julius II.,
had selected Cardinal Pole to be his Legate to England (early in August
1553). No one could have been more suitable. He was related to the royal
house of England, a grandson of the Duke of Clarence, who was the
brother of Edward IV. He had so thoroughly disapproved of the anti-papal
policy of Henry VIII. that he had been compelled to live in exile. He
was a Cardinal, and had almost become Pope. No one could have been more
acceptable to Mary. He had protested against her mother's divorce, and
had suffered for it; and he was as anxious as she to see England
restored to the papal obedience. But many difficulties had to be cleared
away before Pole could land in England as the Pope's Legate. The English
people did not love Legates, and their susceptibilities had to be
soothed. If the Pope made the restoration of the Church lands a
condition of the restoration of England to the papal obedience, and if
Mary insisted on securing that obedience, there would be a rebellion,
and she would lose her crown. No one knew all these difficulties better
than the Emperor, and he exerted himself to overcome them. The Curia was
persuaded that, as it was within the Canon Law to alienate
ecclesiastical property for the redemption of prisoners, the Church
might give up her claims to the English abbey lands in order to win back
the whole kingdom. Pole himself had doubts about this. He believed that
he might be allowed to reason with the lay appropriators and persuade
them to make restoration, and his enthusiasm on the subject caused many
misgivings in the minds of both Charles and Philip. Nor could the
Cardinal land in England until his attainder as an English nobleman had
been reversed by Parliament. He had been appointed Legate to England
once before (February 7th, 1536), in order to compass Henry VIII.'s
return to the papal obedience; he had written against the Royal
Supremacy. Neither Lords nor Commons were very anxious to receive him.

At last, more than thirteen months after his appointment, the way was
open for his coming to England. He landed at Dover (Nov. 20th, 1554),
went on to Gravesend, and there found waiting him an Act of Parliament
revers ing his attainder. It had been introduced into the Lords, passed
in the Upper House in two days, was read three times in the Commons in
one day, and received the Royal Assent immediately thereafter (Nov.
27th, 1554). Tunstall, the Bishop of Durham, brought him letters patent,
empowering him to exercise his office of Legate in England. He embarked
in a royal barge with his silver cross in the prow, sailed up the Thames
on a favouring tide, landed at Whitehall, and was welcomed by Mary and
Philip. On the following day the two Houses of Parliament were invited
to the Palace to meet him, and he explained his commission. The day
after, the question was put in both Houses of Parliament whether the
nation should return to the papal obedience, and was answered
affirmatively. Whereupon Lords and Commons joined in a supplication to
the Queen "that they might receive absolution, and be received into the
body of the Holy Catholic Church, under the Pope, the Supreme Head
thereof." The Supplication was presented on the 30th, and in its terms
the Queen besought the Legate to absolve the realm for its disobedience
and schism. Then, while the whole assembly knelt, King and Queen on
their knees with the others, the Legate pronounced the absolution, and
received the kingdom "again into the unity of our Mother the Holy

It now remained to Parliament to pass the laws which the change
required. In one comprehensive statute all the anti-papal legislation of
the reigns of Henry VIII. and of Edward VI. was rescinded, and England
was, so far as laws could make it,[500] what it had been in the reign of
Henry VII. Two days later (Dec. 2nd, 1554), on the first Sunday in
Advent, Philip and Mary, with the Legate, attended divine service in St.
Paul's, and after Mass listened to an eloquent sermon from Bishop
Gardiner, in the course of which he publicly abjured the teaching of
his book _De vera obedientia_.[501] Convocation received a special
absolution from the Legate. To show how thoroughly England had
reconciled itself to Mother Church, Parliament proceeded to revive the
old Acts against heresy which had been originally passed for the
suppression of Lollardy, among them the notorious _De hæretico
comburendo_, and England had again the privilege of burning Evangelical
Christians secured to it by Act of Parliament.[502]

In March 1554 the Queen had issued a series of _Injunctions_ to all
Bishops, instructing them on a variety of matters, all tending to bring
the Church into the condition in which it had been before the
innovations of the late reign. The Bishops were to put into execution
all canons and ecclesiastical laws which were not expressly contrary to
the statutes of the realm. They were not to inscribe on any of their
ecclesiastical documents the phrase _regia auctoritate fulcitus_; they
were to see that no heretic was admitted to any ecclesiastical office;
they were to remove all married priests, and to insist that every person
vowed to celibacy was to be separated from his wife if he had married;
they were to observe all the holy days and ceremonies which were in use
in the later days of the reign of King Henry VIII.; all schoolmasters
suspected of heresy were to be removed from their office. These
_Injunctions_ kept carefully within the lines of the Act which had
rescinded the ecclesiastical legislation of the reign of Edward VI.[503]
The Bishop of London, Bonner, had previously issued a list of searching
questions to be put to the clergy of his diocese, which concerned the
laity as well as the clergy, and which went a good deal further. He
asked whether there were any married clergymen, or clergymen who had not
separated themselves from their wives or concubines? Whether any of the
clergy maintained doctrines contrary to the Catholic faith? Whether any
of the clergy had been irregularly or schismatically ordained? Whether
any of them had said Mass or administered the sacraments in the English
language after the Queen's proclamation? Whether they kept all the holy
days and fasting days prescribed by the Church? Whether any of the
clergy went about in other than full clerical dress? Whether any persons
in the parish spoke in favour of clerical marriage? These and many other
minute questions were put, with the evident intention of restoring the
mediæval ceremonies and customs in every detail.[504] His clergy assured
the Bishop that it was impossible to make all the changes he demanded at
once, and Bonner was obliged to give them till the month of November to
get their parishes in order. This London visitation evidently provoked a
great deal of discontent. In April (1554) "a dead cat was hung on the
gallows in the Cheap, habited in garments like those of a priest. It had
a shaven crown, and held in its forepaws a round piece of paper to
represent a wafer.... A reward of twenty marks was offered for the
discovery of the author of the outrage, but it was quite
ineffectual."[505] Other graver incidents showed the smouldering

The revival in Parliament of the old anti-heresy laws may be taken as
the time clearly foreshadowed in the Queen's first proclamation on
religious affairs when persuasion was to cease and force take its place.
The platitudes of many modern historians about Mary's humane and
merciful disposition, about Gardiner's aversion to shedding blood, about
"the good Bishop" Bonner's benevolent attempt to persuade his victims
to recant, may be dismissed from our minds. The fact remains, that the
persecutions which began in 1555 were clearly indicated in 1553, and
went on with increasing severity until the Queen's death put an end to

The visitations had done their work, and the most eminent of the
Reformed bishops and divines had been caught and secured in various
prisons. "The Tower, the Fleet, the Marshalsea, the King's Bench,
Newgate, and the two Counters were full of them."[506] Their treatment
differed. "The prisoners in the King's Bench had tolerably fair usage,
and favour sometimes shown them. There was a pleasant garden belonging
thereunto, where they had liberty sometimes to walk." They had also the
liberty of meeting for worship, as had the prisoners in the Marshalsea.
Their sympathisers who had escaped the search kept them supplied with
food, as did the early Christians their suffering brethren in the first
centuries. But in some of the other prisons the confessors were not only
confined in loathsome cells, but suffered terribly from lack of food. At
the end of Strype's catalogue of the two hundred and eighty-eight
persons who were burnt during the reign of Mary, he significantly adds,
"besides those that dyed of famyne in sondry prisons."[507] Some of the
imprisoned were able to draw up (May 8th, 1554) and send out for
circulation a confession of their faith, meant to show that they were
suffering simply for holding and proclaiming what they believed to be
scriptural truth. They declared that they believed all the canonical
books of Scripture to be God's very Word, and that it was to be the
judge in all controversies of faith; that the Catholic Church was the
Church which believed and followed the doctrines taught in Scripture;
that they accepted the Apostles' Creed and the decisions of the first
four Oecumenical Councils and of the Council of Toledo, as well as the
teachings of Athanasius, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Damasus; that they
believed that justification came through the mercy of God, and that it
was received by none but by faith only, and that faith was not an
opinion, but a persuasion wrought by the Holy Ghost; they declared that
the external service of God ought to be according to God's Word, and
conducted in a language which the people could understand; they
confessed that God only by Jesus Christ is to be prayed to, and
therefore disapproved of the invocation of the saints; they disowned
Purgatory and Masses for the dead; they held that Baptism and the Lord's
Supper were the Sacraments instituted by Christ, were to be administered
according to the institution of Christ, and disallowed the mutilation of
the sacrament, the theory of transubstantiation, and the adoration of
the bread.[508] This was signed by Ferrar, Hooper, Coverdale (Bishops),
by Rogers (the first martyr), by Bradford, Philpot, Crome, Saunders, and
others. John Bradford, the single-minded, gentle scholar, was probably
the author of the Confession.

Cardinal Pole, in his capacity as papal Legate, issued a commission
(Jan. 28th, 1555) to Bishop Gardiner and several others to try the
prisoners detained for heresy. Then followed (Feb. 4th, 1555) the
burning of John Rogers, to whom Tyndale had entrusted his translation of
the Scriptures, and who was the real compiler of the Bible known as
Matthews'. The scenes at his execution might have warned the authorities
that persecution was not going to be persuasive. Crowds cheered him as
he passed to his death, "as if he were going to his wedding," the French
Ambassador reported. His fate excited a strong feeling of sympathy among
almost all classes in society, which was ominous. Even Simon Renard, the
trusted envoy of Charles V., took the liberty of warning Philip that
less extreme measures ought to be used. But the worst of a persecuting
policy is that when it has once begun it is almost impossible to give it
up without confession of defeat. Bishop Hooper was sent to Gloucester
to suffer in his cathedral town, Saunders to Coventry, and Dr. Taylor
was burnt on Aldham Common in Suffolk. Several other martyrs suffered
the same fate of burning a few days afterwards.

Robert Ferrar, the Reformed Bishop of St. David's, was sent to
Carmarthen to be burnt in the chief town of his diocese (March 30th,
1555). Perhaps it was his death that gave rise to the verses in Welsh,
exhorting the men of the Principality to rise in defence of their
religion against the English who were bent on its destruction, and
calling them to extirpate image worship and the use of the

Bishops Ridley and Latimer and Archbishop Cranmer had been kept in
confinement at Oxford since April 1554; and they were now to be
proceeded against. The two Bishops were brought before the Court acting
on a commission from Cardinal Pole, the Legate. They were condemned on
Oct. 1st, 1555, and on the 16th they were burnt at Oxford in the present
Broad Street before Balliol College. Cranmer witnessed their death from
the top of the tower in which he was confined.

In the Archbishop's case it was deemed necessary, in order to fulfil the
requirements of Canon Law, that he should be tried by the Pope himself.
He was accordingly informed that his sovereigns had "denounced" him to
the Pope, and that His Holiness had commissioned the Cardinal Du Puy,
Prefect of the Inquisition, to act on his behalf, and that Du Puy had
delegated the duty to James Brooks, who had succeeded Hooper as Bishop
of Gloucester, to the Dean of St. Paul's, and to the Archdeacon of
Canterbury. The trial took place in St. Mary's Church. The accusers,
Philip and Mary, were represented by Drs. Martyn and Story. They, in the
name of their sovereigns, presented a lengthy indictment, in which the
chief charges were adultery, perjury, and heresy. The first meant that
although a priest he had been married, and had even married a second
time after he had been made an Archbishop; the second, that he had sworn
obedience to the Pope and broken his oath; and the third, that he had
denied the doctrine of transubstantiation.[510]

Cranmer refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of his judges, but
answered the charges brought against him to his accusers because they
represented his sovereigns. He denied that the Pope had any
ecclesiastical power within England; but submitted to the kingly
supremacy. As Brooks had no authority from the Pope to do more than hear
the case, no judgment was pronounced; it was only intimated that the
proceedings would be reported to Rome. Cranmer was conducted back to his
prison. There he addressed first one, then a second letter to the
Queen.[511] In dignified and perfectly respectful language he expressed
the degradation of the kingdom exhibited in the act of the sovereigns
appealing to an "outward judge, or to an authority coming from any
person out of this realm" to judge between them and one of their own
subjects. Cranmer early in his career had come to the unalterable
opinion that the papal supremacy was responsible for the abuses and
disorders in the mediæval Church, and that reformation was impossible so
long as it was maintained. In common with every thoughtful man of his
generation, he repudiated the whole structure of papal claims built up
by the Roman Curia during the fifteenth century, and held that it was in
every way incompatible with the loyalty which every subject owed to his
sovereign and to the laws of his country. He took his stand on this

     "Ignorance, I know," he said, "may excuse other men; but he that
     knoweth how prejudicial and injurious the power and authority which
     the Pope challengeth everywhere is to the Crown, laws, and customs
     of this realm, and yet will allow the same, I cannot see in anywise
     how he can keep his due allegiance, fidelity, and truth to the
     Crown and slate of this realm."

In his second letter he struck a bolder note, and declared that the oath
which Mary had sworn to maintain the laws, liberties, and customs of the
realm was inconsistent with the other oath she had taken to obey the
Pope, to defend his person, and to maintain his authority, honour, laws,
and privileges. The accusation of perjury did not touch him at all. The
sovereigns--Bishop Brooks, appointed to try him--every constituted
authority in the realm--when confronted by it, had to choose between the
oath of allegiance to country or to Papacy; he had chosen allegiance to
his fatherland; others who acted differently betrayed it. That was his
position. The words he addressed to Queen Mary--"I fear me that there be
contradictions in your oath "--was his justification.

At Rome, Cranmer was found guilty of contumacy, and the command went
forth that he was to be deposed, degraded, and punished as a heretic. In
the meantime he was burnt in effigy at Rome. When he heard his sentence,
he composed an Appeal to a General Council, following, he said, the
example of Luther.[512] The degradation was committed to Bonner and
Thirlby, and was executed by the former with his usual brutality. This
done, he was handed over to the secular authorities for execution. Then
began a carefully prepared course of refined mental torture, which
resulted in the "Recantations of Thomas Cranmer."[513] A series of
recantations was presented to him, which he was ordered to sign by his
sovereign; and, strange as it may seem now, it was the sovereign's
command that made it almost impossible for Cranmer to refuse to sign the
papers which, one after another, were given him. He was a man who felt
the necessity of an ultimate authority. He had deliberately put aside
that of the Pope, and as deliberately placed that of the sovereign in
its place; and now the ultimate authority, which his conscience
approved, commanded him to sign. The first four were not real
recantations; Cranmer could sign them with a good conscience; they
consisted of generalities, the effect of which depended on the meaning
of the terms used, and everyone knew the meanings which he had attached
to the words all throughout his public life. But the fifth and the sixth
soiled his conscience and occasioned his remorse. It was not enough for
Mary, Pole, and Bonner that they were able to destroy by fire the bodies
of English Reformers, they hoped by working partly on the conscience and
partly on the weakness of the leader of the English Reformation, to show
the worthlessness of the whole movement. In the end, the aged martyr
redeemed his momentary weakness by a last act of heroism. He knew that
his recantations had been published, and that any further declaration
made would probably be suppressed by his unscrupulous antagonists. He
resolved by a single action to defeat their calculations and stamp his
sincerity on the memories of his countrymen. His dying speech was
silenced, as he might well have expected; but he had made up his mind to
something which could not be stifled.[514]

     "At the moment he was taken to the stake he drew from his bosom the
     identical paper (the recantation), throwing it, in the presence of
     the multitude, with his own hands into the flames, asking pardon of
     God and of the people for having consented to such an act, which he
     excused by saying that he did it for the public benefit, as, had
     his life, which he sought to save, been spared him, he might at
     some time have still been of use to them, praying them all to
     persist in the doctrines believed by him, and absolutely denying
     the Sacrament and the supremacy of the Church. And, finally,
     stretching forth his arm and right hand, he said: 'This which hath
     sinned, having signed the writing, must be the first to suffer
     punishment'; and thus did he place it in the fire and burned it

If the martyrdoms of Ridley and Latimer lighted the torch, Cranmer's
spread the conflagration which in the end burnt up the Romanist reaction
and made England a Protestant nation. The very weakness of the aged
Primate became a background to make the clearer his final heroism. The
"common man" sympathised with him all the more. He had never been a very
strong man in the usual sense of the words. The qualities which go to
form the exquisite liturgist demand an amount of religious sensibility
and sympathy which seldom belongs to the leader of a minority with the
present against it and the future before it. His peculiar kind of
courage, which enabled him to face Henry VIII. in his most truculent
moods, was liker a woman's than a man's, and was especially called forth
by sympathy with others in suffering. None of Henry's Ministers pleaded
harder or more persistently for the Princess Mary, the woman who burnt
him, than did Cranmer; and he alone of all his fellows dared to beseech
the monarch for Cromwell in his fall.[516]

The death of Cranmer was followed by a long succession of martyrdoms.
Cardinal Pole became the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in Philip's
absence the principal adviser of the Queen. He did not manage, if he
tried, to stop the burnings. Sometimes he rescued prisoners from the
vindictive Bonner; at others he seems to have hounded on the
persecutors. Mary's conscience, never satisfied at the confiscation of
property, compelled her to restore the lands still in possession of the
Crown, and to give up the "first fruits" of English benefices--the only
result being to awaken the fears of thousands of proprietors, and set
them against the papal claims. She attempted to restore the monastic
institutions, with but scanty results; to revive pilgrimages to shrines,
which were very forced affairs, and had to be kept alive by fining the
parents of children who did not join them. The elevation of Pope Paul
IV. (Cardinal Caraffa) to the See of Rome increased her difficulties.
The new Pontiff, a Neapolitan, hated her Spanish husband, and
personally disliked Cardinal Pole, her chief adviser. Her last years
were full of troubles.

Mary died in 1558 (Nov. 17th). "The unhappiest of queens, and wives, and
women," she had been born amidst the rejoicings of a nation, her mother
a princess of the haughtiest house in Europe. In her girlhood she had
been the bride-elect of the Emperor--a lovely, winning young creature,
all men say. In her seventeenth year, at the age when girls are most
sensitive, the crushing stroke which blasted her whole life fell upon
her. Her father, the Parliament, and the Church of her country called
her illegitimate; and thus branded, she was sent into solitude to brood
over her disgrace. When almost all England hailed her Queen in her
thirty-seventh year, she was already an old woman, with sallow face,
harsh voice, her dark bright eyes alone telling how beautiful she had
once been. But the nation seemed to love her who had been so long
yearning for affection; she married the man of her choice; and she felt
herself the instrument selected by Heaven to restore an excommunicated
nation to the peace of God. Her husband, whom she idolised, tired of
living with her after a few years. The child she passionately longed for
and pathetically believed to be coming never came.[517] The Church and
the Pope she had sacrificed so much for, disregarded her entreaties, and
seemed careless of her troubles. The people who had welcomed her, and
whom she really loved, called her "Bloody" Mary,--a name which was,
after all, so well deserved that it will always remain. Each
disappointment she took as a warning from Heaven that atonement had not
yet been paid for England's crimes, and the fires of persecution were
kept burning to appease the God of sixteenth century Romanism.



Mary Tudor's health had long been frail, and when it was known for
certain that she would leave no direct heir (i.e. from about June 1558),
the people of England were silently coming to the conclusion that
Elizabeth must be Queen, or civil war would result. It seemed also to be
assumed that she would be a Protestant, and that her chief adviser
would be William Cecil, who had been trained in statecraft as secretary
to England's greatest statesman, the Lord Protector Somerset. So it fell

Many things contributed to create such expectations. The young
intellectual life of England was slowly becoming Protestant. Both the
Spanish ambassadors noticed this with alarm, and reported it to their
master.[519] This was especially the case among the young ladies of the
upper classes, who were becoming students learned in Latin, Greek, and
Italian, and at the same time devout Protestants, with a distinct
leaning to what afterwards became Puritanism. Elizabeth herself, at her
most impressionable age had been the pupil of Bishop Hooper, who was
accustomed to praise her intelligence. "In religious matters she has
been saturated ever since she was born in a bitter hatred to our faith,"
said the Bishop of Aquila.[520] The common people had been showing their
hatred of Romanism, and "images and religious persons were treated
disrespectfully." It was observed that Elizabeth "was very much wedded
to the people and thinks as they do," and that "her attitude was much
more gracious to the common people than to others."[521] The burnings of
the Protestant martyrs, and especially the execution of Cranmer, had
stirred the indignation of the populace of London and the south counties
against Romanism, and the feelings were spreading throughout the
country. All classes of the people hated the entire subjugation of
English interests to those of Spain during the late reign, just as the
people of Scotland at the same time were growing weary of French
domination under Mary of Lorraine, and Elizabeth shared the feeling of
her people.[522]

Yet there was so much in the political condition of the times to make
both Elizabeth and Cecil pause before committing themselves to the
Reformation, that it is necessary to believe that religious conviction
had a great influence in determining their action. England was not the
powerful nation in 1558-60 which it became after twenty years under the
rule of the great Queen. The agrarian troubles which had disturbed the
three reigns of Henry VIII., Edward, and Mary had not died out. The
coinage was still as debased as it had been in the closing years of
Henry VIII. Trade was stagnant, and the country was suffering from a two
years' visitation of the plague. The war with France, into which England
had been dragged by Spain, had not merely drained the country of men and
money, but was bringing nothing save loss of territory and damage to
prestige. Nor was there much to be hoped from foreign aid. The Romanist
reaction was in full swing throughout Europe, and the fortunes of the
continental Protestants were at their lowest ebb. It was part of the
treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (April 1559) that France and Spain should
unite to crush the Protestantism of the whole of Europe, and the secret
treaty between Philip II. and Catherine de' Medici in 1565[523] showed
that such a design was thought possible of accomplishment during the
earlier years of Elizabeth. It was never wholly abandoned until the
defeat of the Armada in 1588. Cecil's maxim, that the Reformation could
not be crushed until England had been conquered, had for its corollary
that the conquest of England must be the prime object of the Romanist
sovereigns who were bent on bringing Europe back to the obedience of
Rome. The determination to take the Protestant side added to the
insecurity of Elizabeth's position in the earlier years of her reign.
She was, in the opinion of the Pope and probably of all the European
Powers, Romanist and Protestant, illegitimate; and heresy combined with
bastardy was a terrible weapon in the hands of Henry II. of France, who
meant to support the claims of his daughter-in-law, the young Queen of
Scots,--undoubtedly the lawful heir in the eyes of all who believed that
Henry VIII. had been lawfully married to Catharine of Aragon. The
Spanish Ambassador, Count de Feria, tried to frighten Elizabeth by
reminding her how, in consequence of a papal excommunication, Navarre
had been seized by the King of Spain.[524] His statement to his master,
that at her accession two-thirds of the English people were
Romanists,[525] may be questioned (he made many miscalculations), but it
is certain that England was anything but a united Protestant nation.
Still, who knew what trouble Philip might have in the Netherlands, and
the Lords of the Congregation might be encouraged enough to check French
designs on England through Scotland.[526] At the worst, Philip of Spain
would not like to see England wholly in the grip of France. The Queen
and Cecil made up their minds to take the risk, and England was to be
Protestant and defy the Pope, from "whom nothing was to be feared but
evil will, cursing, and practising."

Paul IV., it was said, was prepared to receive the news of Elizabeth's
succession favourably, perhaps under conditions to guarantee her
legitimacy; but partly to his astonishment, and certainly to his wrath,
he was not even officially informed of her accession, and the young
Queen's ambassador at Rome was told that she had no need for him there.

The changes at home, however, were made with all due caution. In
Elizabeth's first proclamation an "et cetera" veiled any claim to be the
Head of the Church,[527] and her earliest meddling with ecclesiastical
matters was to forbid all contentious preaching.[528] The statutory
religion (Romanist) was to be maintained for the meantime. No official
proclamation was made foreshadowing coming changes.

Elizabeth, however, did not need to depend on proclamations to indicate
to her people the path she meant to tread. She graciously accepted the
Bible presented to her on her entry into London, clasped it to her
bosom, and pressed it to her lips. Her hand ostentatiously shrank from
the kiss of Bonner the persecutor. The great lawyer, Goderick, pointed
out ways in which Protestant feeling might find vent in a legal manner:

     "In the meantime Her Majesty and all her subjects may by licence of
     law use the _English Litany_ and suffrages used in King Henry's
     time, and besides Her Majesty in her closet may use the Mass
     without lifting up the Host according to the ancient canons, and
     may also have at every Mass some communicants with the ministers to
     be used in both kinds."[529]

The advice was acted upon, improved upon. "The affairs of religion
continue as usual," says the Venetian agent (Dec. 17th, 1558), "but I
hear that at Court when the Queen is present a priest officiates, who
says certain prayers with the Litanies in English, after the fashion of
King Edward."[530] She went to Mass, but asked the Bishop officiating
not to elevate the Host for adoration; and when he refused to comply,
she and her ladies swept out of church immediately after the Gospel was
read.[531] Parliament was opened in the usual manner with the
performance of Mass, but the Queen did not appear until it was over; and
then her procession was preceded by a choir which sang hymns in English.
When the Abbot of Westminster met her in ecclesiastical procession with
the usual candles sputtering in the hands of his clergy, the Queen
shouted, "Away with these torches, we have light enough."[532]

She was crowned on January 15th, 1559; but whether with _all_ the
customary ceremonies, it is impossible to say; it is most likely that
she did not communicate.[533] The Bishops swore fealty in the usual way,
but were chary of taking any official part in the coronation of one so
plainly a heretic. Later in the day, Dr. Cox, who had been King Edward's
tutor, and was one of the returned refugees, preached before the Queen.
As early as Dec. 14th (1558) the Spanish Ambassador could report that
the Queen "is every day standing up against religion (Romanism) more
openly," and that "all the heretics who had escaped are beginning to
flock back again from Germany."[534]

When Convocation met it became manifest that the clergy would not help
the Government in the proposed changes. They declared in favour of
transubstantiation and of the sacrifice of the Mass, and against the
royal supremacy. The Reformation, it was seen, must be carried through
by the civil power exclusively; and it was somewhat difficult to
forecast what Parliament would consent to do.

What was actually done is still matter of debate, but it seems probable
that the Government presented at least three Bills. The first was
withdrawn; the second was wrecked by the Queen withholding her Royal
Assent; the third resulted in the Act of Supremacy and in the Act of
Uniformity. It is most likely that the first and second Bills, which did
not become law, included in _one_ proposed Act of legislation the
proposals of the Government about the Queen's Supremacy and about
Uniformity of Public Worship.[535] The first was introduced into the
House of Commons on Feb. 9th (1559), was discussed there Feb. 13th to
16th, and then withdrawn. A "new" Bill "for the supremacy annexed to the
Crown" was introduced in the Commons on Feb. 21st, passed the third
reading on the 25th, and was sent to the Lords on the 27th.[536]

The majority in the House of Commons was Protestant;[537] but the Marian
Bishops had great influence in the House of Lords, and it was there that
the Government proposals met with strong opposition. Dr. Jewel describes
the situation in a letter to Peter Martyr (March 20th):

     "The bishops are a great hindrance to us; for being, as you know,
     among the nobility and leading men in the Upper House, and having
     none there on our side to expose their artifices and confute their
     falsehoods, they reign as sole monarchs in the midst of ignorant
     and weak men, and easily overreach our little party, either by
     their numbers or their reputation for learning. The Queen,
     meanwhile, though she openly favours our cause, yet is wonderfully
     afraid of allowing any innovations."[538]

The Bill (Bill No. 2--the "new" Bill), which had passed the Commons on
the 25th, was read for the first time in the Lords on the 28th, passed
the second reading on March 13th, and was referred to a Committee
consisting of the Duke of Norfolk, the Bishops of Exeter and Carlisle,
and Lords Winchester, Westmoreland, Shrewsbury, Rutland, Sussex,
Pembroke, Montagu, Clinton, Morley, Rich, Willoughby, and North. They
evidently made such alterations on the Bill as to make that part of it
at least which enforced a radical change in public worship useless for
the purpose of the Government. The clearest account of what the Lords
did is contained in a letter of a person who signs himself "Il
Schifanoya," which is preserved in the State Archives in Mantua.[539] He

     "Parliament, which ought to have ended last Saturday, was prolonged
     till next Wednesday in Passion Week, and according to report they
     will return a week after Easter (March 26, 1559); which report I
     believe, because of the three principal articles the first alone
     passed, viz. to give the supremacy of the Anglican Church to the
     Queen ... notwithstanding the opposition of the bishops, and of the
     chief lords and barons of this kingdom; but the Earls of Arundel
     and Derby, who are very good Christians, absented themselves from
     indisposition, feigned, as some think, to avoid consulting about
     such ruin of this realm.

     "The Earl of Pembroke, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Viscount Montague
     and Lord Hastings did not fail in their duty, like true soldiers of
     Christ, to resist the Commons, whom they compelled to modify _a
     book passed by the Commons forbidding the Mass to be said or the
     Communion to be administered (ne se communicassero) except at the
     table in the manner of Edward VI._; nor were the Divine offices to
     be performed in church; priests likewise being allowed to marry,
     and the Christian religion and the Sacraments being absolutely
     abolished; adding thereto many extraordinary penalties against
     delinquents. By a majority of votes they have decided that the
     aforesaid things shall be expunged from the book, and that the
     Masses, Sacraments, and the rest of the Divine offices shall be
     performed as hitherto.... The members of the Lower House, seeing
     that the Lords passed this article of the Queen's supremacy of the
     Church, but not as the Commons drew it up,--the Lords cancelling
     the aforesaid clauses and modifying some others,--grew angry, and
     would consent to nothing, but are in very great controversy."[540]

The Lords, induced by the Marian Bishops, had wrecked the Government's
plan for an alteration of religion.

The Queen then intervened. She refused her assent to the Bill, on the
dexterous pretext that she had doubts about the title which it proposed
to confer upon her--_Supreme Head of the Church_.[541] She knew that
Romanists and Calvinists both disliked it, and she adroitly managed to
make both parties think that she had yielded to the arguments which each
had brought forward. The Spanish Ambassador took all the credit to
himself; and Sandys was convinced that Elizabeth had been persuaded by
Mr. Lever, who "had put a scruple into the Queen's head that she would
not take the title of Supreme Head."[542]

The refusal of Royal Assent enabled the Government to start afresh. They
no longer attempted to put everything in one Bill. A new Act of
Supremacy,[543] in which the Queen was declared to be "the only supreme
governor of this realm ... as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical
things or causes as temporal," was introduced into the Commons on April
10th, and was read for a third time on the 13th. Brought into the Lords
on April 14th, it was read for a second time on the 17th, and finally
passed on April 29th. If the obnoxious title was omitted, all the
drastic powers claimed by Henry VIII. were given to Elizabeth. The
Elizabethan Act revived no less than nine of the Acts of Henry
VIII.,[544] and among them the statute concerning doctors of civil
law,[545] which contained these sentences: "Most royal majesty is and
hath always been, by the Word of God, Supreme Head on earth of the
Church of England, and hath full power and authority to correct, punish,
and repress all manner of heresies ... and to exercise all other manner
of jurisdiction commonly called ecclesiastical jurisdiction"; and his
majesty is "the only and undoubted Supreme Head of the Church of
England, and also of Ireland, to whom by Holy Scripture all authority
and power is wholly given to hear and determine all manner of causes
ecclesiastical." Thus the very title Supreme Head of the Church of
England was revived and bestowed on Elizabeth by this Parliament of
1559. It may even be said that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction bestowed
upon Elizabeth was more extensive than that given to her father, for
_schisms_ were added to the list of matters subject to the Queen's
correction, and she was empowered to delegate her authority to
commissioners--a provision which enabled her to exercise her supreme
governorship in a way to be felt in every corner of the land.[546] This
Act of Supremacy revived an Act of King Edward VI., enjoining that the
communion should be given in both "kinds," and declared that the revived
Act should take effect from the last day of Parliament.[547] It
contained an interesting proviso that nothing should be judged to be
heresy which was not condemned by canonical Scripture, or by the first
four General Councils "or any of them."[548]

The same Parliament, after briefer debate (April 18th to 28th), passed
an Act of Uniformity which took an interesting form.[549] The Act began
by declaring that at the death of King Edward VI. there "remained one
uniform order of common service and prayer, and of the administration of
sacraments, rites, and ceremonies in the Church of England, which was
set forth in one Book, entitled _The Book of Common Prayer and
Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies in the
Church of England_." This Book had been authorised by Act of Parliament
held in the fifth and sixth years of King Edward VI., and this Act had
been repealed by an Act of Parliament in the first year of the reign of
Queen Mary "to the great decay of the due honour of God, and discomfort
of the professors of the truth of Christ's religion." This Act of Queen
Mary was solemnly repealed, and the Act of King Edward VI., with some
trifling alterations, was restored. In consequence, "all and singular
ministers in any cathedral or parish church" were ordered "to say and
use the Matins, Evensong, celebration of the Lord's Supper, and
administration of each of the sacraments, and all their common and open
prayer, in such order and form as is mentioned in the said Book, so
authorised by Parliament in the said fifth and sixth years of the reign
of King Edward VI., with one alteration or addition of certain lessons
to be used on every Sunday in the year, and the form of the Litany
altered and corrected, and two sentences only added in the delivery of
the sacrament to the communicants, and none other or otherwise." This
meant that while there might be the fullest freedom of thought in the
country and a good deal of liberty of expression, there was to be no
freedom of public worship. All Englishmen, of whatever creed, were to be
compelled by law to join in one common public worship according to the
ritual prescribed. The Act of Parliament which compelled them to this
had no specific Book of Common Prayer annexed to it and incorporated in
it. It simply replaced on the Statute Book the Act of King Edward VI.,
and with it the Second Prayer-Book of King Edward, which with its
rubrics had been "annexed and joined" to that Act[550]--certain
specified alterations in the Book being notified in the Elizabethan Act.

The history of the Elizabethan Prayer-Book is confessedly obscure. If an
important paper called the _Device_,[551] probably drafted by Cecil,
embodied the intentions of the Government, their procedure may be
guessed with some probability. It enumerates carefully, after the manner
of the great Elizabethan statesman, the dangers involved in any
"alteration of religion," and shows how they can be met or averted.
France and Scotland can be treated diplomatically. Rome may be left
unheeded--it is far away, and its opposition will not go beyond "evil
will and cursing." The important dangers were at home. They would come
from two sides--from the Romanists backed by most of the higher clergy;
and from the advanced Reformers, who would scoff at the alteration which
is alone possible in the condition of the kingdom, and would call it a
"cloaked papistry and a mingle-mangle." Yet both may be overcome by
judicious firmness. The Romanists may be coerced by penal laws. The
danger from the advanced Reformers may be got over by a carefully
drafted Prayer-Book, _made as far as possible to their liking_, and
enforced by such penalties as would minimise all objections. There is
great hope that such penalties would "touch but few." "And better it
were that they did suffer than Her Highness or Commonwealth should shake
or be in danger." The _Device_ suggested that a small committee of seven
divines--all of them well-known Reformers, and most of them
refugees--should prepare a Book "which, being approved by Her Majesty,"
might be laid before Parliament. It was evidently believed that the
preparation of the Book would take some time, for suggestion is made
that food, drink, wood, and coals should be provided for their
sustenance and comfort. There is no direct evidence to show that the
suggested committee met or was even appointed; but evidence has been
brought forward to show that most of the theologians named were in
London, and were in a position to meet together and consult during the
period when such a Book would naturally be prepared.[552] The whole
matter is shrouded in mystery, and secrecy was probably necessary in the
circumstances. No one knew exactly what was to take place; but some
change was universally expected. "There is a general expectation that
all rites and ceremonies will shortly be reformed," said Richard Hilles,
writing to Bullinger in the end of February (1559), "by our faithful
citizens and other godly men in the afore-mentioned Parliament, either
after the pattern which was lately in use in the time of King Edward the
Sixth, or which is set forth by the Protestant Princes of Germany in the
afore-mentioned Confession of Augsburg."[553]

The authorities kept their own counsel, and nothing definite was known
to outsiders. A Book was presented to the Commons--_The Book of Common
Prayer and Ministration of the Sacraments_--on Feb. 16th, at the time
when the first draft of the Supremacy Bill was being discussed.[554] It
must have been withdrawn along with that Bill. The second attempt at a
Supremacy Act was probably accompanied with a Prayer-Book annexed to the
Bill; and this Prayer-Book was vehemently opposed in the Lords, who
struck out all the clauses relating to it.[555] What this Book of Common
Prayer was, cannot be exactly known. Many competent liturgist scholars
are inclined to believe that it was something more drastic than the
Edwardine Prayer-Book of 1552, and that it was proposed to enforce it by
penalties more drastic than those enacted by the Act of Uniformity which
finally passed. They find the characteristic features of the Book in the
well-known letter of Guest (Geste) to Cecil.[556] Such suggestions are
mere conjectures. The Book may have been the Edwardine Prayer-Book of

The Government had made slow progress with their proposed "alteration of
religion," and the Protestant party were chafing at the delay. Easter
was approaching, and its nearness made them more impatient. Canon law
required everyone to communicate on Easter Day, which in 1559 fell on
the 26th of March, and by a long established custom the laity of England
had gone to the Lord's Table on that one day of the year. Men were
asking whether it was possible that a whole year was to elapse before
they could partake of the communion in a Protestant fashion. The House
of Commons was full of this Protestant sentiment. The reactionary
proceedings in the House of Lords urged them to some protest.[557] A
Bill was introduced into the Lower House declaring that "no person shall
be punished for now using the religion used in King Edward's _last_
year." It was read twice and engrossed in one day (March 15th), and was
read a third time and passed on March 18th.[558] It does not appear to
have been before the Lords; but it was acted on in a curious way. A
proclamation, dated March 22nd, declares that the Queen, "with the
assent of Lords and Commons," in the "present last session," has
revived the Act of King Edward VI. touching the reception of the
Communion in both "kinds," and explains that the Act cannot be ready for
Easter. It proceeds: "And because the time of Easter is so at hand, and
that great numbers, not only of the noblemen and gentry, but also of the
common people of this realm, be certainly persuaded in conscience in
such sort as they cannot be induced in any wise to communicate or
receive the said holy Sacrament but under both kinds, according to the
first institution, and to the common use both of the Apostles and of the
Primitive Church ... it is thought necessary to Her Majesty, by the
advice of sundry of her nobility and commons lately assembled in
Parliament," to declare that the statute of Edward is in force, and all
and sundry are commanded to observe the provisions of the statute.[559]
What is more, the Queen acted upon her proclamation. The well-informed
"Schifanoya," writing on March 28th, says that the Government "during
this interval" (i.e. between March 22nd and March 28th) had ordered and
printed a proclamation for every one to take the communion in both
"kinds" (_sub utraque specie_). He goes on to say that on Easter Day
"Her Majesty appeared in chapel, where Mass was sung in English,
_according to the use of her brother, King Edward_, and the communion
received in both 'kinds,' kneeling." The chaplain wore nothing "but the
mere surplice" (_la semplice cotta_).[560] The news went the round of
Europe. Elizabeth had at last declared herself unmistakably on the
Protestant side.

Easter had come and gone, and the religious question had not received
final settlement. The authorities felt that something must be done to
counteract the speeches of the Romanist partisans in the Lords.[561] So,
while Parliament was sitting, a conference was arranged between Roman
Catholic and Protestant divines. It seems to have been welcomed by both
parties. Count Feria, the Spanish Ambassador, declared that he had
something to do with it. He was anxious that the disputation should be
in Latin, that the arguments should be reduced to writing, and that each
disputant should sign his paper. He was overruled so far as the language
was concerned. The authorities meant that the laity should hear and
understand. The three questions debated were:--Whether a "particular
Church can change rites and ceremonies; Whether the services of public
worship must be conducted in Latin; Whether the Mass is a propitiatory
sacrifice." The conference was held at Westminster on March 31st, in
presence of the Privy Council, the Lords and Commons, and the
"multitude." Great expectations were cherished by both parties in
anticipation, and when the Romanist divines withdrew on points of
procedure, their cause suffered in the popular estimation. Two of the
Bishops were sent to the Tower "for open contempt and contumacy"; and
others seem to have been threatened.[562]

Parliament reassembled after the Easter recess and passed the Act of
Supremacy in its third form, and the Act of Uniformity, which
re-enacted, as has been said, the revised Prayer-Book--that is, the
Second Book of King Edward VI. with the distinctly specified
alterations. The most important of these changes were the two sentences
added to the words to be used by the officiating minister when giving
the communion. The clauses had been in the First Prayer-Book of Edward

While in the Second Prayer-Book of King Edward the officiating minister
was commanded to say while giving the Bread:

     _"Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and
     feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving,"_

and while giving the Cup, to say:

     _"Drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee,
     and be thankful;"_

the words were altered in the Elizabethan book to:

     _"The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee,
     preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this
     in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy
     heart by faith with thanksgiving;"_

     "_The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee,
     preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in
     remembrance that Christ's Blood was shed for thee, and be

The additions in no way detracted from the Evangelical doctrine of the
Sacrament. They rather brought the underlying thought, into greater
harmony with the doctrine of the Reformed Churches. But they have had
the effect of enabling men who hold different views about the nature of
the rite to join in its common use.

When the Act of Uniformity was passed by Parliament, the advanced
Reformers, who had chafed at what appeared to them to be a long delay,
were contented. They, one and all, believed that the Church of England
had been restored to what it had been during the last year of the reign
of Edward VI.; and this was the end for which they had been striving,
the goal placed before them by their friend and adviser, Henry Bullinger
of Zurich.[563] Their letters are full of jubilation.[564]

Yet there were some things about this Elizabethan settlement which,
_if_ interpreted as they have been by some ecclesiastical historians,
make it very difficult to understand the contentment of such men as
Grindal, Jewel, and Sandys. "Of what was done in the matter of
_ornaments_," says Professor Maitland, "by statute, by the rubrics of
the Book, and by _Injunctions_ that the Queen promptly issued, it would
be impossible to speak fairly without lengthy quotation of documents,
the import of which became in the nineteenth century a theme of
prolonged and inconclusive disputation."[565] All that can be attempted
here is to mention the principal documents involved in the later
controversy, and to show how they were interpreted in the life and
conduct of contemporaries.

The Act of Uniformity had restored, with some trifling differences
clearly and definitely stated, Edward VI.'s Prayer-Book of 1552, and
therefore its rubrics.[566] It had at the same time contained a proviso
saying that the _ornaments_ sanctioned by the authority of Parliament in
the second year of Edward VI. were "to be retained and be in use" "until
further order shall therein be taken."

Men like Grindal and Jewel took no exception to this proviso, which they
certainly would have done had they believed that it ordained the actual
use in time of public worship, of the ornaments used in the second year
of King Edward. The interpretation they gave to the proviso is seen from
a letter from Sandys to Parker (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury),
written two days after the Act of Uniformity had passed the Lords. He

     "The last book of service has gone through with a proviso to retain
     the ornaments which were used in the first and second year of King
     Edward, until it please the Queen to take other order for them. Our
     gloss upon the text is that we shall not be enforced to use them,
     but that others in the meantime shall not convey them away, but
     that they may remain for the Queen."[567]

Sandys and others understood the proviso to mean that recalcitrant
clergy like the Warden of Manchester, who carried his consecrated
vestments to Ireland, were not to make off with the ornaments, and that
churchwardens or patrons were not to confiscate them for their private
use. They were property belonging to the Queen, and to be retained until
her Majesty's pleasure was known. The whole history of the visitations
goes to prove that Sandys' interpretation of the proviso was that of its

When the Prayer-Book was actually printed it was found to contain some
differences from the Edwardine Book of 1552 besides those mentioned in
the Act as the only ones to be admitted; and early editions have not
always the same changes. But the one thing of importance was a rubric
which, on what seems to be the only possible interpretation, enjoins the
use in public worship of the ornaments (_i.e._ the vestments) in use in
the second year of King Edward.[568] How this rubric got into the
Prayer-Book it is impossible to say. It certainly was not enacted by the
Queen "with assent of Lords and Commons." We have no proof that it was
issued by the Privy Council.[569] The use and wont of the Church of
England during the period of the Elizabethan settlement was as if this
rubric had never existed. It is directly contradicted by the thirtieth
Injunction issued for the Royal Visitation of 1559.[570] It was not
merely contemptuously ignored by the Elizabethan Bishops; they compelled
their clergy, if compulsion was needed, to act in defiance of it.

Contemporary sources abundantly testify that in the earlier years of the
reign of Queen Elizabeth the English clergy in their ministrations
scarcely ever wore any ecclesiastical garment but the surplice; and
sometimes not even that. The _Advertisements_[571] of 1566, which almost
all contemporary notices speak of as prescribing what had been enjoined
in the Injunctions of 1559, were drafted for the purpose of coercing
clergymen who were in the habit of refusing to wear even the surplice,
and they enjoined the surplice only, and the cope[572] in cathedrals. In
the Visitation carried out in accordance with the directions in the
Injunctions, a clean sweep was made of almost all the _ornaments_ which
were not merely permitted but ordered in the proviso of the Act of
Uniformity and the Rubric of 1559 on the ordinary ritualistic
interpretation of these clauses. The visitors proceeded on a uniform
plan, and what we hear was done in one place may be inferred as the
common practice. The Spanish Ambassador (July or August 1559) wrote to
his master: "They are now carrying out the law of Parliament respecting
religion with great rigour, and have appointed six visitors.... They
have just taken the crosses, images, and altars from St. Paul's and all
the other London churches."[573] A citizen of London noted in his diary:
"The time before Bartholomew tide and after, were all the roods and
Maries and Johns, and many other of the church goods, both copes,
crosses, censers, altar cloth, rood cloths, books, banners, banner
stays, wainscot and much other gear about London, burnt in
Smithfield."[574] What took place in London was done in the provinces.
At Grantham, "the vestments, copes, albs, tunicles, and all other such
baggages were defaced and openly sold by the general consent of the
whole corporation, and the money employed in setting up desks in the
church, and making of a decent communion table, and the remnant to the

It is true that we find complaints on the part of men like Jewel of
ritualistic practices which they do not like; but these in almost every
case refer to worship in the royal chapel. The services there were well
known, and both friends and foes of the Reformation seemed to take it
for granted that what was the fashion in the royal chapel would soon
extend to the rest of the realm.[576] Historians have usually attributed
the presence of crosses, vestments, lights on the altar, to the desire
of the Queen to conciliate her Romanist subjects, or to stand well with
the great Roman Catholic Powers of Europe. It is quite likely that the
Queen had this thought in her mind. Elizabeth was a thrifty lady, and
liked to bring down many birds with the one stone. But the one abiding
thought in the mind of the astute Queen was to stand well with the
Lutherans, and to be able, when threatened with papal excommunication,
to take shelter under the ægis of the Peace of Augsburg.

When the Government had secured the passing of the Acts of Supremacy and
Uniformity, they were in a position to deal with the recalcitrant
clergy. Eleven of the English Episcopal Sees had been vacant at the
accession of Elizabeth, among them that of the Primate; for Cardinal
Pole had died a few hours after Mary, In the summer and autumn of 1559
the sixteen Bishops were called upon to sign the Oath of Supremacy, in
which the papal rule over the Church of England was abjured, and the
Queen declared to be the Supreme Governor of the Church. All the
Bishops, more or less definitely, refused to take the oath; although
three were at first doubtful. They were deprived, and the English Church
was practically without Bishops.[577] Some of the deprived Bishops of
King Edward's time survived, and they were restored. Then came
discussion about the manner of appointing new ones. Some would have
preferred a simple royal nomination, as in Edward's time; but in the end
it was resolved that the appointment should be nominally in the hands
of the Deans and Chapters according to mediæval rule, with the proviso,
however, that the royal permission to elect had first to be given, and
that the person named in the "leave to elect" should be chosen. Then the
question of consecration gave rise to some difficulties; but these were
got over in ways which were deemed to be sufficient. Matthew Parker,
after more than one refusal, was nominated and consecrated Archbishop of
Canterbury. Lists of clerical persons suitable for promotion were
prepared for the Queen,[578] and the other Sees were gradually filled.
The Elizabethan episcopate, with the exception of the few Edwardine
Bishops, was an entirely new creation. A large number of the Deans and
members of the Cathedral Chapters had also refused to sign the Oath of
Supremacy; they were deprived, and others who were on the lists were
appointed in their place. The inferior clergy proved to be much more
amenable, and only about two hundred were in the end deprived. The
others all accepted the "alteration of religion"; and the change was
brought about quietly and without the riotings which had accompanied the
alterations made in the days of Edward, or the wholesale deprivations
which had followed upon those made by Queen Mary--when almost one-third
of the beneficed clergy of the Church of England had been removed from
their benefices. A similar passive acquiescence was seen in the
introduction of the new Book of Common Prayer, and in the fulfilment of
the various orders for the removal of images, etc. The great altars and
crucifixes were taken away, and the pictures covered with whitewash,
without any disturbances to speak of.

The comparative ease with which the "alteration of religion" was
effected was no doubt largely due to the increased Protestant feeling of
the country; but the tact and forbearance of those who were appointed to
see the changes carried out counted for something; and perhaps the
acquiescence of the Roman Catholics was due to the fact that they had no
great leader, that they did not expect the Elizabethan settlement to
last long, and that they waited in expectation that one or other of the
two Romanist Powers, France or Spain, would interfere in their behalf.
The religious revolution in Scotland in 1560 saved the Elizabethan
settlement for the time; and Philip of Spain trifled away his
opportunities until a united England overthrew his Armada, which came
thirty years too late.

The change was given effect to by a Royal Visitation. England was
divided into six districts, and lists of visitors were drawn up which
included the Lords Lieutenants of the counties, the chief men of the
districts, and some lawyers and clergymen known to be well affected to
the Reformation. They had to assist them a set of Injunctions, modelled
largely, not entirely, on those of Edward VI., drafted and issued by
royal command.[579] The members of the clergy were dealt with very
patiently, and explanations, public and private, were given of the Act
of Supremacy which made it easier for them to accept it. The Elizabethan
Bishops were also evidently warned to deal tenderly with stubborn parish
clergymen; they would have been less patient with them if left to
themselves. One, Bishop Best, Bishop of Carlisle, is found writing to
Cecil about his clergy, that "the priests are wicked impes of
Antichrist," for the most part very ignorant and stubborn; another,
Pilkington, the Bishop of Durham, in describing the disordered state of
his diocese, declared that "like St. Paul, he has to fight with beasts
at Ephesus"; and a third, Scory, Bishop of Winchester, wrote that he was
much hindered by justices of the peace who were Roman Catholics, and
that when certain priests who had refused to take the oath were driven
out of Exeter and elsewhere, they were received and feasted in the
streets with torch-lights.[580]

Elizabeth's second Parliament was very much more Protestant than the
first, and insisted that the Oath of Supremacy must be taken by all the
members of the House of Commons, by all lawyers, and by all
schoolmasters. The Convocation of 1563 proved that the clergy desired to
go much further in the path of Reformation than the Queen thought

They clearly wished for some doctrinal standard, and Archbishop Parker
had prepared and laid before Convocation a revised edition of the
_Forty-two Articles_ which had defined the theology of the Church of
England in the last year of King Edward VI.[581] The way had been
prepared for the issue of some authoritative exposition of the doctrinal
position of the Elizabethan Church by the _Declaration of the Principal
Articles of Religion_--a series of eleven articles framed by the Bishops
and published in 1561 (March), which repudiates strongly the Romanist
doctrines of the Papacy, private Masses, and the propitiatory sacrifice
in the Holy Supper. The Spanish Ambassador, who had heard of the
meetings of the Bishops for this purpose, imagined that they were
preparing articles to be presented to the Council of Trent on behalf of
the Church of England.[582] The Archbishop's draft was revised by
Convocation, and was "diligently read and sifted" by the Queen herself
before she gave her consent to the authoritative publication of the

These _Thirty-nine Articles_ expressed the doctrine of the Reformed or
Calvinist as distinguished from the Evangelical or Lutheran form of
Protestant doctrine, and the distinction lay mainly in the views which
the respective Confessions of the two Churches held about the Presence
of Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Supper. By this time (1562)
Zwinglianism, as a doctrinal system, not as an ecclesiastical policy,
had disappeared;[583] and the three theories of the Presence of Christ
in the Sacrament had all to do with the Presence of the Body of Christ
and not with a spiritual Presence simply. The Romanist theory,
transubstantiation, was based on the mediæval conception of a substance
existing apart from all accidents of smell, shape, colour, etc., and
declared that the "substance" of the Bread and of the Wine was changed
into the "substance" of the Body and Blood of Christ, while the
accidents or qualities remained the same--the change being miraculously
effected by the priest in consecrating the communion elements. The
Lutheran explanation was based upon a mediæval theory also--on that of
the ubiquity or natural omnipresence of the "glorified" Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ, in virtue of its ubiquity, was present everywhere,
in chairs, tables, stones flung through the air (to use Luther's
illustrations), and therefore in the Bread and in the Wine as everywhere
else. This ordinary presence became an efficacious sacramental Presence
owing to the promise of God. Calvin had discarded both mediæval
theories, and started by asking what was meant by _substance_ and what
by _presence_; he answered that the substance of anything is its power
(_vis_), and its presence is the immediate application of its power.
Thus the substance of the crucified Body of Christ is its power, and the
Presence of the crucified Body of Christ is the immediate application of
its power; and the guarantee of the application of the power is the
promise of God received by the believing communicant. By discarding the
Lutheran thought that the substance of the Body of Christ is something
extended in space, and accepting the thought that the main thing in
substance is power, Calvin was able to think of the substance of the
Body of Christ in a way somewhat similar to the mediæval conception of
"substance without accidents," and was able to show that the Presence of
Christ's Body in the sacrament could be accepted and understood without
the priestly miracle, which he and all Protestants rejected. Hence it
came to pass that Calvin could teach the Real Presence of Christ's Body
in the Sacrament of the Supper without having recourse to the mediæval
doctrine of "ubiquity," which was the basis of the Lutheran theory. They
both (Calvin and Luther) insisted on the Presence of the Body of Christ;
but the one (Luther) needed the theory of "ubiquity" to explain the
Presence, while the other (Calvin) did not need it. But as both
discarded the priestly miracle while insisting on the Presence of the
Body, the two doctrines might be stated in almost the same words,
provided all mention of "ubiquity" was omitted. Calvin could and did
sign the Augsburg Confession; but he did not read into it what a
Lutheran would have done, the theory of "ubiquity"; and a Calvinist
statement of the doctrine, provided only "ubiquity" was not denied,
might be accepted by a Lutheran as not differing greatly from his own.
Bishop Jewel asserts again and again in his correspondence, that the
Elizabethan divines did not believe in the theory of "ubiquity,"[584]
and many of them probably desired to say so in their articles of
religion. Hence in the first draft of the Thirty-nine Articles presented
to Convocation by Archbishop Parker, Article XXVIII. contained a strong
repudiation of the doctrine of "ubiquity," which, if retained, would
have made the Articles of the Church of England more anti-Lutheran than
even the second Helvetic Confession. The clause was struck out in
Convocation, probably because it was thought to be needlessly offensive
to the German Protestants.[585] The Queen, however, was not satisfied
with what her divines had done, and two important interferences with
the Articles as they came from Convocation are attributed to her. The
first was the addition of the words: _and authoritie in controversies of
fayth_, in Article XX., which deals with the authority possessed by the
Church. The second was the complete suppression for the time being of
Article XXIX., which is entitled, _Of the wicked which do not eate the
Body of Christe in the use of the Lordes Supper_, and is expressed in
terms which most Lutherans would have been loath to use.

The Queen's action was probably due to political reasons. It was
important in international politics for a Protestant Queen not yet
securely seated on her throne to shelter herself under the shield which
a profession of Lutheranism would give. The German Lutherans had won
legal recognition within the Empire at the Diet of Augsburg in 1555; the
votes of two Lutheran Electors had helped to place the Emperor on his
throne; and the Pope dared not excommunicate Lutheran Princes save at
the risk of offending the Emperor and invalidating all his acts. This
had been somewhat sternly pointed out to him when he first threatened to
excommunicate Elizabeth, and the Queen knew all the difficulties of the
papal position. One has only to read an account of a long conversation
with her, reported by the Spanish Ambassador to his master (April 29th,
1559), to see what use the "wise Queen with the eyes that could
flash"[586] made of the situation. The Ambassador had not obscurely
threatened her with a papal Bull declaring her a bastard and a heretic,
and had brought home its effects by citing the case of the King of
Navarre, whose kingdom was taken from him by Ferdinand of Spain acting
as the Pope's agent, and Elizabeth had played with him in her usual way.
She had remarked casually "that she wished the Augsburg Confession to be
maintained in her realm, whereat," says the Count de Feria, "I was much
surprised, and found fault with it all I could, adducing the arguments I
thought might dissuade her from it. She then told me it would not be the
Augsburg Confession, but something else like it, and that she differed
very little from us, as she believed that _God was in the Sacrament of
the Eucharist_, and only dissented from three or four things in the
Mass. After this she told me that she did not wish to argue about
religious matters."[587] She did not need to argue; the hint had been
enough for the baffled Ambassador.

Article XXIX. was suppressed, and only _Thirty-eight Articles_ were
acknowledged publicly. The papal Bull of excommunication was delayed
until 1570, when its publication could harm no one but Elizabeth's own
Romanist subjects, and the dangerous period was tided over safely. When
it came at last, the Queen was not anathematised in terms which could
apply to Lutherans, but because she personally acknowledged and observed
"the impious constitutions and atrocious mysteries of Calvin," and had
commanded that they should be observed by her subjects.[588] Then, when
the need for politic suppression was past, Article XXIX. was published,
and the _Thirty-nine Articles_ became the recognised doctrinal standard
of the Church of England (1571).

What the Queen's own doctrinal beliefs were no one can tell; and she
herself gave the most contrary descriptions when it suited her policy.
The disappearance and reappearance of crosses and candles on the altar
of the royal chapel were due as much to the wish to keep in touch with
the Lutherans as to any desire to conciliate the Queen's Romanist

The Convocation of 1563 had other important matters before it. Its
proceedings showed that the new Elizabethan clergy contained a large
number who were in favour of some drastic changes in the Prayer-Book and
in the Act of Uniformity. Many of them had become acquainted with and
had come to like the simplicity of the Swiss worship, thoroughly
purified from what they called "the dregs of Popery"; and others envied
the Scots, "who," wrote Parkhurst to Bullinger (Aug. 23rd, 1559), "have
made greater progress in true religion in a few months than we have done
in many years."[589]

Such men were dissatisfied with much in the Prayer-Book, or rather in
its rubrics, and brought forward proposals for simplifying the worship,
which received a large measure of support. It was thought that all
organs should be done away with; that the ceremony of "crossing" in
baptism should be omitted; that all festival days save the Sundays and
the "principal feasts of the Church" should be abolished;--this proposal
was lost by a majority of one in the Lower House. Another motion,
leaving it to the option of communicants to receive the Holy Supper
either standing, sitting, or kneeling, as it pleased them, was lost by a
very small majority. Many of the Bishops themselves were in favour of
simplifying the rites of the Church; and five Deans and twelve
Archdeacons petitioned against the use of the surplice. The movement was
so strong that Convocation, if left to itself, would probably have
purified the Church in the Puritan sense of the word. But the Queen had
all the Tudor liking for a stately ceremonial, and she had political
reasons, national and international, to prevent her allowing any drastic
changes. She was bent on welding her nation together into one, and she
had to capture for her Church the large mass of people who were either
neutral or who had leanings to Romanism, or at least to the old mediæval
service. The Council of Trent was sitting; Papal excommunication was
always threatened, and, as above explained, Lutheran protection and
sympathy were useful. The ceremonies were retained, the crucifixes and
lights on the altars were paraded in the chapel royal to show the
Lutheran sympathies of the Queen and of the Church of England. The
Reforming Bishops, with many an inward qualm,[590] had to give way; and
gradually, as the Queen had hoped, a strong Conservative instinct
gathered round the Prayer-Book and its rubrics. The Convocation of 1563
witnessed the last determined attempt to propose any substantial
alteration in the public worship of the English people.

At the same Convocation a good deal of time was spent upon a proposed
Book of Discipline, or an authoritative statement of the English canon
law. It is probable that its contents are to be found in certain
"_Articles for government and order in the Church, exhibited to be
permitted by authority; but not allowed_," which are printed by
Strype[591] from Archbishop Parker's MSS. Such a book would have
required parliamentary authority, and the Parliament of 1563 was too
much occupied with the vanishing protection of Spain and with the
threatening aspect of France and Scotland. The marriage of the Queen of
Scots with Darnley had given additional weight to her claims on the
English throne; and it was feared that the English Romanists might rise
in support of the legitimate heir. Parliament almost in a panic passed
severe laws against all recusants, and increased the penalties against
all who refused the oath of allegiance or who spoke in support of the
authority of the Bishop of Rome. The discipline of the Church was left
to be regulated by the old statute of Henry VIII., which declared that
as much of the mediæval canon law as was not at variance with the
Scriptures and the Acts of the English Parliament was to form the basis
of law for the ecclesiastical courts. This gave the Bishop's officials
who presided over the ecclesiastical courts a very free hand; and under
their manipulation there was soon very little left of the canon
law--less, in fact, than in the ecclesiastical courts of any other
Protestant Churches. For these officials were lawyers trained in civil
law and imbued with its principles, and predisposed to apply them
whenever it was possible to do so.

The formulation of the _Thirty-nine Articles_ in the Convocation of 1563
may be taken as marking the time when the "alteration of religion" was
completed. The result, arrived at during a period of exceptional storm
and strain, has had the qualities of endurance, and the Church of
England is at present what the Queen made it. It was the Royal Supremacy
which secured for High Church Anglicans the position they have to-day.
The chief features of the settlement of religion were:

1. The complete repudiation within the realm and Church of England of
the authority of the Bishop of Rome. All the clergy and everyone holding
office under the Crown had to swear to this repudiation. If they
refused, or were recusants in the language of the day, they lost their
offices and benefices; if they persisted in their refusal, they were
liable to forfeit all their personal property; if they declined to take
the oath for a third time, they could be proclaimed traitors, and were
liable to the hideous punishments which the age inflicted for that
crime. But Elizabeth, with all her sternness, was never cruel, and no
religious revolution was effected with less bloodshed.

2. The sovereign was made the supreme Governor of the Church of England;
and that the title differed in name only from that assumed by Henry
VIII. was made plain in the following ways:

(_a_) Convocation was stript of all independent legislative action, and
its power to make ecclesiastical laws and regulations was placed under
strict royal control.[592]

(_b_) Appeals from all ecclesiastical courts, which were themselves
actually, if not nominally, under the presidency of civil lawyers, could
be made to royal delegates who might be laymen; and these delegates were
given very full powers, and could inflict civil punishments in a way
which had not been permitted to the old mediæval ecclesiastical courts.
These powers raised a grave constitutional question in the following
reigns. The royal delegates became a Court of High Commission, which may
have been modelled on the Consistories of the German Princes, and had
somewhat the same powers.

3. One uniform ritual of public worship was prescribed for all
Englishmen in the Book of Common Prayer with its rubrics, enforced by
the Act of Uniformity. No liberty of worship was permitted. Any
clergyman who deviated from this prescribed form of worship was liable
to be treated as a criminal, and so also were all those who abetted him.
No one could, under penalties, seek to avoid this public worship. Every
subject was bound to attend church on Sunday, and to bide the prayers
and the preaching, or else forfeit the sum of twelvepence to the poor.
Obstinate recusants or nonconformists might be excommunicated, and all
excommunicated persons were liable to imprisonment.

4. Although it was said, and was largely true, that there was freedom of
opinion, still obstinate heretics were liable to be held guilty of a
capital offence. On the other hand, the Bishops had little power to
force heretics to stand a trial, and, unless Parliament or Convocation
ordered it otherwise, only the wilder sectaries were in any danger.[593]

Protestant England grew stronger year by year. The debased copper and
brass coinage was replaced gradually by honest gold and silver.[594]
Manufactures were encouraged. Merchant adventurers, hiring the Queen's
ships, took an increasing share in the world-trade with Elizabeth as a
partner.[595] Persecuted Huguenots and Flemings settled in great numbers
in the country, and brought with them their thrift and knowledge of
mechanical trades to enrich the land of their adoption;[596] and the
oppressed Protestants of France and of the Low Countries learnt that
there was a land beyond the sea ruled by a "wise young Queen" which
might be their city of refuge, and which was ready to aid them, if not
openly, at least stealthily. England, formerly unarmed, became supplied
"more abundantly than any other country with arms, munitions, and
artillery." Sound money, enlarged trade, growing wealth, and an
increasing sense of security, were excellent allies to the cause of the
Protestant Religion.

So long as Mary of Scotland was in Holyrood and able to command the
sympathy, if not the allegiance, of the English Roman Catholics, the
throne of Elizabeth was never perfectly secure; but the danger from
Scotland was minimised by the jealousy between Catherine de' Medici and
her daughter-in-law, and the Scottish Protestant Lords could always be
secretly helped. When Philip II. of Spain, in his slow, hesitating way,
which made him always miss the turn of the tide, at length resolved to
aid Mary to crush her rebels at home and to prosecute her claims on
England, his interference had no further consequences than to afford
Elizabeth an honourable pretext for giving effectual assistance in the
conflict which drove Mary from her throne, and made Scotland completely
and permanently Protestant.[597]





The revolt of Luther was the occasion for the appearance--the outbreak,
it might be called--of a large amount of irregular independent thinking
upon religion and theology which had expressed itself sporadically
during the whole course of the Middle Ages. The great difference between
the thinkers and their intellectual ancestors who were at war with the
mediæval Church life and doctrine, did not consist in the expression of
anything essentially new, but in the fact that the Renaissance had
introduced a profound contempt for the intellectual structure of
ecclesiastical dogma, and that the whole of the sixteenth century was
instinct with the feeling of individuality and the pride of personal
existence. The old thoughts were less careful to accommodate themselves
to the recognised modes of theological statement, they took bolder forms
of expression, presented sharper outlines, and appeared in more definite

Part of this thinking scarcely belongs to ecclesiastical history at all.
It never became the intellectual basis of an institution; it neither
stirred nor moulded the lives of masses of men. The leaders of thought
remained solitary thinkers, surrounded by a loose fringe of followers.
But as there is always something immortal in the forcible expression of
human thought, their opinions have not died altogether, but have
affected powerfully all the various branches of the Christian Church at
different periods and in divers ways. The old conceptions, somewhat
disguised, perhaps, but still the same, reappear in most systems of
speculative theology. It therefore demands a brief notice.

The greater portion of this intellectual effervescence, however, did not
share the same fate. Menno Simons, aided, no doubt, by the winnowing fan
of persecution, was able to introduce order into the wild fermenting
elements of Anabaptism, and to form the Baptist Church which has had
such an honourable history in Europe and America. Fausto Sozzini did the
same for the heterogeneous mass of anti-Trinitarian thinking, and out of
the confusion brought the orderly unity of an institutional life.

This great mass of crude independent thought may be roughly classified
as Mystic, or perhaps Pantheist Mystic, Anabaptist, and
anti-Trinitarian; but the division, so far as the earlier thinkers go,
is very artificial. The groups continually overlap; many of the leaders
of thought might be placed in two or in all three of these divisions.
What characterised them all was that they had little sense of historical
continuity, cared nothing for it, and so broke with the past completely;
that they despaired of seeing any good in the historical Church, and
believed that it must be ended, as it was impossible to mend it; and
that they all possessed a strong sense of individuality, believing the
human soul to be imprisoned when it accepted the confinement of a common
creed, institution, or form of service unless of the very simplest kind.

Pantheistic Mysticism was no new thing in Christianity. As early as the
sixth century at least, schools of thought may be found which
interpreted such doctrines as the Trinity and the Person of Christ in
ways which led to what must be called Pantheism; and if such modes of
dissolving Christian doctrines had not a continuous succession within
the Christian Church, they were always appearing. They were generally
accompanied with a theory of an "inner light" which claimed either to
supersede the Scriptures as the Rule of Faith, or at least to interpret
them. The Scriptures were the husk which might be thrown away when its
kernel, discovered by the "inner light," was once revealed. The
Schwenkfelds, Weigels, Giordano Brunos of the sixteenth century, who
used what they called the "inner light" in somewhat the same way as the
Council of Trent employed dogmatic tradition, had a long line of
ancestry in the mediæval Church, and their appearance at the time of the
Reformation was only the recrudescence of certain phases of mediæval
thought. But, as has been said, such thinkers were never able, nor
perhaps did they wish, to form their followers into a Church; and they
belong much more to the history of philosophy than to an ecclesiastical
narrative. They had no conception whatever of religion in the
Reformation sense of the word. Their idea of faith was purely
intellectual--something to be fed on metaphysics more or less refined.

By far the most numerous of those sixteenth century representatives of
mediæval nonconformists were classed by contemporaries under the common
name of Anabaptists or Katabaptists, because, from 1526 onwards, they
all, or most of them, insisted on _re-_baptism as the sign of belonging
to the brotherhood of believers. They were scattered over the greater
part of Europe, from Sweden in the north to Venice in the south, from
England in the west to Poland in the east. The Netherlands,
Germany,--southern, north-western, and the Rhineland,--Switzerland, the
Tyrol, Moravia, and Livonia were scenes of bloody persecution endured
with heroic constancy. Their leaders flit across the pages of history,
courageous, much-enduring men, to whom the world was nothing, whose eyes
were fixed on the eternal throne of God, and who lived in the calm
consciousness that in a few hours they might be fastened to the stake or
called upon to endure more dreadful and more prolonged tortures,--men of
every varying type of character, from the gentle and pious young
Humanist Hans Denck to Jan Matthys the forerunner of the stern Camisard and
Covenanter. No statement of doctrine can include the beliefs held in all
their innumerable groups. Some maintained the distinctive doctrines of
the mediæval Church (the special conceptions of a priestly hierarchy,
and of the Sacraments being always excluded); others were Lutherans,
Calvinists, or Zwinglians; some were Unitarians, and denied the usual
doctrine of the Person of Christ;[598] a few must be classed among the
Pantheists. All held some doctrine of an "inner light"; but while some
sat very loose to the letter of Scripture, others insisted on the most
literal reading and application of Biblical phraseology. They all united
in maintaining that true Christians ought to live separate from the
world (_i.e._ from those who were not rebaptized), in communities whose
lives were to be modelled on the accounts given in the New Testament of
the primitive Christians, and that the true Church had nothing whatever
to do with the State.

Curiously enough, the leaders in the third group, the anti-Trinitarians,
were almost all Italians.

The most outstanding man among them, distinguished alike by his
learning, his pure moral life, a distinct vein of piety, and the calm
courage with which he faced every danger to secure the propagation of
his opinions, was the Spaniard Miguel Servede (Servetus),[599] who was
burnt at Geneva in 1553. He was very much a man by himself. His whole
line of thought separated him from the rest of the anti-Trinitarian
group associated with the names of the Sozzini. He reached his position
through a mystical Pantheism--a course of thought which one might have
expected from a Spaniard. He made few or no disciples, and did not exert
any permanent influence.

The other anti-Trinitarians of the first rank were all cultured
Italians, whom the spirit of the Renaissance prompted to criticise and
reconstruct theology as they found it. They were all men who had been
driven to reject the Roman Church because of its corruptions and
immoralities, and who had no conception of any other universal Christian
society. Men of pure lives, pious after their own fashion, they never
had any idea of what lay at the root of the Reformation thought of what
real religion was. It never dawned upon them that the sum of
Christianity is the God of Grace, manifest in Christ, accessible to
every believing soul, and unwavering trust on man's part. Their interest
in religion was almost exclusively intellectual. The Reformers had
defined the Church as the fellowship of believers, and they had said
that the marks of that fellowship were the preaching of the Word and
the right use of the sacraments--the means through which God manifests
Himself to men, and men manifest their faith in God. These men never
apprehended this; the only idea which they seemed able to have of the
Church was a school of definite and correct opinions. Compelled to flee
from their native land, they naturally took refuge in Switzerland or in
the Grisons. It is almost pathetic to see how they utterly failed to
understand the men among whom they found themselves. Reformation to them
was a criticism and reconstruction of theology; they were simply
carrying the criticism a little further than their new neighbours. They
never perceived the real gulf fixed between them and the adherents of
the Reformation.

They were all highly educated and cultivated men--individual units from
all parts of Italy. Camillo Renato, who proclaimed himself an
Anabaptist, was a Sicilian. Gentili came from Calabria; Gribaldo from
Padua; Bernardino Occhino, who in his later days joined the band, and
the two Sozzini from Siena. Alciat was a Piedmontese. Blandrata
(Biandrata), the most energetic member of the group save Fausto Sozzini,
belonged to a noble family in Saluzzo which had long been noted for the
protection it had afforded to poor people persecuted by the Church. They
were physicians or lawyers; one, Gentili, was a schoolmaster.

The strong sense of individuality, which seems the birthright of every
Italian, fostered by their life within their small city republics, had
been accentuated by the Renaissance. The historical past of Italy, and
its political and social condition in the sixteenth century, made it
impossible for the impulse towards reform to take any other shape than
that of individual action. The strength and the impetus which comes from
the thought of fellow-man, fellow-believer, and which was so apparent in
the Reformation movements beyond the Alps and in the Jesuit reaction,
was entirely lacking among these Reformers in Italy. In that land the
Empire had never regained its power lost under the great Popes, Gregory
VII. and Innocent III. The Romish Church presented itself to all
Italians as the only possible form under which a wide-spreading
Christian _Society_ could be organised. If men rejected it, personal
Christian life alone remained. The Church dominated the masses
unprepared by any such conception of ecclesiastical reform as influenced
the people in Germany and Switzerland. Only men who had received some
literary education were susceptible to the influences making for
Reformation. They were always prevented by the unbroken power of the
agencies of the Church from organising themselves publicly into
congregations, and could only meet to exchange confidences privately and
on rare occasions.[600] We hear of several such assemblies, which
invariably took the form of conferences, in which the members discussed
and communicated to each other the criticisms of the mediæval theology
which solitary meditation had suggested to them. They were much more
like debating societies than the beginnings of a Church. Thus we hear of
one at Vincenza,[601] in 1546, where about forty friends met, among whom
was Lelio Sozzini, where they debated such doctrines as the Satisfaction
of Christ, the Trinity, etc., and expressed doubts about their truth. It
was inevitable that such men could not hope to create a popular movement
towards Reformation in their native land, and also that they should be
compelled to seek safety beyond the bounds of Italy. They fled, one by
one, across the Alps. In the Grisons and in Reformed Switzerland they
found little communities of their countrymen who had sought shelter
there, and their presence was always followed by dissensions and by
difficulties with the native Protestants.

Their whole habits of life and thought were not of the kind calculated
to produce a lasting Christian fellowship. Their theological opinions,
which were not the outcome of a new and living Christian experience, but
had been the result of an intellectual criticism of the mediæval
theology, had little stability, and did not tend to produce unity. The
execution of Servede and the jealousy which all the Reformed cantons of
Switzerland manifested towards opinions in any way similar to those of
the learned Spaniard, made life in Switzerland as unsafe as it had been
in Italy. They migrated to Poland and Transylvania, attracted by the
freedom of thought existing in both lands.

Poland, besides, had special attractions for refugees from Italy. The
two countries had long been in intimate relationship. Italian architects
had designed the stately buildings in Crakau and other Polish cities,
and the commercial intercourse between the two countries was great. The
independence and the privileges of the Polish nobles secured them from
ecclesiastical interference, and both Calvinism and Lutheranism had
found many adherents among the aristocracy. They, like the Roman
patricians of the early centuries, gave the security of their halls to
their co-religionists, and the heads of the Romanist Church chafed at
their impotence to prevent the spread of opinions and usages which they
deemed heretical. In Transylvania the absence of a strong central
government permitted the same freedom to the expression of every variety
of religious opinion.

The views held by the group of anti-Trinitarians were by no means the
same. They reproduced in Poland the same medley of views we find
existing in the end of the third century. Some were Sabellians, others
Adoptianists, a few were Arians. Perhaps most of them believed in the
miraculous birth of our Lord, and held as a consequence that He ought
to be adored; but a strong minority, under the leadership of Francis
Davidis, repudiated the miraculous birth, and refused to worship Christ
(_non-adorantes_). For a time they seem to have lived in a certain
amount of accord with the members of the Reformed communities. A crisis
came at the Polish Diet of 1564, and the anti-Trinitarians were
recognised then to be a separate religious community, or _ecclesia
minor_. This was the field in which Fausto Sozzini exercised his
commanding intellect, his genius for organisation, and his eminently
strong will. He created out of these jarring elements the Socinian

The Anabaptist and the Socinian movements require, however, a more
detailed description.



The old monotonous mode of describing Anabaptism has almost entirely
disappeared with the modern careful examination of sources. It is no
longer possible to sum up the movement in four stages, beginning with
the Zwickau prophets and ending with the catastrophe in Münster, or to
explain its origin by calling it the radical side of the Reformation
movement.[603] It is acknowledged by careful students to have been a
very complicated affair, to have had roots buried in the previous
centuries, and to have had men among its leaders who were distinguished
Humanists. It is now known that it spread over Europe with great
rapidity, and attracted to itself an enormously larger number of
adherents than had been imagined.

It is impossible within the limits of one brief chapter to state and
criticise the various theories of the origin and roots of the movement
which modern investigation has suggested. All that can be done is to
set down succinctly the conclusions reached after a tolerably wide
examination of the sources--admitting at the same time that more
information must be obtained ere the history of the movement advances
beyond the controversial stage.

It is neither safe nor easy to make abrupt general statements about the
causes or character of great popular movements. The elements which
combine to bring them into being and keep them in existence are commonly
as innumerable as the hues which blend in the colour of a mountain side.
Anabaptism was such a complicated movement that it presents peculiar
difficulties. As has been said, it had a distinct relation to two
different streams of mediæval life, the one social and the other
religious--the revolts of peasants and artisans, and the successions of
the _Brethren_.

From the third quarter of the fifteenth century social uprisings had
taken place almost every decade, all of them more or less impregnated
with crude religious beliefs. They were part of the intellectual and
moral atmosphere that the "common man," whether in town or country
district, continuously breathed, and their power over him must not be
lost sight of. The Reformation movement quickened and strengthened these
influences simply because it set all things in motion. It is not
possible, therefore, to draw a rigid line of separation between some
sides of the Anabaptist movement and the social revolt; and hence it is
that there is at least a grain of truth in the conception that the
Anabaptists were the revolutionaries of the times of the Reformation.

On the other hand, there are good reasons for asserting that the
distinctively religious side of Anabaptism had little to do with the
anarchic outbreaks. It comes in direct succession from those communities
of pious Christians who, on the testimony of their enemies, lived quiet
God-fearing lives, and believed all the articles in the Apostles' Creed;
but who were strongly anti-clerical. They lived unobtrusively, and
rarely appear in history save when the chronicle of some town makes
casual mention of their existence, or when an Inquisitor ferreted them
out and records their so-called heresies. Their objections to the
constitution and ceremonies of the mediæval Church were exactly those of
the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century; and if we do not find a
universal repudiation of infant baptism, there are traces that some did
not approve of it. They insisted that the service ought to be in the
vulgar tongue; they objected to all the Church festivals; to all
blessing of buildings, crosses, and candles; they alleged that Christ
did not give His Apostles stoles or chasubles; they scoffed at
excommunications, Indulgences, and dispensations; they declared that
there was no regenerative efficacy in infant baptism; and they were
keenly alive to all the injunctions of Christian charity--it was better,
they said, to clothe the poor than to expend money on costly vestments
or to adorn the walls of Churches, and they kept up schools and
hospitals for lepers. They met in each other's houses for public
worship, which took the form of reading and commenting upon the Holy

As we are dependent on very casual sources of information, it is not
surprising that we cannot trace their _continuous_ descent down to the
period of the Reformation; but we do find in the earlier decades of the
sixteenth century notices of the existence of small praying communities,
which have all the characteristics of those recorded in the Inquisitors'
reports belonging to the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the
fifteenth centuries. They appeared in Basel in 1514, in Switzerland in
1515, in Mainz in 1518, and in Augsburg somewhat earlier.[605] By the
year 1524 similar "praying circles" were recorded as existing in France,
in the Netherlands, in Italy, in Saxony, in Franconia, at Strassburg,
and in Bohemia. They used a common catechism for the instruction of
their young people which was printed in French, German, Bohemian, and
perhaps Italian. In Germany, the Bible was the German Vulgate--a version
retained among the Anabaptists long after the publication of Luther's.
They exhibited great zeal in printing and distributing the pious
literature of the _Friends of God_ of the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. Many of them taught Baptist views, though the tenets were not
universally accepted, and they were already called Anabaptists or
Katabaptists--a term of reproach. Some of their more distinguished
leaders were pious Humanists, and _their_ influence may perhaps be seen
in the efforts made by the _Brethren_ to print and distribute the
_Defensor Pacis_ of Marsiglio of Padua.

This quiet Evangelical movement assumed a more definite form in 1524.
Before that date the associations of pious people acted like the
Pietists of the seventeenth or like the Wesleyans of the eighteenth
century. They associated together for mutual edification; they did not
obtrusively separate themselves from the corrupt or slothful Church. But
in June 1524, delegates representing a very wide circle of "praying
assemblies" or _Readings_ met at Waldshut, in the house of Balthasar
Hübmaier,[606] bringing their Bibles with them, to consult how to
organise their Christian living on the lines laid down in the New
Testament. No regular ecclesiastical organisation was formed. _The
Brethren_ resolved to separate from the Papal Church; they published a
Directory for Christian living, and drew up a statement of principles in
which they believed. Amongst other things, they protested against any
miraculous efficacy in the Sacraments in general, and held that Baptism
is efficacious only when it is received in faith. This led afterwards to
the adoption of Baptist views. A second conference was held at Augsburg
in 1526, which probably dates the time when adult baptism became a
distinctive belief among all the _Brethren_. This conference suggested a
General Synod which met at Augsburg in 1527 (Aug.), and included among
its members, delegates from Munich, Franconia, Ingolstadt, Upper
Austria, Styria, and Switzerland. There they drew up a statement of
doctrinal truth, which is very simple, and corresponds intimately with
what is now taught among the Moravian Brethren. Their Hymn-book[607]
does not bear any traces of the errors in doctrine usually attributed to
them. Its chief theme is the love of God awakening our love to God and
to our fellow-men. Instead of infant baptism they had a ceremony in
which the children were consecrated to God. Baptism was regarded as the
sign of conversion and of definite resolve to give one's self up to the
worship and service of God. It was administered by _sprinkling_; the
recipient knelt to receive it in the presence of the congregation. The
Holy Supper was administered at stated times, and always after one or
two days of solemn preparation. Their office-bearers were deacons,
elders, masters and teachers, or pastors. They distinguished between
pastors who were wandering evangelists and those who were attached to
single congregations. The latter, who were ordained by the laying on of
hands, alone had the right to dispense the Sacraments. All the deacons,
elders, and pastors belonging to communities within a prescribed
district, selected from among themselves delegates who formed their
ecclesiastical council for the district, and this council elected one of
the pastors to act as Bishop or Superintendent. It was the
Superintendent who ordained by laying on of hands. The whole of the
_Brethren_ were governed ecclesiastically by a series of Synods
corresponding to those in the Presbyterian Churches. This organisation
enabled the Anabaptists to endure the frightful persecution which they
were soon to experience at the hands of the papal and Lutheran State

The chief leaders were Balthasar Hübmaier and Hans Denck. Hübmaier was a
distinguished scholar. He became, at an unusually early age, Professor
of theology at Ingolstadt (1512); he was Rector of the famous High
School in that city (1515); and Cathedral preacher at Regensburg
(Ratisbon) (1516). In 1519, feeling that he could no longer
conscientiously occupy such positions, he retired to the little town of
Waldshut. Hans Denck was a noted Humanist, a member of the "Erasmus
circle" at Basel, and esteemed the most accurate Greek scholar in the
learned community. Conrad Grebel, another well-known Anabaptist leader,
also belonged to the "Erasmus circle," and was a member of one of the
patrician families of Zurich. Like Hübmaier and Denck, he gave up all to
become an evangelist, and spent his life on long preaching tours. These
facts are sufficient to refute the common statement that the Anabaptists
were ignorant fanatics.

Perhaps Denck was the most widely known and highly esteemed. In the
summer of 1523 he was appointed Rector of the celebrated Sebaldus School
in Nürnberg. In the end of 1524 he was charged with heresy, and along
with him Jörg Penz, the artist, the favourite pupil of Albert Dürer, and
four others. Denck was banished from the city, and his name became well
known. This trial and sentence was the occasion of his beginning that
life of wandering evangelist which had among other results the
conferences in 1526 and 1527, and the organisation above described.
Denck had drunk deeply at the well of the fourteenth and fifteenth
century Mystics, and his teaching was tinged by many of their ideas. He
believed that there was a spark of the divine nature in man, an Inner
Word, which urged man to walk in the ways of God, and that man could
always keep true to the inward monitor, who was none else than Christ.
The accounts given of some of his addresses seem to be echoes of
Tauler's famous sermon on the Bridegroom and the Bride, for he taught
that the sufferings of the faithful are to be looked upon as the
love-gifts of the Saviour, and are neither to be mourned nor resisted.
We are told in the quaint _Chronicle_ of Sebastian Frauck, that the
Baptist current swept swiftly through the whole land; many thousands
were baptized, and many hearts drawn to them. "For they taught nothing
but love, faith, and crucifixion of the flesh, manifesting patience and
humility under many sufferings, breaking bread with one another in sign
of unity and love, helping one another with true helpfulness, lending,
borrowing, giving, learning to have all things in common, calling each
other 'brother.'"[608] He adds that they were accused of many things of
which they were innocent, and were treated very tyrannically.

The Anabaptists, like the earlier Mystics, displayed a strong
individuality; and this makes it impossible to classify their tenets in
a body of doctrine which can be held to express the system of
intellectual belief which lay at the basis of the whole movement. We
have three contemporary accounts which show the divergence of opinion
among them--two from hostile and one from a sympathetic historian.
Bullinger[609] attempts a classification of their different divisions,
and mentions thirteen distinct sects within the Anabaptist circle; but
they manifestly overlap in such a way as to suggest a very large amount
of difference which cannot be distinctly tabulated. Sebastian
Franck[610] notes all the varieties of views which Bullinger mentions,
but refrains from any classification. "There are," he says, "more sects
and opinions, which I do not know and cannot describe, but it appears to
me that there are not two to be found who agree with each other on all
points." Kessler,[611] who recounts the story of the Anabaptists of St.
Gallen, notes the same great variety of opinions.

It is quite possible to describe the leading ideas taught by a few noted
men and approved of by their immediate circle of followers, and so to
arrive with some accuracy at the popularity of certain leading
principles among different parties, but it must be remembered that no
great leader imposed his opinions on the whole Anabaptist circle, and
that the views held at different times by prominent men were not
invariably the sentiments which lay at the basis of the whole movement.

The doctrine of passive resistance was held by almost all the earlier
Anabaptists, but it was taught and practised in such a great variety of
ways that a merely general statement gives a misleading idea. All the
earlier Anabaptists believed that it was unchristian to return evil for
evil, and that they should take the persecutions which came to them
without attempting to retaliate. Some, like the young Humanist, Hans
Denck, pushed the theory so far that they believed that no real
Christian could be either a magistrate or a soldier. A small band of
Anabaptists, to whom one of the Counts of Liechtenstein had given
shelter at Nikolsburg, told their protector plainly that they utterly
disapproved of his threatening the Austrian Commissary with armed
resistance if he entered the Nikolsburg territory to seize them. In
short, what is called "passive resistance" took any number of forms,
from the ordinary Christian maxim to be patient under tribulation, to
that inculcated and practised by the modern sect of Dunkers.

The followers of Melchior Hoffman, called "Melchiorites," held
apocalyptic or millenarian views, and expected in the near future the
return of Christ to reign over His saints; but there is no reason to
suppose that this conception was very widely adopted, still less that it
can be called a tenet of Anabaptism in general. All the Anabaptists
inculcated the duty of charity and the claims of the poor on the richer
members of the community; but that is a common Christian precept, and
does not necessarily imply communistic theories or practices. All that
can be definitely said of the whole Anabaptist circle was that they did
keep very clearly before them the obligations of Christian love. The
so-called Communism in Münster will be described later.

When we examine carefully the incidental records of contemporary
witnesses observing their Anabaptist neighbours, we reach the general
conclusion that their main thought was to reproduce in their own lives
what seemed to them to be the beliefs, usages, and social practices of
the primitive Christians. Translations of the Bible and of parts of it
had been common enough in Germany before Luther's days. The "common
man," especially the artisan of the towns, knew a great deal about the
Bible. It was the one book he read, re-read, and pondered over. Fired
with the thoughts created in his mind by its perusal, simple men felt
impelled to become itinerant preachers. The "call" came to them, and
they responded at once to what they believed to be the divine voice.
Witness Hans Ber of Alten-Erlangen, a poor peasant. He rose from his bed
one night and suddenly began to put on his clothes. "Whither goest
thou?" asked his poor wife. "I know not; God knoweth," he answered.
"What evil have I done thee? Stay and help me to bring up my little
children," "Dear wife," he answered, "trouble me not with the things of
time. I must away, that I may learn the will of the Lord."[612] Such men
wandered about in rude homespun garments, often barefooted, their heads
covered with rough felt hats. They craved hospitality in houses, and
after supper produced their portions of the Bible, read and expounded,
then vanished in the early morning. We are told how Hans Hut came to the
house of Franz Strigel at Weier in Franconia, produced his Bible, read
and expounded, explained the necessity of adult baptism, convinced
Strigel, the house father, and eight others, and baptized them there and
then. He wandered forth the same night. None of the baptized saw him
again; but the little community remained--a small band of

These wandering preachers, "prophets" they may be called if we give them
the early Christian name, were not drilled in any common set of
opinions. Each conceived the primitive teaching and social life as he
seemed to see it reflected in the New Testament; and no two conceptions
were exactly the same. The circumstances and surroundings produced an
infinite variety of thought about the doctrines and usages which ought
to be accepted and practised. Yet they had traditional modes of
interpretation handed down to them from the praying circles of the
"Brethren." Compare what the Austrian Inquisitor says of the "Brethren"
in the thirteenth century, with what Johann Kessler tells about the
Anabaptists of St. Gallen, and the resemblance is striking so far as
external appearance goes. "Hæretici cognoscuntur per mores et verba,"
says the Inquisitor. "Sunt enim in moribus compositi et modesti;
superbiam in vestibus non habent, nec pretiosis, nec multum abjectis
utuntur.... Doctores etiam ipsorum sunt sutores et textores. Divitias
non multiplicant, sed necessariis sunt contenti. Casti etiam sunt....
Temperati etiam in cibo et potu. Ad tabernas non eunt, nec ad choreas,
nec ad alias vanitates. Ab ira se cohibent; semper operantur, discunt
vel docent, et ideo parum orant.... Cognoscuntur etiam in verbis
præcisis et modestis. Cavent etiam a scurrilitate et detractione, et
verborum levitate, et mendacio, et juramento."[614] Kessler tells us
that the walk and conversation of these Anabaptists was "throughout
pious, holy, and blameless"; that they refrained from wearing costly
apparel, despised luxurious eating and drinking, clothed themselves in
rough cloth, wore slouch hats on their heads. Franck relates that they
refused to frequent wine-shops and the "gild" rooms where dances were

As they lived again the life of these mediæval sectaries, so they
reproduced their opinions in the same sporadic way. Some of them
objected to all war even in self-defence, as did some of the earlier
Lollards. Their Lord had said to His first disciples: "Go your ways:
behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves." They flung
from them the sword, with which peasant and artisan were then alike
girt, and went about as the apostles were ordered to do, with staves in
their hands--the _Stäbler_ or _staffmen_ who would have nothing to do
with the weapons of wolves. Others, also like some of the Lollards,
would not enter the "huge stone houses with great glass windows which
men called 'churches.'" The early Christians had preached and "broken
bread" in houses; and they would follow their example; and in private
rooms, in the streets, in the market-places, they proclaimed their
gospel of peace and contentment. The infinitesimal number who taught
something like "free love," and who were repudiated by the others, were
reproducing the vagaries of the mediæval _Brethren and Sisters of the
Free Spirit_, who gave Meister Eckhart so much trouble centuries before
in the Rhineland. All the more extravagant ideas and practices which
appear among small sections of these Anabaptists of the sixteenth
century can be found among the sectaries of the Middle Ages. For the
whole Anabaptist movement was mediæval to the core; and, like most of
the mediæval religious awakenings, produced an infinite variety of
opinions and practices. The one idea common to all was, that the
Christians of the sixteenth century were called to reproduce in thought
and life the intellectual beliefs and usages of the primitive
Christians. It is simply impossible to give any account of opinions and
practices which were _universally_ prevalent among them. Even the most
widely spread usages, adult baptism and the "breaking of bread," were
not adopted in all the divisions of the Anabaptists.

What is more, they were modern enough, at least in the earlier stages of
the movement, to be conscious of this (which the Mystics were not), and
to give it expression. All felt and thought as did a "simple man," Hans
Müller of Medikon, when brought before the Zurich magistrates: "Do not
lay a burden on my conscience, for faith is a gift given freely by God,
and is not common property. The mystery of God lies hidden, like the
treasure in the field, which no one can find but he to whom the Spirit
shows it. So I beg you, ye servants of God, let my faith stand
free."[615] And the Anabaptists, alone of all the religious parties in
those strenuous times, seem to have recognised that what they claimed
for themselves they were bound to grant to others. Great differences in
opinion did not prevent the strictest brotherly fellowship. Hans Denck
held a doctrine of non-resistance as thoroughgoing as that of Count
Tolstoy, and fully recognised the practical consequences to which it
led. But this did not prevent the ardent and gifted young Humanist
working loyally with Hübmaier, who did not share his extreme opinions.
The divergences among the leaders appeared in their followers without
destroying the sense of brotherhood. Franck tells us in his
_Chronicle_[616] that some, but very few, held that no Christian could
enter the magistracy, for Christians had nothing to do with the sword,
but only with spiritual excommunication, and that no Christian should
fight and slay. The others, he says, including the very great majority,
believed that Christians might become magistrates, and that in case of
dire necessity and when they clearly saw the leading of God, might take
their share in fighting as soldiers.

Melchior Hoffman, while he believed in the incarnation, held that Jesus
received His flesh directly from God, and did not owe His body to the
Virgin Mother, through whom He passed "as light through a pane of
glass." He also held that the whole history of the world, down to the
last days, was revealed in Scripture, and could be discovered through
prayer and meditation. He was an eloquent and persuasive preacher, and
his views were accepted by many; but it would be a great mistake to
assume that they were shared in by the Anabaptists as a community. Yet
even contemporaries, who were opponents, usually attribute the extreme
opinions of a few to the entire body.

It ought to be observed that this tolerance of different opinions within
the one society did not extend to those who remained true to the State
Churches, whether Romanist or Reformed. The Anabaptists would have
nothing to do with a State Church; and this was the main point in their
separation from the Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinists. It was
perhaps the _one_ conception on which all parties among them were in
absolute accord. The real Church, which might be small or great, was for
them an association of believing people; and the great ecclesiastical
institutions into which unconscious infants were admitted by a ceremony
called baptism long before they could have or exercise faith,
represented to them an idea subversive of true Christianity. They had no
wish to persecute men who differed widely from them, but they would not
associate with them. This enforced "separation," like everything else
connected with Anabaptism, differed considerably in the way in which it
was carried into practice. In some of the smaller sections it appeared
in very extravagant forms. Wives and husbands, Anabaptists whose
partners belonged to the State Churches, were in some small sections
advised to refuse cohabitation. It is more than probable that some
recorded sayings on which opponents have founded charges of encouraging
sexual irregularities,--that it was better for women to have connection
irregularly with members of the brotherhood than to cohabit with
unbelieving husbands,--were simply extravagant ways of expressing this
duty of separation.

It is also true that as time went on and sects of extreme opinions
multiplied, the excommunication of members for their views came to be a
common practice. It was as frequent among some of the smaller divisions
as it is among modern Plymouth Brethren; but the occasion was, as a
rule, difference of opinion about the way to express and exercise the
duty of not returning evil for evil--was it permitted to pay taxes or
not? was it lawful to see without protest their protectors using force
to prevent their enemies from attacking them, etc.?

The earlier ideas of non-resistance, whatever practical shape they might
take, gave way before the continuous and terrible persecution which the
Anabaptists had to endure. They were first definitely condemned by
Melchior Hoffman and his followers. They believed in the speedy
establishment on earth of the millennial kingdom of Christ, and they
declared that they were ready to fight for it when it appeared. With
them the conception was simply a pious opinion, and they had no occasion
to reduce it to action. The Anabaptists, however, who followed the
teaching of Jan Matthys and of his disciple Jan Bockelson, repudiated
passive resistance both in theory and in practice.

Of course, there are many things about some, perhaps all, great
religious awakenings which critics can lay hold of to their
disparagement; and it was so with the Anabaptist movement. Everything,
from the scientific frame of mind to the religious sensibility, has the
defects of its qualities. When a man is seized and possessed by a new
spiritual emotion which seems to lift him above all previous experience
of life or of thought, all things are new to him, and all things seem
possible. His old life with its limitations has departed. He is embarked
on a sea which has no imprisoning shores. He is carried along on a great
current of emotion, and others are borne with him. Human deep calleth
unto deep when they exchange confidences. He and his fellows have become
new creatures; and that is almost all that they know about themselves.
Such experiences are quite consistent with soundness of mind and
clearness of vision of God and Divine things--that is usual; but
sometimes they are too powerful for the imperfect mind which holds them.
The converts are "puffed up," as St. Paul said. Then arise morbid
states, distorted vision, sometimes actual shipwreck of mental
faculties, not seldom acute religious mania. Leaders in a great
religious awakening have always to reckon with such developments--St.
Paul, Francis of Assisi, Eckhart, Tauler, to say nothing of modern
instances. The Apostle addressed morbid souls with severe sarcasm. Did
any man really think, he asked, that to commit incest, to take to wife
his father's widow, was an example of the freedom with which Christ had
made them free?

The Anabaptist movement had its share of such cases, like other
religious movements; they grew more frequent as the unfortunate people
were maddened by persecution; and these exceptional incidents are
invariably retailed at length by historians hostile to the movement.

The Anabaptists, as a whole, were subjected to persecutions, especially
from the Romanists and the Lutherans, much more harsh than befell any of
the religious parties of the sixteenth century. Their treatment in
Zurich may be taken as an example of how they came in contact with the
civil authorities, and how their treatment grew in severity.[617]

The Swiss Anabaptists were in no sense disciples of Zwingli. They had
held their distinctive principles and were a recognised community long
before Zwingli came from Einsiedeln, and were the lineal descendants of
the mediæval Waldenses. They welcomed the Reformer; some of them were in
the company who challenged the authorities by eating meat during Lent in
1522; but a fundamental difference soon emerged. After the Public
Disputation of 1523, when it became clear that Zurich meant to accept
the Reformation, a deputation of the _Brethren_ appeared before the
Council to urge their idea of what a Reformed Church should be. Their
statement of principles is an exposition of the fundamental conceptions
which lay at the basis of the whole Anabaptist movement, and explains
why they could not join either the Lutheran or the Reformed branch of
the Reformation Church. They insisted that an Evangelical Church must
differ from the Roman Church in this among other things, that it should
consist of members who had made a personal profession of faith in their
Saviour, and who had vowed to live in obedience to Jesus Christ their
_Hauptmann_. It could not be like a State Church, whether Romanist or
other, to which people belonged without any individual profession of
faith. They insisted that the Church, thus formed, should be free from
all civil control, to decide for itself what doctrines and ceremonies of
worship were founded on the Word of God, and agreeable thereto, and
should make this decision according to the opinions of a majority of the
members. They further asked that the Church should be free to exercise,
by brotherly admonition and, as a last resort, by excommunication,
discipline on such of its members as offended against the moral law.
They also declared that the Church which thus rejected State control
ought to refuse State support, and proposed that the tithes should be
secularised. The New Testament, they said, knew nothing about interest
and usury, tithes, livings, and prebends.

These views were quite opposed to the ideas of the Zurich Council, who
contemplated a State Church reformed from Romanist abuses, but strictly
under the control of the State, and supported by the tithes, as the
mediæval Church had been. They refused to adopt the ideas of the
Anabaptists; and this was the beginning of the antagonism. The Council
found that the great majority of the petitioners had doubts about infant
baptism, and were inclined to what are now called Baptist views; and
they brought matters to a crisis by ordering a Public Disputation on
Baptism (Jan. 17th, 1525). Among the Anabaptists who appeared to defend
their principles, were young Conrad Grebel the Humanist, Felix Manz, and
Brother Jörg from Jacob's House, a conventual establishment near Chur,
who is always called "Blaurock" (Blue-coat). They were opposed by
Zwingli, who insisted that infant baptism must be maintained, because it
took the place of circumcision. The Council decided that Zwingli's
contention was right, and they made it a _law_ that _all children must
be baptized_, and added that all persons who refused to have their
children baptized after Feb. 1st, 1525, were to be arrested. The
Anabaptists were not slow to answer the challenge thus given. They met,
and after deliberation and prayer Blaurock asked Conrad Grebel to
baptize him in a truly Christian fashion, "there being no ordained
person present," and Grebel did so. "When this had been done the others
entreated Blaurock to baptize them, which he did; and in deep fear of
the Lord they gave themselves to God." They resolved to preach and
baptize, because in this they ought to obey God rather than men.[618]

When the Council heard that adult baptism had begun, they enacted that
all who had been rebaptized after Feb. 8th (1525) were to be fined a
silver mark, and that whoever was baptized after the issue of their
decree should be banished. They also imprisoned the leaders. When they
found that neither fines, nor threats, nor imprisonment, nor banishment
had any effect on the Anabaptists, the Town Council thought to terrify
them by a death sentence. Two were selected, Manz and Blaurock. The
latter was not a citizen, and the sentence of death was commuted to one
of public scourging and being thrust out of the town; but Felix Manz, a
townsman, was put to death by drowning (1527). Zwingli insisted that
this judicial murder was not done because of baptism, but because of

What was done in Reformed Switzerland was seen all over Roman Catholic
and Lutheran Germany. It is only fair to say that the persecution was
more murderous within the Romanist districts; but the only Lutheran
Prince who refused to permit a death penalty on Anabaptism was Philip of
Hesse. He was afterwards joined by the Elector of Saxony.

In 1527 (Aug. 26th), the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria published an
imperial mandate threatening all Anabaptists with the punishment of
death. Two months later, two thousand copies of this proclamation were
sent to the provinces of the German Empire, calling on the authorities
to extirpate these unfortunate people. The rulers in Salzburg and in
the Tyrol obeyed the order at once, and a fierce persecution soon raged.
The minds of the population were inflamed by infamous calumnies. It was
said in Salzburg that the Anabaptists had planned to massacre all the
priests and monks within the principality. The well-known dislike of the
brethren to war was tortured into the accusation that on a Turkish
invasion they would side with the enemy against all loyal Germans. A
certain Leopold Dickius, who wrote an atrocious book against the
Anabaptists, demanded that all the men should be slain and the women and
children suffered to perish from starvation; in this way only, he said,
could their errors be stamped out.

The Salzburg chronicler, Kilian Leib, a Romanist, gives details of the
persecution. He tells us that men, women, and young maidens suffered
death by fire, beheading, and drowning, not only uncomplainingly, but
with solemn joy. He dwells on the case of "a beautiful young girl" of
sixteen, whose gentle innocence excited universal compassion, and who
utterly refused to recant. The executioner pinned her hands to her
sides, plunged her head downwards into a horse trough, held her there
till she was suffocated, and then took her body away to burn it. The
official lists show that the victims came from all classes in society.
Noblemen, girdle-makers, wallet-makers, shoemakers, a town clerk, and

The persecution in the Tyrol was severe and thorough. A large number of
the miners of the district were Anabaptists, and it was resolved to root
out the so-called heresy. Descriptions were published of prominent
Anabaptists, who wandered from place to place encouraging their brethren
to steadfastness. "One named Mayerhofer has a long brown beard and wears
a grey soldier's coat; a companion, tall and pale, wears a long black
coat with trimming; a third is shorter; a fourth, thin and of a ruddy
complexion, is known as a cutler." Conrad Braun, an assessor to the
imperial Chamber and an eye-witness to the persecutions, wrote,--"I have
seen with my own eyes that nothing has been able to bring back the
Anabaptists from their errors or to make them recant. The hardest
imprisonment, hunger, fire, water, the sword, all sorts of frightful
executions, have not been able to shake them. I have seen young people,
men, women, go to the stake singing, filled with joy; and I can say that
in the course of my whole life nothing has moved me more."[619] In the
Tyrol and Görz the number of executions by the year 1531 amounted to a
thousand, according to the chronicler Kirchmayr. Sebastian Franck
reckons the number in Enisheim, within the government of Upper Austria,
at six hundred. Seventy-three martyrs suffered in Linz within six weeks.
The persecution in Bavaria was particularly severe; Duke William ordered
that those who recanted were to be beheaded, and those who refused were
to be burned. The general practice, made a law by Ferdinand of Austria
in 1529 (April 23rd), was that only preachers, baptizers, Baptists who
refused to recant, and those who had relapsed after recantation, were to
be punished with death.[620]

In these bloody persecutions, which raged over almost all Europe, most
of the earlier leaders of the Anabaptists perished; but the great body
of their followers were neither intimidated nor disposed to abjure their
teaching. Persecution did not come unexpectedly. No one was admitted
into an Anabaptist community without being warned of the probable fate
which lay before him. Baptism was a vow that he would be constant unto
death; the "breaking of bread" strengthened his faith; the sermon was
full of exhortations to endurance unto the end. Their whole service of
worship was a preparation for and an expectation of martyrdom.

The strain of Christian song seemed to rise higher with the fires of
persecution. Most of the Anabaptist hymns belong to the time when their
sufferings were greatest. Some are simply histories of a martyrdom, as
of Jörg Wagner at Munich, or of the "Seven Brethren at Germünd." They
are all echoes of endurance where the notes of the sob, the trust, the
warning, the hosanna of a time of martyrdom, blend in rough heroic
strains. They sing of Christ, who in these last days has manifested
Himself that the pure word of His Gospel may again run through the earth
as it did in the days of the early Church. They tell how the arch-enemy
of souls seeks to protect himself against the advancing host of Jesus by
exciting bloody persecutions. They utter warnings against false
prophets, ravening wolves in sheep's clothing, who beset all the paths
of life leading towards the true fold, who pour forth threats and curses
against the people of God, and urge on the rulers of this world to
torture and to slay. They depict how the evil world storms against the
true Church, shrieks out lies against the true followers of Jesus, and
threatens them with burnings and all manner of cruel deaths. They mourn
that the disciples of Jesus are slaughtered like sheep who have lost
their shepherd; that they wander in wildernesses full of thorns that
tear; that they have their homes like the night-birds among the cliffs
or in the clefts of the rocks; that they are snared in the nets of the
fowler; that they are hunted with hounds like the hares. Others,
inspired by the internal hope which lives undying in every Christian
heart, tell how Christ the Bridegroom seeks the love of the soul His
bride, and how He wins her to Himself by His love-gifts of trial and of
suffering, till at last the marriage feast is held, and the soul becomes
wholly united to her Lord. The thoughts and phrases of the old Hebrew
prophets, of the Psalmist, of the hymns of the Apocalypse, which have
fed the fears and the hopes of longing, suffering, trusting generations
of Christian people, reappear in those Anabaptist hymns. Life is for
them a continuous Holy War, a Pilgrim's Progress through an evil world
full of snares, of dangers, of temptations, until at last the weary
feet tread the Delectable Mountains, the River of Death is passed, and
the open gates of the heavenly Jerusalem receive the wayfarer who has
persevered to the end.

These poor persecuted people naturally sought for some city of refuge,
_i.e._ a municipality or district where baptism of children was not
enforced under penalties, and where the rebaptism of adults was not
punished by imprisonment, torture, and death. For a time they found many
such asylums. The Anabaptists were for the most part good workmen, and
patient and provident cultivators of the soil, ready to pay all dues but
the unscriptural war-tax. They were a source of wealth to many a great
landed proprietor who was willing to allow them to live their lives in
peace. Moravia, East Friesland, and, among the municipalities, Augsburg,
Worms, and Strassburg gave shelter until the slow determined pressure of
the higher authorities of the Empire compelled them to act otherwise.
All that the Anabaptists desired was to be allowed to live in peace, and
we hear of no great disturbances caused by their presence in any of
these "cities of refuge."

This brings us to what has been called "The Kingdom of God in Münster,"
and to the behaviour of the Anabaptists there--the communism, polygamy,
and so forth, which are described in all histories of the times.

Münster was the capital of the large and important ecclesiastical
principality which bears the same name. The bishop was a Prince of the
German Empire, and ruled his principality with all the rights of a
secular prince. Clergy filled almost all the important posts of
government; they levied taxes on imports and exports; the rich canonries
of the cathedral were reserved for the sons of the landed gentry; the
townspeople had no share in the richer benefices, and chafed under their
clerical rulers. The citizens lived in a state of almost permanent
disaffection, and their discontent had frequently taken the form of
civic insurrections. They rose in 1525, in 1527 (in which year the name
of a wealthy burgher, Bernardin Knipperdolling, first appears as a
leader of his fellow-citizens), and in 1529, the dreadful year of famine
and plague.[621] Many have been disposed to see in these _emeutes_,
anticipations of the struggle which followed; but nothing in the sources
warrants the conclusion. They were simply examples of the discontent of
the unprivileged classes which had been common enough in Germany for at
least a century.

The city of Münster had been slow to receive the religious Reformation,
but in 1529 the people began to listen to the preaching of an obscure
young chaplain attached to the Church of St. Maurice, built outside the
walls of the town.[622] Bernhard Rothmann was a scholar, imbued with
Humanist culture, gifted with the power of clear reasoning, and with
natural eloquence. It is probable that he had early been attracted by
the teaching of Luther;[623] but while he dwelt upon justification by
faith, his sermons were full of that sympathy for the down-trodden
toiling masses of the community which was a permanent note in all
Anabaptist teaching. His sermons were greatly appreciated by the
townsfolk, especially by the artisans, who streamed out of the gate to
hear the young chaplain of St. Maurice. Was he not one of themselves,
the son of a poor smith! The cathedral Canons, who, in the absence of
the Bishop, had the oversight of all ecclesiastical affairs, grew
alarmed at his popularity. Their opportunity for interference came when
the mob, excited, they said, by Rothmann's denunciations of relic and
image worship, profaned the altars, tore the pictures, and destroyed the
decorations in St. Maurice on the eve of Good Friday, 1531. Rothmann's
influence with the townsmen might have enabled him to defy the Canons,
especially as the Prince Bishop, Friedrich von Wied, showed no
inclination to molest the chaplain, and was himself suspected of
Evangelical sympathies. But he quietly left the town and spent a year in
travelling. He visited Wittenberg, where he made the acquaintance of
Luther, Melanchthon, and Bugenhagen; went to Marburg, Speyer, and
Strassburg. At Strassburg he had long intercourse with Capito and with
Schwenkfeld the Mystic, who is frequently classed with the Anabaptists.
An irresistible impulse seems to have drawn him back to Münster, where
he was welcomed by the people, and the church of St. Maurice became
henceforth the centre of a movement for religious Reformation; the
preacher was supported by the "gilds" of artisans and by most of the
citizens, among whom the most noted was Bernhard Knipperdolling.

An energetic protest by the Canons induced the Bishop to inhibit
Rothmann from preaching in St. Maurice. He continued his addresses in
the churchyard of St. Lambert (Feb. 18th, 1532), and a few days later he
was placed in possession of the church itself. St. Lambert's had been
built by the municipality, and was the property of the town. Rothmann
was appointed by the Town Council Evangelical preacher to the town, and
was given one of the town's "gild" houses for a parsonage.

Two months later the Bishop resigned, and was succeeded by Duke Erich of
Brunswick-Grubenhagen, already Bishop of Osnabrück and Paderborn. The
new Bishop determined to get rid of Rothmann. He made representations
to Hesse and Electoral Saxony and other Evangelical Powers, and
persuaded them to induce the more moderate of the reforming party in
Münster to abandon Rothmann; and, this done, the preacher was ordered to
leave the city. The "gilds" of artisans refused to let their preacher
depart, and, under the leadership of Knipperdolling,[624] drafted a
letter to the authorities declaring their determination to retain him at
all hazards. The democracy of Münster and the religious movement for the
first time openly combined against the authorities of the city.

While things were at this pass, the Bishop died (May 13th, 1532). The
Chapter elected (June 1st) Count Franz von Waldeck, already in
possession of Minden, and made Bishop of Osnabrück a few days later
(June 11th)--a pluralist of the first rank. The reforming party in
Münster expected the worst from their new ruler. A full assembly of the
"gilds" of the town was held, and by an overwhelming majority the
members pledged themselves to defend their pastor and his Gospel with
body and goods while life lasted. A committee of thirty-six burghers was
elected to watch the course of events and to take counsel with the civic
rulers and the presidents of the "gilds." Rothmann published _theses_
explaining his teaching, and challenging objectors to a public
disputation. Public meetings were held; the Town Council was formally
requested to hand over all the parochial churches to Evangelical
preachers; which was done--the Cathedral alone remaining for Roman
Catholic worship.

These proceedings produced unavailing remonstrances from the Bishop. The
nobles in the neighbourhood tried to interfere, but to no purpose. In
October (1532) the Bishop's party within the town began to take action.
They attempted to sequester the goods of the more prominent disaffected
citizens; chains were placed across the principal streets to prevent
communication between the different quarters; an attempt was made to
isolate the town itself. These things meant war. The "gilds," always a
military organisation in mediæval cities, armed. A party of knights sent
to invade the town retired before the armed citizens. While the Bishop
sought to strengthen himself by alliances and to beguile the townsmen by
negotiation, a thousand armed burghers marched by night to the little
township of Telgte, where a large number of the ecclesiastical and
secular nobles were encamped, surrounded it, captured the Bishop's
partisans, and returned to hold them as hostages. This act afforded the
occasion for the intervention of Philip of Hesse. An arrangement was
come to by which Münster was declared to be an Evangelical city and
enrolled within the Schmalkald League. The history of Münster up to this
time (Feb. 14th, 1533) did not differ from that of many towns which had
adopted the Reformation. Rothmann had been the leader in Münster, like
Brenz in Hall, Alber in Reutlingen, or Lachmann at Heilbron.

It is usually assumed that up to this time Rothmann was a Lutheran in
his teaching, that he had won Münster for the great Lutheran party, and
that his future aberrations from the Evangelical theology were due to
his weakness before the Anabaptist mob who later invaded the city. This
seems to be a mere assumption. He had certainly taught justification by
faith; but that did not make him a Lutheran. The dividing line between
the various classes of objectors to the Roman Catholic theology in the
sixteenth century was drawn at the meaning of the Sacraments, and
especially of the Lord's Supper. There is absolutely no evidence to show
that Rothmann was ever a follower of Luther in his theory of the Holy
Supper. He had visited Luther and Melanchthon during his year of
absence from Münster, but they had never been quite sure of him. He has
confessed that it was at Strassburg and not at Wittenberg that he got
most help for his future work and received it from Capito, who was no
Lutheran, and from Schwenkfeld, who was an Anabaptist Mystic. It was
Strassburg and not Wittenberg that he called "the crown of all Christian
cities and Churches!" In his confession of faith he says that the Mass
is no sacrifice, but only a sign of the true Sacrifice; and that the
Mass and the Lord's Supper have _no other meaning_ than to remind us of
the death of Christ, and to awaken in our hearts a certainty of the
freely given grace of God. That is not Lutheran doctrine, it is not even
Zwinglian; it is much nearer the Anabaptist. It is also pretty clear
that he held the doctrine of the "inner light" in the sense of many
Anabaptists. It may be safely said that if Rothmann was not an
Anabaptist from the beginning, his was a mind prepared to accept their
doctrines almost as soon as they were clearly presented to him. Heinrich
Roll, a fugitive from Jülich who sought refuge in Münster, convinced
Rothmann of the unlawfulness of infant baptism. No sooner had this
conviction laid hold on him than he refused to baptize infants--for
Rothmann was always straightforward. His views annoyed a large number of
the leading citizens, prominent among whom was Van der Wieck, the syndic
of the town. These men, all Lutherans, besieged their pastor with
remonstrances, and finally brought him before the Town Council. The
matter came to a head on Sept. 7th (1533), when Staprade, the assistant
preacher at St. Lambert's, refused to baptize the children of two
Lutheran members of the Town Council who had been brought to the church
for the purpose. When the preachers were brought before the Council,
they were informed that such things would not be allowed. Staprade, the
chief offender and a non-burgher, was banished, and Rothmann with the
other clergy who agreed with him were threatened with the same fate if
they persisted in declining to baptize infants. They refused to obey
the Council; they were promptly deposed, and their churches were closed
against them. But the mass of the citizens were attached to Rothmann,
and their attitude became too threatening for the Magistrates to
maintain their uncompromising position. Rothmann was permitted to
remain, and was allowed to preach in the Church of St. Servatius. The
Lutheran Magistrates brought preachers into the town to occupy the other
places of worship.

The Magistrates, Van der Wieck being the leading spirit among them,
resolved to hold a public disputation on the subject of Baptism. They
had brought to Münster the famous Humanist, Hermann von dem Busche, now
a professor in Marburg and a distinguished defender of the Lutheran
Reformation, and they counted on his known learning and eloquence to
convince their fellow-citizens that the views of Rothmann were
unscriptural. The conference was to be perfectly free. Roman Catholic
theologians were invited, and took part. Rothmann appeared to defend his
position. The invitations had been signed not only by the Magistrates,
but by the heads of the "gilds" of the town.[625] Van der Wieck
confessed that the result of the disputation was not what he expected.
So far as the great mass of the people were concerned, Rothmann appeared
to have the best of the argument, and he stood higher than ever in the
estimation of the citizens. Rothmann, whose whole career shows that
opposition made him more and more advanced, now began to dwell upon the
wrongs of the commonalty and the duty of the rich to do much more for
their poorer brethren than they did. He taught by precept as well as
example. He lived an openly ascetic life, that he might abound in
charity. His sermons and his life had an extraordinary effect on the
rich as well as on the poor. Creditors forgave debtors, men placed sums
of money in the hands of Rothmann for distribution. There was no
enforced communism, but the example of primitive Church in Jerusalem
was followed as far as possible. Among these thoroughgoing followers of
Rothmann, a wealthy lady, the mother-in-law of Bernardin Knipperdolling,
was conspicuous.

The Magistrates became seriously alarmed at the condition of things.
They knew that so long as they remained a Lutheran municipality, even
nominally, the great Lutheran Princes, like Philip of Hesse and the
Elector of Saxony, would protect them against their Romanist Bishop; but
Lutherans and Romanists alike disliked and distrusted Anabaptists, and
the imperial edict would surely be enforced against them sooner or
later. Rothmann's preaching, which they could not control, and the power
he exercised through the "gilds," made it impossible for them to
maintain that Münster was a member of the confederacy of Lutheran
cities. On the other hand, the news that Münster had practically become
Anabaptist, spread far and wide among these persecuted people, who began
to think that it was destined to be a conspicuous city of refuge,
perhaps the Zion or New Jerusalem whose establishment Melchior Hoffman
had predicted. They gathered from all parts to place themselves under
the protection of its walls. The great majority naturally came from the
Netherlands, where the persecution was hottest. The refugees were almost
all _Melchiorites_--men who looked for a speedy termination of their
sufferings in the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth;
and the majority of them were Dutch _Melchiorites_, men to whom freedom
was a tradition, ready to fight for it, disciples of Jan Matthys, who
had taught them to abandon the doctrine of passive resistance so
universally held by all sections of the earlier Anabaptists.[626]
Rothmann had long been acquainted with the books and tracts of Hoffman,
and had great sympathy with them. He as well as the Magistrates foresaw
trouble for himself and for the city. He went the length of advising
friends who did not share his opinions to leave the town; for himself,
his manifest duty appeared to be to risk all on behalf of the poor
people whom God had given into his hand.

The last months of 1532 saw Rothmann and the Lutheran Town Council
facing each other with growing mutual suspicion. On Dec. 8th, a
journeyman smith, Johann Schröder, began preaching Anabaptist doctrines
in the churchyard of St. Lambert's, and challenged the Lutheran pastor,
Fabricius, to a disputation. This was more than the Town Council could
endure. They prohibited Rothmann preaching, and declared that they
withdrew their protection--a sentence of virtual outlawry (Dec. 11th).
He calmly told the messenger of the Council that he depended on the help
of higher powers than his masters, and preached publicly in the Church
of St. Servatius. Schröder had begun to preach again, and was
apprehended. The "gild" of the smiths rose, and, headed by their
officials, forced the Council to release their comrade. The Anabaptists
and Rothmann had won a notable triumph, which was soon widely known.
Banished Anabaptist pastors returned to the town.

Events marched quickly thereafter. Bartholomaeus Boekbinder and Willem
de Kuiper, sent by Jan Matthys, appeared in Münster (Jan. 5th, 1533). We
can infer what their message was from what followed. Rothmann denounced
the Council and its Lutheran preachers. Riots were the consequence, many
of the rioters being women, among whom the nuns of the Überwasser
convent were conspicuous. It was declared that all believers ought to be
rebaptized, and that a list of the faithful ought to be made. The
document contained fourteen hundred names within eight days. The mass of
the people enthusiastically believed in the near approach of the Day of
the Lord.

Soon afterwards (Jan. 13th, 1533), Jan Bockelson (John of Leyden)
entered the town. He was the favourite disciple and _alter ego_ of Jan
Matthys. He brought with him the famous Twenty-one Articles, and called
upon the faithful to unite themselves into a compact organisation
pledged to carry them out. He was received with enthusiasm.

The Council, feeling their helplessness, appealed to the Bishop, who
contented himself with ordering them to execute the imperial mandate
against Anabaptists. He was as much incensed against the Lutherans as
against the Anabaptists, and hoped that the two parties would destroy
themselves. Within the town, Anabaptists fought with the combined
Evangelicals and Romanists, and on two occasions the tumults were
succeeded by truces which guaranteed full liberty of worship to all
persons (Jan. 28th and Feb. 9th). Then the Council abandoned the
struggle. The principal Burgomaster, Tylbeck, was baptized, and Van der
Wieck, with many of the principal citizens, left the town. Van der Wieck
fell into the hands of the Bishop, who slaughtered him barbarously.

A new Council, entirely Anabaptist, was elected, with Bernardin
Knipperdolling and Gerhard Kibbenbroick, a leading merchant, as
Burgomasters (Feb. 28th). The complete rule of the Anabaptists had
begun. This date also marks the beginning of the investment of the city
by the Bishop's troops. It should never be forgotten, as it frequently
is, that during the _whole_ period of Anabaptist domination in Münster
the town was undergoing the perils of a siege, and that military
considerations _had_ to be largely kept in mind. Nor should it be
forgotten that during its existence the Bishop's troops were murdering
in cold blood every Anabaptist they could lay their hands on.

Jan Matthys himself had come to Münster some time in February, urged
thereto by a letter from Bockelson, and the citizens had become
accustomed to see the long lean figure of the prophet, with his piercing
eyes and flowing black beard, pass to and fro in their streets. They had
learned to hang breathless on his words as his sonorous voice repeated
the message which the Lord had given him to utter, or described the
visions which had been vouchsafed to him. When an Anabaptist Council
ruled the city they were but the mouthpiece of the prophet. His reign
was brief, but while it lasted he issued command after command.

Separation from the world was one of the ideas he dwelt upon in his
addresses; and to him this meant that no unbelievers, no unbaptized,
could remain within the walls of an Anabaptist city. The command went
forth that all adults must be baptized or leave the town. It is scarcely
to be wondered that, with the great likelihood of falling into the hands
of the Bishop's soldiers as soon as they got beyond the walls, the great
majority of those who had not yet received the seal of the new communion
submitted to the ceremony. They were marched to the market-place, where
they found "three or more" Anabaptist preachers, each with a great
vessel full of water before them. The neophytes knelt down, received the
usual admonition, and a dish of water was thrice emptied on their heads
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This done, they
went to the Burgomaster's house and had their names entered on the

It was also by Matthys' orders that what is called the communism of
Münster was begun. The duty of systematic and brotherly charity had from
the first been an outstanding one among the Anabaptists. Like all other
principles which find immediate outcome in action, this one of brotherly
love had found many ways of taking actual shape. In a few of the smaller
sections of the brethren it had appeared in the form of communism so far
as food and raiment went. In some of the communities in Moravia the
Brethren subscribed to a common fund out of which common meals were
provided; and these payments were compulsory. We have seen how
Rothmann's sermons had produced an extraordinary outburst of benevolence
in Münster before the coming of the prophets. It does not appear that
Matthys' commands went further than the exhortations of Rothmann.
Münster was a beleaguered city. When the siege began it contained about
seventeen hundred men, between five and six thousand women, besides
thousands of children. The largest proportion of these were refugees. It
is evident that numbers could not support themselves, but were
absolutely dependent upon the charity of their neighbours. The preachers
invited the faithful to give up their money, and what provisions they
could spare to feed the poverty striken. Large numbers thus appealed to
brought all their portable property; others gave part; some refused, and
were denounced publicly. The provisions stored in the monasteries or in
private houses abandoned by their proprietors--were taken for the common
good. When the siege had lasted long, and the enemy were deliberately
starving the inhabitants into surrender, the communism in food became
stricter, as is the case in any beleaguered fortress. No attempt was
ever made to institute a thoroughgoing communism. What existed at first
was simply an abundant Christian charity enforced by public
opinion,[628] and latterly a requisitioning of everything that could be
used to support the whole population of a besieged city.

Jan Matthys did not long survive his coming to Münster. On the evening
of the 4th of April, as he sat at supper in a friend's house, he was
observed to spend long minutes in brooding. At last, sighing heavily, he
was heard to ejaculate, "Loved Father, not my will but Thine be done."
He rose quietly from his seat, shook hands with all his companions,
solemnly kissed each one; then left the house in silence, accompanied by
his wife. Next day with about twenty companions he went out by one of
the gates of the city, fell fiercely on the enemy, was overpowered by
numbers, and received his death-stroke. A religious enthusiast and a
singularly straightforward and courageous man!

His death depressed the defenders of Münster greatly; but they were
rallied by the persuasive eloquence of Jan Bockelson, the favourite
disciple of the dead prophet. It was under the leadership of
Bockelson--Jan of Leyden he was called--that the Town Council of Münster
was abolished; that twelve elders were chosen to rule the people; that
Jan himself became king, and had his Court; that the old miracle plays
were revived, etc. The only one of the many actions of this highly
talented and eloquent young Dutchman which need concern us was the
institution of polygamy, for which he seems to have been almost solely

Polygamy is the one dark stain on the Anabaptists of Münster, and one
that is ineffaceable. Not unnaturally, yet quite unjustly, the fact of
its institution has been used continually to blacken the character of
the whole movement. It was an episode, a lamentable one, in the history
of Anabaptism in Münster; it had nothing to do with the brethren outside
the town. The whole question presents difficulties which, with our
present information, cannot be removed. That men whose whole past lives
had been examples of the most correct moral behaviour, and who had been
influenced by deep and earnest religious feelings, should suddenly (for
it was sudden) have given the lie to their own previous teaching and to
the tenets of every separate section of Anabaptism, that they should
have sullied the last few months of an heroic and desperate defence
within a doomed city by the institution of polygamy, is an insoluble

We are not now dependent for our knowledge of the Anabaptist movement
on the writings of embittered opponents, or upon such tainted sources as
confessions of martyrs wrung from them under torture. The diligence of
archæologists has exhumed a long list of writings of the leaders in the
rising. They give us trustworthy accounts of the opinions and teachings
of almost every sect classed under the common name. We know what they
thought about all the more important matters which were in controversy
during the sixteenth century--what they taught about Free Will, Original
Sin, Justification, the Trinity, the Person of Christ, and so on. We
have clear glimpses of the kind of lives they led--a genuinely pious,
self-denying, Christian walk and conversation. Their teaching was often
at variance with the Romanist and the Lutheran doctrinal confessions;
but they never varied from the moral life which all Christians are
called upon to live. Their writings seldom refer to marriage; but when
they do it is always to bear witness to the universal and deeply rooted
Christian sentiment that marriage is a sacred and unbreakable union of
one man with one woman. Nay more, one document has descended to us which
bears testimony to the teaching of the Anabaptists within the
beleaguered city only a few weeks before the proclamation of polygamy.
It is entitled _Bekentones des globens und lebens der gemein Criste zu
Monster_,[630] and was meant to be an answer to calumnies circulated by
their enemies. It contains a paragraph on Marriage which is a clear and
distinct assertion that the only Christian marriage is the unbreakable
union of one man with one woman.[631]

It is true that the Anabaptist thought of "separation," when carried out
in its most extreme way and to its utmost logical consequences, struck a
blow at the sanctity of the marriage tie. All taught that the
"believer," _i.e._ he or she who had been rebaptized, ought to keep
themselves separate from the "world," _i.e._ those who had not submitted
to rebaptism; and in the more extreme sects it was alleged that this
meant that spouses ought not to cohabit with "unbelieving" partners.
This was held and practised among the _Melchiorites_, and was stated in
its extremest form in the Twenty-one Rules sent to Münster by Jan
Matthys by the hand of Bockelson. They contained two prescriptions--one
for the unmarried, which exhorted them only to marry in the Lord;
another for the married, which implies that marriage contracted between
husband and wife before rebaptism ought to be repeated. This meant that
marriages contracted by persons yet "in the world" were not valid, and,
of course, destroyed the sanctity of all marriages outside the circle of
the brethren. But when a _Melchiorite_ at Strassburg, Klaus Frey, whose
wife was not an Anabaptist, carried out the principle to its logical
consequences and married an Anabaptist woman, his "unbelieving" wife
being alive, he was promptly excommunicated.

When the information to be gathered from the various sources is
combined, what took place in Münster seems to have been as follows.
Sometime in July (1534), John Bockelson summoned the preachers, Rothmann
at their head, and the twelve elders to meet him in the _Rathaus_. There
he propounded to them his proposal to inaugurate polygamy, and argued
the matter with them for eight successive days. We are told that
Rothmann and the preachers opposed the scheme in a determined manner.
The arguments used by the prophet--arguments of the flimsiest
nature--have also been recorded. He dwelt on the necessity of accepting
certain biblical expressions in their most literal sense, and in giving
them their widest application. He insisted especially on the command of
God, _Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth_; he brought
forward the example of the patriarchs and other examples of polygamy
from the Old Testament; he went the length of saying that when St. Paul
insisted that bishops must be husbands of one wife, the phrase implied
that all who were not bishops were free to take more than one; he dwelt
on the special conditions existing among the population within the
town,--the number of male refugees, either unmarried or who had left
their wives behind them in the places from which they had fled; the
disproportionate number of women (more than three women for every
man),--and the difficulties thereby created to prevent them from obeying
the command of God to be fruitful and increase; and he urged that in
their present condition the command of God could only be obeyed by means
of polygamy.

In the end he brought preachers and elders round to his opinion; and in
spite of opportunities given them for revolt, they remained steadfast to
it. They preached upon its advantages for three days to the people in
the Cathedral square; and it was Rothmann who proclaimed the decree
commanding polygamy to the people. How were the preachers persuaded to
forego their opposition? What one of the threadbare arguments used by
the prophet convinced them? Had he proclaimed polygamy as a divine
command received by him as a prophet, we might imagine the preachers and
people, such was the exalted state of their minds, receiving it with
reverence; but the prophet did not announce that he had received any
such message. He relied solely upon his arguments. They did not convince
all the people. The proclamation of polygamy awoke violent protests upon
the part of the native townsmen, who, headed by a "master-smith" named
Möllenbecke, felt that they would rather hand over the city to the
Bishop's forces than live in a polygamist society, and the revolt was
almost successful; but the preachers stood firm in their support of the
prophet and of his polygamy; and it was the women who were mainly
instrumental in causing the revolt to be a failure.

If we are to judge by the use made of it in Rothmann's
_Restitution_,[632] which defends the introduction of the new marriage
laws, the preachers seem to have been most impressed by the argument
which dwelt on the condition of the city--the large proportion of men
whose wives were in the towns they had abandoned to take refuge in
Münster, and the great multitude of women. It is just possible that it
was this economic argument that affected both them and the prophet
himself. This is the view taken by such writers as Kautsky, Belfort Bax,
and Heath. The explanation is confirmed by the fact that the decree was
more than a proclamation of polygamy. It provided that _all_
marriageable men must take wives, and that _all_ women must be under the
care of a husband. The laws against sexual irregularity were as strong
during the reign of polygamy as before its introduction. But there is
this to be said against it, that the town of Münster, notwithstanding
its abnormal conditions, was singularly pure in life, and that polygamy,
so far from improving the moral condition, made it distinctly worse.

Detmer, whose opinions are always worthy of respect, believes than Jan
of Leyden had fallen violently in love with the young, beautiful, and
intellectual Divara, the widow of Jan Matthys, and that, as he could not
marry her apart from polygamy, he persuaded his preachers and elders to
consent to his proposals. His wonderful magnetic influence overbore
their better judgment.

What is evident is that the decree of polygamy was suddenly conceived
and forced upon the people. If Jan of Leyden[633] took no share in its
proclamation, he set the people an example of obedience. He promptly
married Divara as soon as it was lawful to do so. He used the ordinance
to strengthen his position. His other wives--he had sixteen in all--were
the daughters or near relations of the leaders in Münster. There is
evidence to show that his own character deteriorated rapidly under the
new conditions of life.

The siege of Münster went on during all these months. The Bishop's
soldiers attempted several assaults, and were always beaten back. They
seem latterly to have relied on the power of hunger. The sufferings of
the citizens during the later weeks were terrible. At length Heinrich
Gresbeck, deserting to the besiegers' camp, offered to betray the city
to its enemies. He showed them, by plans and models in clay, how to get
through the defences, and himself prepared the way for the Bishop's
soldiers to enter. The Anabaptists gathered for one last desperate
defence in the market-place, under the leadership of Bernardin
Knipperdolling and Bernard Krechting, with Rothmann by their side. When
the band was reduced to three hundred men, they capitulated on promise
of safe-conduct to leave the town. It is needless to say that the
bargain was not kept. Rothmann was believed to have perished in the
market-place. The city was given over to pillage, and the streets were
soon strewn with dead bodies. Then a court was established to try the
Anabaptist prisoners. The first woman to suffer was the fair young
Divara. She steadfastly refused to abjure, and met her fate in her own
queenly way. No man who had been in any way prominent during the siege
was allowed to escape death. Jan Bockelson, Bernardin Knipperdolling,
and Bernard Krechting were reserved to suffer the most terrible tortures
that the diabolical ingenuity of mediæval executioners could devise. It
was long believed that Rothmann had escaped, and that he had got away to
Rostock or to Lübeck; more than one person was arrested on the suspicion
of being the famous preacher of Münster--"a short, dark man, with
straight brown hair," was his description in the Lübeck handbills.

The horrible fate of Münster did not destroy the indomitable
Anabaptists. Menno Simons (b. 1496 or 1505 at Witmarsum, a village near
Franecker), "a man of integrity, mild, accommodating, patient of
injuries, and so ardent in his piety as to exemplify in his own life the
precepts he gave to others," spent twenty-five laborious years in
visiting the scattered Anabaptist communities and uniting them in a
simple brotherly association. He purged their minds of the apocalyptic
fancies taught by many of their later leaders under the influence of
persecution, inculcated the old ideas of non-resistance, of the evils of
State control over the Church, of the need of personal conversion, and
of adult baptism as its sign and seal. From his labours have come all
the modern Baptist Churches.



The fathers of the Socinian Church were the two Sozzini, uncle and
nephew, Lelio and Fausto, both natives of the town of Siena.

The uncle, Lelio Sozzini (b. 1525), was by profession a lawyer. He was a
man of irreproachable moral life, a Humanist by training, a student of
the classics and also of theology. He was thoroughly dissatisfied with
the condition of the Romish Church, and early began to entertain grave
doubts about some of its leading doctrinal positions. He communicated
his views to a select circle of friends. Notwithstanding the precautions
he had taken, he became suspected. Cardinal Caraffa had persuaded Pope
Paul III. to consent to the reorganisation of the Inquisition in 1542,
and Italy soon became a very unsafe place for any suspected person.
Lelio left Siena in 1547, and spent the remaining portion of his life in
travelling in those lands which had accepted the Lutheran or the
Reformed faith. He made the acquaintance of all the leading Protestant
theologians, including Melanchthon and Calvin. He kept up an extensive
correspondence with them, representing his own personal theological
opinions in the form of questions which he desired to have solved for
him. From Calvin's letters we can learn that the great theologian had
grave doubts about the moral earnestness of his Italian correspondent,
and repeatedly warned him that he was losing hold on the saving facts of
heart religion.

All the while Sozzini seems to have made up his mind already on all the
topics introduced into his correspondence, and to have been
communicating his views, on pledge of secrecy, to the small communities
of Italian refugees who were settled in Switzerland. He can scarcely be
blamed for this secretiveness; toleration, as the sad example of the
burning of Servede had shown, was not recognised to be a Christian
principle among the Churches of the Reformation. Lelio died at Zurich in
1562 without having published his opinions, and without his neighbours
and hosts being aware of his real theological position.

He bequeathed all his property, including his books and his manuscripts,
to his nephew, Fausto, who had remained at Siena. This nephew was the
founder of the Socinian Church.

Fausto Sozzini (b. 1539) was, like his uncle, a man of irreproachable
life, a lawyer, a diligent and earnest student, fond of theology, and of
great force of character. How early he had come to think as his uncle
had done, is unknown. Report affirms that after he had received his
uncle's books and papers, and had given sufficient time to their study,
he left Italy, visited the places where Lelio had gathered small
companies of secret sympathisers, to confirm them in the faith. His
uncle had visited Poland twice, and Fausto went there in 1579. He found
that the anti-Trinitarians there had no need to conceal their opinions.
The Transylvanian Prince, Stephen Báthory, protected them, and they had
in the town of Krakau their own church, school, and printing-press. But
the sect as a whole was torn by internal divisions. Fausto bent his
whole energies to overcome these differences.

Before his arrival in Poland he had published two books, which are
interesting because they show the pathway by which Fausto arrived at his
theological conclusions. He started not with the doctrines of the
Trinity or of the Person of Christ, but with the doctrine of the
Atonement--a fact to be kept in mind when the whole Socinian system of
theology is examined.

He believed that the real cause of the divisions which wasted the sect
was that the Polish Unitarians were largely Anabaptists. They insisted
that no one could be a recognised member of the community unless he was
rebaptized. They refused to enroll Fausto Sozzini himself, and excluded
him from the Sacrament of the Supper, because he would not submit to
rebaptism. They declared that no member of their communities could enter
the magistracy, or sue in a civil court, or pay a war tax. They
disagreed on many small points of doctrine, and used the ban very freely
against each other. Sozzini saw that he could not hope to make any
progress in his attempts to unite the Unitarians unless he was able to
purge out this Anabaptist leaven. His troubles can be seen in his
correspondence, and in some of his smaller tracts in the first volume of
the _Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum_.[635] In spite of the rebuffs he met
with, he devoted all his energies to the thankless task of furthering
union, and in the end of his days he had the satisfaction of seeing that
he had not laboured in vain. Shortly before his death, a synod held at
Krakau (1603) declared that rebaptism was not necessary for entrance
into a Unitarian community. Many of the lesser differences had been got
rid of earlier. The literary activity of Sozzini was enormous: books and
pamphlets flowed from his untiring pen, all devoted to the enforcing or
explaining the Socinian theology. It is not too much to say that the
inner history of the Unitarian communities in Poland from 1579 until his
death in 1604 is contained in his voluminous correspondence. The united
Unitarians of Poland took the name of the _Polish Brethren_; and from
this society what was known as Socinian theology spread through Germany
(especially the Rhineland), Switzerland, and England. Its principles
were not formulated in a creed until 1642, when the _Racovian Catechism_
was published. It was never formally declared to be the standard of the
Unitarian Church, but its statements are universally held to represent
the views of the older Socinians.

Socinianism, unlike the great religious movement under the guidance of
Luther, had its distinct and definite beginning in a criticism of
doctrines, and this must never be forgotten if its true character is to
be understood. We have already seen[636] that there is no trace of any
intellectual difficulties about doctrines or statement of doctrines in
Luther's mind during the supreme crisis in his spiritual history. Its
whole course, from the time he entered the Erfurt convent down to the
publication of the Augsburg Confession, shows that the spiritual revolt
of which he was the soul and centre took its rise from something much
deeper than any mere criticism of the doctrines of the mediæval Church,
and that it resulted in something very much greater than a
reconstruction of doctrinal conceptions. The central thing about the
Protestant Reformation was that it meant a rediscovery of religion as
_faith_, "as a relation between person and person, higher therefore,
than all reason, and living not upon commands and hopes, but on the
power of God, and apprehending in Jesus Christ the Lord of heaven and
earth as Father."[637] The Reformation started from this living
experience of the believing Christian, which it proclaimed to be the one
fundamental fact in Christianity--something which could never be proved
by argument, and could never be dissolved away by speculation.

On the contrary, the earliest glimpse that we have of Lelio Sozzini is
his meeting with friends to discuss and cast doubts upon such doctrines
as the Satisfaction of Christ, the Trinity, and others like them.[638]
Socinianism maintained to the end the character with which it came into
being. It was from first to last a criticism and attempted
reconstruction of doctrines.

This is sufficient of itself to discount the usual accounts which
Romanist controversialists give of the Socinian movement, and of its
relation to the Protestant Reformation. They, and many Anglicans who
have no sympathy with the great Reformation movement, are accustomed to
say that the Socinian system of doctrines is the legitimate deduction
from the principles of the Reformation, and courageously carries out the
rationalist conceptions lurking in all Protestant theology. They point
to the fact that many of the early Presbyterians of England and Puritans
of America have furnished a large number of recruits to the Unitarian or
Socinian ranks. They assert that the central point in the Socinian
theology is the denial of the Divinity of our Lord, which they allege is
the logical outcome of refusing to accept the Romanist doctrine of the
Mass and the principle of ecclesiastical tradition.

The question is purely historical, and can only be answered by examining
the sources of Socinian theology and tracing it to its roots. The result
of such an examination seems to show that, while Socinianism did
undoubtedly owe much to Humanism, and to the spirit of critical inquiry
and keen sense of the value of the individual which it fostered, most of
its distinguishing theological conceptions are mediæval. It laid hold on
the leading principles of the Scotist-Pelagian theology, which were
extremely popular in the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth
centuries, and carried them out to their logical consequences. In fact,
most of the theological principles of Socinian theology are more akin to
those of the Jesuit dogmatic-which is the prolongation of Scotism into
modern times--than they are to the theology of Luther or of Calvin. It
is, of course, to be remembered that by discarding the authority of the
Church the Socinians are widely separated from both Scotists and
Jesuits. Still the roots of Socinian theology are to be found in the
Scotist doctrines of God and of the Atonement, and these two doctrines
are their starting-point, and not the mere negation of the Divinity of

In three most important conceptions the Socinian thought is distinctly
mediæval, and mediæval in the Scotist way.

Their idea of _faith_ is intellectual. It is _assensus_ and not
_fiducia_. "In Scripture," says the Racovian Catechism, "the _faith_ is
most perfectly _taught_, that God exists and that He recompenses. This,
however, and nothing else, is the faith that is to be directed to God
and Christ." It is afterwards described as the way in which one must
adjust himself to the known commands and promises of God; and there is
added that this faith "both makes our obedience more acceptable and
well-pleasing to God, and supplies the defects of our obedience,
provided it be sincere and earnest, and brings it about that we are
justified by God." This is good Scotist doctrine. These theologians were
accustomed to declare that all that the Christian needs is to have faith
in God as the recompenser (_i.e._ to assent to the truth that God does
recompense), and that with regard to all the other doctrines of the
Church implicit faith (_i.e._ submission to the Church's teaching) is
enough. Of course the extreme individualism of the Socinians coloured
their conception of faith; they cannot accept an implicit faith; their
assent to truth must always be explicit; what they assent to must
recommend itself to their individual reason. They cannot assent to a
round of truths which are presented to them by the Church, and receive
them implicitly on the principle of obedience to authority. But what is
to be observed here is that the Socinian type of faith is always assent
to truths which can be stated in propositional form; they have no idea
of that faith which, to use Luther's phrase, throws itself upon God.
They further declare, quite in accordance with Scotist teaching, that
men are justified because of their _actual_ obedience to the _known_
commands and promises of God. There is not a trace of the Evangelical
attitude. The accordance with Scotist theology descends to very minute
particulars, did space permit to trace it.

The Socinian conception of _Scripture_ corresponds to their idea of
faith. The two thoughts of Scripture and saving faith, as has been
already said,[639] always correspond in mediæval theology they are
primarily intellectual and propositional; in Reformation thinking they
are, in the first instance, experimental and personal. The Socinian
conception allies itself with the mediæval, and discards the Reformation
way of regarding both faith and Scripture. With the Socinians as with
mediæval theologians, Scripture is the divine source of information
about doctrines and morals; they have no idea of Scripture as a means of
grace, as the channel of a personal communion between God and His
trusting people. But here as elsewhere the new individualism of the
Socinians compels them to establish both the authority and the dogmatic
contents of Scripture in a way different from their mediæval
predecessors. They had rejected altogether the authority of the Church,
and they could not make use of the thought to warrant either the
authority of Scripture or a correct interpretation of its contents. In
the place of it they put what they called _reason_. "The use of right
reason (_rectæ rationis_) is great in things which pertain to salvation,
since without it, it is impossible either to grasp with certainty the
authority of Scripture, or to understand those things that are contained
in it, or to deduce some things from other things, or, finally, to
recall them to put them to use (_ad usum revocari_)." The _certitudo
sacrarum litterarum_ is accordingly established, or attempted to be
proved, by a series of external proofs which appeal to the ordinary
reasoning faculties of man. The Reformation conception of the Witness of
the Spirit, an essential part of its doctrine of Scripture, finds no
place in Socinian theology. They try to establish the authority of
Scripture without any appeal to faith; the Confessions of the
Reformation do not recognise any infallibility or divine authority
which is otherwise apprehended than by faith. The Reformation and the
Socinian doctrines are miles apart; but the Socinian and the mediæval
approach each other closely. It is somewhat difficult to know what books
the older Socinians recognise as their rule of faith. They did not
accept the Canon of the mediæval Church. They had no difficulty about
the New Testament; but the references to the Old Testament in the
Racovian Catechism are very slight: its authority is guaranteed for them
by the references to it in the New Testament.

When we turn to the Socinian statements about _God_, and to their
assertions about the _nature and meaning of the Work of Christ_, we find
the clearest proof of their mediæval origin. The Scotist theology is
simply reproduced, and cleared of its limitations.

A fundamental conception of God lay at the basis of the whole Scotist
theology. God, it maintained, could best be defined as _Dominium
Absolutum_; man as set over against God they described as an individual
free will. If God be conceived as simply _Dominium Absolutum_, we can
never affirm that God _must_ act in any given way; we may not even say
that He is bound to act according to moral considerations. He is high
above all considerations of any kind. He does not will to act in any way
because it is right; and action is right because God wills to act in
that way. There can be neither metaphysical nor moral necessity in any
of God's actions or purposes. This Scotist idea, that God is the
absolutely arbitrary one, is expressed in the strongest language in the
Racovian Catechism. "It belongs to the nature of God that He has the
right and supreme power to decree whatsoever He wills concerning all
things and concerning us, even in those matters with which no other
power has to do; for example, He can give laws, and appoint rewards and
penalties according to His own judgment, to our thoughts, hidden as
these may be in the innermost recesses of our hearts."

If this thought, that God is simply _Dominium Absolutum_, be applied to
explain the nature and meaning of the work of Christ, of the Atonement,
it follows at once that there can be no real necessity for that work;
for all necessity, metaphysical or moral, is derogatory to the _Dominium
Absolutum_, which is God. If the Atonement has merit in it, that is only
because God has announced that He means to accept the work of Christ as
meritorious, and that He will therefore free men from the burden of sin
on account of what Christ, the Saviour, has done. It is the announced
_acceptation_ of God which makes the work of Christ meritorious. A
_meritorious_ work has nothing in its nature which makes it so. To be
meritorious simply means that the work so described will be followed by
God's doing something in return for its being done, and this only
because God has made this announcement. God could have freed men from
the guilt and punishment due for sin without the work of Christ; He
could have appointed a human mediator if He had so willed it; He might
have pardoned and accepted man as righteous in His sight without any
mediator at all. He could have simply pardoned man without anything
coming between His act of pardon and man's sin. This being the case, the
Scotist theologians argued that it might seem that the work of Christ,
called the Atonement, was entirely superfluous; it is, indeed,
superfluous as far as reason is concerned; it can never be justified on
rational grounds. But, according to the dogmatic tradition of the
Church, confirmed by the circle of the Sacraments, God has selected this
mode of getting rid of the sin and guilt of man. He has announced that
He will _accept_ this work of Christ, Atonement, and therefore the
Scotist theologians declared the Atonement must be believed in and seen
to be the divinely appointed way of salvation. Erasmus satirised the
long arguments and hypotheses of the Scotist theologians when he
enumerated among the questions which were highly interesting to them:
"Could God have taken the form of a woman, a devil, an ass, a gourd, or
a stone? How could a gourd have preached, done miracles, hung on the

It is manifest that this idea of _Dominium Absolutum_ is simply the
conception of the extremest individualism applied to God instead of
being used to describe man. If we treat it anthropomorphically, it comes
to this, that the relation of God to man is that of an infinite
Individual Will set over against a number of finite individual wills. If
this view be taken of the relations between God and man, then God can
never be thought of as the Moral Ruler in a moral commonwealth, but only
as a private individual face to face with other individuals; and the
relations between God and man must be discussed from the standpoint of
private and not of public law. When wrong-doing is regarded under the
scheme of public law, the ruler can never treat it as an injury done to
himself, and which he can forgive because he is of a kindly nature; he
must consider it an offence against the whole community of which he is
the public guardian. On the other hand, when offences are considered
under a scheme of private law, they are simply wrongs done to a private
person who, as an individual, may forgive what is merely a debt due to
himself. In such a case the wrong-doer may be forgiven without
infringing any general moral principle.

The Socinians, following the mediæval Scotist theologians, invariably
applied the principles of private law to the relations between God and
man. God, the _Dominium Absolutum_, the Supreme Arbitrary Will, was
never regarded as the Moral Ruler in a moral commonwealth where subjects
and rulers are constrained by the same moral laws. Sins are simply
private debts due by the individual finite wills to the One Infinite
Will. From such premises the Scotists deduced the conclusion that the
Atonement was unnecessary; there they stopped; they could not say that
there was no such thing as Atonement, for the dogmatic tradition of the
Church prevented them. The Socinians had thrown overboard the thought
of a dogmatic tradition which had to be respected even when it appeared
to be irrational. If the Atonement was not necessary, that meant to them
that it did not exist; they simply carried out the theological premises
of the Scotist-Pelagian mediæval theologians to their legitimate

In these three important conceptions--faith, Scripture, the nature of
God, involving the character of His relations to man--the Socinians
belong to a mediæval school of thought, and have no sympathy whatever
with the general principles which inspired Reformation theological

But the Socinians were not exclusively mediæval; they owed much to the
Renaissance. This appears in a very marked manner in the way in which
they conceived the very important religious conception of the _Church_.
It is a characteristic of Socinian theology, that the individual
believer is considered without much, if any, reference to the Church or
community of the saved. This separates the Socinians not only from
mediæval Christians, but from all who belonged to the great Protestant
Evangelical movement.

The mediæval Church always regarded itself, and taught men to look to
it, as a religious community which came logically and really before the
individual believer. It presented itself to men as a great society
founded on a dogmatic tradition, possessing the Sacraments, and governed
by an officially holy caste. The pious layman of the Middle Ages found
himself within it as he might have done within one of its great
cathedrals. The dogmatic tradition did not trouble him much, nor did the
worldliness and insincerity often manifested by its official guardians.
What they required of him was implicit faith, which really meant a
decorous external obedience. That once rendered, he was comparatively
free to worship within what was for him a great house of prayer. The
hymns, the prayers, many of the sermons of the mediæval Church, make us
feel that the Institution was for the mediæval Christian the visible
symbol of a wide purpose of God, which embraced his individual life and
guaranteed a repose which he could use in resting on the promises of
God. The records of mediæval piety continually show us that the Church
was etherealised into an assured and historical fellowship of believers
into which the individual entered, and within which he found the
assuring sense of fellowship. He left all else to the professional
guardians of this ecclesiastical edifice. Probably such are the unspoken
thoughts of thousands of devout men and women in the Roman and Greek
communions to-day. They value the Church because it represents to them
in a visible and historical way a fellowship with Christ and His saints
which is the result of His redeeming work.

This thought is as deeply rooted in Reformation as in mediæval piety.
The Reformers felt compelled to protest against the political form which
the mediæval Church had assumed. They conceived that to be a degradation
from its ideal. They saw the manifold abuses which the degradation had
given rise to. But they always regarded visible Christendom as a
religious community called into being by the work of Christ. They had
always before them the thought of the Church of Christ as the fellowship
which logically and really comes _before_ the individual believer, the
society into which the believer is brought; and this conception stood
with them in close and reciprocal connection with the thought that
Jesus, by His work of Atonement, had reconciled men with God, had
founded the Church on that work of His, and, _within_ it had opened for
sinners the way to God. They protested against the political form which
the Church had assumed; they never ceased to cling to the thought of the
Catholic Church Visible which is founded on the redeeming work of
Christ, and within which man finds the way of salvation. They described
this Church in all their creeds and testimonies; they gave the marks
which characterised it and manifested its divine origin; the thought was
an essential part of their theology.

The Socinians never felt the need of any such conception. Jesus was for
them only the teacher of a superior kind of morality detailed in the
commands and promises of God; they looked to Him for that guidance and
impulse towards a moral self-culture which each man can appropriate for
himself without first coming into a society which is the fellowship of
the redeemed. Had they ever felt the burden of sin as the Reformers felt
it, had they ever yearned for such a fellowship with Christ as
whole-hearted personal trust gives, or even for such as comes in the
sense of bodily contact in the Sacrament, had they ever felt the craving
to get in touch with their Lord _somehow_ or _anyhow_, they would never
have been able to do without this conception of a Church Catholic of
some kind or other. They never seemed to feel the need of it. The
Racovian Catechism was compelled to make some reference to the kingly
and priestly offices of Christ. It owed so much to the New Testament.
Its perfunctory sentences show that our Lord was for the Socinians
simply a Prophet sent from God to proclaim a superior kind of morality.
His highest function was to communicate knowledge to men, and perhaps to
teach them by example how to make use of it. They had no conception that
Jesus came to _do_ something for His people, and that what He _did_ was
much more valuable than what He said, however precious that might be.
They were content to become His scholars, the scholars of a teacher sent
from God, and to become members of His school, where His opinions were
known and could be learned. They had no idea that they needed to be
saved in the deeper sense of that word. They have no need, therefore,
for the conception of the Church; what they did need and what they have
is the thought of a school of opinions to which they could belong.[641]

In this one thought they were equally far apart from the circle of
mediæval and of Reformation theological thinking. In most of their other
theological conceptions their opinions were inherited from mediæval
theology. They had little or no connection with Reformation theology or
with what that represents--the piety of the mediæval Church.





In the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries the
urgent need for a Reformation of the Church was recognised by all
thoughtful men everywhere throughout western Europe, and was loudly
expressed by almost everyone outside the circle of the influence of the
Roman Curia. Statesmen and men of letters, nobles and burghers, great
Churchmen as well as monks and parish priests--all bewailed the
condition of the organised Christian life, and most of them recognised
that the unreformed Papacy was the running sore of Europe. The protest
against the state of religion was not confined to individual outcries;
it found expression in the States-General of France, in Diet of Germany,
and in the Parliament of England.

The complaints took many forms. One of the most universal was that the
clergy, especially those of higher rank, busied themselves with
everything save the one thing which specially belonged to them--the cure
of souls. They took undue share in the government of the countries of
Europe, and ousted the nobles from their legitimate places of rule.
Clerical law-courts interfered constantly with the lives of burghers;
and the clergy protested that they were not bound to obey the ordinary
laws of the land. A brawling priest could plead the "benefit of clergy";
but a layman who struck a priest, no matter what the provocation, was
liable to the dread penalty of excommunication. Their "right of
sanctuary" was a perpetual encouragement to crime.[643] They and their
claims menaced the quiet life of civilised towns and States.
Constitutional lawyers, trained by Humanism to know the old imperial law
codes of Theodosius and Justinian, traced these evils back to the
interference of Canon Law with Civil, and that to the universal and
absolute dominion of a papal absolutism. The Reformation desired,
floated before the minds of statesmen as a reduction more or less
thorough of the papal absolutism, and of the control exercised by the
Pope and the clergy over the internal affairs of the State, even its
national ecclesiastical regulations. The historical fact that the
loosely formed kingdoms of the Middle Ages were being slowly transformed
into modern States, perhaps furnished unconsciously the basis for this
idea of a Reformation.

The same thought took another and more purely ecclesiastical form. The
papal absolutism meant frequently that Italians received preferments all
over western Europe, and supplanted the native clergy in the more
important and richer benefices. Why should the Churches of Spain,
England, or France be ruled by Italian prelates, whether resident or
non-resident? It was universally felt that Roman rule meant a lack of
spirituality, and was a source of religious as well as of national
degradation. Men longed for a change, clergy as well as laity; and the
thought of National Churches really independent of Rome, if still
nominally under the Western Obedience, filled the minds of many

The early mediæval Church had been a stern preacher of righteousness,
had taught the barbarous invaders of Europe lessons of pure living,
honesty, sobriety; it had insisted that the clergy ought to be examples
as well as preachers; Canon Law was full of penalties ordained to check
clerical vices. But it was notorious that the higher clergy, whose duty
it was to put the laws in execution, were themselves the worst
offenders. How could English Bishops enforce laws against incontinence,
when Wolsey, Archbishop, Cardinal, and Legate, had made his illegitimate
daughter the Abbess of Salisbury? What hope was there for strict
discipline when no inconsiderable portion of a Bishop's annual income
came from money paid in order to practise clerical incontinence in
security? Reformers demanded a reformation of clerical morals, beginning
with the Bishops and descending through all grades to monks and

Humanism brought forward yet another conception of reform. It demanded
either a thorough repudiation of the whole of Scholastic Theology and a
return to the pure and simple "Christian Philosophy" of the Church of
the first six centuries, or such a relaxation of that Scholastic as
would afford room for the encouragement of the New Learning.

Lastly, a few pious souls, with the clear vision of God which purity and
simplicity of heart and mind give, declared that the Church had lost
religion itself, and that the one reformation needed was the rediscovery
of religion and the gracious enlightenment of the individual heart and

The first conception of a reformation which looked for a cure of the
evils which all acknowledged to the supremacy of the secular over
ecclesiastical rule, may be seen in the reformation of the local
Churches of Brandenburg and Saxony under Frederick of Brandenburg and
William of Saxony. Archbishop Cranmer believed that the only way of
removing the evils under which the Church of the later Middle Ages was
groaning was to subordinate the ecclesiastical to the secular powers.
The reformation of the Church of England under Henry VIII. carried out
this idea to practical issue, but involved with it a nominal as well as
a real destruction of the political unity of the mediæval Church. His
actions were carefully watched and admired by many of the German
Romanist Princes, who made more than one attempt, about the year 1540,
to create a National Church in Germany under secular guidance, and
remaining true to mediæval doctrine, hierarchy, and ritual.[647] The
thought of a reformation of this kind was so familiar to men of the
sixteenth century, that the probability of Henry VIII.'s separation from
Rome was matter of discussion long before it had entered into the mind
of that monarch.[648]



§ 1. _The Religious Condition of Spain._

The country, however, where all these various conceptions of what was
meant by a reformation of the Church were combined in one definite
scheme of reform which was carried through successfully, was Spain. It
is to that country one must turn to see what mediævalists, who were at
the same time reformers, wished to effect, and what they meant by a
reformation of the Church. It included a measure of secular control, a
revival and enforcement of all canonical laws framed to purify the
morals of the clergy, a measured accommodation with Humanism, a steady
adherence to the main doctrines of the Scholastic Theology, the
preservation in their entirety of the hierarchy, the rites and the
usages of the mediæval Church, and a ruthless suppression of heresy.
Spain furnishes the example of what has been called the Catholic

In Spain, as nowhere else in mediæval Europe, the firm maintenance of
the Christian religion and patriotism had been felt to be one and the
same thing. The seven hundred years' war, which the Christians of Spain
had waged with the Moors, had given strength and tenacity to their
religious sentiments, and their experience as Christians in daily
battle with an enemy of alien race and alien faith, left to themselves
in their Peninsula, cut off from the rest of Europe, had made them cling
all the more closely to that visible solidarity of all Christian people
which found expression in the mediæval conception of the mediæval
Catholic Church. Spain had given birth to the great missionary monastic
order of the Dominicans,--the leaders of an intellectual crusade
against the penetrating influence of a Moslem pantheism (Averroism),
--and to the great repressive agency of the Inquisition in its sternest
and most savage form. It was Spain that was to furnish the
Counter-Reformation, with its most devoted leader, Ignatius Loyola, and
with its strongest body of combatants, the Society of Jesus which he

It need scarcely be wondered at that it was in Spain that we find the
earliest systematic attempts made to save the Church from the blindness
and perversity of its rulers by the interposition of the secular
authority to combat the deteriorating influence of the Roman Curia upon
the local Church, and to restore discipline among the clergy. The Cortes
of the various small kingdoms of the Spanish Peninsula repeatedly
interfered to limit the overgrowth of clerical privileges, to insist on
the submission of the clergy to the common law of the land, and to
prevent the too great preponderance of clerical influence in secular
administration. The ordinances of their Kings were used, time after
time, to counteract the influence of harmful papal Bulls, and to prevent
the interference of Italian ecclesiastics in the affairs of the Spanish
Church. In the end of the fifteenth century the Spanish Bishops had been
reduced to a state of dependence on the Crown; all exercise of
ecclesiastical authority was carefully watched; the extent of
ecclesiastical jurisdiction was specifically limited, and clerical
courts were made to feel their dependence on the secular tribunals. The
Crown wrung from the Papacy the right to see that piety and a zeal for
religion were to be indispensable qualifications for clerical promotion.
All this regulative zeal was preserved from being simply the attempts
of politicians to control a rival power by certain fundamental elements
in the national religious character, which expressed themselves in
rulers as well as in the mass of their subjects. In Spain, more than in
any other land, asceticism and mystical raptures were recognised to be
the truest expression of genuine religious sentiment. Kings and
commonalty alike shared in the firm belief that a real imitation of
Christ meant to follow in the footsteps of the Man of Sorrows, who
wandered about not knowing where to lay His head, and who was enabled to
endure what was given Him to do and to suffer by continuous and rapt
communion with the Unseen.

The ecclesiastical Reformer of Spain had all these elements to work
upon, and they made his task comparatively easy.

§ 2. _Reformation under Ximenes._

The consolidation of the Peninsula under Ferdinand and Isabella
suggested a thorough reorganisation of the Spanish Church. The Crown
extorted from the Papacy extraordinary powers to deal with the secular
clergy and with the monasteries. The great Queen was determined to purge
the Church of her realm of all that she deemed to be evil. She called to
her councils three famous Churchmen in whom she had thorough
confidence--the great Spanish Cardinal, Mendoza, her confessor, Hernando
de Talavera, and Francesco Ximenes. It was Ximenes who sketched the plan
and who carried through the reformation.

Francesco Ximenes de Cisneros, as he is called, had been a Franciscan
monk devoted to the ideals of his order. He belonged to a poor family,
and had somehow or other attracted the attention of Cardinal Mendoza, at
whose instigation the Queen had made him her father-confessor (1492).
She insisted on his accepting the dignity of Archbishop of Toledo
(1495), and had selected him to carry out her plans for the organisation
and purification of the Spanish Church. After his elevation to the
arch-episcopal chair he gave the example of what he believed to be the
true clerical life by following in the most literal way the maxims of
St. Francis about self-denial, devotion, and ascetic life. He made these
the ideal for the Spanish clergy; they followed where he led.

The Concordat of 1482 gave the Spanish Crown the right of "visitation"
(held to involve the power to dismiss from office) and of nomination to
benefices. Ximenes used these powers to the full. He "visited" the
monasteries personally, and received full reports about the condition of
the convents. He re-established in all of them monastic discipline of
the strictest kind. The secular clergy were put to like proof. The
secular power was invoked to sweep all opponents to reform from his
path. His Queen protected him when the vacillations of the papal policy
threatened to hinder his work. In the end, the Church in Spain secured a
devoted clergy whose personal life was free from the reproaches justly
levelled at the higher clergy of other lands.

Ximenes, having purified the morals of the Spanish clergy, next set
himself to overcome their ignorance and lack of culture. In every
Chapter within Castile and Aragon, two prebends were set apart for
scholars, one of them for a student in Canon Law, and the other for an
expert theologian. A special "visitation" of the clergy removed from
their places all utterly ignorant persons. New schools of theology were
instituted. In addition to the mediæval Universities of Salamanca and
Valladolid, Ximenes founded one in Alcala, another in Seville, a third
at Toledo. Alcala and Valladolid were the principal theological schools,
and there, in addition to the older studies of Dogmatic Theology and
Ethics, courses of lectures wore given in Biblical Exegesis. The
theology taught was that of Thomas Aquinas, to the exclusion of the
later developments of Scholastic under John Duns Scotus and William of
Occam. The Augustinian elements in Thomas were specially dwelt upon; and
soon there arose a school of theologians who were called the New
Thomists, who became very powerful, and were later the leading opponents
of the Jesuit teachers. There was also an attempt to make use of the New
Learning in the interest of the old theology. Ximenes collected at
Alcala the band of scholars who under his superintendence prepared the
celebrated Complutensian Polyglot.

The labours of Erasmus were sympathised with by the leaders of this
Spanish movement. The Princes of the Church delighted to call themselves
his friends. They prevented the Spanish monks from attacking him even
when he struck hardest at the follies of the monastic life. He was
esteemed at Court. The most prominent statesmen who surrounded Charles,
the young Prince of the Netherlands, the King of Spain, called
themselves Erasmians. Erasmus, if we are to believe what he wrote to
them,--which is scarcely possible,--declared that the work in Spain
under Ximenes followed the best type of a reformation in the Church.

But there was another and terrible side to this Spanish purification of
the Church and of the clergy. The Inquisition had been reorganised, and
every opinion and practice strange to the mediæval Church was
relentlessly crushed out of existence. This stern repression was a very
real part of the Spanish idea of a reformation.

The Spanish policy for the renovation of the Church was not a
reformation in the sense of providing room for anything new in the
religious experience. Its sole aim was to requicken religious life
within the limits which had been laid down during the Middle Ages. The
hierarchy was to remain, the mediæval conceptions of priesthood and
sacraments; the Pope was to continue to be the acknowledged and revered
Head of the Church; "the sacred ceremonies, decrees, ordinances, and
sacred usages"[650] were to be left untouched; the dogmatic theology of
the mediæval Church was to remain in all essentials the same as before.
The only novelty, the only sign of appreciation of new ideas which were
in the air, was that the papal interference in the affairs of national
Churches was greatly limited, and that at a time when the Papacy had
become so thoroughly secularised as to forget its real duties as a
spiritual authority. The sole recognition of the new era, with its new
modes of thought, was the proposal that the secular authorities of the
countries of Europe should undertake duties which the Papacy was plainly
neglecting. Perhaps it might be added that the slight homage paid to the
New Learning, the appreciation of the need of an exact text of the
original Scriptures, its guarded approval of the laity's acquaintance
with Holy Writ, introduced something of the new spirit; but these things
did not really imply anything at variance with what a devoted adherent
of the mediæval Church might readily acquiesce in.

§ 3. _The Spaniards and Luther._

Devout Spaniards were able to appreciate much in Luther's earlier work.
They could sympathise with his attack on Indulgences, provided they did
not inquire too closely into the principles implied in the
_Theses_--principles which Luther himself scarcely recognised till the
Leipzig Disputation. Their hearts responded to the intense religious
earnestness and high moral tone of his earlier writings. They could
welcome his appearance, even when they could not wholly agree with all
that he said, in the hope that his utterances would create an impetus
towards the _kind_ of reformation they desired to see. The reformation
of the Spanish Church under Cardinal Ximenes enables us to understand
both the almost universal welcome which greeted Luther's earlier
appearances and the opposition which he afterwards encountered from many
of his earlier supporters. Some light is also cast on that opposition
when we remember that the Emperor Charles himself fully accepted the
principles underlying the Spanish Reformation, and that they had been
instilled into his youthful mind by his revered tutor whom he managed to
seat in the chair of St. Peter--Adrian VI., whose short-lived
pontificate was an attempt to force the Spanish Reformation on the whole
of the Western Obedience.

If it be possible to accept the statements made by Glapion, the
Emperor's confessor, to Dr. Brück, the Saxon Chancellor in the days
before Luther's appearance at Worms, as a truthful account of the
disposition and intentions of Charles V., it may be said that an attempt
was made to see whether Luther himself might be made to act as a means
of forcing the Spanish Reformation on the whole German Church. Glapion
professed to speak for the Emperor as well as for himself. Luther's
earlier writings, he said, had given him great pleasure; he believed him
to be a "plant of renown," able to produce splendid fruit for the
Church. But the book on the _Babylonian Captivity_ had shocked him; he
did not believe it to be Luther's; it was not in his usual style; if
Luther had written it, it must have been because he was momentarily
indignant at the papal Bull, and as it was anonymous, it could easily be
repudiated; or if not repudiated, it might be explained, and its
sentences shown to be capable of a catholic interpretation. If this were
done, and if Luther withdrew his violent writings against the Pope,
there was no reason why an amicable arrangement should not be come to.
The papal Bull could easily be got over, it could be withdrawn on the
ground that Luther had never had a fair trial. It was a mistake to
suppose that the Emperor was not keenly alive to the need for a
Reformation of the Church; there were limits to his devotion to the
Pope; the Emperor believed that he would deserve the wrath of God if he
did not try to amend the deplorable condition of the Church of Christ.
Such was Glapion's statement. It is a question how far he was sincere,
and if so, whether he really did express what was in the mind of the
Emperor. Frederick of Saxony did not believe either in his sincerity or
in his representation of the Emperor's real opinions; and Luther himself
refused all private conference with Glapion. Yet it is almost certain
that Glapion did express what many an earnest Spanish ecclesiastic
thoroughly believed. We have an interesting confirmation of this in the
conversation which Konrad Pellikan had with Francisco de los Angeles,
the Provincial of the Spanish Franciscans at Basel. The Franciscan
expressed himself in almost the very same terms as Glapion.[651]

Three forces met at the Diet of Worms in 1521--the German movement for
Reform inspired by Luther, the Spanish Reformation represented by
Charles v., and the stolid inertia of the Roman Curia speaking by the
Nuncio Aleander. The first and the second could unite only if Luther
retraced his steps and stood where he did before the Leipzig
Disputation. If he refused, the inevitable result was that the Emperor
and the Curia would combine to crush him before preparing to measure
their strength against each other. The two different conceptions of
reform may be distinguished from each other by saying that the Spanish
conception sought to awaken the benumbed and formalist mediæval Church
to a new religious life, leaving unchanged its characteristics of a
sacerdotal ministry, an external visible unity under a hierarchy
culminating in the Papacy, and a body of doctrine guaranteed by the
decisions of Oecumenical Councils. The other wished to free the human
spirit from the fetters of merely ecclesiastical authority, and to
requicken the life of the Church through the spiritual priesthood of all
believers. The former sought the aid of the secular power to purge
national Churches and restore ecclesiastical discipline, but always
under a decorous air of submission to the Bishop of Rome, and with a
very real belief in the supremacy and infallibility of a General
Council. The latter was prepared to deny the authority of the Bishop of
Rome altogether, and to see the Church of the Middle Ages broken up into
territorial or National Churches, each of which, it was contended, was a
portion of the one Visible Catholic Church. But as separate tendencies
may be represented by a single contrast, it may be said that Charles
would have forgiven Luther much had the Reformer been able to
acknowledge the infallibility of a General Council. The dramatic wave of
the hand by which Charles ended the altercation between Official Eck and
Luther, when the latter insisted that General Councils had erred, and
that he could prove it, ended the dream that the movement in Germany
could be used to aid in the universal introduction of the Spanish
Reformation. If the ideas of reforming Spanish ecclesiastics and
statesmen were to requicken the whole mediæval Church, some other way of
forcing their acceptance had to be found.

§ 4. _Pope Adrian VI. and the Spanish Reformation._

The opportunity seemed to come when, owing to the rivalries of powerful
Cardinals and the steady pressure of Charles V. on the Conclave, Adrian
of Utrecht was elected Pope. The new Pontiff had a long reputation for
learning and piety. His courage had been manifested in his fearless
denunciation of prevailing clerical abuses, and in the way he had dealt
with difficult questions in mediæval theology. He had no sympathy with
the new curialist ideas of papal inerrancy and infallibility, nor with
the repeated assertions of Italian canonists that the Pope was superior
to all ecclesiastical law. He rather believed that such ideas were
responsible for the degradation of the Church, and that no amendment was
possible until the whole system of papal reservations, exemptions, and
other ways in which the Papacy had evaded the plain declarations of
Canon Law, was swept away. The public confidence in his piety,
integrity, and learning was so great that the Netherlands had entrusted
him with the religious education of their young Prince, and none of his
instructors so stamped themselves on the mind of Charles.

Adrian was a Dutch Ximenes. He had the same passionate desire for the
Reformation of the Church, and the same ideas of how such Reformation
could be brought about. He prized the ascetic life; he longed to see the
monastic orders and the secular clergy disciplined in the strictest way;
he had a profound admiration for Thomas Aquinas, and especially for that
side of the great Schoolman's teaching which represented the ideas of
St. Augustine. He so exactly reproduced in his own aspirations the
desires of the Spanish Reformers, that Cardinal Carvajal, who with the
grave enthusiasm of his nation was engaged in the quixotic task of
commending the Spanish Reformation to the authorities in Rome, desired
to take him there as an indispensable assistant. He was also in full
sympathy with the darker side of the Spanish Reformation. During his
sojourn in Spain he had become one of the heads of the Inquisition, and
was firmly opposed to any relaxation of the rigours of the Holy Office.
With Adrian in the chair of St. Peter, the Emperor and the leaders of
the Spanish Church might hope to see their type of a reformation adopted
to cure the ills under which the Church was suffering.

The new Pope did not lack sympathisers in Italy when he began his task
of cleansing the Augean stables without turning the torrent of
revolution through them. Cardinal Carvajal welcomed him in a speech
which expressed his own ideas if it displeased his colleagues in whose
name he was supposed to speak. A memorial drafted by Egidio, General of
the Augustinian Eremites, was presented to him, which practically
embodied the reforms the new Pope wished to see accomplished.[652] His
programme was as extensive as it was thorough. A large part of it may be
compared with the reforms sketched in Luther's _Address to the Nobility
of the German Nation_. He disapproved of the way in which _prebends_
were taken from foundations within national Churches to swell the
incomes of Roman Cardinals. He disliked the whole system of papal
_reservations_, _indults,_[653] _exemptions_, _expectances_, which under
the fostering care of Pope John XXII. had converted the Curia into a
great machine for raking in money from every corner of western
Europe.[654] He disapproved of the system of encouraging complainants to
pass over the episcopal courts of their own lands and bring their cases
at once before the papal court. But every one of these reforms would cut
off a source of revenue. It meant that hundreds of hungry Italian
Humanists would lose their pensions, and that as many pens would lampoon
the Holy Father who was intent on taking bread from his children. It
meant that hundreds of ecclesiastical lawyers who had invested their
savings in purchasing places in the Curia, would find themselves reduced
to penury. It meant that the incomes of the Princes of the Church would
shrink in an incalculable manner. Adrian set himself to show such men
how to meet the changes in prospect. He brought his old Flemish peasant
housekeeper with him to Rome, contented himself with the simple dishes
she cooked for him, and lived the life of an anchorite in a corner of
his vast palace on the Vatican hill; but in this case example did not
seem better than precept. It had seemed so easy to the simple-minded
Dutch scholar to reform the Church; everything was provided for in the
Canon Law, whose regulations had only to be put in force. His Spanish
experience had confirmed him in the possibility of the task. But at Rome
he found a system of Rules of Chancery which could not be set aside all
at once; there was no convenient Inquisition so organised that it could
clear all objectors out of his path; no secular power always ready to
support a reforming Churchman.

Where was he to begin? The whole practice of Indulgences appeared to be
what was most in need of reform. Its abuses had kindled the storm in
Germany. To purge them away would show how much in earnest he was. He
knew the subject well. He had written upon it, and therefore had studied
it from all sides. Rightly understood, Indulgences were precious things.
They showed how a merciful God had empowered His Church to declare that
He pardoned sins freely; and, besides, they proclaimed, as no other
usage of the Church did, the brotherhood of all believers, within which
the stronger could help the weaker, and the holier the more sinful, and
all could fulfil the law of Christ by bearing each other's burdens. Only
it was to be remembered that every pardon required a heart unfeignedly
penitent, and the sordid taint of money must be got rid of. But--there
was always a "but" for poor Adrian--it was shown to him that the papal
court could not possibly pay its way without the money which came in so
easily from the sale of Indulgences. He was baffled at the very start;
checks, for the most part quite unexpected, thwarted every effort. He
was like a man in a nightmare, set in a thicket of thorns, where no
hewing could set him free, clothes torn, limbs bleeding, till at last he
sank exhausted, welcoming the death which freed him from his impossible
task. Adrian was the distinguished martyr of the Spanish Reformation.
History has dwelt upon his failures; they were only too manifest. It has
derided his simplicity in sending Chieregati to Germany with the
confession that the Curia was the source of most of the evils which
beset the mediæval Church, and at the same time demanding the death of
Luther, who had been the first to show the fact in such a way that all
men could see it. It has said little of the success that came in due
time. Chieregati was unable to overcome the deeply rooted Evangelical
Reformation in Germany. But his mission and the honest statement that
the Curia was the seat of evil in the Church, date the beginnings of a
reaction, of a genuine Romanist party with a vague idea of reforms on
mediæval lines. It must be taken as the starting-point of the
Counter-Reformation in Germany. Adrian's example, too, did much to
encourage the few spiritually minded Churchmen in Italy, and its effects
can be seen in the revival of a zeal to purify the Church which arose
during the pontificate of Paul III.



§ 1. _The Religious Condition of Italy._

Italy is the land which next to Spain is the most important for the
Counter-Reformation. While we can trace in Spain and in Germany a
certain solidarity of religious movement, the spiritual conditions of
Italy during the first half of the sixteenth century were as manifold as
its political conditions. It is impossible to speak of the Italians as a
whole. Italy had been the land of the Renaissance, but that great
intellectual movement had never rooted itself deeply in the people as it
had done in Germany, France, or England.

The Italian peasantry were a class apart from the burghers as they were
nowhere else. Their religion was usually a thinly veiled paganism, a
belief in the omnipresence of spirits, good and bad, to be thanked,
propitiated, coaxed or compelled by use of charms, amulets, spells, and
ceremonies. The gods of their pagan ancestors had been replaced by local
saints, and received the same kind of worship. To fight for their faith
had never been a tradition with them as with the Spaniards; they were
not troubled by any continuous sense of sin as were the people of the
northern nations; but they had an intense fear of the supernatural, and
their faith in the priest, who could stand between them and the terrors
of the unseen, was boundless. Goodness touched them as it does all men.
But the immorality of their religious guides did not embarrass them; a
bad priest had as powerful spells as a good one. The only kind of
Christianity which seemed able to impress them and hold them was that of
Francis of Assisi. He was the highest embodiment of the Christian spirit
for the Italian peasantry; the impression he had made upon the people of
the Peninsula was enduring; the wandering revivalist preacher who lived
as Francis had done always made the deepest impression. John of
Capistrano owed much of his power to the fact that he remained always
the Abruzzi peasant. During the whole of the period of the Renaissance
the peasantry and the clergy who served the village chapels were
regarded by those above them with a scorn that degenerated into hatred.
We may search in vain through the whole of the literature of the time
for the thought that any attempt ought to be made to lead them to a
deeper faith and a purer life. The whole of the peasant population of
Italy were believed to be beneath the level of desire for something
better than what the religious life of the times gave.[656]

The towns presented an entirely different picture. There was a
solidarity binding together all the civic population. The ordinary
division of ranks, made by greater or less possession of wealth or by
social standing, existed, but it did not prevent a common mode of
thinking. We can trace the same thoughts among artisans, small
shopkeepers, rich merchants, and the patricians of the towns. No country
presented so many varieties of local character as Italy; but the
inhabitants of Venice or Florence, Milan, Naples, however else they
might differ, were all on the same spiritual level. They thought much
about religion; they took the moral degradation of the Church and of the
clergy to heart; they longed to see some improvement, if it was only
within their own city. They were clearsighted enough to trace the
mischief to the influence of the Roman Curia, and their belief in the
hopelessness of reforming the evil Court gives a settled despondency to
their thought which appears in most of the Chronicles. The external side
of religion was inextricably interwoven with their city life. The civic
rulers had always something to do with the churches, monasteries, and
other ecclesiastical foundations within their walls. They had no great
interest in doctrine; what they wanted was a real improvement in the
moral living of clergy and of people. When an Italian town was blessed
with a good and pious Bishop, it is touching to see how the whole
population rallied round him.

When we turn to the outstanding men of the Italian peninsula, whose
opinions have been preserved in their writings or correspondence, we
find, to begin with, a great variety of religious opinions whose common
note is unconstrained hostility to the Church as it was then
constituted. The institution was a necessary evil, very important as a
factor in the game of politics, useless for the religious life. This
sentiment existed almost universally, both among those who merely
maintained a decorous relation towards the existing ecclesiastical
institutions, and among those who really believed in Christianity, and
acknowledged its power over their mind and life. The papal Curia
oppressed them; they were hopeless of its reformation, and yet there was
little hope of a revival of religion, with its social worship and its
"sacraments" unless it was reformed. The feeling of hopelessness is
everywhere apparent; the deepest spiritual longings and experiences were
to be treasured as sacred secrets of the heart, and not to be spoken
about. Yet the work of Savonarola had not been entirely consumed in the
fire that burnt the martyr, and the earlier message of Luther had found
an echo in many Italian hearts.

§ 2. _The Italian Roman Catholic Reformers._

There is no evidence of any widespread acceptance of the whole of
Luther's teaching, little appreciation of the thought that the Church
may be conceived as a fellowship of God with man depending on the
inscrutable purpose of God and independent of all visible outward
organisation, none of the idea that the Visible Church Catholic exists
one and indivisible in the many forms in which men combine to listen to
the Word and to manifest their faith. The Catholic Church was always to
these pious Italians the great historical and external institution with
its hierarchy, and its visible head in the Bishop of Rome. A reform of
the Church meant for them the reformation of that institution. So long
as this was denied them they could always worship within the sanctuary
of their own souls, and they could enjoy the converse of likeminded
friends. So there came into existence coteries of pious Italians who met
to encourage each other, and to plan the restoration of religion within
the Church. Humanism had left its mark on all of them, and their
reunions were called academies, after the Platonic academies of the
earlier Renaissance. The first had come into being before the death of
Leo. X.--a society of pious laymen and prelates, who met in the little
church of Santi Silvestro et Dorotea in the Trastevere in Rome. The
associates were more than fifty in number, and they were all
distinguished by their love of the New Learning, the strict purity of
their lives, and their devotion to the theology of St. Augustine. The
members were scattered after the sack of Rome (1527), but this _Oratory
of Divine Love_ gave rise to many kindred associations within which the
original members found a congenial society.

The most important found a home in Venice. Its most prominent members
were Gasparo Contarini, a distinguished Senator, who afterwards was
induced to become a Cardinal. With him were Cardinal Caraffa, already
meditating upon taking another path, and Gregorio Cortese, then Abbot of
San Giorgio Maggiore. The friends met in the beautiful garden of the
convent. All shades of opinion were represented in this circle, where
Humanists and Churchmen met to exchange views about a reformation of the
Church. To share in such intercourse, Reginald Pole willingly spent his
days far from his native England. Cardinal Fregoso, Archbishop of
Salerno, gathered a similar company around him at Genoa; and Ghiberti,
Bishop of Verona, collected likeminded friends to talk about the
possibilities of reformation. Modena and Padua had their Christian
academies also. Nor must the influence of well-born, cultured and pious
ladies be forgotten.

Renée, Duchess of Ferrara and daughter of Louis XII. of France, had
accepted the Reformation in its entirety, and had surrendered herself to
the guidance of Calvin. She corresponded with the great Frenchman and
with Bullinger. She sheltered persecuted Italian Protestants, or had
them safely conveyed to Switzerland.[657] But she saw good wherever it
was to be found. Her letters, instinct with Christian graciousness,
remind the reader of those of her kinswoman Marguerite of Navarre. She
was full of sympathy with the circle of men and women who longed for a
regeneration of Italy; and it is interesting to notice how the far more
highly gifted Vittoria Colonna leant on the woman whose spiritual
insight was deeper, and whose heart was purified by the trials which
her decision in religious matters made her pass through.

Caterina Cybó, a niece of Pope Clement, Princess of Camerino, Eleonora
Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, Julia Gonzaga at Naples, and Vittoria
Colonna at Viterbo and at Rome, formed a circle of highly intellectual
and deeply pious women, who by their letters and intercourse inspired
men who were working for the regeneration of the Church in Italy.

The network of their correspondence covered Italy from Venice to Naples
and from Genoa to Camerino, and the letters exchanged between Marguerite
of Navarre and Vittoria Colonna extended the influence of the
association beyond the peninsula. The correspondents, men and women,
regarded themselves as a band of companions pledged to each other to
work together for the Reformation of the Church and of society. It is
not easy to describe their aims, for they contented themselves for the
most part with vague aspirations; and they all had their favourite likes
and dislikes. It is impossible to doubt their earnestness, but it was of
the high-bred placid kind. It had nothing of the Spanish exaltation of
Teresa, of the German vehemence of Luther, of the French passion
scarcely veiled by the logical precision of Calvin. They all admired St.
Francis, but in a way out of sympathy with the common people, for they
looked on asceticism with a mild wonder, and had no eagerness for _that_
type of the imitation of Christ. Vittoria Colonna indeed found the
convent at Viterbo a pleasant retreat for a few weeks at a time. A sigh
sometimes escaped her that perhaps the nuns were all Marys who had
chosen the better part, but that was only when she was weary with the
perversities of the incomprehensible world. Their correspondence
suggests an academy of the earlier Italian Renaissance, where the theory
of Ideas had given way to doctrines of Justification, and the Epistles
of St. Paul had taken the place of the Dialogues of Plato. There is a
touch of dilettantism in their habits of thought, and a savour of the
eighteenth century Salon in their intercourse. They longed to mediate
between contending parties in the religious strife which was convulsing
Europe beyond the Alps and might invade Italy; but they were unfit for
the task. A true _via media_ can only be found by men who see both sides
of the controversy in the clear vision of thought, not by men who
perceive neither distinctly. Sadoleto, to take one example, declared
that he could see much to admire in the German Reformation, but what he
approved were only the external portions which came from Humanism, not
those elements which made the movement a religious revival. He disliked
Luther, but had a great esteem for Bucer and Melanchthon. Indeed, the
Italian Cardinal may be called the Melanchthon of Romanism. Melanchthon,
rooted in Protestantism, felt compelled by his intellectual sympathy and
humility to believe that there was some good in Romanism and to try to
find it; Sadoleto, rooted in Romanism, was impelled to some sympathy
with the Protestant theology. He had, however, a fatal lack of precision
of thought. One doctrine tended to slide insensibly into another, into
its opposite even, under the touch of his analysis. The man who could
defend and commend auricular confession because it was an example of
Christian humility, and saint-worship because it was a testimony to the
immortality of the soul, ran the risk of being regarded as a trifler by
Protestants and a traitor by Romanists. Such was his fate.

Contemporary with these offshoots from the _Oratory of Divine Love_ was
a revival among some of the monastic orders in Italy which had distinct
connection with some of the members of the associations above mentioned.

The most important for its influence on the religious life of the people
was the Order of the Capucins. It took its rise from Matteo de Grassis,
a man of no intellectual powers, but endowed with more than the usual
obstinacy of the Italian peasant. He was an Umbrian, like Francis
himself. He belonged to a district where traditions of the great
mediæval revivalist had been handed down from parents to children for
generations, and one of these insisted that St. Francis had worn a hood
with its peak pointed and not rounded, as the fashion among the monks
then was. He declared that St. Francis had appeared to him in a vision,
and had said that the brethren of the order ought to obey his rules "to
the letter, to the letter, to the letter." He for one resolved to obey.
He threw away rounded hood and wore one with pointed peak. The peasants
refused to recognise the novelty, and drove him off with stones; his
brethren argued with him, and belaboured him with their fists; but
Matteo stuck to his pointed hood. The shape was nothing, but the
Founder's commands were everything; Matteo would die before he would
wear the rounded thing which had never been hallowed by St. Francis. The
Princess Caterina Cybó took compassion on the hunted man, and gave him
an asylum within her little principality of Camerino, where he wore his
pointed _capuze_ in peace. He soon sank back into the obscurity from
which he had for a moment emerged. But new life was stirring among the
Franciscans. Many were dissatisfied with the laxity of the order, and
were longing for a monastic Reformation. All down the Middle Ages the
watchword of every monastic revival had been, "Back to the Founder's
rules." The pointed hood was a trifle, but it was the symbol of a return
to the rigid discipline of Francis. Men heard that Camerino was an
asylum for Franciscans discontented with the laxity of the superiors of
the order, and gradually they flocked to the little principality.
Vittoria Colonna had long mourned over the decadence of the genuine
monastic life; she encouraged her friend the Princess Caterina to
beseech her uncle the Pope to permit the pointed hood, and gradually
there came into being a new fresh offshoot of the Franciscans, called
the Capucins, who revived the traditions of St. Francis, and went
preaching among the villages after the fashion of his earlier followers.
Francis had told his disciples to beware of books when making their
sermons; he had advised them to talk to the women as they washed,
Italian fashion, by the side of streams, to masons while they were
hewing, to artisans at their work, to find out what their religious
difficulties were, what prevented them becoming really Christians in
their lives, and then to discourse on the things they had heard. This
old Franciscan preaching was restored by the Capucins, and they did more
than any others to bring the people of Italy back to the discredited
Church. They were accused of heresy. What "reformation" of the
Franciscans was not? They were called Lutherans; and a good deal of
Luther's Evangelical teaching was unconsciously presented in their
sermons; but they could always quote St. Francis for what they said; and
who could gainsay what Francis had taught?

This monastic revival affected the commonalty; another spoke to the
educated classes. As early as 1504 an attempt had been made to
reorganise the great Benedictine order, and a number of Benedictine
abbeys had united to form a Congregation, which soon after its
institution took the name of the Benedictine Mother-Cloister, Monte
Cassino. Gregorio Cortese, one of the members of the _Oratory of Divine
Love_, entered into the movement, and as Abbot of the Benedictine
convent on the Island of Lerina on the Riviera, and afterwards in the
convent of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice, led his monks to show that
their convents were the centres of learning dedicated to the service of
the Church. He interested himself more especially in historical studies
with a view of maintaining the historic traditions of the Church, which
were beginning to be shaken by historical criticism, then in its

The improvement of the secular clergy was more important for the Church
in Italy than any reforms of the monastic orders. An attempt to do this
was begun by two members of the _Oratory of Divine Love_, Giovanni
Pietro Caraffa and Gaetano da Thiene. Their idea was that in every
diocese there ought to be a small band of men doing the work of secular
clergy but bound by monastic vows. Their idea was taken from Augustine's
practice of living monastically with some of his clergy; and fulfilled
itself in the order of the Theatines. The name was derived from Theate
(Chieti), the small See of which Caraffa was Bishop. These picked clergy
were to be to the Bishop what his staff is to a general. The Theatines
were not to be numerous, still less to include the whole secular clergy
of a diocese; but they were to incite by precept, and above all by
example, to a truly clerical life. The idea spread, and similar
associations arose all over Italy.[658]

Such were the preparations in Italy for the Counter-Reformation. There
was no prospect of any attempt to set the Church in order while Pope
Clement VII. lived. He exhausted all his energies in preventing the
summoning of a General Council--a measure on which Charles V. was
growing more and more set as the only means of ending the religious
dispute in Germany.

The accession of Paul III. (1534) seemed to inaugurate a new era full of
hopes for the advocates of reform at the centre of the Roman Church. The
new Pope made Gasparo Contarini, Caraffa, Sadoleto, and Pole Cardinals.
A Bull, which remained unpublished, was read in the Consistory (January
1536), sketching the possibility of reforming the Curia. The Pope
appointed a commission of nine members to report upon the needful
reforms, and the commission was everywhere regarded as a sort of
preliminary Council, a body of men who were appointed to investigate and
tabulate a programme of necessary reforms to be laid before a General
Council. The Commissioners were Contarini, Caraffa, Ghiberti, Sadoleto,
Pole, Fregoso, all of whom had been members of the _Oratory of Divine
Love_, Aleander who had been Nuncio at the Diet of Worms, and Tomaso
Badia, Master of the Sacred Palace. They met and drafted a report which
was presented to the Pope in 1537, and is known as the _Consilium
delectorum cardinalium et aliorum prælatorum de emendanda ecclesia_. A
more scathing indictment of the condition of the Roman Church could
scarcely be imagined, nor one which spoke more urgently of the need of
radical reformation. Its very thoroughness was disconcerting. It
revealed so many scandals connected with the Papacy that it was resolved
not to make it known. But it had been printed as a private document; a
copy somehow or other reached Germany; it was at once republished there,
with comments showing how a papal commission itself had justified all
the German demands for a reformation of the Church. At Rome the
appearance of reforming activity was maintained. Contarini, Caraffa,
Aleander, and Badia were appointed to investigate the workings of those
departments of the Curia which had most to do with the abuses detailed
in the report of the Commission of Nine--the _Chancery_, the _Datary_,
and the _Penitentiary_, where reservations, dispensations, exemptions,
etc., were given and registered. They presented their report in the
autumn of 1537. It was entitled _Consilium quattuor delectorum a Paulo
III. super reformatione sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ_. But Contarini evidently
felt that the Pope needed pressing. When the Commission of Nine had been
appointed, the Pope had summoned a General Council to meet at Mantua in
May 1537, in a Bull published on May 29th, 1536, and had also published
a Bull of Reformation in September of that year. The Council never
met--the war between Charles V. and Francis I. preventing. The Council
was then summoned to meet at Vicenza, but was again postponed. The
Emperor had no wish for a General Council in Italy, and the Pope was
determined not to call one to meet in Germany. In these circumstances
Contarini published his _Epistola de potestate Pontificis in usu
clavium_, and his _De potestate Pontificis in Compositionibus_.[659]

Historians differ about the sincerity of Pope Paul III. in the matter of
reform, and there is room for two opinions. His Italian policy was
anti-Hapsburg, and the German Romanist Princes, at all events, had
little belief in his sincerity, and were seriously meditating on
following the example of Henry VIII. Cardinal Morone, the Nuncio in
Germany, made no concealment of the difficulties attending the position
of the Romanist Church there, and urged continually substantial reforms
in Italy, and the necessity of a General Council. Perhaps these
energetic messages stirred the Pope to renewed activity in Rome, and
also to the necessity of formulating a definite policy with regard to
the Lutherans beyond the Alps. In April (1540) commissions were
appointed to reform certain offices in the Curia--the Rota, the
Chancery, and the Penitentiary. Consultations were held about how to
deal with the state of affairs in Germany. For the moment the ideas of
the more liberal-minded Italian Reformers were in the ascendant. Charles
had determined to find out whether it was not possible to reunite the
broken Church in Germany. Conferences were to be held with the leading
Lutheran theologians. The Pope determined to reject the advice of Faber,
the Bishop of Vienna, and to refrain from pronouncing judgment on a
series of Lutheran propositions sent to him for condemnation. Cardinal
Contarini, whose presence had been urgently required by the Emperor, was
permitted to cross the Alps to see, in conference with distinguished
Lutherans, whether some common terms of agreement might be arrived at
which would serve as a programme to be set before the General Council,
which all were agreed must be summoned sometime soon.

§3. _Cardinals Contarini and Caraffa._

This mission of Contarini's to Germany dates the separation between two
different ways of proposing to deal with the Reformation movement. The
two methods were embodied in two men, Cardinals Contarini and Caraffa.
They had both belonged to the _Oratory of Divine Love_; they were both
zealous to see the Church reformed in the sense of reviving its moral
and spiritual life; they both longed to see the rent which had made
itself apparent repaired, and the Church again reunited. They differed
entirely about the means to be adopted to bring about the desirable end.
The differences originated in the separate characters and training of
the two leaders.

Gasparo Contarini belonged to an ancient patrician family of Venice, and
spent the greater portion of his life in the service of the Republic. He
was looked on as the ablest and most upright of its statesmen. He had
drunk deeply of the well of the New Learning, and yet can hardly be
called a Humanist. He had been a student at Padua, and had there studied
and learned to appreciate Scholastic Theology. He had been trained as a
Venetian statesman, and clung to the political ideas of the mediæval
jurisprudence. The whole round of mediæval thought encircled and
possessed him. Christendom was one great commonwealth, and embodied
three great imperialist ideas--a world King, the Emperor; a world
priest, the Pope; a realm of sanctified science, the Scholastic
Philosophy under Theology, the Queen of the Sciences. He held these
three conceptions in a broad-minded and liberal way. There was room
under the Emperor for a community of Christian States, under the Pope
for a brotherhood of national Churches, under Scholastic for the New
Learning and what it brought to enrich the mind of mankind.

Erasmus had ridiculed Scholastic; Contarini's friend Cortese called it a
farrago of words; Luther had maintained that it sounded hollow because
at its centre was the vague eternal Something of Pagan Philosophy and
not the Father who had revealed His heart in Jesus Christ; but Contarini
saw the grandeur of the imposing edifice, believed in its solidity, and
would do nothing to destroy it. But this did not prevent him
sympathising strongly with Luther's doctrine of Justification by Faith,
nor from believing that room might be found for it and other Protestant
conceptions within the circle of medieval theological thought. He had
little sympathy with the enthusiasm which some of his friends--Cardinal
Pole for example--expressed for Plato. Aristotle was for him the great
master-builder of human systematic thinking; but the Aristotle he
recognised as the Master was not the sage revealed in the Greek text or
commentaries (although he studied both), but the Aristotle who had cast
his spell over Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus. He was firmly
persuaded that the Bishop of Rome was the Head of the Church, and as
such had his place in the political system of Christendom from which he
could not be removed without serious danger to the whole existing
framework of society; but he looked on the Pope as a constitutional
monarch bound to observe in his own person the ecclesiastical laws
imposed by his authority on the Christian world. Luther, he believed,
had recognised this in his earlier writings, and in this recognition lay
the possibilities of a readjustment which would bring Christendom
together again. On the other hand, Calvin's _Institutio_ filled him with
mingled admiration and dread. He recognised it to be the ablest book
which the Protestant movement had produced; but the thought of a
Christian democracy with which it was permeated, the stress it laid on
the procession of the divine purpose down through the ages, and the
manner in which it taught the prevenience of divine grace, were
conceptions whose acceptance, he thought, would be dangerous to the
political governance of mankind.

He dwelt with complacency on the thought that he had never longed for
ecclesiastical place or power. The Pope had persuaded him to permit
himself to be made Cardinal because the Holy See had need of his
service. He was conscious with a sort of proud humility that he was
generally esteemed the foremost Italian of his generation, that
enthusiastic friends spoke of his learning and virtue as "more divine
than human." He thought much more of his position as a Venetian Senator
and the trusted counsellor of the Republic, whose constitution he
believed to be the embodiment of the best political principles of the
time, than he did of his place in the Roman Court. "I for my part, to
tell the truth, do not think that the Red Hat is my highest honour," he
was accustomed to say. Such was the leader of the liberal-minded Roman
Catholics of Italy, who was asked by the Pope and urgently entreated by
the Emperor to visit Germany and end the schism by his persuasions.

Giovanni Picture's Caraffa, the intimate, the rival and the supplanter
of Contarini, belonged to one of the oldest noble families of Naples.
His house was intimately allied to the Church, and for more than one
hundred years its members had been Archbishops of Naples, and several
had been made Cardinals. The boy was destined for the Church. As a child
he had longed to enter a cloister, and had once set out to join the
Dominicans. His family, however, had other views for him. He was sent
when eighteen years of age to the papal court, and was soon almost
burdened with marks of distinction and with offices. He had been highly
educated while at Naples, and had steeped himself in the New Learning.
At the Humanist Courts of Alexander VI. and Julius II. he studied Greek
and Hebrew, and became an accomplished theologian besides. In 1504, much
against his will, he had been consecrated Bishop of the small diocese of
Chieti (Theate), lying in the wild Abruzzi district, almost due east of
Rome, on the slopes from the highest spurs of the Apennines to the
Adriatic. He found his people demoralised by constant feuds, and the
priests worse than their parishioners. Caraffa, determined to reduce
his unruly diocese to order, began with persuasion; and finding this of
small avail, flogged people and clergy into something like decency by
repeated spiritual censures and rigidly enforced excommunications. His
methods revealed the man. His talents were of too high an order and his
family influence too great to permit him to linger in his uncivilised
diocese. He was sent as Nuncio to England and thence to Spain. His visit
to the latter country made an indelible impression on his strong nature.
His earnest petitions for the independence of his native Naples were
contemptuously refused by the young King Charles, and the fierce
Neapolitan pursued the Emperor with an undying hatred. But what was more
important, his stay in Spain imbued him with the ideas of the Spanish
Reformation. He was too much an Italian and too strong a believer in the
papal supremacy to adopt the thought of secular interference in the
affairs of the Church, but with that exception the Spanish method of
renovating the Church took possession of him heart and soul. The germs
of fanaticism, hitherto sleeping within him, were awakened to life, and
never afterwards slumbered. He sympathised with the projects of Adrian
VI., and was a power during his brief pontificate. During the reign of
Clement VII. he took little part in public affairs, but all the attempts
to put new life into the monastic orders were assisted by him. He viewed
with some suspicion the attempt to conciliate the Germans; and the
results of Contarini's dealing with the Protestants at Regensburg filled
him with alarm.

Contarini's attempt to reunite the Church by reconciliation was twenty
years too late. It is doubtful whether anyone in Germany save the
Emperor had much faith in the uniting influences of a conference.
Morone, who had for years represented the Vatican at the Court of
Ferdinand of Austria, and who was perpetually urging the Pope to summon
a General Council, was afraid ever since Hagenau that conferences
benefited the Protestants more than the Romanists. Contarini himself had
said that what was needed to overcome the German movement was neither
conferences nor discussions about doctrine, but a Reformation in morals.
The Curia regarded his mission as a dangerous experiment. They tied his
hands as firmly as they could by his letter of instructions: He was to
inform the Emperor that no Legate, not even the Pope himself until he
had consulted the other nations, could modify the doctrines of the
Church for the sake of the Germans; he was to do his utmost to prevent
the assembly of a National Council for Germany. He heard from Paris that
the French Romanists believed that he was about to betray the Church to
the heretics. No one encouraged him except his own circle of immediate
friends. The men with whom he was to work, Cardinal de Granvelle and Dr.
Eck, were suspicious of him and of his antecedents. Nevertheless his
natural and confirmed optimism urged him to the task.

The situation, looked at broadly and from the point of view taken by a
contemporary who had made himself acquainted with the theology and
constitution of the mediæval Church, was not so hopeless as it must seem
to us with the history of what followed to enlighten us. The great mass
of mediæval doctrines lay uncodified. They were not codified until the
Council of Trent. The extreme claims made by the supporters of a papal
absolutism--claims which may be briefly expressed by the sentence: The
Church Universal is condensed in the Roman Church, and the Roman Church
is represented by the Pope--which had been used to crush the Lutheran
movement in its earliest stages, were of recent origin. Curialism could
be represented to be almost as much opposed to the mediæval theory of
the Church as anything that Luther had brought forward. There was a real
_via media_, if it could only be discovered and defined. The commonplace
opinions of men who were sincerely attached to the mediæval conception
of the Church, with its claims to catholicity, with its doctrines,
usages, ceremonies and hierarchy, could scarcely be better represented
than in the declaration said to have been made by Charles V. to his
sister Maria, his governor in the Netherlands:

     "It happened that on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist the Emperor
     held a banquet in the garden. Now, when Queen Maria asked him what
     he thought of doing with the people and with the Confession (the
     Augsburg) that had been presented, he made reply: 'Dear Sister,
     when I was made chief of the Holy Roman Empire, the great complaint
     reached me that the people who profess this doctrine were more
     wicked than the devil. But the Bishop of Seville gave me the advice
     that I should not think of acting tyrannically, but should
     ascertain whether the doctrine is at variance with the articles of
     the Christian faith (the Apostles' Creed). This advice pleased me,
     and so I find that the people are not so devilish as had been
     represented; nor is the subject of dispute the Twelve Articles, but
     a matter lying outside them, which I have therefore handed over to
     the scholars. If their doctrine had been in conflict with the
     Twelve Articles I should have been disposed to apply the edge of
     the sword.'"[660]

The Twelve Articles, as the Apostles' Creed was called, always occupied
a peculiar position in the Western Church. They were believed to contain
the _whole_ of the _theologia revelata_. The great Schoolmen of the most
opposite parties (Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus alike) were
accustomed to deduce from the Apostles' Creed fourteen propositions,
seven on God and seven on the Incarnation, and to declare that they
contained the sum of revealed theology; everything else was natural
theology on which men might differ without being considered to have
abandoned the essentials of the Christian faith. Charles V. had been
taught at first, probably by Aleander's insistent reiterations, that
Luther had denied some portion of this revealed theology; he had come to
learn that he had been wrongly informed; therefore conference and
adjustment were possible.

Men like Charles V. and Contarini could honestly believe that so far as
doctrine was concerned a compromise might be effected.

§ 4. _The Conference at Regensburg._

The Diet was opened at Regensburg in February 1541. The Emperor
explained his position and intentions. He declared that the most
important duty before them was to try to heal the division in religion
which was separating Germany into two opposing parties. The one duty of
the hour was to endeavour to come to a unanimous decision on religious
matters, and to bring about this he proposed to name some peace-loving
men who could confer together upon the points in debate. Count Frederick
of the Palatinate, brother of the Elector, and Cardinal de Granvelle
were nominated presidents: three pronounced Protestants, two pronounced
Romanists, and one whose opinions were doubtful, were the assessors;
Eck, Gropper, and Pflug were to support the Romanist side, Melanchthon,
Bucer, and Pistorius were the speakers for the Protestants. Perhaps the
only name that could be objected to was that of Eck; it was impossible
to think of him as a man of peace. The Legate Contarini guided

During preliminary conferences an understanding was come to on some
practical questions which served to preserve an appearance of unanimity.
It was thought that marriage might be permitted to the clergy and the
cup to the laity within Germany; that the Pope might be honoured as the
Primate of the Church, provided it was clearly understood that his
position did not give him the power of perpetual interference in the
affairs of the national Churches; that the hierarchy might be maintained
if the episcopal jurisdiction were exercised conjointly by a vicar
appointed by the Bishop and a learned layman appointed by the secular

It was the business of the conference to discuss the deeper theological
differences which were supposed to separate the two parties. So in the
opening meetings the delegates began to consider those questions which
gathered round the thought of Justification.

It was agreed that there was no distinction between the ordinances of
grace and those of nature in the original condition of man. This
declaration involved the denial of the distinction between the _dona
supernaturalia_ and the _dona naturalia_ made so much of in Scholastic
Theology, and the basis of a great deal of its Pelagian tendencies. It
was expressly conceded by the Romanist theologians that man had lost his
original freedom of will by the Fall--a concession directly at variance
with the future declaration of the Council of Trent.[661] The statement
agreed upon about the origin of sin was given almost in the words of the
Augsburg Confession, and agrees with them. The doctrine of the tenacity
of original sin scarcely differs from a statement of Luther's which had
been condemned in the Bull _Exurge Domine_ of Pope Leo X.[662] In the
discussions and conclusions about this first head of doctrine the
conclusions of Protestant theology had been amply vindicated.

There was more difficulty on the matter of Justification. Two
definitions suggested by the Romanist theologians and by Melanchthon
were successively rejected, and one brought forward, it is said by
Contarini himself, was accepted after some discussion. It was couched in
language which the Lutheran theologians had not been accustomed to use.
It embodied phrases which Pole, Contarini, and other liberal Italian
Roman Catholics had made their own. The Protestants of Germany, however,
saw nothing in it to contradict their cherished ideas upon
Justification, and they gladly accepted the definition. The statement,
repeated more than once, that grace is the free gift of God and is not
merited by our works, expressed their deepest thought, and completely
excluded the meritorious character of ecclesiastical good works. They
seemed rather pleased than otherwise that their thoughts could be
expressed in language suggested by Romanist theologians.[663] It appears
that Eck, while consenting to the definition, wished to avoid signing
it, but was compelled by Granvelle to fix his name to the document.[664]

The fact that the Romanist and Protestant members of the conference
could agree upon an article on Justification caused great rejoicings
among Contarini's friends in Italy. Cardinal Pole was convinced that
every obstacle in the way of reunion had been removed, and the most
extravagant expectations were cherished.[665] The Protestant members of
the conference were entirely satisfied with the results so far as they
had gone.

The conference then turned to questions affecting the organisation and
worship of the Church.

Somewhat to their surprise, the Protestants found that their opponents
were willing to accept their general theory of what was meant by the
Church and what were its distinguishing characteristics. The Christian
Society was defined without any reference to the Pope as its permanent
Head on earth. This provoked strong dissents from Rome when the
definition was known there. Differences emerged when the power of the
Church was discussed, and as there was no prospect of agreement it was
resolved for the meanwhile to omit the article.[666]

The question of the Sacrament of the Holy Supper evoked differences
which were felt to be almost insuperable. It was inevitable. For here
the one fundamental divergence between the new Evangelical faith and
mediæval religion came to practical expression. Nothing could reconcile
the Evangelical thought of a spiritual priesthood of all believers with
the belief in a mediating priesthood who could give and could withhold
God. Doctrines might be stated in terms which hid this fundamental
difference; a definition of Justification by Faith alone might be
conceded to the Protestants; but any thought of a priestly miracle in
the Sacrament of the Holy Supper had to be repudiated by the one party
and clung to by the other.

At first things went smoothly enough; it was conceded that special ways
of dispensing the Sacraments were matters indifferent, but whenever the
question of Transubstantiation emerged, things came to a deadlock. It
was perhaps characteristic of Contarini's somewhat surface way of
dealing with the whole question at stake between the two parties, that
he never probed the deeper question. He rested his plea for
Transubstantiation on the ground that an important article of faith
which had been assented to for so long must not be questioned.[667] The
Protestants held a private conference, at which all the theologians
present were asked to give their opinions in turn. There Calvin
spoke, dwelling on the thought that Transubstantiation implied
adoration, which could never be conceded. His firmness produced
unanimity. Melanchthon drafted their common opinion, which was given in
writing to Granvelle, who refused in strong language to accept it, and
the conference came to an end. The more difficult practical subjects of
the sacrificial character of the Mass and of private Masses were not

This conference at Regensburg may almost be said to be the parting of
the ways. Up to 1525 the movement under Luther had the appearance of a
Reformation of the whole Church in Germany. From 1525 to the date of
this conference there was always the expectation that the Lutherans who
had formed territorial Churches might yet be included in a general
Reformation of the whole German Church. Joachim II. of Brandenburg
cherished the idea long after 1541; and Charles v. still believed that
what could not be effected by mutual compromise might be done by a
mediating creed imposed upon all by the authority of the Emperor. But
compromise failed at Ratisbon, and there was no further hope of its

The decisive character of the Regensburg conference was seen in Italy
almost at once. Its failure involved the destruction of the party of
Italian Romanists who hoped to end the religious strife by a compromise.
When Contarini returned to Italy he found that his influence was gone.
He was rewarded with the Government of Bologna, which removed him from
the centre of things. He died soon after (Aug. 24th, 1542), leaving none
behind him to fill his place. Ghiberti survived him only sixteen months.
Caraffa had become more and more alienated from his early friends.
Sadoleto, Pole, and Morone remained, all of them men of intellect, but
lacking the qualities which fit men to be leaders in trying times. Pole
lived to make atonement for his liberalism by hounding on the
persecutions in England, and Morone by becoming the champion of
ultramontanism at the close of the Council of Trent. The conception of a
Catholic Reformation disappeared; the idea of a Counter-Reformation took
its place.



§ 1. _At Manresa._

The little mountainous province of Guipuzcoa, lying at the corner of the
Bay of Biscay, bordering on France, was the district of Spain which
produced one of the greatest of her sons, Iñigo de Recalde de Loyola,
the founder of the Society of Jesus. The tower which was the family seat
still stands, rough and windowless as a Scottish border keep, adorned
with one ornament only, a stone above the doorway, on which are carved
the arms of the family--two wolves in quest of prey. Guipuzcoa had never
been conquered by the Moors, and its nobles, poor in their barren
highlands, boasted that the bluest Gothic blood ran in their veins. The
Recaldes belonged to the very oldest nobility of the district, and
possessed the highly valued privilege of the right of personal summons
to the coronation of the Kings of Leon. Their younger sons were welcomed
at Court as pages, and then as soldiers; and the young Iñigo was a page
at the Court of Ferdinand. He was well educated for a Spanish noble;
could read and write; composed ballads; and could illuminate manuscripts
with miniatures. Most of his spare time was employed in reading those
romances of chivalry then very popular. When older he became a soldier
like his elder brothers.

In 1521, when twenty-eight years of age (b. 1493), he was the youngest
officer in command of the garrison of Pampeluna, ordered to withstand a
combined force of invading French troops and some revolting Spaniards.
The enemy appeared before the place in such overwhelming numbers that
all but the youngest officer wished to surrender without a struggle.
Iñigo's eloquence persuaded the garrison to attempt a desperate defence.
No priest was among the soldiers; the Spaniards, according to their
custom, confessed each other, and were ready to die at their posts. A
bullet struck the young officer as he stood in the breach encouraging
his men. His fall gave the victory to the besiegers.

The conspicuous bravery of Iñigo had won the respect of his enemies.
They extricated him from the heap of dead under which he was buried, and
conveyed him to the old family castle. There his shattered leg was so
badly set as to unfit him for a soldier's career. He had it twice broken
and twice reset. The prolonged torture was useless; he had to believe
that he would never fight on horseback again. The dream of taking a
man's part in the conquests which all Spaniards of that age believed lay
before their country, had to be abandoned. His body was a useless log.

But Iñigo was a noble of the Basque provinces, and possessed, in a
superlative degree it was to be discovered, the characteristics of his
race--at once taciturn and enthusiastic, wildly imaginative, and sternly
practical. He has himself recorded that, as soon as he was convinced
that he could never become a distinguished soldier, he asked himself
whether he might not become a famous saint like Dominic or Francis, and
that the question arose from no spiritual promptings, but simply from
the determination to win fame before his death. As he lay bedridden,
thinking much and dreaming more, it suddenly occurred to him that no one
could become a saint unless he lived very near God, and that his life
had not been of such a kind. He at once resolved that he would change;
he would feed on herbs like a holy hermit; he would go to Jerusalem as a
devout pilgrim. This vow, he tells us, was the earliest conscious
movement of his soul towards God. His reward came soon in the shape of
his first revelation. The blessed Virgin, with the Child Jesus in her
arms, appeared to him in a dream. He awoke, hustled out of bed, dragged
himself to the small window of his turret-room, and looked out. The
earth was dark, an obscure mingling of black shadows; the heavens were a
great vault of deepest blue strewn with innumerable stars. The sight was
a parable and an inspiration. "How dull earth is," he cried, "how
glorious heaven!" He felt that he must _do_ something to get nearer God.
He must be alone in some holy place to think things out with his own
soul. His brother's servants hoisted the maimed body of the once
brilliant soldier on an ass, one foot in a boot, the wounded leg still
swathed in bandages and its foot in a large soft slipper, and Iñigo left
the old castle determined to live a hermit's life on Montserrat, the
holy hill of Aragon.

There in the church of Our Lady of Montserrat he resolved to dedicate
himself to her service with all the ceremonies prescribed in that
masterbook of mediæval chivalry, Amadis of Gaul. He hung his arms on her
altar, and throughout the long night, standing or kneeling, he kept his
watch, consecrating his knightly service to the Blessed Virgin. At
daybreak he donned an anchorite's dress, gave his knightly robes to the
first beggar he met, and, mounted on his ass, betook himself to the
Dominican convent of Manresa, no longer Iñigo Recalde de Loyola, but
simply Ignatius.

At Manresa he practised the strictest asceticism, hoping to become in
heart and soul fitted for the saint life he wished to live. Then began a
time of unexpected, sore and prolonged spiritual conflict, not unlike
what Luther experienced in the Erfurt convent. Who was he and what had
been his past life that he should presumptuously think that God would
ever accept him and number him among His saints? He made unwearied use
of all the mediæval means of grace; he exhausted the resources of the
confessional; he consulted one spiritual guide after another without
experiencing any relief to the doubts which were gnawing at his soul.
The whole machinery of the Church helped him as little as it had Luther:
it could not give peace of conscience. He has placed on record that the
only real help he received during this prolonged period of mental agony
came from an old woman. Confession, instead of soothing him, rather
plunged him into a sea of intolerable doubt. To make his penitence
thorough, to know himself as he really was, he wrote out his confession
that he might see his sins staring at him from the written page. He
fasted till his life was in danger; he prayed seven times and scourged
himself thrice daily, but found no peace. He tells us that he often
shrieked aloud to God, crying that He must Himself help him, for no
creature could bring him comfort. No task would be too great for him, he
exclaimed, if he could only see God. "Show me, O Lord, where I can find
Thee; I will follow like a dog, if I can only learn the way of
salvation." His anguish prompted him to suicide. More than once, he
says, he opened his window with the intention of casting himself down
headlong and ending his life then and there; but the fear of his sins
and their consequences restrained him. He had read of a saint who had
vowed to fast until he had been vouchsafed the Beatific Vision, so he
communicated at the altar and fasted for a whole week; but all ended in
vanity and vexation of spirit.

Then, with the sudden certainty of a revelation, he resolved to throw
himself on the mercy of God, whose long-suffering pity would pardon his
sins. This was the crisis. Peace came at last, and his new spiritual
life began. He thought no longer about his past; he no longer mentioned
former sins in his confessions; the certainty of pardon had begun a new
life within him; he could start afresh. It is impossible to read his
statements without being struck with the similarity between the
spiritual experience of Ignatius and what Luther calls Justification by
Faith; the words used by the two great religious leaders were different,
but the experience of pardon won by throwing one's self upon the mercy
of God was the same.

This new spiritual life was, as in Luther's case, one of overflowing
gladness. Meditation and introspection, once a source of anguish, became
the spring of overpowering joy. Ignatius felt that he was making
progress. "God," he says, "dealt with me as a teacher with a scholar; I
cannot doubt that He had always been with me." Many historical critics
from Ranke downwards have been struck with the likeness of the
experience gone through by Luther and Ignatius. One great contrast
manifested itself at once. The humble-minded and quiet German, when the
new life awoke in him, set himself unostentatiously to do the common
tasks which daily life brought; the fiery and ambitious Spaniard at once
tried to conquer all mysteries, to take them by assault as if they were
a beleaguered fortress.

He had his visions as before, but they were no longer temptations of
Satan, the source of doubt and torture. He believed that he could
actually see with bodily eyes divine mysteries which the intelligence
could not comprehend. After lengthened prayer, every faculty
concentrated in one prolonged gaze, he felt assured that he could _see_
the mystery of Transubstantiation actually taking place. At the supreme
moment he saw Christ in the form of a white ray pass into the
consecrated bread and transform it into the Divine Victim (Host). He
declared that in moods of exaltation the most impenetrable mysteries of
theology, the Incarnation of our Lord, the Holy Trinity, the
personality of Satan, were translated into visible symbols which made
them plainly understood. These visions so fascinated him, that he began
to write them down in simple fashion for his own satisfaction and

In all this the student of the religious life of Spain during the
sixteenth century will recognise the mystical devotion which was then
characteristic of the people of the Peninsula. The Spanish character,
whether we study it in the romances of chivalry which the land produced,
or in the writing of her religious guides, was impregnated by
enthusiasm. It was passionate, exalted, entirely penetrated and
possessed by the emotion which for the time dominated it. In no country
were the national and religious sentiment so thoroughly fused and
united. The long wars with the Moors, and their successful issue in the
conquest of Grenada, had made religion and patriotism one and the same
thing. Priests invariably accompanied troops on the march, and went into
battle with them. St. James of Compostella was believed to traverse the
country to bring continual succour to the soldiers who charged the Moors
invoking his name. A victory was celebrated by a solemn procession in
honour of God and of the Virgin, who had delivered the enemy into the
hands of the faithful. This intensity of the Spanish character, this
temperament distinguished by force rather than moderation, easily gave
birth to superstition and burning devotion, and both furnished a
fruitful soil for the extravagances of Mysticism, which affected every
class in society. Statesmen like Ximenes, no less than the common
people, were influenced by the exhortations or predictions of the
_Beatæ_,--women who had devoted themselves to a religious life without
formally entering into a convent,--and changed their policy in
consequence. It was universally believed that such devotees, men and
women, could be illuminated divinely, and could attain to a state of
familiar intercourse with God, if not to an actual union with Him, by
giving themselves to prayer, by abstinence from all worldly thoughts and
actions, and by practising the most rigid asceticism. It was held that
those who had attained to this state of mystical union received in
dreams, trances, and ecstasies, visions of the divine mysteries.

The heads of the Spanish Inquisition viewed this Mysticism, so
characteristic of the Peninsula, with grave anxiety. The thought that
ardent believers could by any personal process attain direct
intercourse, even union with God, apart from the ordinary machinery of
the Church, cut at the roots of the mediæval penitential system, which
always presupposed that a priestly mediation was required. If God can be
met in the silence of the believer's soul, where is the need for the
priest, who, according to mediæval ideas, must always stand between the
penitent and God, and by his action take the hand of faith and lay it in
the hand of the divine omnipotence? Other dangers appeared. The Mystic
professed to draw his knowledge of divine things directly from the same
source as the Church, and his revelations had the same authority. It is
true that most of the Spanish Mystics, like St. Teresa, had humility
enough to place themselves under ecclesiastical direction, but this was
not the case with all. Some prophets and prophetesses declared
themselves to be independent, and these _illuminati_, as they were
called, spread disaffection and heresy. Hence the attitude of the
Inquisition towards Mystics of all kinds was one of suspicious
watchfulness. St. Teresa, St. Juan de la Cruz, Ignatius himself, were
all objects of distrust, and did not win ecclesiastical approbation
until after long series of tribulations.

It is necessary to insist on the fact that Ignatius had a deeply rooted
connection with the Spanish Mystics. His visions, his methods, the
_Spiritual Exercises_ themselves, cannot be understood apart from their
intimate relations to that Mysticism which was characteristic of the
religion of his land and of his age.

Ignatius was no ordinary Mystic, however. What seemed the whole or the
end to Teresa or Osuna was to him only a part, or the means to something
better. While he received and rejoiced in the visions vouchsafed to
him, he practised the keenest introspection. He observed and analysed
the moods and states of mind in which the visions came most readily or
the reverse, and made a note of them all. He noted the postures and
gestures of the body which helped or hindered the reception of visions
or profitable meditation on what had been revealed. He saw that he could
reproduce or at least facilitate the return of his visions by training
and mastering his mind and body, and by subjecting them to a spiritual
drill which might be compared with the exercises used to train a soldier
in the art of war. Out of these visions, introspections, comparisons,
experiments experienced in solitude at Manresa, came by long process of
gradual growth and elaboration the famous _Spiritual Exercises_, which
may be called the soul of the Counter-Reformation, as Luther's book on
_The Liberty of the Christian Man_ contains the essence of

Ignatius spent nearly a year at Manresa. He had accomplished his
object--to find himself at peace with God. It remained to fulfil his vow
of pilgrimage. He laid aside his hermit's garb, and with it his ascetic
practices; but he believed it to be his duty to renounce all property
and live absolutely poor. He left all the money he possessed upon a
bench and walked to Barcelona, supporting himself by begging. There he
was given a passage to Venice, and thence he sailed for the Holy Land.
His enthusiasm, and above all his project for beginning a mission among
the Turks, alarmed the chief of the Franciscans in Jerusalem, who
insisted on shipping him back to Italy. He reached Barcelona determined
to pursue such studies as would enable him to know theology. He had
never learned Latin, the gateway to all theological learning, and the
man of thirty entered school, and seated himself on the bench with boys.
Thence he went to Alcala and to Salamanca, and attended classes in these
towns. Before he had quitted Manresa he had begun to speak to others
about his visions, and to persuade them to submit themselves to the
spiritual drill of his _Exercises_. Some ladies in Barcelona had become
his devoted disciples. At Alcala and Salamanca he had tried to make
converts to his system. The ecclesiastical authorities of the districts,
fearing that this was a new kind of dangerous Mysticism, seized him, and
he was twice incarcerated in the episcopal Inquisition. It would
probably have fared ill with him had it not been for the intercession of
some of the distinguished ladies who had been his disciples. His
imprisonment in both cases was short, but he was forbidden to
discriminate between mortal and venial sins (a thing essential if he
acted as a spiritual director) until he had studied theology for four

§ 2. _Ignatius at Paris._

With prompt military obedience Ignatius decided to study at Paris. He
reached the city in the beginning of 1528, driving an ass laden with his
books and clothes. He went naturally to the College Montaigu, which
under its Principal, Noël Béda, was the most orthodox in Paris; but with
his well known determination to see and judge everything for himself, he
soon afterwards obtained leave to reside in the College Ste. Barbe, one
of the most liberal, in which George Buchanan was then a Regent.[670]

His sojourn in Paris could not fail to make a deep impression on the
middle-aged Spaniard, consumed with zeal to maintain in its minutest
details the old religion, and to destroy heresy and disobedience. Two
passions possessed him, both eminently Spanish. He could say with St.
Teresa that he suffered so much to see the Lutherans, whose baptism had
rendered them members of the Church, lose themselves unhappily, that had
he several lives he would willingly give them to deliver only one of
them from the horrible torments which awaited them; but he also believed
that it was for God a point of honour to avenge Himself on those who
despised His word, and that it belonged to all the faithful to be
instruments of the vengeance of the Almighty.

His keen practical nature grasped the religious situation in Paris (City
and University), and suggested his lifework. He saw the strength of the
Roman Catholic democracy face to face with the Reformation, and to what
power it might grow if it were only organised and subjected to a more
than military discipline. Ignatius was in Paris during the years when
partisan feelings ran riot.

Francis I. was by taste and training a man of the Renaissance. It
pleased him to be called and to imagine himself to be the patron of men
of letters. He was as devoted as his selfish, sensual nature permitted
him to be, to his sister Marguerite d'Angoulême, and for her sake
countenanced such Reformers as Lefèvre and the "group of Meaux." He had
a grudge against the Sorbonne and the _Parlement_ of Paris for their
attempts to baffle the Concordat of 1516; while he recognised the power
which these two formidable associations possessed. He was an
anti-Sorbonnist, who feared the Sorbonne (the great theological faculty
of the University of Paris), and could not help displaying his dread. He
had long dreamed of instituting a _Collége de France_, a free
association of learned teachers, men who could introduce the New
Learning and form a counterpoise to the Sorbonne which dominated the
University. The project took many forms, and never came to full fruition
until long after the days of Francis; but the beginnings were sufficient
to encourage Reformers and to irritate to fury the supporters of the
Sorbonne. The theological faculty of the University was then ruled by
Noël Béda, a man of no great intellectual capacity, who hated everything
which seemed to menace mediævalism. Béda, by his dogged courage, by his
unflinching determination, by his intense conviction that he was in the
right, was able to wage a pitiless warfare against the New Learning and
every appearance of religious reform. He was able to thwart the King
repeatedly, and more than once to attack him through Marguerite, his
sister. His whole attitude and activity made him a forerunner of the
Romanist League of two generations later, and, like the Leaguers, he
based his power on organising the Romanist fanaticism lying in the
populace of Paris and among the students of the Sorbonne. All this
Loyola saw under his eyes during his stay in Paris. He heard the
students of the Sorbonne singing their ferocious song:

    "Prions tons le Roi de gloire
     Qu'il confonde ces chiens mauldicts,
     Afin qu'il n'en soit plus mémoire,
     Non plus que de vielz os pourris.
         Au feu, au feu! c'est leur repére
         Fais-en justice! Dieu l'a permys";

and the defiant answer:

       "La Sorbonne, la bigotte,
        La Sorbonne se taira!
    Son grand hoste, l'Aristote,
    De la bande s'ostera!
    Et son escot, quoi qu'il coste,
    Jamais ne la soûlera!
        La Sorbonne, la bigotte,
        La Sorbonne se taira!

    La saincte Escriture toute
    Purement se preschera,
    Et toute doctrine sotte
    Des hommes on oublîra!
        La Sorbonne, la bigotte,
        La Sorbonne se taira!"[671]

Amidst this seething crowd of warring students and teachers, Ignatius
went, silent, watchful, observing everything. He cared little for
theological speculation, being a true and typical Spaniard. The
doctrines of the mediæval theology were simply military commands to his
disciplined mind; things to be submitted to whether understood or not.
Heresy was mutiny in the ranks. He had a marvellous natural capacity for
penetrating the souls of others, and had cultivated and strengthened it
by his habits of daily introspection and of writing down whatever, good
or bad, passed through his own soul. It is told of him that in company
he talked little, but quietly noted what others said, and that he had
infinite genius for observing and storing details.[672] He sought to
learn the conditions of life and thought outside Paris and France, and
made journeys to the Low Countries and to England, saying little,
thinking much, observing more. All the time he was winning the
confidence of fellow-students, and taking infinite pains to do
so--weighing and testing their character and gifts. He played billiards
with some, paid the college expenses of others, and was slowly,
patiently making his selection of the young men whom he thought fit to
be the confidants of his plans for the regeneration of Christendom, and
to be associates with him in the discipline which the _Exercises_ gave
to his own soul.[673]

He finally chose a little band of nine disciples--Peter Faber, Diego
Lainez, Francis Xavier, Alonzo Salmeron, Nicholas Boabdilla, Simon
Rodriguez, Paul Broet, Claude Jay, and Jean Codure. Codure died early.
Faber, the first selected, was a Savoyard, the son of a poor peasant,
with the unbending will and fervent spiritual imagination of a
highlander. No one of the band was more devoted to his leader. Francis
Xavier belonged, like Loyola himself, to an ancient Basque family; none
was harder to win than this proud young Spaniard. Lainez and Salmeron
were Castilians, who had been fellow-students with Ignatius at Alcala.
Lainez had always been a prodigy of learning, "a young man with the
brain of an ancient sage." He, too, had been hard to win, for his was
not a nature to kindle easily; but once subdued he was the most
important member of the band. Salmeron, his early companion, was as
impetuous and fiery as Lainez was cool and logical. He was the eloquent
preacher of the company. Boabdilla, also a Spaniard, was a man of
restless energy, who needed the strictest discipline to make him keep
touch with his brothers. Rodriguez, a Portuguese, and Jay, from Geneva,
were young men of insinuating manners, and were the destined
diplomatists of the little company. Broet, a phlegmatic Netherlander
among these fiery southerners, endeared himself to all of them by his
sweet purity of soul.

Such were the men whom Ignatius gathered together on the Feast of the
Ascension of Mary in 1534 in the Church of St. Mary of Montmartre, then
outside the walls of Paris. There they vowed that if no insuperable
difficulty prevented, they would go together to Palestine to work for
the good of mankind. If this became impossible, they would ask the Pope
to absolve them from their vow and betake themselves to whatever work
for the good of souls His Holiness directed them to do. No Order was
founded; no vows of poverty and obedience were taken; the young men were
a band of students who looked on each other as brothers, and who
promised to leave family and friends, and, "without superfluous money,"
work together for a regeneration of the Church. Faber, already in
priest's orders, celebrated Mass; the company dined together at St.
Denys. Such was the quiet beginning of what grew to be the Society of

The companions parted for a season to meet again at Venice.

§ 3. _The Spiritual Exercises._

All the nine associates had submitted themselves to the spiritual
guidance of Ignatius, and had all been subjected to the training
contained in the _Exercitia Spiritualia_. It is probable that this
manual of military drill for the soul had not been perfected at the date
of the meeting at Montmartre (1534), for we know that Loyola worked at
it from 1522 on to 1548, when it was approved by Pope Paul III.; but it
may be well at this stage to give some account of this marvellous book,
which was destined to have such important results for the

The thought that the spiritual senses and faculties might be
strengthened and stimulated by the continuous repetition of a prescribed
course of prayer and meditation, was not a new one. The German Mystics
of the fourteenth century, to name no others, had put their converts
through such a discipline, and the practice was not unusual among the
Dominicans. It is most likely that a book of this kind, the
_Exercitatorio dela vida spirital_ of Garcia de Cisneros, Abbot of the
Monastery of Montserrat (1500), had been studied by Ignatius while he
was at Manresa. But this detracts nothing from the striking and unique
originality of the _Exercitia Spiritualia_, they stand alone in plan,
contents, and intended result.[675] They were the outcome of Loyola's
protracted spiritual struggles, and of his cool introspection of his own
soul during these months of doubt and anguish. Their evident intention
is to guide the soul through the long series of experiences which Loyola
had endured unaided, and to lead it to the peace which he had found.

It is universally admitted that Ignatius had always before him the
conception of military drill. He wished to discipline the soul as the
drill-sergeant moulds the body. The _Exercises_ are not closet-rules for
solitary believers seeking to rise to communion with God by a ladder of
meditation. A guide was indispensable, _the Master of the Exercises_,
who had himself conquered all the intricacies of the method, and who,
besides, must have as intimate a knowledge as it was possible to acquire
of the details of the spiritual strength and weakness of his pupil. It
was the easier to have this knowledge, as the disciple must be more
than half won before he is invited to pass through the drill. He must
have submitted to one of the fathers in confession; he must be made to
understand the absolute necessity of abandoning himself to the exercises
with his whole heart and soul; he must promise absolute submission to
the orders of the director; he must by frequent confession reveal the
recesses of his soul, and describe the most trivial thoughts which flit
through it; above all, he must enter on his prolonged task in a state of
the liveliest expectation of the benefits to be derived from his
faithful performance of the prescribed exercises.[676] A large, though
strictly limited, discretion is permitted to the _Master of the
Exercises_ in the details of the training he insists upon.

The course of drill extends over four weeks[677] (twenty-five days). It
includes prolonged and detailed meditations on four great subjects:--sin
and conscience; the earthly Kingdom of Christ; the Passion of Jesus; and
the Love of God with the Glory of the Risen Lord.[678] During all this
time the pupil must live in absolute solitude. Neither sight nor sound
from the world of life and action must be allowed to enter and disturb
him. He is exhorted to purge his mind of every thought but the
meditation on which he is engaged; to exert all his strength to make his
introspection vivid and his converse with the Deity unimpeded.

True meditation, according to Ignatius, ought to include four things--a
preparatory prayer; _præludia_, or the ways of attuning the mind and
sense in order to bring methodically and vividly some past historical
scene or embodiment of doctrine before the soul of the pupil; _puncta_,
or definite heads of each meditation on which the thoughts are to be
concentrated, and on which memory, intellect, and will are to be
individually exercised; _colloquia_, or ecstatic converse with God,
without which no meditation is supposed to be complete, and in which the
pupil, having placed the crucifix before him, talks to God and hears His
voice answering him.

When the soul's progress on the long spiritual journey in which it is
led during these meditations is studied, one can scarcely fail to note
the crass materialism which envelops it at every step. The pupil is
required to _see_ in the mirror of his imagination the boundless flames
of hell, and souls encased in burning bodies; to _hear_ the shrieks,
howlings, and blasphemies; to _smell_ the sulphur and intolerable
stench; to _taste_ the saltness of the tears, and to _feel_ the
scorching touch of the flames.[679] When the scene in the Garden of
Gethsemane is the subject of meditation, he must have in the _camera
obscura_ of his imagination a garden, large or small, see its enclosing
walls, gaze and gaze till he discerns where Christ is, where the
Apostles sleep, perceive the drops of sweat, touch the clothes of our
Lord.[680] When he thinks of the Nativity, he must conjure up the
figures of Joseph, Mary, the Child, _and a maid-servant_, hear their
homely family talk, see them going about their ordinary work.[681] The
same crass materialism envelops the meditations about doctrinal
mysteries. Thinking upon the Incarnation is almost childishly limited to
picturing the Three Persons of the Trinity contemplating the broad
surface of the earth and men hurrying to destruction, then resolving
that the Second is to descend to save; and to the interview between the
angel Gabriel and the Virgin.[682]

A second characteristic of this scheme of meditation is the extremely
limited extent of its sphere. The attention is confined to a few scenes
in the life of our Lord and of the Virgin. No lessons from the Old
Testament are admitted. All theological speculation is strictly
excluded. What is aimed at is to produce an intense and concentrated
impression which can never be effaced while life lasts. The soul is
alternately torn by terror and soothed by the vision of heavenly
delights. "The designed effect was to produce a vivid and varied
hypnotic dream of twenty-five days, from the influence of which a man
should never wholly free himself."[683]

The outstanding feature, however, of the _Exercises_ and of the
_Directory_ is the minute knowledge they display of the bodily
conditions and accompaniments of states of spiritual ecstasy, and the
continuous, not to say unscrupulous, use they make of physical means to
create spiritual abandon. They master the soul by manipulating the body.
Not that self-examination, honest and careful recognition of sins and
weaknesses in presence of temptation, have no place in the prolonged
course of discipline. This is inculcated with instructions which serve
to make it detailed, intense, almost scientific. The pupil is ordered to
examine himself twice a day, in the afternoon and in the evening, and to
make clear to himself every sin and failure that has marked his day's
life. He is taught to enter them all, day by day, in a register, which
will show him and his confessor his moral condition with arithmetical
accuracy. But during his own period of spiritual struggle and depression
at Manresa, Ignatius, in spite of the mental anguish which tore his
soul, had been noting the bodily accompaniments of his spiritual states;
and he pursued the same course of introspection when rejoicing in the
later visions of God and of His grace. The _Exercises_ and the
_Directory_ are full of minute directions about the physical conditions
which Ignatius had found by experience to be the most suitable for the
different subjects of meditation. The old Buddhist devotee was
instructed to set himself in a spiritual trance by the simple hypnotic
process of gazing at his own navel; the Ignatian directions are much
more complex. The glare of day, the uncertainty of twilight, the
darkness of night are all pressed into service; some subjects are to be
pondered standing upright motionless, others while walking to and fro in
the cell, when seated, when kneeling, when stretched prone on the floor;
some ought to be meditated upon while the body is weak with fasting,
others soon after meals; special hours, the morning, the evening, the
middle of the night, are noted as the most profitable times for
different meditations, and these vary with the age and sex of the
disciple. Ignatius recognises the infinite variety that there is in man,
and says expressly that general rules will not fit every case. The
_Master of Exercises_ is therefore enjoined to study the various
idiosyncrasies of his patients, and vary his discipline to suit their
mental and physical conditions.

It is due chiefly to this use of the conditions of the body acting upon
the mind that Ignatius was able to promise to his followers that the
ecstasies which had been hitherto the peculiar privilege of a few
favoured saints should become theirs. The Reformation had made the world
democratic; and the Counter-Reformation invited the mob to share the
raptures and the visions of a St. Catherine or a St. Teresa.

The combination of a clear recognition of the fact that physical
condition may account for much in so-called spiritual moods with the
use made of it to create or stimulate these moods, cannot fail to
suggest questions. It is easy to understand the Mystic, who, ignorant of
the mysterious ways in which the soul is acted upon by the body, may
rejoice in ecstasies and trances which have been stimulated by sleepless
nights and a prolonged course of fasting. It is not difficult to
understand the man who, when he has been taught, casts aside with
disdain all this juggling with the soul through the body. But it is hard
to see how anyone who perceived with fatal clearness the working of the
machinery should ever come to think that real piety could be created in
such mechanical ways. To believe with some that the object Ignatius had
was simply to enslave mankind, to conquer their souls as a great
military leader might master their lives, is both impossible and
intolerable. No one can read the correspondence of Loyola without seeing
that the man was a devout and earnest-minded Christian, and that he
longed to bring about a real moral reformation among his contemporaries.
Perhaps the key to the difficulty is given when it is remembered that
Ignatius never thought that the raptures and the terrors his course of
exercises produced were an end in themselves, as did the earlier
Mystics. They were only a means to what followed. Ignatius believed with
heart and soul that the essence of all true religion was the blindest
submission to what he called the "true Spouse of Christ and our Holy
Mother, which is the orthodox, catholic, and hierarchical Church." We
have heard him during his time of anguish at Manresa exclaim, "Show me,
O Lord, where I can find Thee; I will follow like a dog, if I only learn
the way of salvation!" He fulfilled his vow to the letter. He never
entered into the meaning of our Lord's saying, "Henceforth I call you
not servants ... but friends"; he had no understanding of what St. Paul
calls "reasonable service" (=logikê latreia=). The only obedience he knew
was unreasoning submission, the obedience of a dog. His most imperative
duty, he believed, lay in the resignation of his intelligence and will
to ecclesiastical guidance in blind obedience to the Church. It is
sometimes forgotten how far Ignatius carried this. It is not that he
lays upon all Christians the duty of upholding every portion of the
mediæval creed, of mediæval customs, institutions, and superstitions; or
that the philosophy of St. Thomas of Bonaventura, of the Master of the
Sentences, and of "other recent theologians," is to be held as
authoritative as that of Holy Writ;[684] but "if the Church pronounces a
thing which seems to us white to be black, we must immediately say that
it is black."[685] This was for him the end of all perfection; and he
found no better instrument to produce it than the prolonged hypnotic
trance which the _Exercises_ caused.

§ 4. _Ignatius in Italy._

In the beginning of 1537 the ten associates found themselves together at
Venice. A war between that Republic and the Turks made it difficult for
them to think of embarking for Palestine; and they remained, finding
solace in intercourse with men who were longing for a moral regeneration
of the Church. Contarini did much for them; Vittoria Colonna had the
greatest sympathy with their projects; Caraffa only looked at them
coldly. The mind of Ignatius was then full of schemes for improving the
moral tone of society and of the Church--daily prayer in the village
churches, games of chance forbidden by law; priests' concubines
forbidden to dress as honest women did, etc.;--all of which things
Contarini and Vittoria had at heart.

After a brief stay in Venice, Ignatius, Lainez, and Faber travelled to
Rome, and were joined there by the others in Easter week (1538). No
Pontiff was so accessible as Paul III., and the three had an audience,
in which they explained their missionary projects. But this journey
through Italy had evidently given Ignatius and his companions new ideas.
The pilgrimage to Palestine was definitely abandoned, the money which
had been collected for the voyage was returned to the donors, and the
associates took possession of a deserted convent near Vicenza to talk
over their future. This conference may be called the second stage in the
formation of the Order. They all agreed to adopt a few simple rules of
life--they were to support themselves by begging; they were to go two by
two, and one was always to act as the servant for the time being of the
other; they were to lodge in public hospitals in order to be ready to
care for the sick; and they pledged themselves that their chief work
would be to preach to those who did not go to church, and to teach the

The Italian towns speedily saw in their midst a new kind of preachers,
who had caught the habits of the well-known popular _improvisatori_.
They stood on the kerb-stones at the corners of streets; they waved
their hats; they called aloud to the passers-by. When a small crowd was
gathered they began their sermons. They did not preach theology. They
spoke of the simple commands of God set forth in the Ten Commandments,
and insisted that all sins were followed by punishment here or
hereafter. They set forth the prescriptions of the Church. They
described the pains of hell and the joys of heaven. The crowds who
gathered could only partially understand the quaint mixture of Italian
and Spanish which they heard. But throughout the Middle Ages the Italian
populace had always been easily affected by impassioned religious
appeals, and the companions created something like a revival among the
masses of the towns.

It was this experience which made Ignatius decide upon founding a
_Company of Jesus_. It was the age of military companies in Italy, and
the mind of Ignatius always responded to anything which suggested a
soldier's life, Other Orders might take the names of their founders; he
resolved that his personality should be absorbed in that of his
Crucified Lord. The thought of a new Order commended itself to his nine
companions. They left their preaching, journeyed by various paths to
Rome, each of them meditating on the Constitution which was to be
drafted and presented to the Pope.

The associates speedily settled the outlines of their Constitution.
Cardinal Contarini, ever the friend of Loyola, formally introduced them
to the Pope. In audience, Ignatius explained his projects, presented the
draft Constitution of the proposed new Order, showed how it was to be a
militia vowed to perpetual warfare against all the enemies of the
Papacy, and that one of the vows to be taken was: "That the members will
consecrate their lives to the continual service of Christ and of the
Popes, will fight under the banner of the Cross, and will serve the Lord
and the Roman Pontiff as God's Vicar upon earth, in such wise that they
shall be bound to execute immediately and without hesitation or excuse
all that the reigning Pontiff or his successors may enjoin upon them for
the profit of souls or for the propagation of the faith, and shall do so
in all provinces whithersoever he may send them, among Turks or any
other infidels, to the farthest Ind, as well as in the region of
heretics, schismatics, or unbelievers of any kind." Paul III. was
impressed with the support that the proposed Order would bring to the
Papacy in its time of stress. He is reported to have said that he
recognised the Spirit of God in the proposals laid before him, and he
knew that the associates were popular all over Italy and among the
people of Rome. But all such schemes had to be referred to a commission
of three Cardinals to report before formal sanction could be given.

Then Loyola's troubles began. The astute politicians who guided the
counsels of the Vatican were suspicious of the movement. They had no
great liking for Spanish Mysticism organised as a fighting force; they
disliked the enormous powers to be placed in the hands of the General
of the "Company"; they believed that the Church had suffered from the
multiplication of Orders; eight months elapsed before all these
difficulties were got rid of. Ignatius has placed on record that they
were the hardest months in his life.

During their prolonged audience Paul III. had recognised the splendid
erudition of Lainez and Faber. He engaged them, and somewhat later
Salmeron, as teachers of theology in the Roman University, where they
won golden opinions. Ignatius meanwhile busied himself in perfecting his
_Exercises_, in explaining them to influential persons, and in inducing
many to try their effect upon their own souls. Contarini begged for and
received a MS. copy. Dr. Ortiz, the Ambassador of Charles V. at Rome,
submitted himself to the discipline, and became an enthusiastic
supporter. "It was then," says Ignatius, "that I first won the favour
and respect of learned and influential men." But the opposition was
strong. The old accusations of heresy were revived. Ignatius demanded
and was admitted to a private audience of the Pope. He has described the
interview in one of his letters.[686] He spoke with His Holiness for
more than an hour in his private room; he explained the views and
intentions of himself and of his companions; he told how he had been
accused of heresy several times in Spain and at Paris, how he had even
been imprisoned at Alcala and Salamanca, and that in each case careful
inquiry had established his innocence; he said he knew that men who
wished to preach incurred a great responsibility before God and man, and
that they must be free from every taint of erroneous doctrine; and he
besought the Pope to examine and test him thoroughly.[687] On Sept.
27th, 1540, the Bull _Regimini militantis ecclesiæ_ was published, and
the _Company of Jesus_ was founded. The student band of Montmartre, the
association of revivalist preachers of Vicenza, became a new Order, a
holy militia pledged to fight for the Papacy against all its assailants
everywhere and at all costs. In the Bull the members of the Company were
limited to sixty, whether as a concession to opponents or in accordance
with the wishes of Ignatius, is unknown. It might have been from the
latter cause. In times of its greatest popularity the number of members
of full standing has never been very large--not more than one per cent
of those who bear the name.[688] The limitation, from whatever motive it
was inserted, was removed in a second Bull, _Injunctum nobis_, dated
March 14th, 1543.

§ 5. _The Society of Jesus._

On April 4th, 1541, six out of the ten original members of the Order
(four were absent from Rome) met to elect their General; three of those
at a distance sent their votes in writing; Ignatius was chosen
unanimously. He declined the honour, and was again elected on April 7th.
He gave way, and on April 22nd (1541) he received the vows of his
associates in the church of _San Paolo fuori le mura_.

The new Order became famous at once; numbers sought to join it; and
Ignatius found himself compelled to admit more members than he liked. He
felt that the more his Society increased in numbers and the wider its
sphere of activity, the greater the need for a strict system of laws to
govern it. All other Orders of monks had their rules, which stated the
duties of the members, the mode of their living together, and expressed
the common sentiment which bound them to each other. The Company of
Jesus, which from the first was intended to have a strict military
discipline, and whose members were meant to be simply dependent units in
a great machine moved by the man chosen to be their General, required
such rules even more than any other. Ignatius therefore set himself to
work on a Constitution. All we know of the first Constitution presented
by the ten original members when they had their audience with Pope Paul
III., is contained in the Bull of Foundation, and it is evident that it
was somewhat vague. It did contain, however, four features, perhaps
five, if the fourth vow of special obedience to the Pope be included,
which were new. The Company was to be a fighting Order, a holy militia;
it was to work for the propagation of the faith, especially by the
education of the young; the members were not to wear any special or
distinctive dress; and the power placed in the hands of the General was
much greater than that permitted to the heads of any other of the
monastic Orders. At the same time, constitutional limitations,
resembling those in other Orders, were placed on the power of the
General. There was to be a council, consisting of a majority of the
members, whom the General was ordered to consult on all important
occasions; and in less weighty matters he was bound to take the advice
of the brethren near him. Proposed changes tending to free the General
from these limitations were given effect to in the Bulls, _Licet debitum
pastoralis officii_ (Oct. 18th, 1549) and _Exposcit pastoralis officii_
(July 21st, 1550); but the Bulls themselves make it clear that the
Constitution had not taken final form even then. It is probable that the
completed Constitution drafted by Ignatius was not given to the Society
until after his death.

The way in which he went to work was characteristic of the man, at once
sternly practical and wildly visionary. He first busied himself with
arrangements for starting the educational work which the Company had
undertaken to do; he assorted the members of his Society into various
classes;[689] and then he turned to the Constitution. He asked four of
his original companions, Lainez, Salmeron, Broet, and Jay, all of whom
were in Rome, to go carefully over all the promises which had been made
to the Pope, or what might be implied in them, and from this material to
form a draft Constitution. He gave them one direction only to guide them
in their work: they were to see that nothing was set down which might
imply that it was a deadly sin to alter the rules of the Company in time
to come. The fundamental aim of his Company was different from that of
all other Orders. It was not to consist of societies of men who lived
out of the world to save their own souls, as did the Benedictines; nor
was it established merely to be a preaching association, like the
Dominicans; it was more than a fraternity of love, like the Franciscans.
It was destined to aid fellow-men in every way possible; and by
fellow-men Ignatius meant the obedient children of the catholic
hierarchical Church. It was to fight the enemies of God's Vicar upon
earth with every weapon available. The rules of other Orders could not
help him much. He had to think all out for himself. During these months
and years Ignatius kept a diary, in which he entered as in a ledger his
moods of mind, the thoughts that passed through it, the visions he saw,
and the hours at which they came to him.[690] Every possible problem
connected with the Constitution of his Company was pondered painfully.
It took him a month's meditation ere he saw how to define the relation
of the Society to property. Every solution came to him in a flash with
the effect of a revelation, usually in the short hour before Mass. Once,
he records, it took place "on the street as I returned from Cardinal
Carpi." It was in this way that the Constitution grew under his hands,
and he believed that both it and the _Exercises_ were founded on direct
revelations from God.

This was the Constitution which was presented by Lainez to the assembly
which elected him the successor of Loyola (July 2nd, 1558). The new
General added a commentary or _Directorium_ of his own, which was also
accepted. It received papal sanction under Pius IV.

In this Constitution the Society of Jesus was revealed as an elaborate
hierarchy rising from Novices through Scholastics, Coadjutors, Professed
of Four Vows, with the General at its head, an autocrat, controlling
every part, even the minutest, of the great machine. Nominally, he was
bound by the Constitution, but the inner principle of this elaborate
system of laws was apparent fixity of type qualified by the utmost
laxity in practice. The most stable principles of the Constitution were
explained or explained away in the _Directorium_, and by such an
elaborate labyrinth of exceptions that it proved no barrier to the will
of the General. He stood with his hand on the lever, and could do as he
pleased with the vast machine, which responded in all its parts to his
slightest touch. He had almost unlimited power of "dispensing with
formalities, freeing from obligations, shortening and lengthening the
periods of initiation, retarding or advancing a member in his career."
Every member of the Society was bound to obey his immediate superiors as
if they stood for him in the place of Christ, and that to the extent of
doing what he considered wrong, of believing that black was white if the
General so willed it. The General resided at Rome, holding all the
threads of the complicated affairs of the Society in his hands,
receiving minute reports of the secret and personal history of every one
of its members, dealing as he pleased with the highest as well as the
lowest of his subordinates.

     "Yet the General of the Jesuits, like the Doge of Venice, had his
     hands tied by subtly powerful though almost invisible fetters. He
     was subjected at every hour of the day and night to the
     surveillance of five sworn spies, especially appointed to prevent
     him from altering the type or neglecting the concerns of the Order.
     The first of these functionaries, named the Administrator, who was
     frequently also the confessor of the General, exhorted him to
     obedience, and reminded him that he must do all things for the
     glory of God. Obedience and the glory of God, in Jesuit
     phraseology, meant the maintenance of the Company. The other four
     were styled Assistants. They had under their charge the affairs of
     the chief provinces; one overseeing the Indies, another Portugal
     and Spain, a third France and Germany, a fourth Italy and Sicily.
     Together with the Administrator, the Assistants were nominated by
     the General Congregation (an assembly of the Professed of the Four
     Vows), and could not be removed or replaced without its sanction.
     It was their duty to regulate the daily life of the General, to
     control his private expenditure on the scale which they determined,
     to prescribe what he should eat and drink, to appoint his hours for
     sleep, and religious exercises, and the transaction of public
     business.... The Company of Jesus was thus based upon a system of
     mutual and pervasive espionage. The novice on entering had all his
     acts, habits, and personal qualities registered. As he advanced in
     his career, he was surrounded by jealous brethren, who felt it
     their duty to report his slightest weakness to a superior. The
     superiors were watched by one another and by their inferiors.
     Masses of secret information poured into the secret cabinet of the
     General; and the General himself ate, slept, prayed, worked, and
     moved beneath the fixed gaze of ten vigilant eyes."[691]

Historians have not been slow to point out the evils which this Society
has wrought in the world, its purely political aims, the worldliness
which deadened its spiritual life, and its degradation of morals, which
had so much to do with sapping the ethical life of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. It is frequently said that the cool-headed Lainez
is responsible for most of the evil, and that a change may be dated from
his Generalship. There seems to be a wide gulf fixed between the Mystic
of Manresa, the revival preacher of Vicenza, the genuine home mission
work in Rome, and the astute, ruthless worldly political work of the
Society. Yet almost all the changes may be traced back to one root, the
conception which Ignatius held of what was meant by true religion. It
was for him, from first to last, an unreasoning, blind obedience to the
dictates of the catholic hierarchic Church. It was this which poisoned
the very virtues which gave Loyola's intentions their strength, and
introduced an inhuman element from the start.

He set out with the noble thought that he would work for the good of his
fellow-men; but his idea of religion narrowed his horizon. His idea of
"neighbour" never went beyond the thought of one who owed entire
obedience to the Roman Pontiff--all others were as much outside the
sphere of the brotherhood of mankind as the followers of Mahomet were
for the earliest Crusaders. Godfrey of Bouillon was both devout and
tender-hearted, yet when he rode, a conqueror, into Jerusalem up the
street filled with the corpses of slaughtered Moslems, he saw a babe
wriggling on the breast of its dead mother, and, stooping in his saddle,
he seized it by the ankle and dashed its head against the wall. For
Ignatius, as for Godfrey, all outside the catholic and hierarchic Church
were not men, but wolves.

He was filled with the heroic conception that his Company was to aid
their fellow-men in every department of earthly life, and the political
drove out all other considerations; for it contained the spheres within
which the whole human life is lived. Thus, while he preferred for
himself the society of learned and devout men, his acute Basque brain
soon perceived their limitations, and the Jesuit historian Orlandino
tells us that Ignatius selected the members of his Company from men who
knew the world, and were of good social position. He forbade very
rightly the follies of ascetic piety, when the discipline of the
_Exercises_ had been accomplished; it was only repeated when energies
flagged or symptoms of insubordination appeared. Then the General
ordered a second course, as a physician sends a patient to the cure at
some watering-place. The Constitution directs that novices were to be
sought among those who had a comely presence, with good memories,
manageable tempers, quick observation, and free from all indiscreet
devotion. The Society formed to fight the Renaissance as well as
Protestantism, borrowed from its enemy the thought of general culture,
training every part of the mind and body, and rendering the possessor a
man of the world.

No one can read the letters of Ignatius without seeing the fund of
native tenderness that there was in the stern Spanish soldier. That it
was no mere sentiment appears in many ways, and in none more so than in
his infinite pity for the crowds of fallen women in Rome, and in his
wise methods of rescue work. It was this tenderness which led him to his
greatest mistake. He held that no one could be saved who was not brought
to a state of abject obedience to the hierarchic Church; that such
obedience was the only soil in which true virtues could be planted and
grow. He believed, moreover, that the way in which the "common man"
could be thoroughly broken to this obedience was through the
confessional and the directorate, and therefore that no one should be
scared from confession or from trust in his director by undue severity.
In his eagerness to secure these inestimable benefits for the largest
number of men, he over and over again enjoined the members of his
Society to be very cautious in coming to the conclusion that any of
their penitents was guilty of a mortal sin. Such was the almost innocent
beginning of that Jesuit casuistry which in the end almost wiped out the
possibility of anyone who professed obedience committing a mortal sin,
and occasioned the profane description of Father Bauny, the famous
French director--"Bauny qui tollit peccata mundi per definitionem."

The Society thus organised became powerful almost at once. It made rapid
progress in Italy. Lainez was sent to Venice, and fought the slumbering
Protestantism there, at Brescia, and in the Val Tellina. Jay was sent to
Ferrara to counteract the influence of Renée of France, its Duchess.
Salmeron went to Naples and Sicily. The chief Italian towns welcomed the
members of the new Order. Noble and devout ladies gave their aid.
Colleges were opened; schools, where the education was not merely free,
but superior to what was usually given, were soon crowded with pupils.
Rome remained the centre and stronghold of the Company.

Portugal was won at once. Xavier and Rodriguez were sent there. They won
over King John, and he speedily became their obedient pupil. He
delivered into their hands his new University at Coimbra, and the
Humanist teachers, George Buchanan among them, were persecuted and
dispersed, and replaced by Jesuit professors.

Spain was more difficult to win. The land was the stronghold of the
Dominicans, and had been so for generations; and they were unwilling to
admit any intruders. But the new Order soon gained ground. It was native
to the soil. It had its roots in that Mysticism which pervaded the whole
Peninsula. Ignatius gained one distinguished convert, Francis Borgia,
Duke of Candia and Viceroy of Catalonia. He placed the University he had
founded in their hands. He joined the Order, and became the third
General. His influence counterbalanced the suspicio