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Capacity for temporal Affairs; but thefe, for the Francis f. most part, were Men governed by the Maxims of the World, and who did confider Religion, but as a mean to establish their Fortune.
The Legates, fent to the several States of Christendom, were fo many Incendiaries, who fought only to fow Difcord and Divifion among the Princes, or excite them to fhed the Blood of their own Subjects. In a word, they regarded only the Intercits of their Mafter, and the Roman See, making no Confcience to break through the Rules of Religion, and Equity, to accomplish their Ends.
The rest of the Clergy in general were not better; moft of the Bishops were promoted to Epifcopacy, purely for having rendered themselves recommendable by their Attachment to the Interefts of the Court of Rome, or for their Services to Princes in their temporal Concerns; in other refpects, they were for the most part abfolutely deftitute of Learning.
It is what Nicholas Clemangis Archdeacon of Bayeux complained of bitterly at the beginning of the XVth Century, and Æneas Sylvius fays, that the Government of the Churches, of Italy efpecially, was committed to the Care of Perfons more fit to govern Mules than Men (t).
Cruelty, Injustice, Difhonefty were very rife among them; nay, they were confidered as fo many Virtues, when employed in the Perfecution of thofe that were termed Hereticks. As to their Luxury, Lewdness, and Debauchery even in religious Houfes of both Sexes, nothing can exceed what the faid Clemangis, and others of the fame and the next Century, all of the Roman Communion, have related upon that fubject, and which,
(1) Cock's Hift. of Pope Joan, 238, &c. Tranflated into French by Montagne.
Francis I. which, for Modefty fake, I forbear tranflating (v). 1515 to Such was in general the deplorable State of the Church. The exorbitant Ufurpations of the Popes, their tyrannical Government, their Pride, Avarice, Luxury; the Clergy's Ignorance, and Diffolutenefs had rendered the Face of Religion entirely defpicable, and called aloud for a Refor mation in the Head, as well as in the Members.
1517. Pope Leo X.
It was the Object of the earnest Defires of every good Man, such a Work had been attempted in the XVth Century, in the Councils of Constance and Bafil; it had been the outward pretence of that of Pifa in the beginning of the XVIth ; but fuch a defign was always obftructed, or laid afide by those whofe Intereft it was to entertain, and maintain that Corruption and Ty
These are Matters of Fact afferted by a Cloud of unexceptionable Witneffes of the Church of Rome who lived before, or at the time of the Reformation, or very little after; fuch as Clemangis, Francis Pic de la Mirandole, Budæus, Guicciardine, Baptifta Mantuan a Carmelite, and many others. Let us hear this laft on the Vices reigning in the Court of Rome as to its Cruelty and Tyranny:
Tu fimilis colubro, quoties gravis ira Venenum
Seu fremis aut frendens, cum ferrea vincula mandit
Nec Jovis Imperium, nec Phlegetonta times.
That is, Thou art like the Adder, when Anger provokes his Venom, and his Eyes are inflamed with Fury. Thou howleft like Cerberus when he bites his Iron Chaius, and makest Hell
(v) Idem p. 234, 235. Dupl. Mornay, 591.
refound with his Noife. Thou putteft Enmity Francis I. and Distrust between Brethren, and careft not for 1515 to Heaven, or for Hell. 1517Pope
As to its Avarice and Fallacy :
Si quid Roma dabit, Nugas dabit, accipit Aurum,
That is, If Rome gives any thing, expect nothing but Trifles; for your Gold you will receive Promises; Alas! Rome is governed only by Avarice. Virtue is banished from it.
As to its Licentioufnefs and Debauchery: Vivere qui fancte cupitis, difcedite Roma. Omnia cum liceant, non licet effe bonum.
That is, Good and pious Men, get out of Rome, if you defire to continue fo; for though there is a full Liberty to do any thing, yet not to practise Virtue.
Notwithstanding this general Corruption of (3) the Doctrine and Depravation of Manners, God, The Dif who never left himself without Witnefs, had re- ferfion of served to himself fome Remnant, who had not denfes. bowed the Knee to the Image of Baal; I mean the Albigenfes and Waldenfes, who having been forced out of their Native Countries by cruel Perfecutions, difperfed themfelves in feveral Countries of Europe, as France, Flanders, England, Germany, Bohemia, Italy, &c. And, as they had perfevered in the Doctrine of Chrift, fince the Apoftolical Times, without any Mixture, at leaft, in the most effential Points, fo their Difperfion helped not a little to the Revealing of the Myftery of Iniquity, and to the weaning the C People
Francis I. People of their old Superftitions. See more of this in our Preface.
1517. Pope Leo X.
Another thing which contributed much towards the Reftauration of Truth, was the Reftauration of Learning. The Subverfion of the Conftantinopolitan Empire, which happened in 1453, under Conftantine Palæologus, alias Dracofe, by fauration Mahomet II, occafioned many learned Men of of Learn that Country to fly into Italy for Refuge, where they were kindly received and
Knowledge of feveral Branch entertained. The
of ufeful Learning, and particularly of the Greek Tongue, was brought by their Means to a greater degree of Perfection, and spread itself from Italy into feveral Parts of Europe.
The Benevolence and Liberality of Francis I incited by the great Budeus's Sollicitations, inticed into his Dominions a great Number of the moft Learned that were to be found in the reft of Europe, becaufe the Penfions and Privileges he bestowed upon them, fufficiently fecured them both from Contempt, and Mifery.
Amongst thefe learned, befides. William Budeus, were James Faber or Le Fevre, Agathius, Francis Vatable, Paul Paradice, the three laft were made Profeffors in Hebrew; Peter Danes, and James Tufan, Profeffors in Greek; Oroncius Finée, Profeffor in Mathematicks (u):
It was not long before the good Effects of thefe Settlements were felt in the Kingdom, and endeared the Memory of Francis I. to the learned World. These things were certainly a great preparative to that happy and admirable Change, which happened in the Church in the XVIth Century. People were groaning under the tyrannical and intolerable Yoke of the Popes; full of Indignation at the Licentioufnefs and Igno
(4) Beze Hift. Eccl. vol. i. liv. 1. p. 4.
rance of the proud Clergy; enlightned by the Francis I. Reftauration of Learning, they were afhamed of 1515 to the many Errors and Superftitions which had 157 been impofed upon them.
Such being the Difpofitions of their Minds, no wonder, if Truth found fo free an Access to their Hearts, if it was greedily received by a vast number of every Rank and Sex in fo many Countries of Europe, fince they waited only, as it were, for an Opportunity to declare themfelves openly for it.
Pope Leo himfelf afforded them that Opportunity by his infatiable greedinefs, and intolerable Leo's Bull extortions. Let us hear Guicciardine
The Authority of the Holy Sec, fays he, INC which Leo abufed, occafioned thefe, Commotions in Germany. By the Advice of Lau,,rence Puccii Cardinal of the four Saints, Leo, ,, without any diftinction of Places and Times, had publifhed his Indulgences throughout all the World, by which the forgiveness of Sins ,, was promised, not only to the living, but even ,, to the dead, which would be redeemed from
that Fire, wherein it is faid, they do expiate their Sins, Thefe Indulgences, though it was ,, well known, that they had been granted only for extorting Money from People, were diftri›› buted with the greateft Impudence by those ,, who had been ordered for it, and were an oc
cafion of fcandal in many Places, particularly in Germany, where the Collectors of that Mo,,ney fold at a low Rate the Faculty of delivering the Souls from, Purgatory, or were feen laying out the Money collected, in Gaming, or in Taverns. But what raised the more the Indignation was, that the Pope, who, by ,, reafon of his Effeminacy, performed in many