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the woods, and all human society became insupportable to him. He lost what he had prepared
for the press, in the following manner. He lived at Forli, in an apartment of the palace ; his chamber was so dark as to require a candle at noon-day; and happening to go out and leave it burning, his papers took fire, and his library was reduced to ashes. As soon as he heard this ill news,
he ran in a distracted manner towards the palace, and stopping at his chamber door, cried out, “ Jesus Christ, what crime have I been guilty of? Which of your followers have I ever offended, that you treat me so cruelly? Mind well what I am going to say, I speak deliberately and with a composed mind. If by chance I address myself to you when at the point of death, do not hear me, for I have resolved to pass my eternity in hell. Quodnam ego tantum scelus concepi Christe, quem ego tuorum unquam læsi, ut ita inexpiabili in me odio debaccheris ? Audi ea (pergebat ad quoddam conversus simulachrum) quæ Tibi mentis compos animo dicam. Si forte cum ad ultimum vitæ finem pervenero supplex accedam ad te opem oratum, neve audias neve inter tuos accipias oro ; cum infernis diis in æternum vitam agere decrevi."* Those who heard these blasphemies endeavoured to comfort him, but in vain ; he left the town and ran to a forest. “Adeo insuper ira et indignatio hominem oppresserat, ut extra portam urbis egressus, amentiæ frenos non ante imposuerit, quam in vastum sese nemus proripuisset, ingentique cum molestia ibi totos dies transegisset.f"
It is reported that he devoutly implored the mercy of God. The author whom I citet mentions our
“Ultima tandem aliquando appropinquante horâ miser ille oculis ac manibus ad cælum sublatis ; qui coelum incolis, (exclamavit) fer
* Spizelius, in Felice Literato, pag. 12. He cites Barthol. Bononiensis in Vita Codri. + Spizelius, pag. 13. Spiz
quæso opem peccatori, noli me, qui tuum in sinum confugio supplicem rejicere. Si unquam peccantem hominem voti reum fecisti, sic mihi extrema oranti dextram ab alto porrigas oro.
This unhappy man, when his last hour drew near,
and hands to heaven, crying out, '() thou who dwellest in heaven, help a sinner I beseech thee, and do not reject me while I thus fly in a supplicant manner to thy bosom. If ever thou didst hear a miserable sinner, stretch out I beseech thee, thy right hand to me from on high, now that I am making my last prayer.' After having uttered these words, he saw a tall man with a torch in each hand, and trembling all over his body; astonished at this vision he sprung out of his bed, and asked the apparition what he did there at such an unseasonable hour, and conjured him not to do him any mischief. • Whoever thou art who thus walkest alone in so dreadful a shape, and at this midnight time when mortals are oppressed with sleep, do not approach to hurt me, who am the friend of God. Speak what thou wantest, and whither thou wouldst go ? Having said this, he sprung out of his bed as if he would avoid the spectre which was rushing upon him.” My author breaks off here; he did not know whether Urceus perished upon this occasion or not; but Pierius Valerianus, who hath not forgotten him in his catalogue of unfortunate learned men, expresses himself thus concerning him : “ Codrus autem Urceus Ravenas multæ, variæque doctrinæ vir, eruditissimis plerisque scriptis, quæ nunc edita sunt, omnibus innotuit. Is quoque sanguinaria peremptus est morte, ab adversæ factionis latronibus foedissimè trucidatus.* Urceus Codrus was a man of great and various erudition, as appeared to all the world by his many learned performances which are now published. He too was killed in a base and
* Pierius Valerianus de orum lofelicitate, lib. i, pag. 21, 22.
REASONS AGAINST A CHANGE IN RELIGION
bloody manner by the assassins of the contrary faction.”-Art. Urceus. REASONS AGAINST A CHANGE IN
RELIGION. NIHusius reasoned strongly against a change of religion. His arguments may be thus summed up:
When we find ourselves by birth and education in a certain communion, the inconveniences we therein undergo, are not a warrantable reason for quitting it, unless we can be gainers by the change; that is, remove to another where we may be easier. For to what purpose should we abandon the communion that gave us being and education, if in so doing we only change the distemper? Let us put this case to the trial : I agree to do so : let us imitate those poor patients, who when weary of the bed, think they shall be much better by being set in an easy chair. Let us leave the church of Rome and embrace Protestantism; but then as these sick persons are no sooner undeceived in finding the easy chair of no service to them, than they go to bed again ; so ought we to resume the profession of Popery, as soon as we find that the Protestant doctors do not remove our difficulties: they allege nothing to us but disreputable reasons; nothing that is convincing, nothing that is demonstrative; they prove and they object; but both their proofs and their objections are answered: they reply, and meet with replies again ; there is no end of this. To what purpose then should we form a schism? Did we meet with any thing in the church we were born in, that is more inconvenient ? We there wanted demonstrations; we had nothing offered to us that could fix our mind foundation of certainty ; we still found objections against all the doctrines and all the replies, in infinitum. This was our great disadvantage, and we meet with the same a mong the Protestants; we ought not therefore, to 102 REASONS AGAINST A CHANGE IN RELIGION. stay among them. Let us return to that body that has on its side the advantage of possession; and if we must be ill lodged, is it not better to be so in our own country and in our father's house, than in the inns of foreign countries ? Besides, the controversy is attended with more inconveniences on the Protestant side than on the Popish; the latter has all its enemies before it; the same arms that serve it for attacking and repulsing one, are of use for attacking and repulsing others. But the Protestants have enemies both before and behind them ; they are like a ship engaged between two fires ; Popery attacks them on one side, and Socinianism on the other. The arms they make use of against Popery, do them hurt instead of doing them service in their controversy with the Socinian, for this heretic turns upon them all the arguments they had made use of against the church of Rome; so that a Protestant coming off from the attack of a Papist, and preparing to attack a Socinian, is obliged to change his armour, or at least part of it.
These, without doubt, were the chimeras with which Nihusius fed himself, and which influenced him to think, that in order to convince the Protestants that they had done wrong in abandoning the church of Rome; it was sufficient to ask of them a demonstrative proof of their belief; a proof that admits of no reply, any more than of a mathematical demonstration. He knew very well that they would never take him at his word. Most divines agree that the controversies of religion cannot be carried to that height of evidence; a famous minister has lately informed us, that to assert that the Holy Spirit gives us an evident knowledge of the truth of religion, is not only a dangerous error, but a doctrine hitherto rejected by the Protestants. He maintains that a faithful soul embraces these truths without the evidence of reason, and even without knowing that it is evident that God has revealed them ; and he says that they are pernicious innovators, who assert that at least the Holy Spirit makes us see evidently the testimony which God has given to these truths. I am very sure that Nihusius did not expect to have a demonstrative argument offered him. What did he think of then, when he promised to return to Lutheranism upon that condition? Did he act the part of a grave man? But we must confess, that Nihusius did not always ground his thoughts upon chimeras. He made a bad application of a good principle, which is this : "we ought not to depart from the place where we are, if the change be useless.” The minister I have been now mentioning, makes use of that axiom. He is a rigid predestinarian, and a great particularist, and groans under a load of objections to which his system is exposed; but he does not change his hypothesis, because he finds that none relieves him from the oppression. He would find nothing to satisfy his reason in the hypothesis of the Molinists, nor in the other loose ways of explaining grace; so chooses to continue where he is, rather than take another situation that would not cure him. This is wisely judged.
Art. NIHUSIUS. REFORM OF THE SAINTHOOD. The celebrated Dr Launoi, of the College of Divinity of Paris, boldly attacked several false traditions, such as the arrival of Lazarus and Magdalen in Provence ; the apostleship of Dionysius, the Areopagite, in Gaul; the cause of the retreat of St Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians; the vision of Simon Stoch; the privileges of the Sabbatin bull, &c. They whose interest it was to maintain these opinions raised terrible outcries against him. He was, according to them, an enemy to religion. “It is scarely possible to conceive what a load of envy these writings at first drew upon him; for though he was a defender of the ancient, and, consequently, the genuine tradition, and as him