W. H. Cooke.

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in scarlet and silk, and deliciously fed day by day, better even
than most of the lords of the high nobility.'' " ye gentle-
men prelates ! " cries Gabriel Baralete, one of the order of
preaching friars, ^^ how goes the Chucch in these times ?
What have you to say of the cardinal who throws away on
his dogs, and the keepers of his dogs, six thousand gold
ducats a year?" .

'^ Certefi/' quoth Michel Menot, <^ it would seem that the prelates
were sent as scourges by the wrath of God, or rather by the malice
of the Devil, for the purpose of destroying and depopulating the Church.
The thousand prelates are the cause why the poor, simple people sin
and damn themselves to all the devils. When the master is a drummer
and a fiddler, the varlets are disposed to caper."

The same bold voice exclaims : —

^ The temples are crumbling under the weight of gold, rather than
the force of the winds. They pretend that the wealth of the Church
is the offspring of devotion. If it is, the child has suffocated the
mother. What say you, prelates and lords ecclesiastical, who feed on
the flesh of this poor one who hangs on the cross ? ^

Christopher Aubry, announcing the death of Sixtus V. in
the Church St. Andr^ des Arcs, thus unceremoniously deals
with his subject: —

<< God has just delivered us from a rascally Pope and politician. If
he had lived longer, Paris would have been astonished at hearing him
preached at, and it would have been necessaiy to do it"

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1863;] Abuses of the Omrch. 73

Says William Pepin, in a sermon : —

''When the dignitaries of the Church '^notice the death of people of
moderate means, they think it not worth their while to leave their dens.
The spoil will not pay. They send their lackeys to plunder such as
they, and stay at home themselves, amusing their leisure with cards
and dice. But when they hear the big bells clang for the funeral of
people who are somewhat, then they know that great distributions are
on foot They are like owls or bats, which never go into the Church
except to fatten on the lamp-oil."

"^ Gro to the parishes when they make the sermon," exclaims Menot.
'^ You will hear excommunications launched at people for taking a stick*
of wood or a pair of spurs. I should like much to see them launched
at malefactors, blasphemers, usurers, seducers. Let them who send
others to the Devil for ten pence, go to the Devil themselves."

When Innocent IV. excommunicated the Emperor Fred-
erick II., in the middle of the thirteenth century, a curi of
Paris got up in the pulpit, and said : —

"I am ordered to launch excommunication against the Emperor
Frederick. I don't know what for. All I know is, that he and the
Pope hate each other mortally. God only can tell which of the two
is wrong. So with all my might I declare, Excommunicate the one
who inflicts the injury, and absolve the one that suffers it."

Early in the sixteenth century came tp the question of
Indulgences. Let us hear how these old preachers dealt with
it. Here the issue was clearly made between conscience and
the Church : the pulpit represented conscience.

" Think you," cries Oliver Maillard, " that a usurer full of vice, with
thousands and thousands of sins on his head, will obtain remission of
his sins by putting six white pieces in a box ? Some woman will say,
' Father, is it not better to buy them, since the bishops authorize it ? '
I believe the bishops take their share of the profits, and that all of
them are thieves."

Menot, the often quoted, pours out language in the same

^ As to the abuse of indulgences, as to these sharpers who cheat the
people, what say you of those who, having lost their relics at the tav-
ern, substitute for them a bit of charcoal found in a stove, and say it
came from the pile where St. Lawrence was roasted ? What say you
of the man who thrusts one of these bulls between the teeth of a dead
nun, as they are carrying him to burial, pretending that he will be saved
VOL. Lxxv, — 6th b. vol. xin. NO. I. 7

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74 The Pulpii in the Past. [July,

by that expedient ? Verily, according to your notion, the tail of a calf
is all one needs to climb to heaven by, provided it be long enough."

Criticism hereabouts is pretty sharp : the preacher has small
respect for persons.

In a sermon preached before the Council of Sienna in the
fifteenth century, a preacher delivered himself as follows : —

" In these days of ours, one sees priests who are usurers, inn-keepers,
merchants, governors of chateaux, notaries, stewards, confidential go-
betweens at court. The only trade they have not yet begun to exer-
. cise is that of butcher. The bishops, in the matter of luxury, outdo
Epicurus. Over their cups they discuss the authority of Pope and

He tells the legend of St. Brigitta, who, being in an ecstasy
in the Church of St. Peter at Rome, lifted her eyes, and saw
the building on a sudden swarming with mitred hogs. " What
signifies this vision ? *' cries the saint. " These," replied the
Lord, " are the bishops and abb^s of this generation." Who
can be surprised at the apparition of Martin Luther, after a
century or two of such preaching as this ?

The yet latent faith of the new age lisped and stammered ,
from the mouth of these men. The freedom with which they
interpreted Scripture helped familiarize people with the use
of reason and common sense as applied to the sacred books.
The broad humor with, which they satirized the Prince of
Darkness and his imps necessarily brought his Satanic Majesty
into something like contempt ; and the coarse naturalism
which they carried into their descriptions of the future life
could hardly fail to shock and shake the deep-rooted reverence
for the mediaeval traditions.

These illustrations show us a body of men who gave voice
to the living faith and conscience of the time,^ — the steady
antagonists of the ecclesiastical establishment to which they
themselves belonged. These men illustrate the function of
the preacher, as distinct from and opposed to the functioa
of the priest. They addressed the religious sentiment in men
through the natural reason and conscience, not through the
eye and ear. They had their dumb show, tlieir tricks of ges-
ticulation, their pictures for the sensuous fancy, their grotesque
representations of truth under form of allegory and symbol

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1863.] Abelard tiie Lecturer. 76

and myth. Bat their fancy pictures were very different from
the painted canvas on the walls of the churches. The word
was articulated in the parables ; and if eye and ear were ad*
dressed, they were addressed in a way that obliged them to
report the message that was given them to the soul within.
The Spirit moved through these men. It moved as the age
moved, and in the very front line of the movement of the
age. The old preachers were, without a single exception,
social reformers. Without a single exception, too, they were
reformers in state and Church. No vice escaped their censure ;
no abuses evaded their criticism. They believed in the Spirit
which made all things new. Radicals they were, laying the
axe at the root of the tree, no matter in what private garden
or convent enclosure it grew. They were radical as the New
Testament ; radical as conscience. Belonging to the people,
they sympathized with the people. Sympathizing with the
people, they were immediately in communication with hu-
manity. Being in communication with humanity, they struck
into that broad river of God on whose bosom the Church her-
self floated like an ark. The probability is, that their age was
as much indebted to them for its reverence as it was for its
instruction. They helped their contemporaries to worship, as
well as to reason and think. Nay, it was in helping them to
reason and think that it helped them to worship. Ministers
of conscience, they were also ministers of faith. At least, we
Protestants are bound to say so, for these preachers were the
fathers of Protestantism, — fathers, too, of degenerate children.
Even so far back as this, we find the materials for an esti
mate of the function of the preacher as compared with that of
tiie lecturer. Let Abelard represent the lecturer, — and he
was a lecturer of whom no modern platform speaker can be
ashamed. Let Savonarola represent the preacher, — and he was
a preacher with whom the noblest modern prophet will deem
it an honor to be compared. Abelard was the model speaker
of the platform, the ideal talker to the people on popular
themes. His mind was abundantly stored with the knowledge
iteedfal to his calling. He was a close, vigorous, intense
thinker, an affluent and brilliant orator. Of himself he said,
that he preferred the strife of disputations to the trophies of

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76 The PiUpit in the Past. [July,

war ; and he carried into his disputation the spirit of conquest
that marks the warrior. He talked for victory. His object
was to get the popular applause. To compass that object, he
strained his wonderful faculties to the utmost. All Paris was
moved to hear him, and people from the adjacent districts
crowded to his school. From distant lands the multitude
came over the vague and difficult roads, braving the dangers
and the toils of the journey. Even Rome sent her children to
hear him. In the later periods of his career, when an outcast
from the ^eat cities and from the society of well-reputed
men, he repaired to the solitary places, and, making a stone
his platform, spoke to as many as his fame for misfortune, for
eloquence, for genius might attract. The crowd followed
him to his retirement. The caves around were made lodg-
ings. The hillsides and fields were covered with booths and
huts. A colony grew about the speaker. The enthusiasm
was prodigious ; but it was enthusiasm of the intellect. The
heart was not moved, nor was the conscience quickened or the
life reformed. The themes dealt with were the matters of
philosophy which exercised the subtile wit of the time, questions
in metaphysics and theology. He gave voice to the inarticu-
late doubt of the age. He brought to self-consciousness the
dumb, brooding, restless reason which was beginning to have
a sense of its own rights, and was beginning to feel out for
itself the dim and perilous way which led through old credu-
lity into the field of independent truth. One of the most
popular of our modern lecturers, whose fame is as great now
on the shores of the Pacific as it was formerly on the shores
of the Atlantic, spoke in all our great cities to overflowing
and delighted audiences on " Substance and Show." Sub-
stance and show was also the topic on which Abelard dilated
in Paris, and on the ground afterward hallowed by the Chapel
of the Paraclete. His masterly powers of analysis, his daring
speculation, his brilliant development and antithesis, his skil-
ful combinations and generalizings, his charm of diction and
intense fervor of mental excitement, carried people away as
effectually as they have done since. But the joy which
Abelard felt and imparted was joy of the brain. He had no
purpose to bless the poor, to comfort the afflicted, to reclaim

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1863.] Savonarola the Preacher. 77

the erring, to reeover the lost. The despot did not fear him.
The worldling did not quaU before him. The wicked neither
fell at his feet in penitence nor gnashed at him in rage. He
was persecated as a rationalist, not as a reformer. He was
banished on account of his alleged infidelity to the creed, not
on account of his unquestionable fidelity to conscience. True,
in his years of sadness, when his spirit was : softened by
sufiering and chastened by a sense of quiet, he sternly re-
buked the lax and lascivious morals of the monks with whom
he sought refuge ; but this was an incidental passage in his
career. The spirit of moral rebuke did not animate any more
his public discourses nor enter as an element into his public
designs. To the last he talked for victory in the realm of
thought, not for sway in the realm of virtue. All honor to
the bold thinker and undaunted speaker, — the founder of
philosophy in the Middle Age, the prince of rationalism,
the superb talker, through whose tongue the dormant intellect
of the generation found swift and copious utterance. But a
sigh for his shame and sin ; a tear for his memory. He did
what was in him to do ; and he did no more, because with such
«power as he had no more was to be done. Greater work de-
manded greater endowment.

And here comes Savonarola, the preacher, to do that greater
work. He employs the same instruments, — the human
speech, the iace, the eye, the gesture, the majestic force of
presence, — but employs them to what different effect, because
using them with what different purpose. There was a genuine
prophet of the soul. We are concerned with him now simply
as a preacher, and therefore we shall say nothing about his
life, as we said nothing about the life of Abelard. The direc-
tion, point, power of the word is the thing which concerns us ;
and by his words he shall be judged. Hear him : he is in
veighing against the corruptions of Rome.

*^ What is Babylon bat Rome ? Babylon means confusion. There
u not in the world greater confusion of crimes and all sorts of iniquity
than at Rome. Since they have made it a dwelling for harlots, God

wiH make it a stable for swine and horses

The Popes have reached the highest priestly dignities through
I Bunony and crafl ; and, seated in the holy chair, gi^e them-

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78 The Pulpit in the Past. [July,

BoWes up to a life of voluptuousness and insatiable avarice. Cardinals
and bishops follow their example. No diMipline, no fear of God, is in
them. Many believe in no God. The chastity of the cloister is slain,
and they who should serve God with holy zeal have become lukewarm
and cold

" The most sacred things are degraded in the pulpit, — theology to
rhetoric, poetry, fable. The holy is mixed with sin, the ecclesiastical
with worldly vanity. They hold market in the churches. Men and
women come in gaudy decoration and crowd about the altar, pushing
and confessing without devotion or fear of Gt>d. The women go up
and down listening to a thousand improper speeches. The young men
surround the pretty girls like a wall. They think they honor God by
dressing the church, and paint the Virgin Mary as a mistress. I tell
you that nowhere in the Gospel is it commanded to have golden and
silvern crosses and other costly things in the Church. If those who
gave them as offerings will be satisfied, I will be the first to lay hands
on the cups and crosses of my cloister to feed the poor from their

" The pillars of the Church are cast down to the earth, and evan-
gelical doctrine is heard no more. The gold of the temple is gone, —
the true Divine Wisdom which enlightens and gladdens the heart
The roof of the Church has fallen in. In the storm and the whirl-
wind are swept away the devout priests and princes who adorn the
bride of Jesus. The binding lime and mortar fail. All the walls of
the Church are undermined. The revenues of the Church are de-
voted to perishable pomp and worldly ends, and the sin of the Devil's
children is doubled ; for they pride themselves in their deed, and boast
that they have made broad the way of the Christian life. Cursing and
swearing take with them the place of manly courage. Prodigality
they esteem liberality ; fraud upon their neighbor, laudable prudence ;
self-revenge, honor; ostentation, virtue. In the. primitive Church
the chalices were of wood and the prelates of gold : in our days the
chalices are of gold and the prelates of wood. A great prelate of this
stamp once showed to St. Thomas Aquinas a hugh wash-basin full of
ducats, and said, See here. Master Thomas, the Church can no more
say, with St Peter, * Silver and gold have I none.' True, responded
Thomas ; but neither can she say, ' In the name of Jesus Christ, stand
up and walk.'"

This man had no wonderful arts of oratory ; but he drew
the people to him by the heart-strings, and held them by the
conscience till they heard all he had to say. The cloister of

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1863.] Savonarola the Reformer. 79

San Marco, whore he first preached, was so beset by the throng-
ing multitude, that the vast doors of the Florentine cathedral
were thrown open, and the voice of the preacher rang through
its immense spaces. The entranced crowd covered the floor,
hung black on every perch and coigne of vantage, and sent
back from thousands of burning eyes the glances which flashed
from the orbs of the impassioned prophet. His appeal is ever
to first principles. He lays his long finger on the golden rule,
and Aiakes it the measure of all practice in Church and in
state, in private and in public afiairs. Florence is virtually
ruled from the pulpit of the Duomo. The Word of God,
quick, powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, clove
the Prince of the World from crown to breast-bone, and sent
his vicious imps trooping from the city. Savonarola was a
small, spare man ; but he had back of him the moral force of
humanity. As the soft candle penetrates the two-inch plank
like an iron ball when driven by the force of gunpowder, as
the viewless air compressed by the whizzing cannon-shot
prostrates the man, as the wad from a riflo-barrel does the
work of the bullet, so this frail voice, propelled by the force
of a great conviction, fell like a thunder-stone on priest and
prince, — even on princes like Lorenzo the Magnificent, and
on priests like Alexander YI. This prophet is greater than
the extant Church. He is great as the extant Christendom.

Lorenzo tries to silence him by princely condescensions ; but
he retorts, " The good dog always barks in order to defend his
master's house, and if a robber ofier him a bone or the like, he
poshes it aside, and barks on." The Pope condemns his con-
duct, and cites him to Rome.

** If the commaads of superiors contend with the Divine decrees,"
thanders the preacher, ^ no one is bound by the latter to observe the
former ; nay, in that case, the observance would be sin. Should the
Church command anything against the law of Love, then say I, Thou
art not the Roman Church, nor a shepherd of it, but a man, and dost

^I turn myself to the wicked. O ye ungrateful! hear my words.
Te strive not against this monk, but against Christ, who is a righteous
and powerful judge. Ye say, Thou art the cause of our strife. I an-
swer, The wicked life is the cause. Live well, and you will have

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80 The Pulpit in the Past. [July,

^' If this power of the Church be indeed destructive or ruinous, it is
no ecclesiastical, but a hellish power of Satan. I tell you when they
maintain concubines, catamites, and robbers, and' endeavor to hinder the
Christian life, it is a devilish power that we must resist. I defend the
Romish Church and the Christian doctrine against that hellish, power of

There was a torch to carry into those chambers of imagery
where the elders were bowing before profane idols. As if it did
not flame high enough, or throw its beams over a wide enough
space, the elders seized it, and lifted it up on a scaffold, and
piled fagots around it, and made a flame which lighted up all
Italy and Germany and France. For two hundred years Flor-
ence remembered the martyrdom of Savonarola. The Church
that rejected him was glad to take him back victorious in death.
A Dominican opposed him ; the Dominican order asked for
him an admission among the saints. A Pope excommunicated
him ; a Pope favored his canonization. Michel Angelo spread
bis inspiration over tlie walls of the Sixtine Chapel, Rafaelle
honored him with a place in his most famous fresco, among
the great doctors of the Church. Luther gave him rank with
the holy witnesses of reform, Humanity gives him a place
among its benefactors.

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1863.] Kinglake and his Critics. 81

Art. v. — kinglake AND HIS CRITICS.

The Invasion of the Crimea : its Origin^ and an Account of its PrO'
gress down to the Death of Lord Raglan. By Alexander Wil-
liam Kinglake. Vols. L, II. ^ ' ^

When the Crimean war was brought to a close by the re-
dnction of Sebastopol, and its accounts came to be balanced,
the English people settled down into a condition of mind which
was not exactly one of satisfaction, certainly not one of pride,
but one in which the preponderant feeling was perhaps that of
relief at having at length finished a war of which the origin
had been so uncertain, the object so shadowy, the conduct in
many respects so discreditable, the glory so scanty, and the
cost so dreadfully disproportioned to the results. It had not
been a war which could, on the whole, be reviewed by an
Englishman with much complacency, and possibly the nation
would have been content to see its history remain unwritten.
But this could not be. The materials for its history were
known to be ample beyond all precedent. It shortly became
known that these materials had been placed in the hands of
Mr. Kinglake, who would in due course of time present to the
eyes of the reluctant nation the most complete and vivid pic-
ture which could be produced from them of this latest " war
for an idea." After nearly seven years of preparation, the
first portion of the work has at length appeared, and is at
once rendered remarkable by the extraordinary vigor of the
criticisms which it has provoked from the reviewers of its own
country. From the Edinburgh and Quarterly down to " the
little dogs, Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart," it is one grand
burst of anger and objurgation.*

We opened the book with a strongly favorable prepossession,
which may have been partly due to this extreme severity on
the part of the British critics ; for it was not unnatural that,
when these sensitive reviewers broke forth with such unusual
violence against the historian of their latest war, whose mate-
rials had been at once so ample and so fresh, and whose task

* Except the later very able and authoritative paper in the North British Re-


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82 Kinglake and his Critics. [July,

had been so long in progress, we should look a little beyond
the avowed grounds of complaint, to ask where British pride
had been wounded, where truth " not to be spoken at all
times " had 'been too imprudently disclosed, and where criti-
cism had been too freely dispensed in regard to the move-
ments of British generals and the policy (or the want of pol-
icy) of British statesmen. It did not seem quite possible that
so much wrath could be excited in English breasts by under-
rating Prance and overrating England. We remembered that
the approbativeness of the Hon. Elijah Pogram, who declared
that " our people must be cracked up, sir ! " was not wholly
without parallel in the mother country ; and we thought it
not unlikely that some theory which recognized that amiable
popular weakness might go far to account for the bitterness
of the hostility which Mr. Kinglake had been so unfortunate
as to provoke. We were not altogether wrong. It is hard
for an Englishman to be told, still harder for him to hear the
announcement made to the admiring world, that the English
Cabinet, at a special council, went quietly oflF to sleep over the
first reading of a despatch from the Minister of War to the
general commanding the forces in the East, so momentous as
that which directed the expedition against Sebastopol. It is
hard to be forced to believe that the ministry of Lord Aber-
deen, instead of " drifting " into the war, according to the
expressive phrase of one of their number, were towed into it
by the selfish diplomacy of a foreign usurper. Let us confess
at once, as the author himself has undoubtedly done, that the
anger is not unnatural, and was only what might have been

Mr. Kinglake has produced a book which, if not as excellent
as was hoped from his reputation as a brilliant writer and his
deliberate preparation, is still, in many respects, vastly supe-
rior to the majority of histories written so shortly after the
events they describe. Written as it must have been with a
pretty clear foresight of the hostility of the professional critics,
it was perhaps not easy to avoid a certain self-assertion and
independence of tone which subject him to the charge of con-
ceit. This blemish, however, is not offensively prominent ;
and it may easily be pardoned in a work which exhibits iu
a high degree the qualities of courage, energy, and an honesty

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