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hour passed, but nothing appeared of what they expected, and Stifelius himself began to be in doubt, when suddenly a storm arose which revived his hopes and made him renew his exhortations : “ Behold,” said he, "the prelude to the last judgment." The storm lasted but a short time, and the peasants that were assembled there soon perceived that the sky was clear. Upon this they grew angry with their minister, dragged him out of his pulpit, bound him, and carried him to Wirtemberg, where they accused him as an impostor, and insisted upon some reparation being made to them. It is said that their pretensions and complaints were declared void, and that Stifelius by the interest of Luther, was re-established in his church. Hanard Gameren gives a pleasant account of this in the ninth Eclogue of his Bucolics. Tilman Bredenbach recites it entire, after having related the adventure in prose. I should not be very ready to believe these two authors, if I did not find it related by an eminent Protestant divine. It is true he does not mention Luther, nor the storm which roused the expectation of the auditory afresh; Spondanus tells this story with other circumstances. “Michael Stifelius,” says he,* an apostate monk, born at Eslingen, prophesied that the end of the world would come in the month of October, 1532. He took Luther for that angel of the revelation who flew through the midst of heaven in order to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth; and as for himself he fancied that he was the seventh angel, whose trumpet was to proclaim the end of the world.t He was not inclinable to proclaim this coming of Jesus Christ, but the express command of God obliged him to it. Having communicated his thoughts to Luther, he wrote a book wherein he declared that in the tenth month of the year 1533, on the second day of the forty-second week, at eight o'clock of the morning,
* Spondan. ad ann. 1533, uum. 15. + Revelat. x. VOL. III.
Jesus Christ would come upon earth to judge the world. He grounded his calculation upon those words, 'Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum;' and upon these, Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.' The numeral letters of the first passage give 1532, those of the second, 1533. The year 1532 being elapsed, he was so obstinately persuaded that his prediction would be accomplished in the year 1533, that he was amazed at Luther's advising him to have other thoughts, and at his not seeing a thing so evident. The 18th of October, which was St Luke's day, not proving to be the day of judgment as he had positively affirmed it would, every body laughed at his predictions; nevertheless, though he was imprisoned at Wirtemberg, he severely reprimanded Luther for exhorting him to be more wise and to profit by the double experience of his mistake, and persisted all his life in the vain employment of changing his hypothesis by the superstitious virtue of numbers. He died in the year 1567, aged fourscore.-- Art. Stifelius.
(A singular passage by.) PRUDENTIUS is very much blamed for desiring, not the glory of heaven, but the state of a man whose sufferings are not excessive. He says he will be contented, provided his soul be not cast into the deepest dungeon of hell, and desires no better fate after the resurrection.
Multa in thesauris patris est habitatio Christe,
Corporea, tristis me sorbeat ignis averno :
PRUDENT. in Hamartigenia, p. 227.
I ask but lighter punishment at best. Dr. Perkins, a Protestant divine, says this is an impious prayer, and that it ought not to be ascribed to Prudentius. He is not the only one who thinks that it is a piece added to his Hamartigenia ; however it be, Victor Giselinus, a Catholic writer, highly condemns this prayer in a work that is very much commended by Possevin. Observe that it is to be found as a genuine piece in the most exact editions, whereas some verses that are accounted supposititious, have been left out. The prayer that is at the end of the Hamartigenia would likewise have been expunged, if there had been any reasons to believe that it was not genuine: but here is a heresy, of which he cannot be cleared by denying the thing; he believed the materiality of the soul.
Rescissa sed ista seorsum
When soul and body by the hand
Of death divided are,
The liquid soul to air. The following verses make it plain that he means a material substance by “ Animæ liquorem :"
Non occidet, inquit,
PRUDENT. contra Symmach. lib. ii. ver. 184.
Suffer eternal burnings. Mr le Clerc observes that these words of Prudentius, “Animæ rapit aura liquorem," naturally signify the mortality of the soul, and that an Epicurean could not express himself better. It is certain that this verse and the foregoing, explain a doctrine which is to be found in the books of several Pagan authors concerning the characters of death. “It is,” said they," the resolution of a compound into its principles, each of which returns to the place from which it came, the body into the earth, the soul into the air or the æther.” If we consider how Lucretius expresses himself on this head, it will appear that Prudentius might be looked upon as his abridger.
Denique cælesti sumus omnes semine oriundi,
Cedit item retro de terra quod fuit ante,
Id rursum cæli relatum templa receptant :
Lucret. lib. ii, v. 990.
And so each part returns when bodies die,
Creech. But though these two poets agree in their expressions, their notions are quite different. The return of the soul to its principle was a true death according to Lucretius, but not according to all other heathens, and less still according to Prudentius, who soon after explains himself so positively, that one cannot doubt of his believing the immortality of the soul.
I desire I may be allowed to say that Dr Perkins's judgment seems too severe to those who have a regard to equity and charity. They think that this poet was willing to be deprived of happiness in heaven, and to suffer a moderate punishment after this life, because he looked upon himself as a man unworthy of the supreme beatitude, and too worthy of punishment. Is such a humility impious ? May not one call it a sacrifice of himself to divine justice ?
PYRRHONISM. Pyrrho, a Greek philosopher, born at Elis in Peloponnesus, was a disciple of Anaxarchus, and accompanied him as far as India. Without doubt he ihen followed Alexander the great, whence we may