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where they successfully preached the gospel, which extended itself from thence to the Orkneys, Greenland, and Iceland.
"Religion and literature both rather improved in the eleventh century. The celebrated speech of William the Conqueror, after he became king of England, has been often repeated. This dauntless monarch refused to be considered as the vassal of the pope. 'I hold my kingdom,' said he, 'from none but God and my sword.' This king was a great encourager of learning.
"In the twelfth century Oxford became celebrated as the seat of learning. The clergy now boldly claimed exemption from civil jurisdiction, and their right to appeal on all occasions to the pope. To these extravagant pretensions king Stephen readily assented; but they were resisted by his successor, Henry the Second. In spiritual affairs he was, however, enslaved to the popedom; and instances of his persecutions are recorded, towards thirty men and women, who fled into this country, from Germany, to avoid similar cruelties.
"In this century Richard the First engaged in the Crusades, to recover the Holy Land from the Turks, but failed in his enterprise. His brother John, who succeeded him, not only ignominiously swore fealty to the pope, but stipulated for himself and his successors to pay an annual tribute to Rome for ever, on pain of forfeiture of his kingdom. Some idea may be formed of the thraldom in which this monarch was held, from the following anecdote, recorded with feelings of just indignation, by Holinshed, in his Chronicles.
"'When,' says he, 'John, upon just occasion, had received some grudge against the ambitious behaviour of the Cistercian monks, in the second year of his reign; and, upon denial to pay such sums of money as was allotted unto them, had caused seizure to be made of such horses, swine, cows, and other things of theirs, which were maintained in his forests, they denounced him as fast among themselves, with bell, book, and candle, to be accursed and excommunicated. Thereto they so handled the matter with the pope and their friends, that the king was fain to yield to their good graces: insomuch that a meeting for pacification was appointed between them, at Lincoln, by means of the archbishop of Canterbury, who went often between him and the Cistercian commissioners, before the matter could be settled. In the end, the king himself came also unto the said commissioners, as they sat in their chapter
house, and fell down at their feet; craving pardon for his offences unto them, and heartily requiring that they would, from thenceforth, commend him and his realm, in their prayers, unto the protection of the Almighty, and receive him into their fraternity: promising, Moreover, full satisfaction of their damages sustained, and to build a house of their order, in whatsoever place of England it should please them to assign; and this he confirmed by charter.'
"The thirteenth century commenced with the persecution of the Waldenses, one million of whom are said to have perished in France; and the duke of Alva boasted that he destroyed thirty-six thousand of these pious people in the Netherlands.
"The Dominican and Franciscan Friars arose about this time, and were in great repute amongst the people, on account of their sanctity. But their rapacity was unlimited; and the cloak of religion alone disguised their exactions. Such was the superstition of the age, that our countryman, Roger Bacon, was accused of magic, on account of his extraordinary literary attainments, and confined in prison a long time, for no other crime. He appears to have been a man not only of vast learning, but of a philosophical and inventive genius.
"In the fourteenth century, true religion was scarcely to be recognized. The king and people of England were reduced to a state of almost complete vassalage to the pope. In the reign of Henry the Fifth, a law was passed against the perusal of the Scriptures in England. It was enacted, 'That whatsoever they were, that should read the Scriptures in the mother tongue, they should forfeit land, cattle, life, and goods, from their heirs for ever; and so be condemned for heretics to God, enemies to the crown, and most errant traitors to the land.'
"In this century arose the order of Jesuits; an order which obtained a political influence almost unparalleled. Their founder, Ignatius Loyola, was born at the castle of Loyola, in the province of Guipuscoa, in Spain, in 1391: he was first page to Ferdinand the Fifth, king of Spain, and then an officer in his army; in which he signalized himself by his valour, and was wounded in both legs, at the siege of Pampeluna, in 1421.
"To this circumstance the Jesuits owe their origin; for, whilst he was under care of his wounds, a life of the Saints was put into his hands, which determined him to forsake the military for the ecclesiastical profession. His first devout exercise was to devote himself to the Virgin Mary, as her knight: he then went a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; and, on his return to Europe, he continued his theological studies in the universities of Spain, though he was then thirty-three years of age. After this he went to Paris; and in France laid the foundation of this new order, the Institutes of which he presented to pope Paul the Third, who made many objections to them; but Ignatius, adding to his three vows, of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience, a fourth of implicit submission to the Holy See, the institution was at length confirmed; and its founder expired the following year, viz. in 1450.
"Whilst we cannot but consider Ignatius Loyola in error, and must most fully allow that the influence his followers obtained, was dangerous and destructive; 'yet, perhaps, of all the remarkable men whose lives have been recorded, no one has displayed more ability in discovering his own deficiencies, and more perseverance in correcting them. By the rare union of unwearied patience and consummate prudence, with perfect enthusiasm, he accomplished the object of his ambition; and lived to