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of them throughout the whole of Italy. In these results, first in importance, in temporal matters, is the invasion of Italy by Charles the Eighth, the intrigues, jealousies, and dissensions in all the petty Italian states, occasioned by the conduct of Alexander and his son; the tumults, wars, carnage, and spoliation caused by the measureless ambition, lusts, and turbulence of Cæsar Borgia.
When, in the long narration of their excesses and atrocities, we come to the close of the career of each, we feel as if there was an oppressive weight removed from the atmosphere we breathe, and that it is a relief to have done with the history of the calamities occasioned by their crimes.
But of what avail to humanity, in this nineteenth century, is it to rake up the ashes of the Borgias, and to ransack the history of the crimes of the fifteenth century, for evidences of the depravity of our common nature ?
Do these not abound in our own times ? depravity and baseness, externally modified indeed, but not essentially altered, less revolting in their aspect, but not less humiliating to contemplate, when we look closely into the nature of them.
Of what avail then to track the unworthy Pontiff in his long career of wickedness, to follow the scrutinizing master of the ceremonies, the lynx-eyed Burchard, into the private chambers and the Capella, and council rooms, and the saloons of the Quirinal, and drag our feet through the dirt of the bye-ways and purlieus of the city, in which the midnight orgies of Cæsar and his companions are celebrated, or to trail our steps along the gloomy passages and the court yards of the castle of St. Angelo, where the revels of Alexander the Sixth, his equestrian entertainment, his mimic chases of the field, his private theatricals, his revivals of Plautus, his banquettings, and his masqueradings on grand occasions, as on that of the espousals of his daughter for the fourth time?
Of what avail to follow that archbishop of Valentia, that Lord Cardinal of the creation of Alexander, the infamous Cæsar Borgia, in every bloody stage of his career, from the day he renounced
the mitre and the purple, and became transformed into a marauding captain, stained at the very outset of that new career with a brother's blood, till he perished by the sword on the field of battle, at the siege of Viane, in 1507?
Is it that we are so forgetful of the claims upon us of our common nature, that we have such reason to pride ourselves on qualities which never could be reduced under any circumstances of change, of time, of destiny, of manners, of society at large, to a level with those of the persons we look on rather as demidevils than as human beings?
Oh, no! the self-complacency of any thinking man, who reads history with a strong sense of the obligations that all knowledge imposes on him to promote the interests of humanity, and of truth, and of charity, will not be carried to that extent.
“I grandi s'bagli passati servono molto in ogni genere, stanno sempre dinnauzi agli occhi i delitti e le sciagure ;” and if the Italian writer had added-la debollezza del uomo, la miseria del mondo, la vilta e bassezze é hippocrisia di troppi genti di letterem he would have left little unsaid on this grave subject.
What lesson, then, are we to be taught by the crimes of the Pontiff, Alexander the Sixth, and Cæsar Borgia, once archbishop of Valentia, and cardinal of the court of Rome, the subsequent Duke Valentino of infamous memory?
We are to be taught by it, as I humbly conceive, that God had a great controversy in the fifteenth century with those to whom He had committed the government of his church. That the court of Rome in that age, to an extent unparalleled at any former period of its history, had become corrupted by wealth, and ambition, and turned away from the interests of religion by the cares of temporal possessions and political influences, considerations, and impediments arising from connexion with the state, and dependence on foreign powers for the security of its possessions.
The lesson of the terrible story of the lives of Alexander the Sixth, and of his son, Cæsar Borgia, would be indeed of little value to mankind, if we only learned by it to sound the depths of the depravity of the human heart, and had discovered in their
acts more evidence than we previously possessed
that there were no bounds to its wickedness, and that human nature was corruptible to an extent that might almost reconcile our experience to the black heathenism of the morality of Rochefoucault.
But there is another and a better lesson to be taught by this sad story-that there was a state of things existing in the government of the church, and in the constitution of the court of Rome, in the ecclesiastical body in all its members, and in the monastic institutions of the time in all its orders, that could not be otherwise than displeasing to the Almighty: that the sin of simony prevailed in the palace of the Popes, in the councils of the Cardinals, in the sacred congregations of the Prelates, in the conferences of the clergy, in the chapters of the deans, and was manifested in the sale of dispensations, in the purchase of benefices, in the venality of the priesthood in the exercise of all the sacred functions.
If it be permissible for a weak, sinful, short-sighted man to presume to speak of the councils of the Almighty, might it not be said, such a state of things as I have glanced at, could not fail to come within the scope of the scrutiny of the divine justicecould not fail to bring down the retribution of God on the profanity of the ministers of religion, who had made an idol of Mammon, who had abandoned piety for property, the science of the saints for the politics of statesmen, and for rent rolls, titles to estates, deeds of sale, legal conveyances and testamentary deeds of donation, writings connected with law-suits, books relating to revenues from land, foedal tenures and imposts on crusades, had put aside the gospel, and neither preached its doctrines in the pulpit, nor taught its precepts in their lives by their example ?
And if the cry of this sin of simony went up to heaven from the universal church of Christendom, and the vengeance of God was to come on the government of religion with a signal judgment, calculated, not only to punish the crimes that had been committed by his ministers, but to make an example that never would be forgotten in the Church, and that would ultimately tend to its greater purification, what greater punish
ment could God inflict on it, than the scandals of the lives of Alexander the Sixth and of Cæsar Borgia? mercy than to afford a lesson that should suffice in all future times—if happily received as such-to make simony appear in all its hideousness of aspect, an appalling crime against heaven, that never should be fallen into again ; and would render evident as the sun in the heavens at noon-day, that all connexion of the spiritual power with the temporal dominion, was an evil of such magnitude, that it was to be feared for the church far more than persecution?
THE QUESTION OF THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A
CONNEXION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE, AND OF THE Į UNION IN ONE GOVERNMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL AND TEM
“ The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds.”—2 Cor. x. 4.
It is a question of vast importance to the interests of humanity, and to the highest interests of all in this world : Whether the maintenance and propagation of religion should depend on the state for a provision adequate to those objects, or whether the duty of providing for them fitly should not be left to the piety and liberality of those in communion with the church, whose wants are to be supplied in accordance with the one great spiritual aim and end for which it was established.
“Wherever we have a certain legal provision for the ministrations of Christianity,” says Dr. Chalmers, “there we have an establishment of Christianity in the land ;” but the latter part of this definition might be thus amended slightly, with advantage to truth : there we have a state church established for purposes more secular than spiritual.
Wherever it has been my fortune to have seen religion connected with the state, (and my experience extends over many regions of this globe), wherever I have seen the ministrations of religion provided for by a state endowment, regulated by the civil power, enforced by legal measures, and the church thus sustained placed under the especial patronage of the civil government, and made dependent on the bounty of the state,