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many circumstances had concurred to excite and foster a religious spirit, after so many resolutions and measures had been taken to exalt it to universal dominion, a Pope like this was needed, not only to proclaim it to the world, but also to reduce it to practice. His zeal and his example combined produced the most powerful effect." ("Hist. Sketches," vol. I. p. 151.)
THE BATTLE OF LEPANTO.
IT is not to be supposed that a Saint upon whom lay "the solicitude of all the Churches" should neglect the tradition, which his predecessors of so many centuries had bequeathed to him, of zeal and hostility against the Turkish power. He was only six years on the Pontifical throne, and the achievement of which I am going to speak was among his last; he died the following year. At this time the Ottoman armies were continuing their course of victory; they had just taken Cyprus, with the active co-operation of the Greek population of the island, and were massacring the Latin nobility and clergy, and mutilating and flaying alive the Venetian governor; yet the Saint found it impossible to move Christendom to its own defence. How, indeed, was that to be done, when half Christendom had become Protestant, and secretly, perhaps, felt as the Greeks felt, that the Turk was its friend and ally? In such a quarrel, England, France, and Germany were out of the question. At length, however, with great effort, he succeeded in
1 Ranke's Hist. of the Popes.
forming a holy league between himself, King Philip of Spain, and the Venetians; Don John of Austria, King Philip's half brother, was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces; and Colonna admiral. The treaty was signed on the 24th of May; but such was the cowardice and jealousy of the parties concerned, that the autumn had arrived and nothing of importance was accomplished. With difficulty were the armies united; with difficulty were the dissensions of the commanders brought to a settlement. Meanwhile the Ottomans were scouring the Gulf of Venice, blockading the ports, and terrifying the city itself.
But the holy Pope was securing the success of his cause by arms of his own, which the Turks understood not. He had been appointing a Triduo of supplication at Rome, and had taken part in the procession himself. He had proclaimed a jubilee to the whole Christian world, for the happy issue of the war. He had been interesting the Holy Virgin in his cause. He presented to his admiral, after High Mass in his chapel, a standard of red damask, embroidered with a crucifix, and with the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the legend, In hoc signo vinces. Next, sending to Messina, where the allied fleet lay, he assured the general-in-chief and the armament, that “if, relying on divine, rather than on human help, they attacked the enemy, God would not be wanting to His own cause. He augured a prosperous and happy issue; not on any light or random hope, but on a divine guidance, and by the anticipations of many holy men." Moreover, he enjoined the officers to look to the good conduct of their troops; to repress swearing, gaming, riot, and plunder, and thereby to render them more deserving of victory. Accordingly, a fast of three days was proclaimed for the fleet, beginning with the nativity of Our Lady; all the men went to confession and communion, and appropriated to themselves the plenti
ful indulgences which the Pope attached to the expedition. Then they moved across the foot of Italy to Corfu, with the intention of presenting themselves at once to the enemy; being disappointed in their expectations, they turned back to the Gulf of Corinth; and there at length, on the 7th of October, they found the Turkish fleet, halfway between Lepanto and the Echiniades on the north, and Patras in the Morea on the south; and, though it was towards evening, strong in faith and zeal, they at once commenced the engagement.
The night before the battle, and the day itself, aged as he was, and broken with a cruel malady, the Saint had passed in the Vatican in fasting and prayer. All through the Holy City the Monasteries and the Colleges were in prayer too. As the evening advanced, the Pontifical Treasurer asked an audience of the Sovereign Pontiff on an important matter. Pius was in his bed-room and began to converse with him; when suddenly he stopped the conversation, left him, threw up the window, and gazed up into heaven. Then closing it again, he looked gravely at his official, and said, "This is no time for business; go, return thanks to the Lord God. In this very hour our fleet has engaged the Turkish, and is victorious!" As the Treasurer went out, he saw him fall on his knees before the altar in thankfulness and joy.
And a most memorable victory it was; upwards of 30,000 Turks are said to have lost their lives in the engagement, and three thousand five hundred were made prisoners. Almost their whole fleet was taken. I quote from Protestant authorities when I say that the Sultan, on the news of the calamity, neither ate, nor drank, nor showed himself, nor saw any-one for three days; that it was the greatest blow which the Ottomans had had since Timour's victory over Bajazet, a
century and a half before; nay, that it was the turningpoint in the Turkish history, and that though the Sultans have had isolated successes since, yet from that day they undeniably and constantly declined; that they have lost their prestige and their self-confidence; and that the victories gained over them since, are but the complements and the reverberations of the overthrow at Lepanto. ("Hist. Sketches," vol. I. p. 155.)
THE RELIGIOUS HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
TIME was when the forefathers of our race were a savage tribe, inhabiting a wild district beyond the limits of this quarter of the earth. Whatever brought them thither, they had no local attachments there or political settlement; they were a restless people, and whether urged forward by enemies or by desire of plunder, they left their place, and passing through the defiles of the mountains on the frontiers of Asia, they invaded Europe, setting out on a journey towards the farther West. Generation after generation passed away, and still this fierce and haughty race moved forward. On, on they went; but travel availed them not; the change of place could bring them no truth, or peace, or hope, or stability of heart; they could not flee from themselves. They carried with them their superstitions and their sins, their gods of iron and of clay, their savage sacrifices, their lawless witchcrafts, their hatred of their kind, and their ignorance of their destiny. At length they buried themselves in the deep forests of Germany, and gave themselves up to indolent repose; but
they had not found their rest; they were still heathens, making the fair trees, the primeval work of God, and the innocent beasts of the chase, the objects and the instruments of their idolatrous worship. And, last of all, they crossed over the strait and made themselves masters of this island, and gave their very name to it; so that, whereas it had hitherto been called Britain, the southern part, which was their main seat, obtained the name of England. And now they had proceeded forward nearly as far as they could go, unless they were prepared to look across the great ocean, and anticipate the discovery of the world which lies beyond it.
What, then, was to happen to this restless race, which had sought for happiness and peace across the globe, and had not found it? Was it to grow old in its place, and dwindle away, and consume in the fever of its own heart, which admitted no remedy? or was it to become great by being overcome, and to enjoy the only real life of man, and rise to his only true dignity, by being subjected to a Master's yoke? Did its Maker and Lord see any good thing in it, of which, under His divine nurture, profit might come to His elect, and glory to His name? He looked upon it, and He saw nothing there to claim any visitation of His grace, or to merit any relaxation of the awful penalty which its lawlessness and impiety had incurred. It was a proud race, which feared neither God nor man—a race ambitious, self-willed, obstinate, and hard of belief, which would dare everything, even the eternal pit, if it was challenged to do so. I say, there was nothing there of a nature to reverse the destiny which His righteous decrees have assigned to those who sin wilfully and despise Him. But the Almighty Lover of souls looked once again; and He saw in that poor, forlorn, and ruined nature, which He had in the beginning filled with grace