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ing odd legends. Then he instituted the Society of Jesus (1540),
the members of which, besides the three usual monastic vows,
obliged themselves to obey unconditionally the Pope, especially in
matters of heresy and infidelity. Their principal object was to com-
bat the Protestant doctrine and to suppress mental liberty. The
General of their Order resided in Rome. They entered public
life in a thousand different forms ; they made their appearance
as teachers of the youth, as penitentiaries, tenders of the
sick, inquisitors of faith, missionaries, confessors, ministers
of States, and even as trades-men. Among laymen, too, they
created fraternities to which even Princes and their sons
joined. They tried chiefly to captivate rich young men ;
the fortunes of such victims became the prey of their



64

vSociety. Their Order spread rapidly. It was admitted in all
Catholic countries; it entered even Hindoostan, China and Japan.
The number of its members was very considerable. In the eight-
eenth century it counted at one time twenty-two thousand mem-
bers. In the Council of Trent it carried the issue. In Asia it es-
tablished the Inquisition Tribunal. In Germany its principal
seats were Munich and Vienna. Bavaria was called its Paradise.
It fostered the belief in miracles, arranged painful exercises of
penance for the stupid populace, and permitted the rich and power-
ful everything they longed for. By and by the education of the
Catholic youth was seized by the Jesuits, whereby they obtained
the greatest influence in civil society. They crept into the con-
fidence of the sovereigns, became their confessors and coun-
selors, and soon also the governors of the State affairs. Though
the praise of great scholarship cannot be withheld from single
members of their Order, still their performances remained far be-
hind the demands of their Age. They were enemies of enlighten-
ment, of political and religious liberty. Their moral code per-
mitted the use of all means, even regicide, in order to obtain good
ends. They possessed immense riches which they acquired by the
most diverse ways, even by commercial business.



FIFTH PERIOD (1648-1789.



From the Westphalian Peace to the French Eevolution.



§ 33. Germany— Frederick II. and Joseph II.— France— Perse-
cution of the Huguenots—England.

Emperor Leopold I. was an enemy of political and religious
freedom. As he ceded to the Turks some frontier-fortresses Of
Hungary, which passed for the bulwarks of this country, many
Hungarians got hereby irritated, and conspired against him ; the
plot was discovered, and the culprits were punished. Therewith
not content, he let the whole Hungarian nation, especially its



65

Profestant part, feel his vengeance. The Reformed ('hristians
were forced to conform to the Catholic Church, the refractories of
them killed, their most zealous ministers sent to the gallows, their
school-teachers deposed, etc. Ln the Archbishopric of Salzburg,
too, the Protestants were persecuted by the Bishop, and all of
them, twenty thousand persons, were forced to emigrate.

On the contrary Frederick II., King of Prussia, and Emperor
Joseph II. granted in their States perfect religious liberty. The
former declared : "In my States every man has a right to contend
for his salvation according to his own fashion." Joseph II
(1780 — 1790) protected also the Israelites against the severity of
barbarian laws. He made the Catholic Church independent from
the Roman See, and abolished a great number of Convents, the
possessions of which he devoted to the curacy and to the instruc-
tion of youth. Pope Pious VI. showed an unprecedented conde
scension; became himself to Vienna, in order to remonstrate; but
the Emperor persevered in his enactments.

In France, Louis XIV., instigated by the Jesuits, and his wife,
cruelly persecuted the Reformed Christians. They were excluded
from the public offices, and robbed of their children ; the sick who
refused to become Catholics lost their property, and were con-
demned to the gallows if they recovered, but thrown in the flaying-
place if they died. Military troops made these cruel measures
more efficient. At last the edict of Nantes was expressly annulled,
and all Reformers summoned to confess the Catholic religion;
but 500,000 of them emigrated in spite of prohibition and penal-
ties, and carried, to the great damage of France, treasures, industry
and arts to England, Holland and Germany. The cruel nieasures
were repeated, and directed against the Reformers in the province
of Languedoc, and its inhabitants oppressed with taxes ; despair
drove them to a revolt, which three marshals of war were hardly
able to suppress (1703— 1704). Ten thousand Reformed Chris-
tians shed their blood on the scaffold.

Charles /., the Catholic King of England, appointed thirteen
Bishops in Scotland, which confessed the Reformed Religion
(1633), introduced a new book of common prayers, ordered the
ministers to u ear cassocks, etc. These innovations, which betrayed



66

the spirit of the Catholic Church, displeased the people. As in
Edinburgh the new prayers at the service were read the first time,
the people present rose, and flung Bibles and chairs in the face of
the clergymen. The nation concluded a league, resolving to resist
the King ; all his innovations were to be abolished, the Bishops to
be dismissed, and the ministers again, as before, superintended by
a General Assembly. The King attempted to maintain his will
with an army of 20,000 men. The Scotchmen also armed, and
vanquished him. The spirit of resistance seized also the English
Parliament, in which the adversaries of the Catholic and Episcopal
Church, the Puritans, got the majority. Charles lost by his in-
constancy and falsehood, his throne and life ; he was decapitated
(1649V His son James II. ruled in Scotland still more cruelly.
As he belonged to the Catholic Church, he would force the Scotch-
men to forsake their creed, and appointed Bishops, suspended 350
Presbyterian ministers, and expelled them, together with their
families. Winter set in ; the people were in despair. A part re-
sisted the King's arbitrary power, but they were vanquished, hung,
speared, or slowly burned. The usual kind of torture was the iron
boot. The feet of the victims were put in it, and then wedges
driven between till the bones broke, and the marrow oozed out.
At these scenes of torture James used to be present, in order to
delight in them with demoniac malice. His hangmen drove the
inhabitants like chased game together in one place; there they
put the children, aged from six to ten years, in one group, and
fired at them at short range (though the pistols were not charged),
in order to frighten them ; men and women were mutilated, stig-
matized, shipped, and landed in unwholsome regions. A son was
executed, because he refused to inform the tormentors of the
hiding-place of his father ; and a wife was killed, because she had
abetted the flight of her husband. In England, too, the King
assailed the National Church. Guided by the Jesuits, he abolished
religious freedom, appointed Catholic teachers in the colleges,
turned out Protestant ministers, and committed the public offices
to Catholics, in opposition to the laws of the country. In Ireland,
also he gave orders to persecute and to exterminate the Protestants.
The nation then appealed for help to his son-in-law, William Illy



67

Stadtholder in Holland. He landed with an army in England
(1688); the tyrant was frightened, and fled to France, where
Louis XIV. received him. William was chosen King, and the
Catholic religion forever excluded from the throne of England.

§ 34. State of the Church— William Penn— Scots— Puritans.

Religious toleration was in Europe still very imperfect ; proof of
which were the persecutions the Protestants in Hungary, Salzburg,
France and England had to endure (§ ^^). Single individuals
were also pcsecuted, if their views disagreed with the creed of the
ruling religious parties. When /. J. Rousseau published his far-
famed book, "Emile," it excited the hatred of the Catholic and
Protestant clergy ; the book was burnt in Paris, torn in pieces by
the hangman in Geneva, and he himself banished from this city,
though he was its citizen. For some time he lived in the Canton
of Bern, but was ordered by its Government to leave this asylum
also ; then Frederick H. offered him a shelter in the Canton of
Neufchatel, which at that time belonged to the Kingdom of
Prussia; but neither there could he stay long in peace, because the
populace hated and treated him ill, he being an infidel ; he must
retire to England.

Northern America was kinder -to religious liberty. William
Penn founder of the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), de-
clared in his ''charter of liberties," that nobody should be
persecuted or molested for the sake of his religious opinions. In
the charter oi Rhode Island, liberty of conscience was also granted.
Unitarians from Poland, Huguenots from France, Catholics and
Puritans from England, flocked to America.

Yet even here some instances of persecution occurred. When,
in New England Quakers settled among the Puritans, violent relig-
ious quarrels arose between the two sects ; the Quakers were
banished, and if they returned to the colony, flogged, imprisoned
and executed. After some time fanaticism subsided, and capital
punishment was abolished. Presumptive witches, too, were often
accused of sorcery, and several were burned at the stake.

In the Protestant Church the sects of Puritans, Quakers,
Pietists and Herrenhuters had their origin, which, beside many



6S

sound principles, also confess some eccentric opinio-is. True, the
Puritans were distinguished by a blameless life, but they hated
every innocent pleasure. Being Calvinists, they clung to the
doctrine of predestination, salvation and eternal damnation. As
they became in England, after the execution of Charles I , the
ruling sect, they interdicted the customary public festivals, shut up
the theatres, forbade dancing, and celebrated the Sabbath with
Pharisaical rigor. The ministers of the Episcopal Church lost
their benefices and livelihood. People soon got tired of the fanatics,
and then it was f/iei'r turn to be persecuted. Three hundred of
their preachers were put in prison, or exiled. Many Puritans fled
to Holland ; but as they also were not much pleased in f/i/s coun-
try, they emigrated to Massachusetts, and settled in Plymouth
(1620). Soon many other associates of their faith arrived, and
gradually occupied the whole territory of New England. The
name " Puritans " was given them as a nickname by the Estab-
lished Church of England.

The Quake?'s also probably received their name in derision from
the vehement gestures with which they prayed and preached.
They first appeared in England, and many went to America, be-
cause they were despised and abused in their native country. The
generous Williatn Penn, who had joined their association, and
shared their sufferings, was their leader. The Government owed
him a considerable sum of money, and instead of cash payment,
ceded him a tract of land in America. He called it Penn-
sylvania, and founded there a colony of his religious brethren.
The Quakers are also called Friends. They believe that man in
his resolutions and actions must De guided by the inner light or
glimpse of divine reason, and extirpate the sensual propensities by
every means. They sit silently in their churches, until the inner
light urges one of them to speak. Women are also entitled to
preach. They have no holy-days, nor ceremonies nor prayers, no
singing in church, no baptism. They refuse the oath, and formerly
they did also no military service. They are •' thouing " every
man, and bare the head in nobody's presence. They are known
to be very honest in their life and dealings. Their manners of life
are plain and simple.



69

The Htrrcnhuters, a German sect, resemble the Quakers in their
principles and mode of life. The sect of Pietists also originated
in Germany. Their founder was the learned and pious Spener,
They held conventicles, in which exalted feelings prevailed, mis-
leading them to abuse their body too severely, and sometimes also
to commit excesses and crimes. They are often intolerant against
other sects.

§ 35. Beginning of Eationalism— Voltaire— J. J. Housseau— Les-
sing— Dr. Paullus— Abolition of the Order of Jesuits.

About the middle of the eighteenth century the epoch of Ra~
tionalism broke forth as liberal authors commenced to interpret the
Bible in such a manner that its contents would harmonize with the
dictates of reason ; this was the age of Rationalism. The Deists
and other ingenious scholars wrote against superstition. The
former attacked every revealed religion, in particular the Christian
and its sects, denying the supernatural origin of Revelation, and
preserving only the belief in God (^Deus). Voltaire and Rousseau
are the most celebrated among the Deists. The former wielded
the weapons of wit and irony with great success; he had free ad-
misson even to the Courts of Princes, e. g., of Frederick II., and
gained in the high ranks of all countries many admirers and fol-
lowers. He was a decided enemy of the Catholic Church. On
the contrary, it was warmth of feeling by which Rousseau pro-
moted religious enlightenment. In his book '^Emile'' he proves
with charming eloquence that neither the Jewish nor the Moham-
medan nor the Christian Revelation deserves to be called divine,
for they all are composed in languages which the people do not un-
derstand ; the miracles upon which their believers found their
divine origin are not truly proved ; if the question is that of facts,
we must not be credulous, etc. From this view Rousseau infers
that children ought to be educated in no historical religion at all,
till they are more advanced in age ; they ought to get knowledge
of the different religions, and then to have liberty to choose any
one of them, as they please.

In Germany, also, the belief in miracles was contested by excel-
lent scholars. To these, e. g., that annonymous writer belongs,



70

who assailed the miracles of Jesus, proving that they lacked a
historical basis. Ef/u-ai?ji Lessing published the book of this
scholar by the title, "The FragmeDts of Wolfenbuttel ;" it caused
a great sensation in Germany. In England, Thomas Woolston and
others also wrote against the miracles. The Bishops instituted a
prosecution against Woolston ; he was tried before the Chief
Justice (1729), imprisoned, and condemned to pay a fine. Lessing
himself illustrated in his fine drama, ** Nathan der Weise," the
principle that we should not confess any special creed, and be tol-
erant towards every religion .

The leader of the German Rationalists was Dr. PauUus, Profes-
sor of Theology in Heidelberg. He explairied the miracles of
Jesus in a natural way, trying to put the Bible by this method in
accordance with the human intellect. The miracle of the few
loaves and fishes may illustrate it. The New Testament relates
that Jesus fed 5,000 to 6,000 persons with a few loaves and fishes.
As common sense hesitates to believe in such a narrative, Dr. Paul-
lus explained the apparent contradiction in the following way :
Among the crowds there were also many rich persons who had more
provisions in store than they wanted for themselves. Exhorted by
Jesus, they divided them with the needy ones ; so they all got their
fill. We can see that by this explanation is more put in the text
than it really contains. Though this method imposed constraint
upon the explanation of the Bible, it was much applauded, and
applied everywhere, in the Catholic and Protestant sermons.

A hard blow struck the Papacy in this period in the abolition of
the Order of fesuits. As their general procurator in France trans-
mitted a large sum for a debt to a trading house in Marseille,
and the money was captured by the Englishmen, that house de-
manded the payment from the entire order in France; as it was
refused, a lawsuit was commenced against it, which brought on an
examination of its inner organization. Choiseu/, Minister of Louis
XV., found that the Society was endangering the State ; it was
therefore abolished (1764).

The Spanish Jesuits had founded a State in Paraguay and
Uraguay, which they governed under Spain's sovereignty. As at
that time Spain intended to cede some districts of that State to



71

Portugal, the natives, led by the Jesuits, opposed the Government,
and commenced war. Beside, the Jesuits in Portugal were said to
have participated in a secret conspiracy against King Joseph I.
Therefore PornbaL the energetic Minister of the King, required
the Pope to abolish the Order in Portugal, and as he did not con-
sent to do it, the Minister abolished it himself, and dispatched the
Fathers to Rome. Their goods were confiscated. The war in
Paraguay caused also their suspension in Spain (1767). In one
day their colleges were here closed, their treasures seized, and they
themselves carried to Rome. Pope Clemens XIV. (Ganganelli) at
last abolished the Order in all countries (1773^; only in Prussia and
Russia it was still tolerated.



SIXTH PEEIOD (1789-1877).



From the French Eevolution to the Present Age.



§ 36. Effects of the French Revolution on Religion and Church
— Epoch of the Restoration.

After the great Revolution in France (1789) the Constitution,
created by the National Assembly, beside other rights, granted the
country general freedom of religion. The dominions of the
clergy, forming the largest and finest part of the territory, were de-
clared to be State-property, confiscated and sold, the sums which
were collected from the sale spent to pay the public debts, and
the clergymen, since, like other officers, are paid from the public
treasury. After the model of the French Constitution the form of
Government of most other States in Europe was by degrees im-
proved, and now the right of free religious confession is almost
everywhere acknowledged and exercised.

But when Napoleon I. had been dethroned (1815), and the
Bourbons reinstated by the sovereigns of Europe, the reaction
against religious liberty also began in most countries ; the digni-
taries of the Church went on hand in hand with the aristocratic
Princes. First religious freedom in France was assailed. The in-



72

habitants who in the western and southern part were known to be
Protestants, were persecuted ; the infuriated rabble attacked and
murdered them, and committed worse misdeeds than the epoch of
the Revolution had seen. The priests fomented the fanatic spirit.
They subjected again the instruction of the youth to their superin-
tendency. Missionaries passed through the country, and infatua-
ted the blind multitude. New secret orders sprang up, and the
Jesuits returned, assuming the name " Fathers of the Faith."

In Switzerland, Spain, Naples and the Papal dominions, also, their
Order was re-established ; in the three last-mentioned countries,
besides, the Inquisition and the convents were restored. In
Switzerland the preservation of the yet extant convents was war-
ranted by ** the Holy Alliance." The monarchs of Russia, Aus-
tria and Prussia had contracted this alliance, as they pretended, to
the end, to rule their people according to the precepts of the New
Testament; but they really intended to oppress the rising popular
mind. In Austria, Italy, Spain, Germany, and wherever the
nations rose for the defense of their rights, the movement was
stifled in the blood of the participants. In Germany the ministers
of Rationalism were displaced from the pulpits, the liberty of
teaching in the Universities, and the liberty of the press were
limited, and the common schools again subdued to the coercion
of faith ; the clergy occupied again their former position. This
was the religious state of the epoch of Restoration, as they call it
(1815— 1830).

§ 37. Revohtions of 1830— Historical Criticism— Modern View
of the Universe— Dr. Strauss— Reaction.

With the days of July 1830, in which France reconqured its
liberty, by driving its despot from the throne, for religious progress
also dawned a finer time, the time of historical criticism. Such
scholars, as Bruno Bauer ^ Zel/er, Schwegler, showed the contra-
diction of the Bible and reason, proved that Christianity has de-
veloped like every other religion, investigated and censured the
contents of the Christian documents by the same principles which
are applied to other historical writings. The philosopher Louis
Feuerbach proved in his book "The Essence of Christianity "



73

(das Wesen des Christenthums) that all ideas of God, represented
by the old view of the Universe are only shaped to the forms of
the human mind. Liberal natural philosophers e. g., Molcshot,
Charles Vogt, Louis BuecJmer, destroyed the old intuition of
nature by teaching that force and matter, mind and body^ God
and the Universe are not two opposite entities, subsisting out of
and beside each other. Dr. Frederick Strauss, a young scholar,
composed his book '^ Life of Jesus, ^^ in which he demonstrated
that very few particulars of the life of this man are known, and
that the miracles which he is said to have performed belong to
realm of pious myths. The book caused the highest sensation in
Germany, was translated into foreign languages, and read with im-
mense admiration. Many adversaries, indeed, rose against Strauss,
defending the old ecclesiastic belief; but he refuted them all suc-
cessfully. He was called to the University of Zurich to teach
theology there.

Meanwhile the Conservative party had regained its strength;
it opposed in the Canton of Zurich the arrival of Strauss ; he was
to be pensioned, and a fanatic mob, led by a shrewd parson, over-
threw the Liberal Govenment by revolt. The Catholic Cantons
were still bolder ; they formed a secession- league, in order to take
care of the interests of their Church (as they pretended), and fol-
lowed blindfold the dictates of their leaders, the Jesuits and the
Papal legate. In vain the Reformed Cantons admonished them to
dissolve their league; they had to be compelled to do it by force
of arms. Then the Jesuits were banished forever from Switzer-
land (1847).

§ 38. The Revohtions of 1848— German Catholics— Religion of
Humanity— Free G-erman Congregations-
Reaction— Eenan.

Similar attempts as in Switzerland were made, too, in Germany.
Artioldi, Bishop of Triers, hung out the pretended close-coat of
Christ, in the Cathedral, as the object of public worship, and, like
the indulgence-chafferer Tezel in former time, allured large crowds
of pilgrims, yohn Ro7ige, a simple priest, wrote then the cele-
brated open letter to the Bishop, which kindled the minds of Cath-



74

olics like an electric spark, and was everywhere communicated
Many Catholics renounced Popery, and founded independent con-
gregations, calling themsel.ves German Catholics. Unfortunately,
they stopped half way ; they retained the Bible as the foundation
of their faith, and created a new priest-hood, new sacraments, and
a new restraining Church government. The most of these associa-
tions decayed again.

In the Protestant Church, especially in Prussia, the clerical and
secular rulers cried again : " Return to the old creed ! " For they
saw that Rationalism was a two edged sword. But the people
would not listen to the cry. The society of '' the Friends of
Light" was formed; their number was very large; they met in
the fields, forests, and at the railroad junctions ; everywhere they
considered the interests of Protestant liberty. They confessed
still the doctrine of Rationalism. But by the writings of the his-
torical critics it must needs become evident to them that they
could not longer adhere to it, for the Bible holds an incorrect view
of the Universe, consequently it contradicts human reason ; they
had to choose between the former and the latter. Then the writing
of G. Adolf Wislizenus appeared: '' Writ or Spirit ? " He an-
swered this question himself with the words : " The Bible is not
the highest authority to us ; that is the spirit which lives in us."
This writing was the inducement to establish free religions congre-
gations. With it the period of the religion of Reason and free
Hmnanity begins. For, as the Christian expects truth and hap-
piness from Christ, so the man addicted to the religion of free
humanity acquires these boons by the use of his reason and by self-
energy.

Wislizenus built the first free congregation in Halle ; Edward


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Online LibraryHermann Marcus KottingerThe youth's liberal guide for their moral culture and religious enlightenment → online text (page 16 of 28)