Pier Paolo Vergerio
the Younger
Prominent Istrians

Deutsch | Italiano (different texts)

Peter Paul Vergerio. 1498-1563.

Birthplace — family — secretary to Clement VII.  — sent Nuncio to Ferdinand — to the elector of Saxony — his interview with luther — made bishop of Capo d'Istria — goes to France — letter to the Marchioness of Pescara — queen of Navarre — her piety — letter to Alemanni — to Bembo — to Camilla Valenti —to Vida — Vergerio at Worms — letter to the queen of Navarre — Vergerio goes to Rome — letters — goes to his diocese — combats superstition — accused of Lutheranism by the friars — remoVes a large pasteboard image of st. George on horseback from the church — summoned before the Nuncio — Cardinal of Mantua his friend — inquisitorial perquisition — francesco spira — embraces the gospel — retracts publicly through fear — dies raving mad — consternation of Vergerio — leaves Italy for Vicosoprano — Consecrates the church at Poschiavo — corresponds with the Zurich reformers — Mainardi — Camillo Renato — confession of faith — anabaptists —Vergerio visits Switzerland, Prussia, Tubingen — his death — writings — berni — his stanza.

[Source: M. Young, The Life and times of Paleario or A History of the Italian Reformers in the Sixteenth Century. Vol. II, Bell and Daldy (London, 1860), Chapter 7: "Petr Paul Vergerio", pg. 345-93.]

Vergerio, to whom we owe the preservation and republication of the articles against cardinal Morone, was a bishop and papal Nuncio. At the period of the reformation in Germany he had been employed in various legations, and his official communications with the Protestants drew his attention to the abuses of the Church both in doctrine and discipline. Like Luther, he at first discerned only the grossest superstitions and the most striking evils, and imagined that the reforms which Paul III. had projected would do all that was required. But as his mind became more enlightened, especially during a visit to Paris, where he was in close communication with the queen of Navarre, (1) [346] he began to understand something of the true nature of the Gospel, and to enjoy the promise of divine grace set forth in the Scriptures. (2) When however he honestly set about reforming his diocese, he found it impracticable. While discouraging superstition, and inculcating true religion and purity of life, he raised up a host of enemies who sounded the war-note of heresy and gathered round him the emissaries of the Inquisition. Their power was unquestionable, their victim under their command, and fear drove him out of Italy.

The flight of a bishop created even a greater sensation than the defection of the eloquent Ochino, (3) or of the learned Peter Martyr. (4) The court of Rome discovered too late the error of pushing to extremities a man so conversant with its secrets, so versed in controversy, and possessed of such ready eloquence both in speaking and writing. The conclave lamented having shewn to the world that it was impossible for a man who acted conscientiously, and taught his flock according to Scripture, to remain in the Roman Catholic Church.

Pietro Paolo Vergerio was born at Capo d'Istria (5) in the Venetian territory about the year 1498. An ancestor of the same name was one of the most gifted scholars of the Byzantine age, (6) and the friend and favourite of Petrarch; but our Vergerio's parents were of so little note that no record remains even of their names. (7) We only know that he had three brothers, Aurelio, Giacomo, and Giovan Battista, and that they all had their way to make in the world.

Vergerio, like his distinguished ancestor, studied law at Padua, and took his degree there. The reputation of the [347] university was at that time so great that there were no less than eight hundred students of different nations; English, French, Germans, Poles and Greeks. As foreigners they had special privileges, and their eagerness to support the honour of their various nations stimulated them to distinguish themselves. After Vergerio had completed his first course of study he was very desirous of going to Wittemberg, where the fame of Luther's learning and boldness was attracting many spirited youths. An opportunity presented itself which very nearly led to the accomplishment of his wishes. Frederic, Elector of Saxony, a pious but unenlightened prince, had a choice collection of relics, which he was continually increasing. His chaplain, Spalatinus, corresponded with Burchard, baron von Schenk, and commissioned him to send some relics to the Elector. Burchard in his reply highly commended Luther's works, but said they were interdicted by the Pope, and that the Patriarch of Venice had ordered a perquisition to be made at all the booksellers with an intention of seizing them, but care had been taken that none should be found. He himself, he said, was very anxious to read them, but dare not for fear of their being seized. While Burchard was looking for some trusty messenger to carry the relics, Vergerio and his brother Giacomo offered their services to take them to Wittemberg. The baron furnished them with letters of recommendation to Spalatinus, and mentioned Vergerio's desire to study at Wittemberg, assuring his friend that his talents would do credit to the university. But providence had other ends in view for Vergerio, and the Wittemberg scheme fell to the ground. The two youths did indeed set out, but illness obliged them to return, and meanwhile the Gospel made such rapid progress at Wittemberg that the relics lost their value, and the messengers their office. On the 18th of July 1522 Spalatinus sent back the relics and the cross to his friend Schenk, telling him to dispose of them in any way he thought best; for in Saxony the people were now so well instructed in divine things that they no longer had any regard for superstition. Faith in God, he said, and love to mankind were now considered more essential than relics. This letter offered no prospect for the two young men, so they remained in Italy and applied themselves to different professions.

Pietro Paolo became notary and vicar of the Podestà at [348] Padua. (8) Bembo speaks of him in a letter to Angelo Gabriele, an advocate at Venice in 1526. (9)

"You will have among you in a few days a most amiable and excellent man, who besides being a good lawyer is well versed in literature. His courteous manners and virtuous disposition have gained my friendship, and I am very desirous of being useful to him. He is an orator, and fills the office of vicar till Maffei Michele comes to be Podestà; the person I speak of is M. Pietro Paolo Vergerio of Justinopolis (Capo d'Istria). I beg you for my sake to give him a gracious reception, and assist him as much as lies in your power."

Vergerio remained at Venice and in its neighbourhood till the year 1530, when his brother Aurelio, having been appointed secretary to Clement VII., Vergerio determined to go to Home to push his fortunes. His chief object being worldly advantage he resolved to enter the Church, convinced that in an ecclesiastical state this was the surest way to honour. (10) He was not unknown to cardinal Contarmi, at that time in high favour at Rome. This good cardinal, ever ready to forward the interests of his countrymen, presented him to the Pope with high eulogiums on his abilities.

It so happened that Clement was at that time looking out for a man of talent and agreeable manners, in whom he could thoroughly confide, to be sent as envoy to Germany. The young Vergerio made so agreeable an impression at first sight that he was immediately chosen secretary instead of his brother Aurelio. He was received into the palace, and admitted by the Pope to the closest personal intimacy.

In 1529 he was sent Nuncio to Ferdinand king of the Romans to dissuade him from holding a Council in Germany. He was desired to entice the king to comply with the Pope's wishes by allowing him to draw contributions from the clergy, and even to melt down the silver plate and ornaments of the churches for the expences of the war against the Turks.

Clement was so satisfied with Vergerio's talents for [349] negotiation, that in 1533 he directed him to replace Hugo Rangoni, bishop of Reggio, at the court of John Frederic, Elector of Saxony. (11) Rangoni had been instructed to propose a free and general Council. The Elector required time to reply, but soon after expressed his satisfaction at the prospect of a free and unconstrained assembly, in which the word of God would decide all controversies. He could decide nothing however, he said, without the consent of those princes and towns who followed the Confession of Augsburg; he would lay the subject before the Assembly of Sinalcald, which was to meet on the 24th of June, and then reply to the Nuncio. We have already seen that the German Protestants resolutely refused to submit to any Council held under the authority of the Pope, and this was the substance of their answer to the Nuncio. Their reply, with the Pope's proposal, was printed and sent to the Emperor and to Rome. Clement, annoyed that his plans should be so openly disclosed, recalled Rangoni and sent Vergerio in his place. His orders were to follow his predecessor's instructions, but on no account to listen to any modified proposals, even from the king himself. All engagements about a Council were to be carefully avoided, as well as every arrangement which could in any way militate against the paramount authority of the Holy See.

On the accession of Paul III. in 1534 Vergerio was summoned to Rome to give an account of his mission, and then sent back to Germany with a more defined commission. He was directed to visit the Protestant princes and cities, and endeavour to persuade them to sanction the meeting of a Council in Italy. The Protestant divines were not to be overlooked,(12) and they were if possible to be won by promises and favours. (13)

[350] In compliance with these instructions Vergerio went to Wittemberg to see Luther, and to put in practice those arts of flattery and delusion with which the court of Rome is wont to ensnare its victims. The Nuncio assured Luther that the Pope and the sacred College held him in the highest esteem, and felt much grieved to lose a man who might have been so eminently useful, had he been disposed to devote his talents to the service of God, a service inseparable from the Church of Rome. His Holiness and all the Cardinals highly blamed the harshness of Cajetan, and the step taken by Pope Leo (14) had been distasteful to the whole Roman court. If Luther would return to the obedience of the Papal See he would receive the highest honours and favours. Vergerio, with engaging modesty, declined entering into controversy with Luther, but was desirous of pointing out to him how advantageous his submission to the head of the Church would be. A man, said he, must have a great deal of self-love and immeasurably idolize his own ideas, to trouble the world with his individual opinions. If it were a matter of conscience with him to change the religion in which he was born, and which he had professed for thirty years, love to his neighbour would have led him to conceal his sentiments, instead of disturbing the world by denouncing the religion of his forefathers. The Pope was now resolved to apply a remedy and convoke a Council at Mantua, where all the learned men in Europe might assemble to declare the truth, and shame those unquiet spirits who disturb the public peace. "Though our chief confidence should be placed on the divine goodness, yet God makes use of second causes, and it depends on you, Luther, whether the remedy proposed be efficacious or not. If you come to the Council and comport yourself with gentleness and charity, there is little doubt of 8uccess." Vergerio then cited the example of Enea Silvio, (15) who with all his labour and industry could never obtain more than a canonry at Trent as long as he followed his own opinions; but as soon as he laid them aside he became bishop, cardinal, and finally Pope. He reminded Luther also of Bessarione (16), who from being a monk at Trebizond was raised to the honour of the purple. (17)

[351] Those who know the character of Luther, (18) who was at this time "vigorous both in mind and body, fresh from the schools, and fervent in the Scriptures," will readily imagine that Vergerio's shallow reasoning and worldly promises would have no effect on the rough but spiritual mind of the reformer. What attraction could the most splendid earthly good have for the man who despised 'filthy lucre,' and who was accustomed to commune on divine subjects, and to breathe a holy atmosphere of thought unknown to the courtly Nuncio. He was a stranger to the ennobling nature of God's eternal truth, and plied Luther with such arguments as would have had weight with himself.

No wonder that Luther, while still in the body and subject to human infirmity, was filled with indignation at the idea of bartering his highest heavenly hopes for an idle name or a purple robe. Paolo Sarpi says his answer was like himself, harsh and vehement He told Vergerio he was quite indifferent as to what the court of Rome thought of him; that though he was but an unprofitable servant, his great desire was to occupy himself in the service of God; he could see no connection between this service and the Church of Rome, unless indeed darkness could be joined to light No circumstance of his life had been of such real advantage to him as the harshness of cardinal Cajetan, and the severity of Leo X., and he received it as the wholesome teaching of divine providence. At that time he was not thoroughly instructed in the doctrines of faith; he had only discovered the evil of Indulgences, and would willingly have been silent had his adversaries been so likewise. But the severity of the court of Rome had obliged him to study the Scriptures, and had led him to discover other errors and corruptions in the Roman Catholic religion, errors which he could not conscientiously dissimulate or conceal. The Nuncio had honestly confessed he did not understand theology, that great science in which all religious opinions were concentrated. If he had not himself admitted his ignorance the tenour of his arguments made it [352] evident. Luther denied that the doctrines which he preached could be called new, except by those who believed that Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the Fathers had lived as the Popes do. As to disturbing the world, those who read the Scriptures know that it is an essential property of the Gospel to rouse people from their lethargy. It separates even the children from the fathers, it gives life to those who receive it, and brings condemnation when rejected. The great defect of the Church of Rome was its worldly policy, its desire for temporal power and earthly dominion. This is the wisdom which passes for folly (19) in the sight of God; while the court of Rome, on the other hand, despises all who trust to the promises of God and put the concerns of their Church into His hands. It was not, said Luther, in his power to make the Council minister to the advantage of the Church, for that would depend entirely on those who were masters of its liberty. If the assembly would sincerely ask the aid of the Holy Spirit, and bring the disputed points to the test of Scripture without mixing up worldly artifices or interests, he would attend and act in a christian and temperate manner: not with the idea of conciliating the Pope or any earthly power, but for the service of Jesus Christ, and the peace of the Church. He knew however that no dependence was to be placed on an assembly of men who were learned but not religious, for it was just those very men, the sages of the world, who readily embraced the most absurd errors. He would not receive anything from Rome which was unsuitable to a minister of the Gospel. As to the examples of advancement which Vergerio cited, they made no impression on him, for he despised vain imaginations and false grandeur. If he were really ambitious he could already boast, as Erasmus wittily observed, "that a poor man like Luther was capable of enriching others," for Fisher bishop of Rochester had been made cardinal, and Schomberg archbishop of Capua, solely on his account. In conclusion he told the Nuncio that he as fully believed in the truth of the doctrines he held as if he had seen what was declared in the Scriptures with his bodily eyes; and that he felt persuaded that the Pope, the Nuncio, and the whole Roman court would sooner embrace his opinions than he theirs.

This resolute speech quenched all hope which Vergerio [353] might have entertained of shaking the firmness of the reformer; he tried other ministers of the Gospel at Wittemberg and elsewhere, but met with the same reply from all whose opinions were of any value. If some yielded to his persuasions, they were men of such inferior qualities that they carried no weight. (20)

This is Sarpi's account of the interview between the Nuncio and Luther: but Pallavicini denies that the Pope commissioned Vergerio to see Luther; and states that the Nuncio, being obliged to pass through Wittemberg, was received with great honour by the governor, who waited on him at table during supper. Next morning at breakfast he went to offer him the same attention, accompanied by two divines, Martin Luther and John Bugenhagius. (21) The Nuncio was told that the court and the members of the university being absent on account of the plague, these were the only persons at Wittemberg fit to bear him company, and converse with him in Latin. The Nuncio could do no less than listen to their conversation. He found that Luther spoke very barbarous Latin, and set him down for a proud, malicious, rash kind of person, with very coarse manners. Among other things Luther said, "Have you heard a report in Italy that I have the character of being a great German drunkard?" This and other speeches the Nuncio reported in a letter to Cardinal Pole's secretary, and described Luther's manners and dress. This is Pallavicini's account. (22) The truth probably lies between the two narratives; the meeting might have been contrived by others, and yet the substance of the conversation narrated by Sarpi be correct. Be this as it may, Vergerio returned to Rome and assured the Pope that the Protestants would never sanction any council that was not perfectly free, and held in some convenient place within the limits of the empire. Nothing was to be expected from Luther or his associates, and force of arms would alone reduce the strength of the Protestant party.

The Pope then sent Vergerio to Naples to see the Emperor, who had just returned from his successful expedition in Africa. (23) [354] After hearing Vergerio's report, the Emperor signified that on his progress to Germany he should pass through Rome, and would confer with the Pope. They had long secret consultations together on the affairs of Germany and Italy. The Roman Pontiff's counsels were all in favour of war; but the Emperor was already engaged in a war with France about Milan, and thought an attack upon the Protestants unseasonable. Paul III. suggested a league with the Venetians to keep the French in check. Charles, who knew that the Pope secretly coveted the duchy of Milan for his grandson, professed himself not indisposed to a war in Germany, but before he resorted to violence he wished to see what could be done by a council. The Pope acquiesced, indulging the hope of being able to overawe the council by the presence of troops.

In the year 1536 Vergerio was rewarded for his services by the gift of the bishopric of his native place, Capo d'Istria. There was some difficulty in his collation to the benefice, as Ferdinand, king of the Romans, claimed the right of patronage. On the 24th of June Vergerio wrote to Aretino (24):

"The Pope has made me bishop of a church which king Ferdinand claims to be his, and which he wished himself to give me. I shall enjoy it as long as God pleases; by and bye perhaps something else may offer. It is at least a spouse which we can change and repudiate at pleasure." This light manner of expressing himself was not, as Tiraboschi says, very suitable to the sacred character of a bishop. But we must recollect that he was writing to the most satirical and facetious genius of the age, and at a time when ecclesiastical benefices were looked on merely as a means of subsistence or of gratifying ambition; no religious duties being necessarily attached to them. In this letter he adds that he was going shortly to Germany. How long he staid there is uncertain, but it appears that his long absence occasioned some rumours that his opinions had undergone a change. (25) By his letters to Aretino we find that in 1539 he was at Padua and at the baths of Abano, and that in [355] 1540 he was at Ferrara, just about to set out with Cardinal Ippolito d'Este for France. In one of these letters he speaks out, and expresses his dissatisfaction with the Pope:"I know what Rome is, and what you are, and that there is no similarity between you. I took my three books in Italian to Rome; and though the subject seemed more particularly to belong to the Church, I would not dedicate them to the Pope, but to the king of France, who is most christian, and who seems disposed to recompense the poor author. I shall soon know whether he really intends to do so. I have finished another treatise on episcopacy, also in Italian, and this too I shall dedicate to his majesty." While on his journey with the Cardinal they passed near the monastery of S. Benedetto of Mantua, where Gregorio Cortese resided. Vergerio took this opportunity of trying to get his bishopric relieved of an annual pension which weighed heavily on his small revenues. Cortese wrote to Cardinal Contarmi on his behalf in the following terms: "Vergerio, bishop of Capo d'Istria, seems to be filled with an ardent desire for the glory of God, and I think he will prove this by his actions. Monsignore d'Istria has earnestly entreated me to speak in his favour to you about a certain pension with which his bishopric is charged, and from which he desires to be freed. As this seems to be a just request, I heartily commend it to the attention of your reverence. He says some hopes have been given him that the person to whom he pays it will receive something in exchange."We have an interesting account of his first impressions on arriving in France, in a letter he wrote to Vittoria Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara. He speaks of the queen of Navarre as a model of piety, and extols her fervour in the cause of Christ. Her conversation seems to have fanned to flame the little spark of divine grace which had been kindled when in communication with some religious persons in Italy and Germany, and more particularly by his conversation with Vittoria Colonna and some of the well disposed cardinals. This 'school,' as Vergerio calls it, all held the doctrine of justification by faith; but when the Church declared itself opposed to this doctrine the voice of joyful gratitude to God for this unspeakable gift died away, and their love to Christ grew faint under the burthens imposed by the hierarchy. In the absence of more minute details, the tenor of the following letter informs us that before Vergerio left Italy he had wavered in his allegiance to the Holy See. [356]

To the Lady Marchioness of Pescara.

"Most Excellent Lady,

"I have written twice to your Excellency about my journey from Rome to this place, and have given you an account of the most remarkable things which I have seen, as well as of my thoughts and studies. I will now continue my recital; but first, may the peace of God, sweeter far than anything in this world, be with you, keep, and fill your heart and mind. We arrived at Fontainebleau, where the court now is, on the 11th of this month, safe and well, the cardinal and all of us. The most christian king (26) received him (the cardinal) with great affection, and shews him most surprising favour. When I first arrived the court appeared to me very grand; but I think in a few days it will appear even more attractive, as I shall gradually become acquainted with the princes and great persons, — and I hope to be intimate with some of them, especially with those who have some light and knowledge of the ways of God. I earnestly desire that the Divine Majesty may grant me grace both to enter on, and follow the path in which your Excellency has been so long walking that you have already advanced a good way. I have not yet paid my respects to the most serene queen of Navarre, nor delivered to her the message of your Excellency, because, knowing her to be a person of very solid judgment, and conscious of my own incapacity and ignorance, I would not rush hastily into her presence. I saw and observed her attentively for more than an hour, while her majesty was speaking to my cardinal, and I beheld in the expression of her countenance, and in all her movements, an harmonious union of majesty, modesty, and benevolence. Besides this, as your Excellency has already heard, I discerned that fervour of spirit and that clear light which God has imparted to her. Thus she can walk in the blessed foretaste of eternal life, without stumbling at those impediments which offer themselves to us in this mortal state. I shall endeavour to be admitted soon to kiss her hand, and to be edified by approaching nearer to contemplate her most excellent virtues. If she deigns to allow me sometimes to listen to her, I shall the less regret having left the school of your Excellency, and that of the most reverend cardinals, Contarmi, Pole, Bembo, and Fregoso, (27) who were all so united together. My studies are those of a traveller, that is without order; and the little I do read is in those authors who speak of our Master Christ, whose holy words and actions best nourish our souls. I have composed four discourses upon German affairs, but I do not send them at present to your Excellency for want of a safe opportunity. I am afraid to send them by uncertain channels; having expressed myself as a true christian, that is, I have spoken freely to the honour of God. This does not please the world, which differs so widely and acts so contrary to his ways. I earnestly beseech your Excellency to pray to God for me, who am cold and well-nigh frozen, but sincerely desirous of being some day warm in his service. Christ sees the heart and its desires: may he inflame me with a spark of his love. This do I entreat of him by all that he has done for our souls; but not having as yet received grace, I entreat your Excellency to pray that I may be heard. (28)

"The Bishop Vergerio."

[357] A second letter, written from France to the Marchioness of Pescara, is even more interesting than the first, as it gives a detailed account of his conversations with the queen of Navarre. It makes us deeply regret that we have not access to the written minutes of these conversations on the state of the Church, which lasted four hours. A recital of the manner in which this pious and accomplished queen treated spiritual doctrines would be inestimably precious. Vergerio's letter confirms the account given by various historians of the piety and religious zeal of this distinguished princess. The most convincing proof of her having cordially embraced the glad tidings of the Gospel in all their fulness and freeness, is her poem, Miroir de l'Ame pecheresse, headed by a verse of the 51st Psalm, Seigneur Dieu, crée en moy cceur net. (29) This poem was condemned by the Sorbonne because it set forth Christ as the only means of salvation and justification, and made no mention of saints and monks. The king however, at the entreaty of his sister, obliged the divines to revoke their censure.

Amid the ignorance and intolerance of priests and monks, it is refreshing to meet with a noble and virtuous princess coming forward to advocate the spiritual truths of the Gospel in such humble and devotional strains.

To the Lady Marchioness of Pescara.

"Most Excellent Lady,

"May the grace, mercy, and peace of God the Father and Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, in truth and love be with you.

"Your Excellency knows this was the way St. John saluted that lady whom he called elect. Not without mystery, with great fervour did she come to the knowledge of the Gospel. In this same way do I salute you, who are one of those bright elect lights who set forth these same truths, which are almost hidden in the darkness of this our age. As my chief object in conferring with you by letter is to be stimulated in the service of our Lord God, I see no reason to avoid beginning with so long a salutation. I have taken it from a source where nothing is to be found which is not good, and suitable for every place and season. God does not observe whether we attend to worldly customs or to the rules and ornaments of earthly knowledge, but whether we nourish ourselves with his word, and say and do all to the glory of his Divine Majesty.

"I am now to give you an account of the great joy and consolation I have received these few days past from the most serene queen of Navarre. I have passed four long hours at two different times [358] conversing with her about the present state of the Church of God, about the study of divine things, and on some of the most delightful points of spiritual doctrine, the same subjects which your Excellency desires we should be always thinking of and conversing about. These conversations are like rich treasures, worthy of being preserved and communicated. They are also of such a nature, that imparting them to others enhances their value. As soon as I had left her majesty I made notes of our subjects of conversation, and if I have time to-day to revise and transcribe them I will send them with this despatch, to shew your Excellency how high the intellect of this queen soars, and how rightly she speaks and feels of the grace of God and of the power of his word. Having noted the sum and substance of her opinions, I ought also to describe the fervour, eloquence, and marvellous grace with which her majesty expressed herself. I do not think, my Lady Marchioness, it would have been possible to speak better. Here you will say, how could you understand her. as she generally speaks French, which I know you do not comprehend? Her majesty spoke in French: I do not understand others who speak in that language, nevertheless I think I understood her, and lost very few words. I will tell you why; she knows our Italian tongue though she does not speak it; she also knows Latin very tolerably, and pronounces it extremely well. Her majesty, compassionating my slight knowledge of the language, and wishing to be understood, when she made use of a French word which she thought I should find difficult, immediately explained it by an Italian or Latin word. She pronounces also so distinctly and clearly that she soon made me comprehend the sense of her words; and besides this she was speaking on subjects which I have frequently heard discussed. I think I comprehended and have rightly noted these conversations, and your Excellency will see and read them with astonishment, pleasure, and edification. Blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ, who in these our turbulent times has raised up in various cities and provinces spirits of this kind. I daily meditate on this with wonder and consolation. In this kingdom there is the mo6t serene queen of whom I am speaking; in Ferrara the lady Renée of France; (30) in Urbino the lady Leonora Gonzaga; and many others who are filled with the love of Christ. In Rome there is the lady Vittoria Colonna. This is speaking of your sex only. For my own part I feel convinced that this is the manner in which the holy vineyard, the Church of the Lord, in which there are so many thorns and obscurities, will be purified and enlightened. If God in his goodness goes on raising up such fervent spirits in both sexes, in various cities and provinces, we may awake from the long sleep which has closed our eyes and weighed down our faculties, and be enlightened with a true knowledge of the way to serve God much more than by all the ink in the world, (even though we wrote new reformations every day, (31) more than by all the Diets which ever assembled. Emittet Verbum suum, He will send forth his word, to speak of God, and to soften that which was hardened, namely our hearts and minds, which were shut up in the solid ice of error and worldly thoughts. When the Spirit of God breathes on us the ice will [359] thaw, and carried by the vessels of his grace we shall pass over the waves of error to eternal truth ! Who can restrain or retard our course, and the impetus of the Spirit of God? I commend myself to your Excellency. (32)


About the same time Vergerio wrote the following letter to Luigi Alemanni. (33) He was the Florentine poet who had been engaged in the conspiracy against cardinal Giulio de' Medici in 1522. His life being consequently in danger he fled from his country, and took refuge at Urbino, Venice, and Genoa. But at the election of cardinal Giulio as Pope under the name of Clement VII. he was again a wanderer till 1527: during the brief period in which Florence maintained her independence he took an active part in the affairs of his country, (34) but when in 1530 Florence was subdued Alemanni again fled, and was declared a rebel. Catherine de' Medici took compassion on him and made him master of her household; and he was for some time in the service of cardinal Ippolito d'Este the younger. In 1540 he was sent as ambassador by Francis I. to Charles V. An amusing anecdote is told of the Emperor's ready memory at the public reception of Alemanni. The poet was according to custom making a laudatory speech, in which he frequently introduced the word Aquila. Charles smiled and interrupted him, saying, L'Aquila grifagna, che per più devorar due becchi porta — The griffin eagle which to devour the more has two beaks. This allusion to some verses which the poet had written for Francis I. for a moment disconcerted him, but he contrived so ingeniously to excuse himself that he gained the Emperor's favour. He was an elegant poet, and the first who wrote elegies in Italian. His Coltivazione in blank verse, printed at Paris in 1546, is considered one of the best poems in the Italian language. (35) Alemanni had often spoken to Vergerio about the queen of Navarre, but the reality of her talents and religion seems to have far exceeded the most flattering description.

To M. Luigi Alemanni.

"Most Magnificent Brother,

Neither my lady Marchioness of Pescara, nor your lordship, who both know so well how to express and to write what you choose to say, nor our most illustrious cardinal, nor all Rome, if they had spoken of the lofty genius and talent, the fervour of spirit, and the ardent charity of the most serene queen of Navarre, would have been able to say in her praise half of what I found yesterday to be true. Her majesty condescended to admit me to hear her rare talent of conversation. That was a day of inexpressible joy, certainly the greatest I have experienced for a long time past. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his mercy has raised up in this our age, so full of errors and darkness, just as we most wanted it, a spirit, a light and truth so clear, to shew us how to avoid the many thorns and hindrances of this age, and teach us to find the sure and certain way of attaining that immortal blessedness which God has prepared for those who love him. From the confines of Italy, where I was born, he has led me here; and has brought me, who am but of a weak judgment, to the centre of France, that I might see and feel this fire and be warmed in his service; this light that I may keep in the right path, and this energy of mind and spirit of charity that my understanding may be drawn to the knowledge of that inheritance of glory incorruptible, undefiled, and unchangeable. (36)

"I returned this evening to Melun so full of this spiritual joy and consolation, that not being able to keep it all within my own breast, I feel myself obliged to pour a share of it into yours, one whom I so much love, and who truly respects and venerates her majesty. May God long preserve you in health." (37)

It is evident from these letters that a very deep religious impression was made at the court of France on Vergerio. His mind had been prepared from his earliest years to look with favour on the German Reformers; he had been enlightened by his discussions with Luther and other Protestants, and was disgusted with the Roman court, but like many others he had not courage to leave it and break with all his friends. He had recommended his books to the patronage of cardinal Bembo; (38) and while he was in France he received two letters from this cardinal, to which Vergerio replies that he is at liberty to do as he pleases with his books, that he has carefully revised and improved them, and thus continues — "I lead here such a kind of life that I am in some danger of becoming a tolerable theologian. When I am so disposed I can be alone, read and compose, and to this I am often inclined. I converse frequently [361] with the learned men of the court, and much with the queen of Navarre, whose ardour for the glory of Christ and for sacred studies would warm an icicle.

"I am going in about eight days to see the king of the Romans; leave the rest to me. I have not hitherto been able to go though I wished it. I have been thinking that it will be in the power of the marchioness of Pescara to free me from the pension, for the queen of Navarre and my cardinal (d'Este) have written to monsignor of Rhodes, all owing to the marchioness; if she is in earnest about it all will be well... Your friend M. Carlo (39) of Fano has taken the trouble to collect the poems of the marchioness; I saw in the hands of the queen here what he wrote about them. He will have me, such as I am, for his advocate. I salute you and all your house.

"P. Paolo Vergerio."

From the correspondence already given we perceive that Vergerio was progressing in divine knowledge, and becoming increasingly desirous of serving God in spirit and in truth. In proportion as he advanced himself he became more desirous to encourage others to walk in the right way. He wrote a letter of advice to a young lady at Mantua, called Camilla di Valenti.

In her reply she addresses him with much respect as a father, thanks him for his advice, and expresses a great wish to follow it, and to be led by his example to walk in the paths of virtue. His advice seems to have been that she should learn Latin in order to be able to read the scriptures. Translations in Italian were rare and difficult to be had. Camilla had so far complied with Vergerio's counsel as to be able to write a Latin letter, which she sends him, and says she had written it with the view of studying the Holy Scriptures. As she mentions her mother and brothers she was probably unmarried.

Vergerio replied as follows:

To the Lady Camilla Valenti.

"The peace and grace of God be with you.

"I have received two most beautiful letters from you, one in Latin, the other in Italian; which, to say the truth, I have been shewing about at the French court for several days past, greatly to your credit, and to the admiration of your fine understanding. The most serene queen of Navarre, a queen full of spirit, charity, and eloquence, and my great hope and consolation, praised you much; she is a person well able to value your erudition. Continue, my daughter, in this delightful path, and let your mind be excited to exertion by these beginnings of celebrity and glory which already gild your name. I must tell you that in our age there is no woman more learned than you are in classical literature, or more eloquent in writing Latin. I entreat you [362] earnestly to devote your attention to it, and make it your study to understand the Holy Scriptures, in which you will find true and sweet nourishment for your soul, and a more perfect and solid glory. Having written to you formerly on this subject, you tell me in these two last letters that you intend to do so, but that the greatness and importance of these studies alarm you. My daughter, I commend your modesty, and agree that it becomes us to enter with much humility and purity of mind into this venerated sanctuary. And now I beg you to listen to what I have to say. I intend soon to return to Italy, where those souls are which God has committed to my care. I am sated to the full with peregrinations and courts. From thence I can go every year for a month or two to stay with our most illustrious cardinal of Mantua, my esteemed lord; and thus I can by word of mouth incite you to this most excellent undertaking, point out to you an expeditious and compendious method, and shew you the light which leads us out of the darkness which first presents itself to our eyes; but soon we come to the hills, and then by degrees to the high places of these holy studies. In short, I shall come and talk to you. Meanwhile I should like to have two more of your precious letters. Send them to Ferrara, addressed S. Jacomo Alvarato, the counsellor of his Excellency the duke, who will convey them to me. I have not written sooner because I have been, and still am, much occupied in journies and with affairs. Excuse me. I commend myself to you with as much love as I bear you, which is indeed great.  (40]

"The Bishop Vergerio."

The next letter which we shall give was written to an intimate friend; it makes us further acquainted with the uncertain state of Vergerio's mind and his Protestant tendencies. Though he had in a great measure adopted the opinions of the reformers, he had a horror of the name of Protestant, and of dissent from the dominant church. But he was a conscientious man, and our Saviour's words to his disciples made a great impression, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (41) They urged him to the fulfilment of his religious and episcopal duties and bade him abandon all other occupations for this one object. This was the great principle which actuated the reformers of the sixteenth century; they protested against the whole world in defence of the doctrines contained in the scriptures; they thought nothing of the authority of Popes, Councils, or Bishops, if it was in opposition to Divine Inspiration. What profit, said they, can we find in neglecting Christ the author of our salvation? let us draw forth this holy name from the obscurity in which it is hidden by the superstition and darkness of ages, and let us exalt it and shed its splendour abroad.

[363] Vergerio, without knowing it, was a Protestant at heart, since he protested against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, and sought a remedy in the scriptures. But he dreamed, as many short-sighted men have done, that the Church would reform itself, and when purified draw all men under its influence. Three hundred years have passed away and no nearer approach has been made to reform. Instead of progressing it has degenerated. In the sixteenth century the world was nearer to a right judgment of the papacy than it is now. Reforms in discipline and doctrine were then thought essential; now its grossest errors are spoken of with conventional respect. The temporal throne of the Pope is indeed shaken, but it is proposed to strengthen and enlarge his spiritual dominion.

To M. Ottonella Vida.

"Vida my brother! In my last letter to Monsignor di Pola, our brother, I promised to send you a special answer to yours of the 7th instant; I now fulfil my promise. Intelligence from you is especially acceptable to me, and you will do well to continue to make me acquainted with everything that you are all doing; being a great lover of my country I rejoice to hear news of you. I was particularly pleased with what you wrote to me of that preacher of Lubiano, who is not now in Saxony, and yet he publicly preaches Lutheranism, and you do well to be against him. On this head I must tell you, to my great grief, that wherever I go there is a great deal of this Saxon merchandise, although in many places much severity has been used in trying to consume it, even by fire. In short, things seem getting worse every day and in all places. But I return to your letter. You write that you hope some day to make a run and join me in Prance; perhaps you said this in jest: I answer that if I continue in my French occupation this may very well happen; but, as I have written before, and now write decidedly, I do not intend to stay in this or in any other court. I have reasoned with myself about it more than ten tunes. In one scale I put my age, which will yet serve me a good while, to use that portion of light and judgment which God has given me. Great, I hear, is the scarcity of men who are even moderately enlightened in this busy age, or who have the protection and principles which I possess. In the same scale I throw another consideration, which is, if I do not persevere in the beginning I have made, and reflect honour upon and do good to my family and to you all whom I love so dearly, I shall have thrown away all my past exertions, for I do not see how any one else can do this in my stead. Not that I think myself a man of importance, for I know well I am a very ordinary person; but because it requires a thousand fortuitous circumstances and great good fortune to take the very first steps for rising, even a little, in the management of this world's affairs, and it is very certain that exertion in study is not sufficient. But when 1 put in the opposite scale twelve little words which I find written in a certain book, not much sought for [364] now-a-days, I immediately perceive that the scale which contains these few words is much heavier than the other which holds reasons which appear at first so weighty, together with flesh and blood, which also weigh something; but these words out-balance all. And what, you will say, can these words be? They are these which you read below. Quid prodest homini, si universum mundum lucretur, anima vero sua detrimentum patiatur? What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Well, Vida, do you not think they are of great weight? Are they the words of Tullius, or Cato, or Aristotle? Reflect, what can we balance against the soul? Then you will say, you do not think it possible to do good to your soul in serving popes and kings, who can enlighten the Church of God, free it from the darkness which overwhelms it and the dangers which surround it; and you will perhaps add that I ought not to think of benefiting my own diocese, or some few vines, but the whole vineyard of the Lord, insomuch as my strength will permit. This is all that can be said against my being free, and some good cardinals in Rome reasoned thus with me before you did. But the answer by which to convince your great men and these cardinals is this. In our days the purification and cultivation of this poor universal vineyard is thought but little of. I affirm it a thousand times over, 0 Vida; few think about it. On this account I say that it would be better for me to go and cultivate the few vines which I have on the confines of Germany, surround them with a good hedge, and guard them, so that I may be able to gather some fruit to offer to God, rather than stay away idle, expecting others to determine whether they will be willing to cultivate unitedly the whole vineyard. At least if I do that which my good inclinations prompt me to perform, I can then say to our last judge and chief, the Lord God, I for my part have wished to defend and cultivate these few vines; and if I have not made them produce all the fruit which they ought to have done, I have not at least put obstacles in the way of the grace with which thou hast enlightened me. On the contrary, I have left the seeming splendours of worldly courts to run where I discerned, or was attracted by, some rays of thy true light. Now see, Vida, how, without thinking, and almost without intending, I have entered with you upon a subject which is to me of more importance than all the kingdoms and empires of the world. (42)

"The Bishop Vergerio."

Ottonella Vida (43) was a lawyer, and seems to have been a man of ability as well as of piety and integrity. He handled the subject of residence and non-residence of bishops in a masterly manner. After congratulating Vergerio on his having resolved to devote himself to his flock, he says — "......I will not cease to admonish and beseech you for the love of Christ to put this determination speedily into execution; it has been [365] dictated to you by God's divine inspiration. You have been chosen bishop of Capo d'Istria by God before it was given you by any Pope. The office of a bishop is to watch over the souls of his diocese, to keep and guard them from the dangers of the world and the snares of the evil one; he ought besides first to watch over his own spirit, as we all ought for this; they are called bishops of the Saviour our Shepherd. The good shepherd never leaves his sheep unguarded, and without a guide, to visit foreign countries and keep the sheep of others. He remains with them day and night, always anxious and vigilant, and in danger risks his life for them; he takes care that they are not exposed to contagious diseases, set upon by robbers, or devoured by wolves; and sees that they are defended from heat and from frosts, and that they always enjoy good pasture, plenty of fresh grass and clear water, and all that they need. But how can a shepherd do all this who does not love them, never sees them morning or evening, and has not even any acquaintance with them? How is it possible for him to perform the office to which God has appointed him?" Each person, he says, ought to fulfil their own vocation, and not intrude into that of another. Bishops should never leave their flocks unless summoned by the Pope to give their advice on the affairs of the Church, and the cardinals ought not to have any benefices or cure of souls. His people, he tells him, expect much from him because he is a native of the country, and greatly beloved, and they hope he will resume his preaching and the good advice "which in former years filled every heart with hope and consolation." This christian letter shews that Vida was a well-disposed man, and had a just idea of the duties of a Christian bishop. (44)

At the close of the year 1540 we find Vergerio at the Diet of Worms, not in any professional capacity from the Pope, but rather as the envoy of France, though he was in fact employed by Paul III. to report the state of parties.

About this time Vergerio wrote an address (45) on the peace and unity of the Church, in which he argued that a national Council was not the best means of attaining the desired end. (3) Copies of this address were circulated with the view of disturbing the Diet because it bore some resemblance to a national synod. [366] Campeggio in public, and Vergerio (46) in private, contrived to lengthen out the debate and to delay the conference. We have already seen (47) the lamentable issue of this Diet, and how unavailing were the efforts and good intentions of eminent men on both sides in presence of the repressive authority of the Pope.

While at Worms he wrote the following letter to the queen of Navarre.

To the Queen of Navarre.

"Most Serene Queen,

"Your Majesty may have heard from my lord the Chancellor some few things which I now write to you about this colloquy, that is, that they have not yet decided on the form in which it is to be held, though they have been considering about it these three months past. Madam, I am quite vexed when I see that the cause of Jesus Christ is treated with so much indignity, for it appears to me that this is not the chief thing on account of which so many people are met together, and so much trouble taken, but only a pretence. The chief objects thought of, under the name of Christ, are the private interests of some particular persons; and so great is the goodness and patience of our Lord God that he bears with us, but it is to be feared that at last he will arise in his wrath and chastise us. I have also another subject of sorrow in my heart, which is, that conversing with many of these theologians I find very few who are spiritual and put their trust in Christ. They reason about these things, and on those points which relate to our justification, to the grace of God, and to the sacraments, as if they were profane matters, or a litigious lawsuit. Your Majesty knows well that the doctrines and mysteries of God cannot be learned or taught, nor ought they to be treated of with rancour or the spirit of contention, nor with learned words of man's wisdom, but very differently. In short, Madam, on this very account I fear that nothing good will be done, because they try to measure divine things by a human standard. I devote myself partly to understand thoroughly the progress of affairs, and partly to my studies. I pray earnestly every day for your Majesty, were I but worthy to be heard. I humbly recommend myself to you and to that worthy man, full of sincerity and charity, the cardinal de Tournon. (48)

"The Bishop Vergerio."

With the intention of retiring from public life Vergerio continued his efforts to free the revenues of his bishopric from the [367] pension with which it was charged. From a letter written by Tommaso Badia (49) to Cardinal Contarini, on the 28th of December, 1540, from the Diet of Worms. It appears that Tommaso Badia had strong suspicions of his fidelity to the Roman See.
"The bishop of Capo d'Istria has written to the most reverend the Cardinal of England, and to the most reverend Sta Croce, begging them to get the pension taken off the bishopric, and Vergerio has also begged me to write to your reverence about it; so to satisfy him I write, entreating you for the love of God to prevail on the Pope to gratify him. He has sworn to me on his petto (honour) that if this pension is taken off he will go to his bishopric to govern his flock of 20,000 souls. When I come to speak with your lordship I will explain to you what matters of importance pass through his hands: in my opinion it would be desirable to remove him from this office." About this time Vergerio wrote also himself to Contarini. His letter reveals a great knowledge of scripture. These letters are illustrations of individual character, which present us with a faithful transcript of the thoughts and feelings of the principal actors in these moving scenes. If this text on which Vergerio so beautifully enlarges were more closely observed, "When one suffers all the other members suffer," persecution and intolerance would be impossible, and the law of love would more closely unite the Christian world.

Peter Paul Vergerio to Cardinal Contarini.

"Most Reverend Monsignor,

"The infinite wisdom of God created man in his own image and likeness, with so much wisdom and system that some sages, at a loss for a better or more praiseworthy name, have called man a little world. Certainly, whoever considers well the order of the earth, and of this machine which is called world, and how one element waits upon another, and things are adapted to each other, and then reflects upon the composition of man, he beholds before him the form and image of the whole world gathered together in the human frame. Not touching for the present on the divine nature of our souls, or the greatness of our intelligence and its intellectual capacities, it is wonderful to consider how every part of our body is duly organized, and that every member has its proper office. Each member and every part serves the head; they all need each other; one arm needs the other arm, the hand also the hand. The arms and the legs need the feet, and so on with all the members of the body, both exterior and interior, they are all necessary to each other. St. Paul says, "The eye cannot say unto the [368] hand I have no need of thee, nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you;" (50) that there be no schism between the united members of the body, when one member suffers all the other members suffer, and life itself is attacked. This is why the divine Paul, wishing to liken the Church of Christ to the most worthy and noble thing on earth, often uses this similitude thus: 'As in one body we have many members, and all the members have not the same office, we being many, form the body of the Church, of which Christ is the head, and we are all members of Christ, and also members one of another; and each member of this body is under the government of his head, and has his different office, more or less honourable according to the grace given us by the proportion of faith.' Thus we see that some in the Church are to teach the word of God, some to live in simplicity and fervour of spirit, others full of benevolence to assist their neighbours in distress. Some have one gift, some another. All these are distinct members of the great body of the Church, and, as before said, one arm helps the other and one hand assists the other to sustain the head; thus ought the mystical members to help one another if they truly desire to love and honour our Head Christ, and preserve the Church. As one hand, when it finds the other weak and infirm, if it does not assist it, injures the head, and puts the whole body in danger of pain and inconvenience, so it is with the Church; if one sees another in difficulty and does not assist, but rather injures him, he offends all other christians and our Head, which is Christ. 'Know you not,' says St. Paul in another place, 'that we are the members of Christ, and you are the body of Christ?' and again, 'We are the members of his body and of his flesh.' If we love Christ why do we not love and help his members and his body? St. John, who as well as St. Paul understood the deep things of God, tells us if we love God we shall love our neighbour also; for if we do not love our brother and our neighbour whom we see, much less can we love God whom we cannot see. (51)

"In short, my lord, there is but small charity in some men of this world, but there is a vast deal of hypocrisy, which I pray God he may discover and confound, as he manifestly has this vice in abomination. I think your reverence, who is my greatest friend and knows all my thoughts, will understand of whom I speak, although I speak as in a riddle or parable. May God give me so much patience that I may be silent, and that my grief may not lead me to use stronger and plainer words than I have done. (52)

"P. Paolo Vergerio."

The dissatisfaction with Vergerio at the Roman court was at first from political causes. In the secret archives of the Vatican there is a letter, without date or signature, addressed to Cardinal S.ta Croce (Cervini) which runs thus: "Monsignor Vergerio has been here to the great discontent of the Imperial party. (53) I have a sort of doubt about him, and fear lest something [369] sinister should happen, for I have heard some dreadful words. I have respectfully warned him and advised that he should leave this place. But as he has no confidence in me I did not see much of him; besides I do not like the nature of the man, for he appears to be rather a dangerous person. I have no reason for trusting him, except the letter of recommendation he brought me from you on a particular affair." At this time Vergerio had no idea of leaving the Roman Catholic Church; whatever light and internal conviction he might have received from the Protestants, who directed him to the Scriptures, he was sincerely desirous of doing his duty as a bishop within the pale of the Church, and for this purpose wished to have a revenue which would enable him to assist the poor and maintain the dignity of his position. Had his diplomatic services been rewarded as he expected, and as was usual, perhaps his awakening religious feelings on the value of souls might have slumbered. But for some cause not fully explained he was under suspicion at court. Paul III., who had made so many cardinals, was not disposed to confer this dignity on Vergerio. The champions of the Roman Catholic faith, Aleander, Muzio, La Casa, (54) looked with distrust on a man who professed his desire to perform his episcopal duties, as if it were an affront to the authority of the Pope when a bishop sought to reform his flock.

Vergerio arrived at Rome from Worms on the 25th of January 1541, and a few weeks after he wrote the following letter to Galeazzo Florimonte, bishop of Sessa.

"Most Reverend Brother,

" Did I not promise you by letter to go in Lent, which is very near, to my diocese, to preach and do the little I can for the benefit of the flock which God has given me to feed? Behold I hasten to do it, and expect you there; when the pilgrims my children go to Loreto (55) you will hear from them, and thus you will be, as it were, my visitor, and see what I have done. Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that having been for a whole year in an atmosphere so chilling that it would almost have extinguished a great fire, (56) nevertheless it has not smothered the sparks which are still bright within. My dear M. Galeazzo, my trust is in Him, who will I hope grant me to fan into a flame not only my own soul, but some of those who are [370] under my care. Priuli, (57) a minister of God, is persevering in that fervour of spirit which you formerly wrote to me about. He is now hunting me afresh, and I am about to run. (58) May God reward you both for so much love. Keep well, and pray to God for me." (59)

Soon after Vergerio's arrival at Capo d'Istria he fell dangerously ill. Disappointment at being slighted by the court of Rome, and the burdens of his diocese, oppressed his spirits and produced an agitation of mind which affected his health. Bembo, with his usual kindness, wrote to his son Gio. Matteo Bembo, a magistrate, to console him. (60) He had great difficulties before him. The office of pastor had from neglect long since passed from the hands of the bishops to the religious orders, and established a duplicate ecclesiastical authority. As long as the bishop remained at a distance and contented himself with receiving the revenues of his see, there was no room for opposition; but when, as in Vergerio's case, the bishop wished to do his duty as a pastor, and lead his flock to the pure streams of revelation, then the conflict began. The friars had usurped the office of preaching and of administering the sacraments, and had full possession of that engine of corruption and influence, the confessional chair. They were sworn enemies to every kind of reform, for they fattened on the spoils of ignorance and superstition.

Vergerio, however, was resolved to attempt removing some of the superstitious images from his church, and began by exposing the folly of worshipping St. Christopher and St. George on horseback; the latter was the patron and protector of Pirano, a place within his diocese. The friars took the alarm, and two strong parties formed themselves; the one against all change of these time-honoured follies; the other, supporters of the bishop. Bembo's son, the podestà, rather leaned to established usages. His father, the cardinal, wrote to him that if the bishop was partial in his dealings and favoured one party more than another, Matteo was not to regard his affection for the [371] man, but decide the causes brought before him with justice and impartiality. This was the first stone thrown against the bishop; the authorities being against him, complaints were made to the papal Nuncio, La Casa, at Venice; he was accused of heresy, and a censure was passed upon him. His friend Aretino wrote that in the end this would turn to good, as he was known to be a good christian and a faithful bishop, and entreated him to believe that these evil reports would finally bring him as much lustre, as the renewal of the swan's feathers increases her beauty. (61)

After the expressed disapprobation of the Nuncio, Vergerio found his position as a bishop untenable, and went to take counsel with his friend cardinal Hercules Gonzaga (62) at Mantua. Annibale Grisone, a canon, preached openly against the bishop, and knew so well how to work on the passions of the ignorant populace that he attributed the long drought and failure of crops to Vergerio's impiety in not respecting the ancient traditions. On the 13th of January 1546 he wrote from Mantua to Muzio his fellow-townsman, complaining of this persecution, but at the same time he received it as a mark of the divine favour, and said that he was proud to suffer for the name of Christ. (63)

But Muzio's tendencies unfortunately lay in another direction; he was a friend of Grisone, and already much prejudiced against Vergerio, whose letter contained some unguarded (64) expressions upon divine influence; this alarmed the stickler for free-will, and he returned for answer that he thought his opinions unsound and tinged with Lutheranism. Finding he could not count on Muzio as a friend, and fearing to write his own condemnation, Vergerio left his letter unanswered, and [372] retired to the town of Riva, on the borders of the lake of Garda, (65) belonging to his friend cardinal Madrucci, bishop of Trent.

Vergerio was very desirous of taking his place as bishop at the Council of Trent. Uncertain how he would be received he wished to have permission to appear before the Council and justify himself. He had been at Riva only a month when he wrote to Madrucci as follows:

" Pray write just once to Rome con quella santa mano, thus: 'Vergerio will go where you choose to be judged; but, your reverence, believe me, it is not for the honour of the Council that such a trial should take place just now; it would be better to allow him to come to Trent. Do me this favour, and you will see how much better it will succeed than sending him to be judged at Venice, which in the eyes of the world is a convent of Theatines.' Please to write in this manner, most Reverend Sir of Trent, and see what comes of it. There are loud murmurs of dissatisfaction because I am not with the others; as I am well thought of in Venice these are continually increasing. It grieves me to the heart not to be at your side to serve God in this Council. Let Him do as seemeth to Him good; into His hands I remit my cause. I wish greatly to converse with yon, and if I am to go to Venice I request your reverence to allow me to pass by Trent. Your podestà of Riva has loaded me with kindnesses without number, and has even received me into his house as a brother; but notwithstanding his agreeable society I wish to leave this place, and I entreat your illustrious lordship by some means or other to effect this. I kiss your hands and commend myself to your good graces. Christ be with you. From Riva, 25th February 1546.

"Your servant, the Bishop Vergerio." (66)

Through the kind offices of his friend the Cardinal of Trent he at length obtained permission to present himself before the Council, but the legates would not allow him to speak till he had justified himself against the charge of heresy before the Pope. If they had not been afraid of infringing the liberty of the Council, or rather of its being said that the Council was not free, he would have been arrested and sent bound to Rome; but the eyes of the Protestants were upon them. The influence of Vergerio's friends relieved him from the danger of appearing before the Inquisition at Rome, and his cause was referred to the Patriarch and Nuncio of Venice.

During his absence his enemies had not been idle. To the [373] bishop's great indignation the Nuncio sent the police (sbirri) to search his palace at Capo d'Istria for heretical books, (67) and the number of them found there formed one of the principal articles of accusation against him. Three were most especially obnoxious. One, called a diabolical book, Pasquino in Estasi, (68) a satire on the Pope and the Roman Catholic religion; Il Beneficio di Christo, and Il Summario della sacra scrittura. In vain he defended himself by quoting the canon which enjoins bishops to read heretical books in order to detect their errors, and that they may be confuted at Rome. The friars were the prime movers of this persecution against Vergerio; his reforms touched their gains as well as their manner of life. If neither St. George nor St. Christopher were to be worshipped, what would become of the profit derived from their images. The bishop had stripped them of their false glory, and dared to declare that these holy images were idols. (69) What need of farther proof of his heresy? In explanation he observed that the word etSaXov in Greek meant image, from elSco to see, and quoted Cicero, who says, imagines quoe idola sunt.

A friar named Bonaventura Gurone, guardian of the zoccolante (wooden shoes), was enraged against the bishop because he reproved him for having prepared some rails for an altar on which to hang votive offerings. They were to be offered in gratitude for the miraculous cures which the anticipated Virgin, not yet painted, was to perform. Gurone consulted with another priest, whom the bishop had admonished for leading an immoral life. "Come," said he, "let us accuse the bishop and get him sent away, and then you can do as you please." Another of his accusers, a friar of the third order of St. Francis, had promised five ducats to a woman if she would say that a female had appeared and [374] ordered her to tell the people to visit her image five times in the church of Santa Maria de' Campi. This absurd story was believed by the credulous multitude, till Vergerio sifted the matter and proved the imposture. He brought the woman before the podestà, Alvino Dora; she was convicted of falsehood and she and her two accomplices were sentenced to a short imprisonment.

This and other judicial acts, tending to unveil the hypocrisy of the friars, were made articles of accusation against him. It was said he had spoken of the monkish orders with contempt, and sneered at the practice of dressing the dead in the habit of St. Francis, and had declared that the soul could reap no benefit from the body wearing this monkish dress, and that it was only an expedient to get money, which would be better spent in feeding and clothing the poor. Another friar came forward to complain that the bishop had reproved him for having announced from the pulpit that he had in his possession a tooth of St. Apollonia, which was a sovereign remedy for toothache. So ignorant and malicious were these priests of Baal, that they averred the bishop had said that the books of St. Augustine and the writings of St. Paul ought to be thrown into the fire. This he positively denied, but owned that such were the corrupt lives of the friars that he had said it were better for a church to be burned down than for it to be made a place for unholy communications. One witness, Alvini Calino, was thought to bring a very serious accusation, when he stated that he had heard the bishop say the miracles painted on the walls of the temple at Loreto were not really performed there.

On the 15th of August, 1546, Vergerio published a full defence of himself against all the above accusations, together with a pastoral letter addressed to his diocese. To prove the folly of the legends so credulously swallowed by the multitude, he recited the ridiculous story of St. George, which was in itself a vindication. He shewed that Giacomo de Voragine classes this story among Apocryphas Scripturas, and that it was acknowledged as such by Paul III., and taken out of the breviary in consequence. As to having made free remarks to his friends on the evil of old abuses, he justified himself by referring to the canons, where it is commanded to sustain the truth even against the most ancient customs, and quotes St. Cyprian, who says, "consuetudo sine veritate vetustas erroris est, ancient practices not founded on truth [375] are errors." The worship of St. Christopher had been left out of the breviary, and for the honour of the church they ought to discard such old wives' fables. (70) He answered the accusation of disrespect to images by explaining that there was in a church an ill-shapen figure of St. George on horseback of pasteboard, as large as life. Near to this gigantic figure a representation of the king's daughter was suspended, and by her side an enormous beast. All these pasteboard gods hung down so low as to occupy a great portion of the church. He was accused of saying, "Throw down that great horse;" but it was not this figure which he had ordered to be removed, but the image of St. Anne, put up by some women in the church of Pirano, before which lamps were kept burning. It was an indecorous exhibition of a figure of wood lying on a bed, supposed to be giving birth to the Virgin Mary. All the women flocked to worship this figure, (71) and he was certainly very desirous of having it removed; but his wish had not been accomplished, for it was there still. He did not deny having said that it was better to give the oil to the poor than to burn it before the images of St. Anne and the Virgin; and he recollected having observed, when he saw the leaden seals (72) stamped with the heads of Peter and Paul, "Who would ever have thought of your heads being used for this purpose!" In short the whole of the accusations put together only proved that he was a reformer of crying abuses and traditional follies. There was no appearance of his being tinged with a shade of heresy, properly so called. Whatever might have been his doctrinal opinions he had not manifested them. He wished to do what he conceived to be his duty in discouraging these superstitions, as they were for the majority the whole of their religion. The bishop's good intentions were evident, and all good men were shocked at this attack on him.

The evidence against him was not strong enough to condemn or even to cite him to Rome, and he was not declared a heretic. Muzio, his townsman, a ready polemical writer, complains that [376] those persons who were sent to Capo d'Istria to take evidence against him were more Lutheran than the bishop. His enemies however were determined to ruin him, and combined their forces for this purpose. Annibale Grisone, Muzio, and Antonio Elio finally drove him from his untenable position of a reformer within the Roman Catholic Church. Antonio Elio owed his position to Vergerio's brother Aurelio, a knight of Rhodes; who while secretary to Clement VII. had taken this Elio, a man of ignoble birth, into his service and thus made his fortune. Vergerio reproaches him with ingratitude to his benefactor.

This Aurelio Vergerio was the elder brother, and seems to have had much influence at Rome, for Pietro Paolo said that he could have had the bishopric, but that they both agreed it was better to bestow it on their younger brother Giovan Battista. Our Vergerio gives an interesting account of a conversation which took place when Aurelio paid him a visit at Venice while he was in the Pope's service: "He opened his heart to me, God is my witness that this is true, and said he had discovered that the papacy was altogether a human policy, guided by worldly motives and not commanded by Christ." He died shortly after at Rome, and was supposed to have been poisoned by a salad. In the year 1548 our Vergerio had also to mourn the loss of his youngest brother Giovan Battista, bishop of Pola. Of him the survivor said, "He was a good man but of no great learning; God gives to each their several gifts. He lived for eighteen years at Pola, doing his duty as a resident bishop as far as he had light, as many can testify. Towards the end of his life it pleased God to enlighten him, and he began to understand that it was the papacy which had disturbed and disordered all Christendom. Once convinced of this, he laid aside his former views and adopted ours. Several of his canons and other priests followed his example, and some are now exiles for the truth, such as Rasoro (73) and Gernasio. As his death drew near he left his own bishopric and came to me; he died in my arms in a most christian manner, and was buried like a christian, not having time or opportunity to set any farther example or fulfil his desire to do something for the glory of God. [377] His relations did what they could; enough that there were no friars' superstitions or blasphemies, that is, auricular confession or unction with rancid oil. He wrote nothing but a paraphrase on the Psalm, 'Blessed are the undefiled, &c.,' which I afterwards printed. In short there can be no doubt that he was one of the elect of God, and one of those whom you call Lutheran; he is even noted in two or three of your Catalogues. This I say for the glory of God."

This was addressed to Fra Ippolito Chizzuola, who after Vergerio had left Italy published an invective against him. (74) Among other things the friar accuses him of forsaking the doctrines of his ancestors: to this futile argument he replied that if his ancestors had lived in this age of light (75) they would have embraced the same doctrines which he by the grace of God had been enabled to receive; and "I am sure," he added, "they would have been the last people in the world to reprove me, gifted as they were both with talent and influence, if I may be allowed thus to laud them."

While Vergerio was under the pressure of persecution, his friend the cardinal of Mantua wrote in his favour to the cardinal of Trent, saying, "he preached well and set a good example to his flock, but that his enemies had reported something he had said in the pulpit to the Nuncio La Casa at Venice, who cited him to appear." Gonzaga begs Madrucci to have this matter set at rest, that Vergerio may return to his bishopric. He adds:

"There is no doubt of his obedience to the Church, and that he will do all that is required of him. But if he is not restored to his episcopal authority it is to be feared that he may take some desperate course; if on the contrary you give him a hearing and allow him to justify himself, he will say what you please, and you will retain the services of a bishop of ability, who is greatly enlightened in the doctrines of Christ, besides possessing so rich a vein of eloquence that it is a pleasure to hear him." In confirmation that there was no proof of his holding heretical opinions at this time, we have a letter from Fra Marino, one of the Inquisitors, to the cardinal of Mantua, in which he says: [378] "I know it will give you pleasure to hear that at the inquisition made about my friend the bishop at Capo d'Istria, by the auditors of the legate, the vicar of the Patriarch of Aquila, the Fiscal, and myself, no proofs of heresy were found; on the contrary, he appears to have governed his diocese with the greatest charity and kindness, and with all the assiduity of a faithful pastor. More than eighty witnesses have borne testimony to this effect. Even his enemies, who are few in number, confess that he leads a most blameless and irreproachable life; his accusers are envious persons, who by their wicked lives deny Christ; among them are some friars, who for their misdeeds had been turned out of their several orders: this trial has brought to light both their ignorance and malevolence. Among these persons there are some agents of a certain Antonio Elio who seeks to annoy the bishop in every possible way on account of a pension, which he holds on the revenues of the bishopric, not having been paid. I declare all this to your reverence as a person who has gone through the whole affair impartially, and moved only by zeal for the Gospel. I am quite a stranger to the bishop, but think great injustice has been done him. If I could have followed my own inclination I would have publicly absolved him from the pulpit, and declared him to be a most excellent pastor. I would have pointed out his enemies, and declared that non omnis sermo facit hominem haereticum—a man is not to be called a heretic for a word." (76) This letter, dated 13th November 1546, proves that the monks said truly when they asserted that Lutheran principles had insinuated themselves even among the Inquisitors; and there can be little doubt that during the reign of Paul III. some moderate and religious men filled this office with the view of mitigating the rigour of persecution.

The cardinal of Mantua continued steadily to defend Vergerio, and wrote the following letter to cardinal Farnese, the Pope's grandson, in his favour:

"Most Illustrious and Reverend Sir,

"Vergerio, the bishop of Capo d'Istria, was examined on the charge of preaching false doctrine. This inquisition was directed by the Legate of Venice and the Patriarch of Aquila, who sent their auditors with the ordinary Inquisitors in order to examine a number of witnesses on the spot. Fra Marino has written to me that not only did they find him (the bishop) innocent, but by many concurrent witnesses he was proved to be highly praiseworthy. The bishop entreats me to speak in his behalf to your most illustrious reverence, and relieve him of the expense of having the cause referred to Rome; and begs it may be left in the hands of the authorities, the legate, the vicar of the [379] Pope, and the auditor of the chamber; here there are many divines who can examine him anew on the articles of faith. I could not refuse to entreat you to consent to this, and I do so most heartily. He has both talent, learning, and eloquence; his innocence has been clearly proved, and it is not unreasonable to grant him this favour. He appears to have some disagreement with Antonio Elio, to whom I am well disposed, and whom I have no desire to injure by this letter." (77)

This earnest appeal, though so favourable to Vergerio, produced no effect; his enemies had been too successful in exciting prejudice against him at Rome. Other letters equally satisfactory were written on this occasion; one in particular from Giovan Maria Bocella, the Fiscal attorney of the Inquisition.

After Vergerio had been obliged to leave Italy he published these recommendatory letters in his reply to a violent invective against him by Fra Ippolito Chizzuola before quoted. (78) In the second chapter he alludes to the friar's animadversions on his (Vergerio's) assertion that it was only within the last hundred years that the light of the Gospel had entered Bohemia; and goes on to say that "those to whom it strikes home may chew the bitter cud of this assertion. Is it not well known that within the last few years the style of preaching is entirely changed even in Italy? Is it not evident that eloquence both in Latin and Italian is more in request? That the knowledge of Greek is much more extended than it was a few years back; and that by the favour of God philosophy and all other sciences are studied with greater attention and care? The friar says I speak falsely when I say that the Pope forbids the bishops to read the books of the reformers, and he denies that there is any such prohibition. Let us prove the fact Leo X. was the first to issue a censorial prohibition of these books, (79) which was an act of tyrannical injustice. Julius III. followed in the same track; in his bull he said 'that many asked permission to read in order to confute these works, but the contrary effect generally followed.' Such is the force of truth that those who asked permission to inform themselves how they might best answer and confute others were taken in their own snare and could [380] not get out of the dilemma. This prohibition extended to all men of whatever rank, degree, or condition; to bishops, archbishops, and the highest ecclesiastical dignitaries. These are the words of the papal bull which I printed at Poschiavo." (80)

We have already said that the friars were the prime movers of the persecution against Vergerio, and the Franciscans seem to have been most especially exasperated against him, because he had separated a convent of nuns from the Franciscan monastery, and made a public road between them.

Towards the close of the year 1548 Vergerio was dismissed from his bishopric by the legate. He obeyed, and retired to Padua: the legate enjoined him to go to Home to justify himself, but the cardinal of Mantua dissuaded him from venturing on this step, as the Pope was prejudiced against him. The legate, desirous of getting him within his grasp, cited him to appear at his episcopal palace, from whence he had been banished by a monitorio a few weeks before. This was only a pretence to entrap him, for he knew he would not appear; the summons having been disregarded, emissaries were sent to take him; but Vergerio, having received timely warning, fearing his life was in danger, fled to the Grisons country. This was just what his enemies desired; if they could not get hold of him for the Inquisition to handle, the next best thing was to drive him to confess himself a heretic.

This decisive but unwilling step broke up all connection with the Church of Rome. In a consistory held at Rome by Paul III. he was declared contumacious, deprived of the episcopal dignity, and pronounced to be an apostate and heretic. (81) It is doubtful whether Vergerio would ever have brought his mind to separate himself from the Romish hierarchy but for a tragical scene which he witnessed at Padua in 1548.

Francesco Spira, a distinguished lawyer, had zealously embraced the reformed opinions, and lost no opportunity of communicating them to his friends and neighbours. This was reported to the legate at Venice, and Spira was cited to appear before him: though aware of his danger he obeyed the summons, and in presence of the legate was subjected to a most scrutinizing [381] examination. Under the influence of fear he confessed he had been in error, promised obedience to the Church, and craved pardon for having departed from the faith of his forefathers. The legate, pleased with his submission, accepted his excuses, but insisted as a condition of forgiveness that on his return home he should make reparation for his former errors by publicly disavowing them. He assented, but on his return home he bitterly repented having made this engagement. At length, overcome by the entreaties of his family and friends, who pointed out the certain destruction which hesitation would bring upon him, he consented to make the public recantation required by the legate. But the struggle between terror and conscience was too violent; the consciousness of having offended his heavenly Father to please the apostle of error preyed so deeply on his mind, that he fell into a pitiable state of mental and bodily disease. Such was his desperation that he believed he had committed the unpardonable sin of lying to the Holy Ghost, lost all hope of the mercy of God, and of eternal salvation. He was removed from Cittadella to Padua; every possible remedy was tried to recover the tone of his mind; his friends and physicians in vain endeavoured to console him by speaking of the sovereign mercy of God. He believed himself irremediably doomed to the punishment of hell, and declared that he already felt the torments of the damned. That he not only could not love God, but that his heart was filled with hatred towards Him: argument was useless, for reason was dethroned. He refused all nourishment, and expired in the most frightful state of mental alienation. (82)

So melancholy an instance of human weakness and misfortune impressed the minds of men with universal terror. Vergerio, not naturally a very strong minded man, was so shocked at witnessing the miserable effects of inquisitorial power that he resolved to put himself beyond its reach, and immediately fled to the Grisons country. His flight however was more the consequence of fear than of any decided opposition to the religion of Rome, and at first he hesitated about entering into [382] controversy with the Church. In proof of this the following passage of a letter he wrote some time after shews he had by no means made up his mind to take up his lot with the reformers.

" Besides this undertaking I might perhaps be useful in matters pertaining to religion, owing to the friendship existing between me and the learned men of Germany; when either by means of a Council, or in the negotiation of some agreement or arrangement, your Excellency will see what I am able to do." (83)

When Vergerio arrived at the Grisons Vicosoprano was without a pastor, and the inhabitants gladly received him as their minister, and gave him the yearly stipend of one hundred and fifty crowns. (84) Crowds of refugees from Italy crossed the Alps to the beautiful vallies of the Grisons, where the Italian language was spoken, and where the freedom of speech and liberty of conscience denied by the Romish Church was freely enjoyed. In this country and the Val Settina Vergerio had many opportunities of preaching. Once he arrived at a small town called Pontesina, at the foot of Mount Bernino, immediately after the death of the parish priest The whole population of the village was assembled, with the judge at their head. Vergerio offered to preach; some objected, but the judge, more enlightened than the rest, expressed a desire to hear what the stranger would say, and he mounted the pulpit. His audience were so pleased with his sermon that they requested him to preach again the next day; which he did, and seized the opportunity of setting forth with much eloquence and fervour the chief doctrines of the Gospel. Justification by faith and the benefits of Christ's death were the subjects of his discourse, and he made such a happy impression on his hearers that with one voice they expressed a desire for a continuance of such preaching; and one of the Reformed ministers Bartolommeo Silvio of Cremona, was unanimously entreated to settle among them as their pastor. (85)

He greatly contributed to the increasing spread of the [383] Reformed opinions, and had the pleasure of consecrating the church of Poschiavo in the Val Bettina to the Protestant faith. The Diet had issued a declaration of religious liberty, and claimed their right to profess the Reformed religion. In the year 1550 Vergerio printed no less than twelve treatises, tending to rouse the lukewarm or to confirm the wavering; his chief forte was expatiating on the persecutions of the Church of Rome, and there can be no doubt that his frequent reproaches were sensibly felt as assaults against the despotism of the papacy. This kind of composition was more suited to the character of his mind than entering upon doctrine. The more serious and spiritual Reformers of Switzerland stood somewhat aloof till they clearly understood his opinions on important points. Some have one talent and some another; there can be no doubt that the better gift is that spiritual grace named charity; yet his controversial talents were eminently useful in sapping the foundations of priestly power. By holding up the abuses of superstition before the glass of the Gospel he destroyed their influence and exposed them to contempt and neglect. His voluminous correspondence with the Zurich Reformers proves his earnest desire to cooperate with them, and his diligence and activity among the Italian converts. From these letters we learn that he paid a visit to Zurich, and became personally acquainted with the zealous and able men who fought so valiantly for the maintenance of divine truth, and to whom the Christian world is so deeply indebted for their advocacy of sound scriptural doctrine. Vergerio, in one of his letters to Rodolph Gualter, alludes to some defamatory reports which had been circulated of his being too fond of eating and drinking; he appeals to those who knew his manner of life to defend him from such calumnies, (86) and begs them to write a letter in his favour to the ministers of the Grisons. With this request they cheerfully complied, and at the close of the same year he thanks them for the consolation afforded by their letter to the Synod. (87) Speaking of the reassembling of the Council, he says, "it will be free to the Pope's bishops, but to no one else. I am [384] preparing a treatise which will unfold the insidious arts of the Roman Catholic Church, which I will bring to you, as I think I have in my head some important ideas." (88) The following month he sent this new publication to Zurich, and wrote to Gualter that he had "circulated a great many copies in Italy to rouse those who are asleep, and who still put faith in the promises of antichrist." After spending ten days in visiting the churches in Val Settina he intends setting out for Zurich; meanwhile he begs Gualter, as he understands Italian so well, to translate his book into Latin. (89)

Already was there some confusion in the churches of the Val Settina; the ignorance and self-love of the converts made them unwilling to submit to any regulation or restraint; delighted with their freedom from the weight of the Roman yoke they were averse to every kind of organization. Vergerio discerned the danger, and his habits of business enabled him to counteract its ill effects. He wrote that "there were many antichrists, many wolves in sheep's clothing, and many false brethren." Agostino Mainardi, (90) pastor of Chiavenna, and his zealous assistant Giulio of Milano, (91) were very active in disseminating divine truth and in collecting the people into a regular congregation. All seemed to be going on well till the arrival of Camillo Renato, (92) a native of Sicily. He belonged to that brilliant class of meteoric minds distinguished by the gifts of eloquence. Characters of this description are generally incapable of detecting the subleties of error. They may be sincere christians, but unless their imaginations have been chastened by a lengthened acquaintance with divine truth they are unfit to be teachers. Untrained in arrangement of thought, unchecked by the fear [385] of being wrong, the rushing stream overflows its banks, and they deem themselves inspired when they are only misled. In the words of the eloquent but misguided Irving, "one cannot but love their zeal, and admire the ringlets of their childish beauty, and the freshness of their downy cheeks; but ah! what shall these avail in the fierce and fiery controversy, when a man must brave the battle's edge and snatch the martyr's crown from the midst of the fire!" These are reflections which every nascent church should lay to heart; they are more peculiarly suitable to Italian converts; born in a land of beauty and of song, the steeds of their fiery imaginations need a wholesome curb. Sincerity is not all in religion; we must add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity, and be perpetually growing in christian experience of our own hearts, and in what has been called the good sense of the Gospel, but it is more properly an advanced knowledge of divine truth which enables us to discern more clearly the wonderful combination of several links which form a perfect whole. It is an historical fact that the chief errors in religious belief have arisen from the separation of revealed truths from their chain of connection. Any one doctrine exclusively exaggerated loses its balanced position in the Divine Oracles and opens the way for error. To obviate these dangers, and to keep the congregations in the Grisons sound in their creed, Vergerio drew up a simple and scriptural confession of faith, (93) which he signed himself, and persuaded the other ministers to sign. (94)

Vergerio wrote to Rodolph Gualter at Zurich in 1551 that he had reconciled Camillo with the minister and church of Chiavenna, and obliged him to sign a confession of faith. (95) This [386] confession, drawn up by Vergerio to stop the spread of the Anabaptist opinions and keep the converts close to the doctrines of the Gospel, proves the soundness of his faith. As a whole it must be generally approved; and when we recollect that it is the work of a man brought up for so many years under the Roman ritual, we cannot but commend the diligence with which he must have studied the Scriptures before he could have attained such clear views of divine truth. Some of his premises, especially on baptism, are not borne out by Scriptural authority, and seem to have been dictated by a spirit of conservatism when surrounded by innovators. His object was evidently not to destroy but to build up, and it was scarcely possible wholly to divest himself of the ecclesiastical idea which the Roman Catholic Church attached to baptism. While Vergerio was devoting all the energies of a very active mind to the spread of the Gospel, and like St. Paul continually employed in abundant labours, Pope Julius III., though a very lukewarm churchman, after his elevation to the papacy, sent Paolo Odescalchi as legate into the Grisons country with the title of Apostolic Nuncio and Inquisitor, to preach to the Italian refugees and exhort them to return to the obedience of the Church. Vergerio did not allow his bull of office to circulate unnoticed, but wrote some very pointed remarks on its contents. (96) But this Romish foray made Vergerio's position more dangerous, and he began to think of taking refuge in Switzerland. There was a continual interchange of letters between the Swiss and Italian reformers; they translated each other's works into their several languages, or into Latin, for more extensive circulation. In March 1551 Vergerio wrote:

"I send you with this the printed Indiction (of the Council) that you may correct some errors which are in the copy sent me by Bullinger. I wrote to him that I had translated his tract, and now I may tell you that I have enlarged it and sent it to the press, and you will soon [387] receive it. (97) In Italy persecution is growing fiercer, and the mischief is that some retract and deny Christ; but still knowledge is greatly spread. I have an important communication to make to you, but will not commit it to paper; after Easter, please God, I will come to you and tell it by word of mouth." (98)

By a private hand he wrote—

"The Venetians (99) have made a decree that no papal legate, bishop, or Inquisitor could proceed against any of their subjects without the presence and intervention of a lay magistrate: this has enraged the Pope, and he has fulminated a bull forbidding, under grievous penalties, any secular prince to interfere either little or much in the concerns of persons accused about religion; and now we shall see if the Venetians will obey." (100) In the following month he gave an account of his labours and contests: "I am in much trouble and danger, because during several nights of last week, like Gideon, they have destroyed some bones of S. Guadentio, or rather of Baal, and of some Italian saints, and because all at once the Samaritans in Agnelina have entirely discarded the mass. Thus the Pharisees are upon me, and say that I shall not be suffered to remain in the country, for that it is owing to my preaching. I have been called to account, and like Paul I defended myself before the judgment-seat, but I am cheerful and courageous, thank God... I do not cease to preach boldly, and am always sending fresh printed matter to Italy, to the praise and glory of my heavenly Father who has called me to this work." (101) In May that same year he proposed to attend the synod at Coire, and in July we find him at Bale asking for a letter of recommendation from the ministers of Zurich for Berne, as he wished to establish himself in Switzerland. From Berne he writes to the brethren: "I send you three copies of a work I have just printed, one for yourselves, the other two send where you please; you do not want friends. The bearer, my man, is going to Italy, and as he is going to carry there two packets of books which I had already sent by another of my agents, I should like him, with the same trouble and expence, [388] to carry some more books; so I have written to Bullinger, and now write to you to see Froschover and give him three copies of each of Bullinger's works, both of the Decads and all the others, and three of the commentaries of M. P. Martyr, all which I will courteously pay." (102) Among these MS. letters in the library of Zurich there is a long and interesting one from the father of a family, Alphonso Ronchadello, to the Zurich ministers, thanking them for two spiritual letters full of advice and consolation under the persecutions to which they are exposed. (103)

Vergerio in his first publications only attacked the despotism of the Pope over the bishops and over the Council, and manifested his displeasure against La Casa and Muzio, (104) who had prevented his carrying out the reforms in his diocese which he had so much at heart; but when they in turn attacked him in writing, then he let loose his indignation against the Church of Rome and its partisans, and made use of strong and bitter but not untrue language against its corruptions. His pen was ever in motion till the latest hour of his life. A list of his books, eighty-nine in number, has been compiled, but it does not include all. (105)

It does not come within our plan to follow him out of Italy. His talents for negotiation were so highly appreciated that he was employed by D. Ferrante Gonzaga, governor of Milan, to arrange some affairs at Wilna. From thence Vergerio wrote on the 6th of November 1556, after he had openly declared himself a Protestant, to Ferrante Gonzaga:

"I must tell you why I came here. I have been sent by some princes of the empire in the duchy of Prussia to conciliate certain differences. The illustrious Palatine (of Wilna) having heard I was here sent for me, and was so good as to heap on me various honours. [389] He is altogether one of us, and has printed his confession of faith. I return to-morrow to Prussia, and then proceed to Poland; on my way I shall go and see the duke of Wittemberg. Thus your Excellency sees I am at work, and willingly, for so it pleases God... It would be very pleasing to me if this was made known to the illustrious cardinal (Hercules Gonzaga), whom I never cease to venerate and revere, although I fear he is set against me because I left the bishopric that his Excellency got for me. "Your servant Vergerio."

In this letter he drops the title of bishop. (106)

He was invited to Tubingen by the duke of Wittemberg, and there in the year 1561 he had a discussion with the Nuncio, Delfino, who made an unavailing effort to persuade him to return to the Roman Catholic Church. (107) Vergerio died at Tubingen on the 4th of October 1565, and was buried on the 7th in the church of St. George. A sermon was preached at his fonerai by Jacobo Andrea, from 1 Tim. i. 12, 13. The preacher drew a parallel between the life of Paul and that of Vergerio, both having been adverse to the truth, and both having "obtained mercy because they did it ignorantly and in unbelief." An epitaph was written on Vergerio, comparing him with St. Paul. (3) He was not popular with any party; accustomed to associate with a higher class of persons, after he left the Church of Rome he was thought to assume too much authority over the simple converts. One reason of his unpopularity was that he declared he was "neither Lutheran, Zuinglian, nor a Calvinist, but a Christian," and thus lost the support of all parties. (108) We must not lose sight of the fact that he was rather driven out of the Church by persecution than from strong convictions of its unscriptural doctrines. His great forte was exposing the abuses and corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church, and this he did so well that posterity is under great obligations to him for the information contained in some of his works. We shall briefly note one or two.

The Catalogue of prohibited books (109) issued by Dalla Casa [390] the papal Nuncio in the month of May 1549, (110) called forth Vergerio's utmost indignation. He republished it in Italian (111) with notes and remarks, and the following preface:

Vergerio to his Christian Brethren.

"If a peasant who is working in a field or vineyard sees some wretches appear who are consulting how to attack people, to rob and kill them, he is under the necessity of stopping his work, and leaves everything to run where there are passengers, and to call out and warn them of the snares set for them and tell them how to manage to get safely out of the danger. Thus I, who am a poor minister and a servant of the Lord God, snatched by his powerful hand from the thorns and the marshes, and from the stink (puzze) of the superstitions and abominations which in the time of my blindness I used to practise. Having been by the living strength of his Spirit brought to work in the beautiful and odoriferous vineyard of his Holy Gospel, I was entirely occupied with this divine study. I neither wrote nor preached anything else to the few brethren I found among these Alps: I thought within myself that I should never have to write or to preach on any other subject, for this is the true study and exercise of a christian. This is his proper food, his support, his life. Christ said, 'the words which I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.' But behold, while I was devoting my whole heart to the Gospel there appears in print a kind of monster, an enraged (rabbioso) catalogue of many books, both of ancient and modern authors, all in confusion, (as are in general the actions of the Pharisees). Behold the Spirit reveals to me and clearly points out the deceit in it [the Catalogue J, and a conspiracy and mental intention to despoil the true children of God, as far as they can, of all spiritual as well as corporal life. To warn the brethren therefore, and to expose these cruel snares and admonish them, in as far as the Spirit teaches me, of what they should do to avoid them, I have laid aside my other studies, and have set about declaiming with the pen and discussing this Catalogo in the way which you will see. It is a very necessary work, and I could not fail to do it having the honour of my Lord and your safety much at heart. My dear brethren in Jesus Christ, read willingly that which our universal heavenly Father discovers to me for your benefit. Do not mind the [391] trouble, for I promise you that you will receive both consolation and service from it. Por you will perceive the boldness, the rage, the ignorance, and the snares which the Pharisees, your enemies, are preparing for you more than ever. They are trying to conceal and bury Christ and his doctrine, and to destroy and kill, if possible, all his members. But you will learn from these few pages what has taken place in the Christian Church not only for thirty but for two hundred years. Pray for me, a poor persecuted creature, banished with so much fury to these wild Alps, deprived of my dignity, of my property, of Italy, my country, friends, and relations for the sake of the Gospel and for Jesus Christ. The iij of July in xlviiij." Vergerio complains that while the censors of the press allowed the utmost licence of expression to pass unnoticed, a slight allusion to the reformed opinions was mercilessly cut out. In the year 1554 he pointed out to the world a very remarkable instance of this by publishing eighteen stanzas of the twentieth canto of the Orlando Innamorato rifatto (112) by Berni, (113) a poet who flourished at the court of Clement VII. twenty-five years before. Vergerio says the poet till quite his latter days was devoted to the world, but that God in his infinite goodness enlightened him in his old age, and he was made a new creature, left the vanities of the court, devoted himself to the glory of God, and was filled with an ardent desire that all the world should know the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Aware that the great tyrant (the Pope) would not allow any books to circulate which would give the knowledge of the truth, and perceiving that a profane book called the Orlando Innamorato was in every body's hands, Berni determined to add some stanzas of his own to set forth Gospel truth and the deceptions of the papacy. But the evil spirit seeing the attack preparing so managed matters that the book was suppressed before it was finished printing. Such being the case Vergerio now offers to his readers some of the stanzas added by Berni, in which he freely professes the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ, and boldly asserts that the religion which the Pope persecutes is the true religion, and that one of the legitimate [392] fruits of the Gospel is repentance and amendment of our past lives. That we ought to put ourselves into the hands of God and Christ, acknowledging the truth of the heavenly doctrines without fear of man. He then goes on to observe that Berni was allowed to print as much licentious poetry as he pleased and never interfered with till his heart was enlightened and his muse enlarged to sing of pure and heavenly themes. These suppressed stanzas and the whole of Vergerio's tract have been reprinted by Mr. Panizzi, (114) librarian to the British Museum. We give a few lines, and recommend the whole to the reader's perusal.
La carità incommincia da le mani
Non da la bocca, dal viso e da' panni
Siate discreti, mansueti, umani,
Pietosi a le altrui colpe, agl'altrui danni;
Non hanno a far maschere i Cristiani,
E, chi altrimente fa, va con inganni
E non entra per l'uscio ne l'ovile
Anzi è ladron e traditor sottile.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

La parola di Dio s'è risentita
E va con destro piè per l'Alemagna,
E tesse tuttavia la tela ordita,
Scovrendo quell'occulta empia magagna
Che ha tenuto gran tempo sbigottita
E fuor di se la Francia, Italia e Spagna:
Già per grazia di Dio fa intendere bene
Che cosa è Chiesa, Caritade e spene. (115)
In the Literature of Europe (116) Mr. Hallam, alluding to these lines having been brought to light by Mr. Panizzi, seems to doubt whether this learned Italian has not expressed himself too strongly, when he says, "the more we reflect on the state of Italy at that time the more have we reason to suspect that the reformed tenets were as popular among the higher classes in Italy in those days as liberal notions in ours." But if the reader has followed the history thus far, he must be convinced that the above assertion rather falls short of, than goes beyond the actual truth. The reformed opinions were not only 'popular,' but were [393] received with strong convictions of their truth, to an extent of which, from the merciless destruction of documents and proofs of heresy, we can form no adequate idea.

Berni died at Florence in 1536. Vergerio added to the stanza of Berni the three famous sonnets of Francesco Petrarca, beginning —

Fiamma dal ciel su le tue treccie piova, &c.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

L'avara Babilonia ha colmo 'l sacco, &c

The third is the strongest: nothing more true or more severe has ever been written against Rome.

Fontana di dolore, albergo d'ira,
Scuola d'errori, e tempio d'eresia
Già Roma, or Babilonia falsa e ria,
Per cui tanto si piagne, e si sospira
O fucina d'inganni, o prigion d'ira
Ove 'l ben muore, e 'l male si nutre, e cria;
De' vivi Inferno un gran miracol fia,
Se Cristo teco al fine non s'adira,
Fondata in casta ed umil povertate
Contra tuoi fondatori alzi lecorna,
Putta sfacciata, e dov'hai posto spene?
Negli adulteri tuoi, nelle mal nate
Richezze tante? Or Constantin non torna
Ma tolga il mondo tristo, che 'l sostiene.

A modern Italian (117) has admirably pourtrayed the antipathy of Rome to every species of reform. Speaking of the famous three days at Paris, he says, " A Catholic nation must perforce relinquish all hope of liberal government whatever; and the despotic power of the Pope cannot exist where liberal institutions prevail. When freedom reigns the Pope weeps, as Pasquin and Marforio say:

Marf. Sai la gran nuova? Francia il giogo infranse,
E il papa che farà sentendo questo.
Pasq. Che farà? Tel dirò col sagro testo,
Quando il gallo cantò Pietro ne pianse." (118)


  1. Marguerite de Valois, sister of Francis I., who married Henry, king of Navarre.
  2. See p. ?
  3. See Chap. VIII.
  4. See Chap. IX.
  5. It was formerly called Justinopolis, having been built by Justin, son of Justinian, to protect the Istrians from the incursions of the Sclavonians, and was destroyed in the early ages, but subsequently restored. After it came into the possession of the Venetians it was called Cavo or Capo d'Istria, from being placed at the entrance of that country. It stands on a narrow island, about a mile long, which is connected with the mainland by a moveable bridge, flanked by four towers. — Alberti, Descrittione di tutta l'Italia, p. 500.
  6. Among his works extant one is much admired, De eruditione liberorum. He lived chiefly at Padua with the lords of Carrara, whose sons he educated. He died about a hundred years Wore our bishop was born.
  7. His family though noble had fallen into decay, which involves his early years in obscurity. It is only by a letter written 10th of February, 1662, in which he says he is 64 years of age, that we can conjecture the time of his birth. 
  8. Representative of the magistrate.
  9. Bembo, Letters, tom. ii. p. 22.
  10. His enemy, La Casa, accused him of poisoning his wife that he might gratify his love of gain and enter the Church, and he even gives her name, Diana; but this improbable story is refuted by Vergerio's own letters. In 1533 he wrote to Aretino expressing his satisfaction that he had not followed his advice and taken a wife: Quanto vi faticaste, Aretino mio, per fino al sudor, ma fino alla colera due volte per vostra gratia di maritarmi. 7 May, 1533. — Lettere scritti al Sig. P. Aretino, 1552.
  11. He succeeded his father, John the Constant, who died of apoplexy on the 16th of August, 1532.
  12. Sarpi, Concilio Tridentino.
  13. He was desired d'ovviare che in quell'anno non si facesse alcuna Dieta nella quale si stabilisce doversi far un Concilio nazionale come si minacciava, e di procurare che il Concilio universale si avesse di celebrare in effetto. Pallavicini says Vergerio advised the Pope to conceal this from the Imperial Government: ammonì il Papa perchè tal massima si celasse anche dagli oratori Cesarei per essersi nel consiglio di Cesare varie Luterani. Pallavacini adds that with these men, who were so jealous of their liberty, the Nuncio was obliged to abstain from all appearance of command, while at the same time he sustained the authority of the Pope, by expressing the esteem and paternal affection he entertained for their nation, and how much he desired their consent and good will. — Conte Carli, Pietro Paolo Vergerio, tom. XV. Milano, 1786.
  14. He excommunicated Luther. See Roscoe, Life and Pontificate of Leo X, vol. ii. p. 217. Bohn, 1846.
  15. See Appendix A.
  16. See Vol. II. Chap. XII.
  17. Sarpi, Concilio Tridentino, p. 77.
  18. Melancthon, who knew him well, considered him superior to all his contemporaries. After speaking of Pomeranus and Justus Jonas, he says: "But Luther is omnia in omnibus, complete in everything; a very miracle among men; whatever he says, whatever he writes, penetrates their minds, and leaves the most astonishing stings in their hearts." — Milner, Church History, vol. iv. Appendix, p. 613.
  19. 1 Cor. iii. 19.
  20. Sarpi, Concilio Tridentino, p. 79.
  21. See Appendix B.
  22. Pallavicini, Istoria del Concilio di Trento, lib. iii. capo 18. If the letter be genuine, we must believe it rather than Sarpi; but there is no mention of this letter in the collection of letters written to Cardinal Pole, edited by Cardinal Quirini.
  23. See Chap. VI. p. 199.
  24. On the 24th of July, 1536, Vergerio wrote to Aretino about the difficulties of presentation, "Io m'ho faticato tanto, e fermato di modo che non può essere altramente che non si faccia. Questo era tutto il desiderio mio per zelo dell' honor, e dell' estaurazione della fede di Gesù Cristo che ne ha bisogna, e poi io era rovinato se questa indizione non si faceva." — Carli Opere.
  25. See letter of Aleander, Appendix C.
  26. Francis I.

  27. See Appendix D.
  28. Lettere Volgari, vol. i. p. 97, edit. 1545.
  29. See Appendix E.
  30. Sec Chap. XIII.

  31. An allusion to the reforms drawn up by the command of Paul III.
  32. Lettere Volgari, vol. i. p. 99.

  33. Born at Florence 1495, died at Amboise in 1556. His master in Greek was Eufrosino Bonino, under whom he made such surprising progress that Bonino dedicated to him, when he was only 21 years of age, his Greek grammar, Enchiridion Grammatices, published in 1516. All his poems are in Italian; they were first published in 1532 at Lyons. His satires are very severe on the Popes. See Appendix E.
  34. Segni, Storie Fiorentine, tom. i. p. 118.
  35. Tiraboschi, Lett. ltal. tom. vii. p. 76.
  36. See 1 Pet. i. 4.

  37. Lettere Volgari, tom. i. p. 99.
  38. As in other cases, letters to heretics are expunged from various collections; thus we do not find Bembo's letter to Vergerio in all the editions of Bembo's Letters.
  39. Probably Carlo Gualteruzzi.

  40. Lettere Volgari, vol. i. p. 102.
  41. 1 Matt. xvi. 26; Mark viii. 36.
  42. Lettere Volgari, vol. i. p. 105. Ed. 1543.

  43. He must not be confounded with Girolamo Vida the celebrated poet, author of the Cristiade, who was also a native of Capo d'Istria.—See Tiraboschi, Lett. Ital. tom. vii. p. 248.
  44. Ad Oratores et Theologos Principum et Statuum Germania qui Wormatiae eonvenerunt. A. 1541. De unitate et pace Ecclesiae.
  45. We shall not greatly err if we surmise that this treatise or address on the unity of the Church was written with a view to preferment, but the scent of the sacerdotal guardians was at this time very keen; it was rightly conjectured that Vergerio was not heart-whole in the cause, and he missed his expected reward.
  46. Cardinal Cortese wrote on the 24th of April, 1541, "Al presente si ritrova con S. Signore il Card, d'Este il Vergerio Episcopo di Capo d'Istria qual mostra un ardentissimo desiderio dell'onore del Signore Dio, e penso che pur debba fare qualche frutto."—Carli, tom. XV. Milano, 1786.

  47. Vol. I. p. 264.
  48. This commendation of Cardinal Tournon is a proof that Vergerio at that time was steadfastly attached to the Church, for the cardinal was one of its warmest partisans.
  49. Master of the Sacred Palace; he was sent by Paul III. to Worms, and gave an account of what passed in a letter to Cardinal Pole, published by Cardinal Quirini. See Epist. Poli, Diatrib. ad vol. iii. p. 260. On his return to Rome he was rewarded with a cardinal's hat. See Vol. I. p. 286.

  50. 1 Cor. v. 21.

  51. 1 John iv. 20.
  52. Lettere Volgari, vol. i. p. 126. This letter was probably written from Worms in 1540.
  53. Probably on account of his having been employed by France.
  54. See Appendix F.

  55. Spelt l'Oreto.
  56. Havendo io per spatio d'un anno continuo versato sempre tra molte humidità, che harebbono qualche volta potuto estinguere ogni gran fuoco.—Lettere Volgari, tom. i. p. 220.
  57. Luigi Priuli, a Venetian, the friend of Card. Pole. — See Vol. II. Chap. XV. p. 203.

  58. The point of the original is not translateable, hora di nuovo mi caccia, et corro.
  59. This letter is dated from Rome, 3rd Nov. 1541. — Lettere Volgari, tom. i. p. 220.
  60. La infermità de Monsig. Vescovo di Capo d'Istria me dispiace assai, haurò caro lo facciate visitare da parte mia, e gli facciate buon animo, e essortiate a star'allegramente, ohe cosi più facilmente guarirà. — Lettere di XIII Huomini, p. 349. Ed. 1560.
  61. Pietro Aretino, Lettere.
  62. Cardinal of Mantua; he was the son of Francesco Gonzaga, duke of Mantua, and of Isabella d'Este. As President of the Council of Trent he was much esteemed for his probity and for his defence of episcopal authority.
  63. Per grazia di Dio son de' perseguitati, non erubesco, anzi me ne glorio non in me, ma in Christo che mi fa degno di patir per lui, questo è dono com' è dono la fede.
  64. "Muzio mio dolce, si scrive quando Dio vuole, non quando vogliamo noi e così è di tutte le altre cose che fanno gli uomini christiani, guidati dallo spirito di Dio." This letter was written from Mantua in January 1546, and he tells Muzio that he had been there for nine months. It was subsequently printed by Muzio at the beginning of a book entitled Le Vergeriane del Muzio, which also contained Discorso se si convenga ragunar concilio. Trattato della Communione dei Laici, e delle mogli di Cherici. In Venezia. Giolito, 1551.
  65. Opposite Peschiera, anciently called Lacus Banaci. It is celebrated by Faccio in his Dittamondo for its beauty and fine fish: Vedi Peschiera e il suo bei lago. It belonged at that time to the bishopric of Trent.

  66. Carli Opere, vol. XV. Milano. 1786.
  67. Vergerio speaks of this insulting aggression in Difesa IV.: "Pare a me che grande injuria mi sia stata fatta quando il Legato della Casa mandò in Capo d'Istria con molto scandalo di tutte quel popolo i pubblici sbirri cercando per tutta la casa mia. Io aveva di que' libri (eretici) et mandò a far questo romore appunto in tempo ch'io era nel Concilio di Trento." Of this circumstance Carli says no writer had hitherto made mention, but a letter in the secret archives of the Vatican from Vergerio to Madrucci attests its accuracy.—See Le otto difesione del Verg. ovvero trattato delle superstitione d'Italia e della ignoranza de' Sacerdoti etc. publicato da Celio Secundo Curione. Basil. 1550.

  68. By Celio Secundo Curione.
  69. Dixit quod imagines sanctorum sunt idola.—See Carli.
  70. "Pare a me, che sia onore, e reputazione della Chiesa e della fede nostro santissima e pieno di grazia, e di maestà a repudiar queste baiie et dire arditamente ch'elle non son veri."

  71. At Rome, in the church of St. Agostino, there is at this very time an image of the Virgin with a child in her arms, to which females flock to pray and to load with jewels.
  72. Attached to papal bulls, briefs, and law papers.
  73. He wrote, "Ludovico Rasoro alla Abbadessa dello Monastero de S. Giustina in Venezia, sopra un libro intitolato Luce di Fede, stampato nuovamente in Milano per Gio. Antonio da Borgo in laude della Messa, Nell' a. 53."
  74. Risposta ad una invettiva, di fra Ipp. Chizzuola da Brescia. 4to. 1565.

  75. This though a natural and plausible argument loses much of its value from observation and experience. The capricious nature of some minds is so great that it makes them exchange truth for error, and light for darkness. If we see this more strongly exemplified in free countries like ours, it is not because we are of less steady and constant character, but because human nature is less under restraint.
  76. Grand ingiustizia et torto è stato fatto al povero Vescovo; e ch'egli Teologo e Inquisitore l'avrebbe voluto in pulpito publicar assoluto e Pastor bonissimo. — See Carli, tom.. XV.

  77. This letter was dated Trent, 18th December, 1646.
  78. Ai Fratelli d'Italia. Di un libro di Fra Ippol. Chizzuola da Brescia, 1563, and Della declinations che ha fatto il Papato solamente da XI anni in qua.
  79. In 1515, at the tenth session of the Lateran Council, which assembled in 1511, an ordinance of Leo X. was confirmed, forbidding any book to be printed without being examined by the Master of the Sacred Palace of the Inquisitor of the place. Ed. 1521. Rome, fol. cli.—See Mendham, Indexes, 1826.
  80. Agl'Inquisitori che sono per l'Italia. Del Catalogo di libri eretici stampato in Roma nell'anno presente 1659.—See Appendix 6.
  81. See Raynaldi, Annales Eccl. No. xxiii. Rome, 1549.
  82. See a note by M'Crie, Reform, p. 138, which states that Vergerio wrote to Calvin in August, 1549, that he was obliged to leave Italy for having written the history of Francesco Spira. It was printed at Geneva in 1550, with a preface by Calvin.— Miscell. Groningen, tom. iii. p. 109. See Da Porta, Historia Spieriae, tom. ii. p. 144.
  83. This letter is dated Vicosoprano, 21 April, 1550; the original is still preserved in the archives of Guastalla.

  84. Bartolommeo Maturo, a Dominican of Cremona, disgusted with the cowl and its pretensions, left Italy in 1628, and preached the Gospel at Vicosoprano till 1647; he died at Tomliasco.—See Da Porta, Historia Spieriae, tom. i. p. 158; tom. ii. pp. 14, 27-50; and M'Crie, Reform.
  85. Da Porta, Historia Spieriae, tom. i.; M'Crie, Reform, p. 201; and Il Sacro Macello, p. 23. 1853.
  86. See Lettere MS., Zurich library, dated 13th September, 1550.
  87. In a postscript to this letter he says: "E venuto fuori un nuovo libro in Italia et lo mando in dono a V. 8. Lo stile è inepto, la dottrina in molti punti peggio che papistica. Vediamo che al questo autore non pare che la fede sia dono di Dio, et che non sia vero che siamo giustificati per la giustitia imputatici. Tales scilicet defensores nunc sibi papae asscicunt." — Lettere MS.
  88. Lettere MS. 22nd December, 1550.
  89. This appears to have been the title, Bolla della Indittione a Convocatione del Concilio che si ha da incominciare in Trento al primo di Maggio nell' a. 1551.—See Girt, Petrus Paulus Vergerius, p. 596.
  90. A Piedmontese and an Augustine monk. He was imprisoned at Asti for holding Reformed opinions, but afterwards liberated and fled to the Grisons, was appointed minister of Chiavenna, and died there in 1563, aged 81 years. See Zanchi Opera, tom. vii. p. 35. He wrote Trattatto dell'unica et perfetta sodisfattione di Christo. Uno pio et utile Sermone della Gratia de Dio contra li meriti humani an. 1551; and L'anatomia della Messa; this last has been translated into Latin.—See Gerdes, Ital. Reform. p. 300.
  91. A converted priest. See Chap. XIII. p. 111, and M'Crie, Reform.
  92. See M'Crie, Reform, p. 203.
  93. See Appendix H.
  94. We lament that want of space prevents our doing anything like justice to the spread of the reformed opinions in the Grisons. There is matter enough for a volume, and it would be well if some scholar would translate Da Porta, Histeria Reformationis Ecclesiarum Roeticarum.
  95. Mi è bisognato andare in Val Settina e patire molti incomodi per alcuni anabaptisti; in fine ne ho reconciliato alcuni, e alcuni ne ho fatto partire fuori del paese. Un altra grave pugna ho avuto con papisti che ci facevano molte novità e molti insulti e anche questo ho vinto con l'aiuto del Signore. Ho reconciliato Camillo al ministro e alla chiesa di Chiavenna, et l'ho costretto ad accettare una confessione a mio modo: queste faccende adunque mi hanno qui rattenuto e insieme molti poveri fratelli ohe qui sono fuggiti; che se ciò non fosse già sarei in Zurico, e bisogna ch' io venghi per nunciarvi molte cose......La persecutione in Italia per eresie s'accresce, è vero che i Venitiani han fatto un decreto che solo i preti et i frati non possono inquirire ma che siano aggiunti alcuni Magistrati non solo in Venetia ma in tutte le terre loro. Vicosovrano 21 di Gen. 1551. — De Rebus. Letter. MS. Bib. Zurich.
  96. Delle commissioni e facoltà che Papa Giulio III. ha dato a M. Paolo Odescalchi Comasco, suo Nunzio et Inquisitore, in tutto il paese de' Magn. Sig. Grisoni. 1554.
  97. Demostratione del Bullingero, che il Concilio di Trento non sia ordinato per haver a cercare et illustrare la verità con la S. Scrittura, ma per sovertirla e per istabilire gl' errori della sedia Rom. tradutta dal Verg. 1551.

  98. MS. Lettere.
  99. The Venetians enjoyed more liberty than the rest of Italy, and on that very account were crushed by successive Popes. Not being themselves enlightened by the Gospel, they did not know how to oppose the authority of the Pope. There is no temporising with what is called spiritual power, it must either be rejected or obeyed.
  100. MS. Lettere, 24 d'Aprile, 1551.
  101. Idem, 15 di Maggio, 1551.
  102. MS. Lettere, 6th Aug. 1551.

  103. This letter does not appear to be written by an educated person, but by a warm christian heart: "p. tanto questi poveri membri christiani afflitti et aggraviti da q.sta intolerabile tirannide di antichristo vi p. gano caldamente che insieme con tutta la santa giesa p. gate il Sig.r. p. noi. ne dia tanta fede che ne liberar ci da q. sta captività accio potiamo offerire i corpi et anime nostre osti bene piacciute a Iddio." — Lettere, MS.
  104. In a pamphlet addressed to Donato, the Doge of Venice, he defends himself and says that Muzio, a writer of cartels and challenges, had become in three days a popish theologian and gaoler. He held the ex-bishop up to reprobation in a work called Le Vergeriane.
  105. See Petrus Paulus Vergerius, by Christian Heinrich Sixt. Braunschweig. 1855, p. 595. Appendix I.
  106. Tiraboschi, Lett. Ital. tom. vii. p. 303. 2 Pallavicini, lib. XV. c. 10.

  107. See Appendix J; and for a further account of Vergerio see Conte Carli, Opere; Gerdes, Italor. Reform. p. 349; Melchior Adam, p. 120; M'Crie, Reform.; Sleidan, Comment., and Sixt, Petrus Paulus Vergerius.
  108. M'Crie, Reform, in Italy, p. 220; and Da Porta, p. 410.
  109. The Catalogue is prefixed by the following lines —
    "It is to be understood that all works of the herein-mentioned heretics and heresiarchs are condemned and prohibited which treat of sacred Theology, or of any Ecclesiastical matter, either in Latin or the vulgar tongue, that is." Then follows the list. "Intendonsi Dannate e Prohibite  tutte le opere degli infrascritti heretici e heresiarchi, che si trovano composte  in sacra Theologia, e in ogni altra materia Ecclesiastica si latine come volgari, cioè."
  110. Mr. Gibbings, in his very able work on the Roman Index Expurgatorius, states in his preface, p. 17, that Vergerio made a mistake, and that 1549 should be 1548; but he seems to have overlooked the fact that 'four' in the sixteenth century was generally written IIII., consequently MDXLVIIII. would be 1549. Examples abound to shew that this was the custom; a few will suffice. See Lettere Volgari, vol. ii. Ed. 1567, p. 152, M.D.XLIIII.; p. 257, ann.; p. 259, M.DXLIIII.; and Halbauer's edition of Paleario's works, p. 235, where IX. is printed VIIII.
  111. See Chap. VIII. p. 329.
  112. A poem originally written by Conte Matteo Maria Bojardo of Ferrara in the fifteenth century. See Mazzuchelli, Scrittor. Ital. tom. ii. p. iii. p. 1436. He only got as far as the ix. Canto of the 3rd book, and Francesco Berni rewrote it. It was printed at Venice in 1641, at Milan in 1542, and again at Venice in 1545.

  113. The title of this little book is Stanze del Berna eon tre scritti del Petrarca dove ti parla dell'Evangelio e della Corte Romana nell'anno, 1555, with this motto: "Io vi dico, che se costor taceranno i sassi grideranno. Luc. xix." See Appendix E.
  114. Orlando Innamorato de Bojardo, with an essay on the Romantic and Narrative Poetry of the Italians. Pickering. London, 1830.
  115. Notes to Canto xx. vol. iii. p. 863, Orlando Innamorato, Panizzi.
  116. Vol. I. pp. 363, 364.
  117. Rossetti, Sullo spirito antipapista che produsse la Riforma, cap. i. p. 1. Lond. 1532.

    Marf. Say, has the wondrous news yet reached your ear?
    That France rejects at length the papal yoke.
    What will Rome do with this rebellious son?
    Pasq. What do? I'll tell you in a Scripture text,
    When the cock crowed, the wretched Peter wept.

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