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prestige of the monks by means of ridicule; and the skirmish of Reuchlin and the Reuchlinists with the Dominicans, raises up a Reformatory host, well drilled for the battle.
Side by side with this conflict in the church, we have a conflict in the schools likewise, commencing with the restoration of the ancient classics. Petrach and Boccaccio here too, take the lead in this battle of classical learning, with mediæval scholasticism. But we find in Dante both styles of culture barmoniously united. In exact proportion to an advancing sense of the beauty of classical forms, there arises an antipathy to the deformity of scholastic expressions. Many of the Italians become so enamored of the ancients, as to go over to paganism ; and but very few of them bring their linguistic attainments to the interpretation of the Bible. But not so with the Germans. For these press all the knowledge that they have gained from profane writers into the service of the church. Erasmus, by his edition of the New Testament, and Reuchlin by his Hebrew labors, prepare the
way for a sounder exegesis.
Thus, through the study of the original languages of the Bible, scholastic theology, previously tottering, is shivered to its foundation. The monks, however, who have grown up amid its barbarous jargon, struggle in its defense; nor can they follow the leadings of the new era, even though disposed to do it. They contend likewise for the Mediæval school books, the “ Doctrinal,” the “ Mammotrectus," etc. And Busch, Cæsarius, and others, who are desirous to teach better things in a better way, they drive from city to city. The Dominicans, whose head quarters are at Cologne, are the chief actors in this warfare, against the men of the new school.
Those who do battle for the old order of things, are called, “theologians," and "artists;" the champions of the new culture are styled by their adversaries, “poets,” and “jurists.” And it is only after the victory of the Reformation in the church that classical learning obtains a complete ascendency. Then scholasticism, which after the lapse of centuries has become a caricature, succumbs.
For the time had at length arrived, when the learned classes were to be freed from the bondage of ungainly, unmeaning, and intangible forms of thought and speech. And how enchanting must the clearness and freedom of Greek and Roman thought and imagination, and the splendor of the Greek and Roman languages, have appeared to them after their dark and gloomy imprisonment. Is it to be wondered at, that in their rapture, they neither knew nor desired any thing higher or nobler than to imitate the classics ? And that it seemed to them as if now for the first time their spiritual eye wero opened, their soul awakened to life, and their tongue set free?
And is it any the more to be wondered at, that in the excess of their enthusiasm for the new, they should be unjustly biased against the generations gone by, and should even go so far as to welcome every thing new, if for no other reason, simply because it was new?
In fact Picus di Mirandola and Erasmus were themselves, as we have seen, not slow to acknowledge that the moderns often rejected the good with the bad, and thrust aside the profoundest speculations, if they did not appear in a Ciceronian dress.
These exaggerated estimates of the “poets," are the less to be disregarded, inasmuch as they left their stamp upon the character of the next succeeding generations. It was of a piece with their exaltation of the ancients, that these men should so generally exchange their honorable German names, for those of Latin or Greek extraction; in fact, this practice is more significant than at first sight it would appear. Capnio, Melancthon, Sapidus, Brassicanus, Oecolampadius, and the like, are such names. A correspondent of Reuchlin's, who in sooth could not boast of a very euphonious name, it was John Krachenberger,—thus writes in one of his letters: “You will recollect the request that I made you, to invent me a Greek name, which would have a more respectable look at the end of my Latin epistles, than my own, that has the look of barbarism; if you have not yet done it, I beg leave in this place to repeat my request."*
The name “poets,” was probably applied to all who were so in love with mere beauty of form, as for its sake to overlook the subject and substance. And really, quite a multitude of the speeches and poems of that day consist solely of choice scraps stitched together, and are pure, unalloyed imitations. Every one who imitated the style of a classical writer with some degree of skill, was compared to such writer. Hence it was that that period was so prolific of epithets,
a second Cicero, a second Flaccus,” and the like; and all faith in the possibility of becoming something better, of being one's self a first, an original, gradually died out.
The following citation may be adduced as an extreme instance of this mania for epithets : said Trithemius, of Dalberg; " Among philosophers, he was a Plato,--among musicians, a Timotheus,-among astronomers, a Firmicus, -among mathematicians, an Archimedes,
From the "Clarorum virorum epistolae ad Reuchlinum :" “ There are many barbarous names among you,” said Sapidus to his scholars. “These I must Latinize somewhat."
† Erasmus styled Agricola “a second Maro." Murmellius said of Lange, “ Aequiparas Flaccum lyrici modulamine cantus ;" Lange, of Busch,
* Hinc tua dulcifluo manans elegia lepore
A Sulmonensi nec procul ipsa Chely est ;" Ulsanius, of Busch, “ Buschius antiquis non cedit jure poelis ;'' Busch, of Murmellius, • Carmina Murmelli priscis aequanda poetis ;" etc., etc.
schools, private as well as public, frequently, in order to excite the teachers to carnest diligence, to encourage and counsel them in the duty of catechising, and to furnish an example by questioning them, addressing them in a friendly and affectionate manner, and exciting them to early piety and diligence. If any of the schoolmasters should be found neglectful or perverse, they shall be earnestly admonished by the ministers, and, if necessary, by the Consistory, in relation to their office. The ministers, in the discharge of their public duty in the Church, shall preach on the Catechism. These sermons shall be comparatively short, and accommodated, as far as practicable, to the comprehension of children as well as adults. The labors of those ministers will be praiseworthy who diligently search out country places, and see that catechetical instruction be supplied and faithfully preserved. Experience teaches that the ordinary instruction of the Church, catechetical and other, is not sufficient for many, to instill that knowledge of the Christian religion which should, among the people of God, be well grounded ; and also testifies that the living voice has very great influence; that familiar and suitable questions and answers, adapted to the apprehension of each individual, is the best mode of catechising, in order to impress the principles of religion upon the heart. It shall be the duty of a minister to go, with an elder, to all capable of instruction, and collect them in their houses, the Consistory chamber, or some other suitable place, (a number particularly of those more advanced in years,) and explain familiarly to them, the articles of the Christian faith, and catechise them according to the circumstances of their different capacities, progress, and knowledge. They shall question them on the matter of the public sermons on the Catechism. Those who desire to unite with the Church shall, three or four weeks before the administration of the Lord's Supper, be more carefully and frequently instructed, that they may be better qualified, and be more free to give a satisfactory account of their faith. The ministers shall employ diligent care to ascertain those who give any hopeful evidence of serious concern for the salvation of their soul, and invite them to them; assembling those together who have like impressions, and encouraging to friendly intercourse and free conversation with each other. These meetings shall commence with appropriate prayer and exhortation. If all this shall be done by the ministers with that cordiality, faithfulness, zeal, and discretion that become those who must give an account of the flock committed to their charge, it is not to be doubted that in a short time abundant fruit of their labors shall be found in growth in religious knowledge, and holiness of life, to the glory of God, and the prosperity of the Church of Christ.
V. SCHOOL LIFE IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY,
IN THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THOMAS PLATTER.
Thomas Platter was born in the year 1499, near Vispach, in the Canton Valais, in Switzerland, while the bells were ringing for mass, and his kinsmen hoped from the augury that he would become a priest. In his boyhood he tended goats and kine; at the age of nine years he was sent to his uncle, who was a clergyman.
“Here,” we cite from the narrative, “it fared ill with me; for he was a passionate man, and I but an awkward peasant boy. He beat me without mercy, and took me by the ears and lifted me up from the ground, until I cried like a goat when pierced by the knife of the butcher, and at many such times the neighbors in their alarm, would run in, fearing he would kill me.
"I was not long with him, for about that time there came into the place a cousin of mine, a Summermatter, who had been at the schools, [to become a priest,] at Ulm and Munich, in Bavaria ; his name was Paul Summermatter. My friends spoke to him of me, and he promised them he would take me with him, and place me at school in Germany. When I heard this, I fell on my knees and prayed to God the Almighty that he would help me out of the hands of the parson, who taught me nothing at all, and beat me continually. For I had learned nothing but how to sing the “Salve” and “Um Eier," with the other scholars in the village who were under my uncle.
“When Paul was ready to go, he appointed to meet me at Skalden. Simon Summermatter, my mother's brother, who was also my guardian, lived on the road to Skalden; he gave me a gold gulden, [sixty-three cents :] this I held in my hand till I reached the town, and often looked at it on the way, to see whether I had it still with
it to Paul, and then we started on our travels. I was now obliged to forage for myself and my Bacchant Paul likewise; and because of my odd appearance and rustic dialect the people gave me food in plenty. Beyond the Grimsen mountains we came to an alehouse where I saw a Dutch tile stove. I had never seen one before, and as the moon shone on it, I thought it was a great calf, for I saw only two of the tiles glimmer, and they looked to me like two great
* Extracts from the “autobiography of Thomas Platter, composed in the 73d year of his age, for the instruction of his son Felix."'-Raumer's Ilistory of Education,
eyes. In the morning I saw geese for the first time in my life; and when they hissed at me, I thought the devil had come to eat ine, and I screamed and ran. At Lucerne, I first saw tile roofs, and was greatly taken with their bright red color. We came next to Zurich. There Paul waited for some comrades who were going with us to Meissen, [in present Kingdom of Saxony.] Meanwhile I had to forage to get a subsistence for Paul; and whenever I entered an ale-house, the people gathered around me to hear my Valais dialect, and were quite willing to give me food.
“After waiting eight or nine weeks for our companions, we went to Meissen, which was to me a very long journey, as I had not been used to such things, especially as I had to stop and get food on the way; there were eight or nine of us,—three little fags, the rest, great Bacchants,* as they were called; of the fags I was the smallest and the youngest. When I grew tired, and did not want to go farther, my cousin Paul came to me with a stick and lashed me on my bare legs, for I bad no stockings, and worn-out shoes. I remember scarce any thing that befell us on the journey; but here is one incident. As we went along, saying all manner of things, the Bacchants told us how it was the custom in Meissen and Silesia, that the scholars stole geese and ducks, and other such game, and that nothing was done to them, if only they got out of the reach of the man who might happen to own them. One day we were not far from a village where there was a great flock of geese, without their keeper; for every village has its goose-herd, but here he was at quite a distance from the geese, with the cow-herd. Then I asked my little comrades, 'when will we reach Meissen, that I may steal geese ?' They replied, we are there now.' Then I picked up a stone, threw it at one of the geese,
and hit him on the leg; the rest flew off, but the wounded one could not keep up with them for limping. Then I took another stone and hit him on the head, and knocked him down; for when among my goats, I had had no equal in throwing, in leaping the bar, or in catching the sound of the herdsman's horn; in all such arts I was well skilled. Then I ran up, caught up the goose by the neck, whisked him under my coat, and ran down the street through the village. At that instant the goose-herd comienced running after me, and cried out to all the villagers, “the boy has stolen my goose.' Hearing this outcry, we quickened our pace, and as I ran, the legs of the goose swung back and forth in front of me, from under my coat. The peasants too came out with clubs and gave chase to throw at us.
When I saw that they were gaining upon me, I let the goose drop, and darted to
• See Noit, page 90.