Books Fatal to Their Authors
P. H. Ditchfield

Part 1 out of 3

Produced by Anne Soulard, Eric Eldred
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.






_To record the woes of authors and to discourse_ de libris fatalibus
_seems deliberately to court the displeasure of that fickle mistress who
presides over the destinies of writers and their works. Fortune awaits the
aspiring scribe with many wiles, and oft treats him sorely. If she enrich
any, it is but to make them subject of her sport. If she raise others, it
is but to pleasure herself with their ruins. What she adorned but
yesterday is to-day her pastime, and if we now permit her to adorn and
crown us, we must to-morrow suffer her to crush and tear us to pieces.
To-day her sovereign power is limited: she can but let loose a host of
angry critics upon us; she can but scoff at us, take away our literary
reputation, and turn away the eyes of a public as fickle as herself from
our pages. Surely that were hard enough! Can Fortune pluck a more galling
dart from her quiver, and dip the point in more envenomed bitterness? Yes,
those whose hard lot is here recorded have suffered more terrible wounds
than these. They have lost liberty, and even life, on account of their
works. The cherished offspring of their brains have, like unnatural
children, turned against their parents, causing them to be put to death._

_Fools many of them--nay, it is surprising how many of this illustrious
family have peopled the world, and they can boast of many authors' names
which figure on their genealogical tree--men who might have lived happy,
contented, and useful lives were it not for their insane _cacoethes
scribendi_. And hereby they show their folly. If only they had been
content to write plain and ordinary commonplaces which every one believed,
and which caused every honest fellow who had a grain of sense in his head
to exclaim, "How true that is!" all would have been well. But they must
needs write something original, something different from other men's
thoughts; and immediately the censors and critics began to spy out heresy,
or laxity of morals, and the fools were dealt with according to their
folly. There used to be special houses of correction in those days, mad-
houses built upon an approved system, for the special treatment of cases
of this kind; mediaeval dungeons, an occasional application of the rack,
and other gentle instruments of torture of an inventive age, were
wonderfully efficacious in curing a man of his folly. Nor was there any
special limit to the time during which the treatment lasted. And in case
of a dangerous fit of folly, there were always a few faggots ready, or a
sharpened axe, to put a finishing stroke to other and more gentle

_One species of folly was especially effective in procuring the attention
of the critics of the day, and that was satirical writing. They could not
tolerate that style--no, not for a moment; and many an author has had his
cap and bells, aye, and the lining too, severed from the rest of his
motley, simply because he would go and play with Satyrs instead of keeping
company with plain and simple folk._

_Far separated from the crowd of fools, save only in their fate, were
those who amid the mists of error saw the light of Truth, and strove to
tell men of her graces and perfections. The vulgar crowd heeded not the
message, and despised the messengers. They could see no difference between
the philosopher's robe and the fool's motley, the Saint's glory and
Satan's hoof. But with eager eyes and beating hearts the toilers after
Truth worked on._

_"How many with sad faith have sought her?
How many with crossed hands have sighed for her?
How many with brave hearts fought for her,
At life's dear peril wrought for her,
So loved her that they died for her,
Tasting the raptured fleetness
Of her Divine completeness?"_

_In honour of these scholars of an elder age, little understood by their
fellows, who caused them to suffer for the sake of the Truth they loved,
we doff our caps, whether they jingle or not, as you please; and if thou
thinkest, good reader, that 'twere folly to lose a life for such a cause,
the bells will match the rest of thy garb. The learning, too, of the
censors and critics was often indeed remarkable. They condemned a
recondite treatise on Trigonometry, because they imagined it contained
heretical opinions concerning the doctrine of the Trinity; and another
work which was devoted to the study of Insects was prohibited, because
they concluded that it was a secret attack upon the Jesuits. Well might
poor Galileo exclaim, "And are these then my judges?" Stossius, who wrote
a goodly book with the title "Concordia rationis et fidei," which was duly
honoured by being burnt at Berlin, thus addresses his slaughtered
offspring, and speculates on the reason of its condemnation: "Ad librum a
ministerio damnatum._

_"Q. Parve liber, quid enim peccasti, dente sinistro.
Quod te discerptum turba sacrata velit?
R. Invisum dixi verum, propter quod et olim,
Vel dominum letho turba sacrata dedit."_

_But think not, O Book-lover, that I am about to record all the race of
fools who have made themselves uncomfortable through their insane love of
writing, nor count all the books which have become instruments of
accusation against their authors. That library would be a large one which
contained all such volumes. I may only write to thee of some of them now,
and if thou shouldest require more, some other time I may tell thee of
them. Perhaps in a corner of thy book-shelves thou wilt collect a store of
Fatal Books, many of which are rare and hard to find. Know, too, that I
have derived some of the titles of works herein recorded from a singular
and rare work of M. John Christianus Klotz, published in Latin at Leipsic,
in the year 1751. To these I have added many others. The Biographical
Dictionary of Bayle is a mine from which I have often quarried, and
discovered there many rare treasures. Our own learned literary historian,
Mr. Isaac Disraeli, has recorded the woes of many of our English writers
in his book entitled "The Calamities of Authors" and also in his
"Curiosities of Literature." From these works I have derived some
information. There is a work by Menkenius, "Analecta de Calamitate
Literatorum"; another by Pierius Valerianus, "De Infelicitate
Literatorum"; another by Spizelius, "Infelix Literatus"; and last but not
least Peignot's "Dictionnaire Critique, Litteraire et Bibliographique, des
Livres condamnes au Feu" which will furnish thee with further information
concerning the woes of authors, if thine appetite be not already sated._

_And if there be any of Folly's crowd who read this book--of those, I
mean, who work and toil by light of midnight lamp, weaving from their
brains page upon page of lore and learning, wearing their lives out, all
for the sake of an ungrateful public, which cares little for their labour
and scarcely stops to thank the toiler for his pains--if there be any of
you who read these pages, it will be as pleasant to you to feel safe and
free from the stern critics' modes of former days, as it is to watch the
storms and tempests of the sea from the secure retreat of your study

_And if at any time a cross-grained reviewer should treat thy cherished
book with scorn, and presume to ridicule thy sentiment and scoff at thy
style (which Heaven forfend!), console thyself that thou livest in
peaceable and enlightened times, and needest fear that no greater evil can
befall thee on account of thy folly in writing than the lash of his satire
and the bitterness of his caustic pen. After the manner of thy race thou
wilt tempt Fortune again. May'st thou proceed and prosper!_ Vale.

_I desire to express my many thanks to the Rev. Arthur Carr, M.A., late
Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, for his kind assistance in revising the
proofs of this work. It was my intention to dedicate this book to Mr. John
Walter, but alas! his death has deprived it of that distinction. It is
only possible now to inscribe to the memory of him whom England mourns the
results of some literary labour in which he was pleased to take a kindly

P. H. D.

_November_, 1894.




Michael Molinos--Bartholomew Carranza--Jerome Wecchiettus--Samuel Clarke--
Francis David--Antonio de Dominis--Noel Bede--William Tyndale--Arias
Montanus--John Huss--Antonio Bruccioli--Enzinas--Louis Le Maistre--Caspar
Peucer--Grotius--Vorstius--Pasquier Quesnel--Le Courayer--Savonarola--
Michael Servetus--Sebastian Edzardt--William of Ockham--Abelard.



Quirinus Kuhlmann--John Tennhart--Jeremiah Felbinger--Simon Morin--
Liszinski--John Toland--Thomas Woolston--John Biddle--Johann Lyser--
Bernardino Ochino--Samuel Friedrich Willenberg.



Henry Cornelius Agrippa--Joseph Francis Borri--Urban Grandier--Dr. Dee--
Edward Kelly--John Darrell.



Bishop Virgil--Roger Bacon--Galileo--Jordano Bruno--Thomas Campanella--De
Lisle de Sales--Denis Diderot--Balthazar Bekker--Isaac de la Peyrere--Abbe
de Marolles--Lucilio Vanini--Jean Rousseau.



Antonius Palearius--Caesar Baronius--John Michael Bruto--Isaac Berruyer--
Louis Elias Dupin--Noel Alexandre--Peter Giannone--Joseph Sanfelicius
(Eusebius Philopater)--Arlotto--Bonfadio--De Thou--Gilbert Genebrard--
Joseph Audra--Beaumelle--John Mariana--John B. Primi--John Christopher
Ruediger--Rudbeck--Francois Haudicquer--Francois de Rosieres--Anthony



John Fisher--Reginald Pole--"Martin Marprelate"--Udal--Penry--Hacket--
Coppinger--Arthington--Cartwright--Cowell--Leighton--John Stubbs--Peter
Wentworth--R. Doleman--J. Hales--Reboul--William Prynne--Burton--Bastwick
--John Selden--John Tutchin--Delaune--Samuel Johnson--Algernon Sidney--
Edmund Richer--John de Falkemberg--Jean Lenoir--Simon Linguet--Abbe
Caveirac--Darigrand--Pietro Sarpi--Jerome Maggi--Theodore Reinking.



Roger Rabutin de Bussy--M. Dassy--Trajan Boccalini--Pierre Billard--Pietro
Aretino--Felix Hemmerlin--John Giovanni Cinelli--Nicholas Francus--Lorenzo
Valla--Ferrante Pallavicino--Francois Gacon--Daniel Defoe--Du Rosoi--
Caspar Scioppius.



Adrian Beverland--Cecco d'Ascoli--George Buchanan--Nicodemus Frischlin--
Clement Marot--Gaspar Weiser--John Williams--Deforges--Theophile--Helot--
Matteo Palmieri--La Grange--Pierre Petit--Voltaire--Montgomery--Keats--
Joseph Ritson.



Sir John Yorke and Catholic Plays--Abraham Cowley--Antoine Danchet--Claude
Crebillon--Nogaret--Francois de Salignac Fenelon.



The Printers of Nicholas de Lyra and Caesar Baronius--John Fust--Richard
Grafton--Jacob van Liesvelt--John Lufftius--Robert Stephens (Estienne)--
Henry Stephens--Simon Ockley--Floyer Sydenham--Edmund Castell--Page--John
Lilburne--Etienne Dolet--John Morin--Christian Wechel--Andrew Wechel--
Jacques Froulle--Godonesche--William Anderton.



Leland--Strutt--Cotgrave--Henry Wharton--Robert Heron--Collins--William
Cole--Homeric victims--Joshua Barnes--An example of unrequited toil--





Michael Molinos--Bartholomew Carranza--Jerome Wecchiettus--Samuel Clarke--
Francis David--Antonio de Dominis--Noel Bede--William Tyndale--Arias
Montanus--John Huss--Antonio Bruccioli--Enzinas--Louis Le Maistre--Gaspar
Peucer--Grotius--Vorstius--Pasquier Quesnel--Le Courayer--Savonarola--
Michael Servetus--Sebastian Edzardt--William of Ockham--Abelard.

Since the knowledge of Truth is the sovereign good of human nature, it is
natural that in every age she should have many seekers, and those who
ventured in quest of her in the dark days of ignorance and superstition
amidst the mists and tempests of the sixteenth century often ran counter
to the opinions of dominant parties, and fell into the hands of foes who
knew no pity. Inasmuch as Theology and Religion are the highest of all
studies--the _aroma scientiarum_--they have attracted the most powerful
minds and the subtlest intellects to their elucidation; no other subjects
have excited men's minds and aroused their passions as these have done; on
account of their unspeakable importance, no other subjects have kindled
such heat and strife, or proved themselves more fatal to many of the
authors who wrote concerning them. In an evil hour persecutions were
resorted to to force consciences, Roman Catholics burning and torturing
Protestants, and the latter retaliating and using the same weapons; surely
this was, as Bacon wrote, "to bring down the Holy Ghost, instead of the
likeness of a dove, in the shape of a vulture or raven; and to set, out of
the bark of a Christian Church, a flag of a bark of pirates and

The historian then will not be surprised to find that by far the larger
number of Fatal Books deal with these subjects of Theology and Religion,
and many of them belong to the stormy period of the Reformation. They met
with severe critics in the merciless Inquisition, and sad was the fate of
a luckless author who found himself opposed to the opinions of that dread
tribunal. There was no appeal from its decisions, and if a taint of
heresy, or of what it was pleased to call heresy, was detected in any
book, the doom of its author was sealed, and the ingenuity of the age was
well-nigh exhausted in devising methods for administering the largest
amount of torture before death ended his woes.

_Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum._

Liberty of conscience was a thing unknown in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries; and while we prize that liberty as a priceless possession, we
can but admire the constancy and courage of those who lived in less happy
days. We are not concerned now in condemning or defending their opinions
or their beliefs, but we may at least praise their boldness and mourn
their fate.

The first author we record whose works proved fatal to him was Michael
Molinos, a Spanish theologian born in 1627, a pious and devout man who
resided at Rome and acted as confessor. He published in 1675 _The
Spiritual Manual_, which was translated from Italian into Latin, and
together with a treatise on _The Daily Communion_ was printed with this
title: _A Spiritual Manual, releasing the soul and leading it along the
interior way to the acquiring the perfection of contemplation and the rich
treasure of internal peace_. In the preface Molinos writes: "Mystical
theology is not a science of the imagination, but of feelings; we do not
understand it by study, but we receive it from heaven. Therefore in this
little work I have received far greater assistance from the infinite
goodness of God, who has deigned to inspire me, than from the thoughts
which the reading of books has suggested to me." The object of the work is
to teach that the pious mind must possess quietude in order to attain to
any spiritual progress, and that for this purpose it must be abstracted
from visible objects and thus rendered susceptible of heavenly influence.
This work received the approval of the Archbishop of the kingdom of
Calabria, and many other theologians of the Church. It won for its author
the favour of Cardinal Estraeus and also of Pope Innocent XI. It was
examined by the Inquisition at the instigation of the Jesuits, and passed
that trying ordeal unscathed. But the book raised up many powerful
adversaries against its author, who did not scruple to charge Molinos with
Judaism, Mohammedanism, and many other "isms," but without any avail,
until at length they approached the confessor of the King of Naples, and
obtained an order addressed to Cardinal Estraeus for the further
examination of the book. The Cardinal preferred the favour of the king to
his private friendship. Molinos was tried in 1685, and two years later was
conducted in his priestly robes to the temple of Minerva, where he was
bound, and holding in his hand a wax taper was compelled to renounce
sixty-eight articles which the Inquisition decreed were deduced from his
book. He was afterwards doomed to perpetual imprisonment. On his way to
the prison he encountered one of his opponents and exclaimed, "Farewell,
my father; we shall meet again on the day of judgment, and then it will be
manifest on which side, on yours or mine, the Truth shall stand." For
eleven long years Molinos languished in the dungeons of the Inquisition,
where he died in 1696. His work was translated into French and appeared in
a _Recueil de pieces sur le Quietisme_, published in Amsterdam 1688.
Molinos has been considered the leader and founder of the Quietism of the
seventeenth century. The monks of Mount Athos in the fourteenth, the
Molinosists, Madame Guyon, Fenelon, and others in the seventeenth century,
all belonged to that contemplative company of Christians who thought that
the highest state of perfection consisted in the repose and complete
inaction of the soul, that life ought to be one of entire passive
contemplation, and that good works and active industry were only fitting
for those who were toiling in a lower sphere and had not attained to the
higher regions of spiritual mysticism. Thus the '[Greek: Aesuchastai]' on
Mount Athos contemplated their nose or their navel, and called the effect
of their meditations "the divine light," and Molinos pined in his dungeon,
and left his works to be castigated by the renowned Bossuet. The pious,
devout, and learned Spanish divine was worthy of a better fate, and
perhaps a little more quietism and a little less restlessness would not be
amiss in our busy nineteenth century.

The noblest prey ever captured by those keen hunters, the Inquisitors, was
Bartholomew Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo, in 1558, one of the richest
and most powerful prelates in Christendom. He enjoyed the favour of his
sovereign Philip II. of Spain, whom he accompanied to England, and helped
to burn our English Protestants. Unfortunately in an evil hour he turned
to authorship, and published a catechism under this title: _Commentarios
sobre el Catequismo Cristiano divididos en quatro partes las quales
contienen fodo loque professamor en el sancto baptismo, como se vera en la
plana seguiente dirigidos al serenissimo Roy de Espana_ (Antwerp). On
account of this work he was accused of Lutheranism, and his capture
arranged by his enemies. At midnight, after the Archbishop had retired to
rest, a knock was heard at the door of the chamber. "Who calls?" asked the
attendant friar. "Open to the Holy Office," was the answer. Immediately
the door flew open, for none dared resist that terrible summons, and
Ramirez, the Inquisitor-General of Toledo, entered. The Archbishop raised
himself in his bed, and demanded the reason of the intrusion. An order for
his arrest was produced, and he was speedily conveyed to the dungeons of
the Inquisition at Valladolid. For seven long years he lingered there, and
was then summoned to Rome in 1566 by Pius V. and imprisoned for six years
in the Castle of St. Angelo. The successor of Pope Pius V., Gregory XIII.,
at length pronounced him guilty of false doctrine. His catechism was
condemned; he was compelled to abjure sixteen propositions, and besides
other penances he was confined for five years in a monastery. Broken down
by his eighteen years' imprisonment and by the hardships he had undergone,
he died sixteen days after his cruel sentence had been pronounced.
[Footnote: Cf. _The Church of Spain_, by Canon Meyrick. (National Churches
Series.)] On his deathbed he solemnly declared that he had never seriously
offended with regard to the Faith. The people were very indignant against
his persecutors, and on the day of his funeral all the shops were closed
as on a great festival. His body was honoured as that of a saint. His
captors doubtless regretted his death, inasmuch as the Pope is said to
have received a thousand gold pieces each month for sparing his life, and
Philip appropriated the revenues of his see for his own charitable
purposes, which happened at that time to be suppression of heresy in the
Netherlands by the usual means of rack and fire and burying alive helpless

A very fatal book was one entitled _Opus de anno primitivo ab exordia
mundi, ad annum Julianum accommodato, et de sacrorum temporum ratione.
Augustae-Vindelicorum_, 1621, _in folio magno_. It is a work of Jerome
Wecchiettus, a Florentine doctor of theology. The Inquisition attacked and
condemned the book to the flames, and its author to perpetual
imprisonment. Being absent from Rome he was comparatively safe, but
surprised the whole world by voluntarily submitting himself to his
persecutors, and surrendering himself to prison. This extraordinary
humility disarmed his foes, but it did not soften much the hearts of the
Inquisitors, who permitted him to end his days in the cell. The causes of
the condemnation of the work are not very evident. One idea is that in his
work the author pretended to prove that Christ did not eat the passover
during the last year of His life; and another states that he did not
sufficiently honour the memory of Louis of Bavaria, and thus aroused the
anger of the strong supporters of that ancient house.

The first English author whose woes we record is Samuel Clarke, who was
born at Norwich in 1675, and was for some time chaplain to the bishop of
that see. He was very intimate with the scientific men of his time, and
especially with Newton. In 1704 he published his Boyle Lectures, _A
Treatise on the Being and Attributes of God, and on Natural and Revealed
Religion_, which found its way into other lands, a translation being
published in Amsterdam in 1721. Our author became chaplain to Queen Anne
and Rector of St. James's. He was a profoundly learned and devout student,
and obtained a European renown as a true Christian philosopher. In
controversy he encountered foemen worthy of his steel, such as Spinosa,
Hobbes, Dodwell, Collins, Leibnitz, and others. But in 1712 he published
_The Scriptural Doctrine of the Trinity_, which was declared to be opposed
to the Christian belief and tainted with Arianism. The attention of
Parliament was called to the book; the arguments were disputed by Edward
Wells, John Edwards, and William Sommer; and Clarke was deprived of his
offices. The charge of heterodoxy was certainly never proved against him;
he did good service in trying to stem the flood of rationalism prevalent
in his time, and his work was carried on by Bishop Butler. His
correspondence with Leibnitz on Time, Space, Necessity, and Liberty was
published in 1717, and his editions of Caesar and Homer were no mean
contributions to the study of classical literature.

In the sixteenth century there lived in Hungary one Francis David, a man
learned in the arts and languages, but his inconstancy and fickleness of
mind led him into diverse errors, and brought about his destruction. He
left the Church, and first embraced Calvinism; then he fled into the camp
of the Semi-Judaising party, publishing a book _De Christo non invocando_,
which was answered by Faustus Socinus, the founder of Socinianism. The
Prince of Transylvania, Christopher Bathori, condemned David as an impious
innovator and preacher of strange doctrines, and cast him into prison,
where he died in 1579. There is extant a letter of David to the Churches
of Poland concerning the millennium of Christ.

Our next author was a victim to the same inconstancy of mind which proved
so fatal to Francis David, but sordid reasons and the love of gain without
doubt influenced his conduct and produced his fickleness of faith. Antonio
de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalatro, was a shining light of the Roman
Church at the end of the sixteenth century. He was born in 1566, and
educated by the Jesuits. He was learned in history and in science, and was
the first to discover the cause of the rainbow, his explanation being
adopted and perfected by Descartes. The Jesuits obtained for him the
Professorship of Mathematics at Padua, and of Logic and Rhetoric at
Brescia. After his ordination he became a popular preacher and was
consecrated Bishop of Segni, and afterwards Archbishop of Spalatro in
Dalmatia. He took a leading part in the controversy between the Republic
of Venice and the Pope, and after the reconciliation between the two
parties was obliged by the Pope to pay an annual pension of five hundred
crowns out of the revenues of his see to the Bishop of Segni. This highly
incensed the avaricious prelate, who immediately began to look out for
himself a more lucrative piece of preferment. He applied to Sir Dudley
Carleton, the English Ambassador at Venice, to know whether he would be
received into the Church of England, as the abuses and corruptions of the
Church of Rome prevented him from remaining any longer in her communion.

King James I. heartily approved of his proposal, and gave him a most
honourable reception, both in the Universities and at Court. All the
English bishops agreed to contribute towards his maintenance. Fuller says:
"It is incredible what flocking of people there was to behold this old
archbishop now a new convert; prelates and peers presented him with gifts
of high valuation." Other writers of the period describe him as "old and
corpulent," but of a "comely presence"; irascible and pretentious, gifted
with an unlimited assurance and plenty of ready wit in writing and
speaking; of a "jeering temper," and of a most grasping avarice. He was
ridiculed on the stage in Middleton's play, _The Game of Chess_, as the
"Fat Bishop." "He was well named De Dominis in the plural," says
Crakanthorp, "for he could serve two masters, or twenty, if they paid him

Our author now proceeded to finish his great work, which he published in
1617 in three large folios--_De Republica Ecclesiastica_, of which the
original still exists among the Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library at
Oxford. "He exclaims," says Fuller, "'in reading, meditation, and writing,
I am almost pined away,' but his fat cheeks did confute his false tongue
in that expression." In this book he shows that the authority of the
Bishop of Rome can easily be disproved from Holy Scripture, that it
receives no support from the judgment of history and antiquity, that the
early bishops of that see had no precedence over other bishops, nor were
in the least able to control those of other countries. He declares that
the inequality in power amongst the Apostles is a human invention, not
founded on the Gospels; that in the Holy Eucharist the priest does not
offer the sacrifice of Christ, but only the commemoration of that
sacrifice; that the Church has no coercive power, that John Huss was
wrongfully condemned at the Council of Constance; that the Holy Spirit was
promised to the whole Church, and not only to bishops and priests; that
the papacy is a fiction invented by men; and he states many other
propositions which must have been somewhat distasteful to the Pope and his

James rewarded De Dominis by conferring on him the Mastership of the Savoy
and the Deanery of Windsor, and he further increased his wealth by
presenting himself to the rich living of West Ilsley, in Berkshire.

In an unfortunate moment he insulted Count Gondomar, the Spanish
Ambassador, who determined to be revenged, and persuaded the Pope to send
the most flattering offers if he would return to his former faith. Pope
Gregory XV., a relative of De Dominis, had just ascended the Papal throne.
The bait took. De Dominis, discontented with the _non multum supra
quadringentas libras annuas_ which he received in England, and pining
after the _duodecim millia Coronatorum_ promised by the Pope, resolved to
leave our shores. James was indignant. Bishop Hall tried to dissuade him
from his purpose. "Tell me, by the Immortal God, what it is that can
snatch you from us so suddenly, after a delay of so many years, and drive
you to Rome? Has our race appeared to you inhospitable, or have we shown
favour to your virtues less than you hoped? You cannot plead that this is
the cause of your departure, upon whom a most kind sovereign has bestowed
such ample gifts and conferred such rich offices." The Archbishop was
questioned by the Bishops of London and Durham, by order of the king, with
regard to his intentions, and commanded to leave the country within twenty
days. He was known to have amassed a large sum of money during his sojourn
in England, and his trunks were seized, and found to contain over L1,600.
De Dominis fled to Brussels, and there wrote his _Consilium Reditus_,
giving his reasons for rejoining the Roman Church, and expecting daily his
promised reward--a cardinal's hat and a rich bishopric. His hopes were
doomed to be disappointed. For a short time he received a pension from
Gregory XV., but this was discontinued by Urban VIII., and our author
became dissatisfied and imprudently talked of again changing his faith. He
was heard to exclaim at supper on one occasion, "That no Catholic had
answered his book, _De Republica Ecclesiastica_, but that he himself was
able to deal with them." The Inquisition seized him, and he was conveyed
to the Castle of St. Angelo, where he soon died, as some writers assert,
by poison. His body and his books were burned by the executioner, and the
ashes thrown into the Tiber. Dr. Fitzgerald, Rector of the English College
at Rome, thus describes him: "He was a malcontent knave when he fled from
us, a railing knave when he lived with you, and a motley particoloured
knave now he is come again." He had undoubtedly great learning and skill
in controversy, [Footnote: His opinion with regard to the jurisdiction of
the Metropolitan over suffragan bishops was referred to in the recent
trial of the Bishop of Lincoln.] but avarice was his master, and he was
rewarded according to his deserts. [Footnote: Cf. article by the Rev. C.
W. Penny in the _Journal of the Berks Archaeological Society_, on Antonio
de Dominis.]

The lonely fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel saw the end of a bitter
controversialist, Noel Bede, who died there in 1587. He wrote _Natalis
Bedoe, doctoris Theol. Parisiensis annotationum in Erasmi paraphrases Novi
Testamenti, et Jacobi Fabri Stapulensis commentarios in Evangelistas,
Paulique Epistolas, Libri III., Parisiis_, 1526, _in-fol_. This work
abounds in vehement criticisms and violent declamations. Erasmus did not
fail to reply to his calumniator, and detected no less than eighty-one
falsehoods, two hundred and six calumnies, and forty-seven blasphemies.
Bede continued to denounce Erasmus as a heretic, and in a sermon before
the court reproached the king for not punishing such unbelievers with
sufficient rigour. The author was twice banished, and finally was
compelled to make a public retractation in the Church of Notre Dame, for
having spoken against the king and the truth, and to be exiled to Mont-

Translators of the Bible fared not well at the hands of those who were
unwilling that the Scriptures should be studied in the vulgar tongue by
the lay-folk, and foremost among that brave band of self-sacrificing
scholars stands William Tyndale. His life is well known, and needs no
recapitulation; but it may be noted that his books, rather than his work
of translating the Scriptures, brought about his destruction. His
important work called _The Practice of Prelates_, which was mainly
directed against the corruptions of the hierarchy, unfortunately contained
a vehement condemnation of the divorce of Catherine of Arragon by Henry
VIII. This deeply offended the monarch at the very time that negotiations
were in progress for the return of Tyndale to his native shores from
Antwerp, and he declared that he was "very joyous to have his realm
destitute of such a person." The _Practice of Prelates_ was partly written
in answer to the _Dialogue_ of Sir Thomas More, who was commissioned to
combat the "pernicious and heretical" works of the "impious enemies of the
Church." Tyndale wrote also a bitter _Answer_ to the _Dialogue_, and this
drew forth from More his abusive and scurrilous _Confutation_, which did
little credit to the writer or to the cause for which he contended
Tyndale's longest controversial work, entitled _The Obedience of a
Christian Man, and how Christian Rulers ought to govern_, although it
stirred up much hostility against its author, very favourably impressed
King Henry, who delighted in it, and declared that "the book was for him
and for all kings to read." The story of the burning of the translation of
the New Testament at St. Paul's Cross by Bishop Tunstall, of the same
bishop's purchase of a "heap of the books" for the same charitable
purpose, thereby furnishing Tyndale with means for providing another
edition and for printing his translation of the Pentateuch, all this is a
thrice-told tale. Nor need we record the account of the conspiracy which
sealed his doom. For sixteen months he was imprisoned in the Castle of
Vilvoord, and we find him petitioning for some warm clothing and "for a
candle in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark," and
above all for his Hebrew Bible, Grammar, and Dictionary, that he might
spend his time in that study. After a long dreary mockery of a trial on
October 16th, 1536, he was chained to a stake with faggots piled around
him. "As he stood firmly among the wood, with the executioner ready to
strangle him, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and cried with a fervent
zeal and loud voice, 'Lord, open the King of England's eyes!' and then,
yielding himself to the executioner, he was strangled, and his body
immediately consumed." That same year, by the King's command, the first
edition of the Bible was published in London. If Tyndale had confined
himself to the great work of translating the Scriptures, and had abandoned
controversy and his _Practice of Prelates_, his fate might have been
different; but, as Mr. Froude says, "he was a man whose history has been
lost in his work, and whose epitaph is the Reformation."

Another translator, whose fate was not so tragic, was the learned Arias
Montanus, a Spaniard, who produced at the command of King Philip II. the
famous Polyglot Bible printed at Antwerp in nine tomes. He possessed a
wonderful knowledge of several languages, and devoted immense labour to
his great work. But in spite of the royal approval of his work his book
met with much opposition on the part of the extreme Roman party, who
accused him to the Pope and made many false charges against him. The Pope
was enraged against Montanus, and he was obliged to go to Rome to plead
his cause. He at length obtained pardon from the Pope, and escaped the
"chariots of fire" which bore the souls of so many martyred saints to
heaven. It is a curious irony of fate that Montanus, who was one of the
chief compilers of the _Index Expurgatorius_, should live to see his own
work placed on the condemned list.

The story of the martyrdom of John Huss is well known, and need not be
here related, but perhaps the books which caused his death are not so
frequently studied or their titles remembered. His most important work was
his _De Ecclesia_, in which he maintained the rigid doctrine of
predestination, denied to the Pope the title of Head of the Church,
declaring that the Pope is the vicar of St. Peter, if he walk in his
steps; but if he give in to covetousness, he is the vicar of Judas
Iscariot. He reprobates the flattery which was commonly used towards the
Pope, and denounces the luxury and other corruptions of the cardinals.
Besides this treatise we have many others--_Adv. Indulgentias, De
Erectione Crucis_, etc. He wrote in Latin, Bohemian, and German, and
recently his Bohemian writings have been edited by K. J. Erben, Prague
(1865). His plain speaking aroused the fury of his adversaries, and he
knew his danger. On one occasion he made a strange challenge, offering to
maintain his opinions in disputation, and consenting to be burnt if his
conclusions were proved to be wrong, on condition that his opponents
should submit to the same fate in case of defeat. But as they would only
sacrifice one out of the company of his foes, he declared that the
conditions were unequal, and the challenge was abandoned. When at last he
was granted a safe conduct by the Emperor Sigismund, and trusted himself
to the Council of Constance, his fate was sealed. Even in his noisome
prison his pen (when he could procure one) was not idle, and Huss composed
during his confinement several tracts on religious subjects. At length his
degradation was completed; a tall paper cap painted with hideous figures
of devils was placed upon his head, and a bishop said to him, "We commit
thy body to the secular arm, and thy soul to the devil." "And I," replied
the martyr, "commit it to my most merciful Lord, Jesus Christ." When on
his way to execution he saw his Fatal Books being burnt amidst an excited
crowd, he smiled and remarked on the folly of people burning what they
could not read.

Another translator of the Bible was Antonio Bruccioli, who published in
Venice, in 1546, the following edition of the Holy Scriptures: _Biblia en
lengua toscana, cioe, i tutti i santi libri del vecchio y Novo Testamento,
in lengua toscana, dalla hebraica verita, e fonte greco, con commento da
Antonio Bruccioli_. Although a Roman Catholic, he favoured Protestant
views, and did not show much love for either the monks or priests. His
bold comments attracted the attention of the Inquisition, who condemned
his work and placed it on the Index. The author was condemned to death by
hanging, but happily for him powerful friends interceded, and his
punishment was modified to a two years' banishment. He died in 1555, when
Protestant burnings were in vogue in England.

Enzinas, the author of a Spanish translation of the New Testament entitled
_El Nuevo Testamento de N. Redemptor y Salvador J. C. traduzido en lengua
castellana (En Amberes, 1543, in-8)_, dedicated his work to Charles V. But
it caused him to be imprisoned fifteen months. Happily he discovered a
means of escape from his dungeon, and retired to safe quarters at Geneva.
In France he adopted the _nom-de-plume_ of Dryander, and his _History of
the Netherlands and of Religion in Spain_ forms part of the Protestant
martyrology published in Germany. The author's brother, John Dryander, was
burnt at Rome in 1545.

The Jansenist Louis Le Maistre, better known under the name of de Sacy,
was imprisoned in the Bastille on account of his opinions and also for his
French translation of the New Testament, published at Mons, in 1667, and
entitled _Le Nouveau Testament de N.S.J.C., traduit en francais selon
l'edition Vulgate, avec les differences du grec_ (2 vols., in-12). This
famous work, known by the name of the New Testament of Mons, has been
condemned by many popes, bishops, and other authorities. Louis Le Maistre
was assisted in the work by his brother, and the translation was improved
by Arnaud and Nicole. Pope Clement IX. described the work as "rash,
pernicious, different from the Vulgate, and containing many stumbling-
blocks for the unlearned." When confined in the Bastille, Le Maistre and
his friend Nicolas Fontaine wrote _Les Figures de la Bible_, which work is
usually attributed to the latter author. According to the Jesuits, the
Port-Royalists are represented under the figure of David, their
antagonists as Saul. Louis XIV. appears as Rehoboam, Jezebel, Ahasuerus,
and Darius. But these fanciful interpretations are probably due to the
imagination of the critics.

The fate of Gaspar Peucer enforces the truth of the old adage that "a
shoemaker ought to stick to his last," and shows that those men court
adversity who meddle with matters outside their profession. Peucer was a
doctor of medicine of the academy of Wuertemberg, and wrote several works
on astronomy, medicine, and history. He was a friend of Melanchthon, and
became imbued with Calvinistic notions, which he manifested in his
publication of the works of the Reformer. On account of this he was
imprisoned eleven years. By the favour of the Elector he was at length
released, and wrote a _History of his Captivity_ (Zurich, 1605). A curious
work, entitled _A Treatise on Divination_, was published by Peucer at
Wuertemberg, written in Latin, in 1552. He ranks among the most learned men
of Germany of the sixteenth century.

There were many Fatal Books in Holland during the famous controversy
between the Arminians and the Gomarists, which ended in the famous Synod
of Dort, and for vehemence, bigotry, and intolerance is as remarkable as
any which can be found in ecclesiastical history. The learned historian
Grotius was imprisoned, but he wrote no book which caused his misfortune.
Indeed his books were instrumental in his escape, which was effected by
means of his large box containing books brought into the prison by his
wife. When removed from the prison it contained, not the books, but the
author. Vorstius, the successor of Arminius as Professor of Theology at
Leyden, was not so happy. His book, _Tractatus de Deo, seu de natura et
attributis Dei_ (Steinfurti, 1610, in-4), aroused the vengeance of the
Gomarists, and brought about the loss of his professorship and his
banishment from Holland; but any injustice might have been expected from
that extraordinary Synod, where theology was mystified, religion
disgraced, and Christianity outraged. [Footnote: Cf. _Church in the
Netherlands_, by P.H. Ditchfield, chap. xvii.]

Few books have created such a sensation in the world or aroused so
prolonged a controversy as _Les Reflexions Morales_ of Pasquier Quesnel,
published in 1671. The full title of the work is _Le Nouveau Testament en
Francais, avec des reflexions morales sur chaque verset_ (Paris, 1671, i
vol., in-12), _pour les quatre Evangiles seulement_. Praslard was the
publisher. In 1693 and 1694 appeared another edition, containing his
_reflexions morales_, not only on the Gospels, but also on the Acts and
the Epistles. Many subsequent editions have appeared. Not only France, but
the whole of the Western Church was agitated by it, and its far-reaching
effects have hardly yet passed away. It caused its author a long period of
incarceration; it became a weapon in the hands of the Jesuits to hurl at
the Jansenists, and the Papal Bull pronounced against it was the cause of
the separation of a large body of the faithful from the communion of the
Roman Church. Its author was born at Paris in 1634, and was educated in
the congregation of the Oratory. Appointed director of its school in
Paris, he wrote _Pensees Chretiennes sur les quatre Evangiles_, which was
the germ of his later work. In 1684 he fled to Brussels, because he felt
himself unable to sign a formulary decreed by the Oratorians on account of
its acceptance of some of the principles of Descartes to which Arnauld and
the famous writers of the school of Port-Royal always offered vehement

A second edition of _Reflexions Morales_ appeared in 1694 with the
approval of De Noailles, then Bishop of Chalons, afterwards Archbishop of
Paris. But a few years later, by the intrigues of the Jesuits, and by the
order of Philip V., Quesnel was imprisoned at Mechlin. In 1703 he escaped
and retired to Amsterdam, where he died in 1719. But the history of the
book did not close with the author's death. It was condemned by Pope
Clement XI. in 1708 as infected with Jansenism. Four years later an
assembly of five cardinals and eleven theologians sat in judgment upon it;
their deliberations lasted eighteen months, and the result of their
labours was the famous Bull _Unigenitus_, which condemned one hundred and
one propositions taken from the writings of Quesnel.

The unreasonableness and injustice of this condemnation may be understood
from the following extracts:--

Proposition 50.--"It is in vain that we cry to God, My _Father_, if it is
not the Spirit of love that cries."

This is described as "pernicious in practice, and offensive to pious

Proposition 54.--"It is love alone that speaks to God; it is love alone
that God hears."

This, according to the cardinals, "is scandalous, temerarious, impious,
and erroneous."

The acceptance of the Bull was a great stumbling-block to many churchmen.
Louis XIV. forced it upon the French bishops, who were entertained at a
sumptuous banquet given by the Archbishop of Strasbourg and by a large
majority decided against the Quesnelites. It is unnecessary to follow the
history of this controversy further. France was long agitated by it, and
the Church of Holland was and is excommunicate from Rome mainly on account
of its refusal to accept the Bull _Unigenitus_, which was called forth by
and so unjustly condemned Quesnel's famous book.

In connection with the history of this Bull we may mention the work of one
of its most vehement opponents, Pierre Francois le Courayer, of the order
of the canons regular of St. Augustine, who wrote a book of great interest
to English churchmen, entitled _Dissertation sur la validite des
Ordinations Anglicanes_ (Bruxelles, 1723, 2 vols., in-12). This book was
condemned and its author excommunicated. He retired to the shelter of the
Church whose right of succession he so ably defended, and died in London
in 1776.

Few authors have received greater honour for their works, or endured
severer calamities on account of them, than the famous Florentine preacher
Savonarola. Endowed with a marvellous eloquence, imbued with a spirit of
enthusiastic patriotism and intense devotion, he inveighed against the
vices of the age, the worldliness of the clergy, the selfish ease of the
wealthy while the poor were crying for bread in want and sickness. The
good citizens of Florence believed that he was an angel from heaven, that
he had miraculous powers, could speak with God and foretell the future;
and while the women of Florence cast their jewels and finery into the
flames of the "bonfire of vanities," the men, inspired by the preacher's
dreams of freedom, were preparing to throw off the yoke of the Medicis and
proclaim a grand Florentine Republic. The revolution was accomplished, and
for three years Savonarola was practically the ruler of the new state. His
works were: _Commentatiuncula de Mahumetanorum secta; Triumphus crucis,
sive de fidei Christianae veritate_ in four books (1497), de _Simplicitate
vitae Christianae_ in five books, and _Compendium Revelationis_ (1495),
and many volumes of his discourses, some of which are the rarest treasures
of incunabula.

[Footnote: At Venice in the library of Leo S. Olschki I have met
with some of these volumes, the rarest of which is entitled:--


_Da Ferrara facie lanno del_. 1496
_negiorni delle feste, finito che
hebbe la quaresima: & prima
riposatosi circa uno mese
ricomincio eldi di Sco
Michele Adi. viii di
Maggio. MCCCC

The text commences "CREDITE IN Dno Deo uestro & securi eritis." In the
cell of Savonarola at the Monastery of St. Mark is preserved a MS. volume
of the famous preacher. The writing is very small, and must have taxed the
skill of the printers in deciphering it.]

The austerity of his teaching excited some hostility against him,
especially on the part of the monks who did not belong to his order--that
of the Dominicans. He had poured such bitter invective both in his books
and in his sermons upon the vices of the Popes and the Cardinals, that
they too formed a powerful party in league against him. In addition the
friends of the Medicis resented the overthrow of their power, and the
populace, ever fickle in their affections, required fresh wonders and
signs to keep them faithful to their leader. The opportunity of his
enemies came when Charles VIII. of France retired from Florence. They
accused Savonarola of all kinds of wickedness. He was cast into prison,
tortured, and condemned to death as a heretic. In what his heresy
consisted it were hard to discover. It was true that when his poor,
shattered, sensitive frame was being torn and rent by the cruel engines of
torture, he assented to many things which his persecutors strove to wring
from him. The real cause of his destruction was not so much the charges of
heresy which were brought against his books and sermons, as the fact that
he was a person inconvenient to Pope Alexander VI. On the 23rd of May,
1498, he met his doom in the great piazza at Florence where in happier
days he had held the multitude spell-bound by his burning eloquence. There
sentence was passed upon him. Stripped of his black Dominican robe and
long white tunic, he was bound to a gibbet, strangled by a halter, and his
dead body consumed by fire, his ashes being thrown into the river Arno.
Such was the miserable end of the great Florentine preacher, whose strange
and complex character has been so often discussed, and whose remarkable
career has furnished a theme for poets and romance-writers, and forms the
basis of one of the most powerful novels of modern times.

Not only were the Inquisitors and the Cardinals guilty of intolerance and
the stern rigour of persecution, but the Reformers themselves, when they
had the power, refrained not from torturing and burning those who did not
accept their own particular belief. This they did not merely out of a
spirit of revenge conceived against those who had formerly condemned their
fathers and brethren to the stake, but sometimes we see instances of
Reformers slaughtering Reformers, because the victims did not hold quite
the same tenets as those who were in power. Poor Michael Servetus shared
as hard a fate at the hands of Calvin, as ever "heretic" did at the hands
of the Catholics; and this fate was entirely caused by his writings. This
author was born in Spain, at Villaneuva in Arragon, in 1509. At an early
age he went to Africa to learn Arabic, and on his return settled in
France, studying law at Toulouse, and medicine at Lyons and Paris.

But the principles of the Reformed religion attracted him; he studied the
Scriptures in their original languages, and the writings of the fathers
and schoolmen. Unhappily his perverse and self-reliant spirit led him into
grievous errors with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. In vain the
gentle Reformer Oecolampadius at Basle reasoned with him. He must needs
disseminate his opinions in a book entitled _De Trinitatis Erroribus_,
which has handed the name of Servetus down to posterity as the author of
errors opposed to the tenets of the Christian Faith. Bucer declared that
he deserved the most shameful death on account of the ideas set forth in
this work. In his next work, _Dialogues on the Trinity_ and _A Treatise on
the Kingdom of Christ_, Servetus somewhat modified his views, and declared
that his former reasonings were merely "those of a boy speaking to boys";
but he blamed rather the arrangement of his book, than retracted the
opinions he had expressed.

He also annotated Pagnini's Latin version of the Sacred Scriptures,
entitled _Biblia sacra latina ex hebraeo, per Sanctum Pagninum, cum
praefatione et scholiis Michaelis Villanovani (Michel Servet). Lugduni, a
Porta_, 1542, _in-folio_. This edition was vigorously suppressed on
account of the notes of Servetus.

After sojourning some time in Italy, he returned to France in 1534, and
settled at Lyons, where he published a new and highly esteemed edition of
the Geography of Ptolemy, inscribing himself as Michael Villanovanus, from
the name of his birthplace. His former works had been published under the
name of Reves, formed by the transposition of the letters of his family
name. In Paris he studied medicine, and began to set forth novel opinions
which led him into conflict with other members of the faculty. In one of
his treatises he is said to have suggested the theory of the circulation
of the blood. In 1540 he went to Vienne and published anonymously his
well-known work _De Restitutione Christianismi_. This book, when its
authorship became known, brought upon him the charge of heresy, and he was
cast into prison. Powerful friends enabled him to escape, and his enemies
were obliged to content themselves with burning his effigy and several
copies of his books in the market-place at Vienne. Servetus determined to
fly to Naples, but was obliged to pass through Geneva, where at the
instigation of the great Reformer Calvin he was seized and cast into
prison. It is unnecessary to follow the course of Servetus' ill-fated
history, the bitter hostility of Calvin, the delays, the trials and
colloquies. At length he was condemned, and the religious world shuddered
at the thought of seeing the pile lighted by a champion of the Reformation
and religious freedom. Loud and awful shrieks were heard in the prison
when the tidings of his sentence were conveyed to Servetus. Soon the fatal
staff was broken over his head as a sign of his condemnation, and on the
Champel Hill, outside the gates of Geneva, the last tragic scene took
place. With his brow adorned with a crown of straw sprinkled with
brimstone, his Fatal Books at his side, chained to a low seat, and
surrounded by piles of blazing faggots, the newness and moisture of which
added greatly to his torture, in piteous agony Servetus breathed his last,
a sad spectacle of crime wrought in religion's name, a fearful example of
how great woes an author may bring upon himself by his arrogance and self-
sufficiency. The errors of Servetus were deplorable, but the vindictive
cruelty of his foes creates sympathy for the victim of their rage, and
Calvin's memory is ever stained by his base conduct to his former friend.

The name of Sebastian Edzardt is not so well known. He was educated at
Wuertemberg, and when Frederick I. of Prussia conceived the desire of
uniting the various reformed bodies with the Lutherans, he published a
work _De causis et natura unionis_, and a treatise _Ad Calvanianorum
Pelagianisinum_. In this book he charged the Calvinists with the Pelagian
heresy--a charge which they were accustomed to bring against the
Lutherans. It was written partly against a book of John Winckler, _Arcanum
Regium de conciliandis religionibus subditorum diffidentibus_, published
in 1703 in support of the King's designs. In the same year he published
_Impietas cohortis fanatica, expropriis Speneri, Rechenbergii, Petersenii,
Thomasii, Arnoldi, Schutzii, Boehmeri, aliorumque fanaticorum scriptis,
plusquam apodictis argumentis, ostensa. Hamburgi, Koenig, 1703, in-4_.
This work was suppressed by order of the senate of Hamburg. Frederick was
enraged at Edzardt's opposition to his plans, ordered his first book to be
burnt, and forbade any one to reply to it. Nor was our author more
successful in his other work, _Kurtzer Entwurff der Einigkeit der
Evangelisch-Lutherischen und Reformirten im Grunde des Glaubens: von
dieser Vereinigung eigentlicher Natur und Beschaffenheit_, wherein he
treated of various systems of theology. This too was publicly burnt, but
of the fate of its author I have no further particulars.

The last of the great schoolmen, William of Ockham, called the "Invincible
Doctor," suffered imprisonment and exile on account of his works. He was
born at Ockham in Surrey in 1280, and, after studying at Oxford, went to
the University of Paris. He lived in stirring times, and took a prominent
part in the great controversies which agitated the fourteenth century.
Pope John XXII. ruled at Avignon, a shameless truckster in ecclesiastical
merchandise, a violent oppressor of his subjects, yet obliged by force of
circumstances to be a mere subject of the King of France. The Emperor
Ludwig IV. ruled in Germany in spite of the excommunication pronounced
against him by the Pope. Many voices were raised in support of Louis
denouncing the assumptions of the occupant of the Papal See. Marcilius of
Padua wrote his famous _Defensor Pacis_ against Papal pretensions, and our
author, William of Ockham, issued his still more famous _Defence of
Poverty_, which startled the whole of Christendom by its vigorous
onslaught on the vices of the Papacy and the assumptions of Pope John. The
latter ordered two bishops to examine the work, and the "Invincible
Doctor" was cast into prison at Avignon. He would certainly have been
slain, had he not contrived to effect his escape, and taken refuge at the
court of the German emperor, to whom he addressed the words, "_Tu me
defendas gladio, ego te defendam calamo_." There he lived and wrote,
condemned by the Pope, disowned by his order, the Franciscans, threatened
daily with sentences of heresy, deprivation, and imprisonment; but for
them he cared not, and fearlessly pursued his course, becoming the
acknowledged leader of the reforming tendencies of the age, and preparing
the material for that blaze of light which astonished the world in the
sixteenth century. His works have never been collected, and are very
scarce, being preserved with great care in some of the chief libraries of
Europe. The scholastic philosophy of the fourteenth century, the disputes
between the Nominalists and the Realists, in which he took the part of the
former, the principle that "entities are not to be multiplied except by
necessity," or the "hypostatic existence of abstractions," have ceased to
create any very keen interest in the minds of readers. But how bitterly
the war of words was waged in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries! And
it was not only a war of words; one who witnessed the contests wrote that
"when the contending parties had exhausted their stock of verbal abuse,
they often came to blows; and it was not uncommon in their quarrels about
_universals_, to see the combatants engaged not only with their fists, but
with clubs and swords, so that many have been wounded and some killed."
These controversies have passed away, upon which, says John of Salisbury,
more time had been wasted than the Caesars had employed in making
themselves masters of the world; and it is unnecessary here to revive
them. Ockham's principal works are: _Quaestiones et decisiones in quatuor
libros sententiarum cum centilogio theologico_ (Lyons, 1495), [Footnote: I
have met with a copy of this work amongst the incunabula in the possession
of M. Olschki, of Venice. The printer's name is John Trechsel, who is
described as _vir hujus artis solertissimus_.] _Summa logicae_ (Paris,
1483), _Quodlibeta_ (Paris, 1487), _Super potestate summi pontifia_
(1496). He died at Munich in 1343.

The _Introductio ad Theologiam_ of the famous Abelard, another schoolman,
was fatal to him. Abelard's name is more generally known on account of the
golden haze of romance which surrounded him and the fair Heloise; and
their loving letters have been often read and mourned over by thousands
who have never heard of his theological writings. At one time the famous
Canon of Notre Dame at Paris had an enthusiastic following; thousands
flocked to his lectures from every country; his popularity was enormous.
He combated the abuses of the age and the degeneracy of some of the
clergy, and astonished and enraged many by the boldness of his speech and
the novelty of his opinions. His views with regard to the doctrine of the
Trinity expressed in his _Introductio_ (Traite de la Trinite) were made
the subject of a charge against him, and certainly they cannot be easily
distinguished from Sabellianism. The qualities or attributes of the
Godhead, power, wisdom, goodness, were stated to be the three Persons. The
Son of God was not incarnate to deliver us, but only to instruct us by His
discourses and example. Jesus Christ, God and Man, is not one of the
Persons in the Trinity, and a man is not properly called God. He did not
descend into hell. Such were some of the errors with which Abelard was
reproached. Whether they were actually contained in his writings, it is
not so evident. We have only fragments of Abelard's writings to judge
from, which have been collected by M. Cousin--_Ouvrages inedits
d'Abelard_--and therefore cannot speak with certain knowledge of his
opinions. At least they were judged to be blasphemous and heretical by the
Council of Soissons, when he was condemned to commit his books to the
flames and to retire to the Convent of St. Denys. Some years later, when
he had recovered from the horrible mutilation to which he had been
subjected by the uncle of Heloise, and his mind had acquired its usual
strength, we find him at Paris, again attracting crowds by his brilliant
lectures, and pouring forth books, and alas! another fatal one, _Sic et
Non_, [Footnote: Petri Abelardi _Sic et Non_ (Marburgi, Sumptibus
Librariae; Academy Elwertianae, 1851). The best edition of Abelard's
letters is _P. Abaelardi et Heloisae conjugis ejus Epistolae, ab erroribus
purgatae et cum codd. MSS. collatae cura Richardi Rawlinson, Londini,
1718, in-8_. There is also an edition published in Paris in 1616, 4to,
_Petri Abelardi et Heloisae conjugis ejus, opera cum praefatione
apologetica Franc. Antboesii, et Censura doctorum parisiensium; ex
editione Andreae Quercetani (Andre Duchesne)_.] which asked one hundred
and fifty-eight questions on all kinds of subjects. The famous champion of
orthodoxy, St. Bernard, examined the book, and at the Council of Sens in
1140 obtained a verdict against its author. He said that poor Abelard was
an infernal dragon who persecuted the Church, that Arius, Pelagius, and
Nestorius were not more dangerous, as Abelard united all these monsters in
his own person, and that he was a persecutor of the faith and the
precursor of Antichrist. These words of the celebrated Abbot of Clairvaux
are more creditable to his zeal than to his charity. Abelard's disciple
Arnold of Brescia attended him at the Council, and shared in the
condemnations which St. Bernard so freely bestowed. Arnold's stormy and
eventful life as a religious and political reformer was ended at Rome in
1155, where he was strangled and burnt by order of the Emperor Frederick,
his ashes being cast into the Tiber lest they should be venerated as
relics by his followers. St. Bernard described him as a man having the
head of a dove and the tail of a scorpion. Abelard was condemned to
perpetual silence, and found a last refuge in the monastery of Cluny. Side
by side in the graveyard of the Paraclete Convent the bodies of Abelard
and Heloise lie, whose earthly lives, though lighted by love and cheered
by religion, were clouded with overmuch sorrow, and await the time when
all theological questions will be solved and doubts and difficulties
raised by earthly mists and human frailties will be swept away, and we
shall "know even as also we are known."



Quirinus Kuhlmann--John Tennhart--Jeremiah Felbinger--Simon Morin--
Liszinski--John Toland--Thomas Woolston--John Biddle--Johann Lyser--
Bernardino Ochino--Samuel Friedrich Willenberg.

The nympholepts of old were curious and unhappy beings who, while
carelessly strolling amidst sylvan shades, caught a hasty glimpse of some
spirit of the woods, and were doomed ever afterwards to spend their lives
in fruitlessly searching after it. The race of Fanatics are somewhat akin
to these restless seekers. There is a wildness and excessive extravagance
in their notions and actions which separates them from the calm followers
of Truth, and leads them into strange courses and curious beliefs. How far
the sacred fire of enthusiasm may be separated from the fierce heat of
fanaticism we need not now inquire, nor whether a spark of the latter has
not shone brilliantly in many a noble soul and produced brave deeds and
acts of piety and self-sacrifice. Those whose fate is here recorded were
far removed from such noble characters; their fanaticism was akin to
madness, and many of them were fitter for an asylum rather than a gaol,
which was usually their destination.

Foremost among them was Quirinus Kulmanus (Kuhlmann), who has been called
the Prince of Fanatics, and wandered through many lands making many
disciples. He was born at Breslau in Silesia in 1651, and at an early age
saw strange visions, at one time the devils in hell, at another the
Beatific Glory of God. His native country did not appreciate him, and he
left it to wander on from university to university, publishing his
ravings. At Leyden he met with the works of Boehme, another fanatic, who
wrote a strange book, entitled _Aurora_, which was suppressed by the
magistrates. The reading of this author was like casting oil into the
fire. Poor Kuhlmann became wilder still in his strange fanaticism, and
joined himself to a pretended prophet, John Rothe, whom the authorities at
Amsterdam incarcerated, in order that he might be able to foretell with
greater certainty than he had done other things when and after what manner
he should be released. Kuhlmann then wrote a book, entitled _Prodromus
Quinquennii Mirabilis_, and published at Leyden in 1674, in which he set
forth his peculiar views. He stated that in that same year the Fifth
Monarchy or the Christian Kingdom was about to commence, that he himself
would bring forth a son from his own wife, that this son by many miracles
would found the kingdom, and that he himself was the Son of God. On
account of these mad ravings he was exiled by the Chief of the United
Provinces of the Netherlands, and expelled with infamy from the University
of Leyden. But his strange mission did not cease. He wandered for some
time in France and England, where he printed at his own expense several
small books in 1681 and 1682, amongst others one piece addressed to
Mahomet IV., _De Conversione Turcarum_. The following passage occurs in
this fantastic production: "You saw, some months ago, O great Eastern
Leader, a comet of unusual magnitude, a true prognostic of the Kingdom of
the Jesuelites, that is, of the restoration of all people to the one-three
God. O well is thee, that thou hast turned thy mind before God, and by
proclaiming a general fast throughout thy empire, hast begun to fulfil the
words of the Lord to the prophet Drabicius." He declares that if the
Christians refuse to perform his will in destroying the kingdom of
Antichrist, the Turks and Tartars shall do it, to the disgrace of the
Christians, which will be a horror to angels and to men.

He then proceeded to Turkey on his mission, and presented himself to the
Sultan. Although ignorant of the language of the country, he persuaded
himself that he could speak in any tongue; but when they led him into the
presence of the Sultan he waited in vain for the burning words of
eloquence to flow. The Turks dealt with him according to his folly, and
bestowed on him a sound thrashing. Thence he proceeded to Russia, and when
he was about to marry a second wife, his former spouse being left in
England, the Patriarch of the Russian Church condemned him to be burnt at
Moscow in 1689. A follower of Kuhlmann's, named Nordermann, who also wrote
a book on the Second Advent of Christ, shared his fate. Kuhlmann also
wrote a volume of verses, entitled _The Berlin and Amsterdam "Kuhl-
festival" at the Gathering of Lutherans and Calvinists_, which
sufficiently attests his insanity. The following is a specimen of the
lucidity of his works: "The more I continued my doctrines, the more
opposition I received, so that also the higher world of light with which I
am illuminated, in their light I was enlightened, or shadowed, when I
proceeded, and in their light lit I up brighter lights."

A fitting companion to Kuhlmann was John Tennhart, a barber of Nuremberg,
born in 1662, who used to speak continually of the visions, dreams, and
colloquies which he had with God, and boasted that the office of a scribe
was entrusted to him by the Divine Will. He endeavoured to persuade all
men that the words he wrote were verily and indeed the words of God. The
world was not disposed to interfere with the poor barber who imagined
himself inspired, but in an evil hour he published a book against the
priests, entitled _Worte Gottes, oder Tractaetlein an den so genannten
geistlichen Stand_, which caused its author great calamities. He was cast
into prison by order of the senate of the Nuremberg State. On his release
he again published his former work, with others which he also believed to
be inspired, and again in 1714 was imprisoned at Nuremberg. His
incarceration did not, however, last long, and Tennhart died while he was
journeying from the city which so little appreciated his ravings to find
in Cassel a more secure resting-place.

Amongst the fanatics of the seventeenth century may be classed Jeremiah
Felbinger, a native of Brega, a town in the Prussian State of Silesia, who
was an early advocate of the heresy of the Unitarians. For some years he
was a soldier, and then became a schoolmaster. He wrote _Prodromus
demonstrationis_, published in 1654, in which he attempted to prove his
Unitarian ideas. Shortly before this, in 1653, he wrote _Demonstrationes
Christianae_, and finally his _Epistola ad Christianos_, published at
Amsterdam in 1672. His strange views and perverted opinions first caused
his dismissal from the army, and his works upon the Unitarian doctrines
necessitated his removal from the office of teacher. He then journeyed to
Helmstadt, but there the wanderer found no rest; for when he tried to
circulate his obnoxious books, he was ordered to leave the city before
sunset. Finally he settled in Amsterdam, the home of free-thinkers, where
men were allowed a large amount of religious liberty; there printers
produced without let or hindrance books which were condemned elsewhere and
could only be printed in secret presses and obscure corners of cities
governed by more orthodox rulers. Here Felbinger passed the rest of his
miserable life in great poverty, earning a scanty pittance by instructing
youths and correcting typographical errors. He died in 1689, aged seventy-
three years.

The seventeenth century was fruitful in fanatics, and not the least mad
was Simon Morin, who was burnt at Paris in 1663. His fatal book was his
_Pensees de Simon Morin_ (Paris, 1647, in-8), which contains a curious
mixture of visions and nonsense, including the principal errors of the
Quietists and adding many of his own. Amongst other mad ravings, he
declared that there would be very shortly a general reformation of the
Church, and that all nations should be converted to the true faith, and
that this reformation was to be accomplished by the Second Advent of our
Lord in His state of glory, incorporated in Morin himself; and that for
the execution of the things to which he was destined, he was to be
attended by a great number of perfect souls, and such as participated in
the glorious state of Jesus Christ, whom he therefore called the champions
of God. He was condemned by the Parliament of Paris, and after having done
penance, dressed in his shirt, with a rope round his neck and a torch in
his hand, before the entrance of Notre Dame, he was burnt with his book
and writings, his ashes being subsequently cast into the air. Morin had
several followers who shared his fantastic views, and these poor
"champions of God" were condemned to witness the execution of their
leader, to be publicly whipped and branded with the mark of fleur-de-lys,
and to spend the rest of their lives as galley-slaves.

Poland witnessed the burning of Cazimir Liszinski in 1689, whose ashes
were placed in a cannon and shot into the air. This Polish gentleman was
accused of atheism by the Bishop of Potsdam. His condemnation was based
upon certain atheistical manuscripts found in his possession, containing
several novel doctrines, such as "God is not the creator of man; but man
is the creator of a God gathered together from nothing." His writings
contain many other extravagant notions of the same kind.

A few years later the religious world of both England and Ireland was
excited and disturbed by the famous book of John Toland, a sceptical
Irishman, entitled _Christianity not Mysterious_ (London, 1696). Its
author was born in Londonderry in 1670, and was endowed with much natural
ability, but this did not avail to avert the calamities which pursue
indiscreet and reckless writers. He wrote his book at the early age of
twenty-five years, for the purpose of defending Holy Scripture from the
attacks of infidels and atheists; he essayed to prove that there was
nothing in religion contrary to sound reason, and to show that the
mysteries of religion were not opposed to reason. But his work aroused
much opposition both in England and Ireland, as there were many statements
in the book which were capable of a rationalistic interpretation. A second
edition was published in London with an apology by Toland in 1702. In
Dublin he raised against himself a storm of opposition, not only on
account of his book, but also by his vain and foolish manner of
propagating his views. He began openly to deride Christianity, to scoff at
the clergy, to despise the worship of God, and so passed his life that
whoever associated with him was judged to be an impious and infamous
person. He proposed to form a society which he called Socratia; the hymns
to be sung by the members were the Odes of Horace, and the prayers were
blasphemous productions, composed by Toland, in derision of those used in
the Roman Church. The Council of Religion of the Irish House of Parliament
condemned his book to be burnt, and some of the members wished to imprison
its author, who after enduring many privations wisely sought safety in
flight. A host of writers arrayed themselves in opposition to Toland and
refuted his book, amongst whom were John Norris, Stillingfleet, Payne,
Beverley, Clarke, Leibnitz, and others. Toland wrote also _The Life of
Milton_ (London, 1698), which was directed against the authenticity of the
New Testament; _The Nazarene, or Christianity, Judaic, Pagan, and
Mahometan_ (1718); and _Pantheisticon_ (1720). The outcry raised by the
orthodox party against the "poor gentleman" who had "to beg for half-
crowns," and "ran into debt for his wigs, clothes, and lodging," together
with his own vanity and conceit, changed him from being a somewhat free-
thinking Christian into an infidel and atheist or Pantheist. He died in
extreme poverty at Putney in 1722.

A fitting companion to Toland was Thomas Woolston, who lived about the
same time; he was born at Northampton in 1669, and died at London in 1733.
He was a free-thinker, and a man of many attainments, whose works became
widely known and furnished weapons for the use of Voltaire and other
atheistical writers. In 1705 he wrote a book entitled _The Old Apology_,
in which he endeavoured to show that in the interpretation of the Holy
Scriptures the literal meaning ought to be abandoned, and that the events
recorded therein were merely allegories. In his book _Free Gifts to the
Clergy_ he denounced all who favoured the literal interpretation as
apostates and ministers of Antichrist. Finally, in his _Discourses on the
Miracles_ (1726) he denied entirely the authenticity of miracles, and
stated that they were merely stories and allegories. He thought that the
literal account of the miracles is improbable and untrustworthy, that they
were parables and prophetical recitations. These and many other such-like
doctrines are found in his works. Woolston held at that time the post of
tutor at Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge; but on account of his works
he was expelled from the College and cast into prison. According to one
account of his life, he died in prison in 1731. Another record states that
he was released on paying a fine of L100 after enduring one year's
incarceration, and that he bore his troubles bravely, passing an honest
life and enduring reproaches with an equal mind. Not a few able
theologians set themselves the task of refuting the errors of Woolston,
amongst whom were John Ray, Stebbins, Bishop of St. Davids, and Sherlock,
whose book was translated into French. A _Life of Woolston_ has been
written anonymously by some one who somewhat favoured his views and
supported his tenets. He may certainly be classed among the leaders of
Free Thought in the eighteenth century.

John Biddle was a vehement advocate of Socinian and Unitarian opinions,
attacking the belief in the Trinity and in the Divinity of our Lord. The
Holy Spirit was accounted by him as the first of the angels. His fatal
book was entitled _The Faith of one God, who is only the Father, and of
one Mediator between God and man, who is only the man Christ Jesus; and of
one Holy Spirit, the gift, and sent of God, asserted and defended in
several tracts contained in this volume_ (London, 1691, in-4). This work
was publicly burnt and its author imprisoned. Biddle was born at Wotton-
under-Edge in 1615; he went to Oxford, and became a teacher at a grammar-
school at Gloucester. He underwent several terms of imprisonment on
account of the opinions expressed in his writings, and died in gaol in

Amongst the fanatics whose works were fatal to them must be enrolled the
famous advocates of polygamy, Johann Lyser, Bernardino Ochino, and Samuel
Friedrich Willenberg. Lyser was born at Leipsic in 1631, and although he
ever remained a bachelor and abhorred womankind, nevertheless tried to
demonstrate that not only was polygamy lawful, but that it was a blessed
estate commanded by God. He first brought out a dialogue written in the
vernacular entitled _Sinceri Wahrenbergs kurzes Gespraech von der
Polygamie_; and this little work was followed by a second book, _Das
Koenigliche Marck aller Laender_ (Freyburg, 1676, in-4). Then he produced
another work, entitled _Theophili Aletaei discursus politicus de
Polygamia_. A second edition of this work followed, which bore the title
_Polygamia triumphatrix, id est, discursus politicus de Polygamia, auctore
Theoph. Aletoeo, cum notis Athanasii Vincentii, omnibus Anti-polygamis,
ubique locorum, terrarum, insularum, pagorum, urbium modeste et pie
opposita (Londini Scanorum_, 1682, in-4). On account of the strange views
expressed in this work he was deprived of his office of Inspector, and was
obliged to seek protection from a powerful Count, by whose advice it is
said that Lyser first undertook the advocacy of polygamy. On the death of
his friend Lyser was compelled frequently to change his abode, and
wandered through most of the provinces of Germany. He was imprisoned by
the Count of Hanover, and then expelled. In Denmark his book was burned by
the public executioner. At another place he was imprisoned and beaten and
his books burned. At length, travelling from Italy to Holland, he endured
every kind of calamity, and after all his misfortunes he died miserably in
a garret at Amsterdam, in 1684. It is curious that Lyser, who never
married nor desired wedlock, should have advocated polygamy; but it is
said that he was led on by a desire for providing for the public safety by
increasing the population of the country, though probably the love of
notoriety, which has added many authors' names to the category of fools,
contributed much to his madness.

Infected with the same notions was Bernardino Ochino, a Franciscan, and
afterwards a Capuchin, whose dialogue _De Polygamia_ was fatal to him.
Although he was an old man, the authorities at Basle ordered him to leave
the city in the depth of a severe winter. He wandered into Poland, but
through the opposition of the Papal Nuncio, Commendone, he was again
obliged to fly. He had to mourn over the death of two sons and a daughter,
who died of the plague in Poland, and finally Ochino ended his woes in
Moravia. Such was the miserable fate of Ochino, who was at one time the
most famous preacher in the whole of Italy. He had a wonderful eloquence,
which seized upon the minds of his hearers and carried them whither he
would. No church was large enough to contain the multitudes which flocked
to hear him. Ochino was a skilled linguist, and, after leaving the Roman
Church, he wrote a book against the Papacy in English, which was printed
in London, and also a sermon on predestination. He visited England in
company with Peter Martyr, but on the death of Edward VI., on account of
the changes introduced in Mary's reign these two doctors again crossed the
seas, and retired to a safer retreat. His brilliant career was entirely
ruined by his fatal frenzy and foolish fanaticism for polygamy.

The third of this strange triumvirate was Samuel Friedrich Willenberg, a
doctor of law of the famous University of Cracow, who wrote a book _De
finibus polygamiae licitae_ and aroused the hatred of the Poles. In 1715,
by command of the High Court of the King of Poland, his book was condemned
to be burnt, and its author nearly shared the same fate. He escaped,
however, this terrible penalty, and was fined one hundred thousand gold

With these unhappy advocates of a system which violates the sacredness of
marriage, we must close our list of fanatics whose works have proved fatal
to them. Many of them deserve our pity rather than our scorn; for they
suffered from that species of insanity which, according to Holmes, is
often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. At any rate, they furnish
an example of that

"Faith, fanatic faith, which, wedded fast
To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last."



Henry Cornelius Agrippa--Joseph Francis Borri--Urban Grandier--Dr. Dee--
Edward Kelly--John Darrell.

Superstition is a deformed monster who dies hard; and like Loki of the
Sagas when the snake dropped poison on his forehead, his writhings shook
the world and caused earthquakes. Now its power is well-nigh dead.
"Superstition! that horrible incubus which dwelt in darkness, shunning the
light, with all its racks and poison-chalices, and foul sleeping-draughts,
is passing away without return." [Footnote: Carlyle.] But society was once
leavened with it. Alchemy, astrology, and magic were a fashionable cult,
and so long as its professors pleased their patrons, proclaimed "smooth
things and prophesied deceits," all went well with them; but it is an easy
thing to offend fickle-minded folk, and when the philosopher's stone and
the secret of perpetual youth after much research were not producible, the
cry of "impostor" was readily raised, and the trade of magic had its
uncertainties, as well as its charms.

Our first author who suffered as an astrologer, though it is extremely
doubtful whether he was ever guilty of the charges brought against him,
was Henry Cornelius Agrippa, who was born at Cologne in 1486, a man of
noble birth and learned in Medicine, Law, and Theology. His supposed
devotion to necromancy and his adventurous career have made his story a
favourite one for romance-writers. We find him in early life fighting in
the Italian war under the Emperor Maximilian, whose private secretary he
was. The honour of knighthood conferred upon him did not satisfy his
ambition, and he betook himself to the fields of learning. At the request
of Margaret of Austria, he wrote a treatise on the Excellence of Wisdom,
which he had not the courage to publish, fearing to arouse the hostility
of the theologians of the day, as his views were strongly opposed to the
scholasticism of the monks. He lived the roving life of a mediaeval
scholar, now in London illustrating the Epistles of St. Paul, now at
Cologne or Pavia or Turin lecturing on Divinity, and at another time at
Metz, where he resided some time and took part in the government of the
city. There, in 1521, he was bereaved of his beautiful and noble wife.
There too we read of his charitable act of saving from death a poor woman
who was accused of witchcraft. Then he became involved in controversy,
combating the idea that St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin, had
three husbands, and in consequence of the hostility raised by his opinions
he was compelled to leave the city. The people used to avoid him, as if he
carried about with him some dread infection, and fled from him whenever he
appeared in the streets. At length we see him established at Lyons as
physician to the Queen Mother, the Princess Louise of Savoy, and enjoying
a pension from Francis I. This lady seems to have been of a superstitious
turn of mind, and requested the learned Agrippa, whose fame for astrology
had doubtless reached her, to consult the stars concerning the destinies
of France. This Agrippa refused, and complained of being employed in such
follies. His refusal aroused the ire of the Queen; her courtiers eagerly
took up the cry, and "conjurer," "necromancer," etc., were the
complimentary terms which were freely applied to the former favourite.
Agrippa fled to the court of Margaret of Austria, the governor of the
Netherlands under Charles V., and was appointed the Emperor's
historiographer. He wrote a history of the reign of that monarch, and
during the life of Margaret he continued his prosperous career, and at her
death he delivered an eloquent funeral oration.

But troubles were in store for the illustrious author. In 1530 he
published a work, _De Incertitudine et Vanitate Scientiarum et Artium,
atque Excellentia Verbi Dei Dedamatio_ (Antwerp). His severe satire upon
scholasticism and its professors roused the anger of those whom with
scathing words he castigated. The Professors of the University of Louvain
declared that they detected forty-three errors in the book; and Agrippa
was forced to defend himself against their attacks in a little book
published at Leyden, entitled _Apologia pro defencione Declamationis de
Vanitate Scientiarum contra Theologistes Lovanienses_. In spite of such
powerful friends as the Papal Legate, Cardinal Campeggio, and Cardinal de
la Marck, Prince Bishop of Liege, Agrippa was vilified by his opponents,
and imprisoned at Brussels in 1531. The fury against his book continued to
rage, and its author declares in his Epistles: "When I brought out my book
for the purpose of exciting sluggish minds to the study of sound learning,
and to provide some new arguments for these monks to discuss in their
assemblies, they repaid this kindness by rousing common hostility against
me; and now by suggestions, from their pulpits, in public meetings, before
mixed multitudes, with great clamourings they declaim against me; they
rage with passion, and there is no impiety, no heresy, no disgrace which
they do not charge me with, with wonderful gesticulations--namely, with
clapping of fingers, with hands outstretched and then suddenly drawn back,
with gnashing of teeth, by raging, by spitting, by scratching their heads,
by gnawing their nails, by stamping with their feet, they rage like
madmen, and omit no kind of lunatic behaviour by means of which they may
arouse the hatred and anger of both prince and people against me."

The book was examined by the Inquisition and placed by the Council of
Trent on the list of prohibited works, amongst the heretical books of the
first class. Erasmus, however, spoke very highly of it, and declared it to
be "the work of a man of sparkling intellect, of varied reading and good
memory, who always blames bad things, and praises the good." Schelhorn
declares that the book is remarkable for the brilliant learning displayed
in it, and for the very weighty testimony which it bears against the
errors and faults of the time.

Our author was released from his prison at Brussels, and wrote another
book, _De occulta Philosophia_ (3 vols., Antwerp, 1533), which enabled his
enemies to bring against him the charge of magic. Stories were told of the
money which Agrippa paid at inns turning into pieces of horn and shell,
and of the mysterious dog which ate and slept with him, which was indeed a
demon in disguise and vanished at his death. They declared he had a
wonderful wand, and a mirror which reflected the images of persons absent
or dead.

The reputed wizard at length returned to France, where he was imprisoned
on a charge of speaking evil of the Queen Mother, who had evidently not
forgotten his refusal to consult the stars for her benefit. He was,
however, soon released, and after his strange wandering life our author
ended his labours in a hospital at Grenoble, where he died in 1535. In
addition to the works we have mentioned, he wrote _De Nobilitate et
Proecellentia Faeminei Sexus_ (Antwerp, 1529), in order to flatter his
patroness Margaret of Austria, and an early work, _De Triplici Ratione
Cognoscendi Deum_ (1515). The monkish epigram, unjust though it be, is
perhaps worth recording:--

"Among the gods there is Momus who reviles all men; among the heroes there
is Hercules who slays monsters; among the demons there is Pluto, the king
of Erebus, who is in a rage with all the shades; among the philosophers
there is Democritus who laughs at all things, Heraclitus who bewails all
things, Pyrrhon who is ignorant of all things, Aristotle who thinks that
he knows all things, Diogenes who despises all things. But this Agrippa
spares none, despises all things, knows all things, is ignorant of all
things, bewails all things, laughs at all things, rages against all
things, reviles all things, being himself a philosopher, a demon, a hero,
a god, everything."

The impostor Joseph Francis Borri was a very different character. He was a
famous chemist and charlatan, born at Milan in 1627, and educated by the
Jesuits at Rome, being a student of medicine and chemistry. He lived a
wild and depraved life, and was compelled to retire into a seminary. Then
he suddenly changed his conduct, and pretended to be inspired by God,
advocating in a book which he published certain strange notions with
regard to the existence of the Trinity, and expressing certain ridiculous
opinions, such as that the mother of God was a certain goddess, that the
Holy Spirit became incarnate in the womb of Anna, and that not only Christ
but the Virgin also are adored and contained in the Holy Eucharist. In
spite of the folly of his teaching he attracted many followers, and also
the attention of the Inquisition. Perceiving his danger, he fled to Milan,
and thence to a more safe retreat in Amsterdam and Hamburg. In his absence
the Inquisition examined his book and passed its dread sentence upon its
author, declaring that "Borri ought to be punished as a heretic for his
errors, that he had incurred both the 'general' and 'particular' censures,
that he was deprived of all honour and prerogative in the Church, of whose
mercy he had proved himself unworthy, that he was expelled from her
communion, and that his effigy should be handed over to the Cardinal
Legate for the execution of the punishment he had deserved." All his
heretical writings were condemned to the flames, and all his goods
confiscated. On the 3rd of January, 1661, Borri's effigy and his books
were burned by the public executioner, and Borri declared that he never
felt so cold, when he knew that he was being burned by proxy. He then fled
to a more secure asylum in Denmark. He imposed upon Frederick III., saying
that he had found the philosopher's stone. After the death of this
credulous monarch Borri journeyed to Vienna, where he was delivered up to
the representative of the Pope, and cast into prison. He was then sent to
Rome, and condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the Castle of St. Angelo,
where he died in 1685. His principal work was entitled _La Chiave del
gabineito del cavagliere G. F. Borri_ (The key of the cabinet of Borri).
Certainly the Church showed him no mercy, but perhaps his hard fate was
not entirely undeserved.

The tragic death of Urban Grandier shows how dangerous it was in the days
of superstition to incur the displeasure of powerful men, and how easily
the charge of necromancy could be used for the purpose of "removing" an
obnoxious person. Grandier was cure of the Church of St. Peter at Loudun
and canon of the Church of the Holy Cross. He was a pleasant companion,
agreeable in conversation, and much admired by the fair sex. Indeed he
wrote a book, _Contra Caelibatum Clericorum_, in which he strongly
advocated the marriage of the clergy, and showed that he was not himself
indifferent to the charms of the ladies. In an evil hour he wrote a little
book entitled _La cordonniere de Loudun_, in which he attacked Richelieu,
and aroused the undying hatred of the great Cardinal. Richelieu was at
that time in the zenith of his power, and when offended he was not very
scrupulous as to the means he employed to carry out his vengeance, as the
fate of our author abundantly testifies.

In the town of Loudun was a famous convent of Ursuline nuns, and Grandier
solicited the office of director of the nunnery, but happily he was
prevented by circumstances from undertaking that duty. A short time
afterwards the nuns were attacked with a curious and contagious frenzy,
imagining themselves tormented by evil spirits, of whom the chief was
Asmodeus. [Footnote: This was the demon mentioned in Tobit iii. 8, 17, who
attacked Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, and killed her seven husbands.
Rabbinical writers consider him as the chief of evil spirits, and recount
his marvellous deeds. He is regarded as the fire of impure love.] They
pretended that they were possessed by the demon, and accused the unhappy
Grandier of casting the spells of witchcraft upon them. He indignantly
refuted the calumny, and appealed to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Charles
de Sourdis. This wise prelate succeeded in calming the troubled minds of
the nuns, and settled the affair.

In the meantime the vengeful eye of Richelieu was watching for an
opportunity. He sent his emissary, Councillor Laubardemont, to Loudun, who
renewed the accusation against Grandier. The amiable cleric, who had led a
pious and regular life, was declared guilty of adultery, sacrilege, magic,
witchcraft, demoniacal possession, and condemned to be burned alive after
receiving an application of the torture. In the market-place of Loudun in
1643 this terrible sentence was carried into execution, and together with
his book, _Contra Caelibatum Clericorum_, poor Grandier was committed to
the flames. When he ascended his funeral pile, a fly was observed to buzz
around his head. A monk who was standing near declared that, as Beelzebub
was the god of flies, the devil was present with Grandier in his dying hour
and wished to bear away his soul to the infernal regions. An account of
this strange and tragic history was published by Aubin in his _Histoire
des diables de Loudun, ou cruels effets de la vengeance de Richelieu_
(Amsterdam, 1693).

Our own country has produced a noted alchemist and astrologer, Dr. Dee,
whose fame extended to many lands. He was a very learned man and prolific
writer, and obtained the office of warden of the collegiate church of
Manchester through the favour of Queen Elizabeth, who was a firm believer
in his astrological powers. His age was the age of witchcraft, and in no
county was the belief in the magic power of the "evil eye" more prevalent
than in Lancashire. Dr. Dee, however, disclaimed all dealings with "the
black art" in his petition to the great "Solomon of the North," James I.,
which was couched in these words: "It has been affirmed that your
majesty's suppliant was the conjurer belonging to the most honourable
privy council of your majesty's predecessor, of famous memory, Queen
Elizabeth; and that he is, or hath been, a caller or invocater of devils,
or damned spirits; these slanders, which have tended to his utter undoing,
can no longer be endured; and if on trial he is found guilty of the
offence imputed to him, he offers himself willingly to the punishment of
death; yea, either to be stoned to death, or to be buried quick, or to be
burned unmercifully." In spite of his assertions to the contrary, the
learned doctor must have had an intimate acquaintance with "the black
art," and was the companion and friend of Edward Kelly, a notorious
necromancer, who for his follies had his ears cut off at Lancaster. This
Kelly used to exhume and consult the dead; in the darkness of night he and
his companions entered churchyards, dug up the bodies of men recently
buried, and caused them to utter predictions concerning the fate of the
living. Dr. Dee's friendship with Kelly was certainly suspicious. On the
coronation of Queen Elizabeth, he foretold the future by consulting the
stars. When a waxen image of the queen was found in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields,
which was a sure sign that some one was endeavouring to cast spells upon
her majesty, Dr. Dee pretended that he was able to defeat the designs of
such evil-disposed persons, and prevent his royal mistress feeling any of
the pains which might be inflicted on her effigy. In addition his books,
of which there were many, witness against him. These were collected by
Casaubon, who published in London in 1659 a _resume_ of the learned
doctor's works.

Manchester was made too hot, even for the alchemist, through the
opposition of his clerical brethren, and he was compelled to resign his
office of warden of the college. Then, accompanied by Kelly, he wandered
abroad, and was received as an honoured guest at the courts of many
sovereigns. The Emperor Rodolphe, Stephen, King of Poland, and other royal
personages welcomed the renowned astrologers, who could read the stars,
had discovered the elixir of life, which rendered men immortal, the
philosopher's stone in the form of a powder which changed the bottom of a
warming-pan into pure silver, simply by warming it at the fire, and made
the precious metals so plentiful that children played at quoits with
golden rings. No wonder they were so welcome! They were acquainted with
the Rosicrucian philosophy, could hold correspondence with the spirits of
the elements, imprison a spirit in a mirror, ring, or stone, and compel it
to answer questions. Dr. Dee's mirror, which worked such wonders, and was
found in his study at his death in 1608, is now in the British Museum. In
spite of all these marvels, the favour which the great man for a time
enjoyed was fleet and transient. He fell into poverty and died in great
misery, his downfall being brought about partly by his works but mainly by
his practices.

Associated with Lancashire demonology is the name of John Darrell, a
cleric, afterwards preacher at St. Mary's, Nottingham, who published a
narrative of the strange and grievous vexation of the devil of seven
persons in Lancashire. This remarkable case occurred at Clayworth in the
parish of Leigh, in the family of one Nicholas Starkie, whose house was
turned into a perfect bedlam. It is vain to follow the account of the
vagaries of the possessed, the howlings and barkings, the scratchings of
holes for the familiars to get to them, the charms and magic circles of
the impostor and exorcist Hartley, and the godly ministrations of the
accomplished author, who with two other preachers overcame the evil

Unfortunately for him, Harsnett, Bishop of Chichester, and afterwards
Archbishop of York, doubted the marvellous powers of the pious author, Dr.
Darrell, and had the audacity to suggest that he made a trade of casting
out devils, and even went so far as to declare that Darrell and the
possessed had arranged the matter between them, and that Darrell had
instructed them how they were to act in order to appear possessed. The
author was subsequently condemned as an impostor by the Queen's
commissioners, deposed from his ministry, and condemned to a long term of
imprisonment with further punishment to follow. The base conduct and
pretences of Darrell and others obliged the clergy to enact the following
canon (No. 73): "That no minister or ministers, without license and
direction of the bishop, under his hand and seal obtained, attempt, upon
any pretence whatsoever, either of possession or obsession, by fasting and
prayer, to cast 'out any devil or devils, under pain of the imputation of
imposture, or cozenage, and deposition from the ministry." This penalty at
the present day not many of the clergy are in danger of incurring.



Bishop Virgil--Roger Bacon--Galileo--Jordano Bruno--Thomas Campanella--De
Lisle de Sales--Denis Diderot--Balthazar Bekker--Isaac de la Peyrere--Abbe
de Marolles--Lucilio Vanini--Jean Rousseau.

Science in its infancy found many powerful opponents, who, not
understanding the nature of the newly-born babe, strove to strangle it.
But the infant grew into a healthy child in spite of its cruel stepmother,
and cried so loudly and talked so strangely that the world was forced to
listen to its utterances. These were regarded with distrust and aversion
by the theologians of the day, for they were supposed to be in opposition
to Revelation, and contrary to the received opinions of all learned and
pious people. Therefore Science met with very severe treatment; its
followers were persecuted with relentless vehemence, and "blasphemous
fables" and "dangerous deceits" were the only epithets which could
characterise its doctrines.

The controversy between Religion and Science still rages, in spite of the
declaration of Professor Huxley that in his opinion the conflict between
the two is entirely factitious. But theologians are wiser now than they
were in the days of Galileo; they are waiting to see what the scientists
can prove, and then, when the various hypotheses are shown to be true, it
will be time enough to reconcile the verities of the Faith with the facts
of Science.

To those who believed that the earth was flat it was somewhat startling to
be told that there were antipodes. This elementary truth of cosmology
Bishop Virgil of Salzbourg was courageous enough to assert as early as
A.D. 764. He wrote a book in which he stated that men of another race, not
sprung from Adam, lived in the world beneath our feet. This work aroused
the anger of Pope Zacharias II, who wrote to the King of Bavaria that
Virgil should be expelled from the temple of God and the Church, and
deprived of God and the Church, and deprived of his office, unless he
confessed his perverse errors. In spite of the censure and sentence of
excommunication pronounced upon him, Bishop Virgil was canonised by Pope
Gregory XI.; thus, in spite of his misfortunes brought about by his book,
his memory was revered and honoured by the Western Church.

If the account of his imprisonment be true (of which there is no
contemporary evidence) our own celebrated English philosopher, Roger
Bacon, is one of the earliest scientific authors whose works proved fatal
to them. In 1267 he sent his book, _Opus Majus_, together with his _Opus
Minus_, an abridgement of his former work, to Pope Clement IV. After the
death of that Pope Bacon was cited by the General of the Franciscan order,
to which he belonged, to appear before his judges at Paris, where he was
condemned to imprisonment. He is said to have languished in the dungeon
fourteen years, and, worn out by his sufferings, to have died in his
beloved Oxford during the year of his release, 1292. The charge of magic
was freely brought against him. His great work, which has been termed "the
_Encyclopaedia_ and the _Novum Organum_ of the thirteenth century,"
discloses an unfettered mind and judgment far in advance of the spirit of
the age in which he lived. In addition to this he wrote _Compendium
Philosophiae_, _De mirabili Potestate artis et naturae, Specula
mathematica, Speculum alchemicum_, and other works.

The treatment which Galileo received at the hands of the ecclesiastics of
his day is well known. This father of experimental philosophy was born at
Pisa in 1564, and at the age of twenty-four years, through the favour of
the Medicis, was elected Professor of Mathematics at the University of the
same town. Resigning his chair in 1592, he became professor at Padua, and
then at Florence. He startled the world by the publication of his first
book, _Sidereus Nuntius_, in which he disclosed his important astronomical
discoveries, amongst others the satellites of Jupiter and the spots on the
sun. This directed the attention of the Inquisition to his labours, but in
1632 he published his immortal work _Dialogo sopra i due Massimi Sistemi
del monda, Tolemaico et Copernicano_ (Florence), which was the cause of
his undoing. In this book he defended the opinion of Copernicus concerning
the motion of the earth round the sun, which was supposed by the
theologians of the day to be an opinion opposed to the teaching of Holy
Scripture and subversive of all truth. The work was brought before the
Inquisition at Rome, and condemned by the order of Pope Urban VIII.
Galileo was commanded to renounce his theory, but this he refused to do,
and was cast into prison. "Are these then my judges?" he exclaimed when he
was returning from the presence of the Inquisitors, whose ignorance
astonished him. There he remained for five long years; until at length,
wearied by his confinement, the squalor of the prison, and by his
increasing years, he consented to recant his "heresy," and regained his
liberty. The old man lost his sight at seventy-four years of age, and died
four years later in 1642. In addition to the work which caused him so
great misfortunes he published _Discorso e Demonstr. interna alle due
nuove Scienze, Delia Scienza Meccanica (1649), Tractato della Sfera
(1655)_; and the telescope, the isochronism of the vibrations of the
pendulum, the hydrostatic balance, the thermometer, were all invented by
this great leader of astronomical and scientific discoverers. Many other
discoveries might have been added to these, had not his widow submitted
the sage's MSS. to her confessor, who ruthlessly destroyed all that he
considered unfit for publication. Possibly he was not the best judge of
such matters!

Italy also produced another unhappy philosophic writer, Jordano Bruno, who
lived about the same time as Galileo, and was born at Nole in 1550, being
fourteen years his senior. At an early age he acquired a great love of
study and a thirst for knowledge. The Renaissance and the revival of
learning had opened wide the gates of knowledge, and there were many eager
faces crowding around the doors, many longing to enter the fair Paradise
and explore the far-extending vistas which met their gaze. It was an age
of anxious and eager inquiry; the torpor of the last centuries had passed
away; and a new world of discovery, with spring-like freshness, dawned
upon the sight. Jordano Bruno was one of these zealous students of the
sixteenth century. We see him first in a Dominican convent, but the old-
world scholasticism had no charms for him. The narrow groove of the
cloister was irksome to his freedom-loving soul. He cast off his monkish
garb, and wandered through Europe as a knight-errant of philosophy,
_multum ille et terris jactatus et alto_, teaching letters. In 1580 we
find him at Geneva conferring with Calvin and Beza, but Calvinism did not
commend itself to his philosophic mind. Thence he journeyed to Paris,
where in 1582 he produced one of his more important works, _De umbris
idearum_. Soon afterwards he came to London, where he became the intimate
friend of Sir Philip Sidney. Here he wrote the work which proved fatal to
him, entitled _Spaccio della bestia triomphante_ (The expulsion of the
triumphing beast) (London, 1584). [Footnote: The full title of the work
is: _Spaccio della bestia triomphante da giove, effetuato dal conseglo,
revelato da Mercurio, recitato da sofia, udito da saulino, registrato dal
nolano, divisa in tre dialogi, subdivisi in tre parti. In Parigi, 1584,
in-8_.] This was an allegory in which he combated superstition and
satirised the errors of Rome. But in this work Bruno fell into grievous
errors and dangerous atheistic deceits. He scoffed at the worship of God,
declared that the books of the sacred canon were merely dreams, that Moses
worked his wonders by magical art, and blasphemed the Saviour. Bruno
furnished another example of those whose faith, having been at one time
forced to accept dogmas bred of superstition, has been weakened and
altogether destroyed when they have perceived the falseness and
fallibility of that which before they deemed infallible.

But in spite of these errors Bruno's learning was remarkable. He had an
extensive knowledge of all sciences. From England he went to Germany, and
lectured at Wittenberg, Prague, and Frankfort. His philosophy resembled
that of Spinosa. He taught that God is the substance and life of all
things, and that the universe is an immense animal, of which God is the

At length he had the imprudence to return to Italy, and became a teacher
at Padua. At Venice he was arrested by order of the Inquisition in 1595,
and conducted to Rome, where, after an imprisonment of two years, in order
that he might be punished as gently as possible without the shedding of
blood, he was sentenced to be burned alive. With a courage worthy of a
philosopher, he exclaimed to his merciless judges, "You pronounce sentence
upon me with greater fear than I receive it." Bruno's other great works
were _Della causa, principio e uno_ (1584), _De infinito universo et
mundis_ (1584), _De monade numero et figura_ (Francfort, 1591).

The Inquisition at Rome at this period was particularly active in its
endeavours to reform errant philosophers, and Bruno was by no means the
only victim who felt its power. Thomas Campanella, born in Calabria, in
Italy, A.D. 1568, conceived the design of reforming philosophy about the
same time as our more celebrated Bacon. This was a task too great for his
strength, nor did he receive much encouragement from the existing powers.
He attacked scholasticism with much vigour, and censured the philosophy of
Aristotle, the admired of the schoolmen. He wrote a work entitled
_Philosophia sensibus demonstrata_, in which he defended the ideas of
Telesio, who explained the laws of nature as founded upon two principles,
the heat of the sun and the coldness of the earth. He declared that all
our knowledge was derived from sensation, and that all parts of the earth
were endowed with feeling. Campanella also wrote _Prodromus philosophiae
instaurandae_ (1617); _Philosophia rationalis_, embracing grammar,
dialectics, rhetoric, poetry, and history; _Universalis Philosophatus_, a
treatise on metaphysics; _Civitas solis_, a description of a kind of
Utopia, after the fashion of Plato's _Republic_. But the fatal book which
caused his woes was his _Atheismus triumphatus_. On account of this work
he was cast into prison, and endured so much misery that we can scarcely
bear to think of his tortures and sufferings. For twenty-five years he
endured all the squalor and horrors of a mediaeval dungeon; through
thirty-five hours he was "questioned" with such exceeding cruelty that all
his veins and arteries were so drawn and stretched by the rack that the
blood could not flow. Yet he bore all this terrible agony with a brave
spirit, and did not utter a cry. Various causes have been assigned for the
severity of this torture inflicted on poor Campanella. Some attribute it
to the malice of the scholastic philosophers, whom he had offended by his
works. Others say that he was engaged in some treasonable conspiracy to
betray the kingdom of Naples to the Spaniards; but it is probable that his
_Atheismus triumphatus_ was the chief cause of his woes. Sorbiere has thus
passed judgment upon this fatal book: "Though nothing is dearer to me than
time, the loss of which grieves me sorely, I confess that I have lost both
oil and labour in reading the empty book of an empty monk, Thomas
Campanella. It is a farrago of vanities, has no order, many obscurities,
and perpetual barbarisms. One thing I have learned in wandering through
this book, that I will never read another book of this author, even if I
could spare the time."

Authorities differ with regard to the ultimate fate of this author. Some
say that he was killed in prison in 1599; others declare that he was
released and fled to France, where he enjoyed a pension granted to him by
Richelieu. However, during his incarceration he continued his studies, and
wrote a work concerning the Spanish monarchy which was translated from
Italian into German and Latin. In spite of his learning he made many
enemies by his arrogance; and his restless and ambitious spirit carried
him into enterprises which were outside the proper sphere of his
philosophy. In this he followed the example of many other luckless
authors, to whom the advice of the homely proverb would have been valuable
which states that "a shoemaker should stick to his last."

The book entitled _De la Philosophie de la Nature, ou Traite de morale
pour l'espece humaine, tire de la philosophie et fonde sur la nature_
(Paris, _Saillant et Nyon_, 1769, 6 vols., in-12), has a curious history.
It inflicted punishment not only on its author, De Lisle de Sales, but
also on two learned censors of books who approved its contents, the Abbe
Chretien and M. Lebas, the bookseller Saillant, and two of its printers.
De Lisle was sent to prison, but the severity of the punishment aroused
popular indignation, and his journey to gaol resembled a triumph. All the
learned *men of Paris visited the imprisoned philosopher. All the
sentences were reversed by the Parliament of Paris in 1777. This book has
often been reproduced and translated in other languages. De Lisle was
exposed to the persecutions of the Reign of Terror, and another work of
his, entitled _Eponine_, caused him a second term of imprisonment, from
which he was released when the terrible reign of anarchy, lasting eighteen
months, ended.

The industrious philosopher Denis Diderot wrote _Lettres sur les Aveugles
a l'usage de ceux qui voient_ (1749, in-12). There were "those who saw"
and were not blind to its defects, and proceeded to incarcerate Diderot in
the Castle of Vincennes, where he remained six months, and where he
perceived that this little correction was necessary to cure him of his
philosophical folly. He was a very prolific writer, and subsequently with
D'Alembert edited the first French Encyclopaedia (1751-1772, 17 vols.).
This was supposed to contain statements antagonistic to the Government and
to Religion, and its authors and booksellers and their assistants were all
sent to the Bastille. _Chambers' Cyclopaedia_ had existed in England some
years before a similar work was attempted in France, and the idea was
first started by an Englishman, John Mills. This man was ingeniously
defrauded of the work, which owed its conception and execution entirely to
him. Perhaps on the whole he might have been congratulated, as he escaped
the Bastille, to which the appropriators of his work were consigned.

An author who dares to combat the popular superstitious beliefs current in
his time often suffers in consequence of his courage, as Balthazar Bekker
discovered to his cost. This writer was born in West Friezland in 1634,
and died at Amsterdam in 1698. He was a pastor of the Reformed Church of
Holland, and resided during the greater part of his life at Amsterdam,
where he produced his earlier work _Recherches sur les Cometes_ (1683), in
which he combated the popular belief in the malign influence of comets.
This work was followed a few years later by his more famous book _De
Betoverde Weereld_, or _The Enchanted World_, [Footnote: _Le Monde
enchante, ou Examen des sentimens touchant les esprits, traduit du flamand
en francais_ (Amsterdam, 1694, 4 vols., in-l2). One Benjamin Binet wrote a
refutation, entitled _Traite historique des Dieux et des Demons du
paganisme, avec des remarques sur le systeme de Balthazar Bekker_ (Delft,
1696, in-l2).] in which he refuted the vulgar notions with regard to
demoniacal possession. This work created a great excitement amongst the
Hollanders, and in two months no less than four thousand copies were sold.
But, unfortunately for the author, it aroused the indignation of the
theologians of the Reformed Church, who condemned it, deprived Bekker of
his office, and expelled him from their communion. Bekker died shortly
after his sentence had been pronounced. A great variety of opinions have
been expressed concerning this book. Bekker was a follower of Descartes,
and this was sufficient to condemn him in the eyes of many of the
theologians of the day. The Jansenists of Port-Royal and the divines of
the old National Church of Holland were vehement opponents of
Cartesianism; consequently we find M.S. de Vries of Utrecht declaring that
this fatal book caused more evil in the space of two months than all the
priests could prevent in twenty years. Another writer states that it is an
illustrious work, and full of wisdom and learning. When Bekker was deposed
from his office, his adversaries caused a medal to be struck representing
the devil clad in a priestly robe, riding on an ass, and carrying a trophy
in his right hand; which was intended to signify that Bekker had been
overcome in his attempt to disprove demoniacal possession, and that the
devil had conquered in the assembly of divines who pronounced sentence on
Bekker's book. The author was supposed to resemble Satan in the ugliness
of his appearance. Another coin was struck in honour of our author: on one
side is shown the figure of Bekker clad in his priestly robe; and on the
other is seen Hercules with his club, with this inscription, _Opus
virtutis veritatisque triumphat_. Bekker also wrote a catechism, entitled
_La Nourriture des Parfaits_ (1670), which so offended the authorities of
the Reformed Church that its use was publicly prohibited by the sound of

The science of ethnology has also had its victims, and one Isaac de la
Peyrere suffered for its sake. His fatal book was one entitled
_Praeadamitae, sive exercitatio super versibus xii., xiii., xiv., capitis
v., epistolae divi Pauli ad romanos. Quibus inducuntur primi homines ante
Adamum conditi_ (1655, in-12), in which he advocated a theory that the
earth had been peopled by a race which existed before Adam. The author was
born at Bordeaux in 1592, and served with the Prince of Conde; but, in
spite of his protector, he was imprisoned at Brussels, and his book was
burnt at Paris, in 1655. This work had a salutary effect on the
indefatigable translator Abbe de Marolles, who with extraordinary energy,
but with little skill, was in the habit of translating the classical
works, and almost anything that he could lay his hands upon. He published
no less than seventy volumes, and at last turned his attention to the
sacred Scriptures, translating them with notes. In the latter he inserted
extracts and reflections from the above-mentioned book by Peyrere, which
caused a sudden cessation of his labours. By the authority of the Pope the
printing of his works was suddenly stopped, but probably the loss which
the world incurred was not very great. Peyrere seems to have foretold the
fate of his book and his own escape in the following line:--

_Parve, nec invideo, sine me, liber, ibis in ignem_.

Lucilio Vanini, born in 1585, was an Italian philosopher, learned in
medicine, astronomy, theology, and philosophy, who, after the fashion of
the scholars of the age, roamed from country to country, like the knight-
errants of the days of chivalry, seeking for glory and honours, not by the
sword, but by learning. This Vanini was a somewhat vain and ridiculous
person. Not content with his Christian name Lucilio, he assumed the
grandiloquent and high-sounding cognomen of Julius Caesar, wishing to
attach to himself some of the glory of the illustrious founder of the
Roman empire. As the proud Roman declared _Veni, Vidi, Vici_, so would he
carry on the same victorious career, subduing all rival philosophers by
the power of his eloquence and learning. He visited Naples, wandered
through France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and England, and
finally stationed himself in France, first at Lyons, and then in a convent
at Toulouse. At Lyons he produced his famous and fatal book,
_Amphitheatrum aeternae providentiae divino-magicum Christiano-Physicum,
nec non Astrologo-Catholicum_ (Lugduni, 1616). It was published with the
royal assent, but afterwards brought upon its author the charge of
Atheism. He concealed the poison most carefully; for apparently he
defended the belief in the Divine Providence and in the immortality of the
soul, but with consummate skill and subtilty he taught that which he
pretended to refute, and led his readers to see the force of the arguments
against the Faith of which he posed as a champion. By a weak and feeble
defence, by foolish arguments and ridiculous reasoning, he secretly
exposed the whole Christian religion to ridicule. But if any doubts were
left whether this was done designedly or unintentionally, they were
dispelled by his second work, _De admirandis naturae reginae deaeque
mortalium arcanis_ (Paris, 1616), which, published in the form of sixty
dialogues, contained many profane statements. In this work also he adopted
his previous plan of pretending to demolish the arguments against the
Faith, while he secretly sought to establish them. He says that he had
wandered through Europe fighting against the Atheists wherever he met with
them. He describes his disputations with them, carefully recording all
their arguments; he concludes each dialogue by saying that he reduced the
Atheists to silence, but with strange modesty he does not inform his
readers what reasonings he used, and practically leaves the carefully
drawn up atheistical arguments unanswered. The Inquisition did not approve
of this subtle method of teaching Atheism, and ordered him to be confined
in prison, and then to be burned alive. This sentence was carried out at
Toulouse in 1619, in spite of his protestations of innocence, and the
arguments which he brought forward before his judges to prove the
existence of God. Some have tried to free Vanini from the charge of
Atheism, but there is abundant evidence of his guilt apart from his books.
The tender mercies of the Inquisition were cruel, and could not allow so
notable a victim to escape their vengeance. Whether to burn a man is the
surest way to convert him, is a question open to argument. Vanini
disguised his insidious teaching carefully, but it required a thick veil


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