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HE Reformation of the Church, which Charles happened in the XVIth Century, has VIII. fomething fo furprizing, and wonderful in itself, that it deferves the Attention of any from 1493 fenfible Man, to inquire into the true Causes of to 1503. fuch an admirable Effect. Therefore, though feveral learned Men have already fpoken fully upon that fubject, nevertheless I fhall premise fome general Confiderations upon the fame, by way of Introduction to this History.
Amongst the many Caufes which concurred together to this bleffed Change, The Pope's Some geneUfurpations and Tyranny; The Clergy's Igno- derations rance and Diffolutenefs; The Difperfion of the on the Waldenfes; The Restauration of Learning; Caufes which ocLeo's Bull of Indulgences; The Difputes occacafioned the fioned by it, may be accounted for the chiefeft. ReformaAs to the Pope's Ufurpations, Tyranny, tion. Avarice, Pride, &c. all the Hiftories of the (1) XVIth, and the former Centuries from the XIth, Avarice, The Pope's are fo full of them, that there is no room left for Pride, &c. doubt. It is well known, that fince the XIIIth Century, the Church's Authority was become the Capital Point of Religion, and that, by the Church the Pope was meant, in him every thing centered; Privileges of Churches, Prerogatives of Sovereigns, all was entirely under his Dependance.
Under pretence of Religion he declared War, and enjoin'd Peace; he married, and divorced; he condemned and abfolved; he tied, and untied; juft as he pleased, no body daring to ask him, why do you do fo? In fhort it is very probable, that if the Schifm of the XVth Century had not caufed them to lofe Ground, they would have wholly engroffed to themselves the temporal Power, as well as the fpiritual. However the B.3
Charles Popes were become real Sovereigns, not only VIII. with refpect to the Power they had ufurped, but LewisXII. likewife with regard to the immenfe Riches,
1503. Pope Alexander VI.
Inflanced in fame particulars.
which through numberlefs Channels flowed into the vaft Ocean of the Apoftolick Chamber,
It was almost impoffible that Purity of Life, and true religious Principles could be preferved undefiled, amidst fo much Grandeur, and Riches, on the contrary, the Popes were the more liable `to make an ill ufe of their Power. We find in History that Rome and Avignon were the center of Pride, Luxury, Senfuality, and of all the most fcandalous Vices.
Most of the Popes had no Religion at all. Rodericus Borgia, known by the name of Alexander VI. who fat upon the Papal Chair from Auguft 1493 to August 1503, was a Monfter in all manner of Wickedness; he made ufe of his Bastard Son the Duke of Valentinois, to perpetrate the most execrable Crimes; he died in a. way fuitable to the whole Courfe of his Life, having drunk by mifchance of a poisoned Wine, which he, and his Son had prepared for Cardinal Corneto. (a) Let us hear Guicciardine on the Character of this Pope.
When Alexander, fays he, and his Son were ,, at the height of their Hopes; fo fallacious and vain are the Devices of Men! The Pope being ,, gone to fup in a Vine-yard near the Vatican,, was fuddenly feized, and carried almost dead
into his Palace--he died the next day, 18th
the common Opinion that the Duke his Son,
(a) Mezeray Abregé de l'Hift. de France. Tom. iv. P. 434. Edit. d'Amfterdam 1674.
who was to fup with him in the faid Vine- LewisXII ,, yard, intended to poifon Cardinal Adrian de 1503. Pope Corneto: And it was very well known, that Alexander the Father, and the Son made ufe of Poifon, to VI. dispatch out of the World, not only their Ene,, mies, or thofe of whom they food in awe, but likewife thofe, who were rich enough to tempt their covetous defires, though they had never offended against them; of this the Cardinal de St. Ange was a fad example, being im,, menfely rich. Nay, they fpared not their best „ Friends, the most devoted to their Interests,_ ,, as the Cardinals of Capua, and of Modena, ,, were made fenfible of it, though they had been „, their most faithful and useful Minifters.
,, All the City tranfported with joy, ran to fee
To this, anfwers the character which Mezeray gives us of that Pope, for he tells us, that he had intruded himself into the Holy Chair; that, having bought the Pontificate very dear, he difpofed of every thing after his own will; that no Mahometan Prince was ever fo impious, vicious, and unfaithful as this Man, and that if he was furpaft by any one in his Abominations and Crimes, it was only by his Baftard Son Cæfar Borgia. (c) Thefe Verfes were made on his acB 4
(b) Guicciardini Hift. Ital. lib. vi. p. 201. Edit. Lat. Frinted at Bail 1566. (c) Mezeray ubi fuprà. p. 375.
Vendit Alexander Cruces, Altaria, Chriftum,
1513. Pope Julius 11.
Alexander fold Croffes, Altars, Chrift himself;
Pius III. of the Piccolomini's houfe, who had been elected in his room, fat for twenty fix days only; he was fucceeded by Julianus de Roveira, Julius II. who took the name of Julius II. A very profligate Man indeed! He came to the Papacy by Simony, and other wicked Arts, and having got his ends, he put all Europe in confusion by Wars and Factions.
The affembly of the Gallican Church held at Tours in 1510, by the King's Command, to refolve his fcruples about the lawfulness of the War, which he was obliged to carry on against him, fhewed forth, what opinion they had of the Pope, and of the Vatican's thunder-bolts, when they decided unanimoufly, that, it was lawful for the King, not only to act defenfively, but even offensively against fuch a Man. (d)
The King himfelf, though the meekest, and the jufteft of all the Princes of his time, could not forbear venting his Indignation, by caufing a gold Medal to be ftruck with this Infcription, PERDAM BABYLONIS NOMEN, that is, I will destroy the name of Babylon. (e)
Julius, fully refolved to attack Ferrara, was advifed to make himself firft mafter of Mirandola, but tired with the length of the Siege, he went thither in perfon;,, a thing unheard of before! ,, fays Guicciardine, The Vicar of Christ on Earth,
(e) ThuaniHift. lib. i,
(d) Idem ubi fuprà, p. 453. p. 11. Edit. Aurel. 1626.
old and fickly against a Chriftian City, in a LewisXII. War kindled by himself against the Chriftian from 1503 Princes (f)."
So obftinate and fiery was he, that nothing was Julius II. done foon enough to please him, always fcolding at the Captains, always in fury, lodging fo near the Battery, that two Men were killed in his Kitchen, notwithstanding the remonftrances of his Cardinals, who endeavoured to make him fenfible of the fcandal which would reflect upon his own Person, and his See. Monftrelet hath thefe remarkable words upon the fame Subject. ,, He forfook, fays he, the Chair of St. Peter, to ,, take upon him the title of Mars, God of Battle, to difplay in the Fields the three Crowns, and ,, to lay like a Centry; and God knows, what fine object, the Miters, Croffes, and Staves fly,, ing in pieces through the Fields, offered to the ,, fight! The Devil, to be fure, could not be ,, there, fince the Bleffings were bestowed at fo ,, cheap a rate (g).”
The wicked nature of this Pope, made the Emperor Maximilian to cry out, lifting up his Eyes, Q Everlasting God! what would this World come to, if you did not watch for it, how should it be ill governed by me, who am but a weak Hunter, and by that wicked Drunkard, namely, Pope Julius?
Wicelius, though a great Stickler for the Popes, is fain to own, that Julius was more devoted to Mars, than to Christ. The Gluttony, Lewdness, Cruelty, Swearing and Curfings of this Pope are fo well known, that I need not infift upon the fame (k).
The Germans, provoked at the Exactions and Tyranny of the Court of Rome, tendered a Peti
(f) Guicciard. lib. ix. p. 324. (g) Monftrelet quoted by Du Pleffis Mornay Hift. de la Papauté fol. Saumur 1611. P. 580. (b) Crefpin Etat de l'Eglife, p. 453.