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same imbecility which cannot resist the succussions of a crazy brain, and the visions of a distempered fancy, will be overpowered by every impulse of passion, every allurement of sense. Accordingly, the times wherein fanaticism has formed a principal feature, have always likewise been distinguished by a high degree of moral corruption: and that this is applicable to the period under consideration, is abundantly proved by the writings of Lucian.
Such, then, was the state of affairs over the far greater part of the known world even under the Antonines, the mildest and most benevolent sovereigns that the Roman world ever knew; thus wild and giddy were the heads of the great majority of mankind-so greatly were even those that took upon them to be medical practitioners for the mind, in want of a physician for themselves-when Lucian conceived the resolution to encounter the reeling genius of his age with the only weapons of which that genius was afraid, and against which its enchanted armour could not protect it-the witty derision of cool common sense. Endowed with an upright mind, and a sincere love of truth and honesty in all things, the inveterate enemy of all affectation and false pretences, everything overstrained and unnatural, all imposition upon true-hearted simplicity, all usurpations, which either the cunning impostor by artfully disguised methods, or the enthusiastic self-deceiver, by shining natural talents and the contagious ardour of his intellectual fever, might have the art to establish amidst the dull mass of the poor and weak in spirit-he made it the business of his life and the principal aim of his writings to unmask, wherever he found them, falsehood, delusion, imposturefrom the theological fictions of the poet, to the tales of the ghostseer and necromancer-from the wiles and cajoleries of the wheedling sisterhood, a Lais, a Phryne and Glycera, to the infinitely more important tricks of the religious juggler and the oracle-coiner, but especially, and with the most inexorable severity, the specious wisdom and gravity, the ignorant word-learning, the hypocritical virtue, the mean tricks and vulgar manners of the trading philosophers of his time, to represent all these several guilds of the great corporation of cheats in their real shape and nakedness, and thereby to serve his contemporaries, in the exact proportion in which he might safely count on the fervent hatred and persecution of the many-headed and thousand-handed party, whose craft and profit lay in the deception of the people. The very circumstance that, in order the more certainly to attain his serious purpose, he so frequently found himself compelled to conceal it under an appearance of frivolity, and seem to be merely amusing while he was doing his best endeavour to instruct, must, in the eyes of the sober and judicious, greatly enhance his merits; in the shallow judgment of the great mass, who are ever prone to be deluded by the surface of things, the very same circumstance has always, no question, produced the exactly contrary effect.
Why should we, merely because he makes wit and humour the ve
hicle of his physic, refuse him either the design or the merit of healing? What right have we to turn an author, only because he speaks the truth jocosely and laughingly, into a scurra? Ought we not, for the same reason, to pronounce a like verdict on Horace, Juvenal, Chaucer, Rabelais, Cervantes, Swift, Sterne,-in a word, on all comic and satirical poets? For, that the charge brought against Lucian of having shown no less indifference and aversion to truth than to lies, is a groundless calumny, I certainly have no need to prove to any impartial reader of Lucian's writings. . . . . Non omnia possumus omnes. Some are ordained to attack, others to defend, some to pull down, others to build up. Lucian unmasked the idols of erroneous opinion and deisidæmony, the false prophets and spurious philosophers, the Peregrines and the Alexanders: it was surely no trifling service he thus rendered to the world; with what justice could we condemn him for not rendering more? We should scarcely complain of those who employ gifts such as his for the mere purposes of entertainment. Lucian did much more than that. He instructed, while he entertained, he avenged truth and nature on their most dangerous enemies, he tore up by the roots the weeds that prevented the growth of wholesome plants,-he protected the docile understanding of the rising generation against the errors of their fathers, he warned them of the snares, pitfalls, and dens of ambuscade that had proved fatal to those that went before them,-he directed them to the even paths of nature, whereon it is impossible to miss the universal object of sound common sense,—and we require of him still more?
For counteracting successfully the moral diseases of those times, it was precisely a man of Lucian's temper and principles that was wanted.' We have been mutilating a long but an admirable passage. We shall only add, that the story of Lucian's having, at any period of his life, been a Christian, is disproved, among a thousand circumstances, by the severity with which he comments on Peregrinus's connection with, and subsequent reviling of, the Christian community. That he had some knowledge of the contents of the Sacred Writings is certain; he alludes distinctly to the manna of the wilderness, and to the slow utterance of Moses, and we might multiply lesser instances; but his knowledge was obviously obtained at second or rather at third hand, scanty of the scantiest, and, it is almost needless to say, utterly confused and inaccurate. If he had thought the novel sect of any importance, he would have bestowed, at least, one separate tract upon it; and, so far from meriting the bitter vituperation of Suidas on this head, he does perfect justice, in his account of Peregrinus, to the simple and innocent manners of the community on whom that half crazy rogue had for a season imposed.
The satirist of Samosata was a mighty instrument in a cause, of the merits of which he understood nothing; and indeed we can scarcely hesitate to acquiesce in Dr. Mayne's position, that, on the whole,
VOL. XXXVII, NO. LXXIII,
whole, it may be doubted whether Christianity owes more to the grave confutations of Clemens Alexandrinus, Arnobius, and Justin Martyr, or to the facetious wit of Lucian.'
To enter at present upon any other parts of the vast subject which we have merely opened would be incompatible with our limits; there are twenty, each of which might be richly deserving of a separate discussion from abler hands than ours. But in the meantime we would hope that what we have said may stimulate the industry of some person possessing the accomplishments and the leisure which such a task demands; and we venture to suggest to Dr. Bruce, whose ingenious tract on the age of Homer, recently published at Belfast, has not as yet received the notice it merits, that an essay equally comprehensive in purpose, and not quite so condensed in style and execution, on The Age of Lucian, would be worthy of his utmost exertions, and in a high degree interesting, as well as instructive, to all readers whose favour an author of his acquirements is likely to covet.
ART. III.-History of the Progress and Suppression of the Reformation in Italy, in the Sixteenth Century; including à Sketch of the History of the Reformation in the Grisons. By Thomas M'Crie, D.D. 8vo. Edinburgh. 1827.
T has been often asked, with an air of triumph, by the Roman Catholics, where was the religion of Protestants before Luther? And it has been as often replied, in the Bible. But though this answer was enough, another might have been given, and one, perhaps, more to the purpose.
Differing, as we do, from Milner, in his Church History, on very many points, in this we concur with him-that from the time when Christianity was first planted, there has ever been in existence a body of men, obscure, perhaps, as the seven thousand in Israel, to whom the name of the True Church more especially belonged; and who, amidst the corruptions, the discouragements, and the dangers of a world with which they had but little in common, and which was not worthy of them, pursued their pure course in privacy.
It is not easy, indeed, to get with accuracy at the state of . religious opinion, where it differed from the church of Rome, before the Reformation. Then it was that the strings of the tongue were thoroughly loosed, and many sentiments, which, though in being, had been nearly without witness, first found a free utterance. It has been the boast of that church, that for many previous centuries she was at union with herself, and that divisions
divisions and dissent were not known within her borders. The boast, like many others from the same quarter, requires qualification, as Bishop Jewel has abundantly proved; but allowing it to be founded in truth, what could be more natural, than that when the strong man, armed, kept the house, his goods should be at peace'?-and who has ever heard of Whigs, Tories, or Radicals in Turkey? Yet it would be contrary to all experience to believe that such a revolution in the world as Luther effected could have been wrought by one private individual, without the aid of powerful predisposing causes. It is not usual with men who are more than half a century in advance of their generation, to make any great and permanent change in its character-Luther happened to be the first to put the world into the waters, after the angel had sufficiently troubled them. But some hundred years before the reformer was born, (perhaps, in one instance, from the earliest ages of Christianity,) there had been communities of men to be found, in the south of France, in England, in the valleys of the Alps, in Calabria, in Bohemia, perhaps in Spain itself, who held doctrines essentially the same as those afterwards established at the Reformation, and by means of whom the leaven could not fail to be propagated in some degree throughout Europe: for it is a mistake to suppose that the familiar intercourse of nations is a thing of modern growth, and that turnpike-roads and mail-coaches, canals and steam-boats, are the only methods by which we can bring together distant lands, dissociabiles terras. Commerce undoubtedly does great things in this way now, but so did it heretofore by other ways; and it may even be doubted whether the custom of resorting in person to the great fairs holden in various parts of Europe, lasting for eighteen or twenty days, and whilst they lasted giving to an uninclosed waste the appearance of a populous and well-ordered city; it may be doubted, we say, whether these points of annual concourse did not bring together a much greater number of foreigners, (limited as trade then was,) than can be seen upon all the exchanges of a country at this day, when the safe and rapid transmission of letters, and the universal institution of banks, have rendered any closer communication among merchants for the most part unnecessary. Then the traffic in the wooden saint, in the rosaries that had hung about the neck of the famous Virgin of the spot, or in the girdles that had encircled her waist, (whoever has seen the stalls of a Roman catholic fair in our own times will well believe that such hallowed trinkets, which brought a benediction to the buyer,' would not be wanting,) might chance to be the occasion of some casual confession of faith in the parties who dealt or refused to deal, and thus might they, perhaps, teach and learn some scriptural
heresy, whilst, like children, they were playing in the marketplace.
But whatever commerce might do to promote an intercourse amongst the different states of Europe, pilgrimage did more the more distant the object of devotion, the greater was the merit in visiting it; and every country took care to be provided with a source of gain so simple and commodious.-Many were the bones left to whiten on their road to St. James of Compostello, or our Lady of Walsingham. The wife of Bath
6 Thries hadde ben at Jerusaleme,
She hadde passed many a strange streme,
Indeed, so common appears to have been the practice amongst our own countrymen of visiting Rome, that the name of that holy city has, perhaps, furnished us with our most familiar term to express wandering to a distance. The Eternal City was long the political capital of the world, and was then frequented by the nations as the seat of arts, of arms, and of lucrative employment. She was now the religious capital of the world, and frequented, with perhaps equal zeal, as the seat of the true faith, and the fountain of ecclesiastical preferment. Like Jerusalem at the feasts, it was the resort of persons dwelling in every region under heaven, and a certain circulation of ideas was by this means established throughout the whole of Christendom. The spirit in which those religious rambles were undertaken, and the motley character of the pilgrims brought together, are well seen in the Canterbury Tales, or the humorous Peregrinatio of Erasmus; and all that curiosity could extract or loquaciousness impart, would not fail to come out by the way.
Nor was this all-under various pretences, a right to present to benefices even in countries beyond the Alps; and Italian priests, who would naturally maintain a correspondence with their friends at home, were everywhere to be found. The universities of note, again, collected students from distant lands. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, there were so many English at the university of Ferrara, as to form a distinct and influential body in that learned society. An interchange of professors, moreover, which was constantly taking place, contributed to expedite the communication of thought and knowledge amongst those classes of men who were precisely the best fitted to speculate, and to impart their speculations to others; and Latin, being then an universal language, both among scholars and diplomatists, removed at once the obstacle to intercourse, which must have arisen out of a difference in vernacular tongues,