Vol. 6, Chapter VIII (Cont’d) – Reuchlin and Erasmus

69.  In his fresco of the Reformation on the walls of the Berlin museum, Kaulbach has given a place of great prominence to Reuchlin and Erasmus. They are represented in the group of the Humanists, standing side by side, with books under their arms and clad in scholar’s cap and gown, their faces not turned toward the central figure on the platform, Martin Luther. The artist has presented the truth of history. These two most noteworthy German scholars prepared the way for the Reformation and the modern study of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, but remained and died in the Roman Church in which they were born. Rightly did Ulrich von Hutten call them “the two eyes of Germany.” To them, and more especially to Erasmus, did all the greater Reformers owe a debt, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Melanchthon and Beza. John Reuchlin, 1455-1522, known also by the Latin name Capnion, was born in Pforzheim and studied at Schlettstadt, Freiburg, Paris, Basel, Orleans, Poictiers, Florence and Rome. He learned Greek from native Greeks, Hebrew from John Wessel and from Jewish rabbis in Germany and Italy. He bought many Hebrew and rabbinical books, and marked down the time and place of purchase to remind him of the happiness their first acquaintance gave him. A lawyer by profession, he practised law in Stuttgart and always called himself legum doctor. He was first in the service of Eberhard, count of Würtemberg, whom he accompanied to Italy in 1482 as he later accompanied his son, 1490. He served on diplomatic missions and received from the Emperor Maximilian the rank of a count of the Palatinate. At Eberhard’s death he removed to Heidelberg, 1496, where he was appointed by the elector Philip chief tutor in his family. His third visit to Rome, 1498, was made in the elector’s interest. Again he returned to Stuttgart, from which he was called in 1520 to Ingolstadt as professor of Greek and Hebrew at a salary of 200 gulden. In 1521, he was driven from the city by the plague and was appointed lecturer in Tübingen. His death occurred the following spring at Liebenzell in the Black Forest. Reuchlin recommended Melanchthon as professor of Greek in the University of Wittenberg, and thus unconsciously secured him for the Reformation. He was at home in almost all the branches of the learning of his age, but especially in Greek and Hebrew. He translated from Greek writings into Latin, and a part of the Iliad and two orations of Demosthenes into German. His first important work appeared at Basel when he was 20, the Vocabularius breviloquus, a Latin lexicon which went through 25 editions, 1475-1504. He also prepared a Greek Grammar. His chief distinction, however, is as the pioneer of Hebrew learning among Christians in Northern Europe. He gave a scientific basis for the study of this language in his Hebrew Grammar and Dictionary, the De rudimentis hebraicis, which he published in 1506 at his own cost at Pforzheim. Its circulation was slow and, in 1510, 750 copies of the edition of 1,000 still remained unsold. The second edition appeared in 1537. The author proudly concluded this work with the words of Horace, that he had reared a monument more enduring than brass. In 1512, he issued the Penitential Psalms with a close Latin translation and grammatical notes, a work used by Luther. The printing of Hebrew books had begun in Italy in 1475. Reuchlin pronounced Hebrew the oldest of the tongues — the one in which God and angels communicated with man. In spite of its antiquity it is the richest of the languages and from it other languages drew, as from a primal fountain. He complained of the neglect of the study of the Scriptures for the polite study of eloquence and poetry. Reuchlin studied also the philosophy of the Greeks and the Neo-Platonic and Pythagorean mysticisms. He was profoundly convinced of the value of the Jewish Cabbala, which he found to be a well of hidden wisdom. In this rare branch of learning he acknowledged his debt to Pico della Mirandola, whom he called “the greatest scholar of the age.” He published the results of his studies in two works — one, De verbo mirifico, which appeared at Basel in 1494, and passed through eight editions; and one, De arte cabbalistica, 1517. “The wonder-working word” is the Hebrew tetragrammaton Ihvh, the unpronounceable name of God, which is worshipped by the celestials, feared by the infernals and kissed by the soul of the universe. The word Jesu, Ihsvh, is only an enlargement of Ihvh by the letter s. The Jehovah- and Jesus-name is the connecting link between God and man, the infinite and the finite. Thus the mystic tradition of the Jews is a confirmation of the Christian doctrine of the trinity and the divinity of Christ. Reuchlin saw in every name, in every letter, in every number of the old Testament, a profound meaning. In the three letters of the word for create, bara, Gen_1:1, he discerned the mystery of the Trinity; in one verse of Exodus, 72 inexpressible names of God; in Pro_30:31, a prophecy that Frederick the Wise, of Saxony, would follow Maximilian as emperor of Germany, a prophecy which was not fulfilled. We may smile at these fantastic vagaries; but they stimulated and deepened the zeal for the hidden wisdom of the Orient, which Reuchlin called forth from the grave. Through his interest in the Jews and in rabbinical literature, Reuchlin became involved in a controversy which spread over all Europe and called forth decrees from Cologne and other universities, the archbishop of Mainz, the inquisitor-general of Germany, Hoogstraten, the emperor, Maximilian, and Pope Leo X. The monks were his chief opponents, led by John Pfefferkorn, a baptized Jew of Cologne. The controversy was provoked by a tract on the misery of the Jews, written by Reuchlin, 1505 — Missive warumb die Juden so lang im Elend sind. Here the author made the obstinacy of the Jews in crucifying Christ and their persistence in daily blaspheming him the just cause of their sorrows, but, instead of calling for their persecution, he urged a serious effort for their conversion. In a series of tracts, Pfefferkorn assaulted this position and demanded that his former coreligionists, as the sworn enemies of Christ, should be compelled to listen to Christian preaching, be forbidden to practise usury and that their false Jewish books should be destroyed. The flaming anti-Semite prosecuted his case with the vigor with which a few years later Eck prosecuted the papal case against Luther. Maximilian, whose court he visited three times to present the matter, Hoogstraten and the University of Cologne took Pfefferkorn’s side, and the emperor gave him permission to burn all Jewish books except, of course, the Old Testament. Called upon to explain his position by the archbishop of Mainz, with whom Maximilian left the case, Reuchlin exempted from destruction the Talmud, the Cabbala and all other writings of the Jews except the Nizahon and the Toledoth Jeshu, which, after due examination and legal decision, might be destroyed, as they contained blasphemies against Christ, his mother and the Apostles. He advised the emperor to order every university in Germany to establish chairs of Hebrew for ten years. Pfefferkorn, whom Reuchlin had called a “buffalo or an ass,” replied in a violent attack, the Handmirror — Handspiegel wider und gegen die Juden — 1511. Both parties appeared before the emperor, and Reuchlin replied in the Spectacles — Augenspiegel, — which in its turn was answered by his antagonist in the Burning Glass — Brandspiegel. The sale of the Spectacles was forbidden in Frankfurt. Reuchlin followed in a Defense against all Calumniators, 1513, and after the manner of the age cudgelled them with such epithets as goats, biting dogs, raving wolves, foxes, hogs, sows, horses, asses and children of the devil. An appeal he made to Frederick the Wise called forth words of support from Carlstadt and Luther. The future Reformer spoke of Reuchlin as a most innocent and learned man, and condemned the inquisitorial zeal of the Cologne theologians who “might have found worse occasions of offence on all the streets of Jerusalem than in the extraneous Jewish question.” The theological faculty of Cologne, which consisted mostly of Dominicans, denounced 43 sentences taken from Reuchlin as heretical, 1514. The Paris university followed suit. Cited before the tribunal of the Inquisition by Hoogstraten, Reuchlin appealed to the pope. Hoogstraten had the satisfaction of seeing the Augenspiegel publicly burnt at Cologne, Feb. 10, 1514. The young bishop of Spires, whom Leo X. appointed to adjudicate the case, cleared Reuchlin and condemned Hoogstraten to silence and the payment of the costs, amounting to 111 gulden, April 24, 1514. But the indomitable inquisitor took another appeal, and Leo appointed Cardinal Grimani and then a commission of 24 to settle the dispute. All the members of the commission but Sylvester Prierias favored Reuchlin, who was now supported by the court of Maximilian, by the German “poets” as a body and by Ulrich von Hutten, but opposed by the Dominican order. When a favorable decision was about to be rendered, Leo interposed, June 23, 1520, and condemned Reuchlin’s book, the Spectacles, as a work friendly to the Jews, and obligated the author to pay the costs of trial and thereafter to keep silence. The monks had won and Pfefferkorn, with papal authority on his side, could celebrate his triumph over scholarship and toleration in a special tract, 1521. With the Reformation, which in the meantime had broken out at Wittenberg, the great Hebrew scholar showed no sympathy. He even turned away from Melanchthon and cancelled the bequest of his library, which he had made in his favor, and gave it to his native town, Pforzheim. He prevented, however, Dr. Eck, during his brief sojourn at Ingolstadt, from burning Luther’s writings. His controversy with Pfefferkorn had shown how strong in Germany the spirit of obscurantism was, but it had also called forth a large number of pamphlets and letters in favor of Reuchlin. The Hebrew pathfinder prepared a collection of such testimonies from Erasmus, Mutianus, Peutinger, Pirkheimer, Busch, Vadianus, Glareanus, Melanchthon, Oecolampadius, Hedio and others, — in all, 43 eminent scholars who were classed as Reuchlinists. Among the writings of the Reuchlinists against the opponents of the new learning, the Letters of Unfamed Men — Epistolae virorum obscurorum — occupy the most prominent place. These epistles are a fictitious correspondence of Dominican monks who expose their own old-fogyism, ignorance and vulgarity to public ridicule in their barbarous German-Latin jargon, which is called kitchen-Latin, Küchenlatein, and which admits of no adequate translation. They appeared anonymously, but were chiefly written by Ulrich von Hutten and Crotus Rubeanus whose German name was Johannes Jäger. The authors were friends of Luther, but Crotus afterwards fell out with the Reformation, like Erasmus and other Humanists. Ulrich von Hutten, 1488-1523, after breaking away from the convent in which his father had placed him six years before, pursued desultory studies in the University of Cologne, developed a taste for the Humanistic culture and travelled in Italy. In 1517, he returned to Germany and had a position at the court of the pleasure-loving Albrecht, archbishop of Mainz, a patron of the new learning. He was crowned with the poet’s crown by Maximilian and was hailed as the future great epic poet of Germany by Erasmus, but later incurred the hostility of that scholar who, after Hutten’s death, directed against his memory the shafts of his satire. He joined Franz von Sickingen in standing ready to protect Luther at Worms. Placed under the ban, he spent most of his time after 1520, till his death, in semi-concealment at Schlettstadt, Basel and at Zürich under the protection of Zwingli. Hutten’s life at Cologne and in Rome gave him opportunity enough to find out the obscurantism of the Dominicans and other foes of progress as well as the conditions prevailing at the papal court. In 1517, he edited Valla’s tract on the spurious Donation of Constantine and, with inimitable irony, dedicated it to Leo X. In ridicule and contempt it excelled everything, Janssen says, that had been written in Germany up to that time against the papacy. As early as 1513, Hutten issued epigrams from Italy, calling Julius II. “the corrupter of the earth, the plague of mankind.” His Latin poem, the Triumph of Reuchlin, 1518, defended the Hebrew scholar, and called for fierce punishment upon Pfefferkorn. It contained a curious woodcut, representing Reuchlin’s triumphal procession to his native Pforzheim, and his victory over Hoogstraten and Pfefferkorn with their four idols of superstition, barbarism, ignorance and envy. The 10 Epistles of the Unfamed Men, written first in Latin and then translated by Hutten into German, with genial and not seldom coarse humor, demanded the restriction of the pope’s tyranny, the dissolution of the convents, the appropriation of annates and lands of abolished convents and benefices for the creation of a fund for the needy. The amorous propensities of the monks are not spared. The author called the holy coat of Treves a lousy old rag, and declared the relics of the three kings of Cologne to be the bodies of three Westphalian peasants. In the 4th letter, entitled the Roman trinity, things are set forth and commented upon which were found in three’s in Rome. Three things were considered ridiculous at Rome: the example of the ancients, the papacy of Peter and the last judgment. There were three things of which they had a superabundance in the holy city: antiquities, poison and ruins; three articles were kept on sale: Christ, ecclesiastical places and women; three things which gave the Romelings pain: the unity among the princes, the growing intelligence of the people and the revelation of their frauds; three things which they disliked most to hear about: a general council, a reformation of the clerical office and the opening of the eyes of the Germans; three things held as most precious: beautiful women, proud horses and papal bulls. These were some of the spectacles which Rome offered. Had not Hutten himself been in Rome, when the same archbishop’s pall was sold twice in a single day! The so-called “gracious expectations,” which the pope distributed, were a special mark of his favor to the Germans. Hutten’s wit reached the popular heart, drew laughter from the educated and stirred up the wrath of the self-satisfied advocates of the old ways. As a knight, he touched a new chord, the national German pride, a chord on which Luther played as a master. What Reuchlin did for Hebrew learning, Erasmus, who was twelve years his junior, accomplished for Greek learning and more. He established the Greek pronunciation which goes by his name; he edited and translated Greek classics and Church Fathers and made them familiar to northern scholars, and he furnished the key to the critical study of the Greek Testament, the magna charta of Christianity. He was the contemporary of the Protestant Reformers and was an invaluable aid to the movement led by them through his edition of the New Testament, his renunciation of scholastic subtlety in its interpretation and his attacks on the ceremonial religiosity of his age. But, when the time came for him to take open sides, he protested his aversion to the course which the Reformers had taken as a course of violence and revolution. He died in isolation, without a party. The Catholics would not claim him; the Protestants could not. Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536, was born at Rotterdam out of wedlock, his father probably a priest at the time. His school life began at Deventer when he was nine years old, Hegius then being in charge. His parents died when he was 13 and, in 1481, he was in the school at Herzogenbusch where he spent three years, a period he speaks of as lost time. His letters of after years refer to his school experiences without enthusiasm or gratitude. After wandering about, he was persuaded against his will to enter a convent at Steyn. This step, in later years, he pronounced the most unfortunate calamity of his life. To his experience in the convent he ascribed the physical infirmity of his manhood. But he certainly went forth with the great advantage of having become acquainted with conventual life on its inside, and wholesome moral influence must have been exerted from some quarter in his early life to account for the moral discrimination of his later years. His ability secured for him the patronage of the bishop of Cambray, who intended taking him as his interpreter to Italy, where he hoped to receive the cardinal’s hat. So far as Italy went, the young scholar was disappointed, but the bishop sent him to Paris, without, however, providing him with much financial assistance. He was able to support himself from the proceeds of instruction he gave several young Englishmen and, through their mediation, Erasmus made his first visit to England, 1499. This visit seems to have lasted only two or three months. At Oxford, the young scholar met Colet and Sir Thomas More and, through the influence of the former, was induced to give more attention to the Greek than he had been giving. The next years he spent in France and Holland writing his book of Proverbs, — Adagia, — issued 1500, and his Manual of the Christian soldier, — Enchiridion militis Christiani, — issued in 1502. In 1505, he was back in England, remaining there for three years. He then embraced an opportunity to travel in Italy with the two sons of Henry VII.’s Genoese physician, Battista Boerio. At Turin, he received the doctor’s degree, spent a number of months in Venice, turning out work for the Aldine presses, and visited Bologna, Rome and other cities. There is no indication in his correspondence that he was moved by the culture, art or natural scenery of Italy, nor does he make a single reference to the scenery of the Alps which he crossed. Expecting lucrative appointment from Henry VIII., Erasmus returned to England, 1509, remaining there five years. On his way, he wrote for diversion his Praise of Folly, — Encomium moriae, — a book which received its title from the fact that he was thinking of Sir Thomas More when its conception took form in his mind. The book was completed in More’s house and was illustrated with life-like pictures by Holbein. During part of this sojourn in England, Erasmus was entered as “Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity” at Cambridge and taught Greek. The salary was 65 dollars a year, which Emerton calls “a respectable sum.” He was on intimate terms with Colet, now dean of St. Paul’s, More, Fisher, bishop of Rochester, Archbishop Warham and other Englishmen. Lord Mountjoy provided him with an annuity and Archbishop Warham with the living of Aldington in 1411, which Erasmus retained for a while and then exchanged for an annuity of £20 from the archbishop. From 1515-1521, he had his residence in different cities in the Lowlands, and it was at this time he secured complete dispensation from the monastic vow which had been granted in part by Julius II. some years earlier. Erasmus’ fame now exceeded the fame of any other scholar in Europe. Wherever he went, he was received with great honors. Princes joined scholars and prelates in doing him homage. Melanchthon addressed to him a poem, “Erasmus the best and greatest,” Erasmum optimum, maximum. His edition of the Greek New Testament appeared in 1516, and in 1518 his Colloquies, a collection of familiar relations of his experiences with men and things. When persecution broke out in the Netherlands after Leo’s issuance of his bull against Luther, Erasmus removed to Basel, where some of his works had already been printed on the Froben presses. At first be found the atmosphere of his new home congenial, and published one edition after the other of the Fathers, — Hilary 1523, Irenaeus 1526, Ambrose 1527, Augustine 1528, Epiphanius 1529, Chrysostom 1530. But when the city, under the influence of Oecolampadius, went Protestant and Erasmus was more closely pushed to take definite sides or was prodded with faithlessness to himself in not going with the Reformers, he withdrew to the Catholic town of Freiburg in Breisgau, 1529. The circulation of his Colloquies had been forbidden in France and burnt in Spain, and his writings were charged by the Sorbonne with containing 82 heretical teachings. On the other hand, he was offered the red hat by Paul III., 1535, but declined it on account of his age. After the death of Oecolampadius, he returned to Basel, 1535, broken down with the stone and catarrh. The last work on which he was engaged was an edition of Origen. He died calling out, “Oh, Jesus Christ, thou Son of God, have mercy on me,” but without priest or extreme unction, — sine lux, sine crux, sine Deus, as the Dominicans of Cologne in their joy and bad Latin expressed it. He was buried in the Protestant cathedral of Basel, carried to the grave, as his friend and admirer, Beatus Rhenanus, informs us, on the shoulders of students. The chief magistrate of the city and all the professors and students were present at the burial. Erasmus was the prince of Humanists and the most influential and useful scholar of his age. He ruled with undisputed sway as monarch in the realm of letters. He combined brilliant genius with classical and biblical learning, keen wit and elegant taste. He rarely wrote a dull line. His extensive travels made him a man of the world, a genuine cosmopolitan, and he stood in correspondence with scholars of all countries who consulted him as an oracle. His books had the popularity and circulation of modern novels. When the rumor went abroad that his Colloquies were to be condemned by the Sorbonne, a Paris publisher hurried through the press an edition of 24,000 copies. To the income from his writings and an annuity of 400 gulden which he received as counsellor of Charles V. — a title given him in 1516 — were added the constant gifts from patrons and admirers. Had Erasmus confined himself to scholarly labors, though he secured eminence as the first classicist of his age, his influence might have been restricted to his time and his name to a place with the names of Politian of Italy and Budaeus of France, whose works are no longer read. But it was otherwise. His labors had a far-reaching bearing on the future. He was a leading factor in the emancipation of the mind of Europe from the bondage of ignorance and superstition, and he uncovered a lifeless formalism in religion. He unthawed the frost-bitten intellectual soil of Germany. The spirit of historical criticism which Laurentius Valla had shown in the South, he represented north of the Alps, and of Valla he spoke as “unrivalled both in the sharpness of his intelligence and the tenacity of his memory.” But the sweep of his influence is due to the mediation of his pupils and admirers, Zwingli, Oecolampadius and Luther. Erasmus’ break with the old medieval ecclesiasticism was shown in a fourfold way. He scourged the monks for their ignorance, pride and unchastity, and condemned that ceremonialism in religion which is without heart; he practised the critical method in the treatment of Scripture; he issued the first Greek New Testament; be advocated the translation of the Bible into the languages spoken in his day. In almost every work that he wrote, Erasmus, in a vein of satire or in serious statement, inveighed against the hypocritical pretension of the monkery of his time and against the uselessness of hollow religious rites. In his edition of the New Testament, he frequently returns to these subjects. For example, in a note on Mat_19:12 he speaks of the priests “who are permitted to fornicate and may freely keep concubines but not have a wife.” Nowhere is his satire more keen on the clergy than in the Praise of Folly. In this most readable book, Folly represented as a female, delivers an oration to an audience of all classes and conditions and is most explicit and elaborate when she discourses on the priests, monks, theologians and the pope. After declaring with consummate irony that of all classes the theologians were the least dependent upon her, Folly proceeds to exhibit them as able to give the most exquisite solutions for the most perplexing questions, how in the wafer accidents may subsist without a subject, how long a time it required for the Saviour to be conceived in the Virgin’s womb, whether God might as easily have become a woman, a devil, a beast, an herb or a stone as a man. In view of such wonderful metaphysics, the Apostles themselves would have needed a new illuminating spirit could they have lived again. As for the monks, whose name signifies solitude, they were to be found in every street and alley. They were most precise about their girdles and hoods and the cut of their crowns, yet they easily provoked quarrels, and at last they would have to search for a new heaven, for entrance would be barred them to the old heaven prepared for such as are true of heart. As for the pope, Luther’s language never pictured more distinctly the world-wide gulf between what the successor of St. Peter should be and really was, than did the biting sentences of Erasmus. Most liberal, he said, were the popes with the weapons of the Spirit, — interdicts, greater and lesser excommunications, roaring bulls and the like, — which they launch forth with unrestrained vehemence when the authority of St. Peter’s chair is attacked. These are they who by their lusts and wickedness grieve the Holy Spirit and make their Saviour’s wounds to bleed afresh. In the Enchiridion, he says, “Apostle, pastor and bishop” are names of duties not of government, and papa, pope, and abbas, abbot, are titles of love. The sale of indulgences, saint worship and other medieval abuses came in for Erasmus’ poignant thrusts. In addition to his own Annotations and Paraphrases of the New Testament, he edited the first printed edition of Valla’s Annotations, which appeared in Paris, 1505. It was his great merit to call attention to the plain meaning of Scripture and to urge men “to venerate the living and breathing picture of Christ in the sacred books, instead of falling down before statues of wood and stone of him, adorned though they were with gold. What were Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and Ockam compared with him, whom the Father in heaven called His beloved Son!” As for the Schoolmen, he said, “I would rather be a pious divine with Jerome than invincible with Scotus. Was ever a heretic converted by their subtleties!” The appearance of Erasmus’ edition of the Greek Testament at Basel, 1516, marked an epoch in the study and understanding of the Scriptures. It was worth more for the cause of religion than all the other literary works of Erasmus put together, yea, than all the translations and original writings of all the Renaissance writers. The work contained a dedication to Leo X., a man whom Erasmus continued to flatter, as in the epistle dedicating to him his edition of Jerome, but who of all men was destined to oppose the proclamation of the true Gospel. The volume, 672 pages in all, contained the Greek text in one column and Erasmus’ own Latin version in the other, together with his annotations. It was hurried through the press in order to anticipate the publication of the New Testament of the Complutensian Polyglot, which was actually printed in 1514, but was not given to the public till 1520. The editor used three manuscripts of the 12th century, which are still preserved in the university library of Basel and retain the marginal notes of Erasmus and the red lines of the printer to indicate the corresponding pages of the printed edition. Erasmus did not even take the trouble to copy the manuscripts, but sent them, with numerous marginal corrections, to the printer. The manuscript of the Apocalypse was borrowed from Reuchlin, and disappeared, but was rediscovered, in 1861, by Dr. Delitzsch in the library of Oettingen-Wallerstein at Mayhingen, Bavaria. It was defective on the last leaf and supplemented by Erasmus, who translated the last six verses from the Vulgate into indifferent Greek, for he was a better Latinist than Hellenist. In all, Erasmus published five editions of the Greek Testament — 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527 and 1535. Besides, more than 30 unauthorized reprints appeared in Venice, Strassburg, Basel, Paris and other cities. He made several improvements, but his entire apparatus never exceeded eight MSS. The 4th and the 5th editions were the basis of the textus receptus, which ruled supreme till the time of Lachmann and Tregelles. His notes and paraphrases on the New Testament, the Apocalypse excepted, were translated into English, and a copy given to every parish in 1547. Zwingli copied the Pauline Epistles from the 1st Greek edition with his own hand in the convent at Einsiedeln, 1516. From the 2d edition of 1519, Luther prepared his German translation on the Wartburg, 1522, and Tyndale his English version, 1526. Thus Erasmus directly contributed to the preparation of the vernacular versions which he so highly commended in his Preface to the 1st edition of his Greek Testament. He there expressed the hope that the Scriptures might be translated into every tongue and put into the hands of every reader, to give strength and comfort to the husbandman at his plough, to the weaver at his shuttle, to the traveller on his journey and to the woman at her distaff. He declared it a miserable thing that thousands of educated Christians had never read the New Testament. In editing the Greek original, it was his purpose, so he says, to enable the theologians to study Christianity at its fountain-head. It was high praise when Oecolampadius confessed he had learned from Erasmus that “in the Sacred Books nothing was to besought but Christ,” nihil in sacris scripturis praeter Christum quaerendum. It was a common saying, to which Erasmus himself refers, that he laid the egg which Luther hatched. His relations to the Wittenberg Reformer and to the movement of the Reformation is presented in the 6th volume of this series. Here it is enough to say that Erasmus desired a reformation by gradual education and gentle persuasion within the limits of the old Church system. He disapproved of the violent measures of Luther and Zwingli, and feared that they would do much harm to the cause of learning and refined culture, which he had more at heart than religion. He and Luther never met, and he emphatically disavowed all responsibility for Luther’s course and declared he had had no time to read Luther’s books. And yet, in a letter to Zwingli, he confessed that most of the positions taken by Luther he had himself taken before Luther’s appearance. The truth is that Erasmus was a critical scholar and not a man of action or of deep fervor of conviction. At best, he was a moralist. He went through no such religious experiences as Luther, and Luther early wrote to Lange that he feared Erasmus knew little of the grace of God. The early part of the 16th century was a period when the critic needed to be supplemented. Erasmus had no mind for the fray of battle. His piety was not deep enough to brave a rupture with the old order. He courted the flattery of the pope, though his pen poured forth ridicule against him. And nowhere is the difference of the two men shown in clearer light than in their treatment of Leo X., whom, when it was to his advantage, Erasmus lauded as a paragon of culture. He did not see that something more was needed than literature and satire to work a change. The times required the readiness for martyrdom, and Erasmus’ religious conviction was not sufficient to make him ready to suffer for principle. On most controverted points, Emerton well says he had one opinion for his friends and another for the world. He lacked both the candor and the courage to be a religious hero. “Erasmus is a man for himself” was the apt characterization often repeated in the Letters of Unfamed Men. Luther spoke to the German people and fought for them. Erasmus awakened the admiration of the polite by his scholarship and wit. The people knew him not. Luther spoke in German: Erasmus boasted that he knew as little Italian as Indian and that he was little conversant with German, French or English. He prided himself on his pure Latinity. Erasmus never intended to separate from Rome any more than his English friends, John Colet and Thomas More. He declared he had never departed from the judgment of the Church, nor could he. “Her consent is so important to me that I would agree with the Arians and Pelagians if the Church should approve what they taught.” This he wrote in 1526 after the open feud with Luther in the controversy over the freedom of the will. The Catholic Church, however, never forgave him. All his works were placed on the Index by two popes, Paul IV. in 1559 and Sixtus V., 1590, as intentionally heretical. In 1564, by the final action of the Council of Trent, this sweeping judgment was revoked and all the writings removed from the Index except the Colloquies, Praise of Folly, Christian Marriage and one or two others, a decision confirmed by Clement VIII., 1596. And there the matter has rested since. The Catholic historian of the German people, Janssen, in a dark picture of Erasmus, presents him as vain and conceited, ungrateful to his benefactors, always ready to take a neutral attitude on disputed questions and, for the sake of presents, flattering to the great. Janssen calls attention to his delight over the gold and silver vessels and other valuables he had received in gifts. My drawers, Erasmus wrote, “are filled with presents, cups, bottles, spoons, watches, some of them of pure gold, and rings too numerous to count.” In only one respect, says Janssen, did he go beyond his Italian predecessors in his attack upon the Church. The Italians sneered and ridiculed, but kept their statements free from hypocritical piety, which Erasmus often resorted to after he had driven his dagger into his opponent’s breast. In England, the old Puritan, Tyndale, also gave Erasmus no quarter, but spoke of him as one “whose tongue maketh little gnats great elephants and lifteth up above the stars whosoever giveth him a little exhibition.” But no one has ever understood Erasmus and discerned what was his mission better than Luther. That Reformer, who had once called him “our ornament and hope — decus nostrum et spes,” — expressed the whole truth when, in a letter to Oecolampadius, 1523, he said: “Erasmus has done what he was ordained to do. He has introduced the ancient languages in place of the pernicious scholastic studies. He will probably die like Moses in the land of Moab …. He has done enough to overcome the evil, but to lead to the land of promise is not, in my judgment, his business.” 70. Humanism in France Humanism in France found its way from Italy, but did not become a distinct movement until the 16th century was well on its way. Budaeus, 1467-1540, was the chief representative of classical studies; Faber Stapulensis, or, to use his French name, Lefèvre d’Etaples, of Christian culture, 1469-1536, both of them living well into the period of the Reformation. In France, as in Germany, the pursuit of the classics never went to the point of intoxication as it did in Italy. In France, the Renaissance did not reach its maturity till after the Reformation was well advanced in Germany, the time at which the springs of the movement in the Italian peninsula were dried up. On the completion of the 100 years’ war between France and England, the intellectual currents began to start. In 1464, Peter Raoul composed for the duke of Bourgogne a history of Troy. At that time the French still regarded themselves as descendants of Hector. If we except Paris, none of the French universities took part in the movement. Individual writers and printing-presses at Paris, Lyons, Rouen and other cities became its centres and sources. William Fichet and Gaguin are usually looked upon as the first French Humanists. Fichet introduced “the eloquence of Rome” at Paris and set up a press at the Sorbonne. He corresponded with Bessarion and had in his library volumes of Petrarca, Guarino of Verona and other Italians. Gaguin copied and corrected Suetonius in 1468 and other Latin authors. Poggio’s Jest-book and some of Valla’s writings were translated into French. In the reign of Louis XI., who gloried in the title “the first Christian king,” French poets celebrated his deeds. The homage of royalty took in part the place among the literary men of France that the cult of antiquity occupied in Italy. Greek, which had been completely forgotten in France, had its first teachers in Gregory Tifernas, who reached Paris, 1458, John Lascaris, who returned with Charles VIII., and Hermonymus of Sparta, who had Reuchlin and Budaeus among his scholars. An impetus was given to the new studies by the Italian, Aleander, afterwards famous for his association with Luther at Worms. He lectured in Paris, 1509, on Plato and issued a Latino-Greek lexicon. In 1512 his pupil, Vatable, published the Greek grammar of Chrysoloras. William Budaeus, perhaps the foremost Greek scholar of his day, founded the Collège de France, 1530, and finally induced Francis I. to provide for instruction in Hebrew and Greek. The University of Paris at the close of the 14th century was sunk into a low condition and Erasmus bitterly complained of the food, the morals and the intellectual standards of the college of Montague which he attended. Budaeus urged the combination of the study of the Scriptures with the study of the classics and exclaimed of the Gospel of John, “What is it, if not the almost perfect sanctuary of the truth!” He persisted in setting himself against the objection that the study of the languages of Scripture led on to Lutheranism. Lefèvre studied in Paris, Pavia, Padua and Cologne and, for longer or shorter periods, tarried in the greater Italian cities. He knew Greek and some Hebrew. From 1492-1506 he was engaged in editing the works of Aristotle and Raymundus Lullus and then, under the protection of Briçonnet, bishop of Meaux, he turned his attention to theology. It was his purpose to offset the Sentences of Peter the Lombard by a system of theology giving only what the Scriptures teach. In 1509, he published the Psalterum quintuplex, a combination of five Latin versions of the Psalms, including a revision and a commentary by his own hand. In 1512, he issued a revised Latin translation of the Pauline Epistles with commentary. In this work, he asserted the authority of the Bible and the doctrine of justification by faith, without appreciating, however, the far-reaching significance of the latter opinion. He also called in question the merit of good works and priestly celibacy. In his Preface to the Psalms Lefèvre said, “For a long time I followed Humanistic studies and I scarcely touched my books with things divine, but then these burnt upon me with such light, that profane studies seemed to be as darkness in comparison.” Three years after the appearance of Luther’s New Testament, Lefèvre’s French translation appeared, 1523. It was made from the Vulgate, as was his translation of the Old Testament, 1528. In 1522 and 1525, appeared his commentaries on the four Gospels and the Catholic Epistles. The former was put on the Index by the Sorbonne. The opposition to the free spirit of inquiry and to the Reformation, which the Sorbonne stirred up and French royalty adopted, forced him to flee to Strassburg and then to the liberal court of Margaret of Angoulême. Among those who came into contact with Lefèvre were Farel and Calvin, the Reformers of Geneva. In the meantime Clement Marot, 1495-1544, the first true poet of the French literary revival, was composing his French versification of the Psalms and of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Psalms were sung for pleasure by French princes and later for worship in Geneva and by the Huguenots. When Calvin studied the humanities and law at Bourges, Orleans and Paris, about 1520, he had for teachers Cordier and L’Etoile, the canonists, and Melchior Wolmar, teacher of Greek, whose names the future Reformer records with gratitude and respect. He gave himself passionately to Humanistic studies and sent to Erasmus a copy of his work on Seneca’s Clemency, in which he quoted frequently from the ancient classics and the Fathers. Had he not adopted the new religious views, it is possible he would now be known as an eminent figure in the history of French Humanism. 71. Humanism in England Use well temporal things: desire eternal things. — John Colet. Humanism reached England directly from Italy, but was greatly advanced by Erasmus during his three sojourns at Oxford and Cambridge and by his close and abiding friendship with the leading English representatives of the movement. Its history carries us at once to the universities where the conflict between the new learning and the old learning was principally fought out and also to St. Paul’s school, London, founded by Colet. It was marked with the usual English characteristics of caution and reserve, and never manifested any of the brilliant or paganizing traits of the Italian literary movement, nor did it reach the more profound classical scholarship of the German Humanists. In the departments of the fine arts, if we except printing, it remained unresponsive to the Continental leadership. English Humanism, like the theology of the English Reformation, adopted the work of others. It was not creative. On the other hand, it laid more distinctive emphasis upon the religious and ethical elements than the Humanistic circles of Italy, though not of Germany. Its chief leaders were John Colet and Sir Thomas More, with whom Erasmus is also to be associated. It had patrons in high places in Archbishop Warham of Canterbury, Cardinal Wolsey and John Fisher, bishop of Rochester. The English revival of letters was a direct precursor of the English Reformation, although its earliest leaders died in the Catholic Church. Its first distinct impetus was received in the last quarter of the 15th century through English students who visited Italy. It had been the custom for English archdeacons to go to Italy for the study of the canon law. Richard de Bury and Peter de Blois had shown interest in books and Latin profane authors. Italians, Poggio and Polidore Virgil among them, tarried and some of them taught in England, but the first to introduce the new movement were William Sellyng, Thomas Linacre and William Grocyn. Sellyng, of All Souls’ College, Oxford, and afterwards prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, 1471-1495, made a visit to Italy in 1464 and at Bologna was a pupil of Politian. From this tour, or from a later one, he brought back with him some Greek MSS. and he introduced the studying of Greek in Canterbury. Linacre, d. 1524, the most celebrated medical man of his day in England, studied under Sellyng at Christ Church and then in Oxford, where he took Greek under Cornelio Vitelli, the first to publicly teach that language in England in the later Middle Ages. He then went to Florence, Rome and Padua, where he graduated in medicine. On returning to England, he was ordained priest and later made physician to Henry VIII. He translated the works of Galen into English. While Linacre was studying in Florence, Grocyn arrived in that city. He was teaching Greek in Oxford before 1488 and, on his return from the Continent, he began, 1491, to give Greek lectures in that university. With this date the historian, Green, regards the new period as opening. Grocyn lectured on pseudo-Dionysius and, following Laurentius Valla, abandoned the tradition that he was the Areopagite, the pupil of St. Paul. He and Linacre were close friends of Erasmus, and that scholar couples them with Colet and More as four representatives of profound and symmetrical learning. At the close of the 15th century, the English were still a “barbarous” people in the eyes of the Italians. According to Erasmus, who ought to have known what a good school was, the schoolteachers of England were “shabby and broken down and, in cases, hardly in their senses.” At the universities, the study of Duns Scotus ruled and the old method and text-books were in use. The Schoolmen were destined, however, soon to be displaced and the leaves of the Subtle Doctor to be scattered in the quadrangles of Oxford and trodden under foot. As for the study of Greek, there were those, as Wood says, who preached against it as “dangerous and damnable” and, long after the new century had dawned, Sir Thomas More wrote to the authorities at Oxford condemning them for opposition to Greek. A course of sermons, to which More refers, had been preached in Lent not only against the study of the Greek classics but also the Latin classics. What right, he went on to say, “had a preacher to denounce Latin of which he knew so little and Greek of which he knew nothing? How can he know theology, if he is ignorant of Hebrew, Greek and Latin? “In closing the letter, More threatened the authorities with punishment from Warham, Wolsey and even the king himself, if they persisted in their course. Of the clergy’s alarm against the new learning, More took notice again and again. To Lily, the headmaster of St. Paul’s school, he wrote, “No wonder your school raises a storm; it is like the wooden horse for the ruin of barbarous Troy.” But, if there were those who could see only danger from the new studies, there were also men like Fisher of Rochester who set about learning Greek when he was 60. For the venerable Sentences of the Lombard, the Scriptures were about to be instituted as the text-book of theology in the English universities. The man who contributed most to this result was John Colet. Although his name is not even so much as mentioned in the pages of Lingard, he is now recognized, as he was by Tyndale, Latimer and other Reformers of the middle of the 16th century, as the chief pioneer of the new learning in England and as an exemplar of noble purposes in life and pure devotion to culture. The son of Sir Henry Colet, several times lord mayor of London, the future dean of St. Paul’s was one of 22 children. He survived all the members of his family except his mother, to whom he referred, when he felt himself growing old, with admiration for her high spirits and happy old age. As we think of her, we may be inclined to recall the good mother of John Wesley. After spending 3 years at Oxford, 1493-1496, young Colet, “like a merchantman seeking goodly wares,” as Erasmus put it, went to Italy. For the places where he studied, we are left to conjecture, but Archbishop Parker two generations later said that he studied “a long time in foreign countries and especially the Sacred Scriptures.” On his return to Oxford, although not yet ordained to the priesthood, he began expounding St. Paul’s Greek epistles in public, the lectures being given gratuitously. At this very moment the Lady Margaret professor of divinity was announcing for his subject the Quodlibets of Duns Scotus. Later, Colet expounded also the First Epistle to the Corinthians. At this period, he was not wholly freed from the old academic canons and was inclined to reject the reading of classic authors whose writings did not contain a “salutatory flavor of Christ and in which Christ is not set forth …. Books, in which Christ is not found, are but a table of devils.” Of the impression made by his exposition, a proof is given in Colet’s own description of a visit he had from a priest. The priest, sitting in front of Colet’s fire, drew forth from his bosom a small copy of the Epistles, which he had transcribed with his own hand, and then, in answer to his request, his host proceeded to set forth the golden things of the 1st chapter of Romans. His expositions abound in expressions of admiration for Paul. At Oxford, in 1498, Colet met Erasmus, who was within a few months of being of the same age, and he also came into contact with More, whom he called “a rare genius.” The fellowship with these men confirmed him in his modern leanings. He lectured on the Areopagite’s Hierarchies, but he soon came to adopt Grocyn’s view of their late date. The high estimate of Thomas Aquinas which prevailed, he abandoned and pronounced him “arrogant for attempting to define all things” and of “corrupting the whole teaching of Christ with his profane philosophy.” Some years later, writing to Erasmus, he disparaged the contemporary theologians as spending their lives in mere logical tricks and dialectic quibbles. Erasmus, replying to him, pronounced the theology which was once venerable “become, almost dumb, poor and in rags.” As dean of St. Paul’s, an appointment he received in 1504, Colet stands forth as a reformer of clerical abuses, a bold preacher and a liberal patron of education. The statutes he issued for the cathedral clergy laid stress upon the need of reformation “in every respect, both in life and religion.” The old code, while it was particular to point out the exact plane the dean should occupy in processions and the choir, did not mention preaching as one of his duties. Colet had public lectures delivered on Paul’s Epistles, but it was not long till he was at odds with his chapter. The cathedral school did not meet his standard, and the funds he received on his father’s death he used to endow St. Paul’s school, 1509. The original buildings were burnt down in the London fire, and new buildings reared in 1666. The statutes made the tuition free, and set the number of pupils at 153, since increased threefold. They provided for instruction in “good literature, both Latin and Greek,” but especially for Christian authors that “wrote their wisdom with clean and chaste Latin.” The founder’s high ideal of a teacher’s qualifications, moral as well as literary, set forth in his statutes for the old cathedral school, was “that he should be an upright and honorable man and of much and well-attested learning.” Along with chaste literature, he was expected “to imbue the tender minds of his pupils with holy morals and be to them a master, not of grammar only, but of virtue.” St. Paul’s has the distinction of being the first grammar-school in England where Greek was taught. The list of its masters was opened by William Lily, one of the few Englishmen of his age capable of teaching Greek. After studying at Oxford, he made a journey to Jerusalem, and returned to England by way of Italy. He died in 1522. By his will, Colet left all his books, “imprinted and in paper,” to poor students of the school. As a preacher, the dean of St. Paul’s was both bold and Scriptural. Among his hearers were the Lollards. Colet himself seems to have read Wyclif’s writings as well as other heretical works. Two of his famous sermons were delivered before convocation, 1511, and on Wolsey’s receiving the red hat. The convocation discourse, which has come down to us entire, is a vigorous appeal for clerical reform. The text was taken from Rom_12:2. “Be ye not conformed to this world but be ye reformed.” The pride and ambition of the clergy were set forth and their quest of preferment in Church and state condemned. Some frequented feasts and banquetings and gave themselves to sports and plays, to hunting and hawking. If priests themselves were good, the people in their turn would be good also. “Our goodness,” exclaimed the preacher, “would urge them on in the right way far more efficaciously than all your suspensions and excommunications. They should live a good and holy life, be properly learned in the Scriptures and chiefly and above all be filled with the fear of God and the love of the heavenly life.” According to the canons of the age, the preacher went beyond the limits of prudence and Fitz-James, bishop of London, cited him for trial but the case was set aside by the archbishop. The charges were that Colet had condemned the worship of images and declared that Peter was a poor man and enjoyed no episcopal revenues and that, in condemning the reading of sermons, Colet had meant to give a thrust to Fitz-James himself, who was addicted to that habit. Latimer, who was at Cambridge about that time, said in a sermon some years later, that “in those days Doctor Colet was in trouble and should have been burned, if God had not turned the king’s heart to the contrary.” When Erasmus’ Greek Testament appeared, Colet gave it a hearty welcome. In a letter to the Dutch scholar acknowledging the receipt of a copy, he expressed his regret at not having a sufficient knowledge of Greek to read it and his desire to be his disciple in that tongue. It was here he made the prediction that “the name of Erasmus will never perish.” Erasmus had written to Colet that he had dipped into Hebrew but gone no further, “frightened by the strangeness of the idiom and in view of the insufficiency of the human mind to master a multitude of subjects.” A much younger scholar at Tübingen, Philip Melanchthon, had put his tribute to the Novum instrumentum in Greek verse which was transmitted to Erasmus by Beatus Rhenanus. Fox, bishop of Winchester, pronounced the book more instructive to him than 10 commentaries. Not long before his death, Colet determined to retire to a religious retreat at Shene, a resolution based upon his failing health and the troubles in which his freedom of utterance had involved him. He did not live to carry out his resolution. He was buried in St. Paul’s. It is noteworthy that his will contained no benefactions to the Church or provision for masses for his soul. Erasmus paid the high tribute to his friend, while living, that England had not “another more pious or one who more truly knew Christ.” And, writing after Colet’s death to a correspondent, he exclaimed, “What a man has England and what a friend I have lost!” Colet had often hearkened to Erasmus’ appeals in times of stringency. No description in the Colloquies has more interest for the Anglo-Saxon people than the description of the journey which the two friends made together to the shrines of Thomas à Becket and of Our Lady of Walsingham. And the best part of the description is the doubting humor with which they passed criticism upon Peter’s finger, the Virgin’s milk, one of St. Thomas’ shoes and other relics which were shown them. Far as Colet went in demanding a reform of clerical habits, welcoming the revival of letters, condemning the old scholastic disputation and advocating the study of the Scriptures, it is quite probable he would not have fallen in with the Reformation. He was fifty when it broke out. The best word that can be spoken of him is, that he seems to have conformed closely to the demand which he made of Christian men to live good and upright lives for, of a surety, he said, “to do mercy and justice is more pleasant to God, than to pray or do sacrifice to Him.” What higher tribute could be paid than the one paid by Donald Lupton in his History of Modern Protestant Divines, 1637, “This great dean of St. Paul’s taught and lived like St. Paul.” Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535, not only died in the Catholic Church, but died a martyr’s death, refusing to acknowledge the English king’s supremacy so far as to impugn the pope’s authority. After studying in Oxford, he practised law in London, rising to be chancellor of the realm. It is not for us here to follow his services in his profession and to the state, but to trace his connection with the revival of learning and the religious movement in England. More was a pattern of a devout and intelligent layman. He wore a hair shirt next to his skin and yet he laughed at the superstition of his age. On taking office, he stipulated that, he should first look to God and after God to the king.” At the same time, he entered heartily with his close friends, Erasmus and Colet, into the construction of a new basis for education in the study of the classics, Latin and Greek. He was firmly bound to the Church, with the pope as its head, and yet in his Utopia he presented a picture of an ideal society in which religion was to be in large part a matter of the family, and confession was not made to the priest nor absolution given by the priest. With the exception of the Utopia, all of More’s genuine works were religious and the most of them were controversial treatises, intended to confute the new doctrines of the Reformation which had found open advocates in England long before More’s death. More was beheaded in 1535 and, if we recall that Tyndale’s English New Testament was published in 1526, we shall have a standard for measuring the duration of More’s contact with the Protestant upheaval. Tyndale himself was strangled and burnt to death a year after More’s execution. In answer to Simon Fish’s work, The Supplication of Beggars, a bitter attack against purgatory, More sent forth the Supplication of Souls or Poor Seely (simple) Souls pewled out of Purgatory. Here souls are represented as crying out not to be left in their penal distress by the forgetfulness of the living. Fish was condemned to death and burnt, 1533. As the chief controversialist on the old side, More also wrote against John Fryth, who was condemned to the stake 1533, and against Tyndale, pronouncing his translation of the New Testament “a false English translation newly forged by Tyndale.” He also made the strange declaration that “Wyclif, Tyndale and Friar Barnes and such others had been the original cause why the Scripture has been of necessity kept out of lay people’s hands.” More said heretical books were imported from the Continent to England “in vats full.” He called Thomas Hylton, a priest of Kent, one of the heretics whom he condemned to the flames, “the devil’s stinking pot.” Hylton’s crime was the denial of the five sacraments and he was burnt 1530. As was the custom of the time, More’s controversial works abound in scurrilous epithets. His opponents he distinguishes by such terms as “swine,” “hellhounds that the devil hath in his kennel,” “apes that dance for the pleasure of Lucifer.” In his works against Tyndale and Fryth, he commended pilgrimages, image-worship and indulgences. He himself, so the chancellor wrote, had been present at Barking, 1498, when a number of relics were discovered which “must have been hidden since the time when the abbey was burnt by the infidels,” and he declared that the main thing was that “such relics were the remains of holy men, to be had in reverence, and it was a matter of inferior import whether the right names were attached to them or not.” And yet, More resisted certain superstitions, as of the Franciscan monk of Coventry who publicly preached, that “whoever prayed daily through the Psalter to the Blessed Virgin could not be damned.” He denied the Augustinian teaching that infants dying without baptism were consigned to eternal punishment and he could write to Erasmus, that Hutten’s Epistolae obscurorum virorum delighted every one in England and that “under a rude scabbard the work concealed a most excellent blade.” His intimacy with Colet and Erasmus led to an attempt on the part of the monks, in 1519, to secure his conversion. More was beatified by Leo XIII., 1886, and with St. Edmund, Bishop Fisher and Thomas à Becket is the chief English martyr whom English Catholics cultivate. He died “unwilling to jeopardize his soul to perpetual damnation” and expressing the hope that, “as St. Paul and St. Stephen met in heaven and were friends, so it might be with him and his judges.” Gairdner is led to remark that “no man ever met an unjust doom in a more admirable spirit.” We may concur in this judgment and yet we will not overlook the fact that More, gentleman as he was in heart, seems to us to have been unrelenting to the men whom he convicted as heretics and, in his writings, piled upon them epithets as drastic as Luther himself used. Aside from this, he is to be accorded praise for his advocacy of the reform in education and his commendation of Erasmus’ Greek Testament. He wrote a special letter to the Louvain professor, Dorpius, upbraiding him for his attack upon the critical studies of Erasmus and upon the revision of the old Latin text as unwarranted. More’s Utopia, written in Latin and published in 1516 with a preface by Budaeus, took Europe by storm. It was also called Nusquama or Nowhere. With Plato’s Republic as a precedent, the author intended to point out wherein European society and especially England was at fault. In More’s ideal commonwealth, which was set up on an island, treaties were observed and promises kept, and ploughmen, carpenters, wagoners, colliers and other artisans justly shared in the rewards of labor with noblemen, goldsmiths and usurers, who are called the unproductive classes. “The conspiracy of the rich procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth” was not allowed. In Utopia, a proper education was given to every child, the hours of physical labor were reduced to six, the streets were 20 feet wide and the houses backed with gardens and supplied with freshwater. The slaughtering was done outside the towns. All punishment was for the purpose of reform and religion, largely a matter of family. The old religions continued to exist on the island, for Christianity had but recently been introduced, but More, apparently belying his later practice as judge, declared that “no man was punished for his religion.” Its priests were of both sexes and “overseers and orderers of worship” rather than sacerdotal functionaries. Not to them but to the heads of families was confession made, the wife prostrate on the ground confessing to her husband, and the children to both parents. The priests were married. Little did More suspect that, within ten years of the publication of his famous book, texts would be drawn from it to support the Peasants’ Revolt in Germany. In it are stated some of the sociological hopes and dreams of this present age. The author was voicing the widespread feeling of his own generation which was harassed with laws restricting the wages of labor, with the enclosures of the commons by the rich, the conversion of arable lands into sheep farms and with the renewed warfare on the Continent into which England was drawn. John Fisher, who suffered on the block a few months before More for refusing to take the oath of supremacy, and set aside the succession of Catherine of Aragon’s offspring, was 79 years old when he died. Dean Perry has pronounced him “the most learned, the most conscientious and the most devout of the bishops of his day.” In 1511, he recommended Erasmus to Cambridge to teach Greek. On the way to the place of beheadal, this good man carried with him the New Testament, repeating again and again the words, “This is life eternal to know Thee and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” “That was learning enough for him,” he said. To Grocyn, Colet, More and Fisher the Protestant world gives its reverent regard. It is true, they did not fully apprehend the light which was spreading over Europe. Nevertheless, they went far as pioneers of a more rational system of education than the one built up by the scholastic method and they have a distinct place in the history of the progress of religious thought. In Scotland, the Protestant Reformation took hold of the nation before the Renaissance had much chance to exercise an independent influence. John Major, who died about 1550, wrote a commentary on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard and is called “the last of the Schoolmen.” He is, however, a connecting link with the new movement in literature through George Buchanan, his pupil at St Andrews. Major remained true to the Roman communion. Buchanan, after being held for six months in prison as a heretic in Portugal, returned to Scotland and adopted the Reformation. According to Professor Hume-Brown, his Latin paraphrase of the Psalms in metre “was, until recent years, read in Scotland in every school where Latin was taught.” Knox’s History of the Reformation was the earliest model of prose literature in Scotland.