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In this case, however, she was both unable to perceive the extent of her danger, and to check the simultaneous impulse of the awakened mind of Europe. The Council of Trent, however, had, a short time before, done every thing in its power, to keep mankind in subjection to the church upon every branch of knowledge. By a solemn decree of that Council, the press was subjected to the previous censure of the bishops or the inquisitors in every part of Christendom. It is not difficult to conceive the use which these holy umpires of knowledge, would make of their authority to check and subdue the petulant minds”, who dared to broach any thing which jarred with the principles of school philosophy or divinity. But we need not leave this to conjecture: the censures attached to the long list of books condemned in the Indea. Eapurgatorius of Rome, accurately describe the extent of intellectual freedom, which Rome grants
to the faithful subjects of her spiritual empire.
The fact that both popes and bishops of the Roman Catholic communion have often patronized knowledge, is anxiously brought forward to prove the existence of a liberal and enlightened spirit in the Roman church. Now, if the conduct of individuals were admitted as a criterion of the temper of their church, it would be easy to produce thousands who have opposed real knowledge for every one that has promoted its interests *. Besides, a pope may be a patron of the fine arts, and a determined enemy to philosophical studies. A cardinal or a bishop may spend his savings and fortune in the erection of a college, with a view to perpetuate the metaphysics of the thirteenth century. Such will be found to be the benefactions which learning has generally received from the members of the church of Rome. It is true we owe the preservation of manuscripts to the monks, though it would be difficult to enumerate the multitude of works which were destroyed by their sloth and ignorance. The public schools of Europe were endowed by the liberality of Roman Catholics; but if either those that preserved the treasures of ancient literature, or those who founded our universities, had suspected the direction which the human mind would take from the excitement of these mental stimuli; they would have doomed poets, orators, and philosophers to the flames, and flung their endowing money into the sea. I do not blame individuals for partaking | the spirit of their age, but protest against a church which, having attained the fulness of strength under the influence of the most ignorant ages, would, for the sake of that strength, stop the progress of time, and reduce the nineteenth century to the intellectual standard of the thirteenth *. . Moral as well as physical beings must love their native atmosphere; and Rome being no exception to this law, is still daily employed in renovating and spreading credulity, enthusiasm, and super
* Ad coercenda petulantia ingenia.-The Council of Trent confirmed the decree of the Council of Lateran, which extends the censure to all kinds of books.
stition—the elements in which she thrives. The
* The inveterate enmity of a sincere Roman Catholic against books which directly or indirectly dissent from his church, is unconquerable. There is a family in England who, having inherited a copious library under circumstances which make it a kind of heir-loom, have torn out every leaf of the Protestant works, leaving nothing in the shelves but the covers. This fact I know from the most unquestionable authority.
charge is strong, and expressed in strong language; but, I believe, not stronger than the following proofs will warrant. A Christian church cannot employ a more effectual instrument to fashion and mould the minds of her members, than the form of prayer and worship which she sanctions for daily use. Such is the Breviary or Prayer-book of the Roman Catholic clergy, which, as it stands in the present day, is the most authentic work of that kind. In consequence of a decree of the Council of Trent, Pope Pius V. ordered a number of learned and able men to compile the Breviary, and by his bull, Quod a nobis, July, 1566, sanctioned it, and commanded the use thereof to the clergy of the Roman Catholic church, all over the world. Clement VIII., in 1602, finding that the Breviary of Pius V. had been altered and depraved; restored it to its pristine state, and ordered, under pain of excommunication, that all future editions should strictly follow that which he then printed at the Vatican. Lastly, Urban VIII., in 1631, had the language of the whole work, and the metres of the
hymns, revised. The value which the church of Rome sets upon the Breviary, may be known from the strictness with which she demands the perusal of it. Whoever enjoys any ecclesiastical revenue; all persons of both sexes who have professed in any of the regular orders”; all subdeacons, deacons and priests, are bound to repeat, either in public or private, the whole service of the day, out of the Breviary. The omission of any one of the eight portions of which that service consists, is declared to be a mortal sin, i. e. a sin that, unrepented, would be sufficient to excludefrom salvation. The person guilty of such an omission, loses all legal right to whatever portion of his clerical emoluments is due for the day or days wherein he neglected that duty, and cannot be absolved till he has given the forfeited sums to the poor, or redeemed the greatest part by a certain donation to the Spanish crusade. Such are the sanctions and penalties by which the reading of the Breviary is enforced. The scrupulous exactness with which