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ed, if they did not entirely warrant the exercise of arbitrary authority in the church. There were, for instance, even so late as the ninth century in Germany, the nobles, or familia; the citizens, or liberi; and the artisans or slaves, who were homines proprii: which latter race, by the way, still exists under the name of Serf. A name, which I am, sorry to find continuing to blur the chaste fame: of that equal religion, which, as the best of the gifts of God, hath unalterably, and through the wide circle of the world exclusively, declared and fixed the imprescriptible rights of man.
The stream of Christianity has been often. thus corrupted, though the fountain has always been pure. It is not science alone, we are told, though even founded on truth, that will polish a nation. For this purpose, the powers of the imagination must be awakened and exerted, to excite elegant feelings, and to heighten our natural sensibilities. It is not the head only that must be informed, but the heart also must be moved.* Hence, under the liberal genius of Protestantism, when it had perfected its work, and the first fanaticism of well meaning, but misguided zealots, had subsided, every
species of useful and elegant knowledge recovered its strength, and arose with fresh vigour. The laiety eagerly embraced those studies, from which they had long been unjustly restrained. And soon after, men attained that state of general improvement, and those situations with respect to literature and life, in which they have ever since persevered.
Not that the reformation destroyed every delusion, or disinchanted all the strong holds of superstition. A few dim characters, which we shall presently have in review, were yet legible. in the mouldering creed of tradition. Every goblin of ignorance did not vanish at the first glimmerings of the morning of science. Fatal, however, as it certainly was to the power of the hierarchy, it yet unquestionably contributed to the improvement even of the church of Rome itself, both in learning and morals. The desire of equalling the reformers, the emulation natural between two rival churches, engaged the Roman clergy to apply themselves to useful, as well as to ornamental pursuits. Hence an extraordinary' alteration in knowledge and character; and hence the reason why the manners of the secular, as well as regular dignitaries, became so conspi
cuously decent and exemplary. Many, it will be readily acknowledged, have been distinguished for all the accomplishments, and all the virtues, that can best adorn the sacred profession. No Alexander VI. or others of the like profligate stamp, have since polluted the chair of St. Peter. Humanity, moderation, and encouragement of literature, have happily gone abroad, as sorne, though not perhaps adequate atonement for preceding errors and crimes.
No epoch then is so important in the latter history of mankind, as the sixteenth century of the Christian æra. No age ever produced an equal number of great men. No age ever beheld so great a struggle between liberal knowledge and infatuated error. Never were such topics canvassed for the general good, or so ably, or so gloriously combated. Nor, with the consequent expansion of the human mind, were there ever such effectual stops put to the effusion of blood on account of religion. The heroes of this day were not altogether Heaven born generals. They were, on the contrary, constrained to qualify themselves duly for action, by painful labour, by hard study, and by long watchings. Little thinking could not measure with profound subtility. Nor would the chaff, rapidly caught
on the surface of knowledge, in any manner suffice, against the substantial and matured reasoning of the clearest heads, and the proudest understandings.
On this occasion-and it is with satisfaction I recollect it-how conspicuous does your present residence (Geneva) appear! At this season, she united within her locally narrow limits the concentrated rays, which were to irradiate Europe. In vain had superstition planted her standard on the walls of the little city; in vain had a legion of priests and monks endeavoured to establish their influence. The favoured spot, the soil of liberty, checked the mischievous attempts; and drove shuddering bigotry back across Mont . Cenis. Geneva, nevertheless, was yet to be considered as, in some degree, involved in the universal obscurity. But the remaining clouds were soon to be dispersed. And it was a circumstance, which rendered the peculiarity of her situation, if possible, still more interesting, that she was now only re-acting, as it were, a part which she had fifteen centuries before exhibited on the same scale of intellectual improvement. Julius Cæsar, you will remember, was partial to Geneva, from his first entrance into Helvetia : he made it a place of arms; he introduced and established