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184

SYNOPSIS CRITICORUM.

and then as “ Biblia Maxima," in nineteen. A inuch more valuable collection was published by bishop Pearson and others, in 1660, as a companion to “Walton's Polyglot.” It was called “Critici Sacri," and appeared in nine vols. folio. A brief collection of a very useful kind was published fourteen years later, under the title of “Synopsis Criticorum," the editor being Matthew Poole. These works, with the six volumes of " Walton's Polyglot," and the two folio volumes of“ Castell's Lexicon," twentytwo volumes in all, were begun and finished in the city of London, in the comparatively short space of twenty years, at the expense of a few noblemen and divines. No insignificant contribution to Biblical science !

At first, Rome took her share in all these efforts, but the meaning of Scripture was to her a concern of small moment; she had coordinate authority. She soon found, moreover, that the study of the original by the learned was as mischievous as the study of the vernacular Scriptures by the common people, and she gradually withdrew from the field. In the seventeenth century, for example, 940 editions of the Scriptures in the languages of modern Europe are enumerated : but not one was printed at Rome, or in the temporal dominions of the pope ; whilst, during the same period, not fewer that fourteen editions of prohibitory indexes were issued from the Roman press. This fact indicates decided hostility to vernacular translations. Again, of 2,050 editions of NOBLE PRINTERS: STEPIENS. 185 the Bible, or of parts of the Bible, printed during this saine century in the oriental and Latin tongues, only twenty-three were published at Rome, and one at Naples; all the rest belonging to districts beyond her secular authority, and most of them to Protestant printers and countries.

Many noble instances of self-sacrifice are to be found in the history of these publications, not only among authors, but among printers. In those days printing was a dangerous trade; and the printer had often to bear the censure which it was impossible to inflict upon the author. One of the most illustrious of this band was Daniel Bomberg, a native of Antwerp, who settled at Venice. His Hebrew Bibles gained him great celebrity, and he is said to have retained in his employment about one hundred Jews as correctors of the press, the most learned he could find. In printing he is thought to have expended in the course of his life four millions of gold crowns, and Vossius records the fact, that he lessened his fortune by his liberality.* To Robert Stephens, the great French printer, De Thou, the historian, says, that not only France, but the whole Christian world, owes more than to the greatest warrior that ever extended the possessions of his country. Greater glory has redounded to Francis 1., he adds, by the industry of this man alone, than from all the illustrious warlike and pacific undertakings in which he was engaged. In ten years (between

* Townley's Illustrations, vol. ii. p. 467.

136 DECLINE OF REFORMATION. ,. 1544 and 1554) there issued from his press at Paris, two editions of the Hebrew Bible, three of the Greek Testament, seventeen of Latin versions of Scripture, three concordances, and twenty-seven commentaries on the Bible, Jewish and Christian. For printing these books he was repeatedly censured by both kings and popes; but he went on with his work at risks not inferior to those incurred by the foremost reformers, and is certainly not less entitled to our admiration and praise.

We have spoken of the progress of the Reformation. In fifty years after the separation of Luther from the church of Rome, Protestantism was the religion of the whole of the north of Europe, and in all countries north of the Pyrenees and the Alps, Protestants formed an important party. In France, they consti, tuted a commonwealth within the realm, and treated with their sovereigns on terms of equality. In Poland, the king was Roman Catholic, but Protestants filled the chief offices in the state, and in the towns they held the parish churches. In Austria Proper not a thirtieth of the population, it was said, could be counted upon as trustworthy adherents of the church of Rome. Fifty years later still, and the aspect of Europe in this respect is changed. Roman Catholicism had not only ceased to lose—she had regained much of what she had lost. In France, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, and Poland, she is again victorious. In 1570, Roman Catholicism

CAUSES OF DECLINE OF REFORMATION. 137

could hardly maintain footing on the shores even of the Mediterranean ; in 1640, Protestantism was all but driven beyond the Baltic. The fatherland of Luther was still safe, but nearly every other part of the continent had yielded to the conqueror.

This revival of error and defeat of truth is one of the mysteries of Providence; nor can we attempt to solve it. The moral causes of it, however, are easily found, and the lesson they contain is highly instructive. First of allsince the days of Luther, the papacy had been earnest, energetic, and consistent. The atheists and debauchees who had occupied the papal chair before the Reformation, were succeeded by men eminent for fervour and outward sanctity. The order of the Jesuits had filled Europe with apostles, of courage and selfdenial not inferior to the founders of the Reformation; while the old supporters of Protestantism had been carried to their graves, and had left no worthy successors. Faith among the men who occupied their place was an outward profession rather than a deep conviction of truth. The Protestant princes of Europe, the elector of Saxony, Henry iv. of France, our own Elizabeth and James, had no hearty Protestant feeling ; and, in a word, energetic error proved mightier than dead truth.

The whole of Roman Catholic zeal, moreover, was directed against Protestantism. Protestant zeal, on the contrary, was divided ; part spent against the common foe, but part in civil con

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138 DEAD TRUTA; DIVISIONS. flict. In the Palatinate, Calvinists persecuted Lutherans ; in Saxony, Lutherans persecuted Calvinists; everywhere, Protestant doctors confuted, and Protestant princes punished sectaries, who were at least as good Protestants as themselves. If the religion of Jesus Christ depends for its triumphs on the union of its disciples, it was impossible that under such circumstances Protestantism could succeed.

It must be added, that within a hundred years of Luther's death, the aggressive character of the Reformation was gone. The reformed churches of the continent existed only for the countries to which they belonged, and organizations for the conversion of Europe to the Protestant faith would have been regarded with ridicule or with disapprobation by the very leaders of the Protestant cause. Rome, on the other hand, filled Protestant districts with her priests. Spanish and Italian einissaries were found in every country of Europe, and at Rome a college was founded for the instruction of northern youth. The church, which regards the world as given to her, and deems nothing done till all is conquered, has fearful odds against churches which regard themselves as set only for the defence of the particular districts in which they are found. A church, not missionary, must either repent or die; and the latter alternative seemed to have been reserved, in the seventeenth century, for the Protestantism of the continent.

And, lastly, it must be crnfessed thiv. the

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