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the Complutensian polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes; which, with the strictest justice and propriety, was dedicated to him upon its completion: so that, with perhaps a single exception, we may adopt the following elegant eulogy of Mr. Pope :—
“But see, each Muse in Leo's golden days
The exception in these verses, to which I refer, is the intimation that the . service of the temple was now more pure and appropriate. For the general history of Leo's pontificate, as well domestic as public, abundantly shows that pure, undefiled religion was a very subordinate concern in the estimate of this accomplished high priest. He is accused, indeed, of having been a direct infidel; and of having invented the blasphemous exclamation I have already noticed, “What wealth does this fiction of Christ obtain for us!” I cannot affirm that he never repeated this burst of blasphemy, but it is well known to have been in use long before his day. Nor ought it to be forgotten that it was Leo X. who excited Vida, as he himself tells us, to write his Christiad, upon the simple unadulterated language of the Bible, with an utter omission, for the first time, of all that absurd introduction of heathen mythology into its sacred mysteries, in which Sannazaro, Torquato Tasso, and even Camoens, have so largely indulged : an omission, which it is difficult to conceive that an infidel, whether secret or open, could ever have suggested or ever allowed. Yet the measures he too often pursued, and especially the sale of indulgences, which we have already touched upon, and shall once more have to notice presently, and the profligate characters whom he employed, or knowingly allowed to be employed, as his delegates in negotiating their sale, as well as in effecting various other objects; more particularly that abandoned wretch, John Tetzel, some of whose exploits have already passed before us, give abundant proof that he was satisfied with the pomp and splendour of the church, and had no religious principle at heart. He had a love for its ceremonials, as they gratified his leading propensity of unbounded splendour and magnificence. And as the exterials of the church displayed to him a wider field for an encouragement of learning, and criticism, and translations; of founding professorships for foreign tongues; of hunting up sacred manuscripts and records from the East; and for building churches and palaces of unrivalled grandeur and beauty, than any thing else could open to him; he was eager, and even profligate in following up such pursuits, and adding them to his earnest desires to obtain the finest poetry, and music, and eloquence, and sculpture, of his own or any former age : but of genuine vital religion, the spiritualized breathings of Gregory I., we have no proofs whatever in any part of the pontificate of Leo X. In sew words, such was the general taste for learning and science that characterized the immediate period before us, that there was scarcely an Italian state which had not its university, its printing press, numerous literary institutions, and poets, historians, grammarians, architects, and musicians, of high and deserved celebrity; while the sacred flame, spreading in every direction, arts, literature, and a bold and adventurous spirit of philosophical research, foreign travel, and commercial speculation, blazed forth, in every direction, from the Po to the Elbe, from the Thames to the Tagus. V. I have said, that ignorance and vice are inseparable associates. But is the converse of this proposition equally true ! We have now seen mankind advancing in the path of knowledge—are knowledge and virtue equally inseparable? I have a pride in answering this question; and dare appeal to every page in the history of the times before us for the truth of its affirmative. From the first moment that the dawn of literature began to glimmer in the
horizon of Italy, where, as I have already observed, it shot forth its earliest twinklings, it pointed, as with the finger of reprobation, to the abominable abuses of the church, and stung to the quick in the satires and brilliant wit of Dante, Petrach, and Boccacio; the first of whom, in his incomparable “ Divina Commedia,” assigned, without scruple, situations and torments in hell to not less than three or four of the most debauched or most despotic of the popes, apportioning their sufferings to their respective vices and degrees of tyranny while on earth;” the second of whom characterizes the papal court, in one of his sonnets by the name of Babylon, and declares that he has quitted it for ever, as a place equally deprived of virtue and of shame, the seat of misery, and the mother of error; and the last of whom made it his direct object, in his very popular and entertaining work, the “Decamerone,” to expose the whole priesthood to ridicule and contempt; his entire argument consisting of the debaucheries of the religious of both sexes. As learning advanced, these attacks became more frequent; and as the art of printing established itself, the assaults of the more celebrated writers, of Poggio, Burchiello, Pulci, and Franco, were published at Antwerp, Leipsic, and in other parts of the Continent, as well as in France and Italy; till at length the church, becoming sensible of her danger, and, at the same time, equally sensible of her utter inability to repel the shafts that were levelled against her, attempted, like the grand tyrant of the present day,t to suppress the voice of truth and of public feeling by severe denunciations and punishments; and hence, in the tenth session of the Council of Lateran, immediately before the elevation of Leo X. to the pontificate, decreed, that no one under the penalty of excommunication should dare to publish any new work, without the approbation either of the ordinary jurisdiction of the place, or of the holy inquisition. Such denunciations, however, had by this time, in a very considerable degree, lost their authority; and even Leo himself, in the zenith of his potency and popularity, and in many respects not popular without reason, fell a sacrifice to practices which, however supported by custom, are equally repugnant to religion and common sense. I have already described a part, though comparatively but a small part, of the enormous expenses into which the prodigal but refined magnificence of this genuine descendant of the Medici was annually plunging him. His taste for luxury was unbounded; his foreign diplomacy was conducted upon a scale of still greater splendour than his domestic court or his literary establishments; while he was at the same time in the regular disbursement of almost incalculable sums for embellishing the Vatican, and augmenting its library with manuscripts collected from every quarter of the globe, and in completing the immense fabric of St. Peter's church, commenced by his predecessor Julius II. The vast revenues of the apostolic see, both temporal and spiritual, were incompetent, by their ordinary channels, to these wide and multifarious demands: he had exhausted the pontifical treasury; and, following an example which had too often been furnished by his predecessors, he fell into the absurdity of granting a sale of indulgences for its repletion. Indulgences were a ticklish subject in the worst of times;f and in the times before us the more conscientious and enlightened churchmen were as little disposed to endure them as the laity. In this respect, the feelings of Eras
• Those whom he has more especially signalized by their sufferings in the insernal regions are, Pope Nicholas III., whom the poet finds tortured in the gulf of Simony, Pope Boniface VIII., and Pope Clement v. The confession of Nicholas III. is peculiarly striking, who at first mistook Dante, in his transitory visit, for his own successor in the papal chair, whom he had been long expecting:— “Poisospirando, e con voce di pianto
Mi disse: Dunque che ame richiedi ?
Se disaper ch'io sia ti col cotanto
Chetu abbi però la ripa scorsa,
Sappi, ch'io rul vestito del an AN MANTo,"&c.
Inferno, canto xix.
Napoleon Buonaparte; the day alluded to being, as thready observed, 1813.
Yet the Council' of Trent has long since established their use as a part of wholesome discipline, by formally decreeing that “the power to grant indulgences by Jesus Christ, and the use of them, is beneficial to salvation.”
mus, Melancthon, Bucer, and Luther, coincided: but the three former, bein of mild, conciliatory tempers, remained quiet; while the natural hardihood .# high spirit of the last incited him to open resistance. Our time will not allow us to enter into the dispute: the high pontiff, whose natural disposition, it must be admitted, was also conciliatory, stood aloof from it as long as it was possible; but his delegates were, for the most part, incautious, violent, and overbearing; and Luther, in almost every instance, had the advantage of them, as much in dexterity of management as in soundness of cause. The controversy grew wider and warmer: one step led on to another; and the inflexible champion who, at first, only intended to controvert the infallibility of the Pope, at length found himself compelled to controvert that of the Church, and, finally, to regard the high pontiff as ANtichrist. The contention had now reached its extreme point; and the only alternative that remained to the intrepid monk of St. Augustin was retraction or excommunication. He halted not between two opinions, but boldly braved the latter; and addressing himself to the emperor Charles W., who presided at the august and crowded diet before which he was summoned, “As your majesty,” said he, “and the sovereigns now present, require a simple answer, I reply thus, without vehemence or evasion: Unless I be convinced, by the testimony of Scripture, or of plain reason (for on the authority of the Pope and Councils alone I cannot rely, since it appears that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other), and unless my conscience be subdued by the word of God, I neither can nor will retract any thing; seeing that to act against my own conscience is neither safe nor honest.” After which he added, in his native German, the preceding having been spoken in Latin, “Here I take my stand. I cannot act otherwise. God be my help. Amen.” jose steht (th. Both han mitht ambers. Gott helff mín. Amen. With this noble protest was laid the key-stone of the Reformation: the pontifical hierarchy shook to its centre; and the great cause of truth and regenerate religion, which had already made its appearance in Switzerland, under the honest-hearted and undaunted Ulric Zwingle, spread with electric speed over a considerable portion of Germany; and, within the space of four years, extended itself from Hungary and Bohemia to France and Great Britain. That, in the infancy of its progress, various enormities were perpetrated, and that even the conduct of its mighty leader was, in this respect, not at all times irreproachable, must be equally admitted and lamented; but they were enormities merely incidental to the inexperienced season of infancy, and which disappeared as the cause ripened into mature age; while, whatever may have been the occasional violence of Martin Luther, “all parties must unite in admiring and venerating the man who, undaunted and alone, could stand before such an assembly, and vindicate, with unshaken courage, what he conceived to be the cause of religion, of liberty, and of truth; searless of any reproaches but those of his own conscience, or of any disapprobation but that of his God.” Such is a brief glance at the wonderful periods that anticipated and have introduced our own unrivalled era. Long and doubtful was the conflict between intellectual life and death: glimmering slowly succeeding to glimmering; light still struggling with suffocating darkness, not for weeks, or months, or years, but for centuries upon centuries, before the day-spring became manifest. Yet, no sooner had the long-delayed and long-wished-for fulness of the times at length arrived, than the marble tomb of ignorance and error gave way, as it were, of a sudden; a thousand glorious events and magnificent discoveries thronged upon each other with pressing haste, to behold and congratulate the mighty birth, the new creation of which they were the harbingers; when, with a steady and triumphant step, the peerless form of human intellectrose erect; and, throwing off from its freshening limbs the death-shade and the grave-clothes by which it was enshrouded, ascended to the glorious resurrection of that noontide lustre which irradiates the horizon of our own day, rejoicing like a giant to run his race.
* Roscoe's Life * x vol. iv. p. 36
S EIR IIE S III,
It is one part of science, and not the least important, though the lowest and most elementary, to become duly acquainted with the nature and extent of our ignorance upon whatever subject we propose to investigate;" and it is probably for want of a proper attention to this branch of study that we meet with so many crude and confident theories upon questions that the utmost wit or wisdom of man is utterly incapable of elucidating. The rude, uninstructed peasant, or ignorant pretender, believes that he understands every thing before him ; the experienced philosopher knows that he understands nothing. It was so formerly in Greece, and will be so in every age and country: while the sophists of Athens asserted their pretensions to universal knowledge, Socrates, in opposition to them, was daily affirming that the only thing he knew to a certainty was his own ignorance. The shallow Indian sage, as soon as he had made the important discovery that the world was supported by an elephant, and the elephant by a tortoise, felt the most perfect complacency in the solution he was now prepared to give to the question, by what means is the world supported in empty space 4 And it is justly observed by Mr. Barrow, that the chief reason why the Chinese are so far behind Europeans in the fine arts and higher branches of science, as painting, for example, and geometry, is the consummate vanity they possess, which induces them to look with contempt upon the real knowledge of every other nation. The subjects we have thus far chiefly discussed, though others branching out from them have been glanced at as well, have related to the principle and properties of matter, both under an unorganized and under an organic modification; and although I have endeavoured to do my utmost to put you in possession of the clearest and most valuable facts which are known upon these subjects, I am much afraid it is to little more than to this first and initial branch of science that any instructions I have given have been able to conduct you; sor I feel, and have felt deeply as we have proceeded, that they have rather had a tendency to teach us how ignorant we are than how wise ; how little is really known than how much has been actually discovered. And if this be the case with respect to our course of study thus far pursued, I much suspect that what is to follow has but little chance of giving a higher character to our attainments; for the subject it proposes to touch upon, the doctrine of psychology, or the nature and properties of the mind, is the most abstruse and intractable of all subjects that relate to human entity, or the great theatre on which human entity plays its important part; and, perhaps, so far as relates to the mere discoveries of man himself, remains, excepting in a few points, much the same in the present day as it did two or three thousand years ago. This subject forms a prominent section of that extensive branch of science which is generally known by the name of METAPHysics, and which, in modern times, has been unjustifiably separated by many philosophers from the division of Physics, or natural philosophy; and made a distinct division in itself. * “Our knowledge being so narrow, it will perhaps give us some light into the present state of our minds if we look a little into the dark side, and take a view of our ignorance, which, being infinitely fo.o. our knowledge, may serve much to the quieting of disputes and improvement of useful knowge; if, discovering how far we have clear and distinct ideas, we confine our thoughts within the contemplation of those things that are within the reach of our understanding; and launch not out into that abyss of darkness where we have not eyes to see, nor faculties to perceive anything; out of a presumpAs a part of physics, or natural philosophy, it was uniformly arranged by the Greeks; as such it occurs in the works of Aristotle, as such it was regarded by Lord Bacon, as such we meet with it in Mr. Locke's correct and comprehensive classification of science, and as such it has been generally treated of by the Scottish professors of our own day. And I may add that it is very much in consequence of so unnatural a divorce, that the science of metaphy. sics has too often licentiously allied itself to imagination, and brought forth a monstrous and chimerical progeny. The term, though a Greek compound, is not to be found among the Greek writers. The first traces of it occur to us in the Physics of Aristotle, the last fourteen books of which are entitled in the printed editions, Töv utra ra busixd; “Of Things relating to Physics;” but even l. title is generally supposed to have been applied, not by Aristotle himself, but by one of his commentators, probably Andronicus, on the transfer of the manuscripts of Aristotle to Rome, upon the subjugation of Asia by Sylla, in which city this invaluable treasure, as we had occasion to observe not long ago, had been deposited as part of the plunder of the library of Apellicon of Teia." In taking a general survey of the subject immediately before us, there are three questions that have chiefly occupied the attention of the world; the essence of the mind or soul; its durability; and the means by which it maintains a relation with the sensible or external world. Let us devote the present lecture to a consideration of the first of these. Is the essence of the human soul material or immaterial? The question, at first sight, appears to be highly important, and to involve nothing less than a belief or disbelief, not indeed in its divine origin, but in its divine similitude and immortality. Yet I may venture to affirm that there is no question which has been productive of so little satisfaction, or has laid a foundation for wider and wilder errors, within the whole range of metaphysics. And for this plain and obvious reason, that we have no distinct idea of the terms, and no settled premises to build upon.f Corruptibility and incorruptibility, intelligent and unintelligent, organized and inorganic, are terms that convey distinct meanings to the mind, and impart modes of being that are within the scope of our comprehension: but materiality and immateriality are equally beyond our reach. Of the essence of matter we know nothing; and altogether as little of many of its more active qualities; insomuch that, amid all the discoveries of the day, it still remains a controvertible position whether light, heat, magnetism, and electricity are material substances, material properties, or things superadded to matter and of a higher rank. If they be matter, gravity and ponderability are not essential properties of matter, though commonly so regarded. And if they be things superadded to matter, they are necessarily immaterial; and we cannot open our eyes without beholding innumerable instances of material and immaterial bodies coexisting and acting in harmonious unison through the entire frame of nature. But if we know nothing of the essence, and but little of the qualities, of matter, of that common substrate which is diffused around us in every direction, and constitutes the whole of the visible world,—what can we know of what is immaterial of the full meaning of a term that, in its strictest sense, comprehends all the rest of the immense fabric of actual and possible being, and includes in its vast circumference every essence and mode of essence of every other being, as well * as above the order of matter, and even that of the Deity himself? Shall we take the quality of extension as the line of separation between what is material and what is immaterial? This, indeed, is the general and savourite distinction brought forward in the present day, but it is a distinction founded on mere conjecture, and which will by no means stand the test of inquiry. Is space extended? every one admits it to be so. . But is space material? is it body of any kind? Des Cartes, indeed, contended that it is body, and a material body, for he denied a vacuum, and asserted space to be a part
tion that nothing is beyond our comprehension.—But to be satisfied of the folly of such a conceit we need not go far.”—Locke, Hum. Underst. Iv. iii. § 22.