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in 1538, addressed a letter to the Se. ficient reason, that the members of nate of Venice, from which it has been that venerable body were not unfriendly inferred, though probably without suf- to the cause of the Reformation. In
this epistle, the writer gives a brief hæc calamitas, quam hic, ubi totus viget which were professed by himself, and
exposition of the principal doctrines Antichristus.
the other German Reformers : but he In consequence of the danger and the subjoins to this statement an admosufferings to which they were thus ex nition to the Senators against the posed, these Reformers supplicate Luther to intercede for them with the German tenets of Servetus, warning them not Protestant princes, in order to induce to permit such heresies to be promulthem to take up their cause and prevail gated in their territories.* on the Senate to allow them the free There is extant a curious document exercise of their religion, while they ab- which, if it be, as it purports, the stained from political offences :
genuine production of a sincere CaNam, cum tanta passi fueritis, ob eam tholic, may serve to shew, on the duntaxat causam, ut nomen Christi ad authority of its adversaries, the extent dos usque perveniret, non est credendum, and strength of the feeling which exquod cum agnoverimus illum, et sequa- isted in the North of Italy in favour mur, in medio pene cursu deseramur à vobis
, quorum voce ad id vehementer in of the Reformation. This professes to citati sumus, et ad huuc usque diem be a letter addressed by Gerardus Busmirificè impellimur. Id autem est, quan- dragius, a suffragan Bishop in the diotum huc usque è Spiritu Christi colligere cese of Padua, to Cardinal Pisano. potuimus, et fortasse vobis quoque non The writer expresses his serious ap-' displicebit, ut, quamprimum fieri poterit prehensions that the whole of Italy at Serenissimos Germaniæ Principes, qui would be shortly infested with what he ex nostra sunt parte, et eorum bonus est calls “the plague of Lutheranism;" numerus, auspice Christo, sicut à multis the inquisitors finding themselves, it accepimus, hanc rem totam deferatis, seems, unequal to the task of staying eosque per Christum rogetis, ut litteras the ravages of the malignant disease commendatitias ad Senatum Venetiarum which was threatening the very existpro nobis conscribant, rogando monendoque ut sese temperent ab ea decernendience of the Papal authority. This letlicentia, atque judicandi libidine, quam ministris Papæ tam inconsulto concessere ac quotidie sævius impertiuntur in pusillos Satan, were knowingly fighting against Cbristi sub prætextu fidei et religionis the truth. This language was afterwards impiè cruciandos, sed, permittant quem- sererely censured by Melancthon. Besides libet ritu suo vivere, dum tamen seditio, the references above noted, see De Porta, et publicæ quietis perturbatio caveatur, Hist. Reform. Eccles. Ræticarum, Tom. eamque rem ad generale concilium, quod I. Pt. ii. p. 10. ajunt, in promptu esse, licet nunquam * It has been doubted whether Mefuturum esse arbitremur, omnino referant, lancthon did actually address such a letinterim neminem cogi aut trahi ad fidem ter to the Venetian Senate, it appearing sinant.
unlikely that he should write in such In the course of this letter, the learned terms and upon such a subject to a body and pions writer took occasion, in the known to be attached to the interests of spirit of charity, to lament the disunion the See of Rome; and it has been conand the angry disputes which had been jectured that the report might have arisen excited among the Protestant Reformers from his having addressed a letter “ to in Germany and other places on the sub- some Venetians devoted to the study of ject of the Lord's Supper, and to recom- the gospel." Ad Venetos quosdam Evanmend to his correspondent to put an end gelii studiosos. But Bock saw the origito such dissensions. He learnt, however, nal edition of the letter referred to in the from Luther's answer, that his berevolent library of the University of Konigsberg. wish, on this head, was not likely to be It was printed at Nuremburg, in 1539, soon accomplished. The notice of the by Jerom Formschneider, and is intituled subject seems to have roused all the angry Epistola Philippi Melancthonis ad Senatum feelings of the Saxon Reformer against Venetum. Oratio publice habita Wittenhis opponents in this controversy; for hebergæ in promotione Doctoris Juris. De particularly cautions the Italians against scripto Jure et Dignitate Veterum Interthe “ pestilent errors" of Bullenger, Bu- pretum Juris. Bock, ut supra, 11. pp. 397, cer and others, whom he stigmatizes as 398. De Porta, Hist. Reform. Eccles. false prophets, who, at the instigation of Ræticarum, Tom. I. Lib. ii. p. 63.
ter is dated the 15th December, 1558, dinand Emperor, and expresses his and the writer asserts, upon informa- wish that his Holiness would not furtion which he had been at considerable ther persecute the Lutherans with his pains to collect, that, antecedently to thunders, but would extend to them that time, nearly eight hundred per- the same toleration as he granted to sons, tainted with this contagious ma- the Greeks, and by this means prolady, had fled from Italy on account mote the peace and augment the treaof their religious opinions ; among sures of the Church. Bock, who has whom,” he writes, are to be reck- given the preceding account of this oned some men of distinguished learn- singular epistle, justly observes, that ing and sagacity.”
it wears more of the appearance of He next coinplains that those who a piece of satire, than of grave advice. yet remained in the country pursued It is, indeed, by some, and not without the same measures as their predeces- probability, attributed to Vergerius, sors, in promulgating their sentiments, who was one of the earliest of the by their discourses and the distribution agents sent by the Pope into Germany of books. These men,” he observes, to oppose the proceedings of Luther, "sadly harass our inquisitors : for but who afterwards gave up his bishopthey clandestinely penetrate the whole ric, and joined the Reformers.* of Italy, sometimes in person, and Although the states of Venice consometimes by their emissaries, who tained so great a number of persons disperse their books and sermons, and who had become converts to the docinfect more in one day than we are trines of the Reformation, it does not able, with all our inquisitions and appear that here, any more than in pains, to cure in a year.” The zealous Naples, separate societies had been bishop, if such he were, then recom- formed for religious worship. The mends that, on account of their proved vigilance of the agents of the Inquisiinefficacy, they should thenceforth ab- tion, notwithstanding the restraints stain from the cruel proceedings of which were imposed upon their prothe Inquisition, by which, he states, ceedings by the Venetian Senate, renthat within a period of forty years, or dered it, no doubt, impossible for the since the beginning of the Reforma- Reformers to take so decisive and pubtion, more than one hundred thousand lic a step. The society which is stated persons had been put to death, without to have met at Vincenza, and to which effecting any thing towards healing the the origin of Socinianism is cominonly disorder which they were designed to ascribed, is probably not to be consiextirpate. He advises that a new ex- dered an exception to this remark. pedient should be tried, in order, if Mosheim, indeed, and with him some possible, to prevent the whole country other writers, doubt whether this from being contaminated. He pro- much-fained society had any real exposes that the Pope should interdict istence; but the reasons they assign all intercourse whatever between Italy for their scepticism are in the extreme and Germany, so that no person from weak and inconclusive. Very little one country should be allowed to visit is known of the constitution of this the other, “ in order," he writes, association. From the title of college, " that our Catholics may not know which is so generally applied to it, the what our enemies say, or, if they should presumption is, that it was founded be made acquainted with it, that they merely for conversation, or, for the should not at once adopt their opinions.” As, however, obvious obstacles suggested themselves, which would Bock, ut supra, II. pp. 399, et seqq., render the execution of this plan im- Gerdes, Lib. cit. p. 9. practicable, he expresses himself ob
† Alterius, in the letter to Luther, liged to conclude that it was extremely that they had no separate churches. His
above referred to, expressly intimates difficult, if not wholly impossible, to preserve Italy. He reproves the Ve words are :-Ubi nullas publice habenetians for crippling the powers of mus, sed quilibet sibi ipsi est Ecclesia,
pro cujusque arbitrio atque libidine, &c. the Inquisition in their states ; com
# The English reader will find these plains of Poland because it favoured reasons stated and discussed in the HisLutheranism; blames the Pope be- torical Introduction to Rees's Racovian cause he would not acknowledge Fer- Catechism, pp. xxi. &c. Note.
discussion of literary and religious to publication of the Bull against Luther, pies. The period assigned for its dis- but which it had allowed to remain a persion is the year 1546: and it is dead letter upon its statute-books. worthy of observation, that on the In consequence of the severity with first of May, in that very year, the which it was now carried into execuPope addressed a Bull to the Senate tion, Balthasar Alterius again interestof Venice, directing them to suppressed himself for the persecuted Protesthe Lutheran heresy at Vincenza. * tants, and, with the view of obtaining There can be no question but that it some mitigation of the edict which was this Papal mandate which occa- bad been passed against them, wrote sioned the breaking up of the Protes- on their behalf to the Duke of Saxony, tant society at that place. There be- and the other leaders of the Reformalonged to it at this period, James de tion in Germany, and went himself Chiar, Julius Trevisanus, and Francis with the same view into Switzerland de Ruego, who were seized by the to intercede with the Swiss Governinquisitors; the first died in prison, ments to take up their cause. His and the other two were put to death benevolent exertions failed of their at Venice :-Lælius Socinus, Niccola object, and only served to incense Paruta, Valentine Gentilis, Darius So- against himself the power which he cinus, Francis Niger, and John Paul had aimed to soften: for on his reAlciatus, who all escaped, and ob- turn he was ordered either to rejoin tained an asylum among the Reformers the Church of Rome or quit the states, on the other side of the Alps. + and he immediately chose the latter
The Senate of Venice, by permitting alternative.* the Pope's Bull to be acted upon with Besides the territories of Venice, the such promptness and sanguinary vio- principles of the Reformation obtained lence, departed, for the first time, from a favourable reception in other states that cautious and levient policy which in the north of Italy. The celebrated it had usually observed towards the Pagninus, writing to Pope Clement favourers of the Reformation in the VII., in January, 1525, states, that countries under its jurisdiction. What- many of the citizens of Florence were ever might have been the reasons of infected by the Lutheran heresy; and its conduct in this instance, they did he is careful to add, that he had lanot at once cease to operate : for the boured among them not without bemeasures to which it now assented nefit to many souls. + proved to be the forerunners of others There were, also, several Protesupon a still larger scale, which ulti- tants at Modena in 1542 and 1545, who mately effected the ruin of the cause attracted the notice of the See of of the Reformers in these states. The Rome; and at Milan, so late as the Pope, finding that the Reformed doc- year 1536, Pope Paul III. complains, trines were gaining over proselytes in in a letter to Moronus, bishop of Mogreat numbers throughout Italy, issued dena, that there were many heresies strict orders to the officers of the In- condemned by the Church, openly quisition to use the utmost vigilance professed. The same Pope, writing to detect and seize the heretics, and to Cardinal Mantuanus in 1545, states, to suppress their books. These orders that he had been informed that there obtained the ready adoption and the were at Mantua some of the clergy active co-operation of the several go- and others who not only doubted but vernments into which they were sent. denied the doctrines of the Roman The Senate of Venice, on this occasion, Church, whom he exhorts him to evinced its zeal for the interests of take the proper methods to punish the holy see, by re-enacting a decree or reclaim. “At Bologna, also, there which it had passed against heretics were many converts to the Protestant in the year 1521, probably on the cause; and, it is stated, that in their
number they reckoned one individual
of such influence and authority, that * Gerdes, ut supra, pp. 71, et seqq. This writer has given the Bull at length.
+ Rees's Racovian Catechism. Histo- * De Porta, ut supra, Tom, I. Lib. ii. rical Introduction, pp. xx. &c.; with the pp. 31, et seqq. authorities referred to in the Note. + Gerdes, pp. 9, 10.
he offered to furnish six thousand Hebrew; whilst Martyr himself atmen, should it be found necessary to tended to the department of theology, oppose, by force of arms, the mea- and delivered lectures on the Epistles sures of the court of Rome. *
of Paul. By the measures which he Whether at Ferrara, any proselytes now pursued, he soon imbued his were gained, does not decidedly ap- companions and fellow-labourers with pear. But in that government the the principles of the Reformation, and cause of the Italian Reformers derived gained over other converts from among great support from the friendship and the persons who were admitted to atinfluence of the Princess Renata, the tend his lectures. In the number of daughter of Louis XII. of France, who these proselytes was the celebrated Jewas married to the Duke of Ferrara rome Zanchius, at that time a monk, and Modena. Her palace was the but who was afterwards Professor of resort of those who were favourable Divinity in the university of Strasburg. to the Reformation : and under her Some idea of the success with which roof those of them who in other states Martyr laboured may be formed from were persecuted for their opinions, the fact, that within one year after frequently obtained a ready and a safe he gave up his cowl, and went into asylum. +
voluntary exile, not less than eighWhilst the spirit of the Reforma- teen of his associates at the motion was spreading through the other nastery, quitted the place and joined states of Italy, it was found impossi- the Reformers in Switzerland and ble to prevent its manifesting itself in Germany. Martyr finding it no longthe Pope's territories, and at the very er safe to remain in Italy, went to threshold of the church of St. Peter's. Zurich, in company with Bernard For it appears, that even here, parti- Ochini, in 1542. ' He was followed by cularly in the town of Faenza, some Celsus Martinengas, who was after. men were zealous and intrepid enough wards pastor of the Italian church at to preach against the Roman power. I Geneva, by Imanuel Tremellius,Jerome : T'he little republic of Lucca is enti. Zanchius, and others. * tled to particular notice, in connexion This sketch of the Italian Reformawith the history of the Italian Refor. tion must not be concluded without mation. It has been already observed, some notice of the churches which that Peter Martyr, after quitting Na- were formed in the Rhætian Alps. It ples, obtained the situation of prior of seems, that so early as the year 1523, thej monastery of St. Fridianus, at the attention of the court of Rome Lucca. After entering on this prefer- was drawn to the progress of heretical ment, he established a kind of colle- opinions in the valley of Tellina, in giate institution for the education of this district. The efforts that were young persons, in which Paul Laci- then made to suppress the rising spirit sius taught Latin ; Celsus Martinen- of religious inquiry, proved vain and gus, Greek; and Imanuel Tremellius, ineffectual; and, in a short time, the
population of those parts which were
included in the Swiss government of • Gerdes, pp. 59, 71, 84.
the Grisons, became converts to the + Idem. p. 23.
doctrines of Zwinglius.
The Italian Les neurs depravées de l'Ordre being the language in common use, Ecclésiastique et de la Cour de Rome the exiles from Italy were naturally persuadèrent à bien des personnes, que induced to resort hither, and great tous les maux, qu'on éprouvoit, étoient numbers of them ehose this district en exécution des jugemens de Dieu, qui for their permanent residence. From venoient veuger les grands abus, qui se the Italian churches of this state, committoient journellement. On em. others were afterwards formed at Zubrassoit en conséquence la Reforme, dans rich and Geneva, which had to boast, les maisons, et divers villes, particulièrement à Faenza, quoique Terre du Pape, among their ministers and members, of on y prêchoit contre l'Eglise Romaine ; numerous individuals of distinguished de manière que de jour en jour, le nom learning and talents, and of noble and bre des Lutheriens, qui se faisoient nommer Erangelistes, s'augmcntoient. Giannone Hist. Civ. de Naples, apud Gerdes, * Adam in Vita Petri Martyris, PP. 33, P. 22.
34; Gerdes, p. 80.
illustrious rank, who had been forced, ther circumstance to which important by the terrors of the Inquisition, to bid consequences are deservedly attached, adieu to their native Italy.*
was the translation of the Scriptures The preceding statement contains a into the vernacular tongue. In 1530, brief abstract of the history of the Antonio Bruccioli printed, at Venice, Reformation in Italy, as far, at least, an Italian version of the New Testaas respects the first manifestations of ment; and he followed up his design, open hostility to the doctrines and by a translation of the Old Testament, discipline of the Roman Church. The which was published in 1540. These subsequent ecclesiastical history of translations are erroneously classed, that country would supply many addi- by Le Long and Father Simon, among tional facts of an interesting kind, the Catholic versions ; but they were which cannot now be noticed, but instantly disowned by the Roman · which might be used as materials for Church, and placed in the catalogue of a work that is yet a desideratum in prohibited books.* this branch of literature-an Italian Exclusively of those who appear to Protestant Martyrology.
have acted in concert, or as associated In tracing the means by which the bodies, there were many individuals of work of reformation was carried on distinguished eminence who sided with in Italy, it is evident that a great part the friends of the Reformation in Italy, of its success is to be attributed to the and became exiles on account of their labours of churchmen, who, like Peter religion. In the number of these, we Martyr, employed themselves in ex- may here just mention the names of plaining the Scriptures, and instilling Olympia Fulvia Morata, a native of into the minds of their hearers the Mantua; Cælius Secundus Curio, born principles of the German or the Swiss of a noble family in Piedmont ; Minus Reformers. But the most extensive Celsus, a native of Sienna ; and George effects in this way were produced by Blandrata, a physician of Piedmont, the general circulation of the writings afterwards the opponent and persecuof these eminent men, which were tor of Francis David, in Transylvania. translated into the Italian language, It may be remarked, in respect to and read with great avidity. + Ano- the Italian Reformers in general, that
most of those who were in circum
stances to emigrate, and were fortu* De Porta, ut supra, Tom. I. Pt. ii. nate enough to escape the agents of Cap. i. ii. ; Gerdes, p. 86.
the Inquisition, transported themselves, + One of the earliest of the works that in the first instance, to Switzerland, were translated was Melancthon's “Loci and obtained settlements in the GriCommunes," which was printed at Venice sons, at Geneva, and in some of the about the year 1529, under the following other states. Some of them were readititle : “ Principi della Theologia, di ly admitted into the Swiss churches, Ippofilo de Terra Nigra.”. Afterwards whose opinions they had embraced, appeared, without the author's name, and to whose discipline they did not Luther's explanation of the Lord's Prayer, and his Catechism, which latter, not be
object to conform. ing suspected to be an heretical work,
In the course of time, as has already was greatly esteemed by the Catholics. been observed, churches were formed About the same period, 'Bucer published of their own body, to which ministers an Italian edition of his Commentary on were appointed from among their exthe Psalms, under the feigned name of iled countrymen. Some of the more Aretius Felinus. Calvin's Catechism was learned of the ecclesiastics were apalso printed in Italian, without his name; pointed to professorships in the Swiss and, in 1557, his Institutes were translated into Italian by Paschali, and dedicated to Galeazzo Caraccioli. In 1526, Bucer and his notes poisonous glosses-renetranslated Luther's “ Postillas" from the natorum glossematum. Bucer, in conseGerman into Latin, for the use of the quence of this complaint, afterwards Italian Reformers. Having taken some printed the altered passages in their oriliberties with his original in omitting and ginal state, in a separate book, in which altering some passages relating to the he inserted Luther's letters of remondoctrine of Consubstantiation, he drew strance. See De Porta, ut supra, Tom. upon himself the severe displeasure of I. Pt. ii. p. 8. Luther, who styled his preface sacrilege, * Gerdes, pp. 14 and 56.