Johann Lorenz Mosheim.

An ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern; from the birth of Christ to the beginning of the eighteenth century; in which the rise, progress, and variations of church power, are considered in their connexion with the state of learning and philosophy, and the political history of Europe during tha online

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Online LibraryJohann Lorenz MosheimAn ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern; from the birth of Christ to the beginning of the eighteenth century; in which the rise, progress, and variations of church power, are considered in their connexion with the state of learning and philosophy, and the political history of Europe during tha → online text (page 1 of 88)
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Sfli^ SStiition. 3aebfsctr antr Hnlarsctr.




1857. ; '






Entered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1854,

By James Mtjrdock,

In the Clark's Office of the District Court of Connecticut District.










^ 1. The Order of the Narration must be changed. — ^ 2. The History divided into the
General and the Particular. — ^ 3. The general History. — <J 4. The particular History.—
^ 5. History of the Reformation.

§ 1. In narrating the ecclesiastical affairs of modern times, the same
order cannot be followed as was pursued in the preceding periods. For
the state of the Christian world having undergone a great change in the
sixteenth century, and a much greater number of associations than former-
ly being found among the followers of Christ, differing widely in doctrines
and institutions, and regulating their conduct by different principles ; all
the various transactions among professed Christians, can by no means be
exhibited in one continued series, and so as to form one well-arranged pic-
ture. On the contrary, as the bond of union among Christians was sev-
ered, their history must be distributed into compartments, corresponding
with the division of the Christian world into its principal sects.

§ 2. Yet many events occurred, which affected the whole Christian
world, and the state of religion generally, or were not confined to any par-
ticular community. And as the knowledge of these general facts, throws
much light on the history of the particular communities, as well as on the
general state of the Christian world, they ought to be stated separately and
by themselves. Hence the work before us will be divided into two prin-
cipal parts ; the one, the general history of the Christian church, and the
other, the pariicular.

§ 3. The general history will embrace all those facts and occurrences,
which may be predicated of the Christian religion as such, or absolutely
considered ; and which in some sense, affected the whole Christian world,
rent unhappily as it was by divisions. Of course, we shall here describe
the enlargement of the boundaries of Christendom or their contraction, with-
out regard to the particular sects that were instrumental in these changes.
Nor shall we omit those institutions and doctrines which were received by
all the Christian communities, or by the principal part of them, and which
thus produced changes very extensive and general.

§ 4. In the particular history, we shall take a survey of the several com-
munities into which Christians were distributed. And here we may prop-
erly make two classes of sects. First, we may consider what occurred in
the more ancient communities of Christians, whether in the East, or in the
West. Secondly, what occurred in the more recent communities, those that
arose after the reformation of both doctrine and discipline in Germany. la
describing the condition and character of each particular sect, we shall pur-
sue as far as practicable, the method pointed out in the general Introduc-
tion to these Institutes. For according to our conceptions, the less a per-
son recedes from this method, the less will he probably omit of what is ne-
cessary to a full knowledge of the history of each individual community.


§ 5. The most important of all the events that occurred among Christ-
ians^ after the fifteenth century, nay, the greatest of al] events affecting the
Christian world since the birth of the Saviour, was that celebrated religious
and ecclesiastical revolution called the Reformation, Commencing from
small beginnings in Saxony, it not only spread in a short space of time over
all Europe, but also affected in no slight degree the other quarters of the
globe ; and it may be justly regarded as the first and principal cause of all
those great ecclesiastical, and even those civil revolutions and changes, which
have rendered the history of the subsequent times quite to the present day so
interesting and important. The face of all Europe was changed, after that
event ; and our own times are experiencing, and future times will experi-
ence, both the inestimable advantages that arose from it, and the vast evils
to which it gave occasion.(l) The history of such an event therefore, an
event from which all others in a measure took their rise, demands a dis-
tinct and a prominent place. We now proceed to give a compendious
view of the modern history of the Christian church, according to the meth-
od here proposed. (2)

(1) [See C. Villiers, on the Spirit and
Influence of the Reformation ; from the
French, 1807, Svo.—Tr.]

(2) [Dr. Mosheim still proceeds by cen-
turies. On the sixteenth century, he divides
his history into three Sections. I. The his-
tory of the Reformation ; in four chapters.
f I. The general history of the church ; in a
single chapter. III. The particular history
of the several sects or communities ; in two
Parts. Part first embraces the ancient com-
munities ; viz., the Latin, and the Greek or
Oriental churches, in distinct chapters. Part

second includes, in separate chapters, the
history of the Lutheran, the Reformed, the
Anabaptist or Mennonitc, and the Socinian,
churches. — On the seventeenth century, he
makes but two sections. I. The general
history, in a single chapter. II. The par-
ticular history, divided into Parts and Chap-
ters, as in the preceding century ; except,
that among the modern sects, he assigns
distinct chapters to the Arminians, the
Quakers, and an additional chapter to sev-
eral minor sects. — TV.]





The history of the Reformation is too extensive, to be comprehended in
one unbroken narrative, without wearying the learner. For the conve-
nience therefore of such as are just entering on the study of church history
and to aid their memories, we shall divide this section into four parts [or

The FIRST will describe the state of the Christian church at the commence,
ment of the Reformation.

The SECOND will detail the history of the incipient Reformation^ till the
presentation of the Augsburg Confession to the emperor.

The THIRD will continue the history from that period, till the commence,
ment of the war of Smalcald.

The FOURTH will carry it down to the peace granted to the friends of the
Reformation, A.D. 1555. — This distribution arises naturally from the his-
tory itself. (1)

(1) The historians of the Reformation, 863, [also by Walck, Biblioth. Theol., torn,

as well the primary as the secondary, and iii., p. 618]. The principal of these histo-

both the general and the particular, are enu- rians must be consulted, by those who de-

merated by Phil. Fred. Hane, (who is him- sire proof of what we shall briefly relate in

self to be ranked among the better writers this section. For it would be needless, to

on this subject), in his Historia sacrorum a be repeating every moment the names of

B. Luthero emendatorum, part i., cap. i., Sleidan, Seckendorf, and the others, who

p. 1, &c., and by Jo. Alb. Fabricius, in his stand pre-eminent in this branch of history.
Centifolium Lulheranum, pt. ii., cap. 187, p.




^ 1. At the Beginning of the Century, all was tranquil. — () "i. Complaints against the
Pontiffs and the Clergy, were ineffectual. — <J 3. Revival of Learning. — ^ 4. The
Pontiffs ^/cxanrfcr VI. and Pius III.— <J 5. Julius II.— (J 6. The Council of Pisa.—
i) 7. Leo X. — ^ 8. Avarice of the Pontiffs. — <J 9. They are inferior to Councils. —
i 10. Corruption of the inferior Clergy.— (J 11. State of the Monks.— <^ 12. The
Dominicans. — <J 13. State of the Universities and of Learning. — ^ 14. Theology. —
<^ 15. Liberty to dispute about R,eligion. — <J 16. The public Religion. — ^ 17. Misera-
ble Condition of the People. — ^ 18. A Reformation desired. — () 19. The Mystics.

§ 1. When the century began, no danger seemed to threaten the pon-
tiffs. For those grievous commotions, which had been raised in the pre-
ceding centuries by the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Beghards, and
others, and afterwards by the Bohemians, had been suppressed and extin-
guished by the sword and by crafty management. The Waldenses who
survived in the valleys of Piedmont, fared hard, and had few resources ;
and their utmost wish was, that they might transmit as an inheritance to
their posterity, that obscure corner of Europe which lies between the Alps
and the Pyrenees. Those Bohemians who were displeased with the Romish
doctrines, from their want of power and their ignorance, could attempt
nothing ; and therefore, were rather despised than feared.

§ 2. Complaints indeed were uttered, not only by private persons but
])y the most powerful sovereigns, and by whole nations, against the haughty
domination of the Roman pontiffs, the frauds, the violence, the avarice, and
the injustice of the court of Rome, the insolence, the tyranny, and the ex-
tortion of the papal legates, the crimes, the ignorance, and the extreme
profligacy of the priests of all orders, and of the monks, and finally of the un-
righteous' severity and the partiality of the Romish laws ; and desires were
now publicly expressed, as had been the case in generations long gone by,
that there might be a Reformation of the church, in its head and in its mem-
bers, and that°the subject might be taken up in some general council.(l) But
these complaints the pontiffs could safely set at defiance. For the authors
of them entertained no doubts of the supreme power of the sovereign pon-
tiffs in matters of religion ; nor did they themselves go about the work they
so much desired, but concluded to wait for relief either from Rome itself or
from a council. Yet it was manifest, that so long as the power of the pon-
tiffs remained inviolate, the opulence and the corruptions of the church and
of the clergy could not be diminished in any considerable degree.

(1) These accusations have been collected ing the wrongs done by the pontiffs and the

in great abundance, by the most learned wri- clergy, are exhibited by Jac. Fred. Georgius,

ters. See, among many others, Val. Em. in his Gravamina Imperatoris et nationis

Loschers Acta et Documenta Reformatio- German, adversus sedem Roman., cap. vii.,

nis, tom. i., cap. v., &c., p. 105, &c., cap. p. 261, &c. Nor do the more intelligent

ix.,'p. 181, &c., and Ern. Salam. Cyprians and candid among the adherents to the pon-

Preface to William .Em. TevzcVs Historia tiffs, at this day deny that the church, before

Reformat., Lips., 1717, 8vo. The com- T/MfAer arose, was grossly corrupt,
plaints of the Germans in particular, respect-


§ 3. Nor were the pontiffs any more alarmed, by the happy revival of
learning in many countries of Europe, and the consequent vast increase of
well-intbrmed men. The revival of learning, by dissipating the clouds of
ignorance, awakened in many minds the love of truth and of liberty ; and
among the learned men, there were many, who as appears from the exam-
ple of Erasmus and others, facetiously ridiculed and satirized the perverse
conduct of the priests, the superstitions of the times, the corruptions of the
court of Rome, and the rustic manners and the barbarism of the monks.
But the root of all the evil and of the public calamity, namely, the jurisdic-
tion of the pontiffs, which was falsely called canonical, and the inveterate
prejudice respecting a vicegerent of Christ located at Rome, no one dared
resolutely attack. And the pontiffs very justly concluded, that so lono- as
these ramparts remained entire, their sovereignty and the tranquillity of the
church would be secure, whatever menaces and assaults some persons might
offer. Besides, they had at their disposal, both punishments with which to
coerce the refractory, and honours and emoluments with which to concili-
ate the more daring and contentious.

§ 4. Hence, the bishops of Rome reigned securely, and free from all
fear ; and they indulged their lusts, and all their vicious propensities, as
freely as their innate depravity demanded. Alexander VI., a monster of a
man, and inferior to no one of the most abandoned tyrants of antiquity,
marked the commencement of the century with his horrid crimes and vil-
lanies. He died suddenly, A.D. 1503, from poison which he had prepared
for others, if the common report is true, or from old age and sickness, if
others are to be believed.(2) His successor, Pius III., died at the end of
twenty-six days ; and was followed by Julian de Roveria, under the name
o£ Julius II., who obtained the pontificate by fraud and bribery.

§ 5. That this Julius II. possessed, besides other vices, very great fe-
rocity, arrogance, vanity, and a mad passion for war, is proved by abun-
dant testimony. In the first place, forming an alliance with the emperor
and the king of France, he made war upon the Venetians. (3) He next
laid siege to Ferrara. And at last, drawing the Venetians, the Swiss, and
the Spaniards to engage in the war with him, he made an attack upon
Lewis XII. the king of France. Nor, so long as he lived, did he cease
from embroiling all Europe. Who can doubt, that under a vicar of Jesus
Christ that spent his time in camps, and was ambitious of the fame of a
great warrior, everything both in church and state must have gone to ruin,
and both the discipline of the church and the very spirit of religion have
become prostrate ?

§ 6. Yet amid these evils, there appeared some prospect of the ardently
and long-wished-for reform. For Lewis XII. king of France, published a
threat stamped upon the coins he issued, that he would completely over-
throw the Romish power ; which he designated by the name of Bal)ylon.{^)

(2) See Alexander Gordon's Life of Alex- (3) See Du Bos, Histoire de la Ligue dn

ander VI., French from the English, Am- Cambray, Hague, 1710, 2 vols. 8vo.

sterd., 1732, 2 vols. 8vo ; also another life of (4) See Christ. Sigism. Liebe's Commen-

him, by a very learned and ingenious man, tatio de numis Ludovici Xfl. epigraphe ;

written with more candour and moderation, Perd.^m B.\bylonis Nomen, insignibus,

and, together with a Life of Leo X., subjoin- Lips., 1717, 8vo. Compare, however, the

ed to the first volume of the Histoire du droit Thesaurus Epistolicus Crozianus, tom. i , p.

public ecclesiastique Fran9ois, par Mr. D. B., 238, 243. Colonials Histoire litter, de la

Lond., 1752, 4to. villa de Lyon, tom. y., p. 443, &c.. and oth-

Vol. III.— B



Moreover some of the cardinals of the Romish court, relying on the author,
ity of this king and of the emperor, summoned a council at Pisa in the year
1511, to curb the madness of the pontiff, and to deliberate on measures for
a general reformation of the inveterate corruptions in religion. But Ju-
lius, relying on the power of his allies and on his own resources, laughed
at this opposition. Yet not to neglect means for frustrating these designs,
he called another council to meet in the Lateran palace, A.D. 1512.(5)

ers ; for it is well known, that there has been
much dispute respecting these coins, and the
object of them. {Liebe has given engravings
of these coins. On the one side was the
king's likeness, and his title; on the other
side, the arms of France surrounded with the
inscription : Perdam BabiUonis (instead of
Bahylonis) Nomcn ; or also simply, Perdam
Babdloncm. Harduin understood Babylon
here, to denote the city of Cairo in Egypt ;
and he explained the coin of a military expe-
dition, which Lewis contemplated against the
Turks. But Liebe has fully confuted this in-
genious Jesuit ; and has shown, that Babylon
means Rome together wiih the pope, and that
the threatened vengeance was aimed by the
king against the pontifT. And that the French
church was not opposed to the designs of the
king, appears from the conclusions of the
council of Tours, which are mentioned in the
following note. See Du Pin's Nouvelle
Bibliotheque des Auteurs ecclesiast., tom,
xiii., p. 13, 14, and Gtrdcs, Historia Evan-
gelii seculo xvi. per Europam renovati, torn,
iv., Append. No. 1. — SchL]

(5) Jo. Harduin^s Concilia, tom. ix., p.
1559, &c. [Lewis XII. was not an enemy
to be despised. He made preparations for a
war against the pope, which were certainly
great and imposing. He assembled the cler-
gy of France, first at Orleans and then at
Tours, (see Harduin, 1. c, p. 1555), and
proposed to them the following questions. —
1. Is it lawful for the pope to make war upon
temporal princes, whose territories do not
belong to the church 1 No. — 2. May the
prince in such a case, lawfully oppose force
to force, and fall upon the territories of the
church, not to conquer and retain them but
to disable the pope from carrying on the war 1
Yes. — 3. May a prince refuse obedience to
a pope, who is his enemy and who makes un-
just war upon him ■? Yes : so far as is ne-
cessary for his own security and that of his
people. — 4. In that case,. how are those af-
fairs to be conducted which ordinarily are
referred to the decision of the pontiff^ An-
swer : in the manner prescribed by the Prag-
matic Sanction. — 5. May a Christian prince
defend with arms another prince who is un-
der his protection, against the assaults of the
pope 1 (This question referred to the duke
of Ferrara, who was involved in war with

the pope.) Yes. — 6. If the pope and a
prince disagree, whether a case between
them belongs to the ecclesiastical or the civil
jurisdiction, and the prince wishes to leave it
to referees, and the pope will not consent but
draws the sword, may the prince stand on
the defensive, and call on his allies to help
himl Yes. — 7. If a pope pronounces an un-
just sentence against a prince, [with whom
he is at variance, and who cannot safely ap-
pear at Rome to defend his cause], is that
sentence binding 1 No. — 8. If the pope in
such a case should lay the prince and his
realm under an interdict, what is to be done 1
Answer : Such an interdict would be itself a
nullity. [See the questions and answers, at
full length, in Gerdes'' Historia Evangelii
Sseculo xvi. per Europam renovati, tom. iv.,
Append. No. 1. — 7V.] After these prepara-
tory steps, Lewis went still farther, and pur-
posed to have a general council called against
the pope. The emperor Maximilian united
in the measure, and three cardinals lent their
aid to the business. The council was open-
ed at Pisa, A.D. 1511, and after a few ses-
sions, removed to Milan. The pope was ci-
ted by the fathers to appear at Milan ; and
was afterwards suspended. But as the pope
had now brought about a reconciliation with
the emperor, and as nearly all the assembled
prelates were from France, the decrees of
this council were no where received except
in France. The council assembled by the
pope in the Lateran church at Rome, to op-
pose that of Pisa, was somewhat larger than
the other, yet quite too small for a general
council ; and besides, was composed almost
exclusively of Italians. It may therefore be
regarded rather as a provincial than as a gen-
eral council. It held 11 sessions in all. In
the first, it was determined to take up the
subjects of the division caused by the coun-
cil of Pisa, the reformation of the church, a
pacification among Christian princes, and a
war against the Turks. In the second, the
convention at Pisa was declared to be irreg-
ular. In the third, the emperor having now
sided with this council, severe bulls were
issued against France. In the fourth, the
abrogation of the Pragmatic Sanction was
taken up. In the fifth, simony in the elec-
tion of popes was forbidden, and the French
church cited to appear on the subject of the


In this body, the acts of the assembly at Pisa, were spiritedly condemned,
and annulled : and undoubtedly, severe anathemas would have followed
against Lewis and others, if death had not overtaken the audacious pontiff
in his preparatory steps, A.D. 1512.

§ 7. His successor, Leo X., of the family of Medici, who was elected in
the year 1513, was of a milder disposition, but no better guardian of religion
and piety. The friend of learned men, and himself learned according to the
standard of that age, he devoted a part of his time to conversation with lit-
erary men, but a larger portion of it to the gratification of his appetites and
to amusements, and was averse from all cares and business, prodigal, lux-
urious, and vain ; perhaps also, according to a current report, positively im-
pious. Yet he did not neglect the interests and the grandeur of the Ro-
mish see. For he took good care, that nothing should be sanctioned in
the Lateran council which Julius had assembled and left sitting, favoura-
ble to the long-wished-for reformation ; and at Bologna, A.D. 1515, he
persuaded Francis I. king of France, to allow the abrogation of the ordi-
nance called the Pragmatic Sanction, which had long been odious to the
pontiffs, and to cause another, called the Concordate, to be imposed on his
subjects with their extreme indignation. (6)

§ 8. Besides the intolerable thirst for dominion and for oppressing every-
body, which tormented these pontiffs, they had an insatiable craving for
money ; which they caused to flow from every province of the Christian
world towards Rome, in order to support their power and to purchase them
friends. And it would seem not preposterous or unsuitable, for the heads
of the Christian republic to demand tribute from their subjects. For who
can deny, that the sovereign ruler of a commonwealth (and such the pon-
tiffs claimed to be) is entitled to a revenue from the whole state ? But as
the term tribute was too offensive, and would excite the indignation of the
temporal sovereigns, the pontiffs managed the affair more discreetly, and
robbed the unwary of their money, by various artifices concealed under an
appearance of religion. (7) Among these artifices, what were called induh

above-named Sanction. Soon after, Julius land, vol. iii., p. 3. Cczs. Egasse de Bou-
died ; and in the sixth and seventh sessions, lay''s Historia Acad. Paris., torn. vi.. p. 61-
the council was adjourned, both by the new 109. Du Clos, Histoire de Louis XT. ; His-
pope Leo X. and by the votes of its mem- toire du droit Ecclesiastique Fran9ois, tome
bers. In the eighth session, Lewis XII. i.. Diss, ix., p. 415. Add, Menagiana, torn,
■was present by his envoys ; and the pope iii., p. 285. [See also the preceding vol-
forbid the studying of philosophy, more than ume, p. 435, note (24). — Tr.}
five years, without proceeding to theology (7) [Whoever \vould learn the whole art
and jurisprudence. The ninth and tenth and mystery of the financial concerns of the
sessions were devoted to trivial matters, Romish court, may consult Le Bret's Mag-
which did not satisfy the expectations raised azine for civil and ecclesiastical history, ard
concerning a reformation of the church. At the ecclesiastical laws of Catholic states, vol.
length the council closed, in its eleventh ses- ii., p. 605, and vol. iii., p. 3, where is an
sion. May 16th, 1517. — SchL'\ essay, entitled. History of the Romish chan-
(6) The Pragmatic Sanction of the French, eery regulations; and also an essay by a
is extant in Harduin's Concilia, tom. viii., learned Neapolitan, on the Romish chancery
p. 1949. The Concordate is in the same regulations and the reservation of benefices.
work, tom. ix., p. 1867 ; also in Godfr. Will. And if any one wishes to form an idea of the
Leibnitz, Mantissa Codicis Diplomat., pt. i., productiveness of these chancery regulations,

Online LibraryJohann Lorenz MosheimAn ecclesiastical history, ancient and modern; from the birth of Christ to the beginning of the eighteenth century; in which the rise, progress, and variations of church power, are considered in their connexion with the state of learning and philosophy, and the political history of Europe during tha → online text (page 1 of 88)