His marbles may crumble down, in spite of all that we can do to preserve them as models of hopeless imitation; but the exalted ideas he sought to represent by them, are imperishable and divine, and will be subjects of contemplation when
“Seas shall waste,
the skies to smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away.”
Grimm’s Life of Michael Angelo; Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects; Duppa’s Life of Michael Angelo; Bayle’s Histoire de la Peinture en Italie.
* * * * *
A. D. 1483-1546.
THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION.
Among great benefactors, Martin Luther is one of the most illustrious. He headed the Protestant Reformation. This movement is so completely interlinked with the literature, the religion, the education, the prosperity—yea, even the political history—of Europe, that it is the most important and interesting of all modern historical changes. It is a subject of such amazing magnitude that no one can claim to be well informed who does not know its leading issues and developments, as it spread from Germany to Switzerland, France, Holland, Sweden, England, and Scotland.
The central and prominent figure in the movement is Luther; but the way was prepared for him by a host of illustrious men, in different countries,—by Savonarola in Italy, by Huss and Jerome in Bohemia, by Erasmus in Holland, by Wyclif in England, and by sundry others, who detested the corruptions they ridiculed and lamented, but could not remove.
How flagrant those evils! Who can deny them? The papal despotism, and the frauds on which it was based; monastic corruptions; penance, and indulgences for sin, and the sale of them, more shameful still; the secular character of the clergy; the pomp, wealth, and arrogance of bishops; auricular confession; celibacy of the clergy, their idle and dissolute lives, their ignorance and superstition; the worship of the images