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INTRODUCTION OF THE REFORMED DOCTRINE INTO SPAIN.
THE boldness with which Luther attacked, first the abuses, and afterwards the authority of the Roman see, soon attracted general attention throughout Christendom. Nor could his opinions remain long unknown in Spain, especially after the intercourse between that country and Germany because frequent, in consequence of the advancement of the Spanish monarch to the imperial throne.
So early as the beginning of the year 1519, John Froben, a celebrated printer at Basle, sent to Spain a quantity of a collection of tracts by Luther, which he had lately reprinted. These were in Latin, and consequently were confined to the learned. But, in the course of the following year, the reformer’s commentary on the Galatians, a work which exhibited the doctrinal sentiments on the most important points, was translated into Spanish. This was followed by translations into the same language of his treatise on Christian liberty, and his reply to Erasmus on free-will. These books appear to have been translated and printed at Antwerp, a place of great trade within the paternal dominions of Charles V., from which the Spanish merchants, who were at the expense of the publication, could most easily get copies conveyed to their native country. f207 Alfonso Vales, a young man of talents who accompanied Charles V., as secretary, to his coronation in 1520, sent to Spain, at the request of Peter Martyr, a particular account of the religious dispute in Germany, from the first declaration of Luther against indulgences to his burning of the pontifical decrees at Wittenberg. In another letter, written during the following year, he continued his account to the close of the diet of Worms.
His narrative is in general correct; and although he expresses great horror at the boldness with which the reformer attacked the papal authority, he acknowledges the necessity of reform, and ascribes the continuance of the evil to the aversion of the pope to a general council, and “his preferring his private interest to the public good.” “While he tenaciously adheres to his rights,” says he, “and shutting his ears, under the influence of a pious feeling perhaps, wishes to have Luther devoted to the flames, the whole Christian commonwealth is going to ruin, if God interpose not.” Martyr, who seems to have felt in the same way with his correspondent, imparted these letters to his friends; but it may be mentioned, as a proof of the state of feeling in Spain, that he declined giving them any account of Luther’s opinions, referring them for this to the writings of his opponents, “which they could easily procure, if they wished them, and in which they would find the antidote along with the poison.” f209 Another Spaniard of greater authority, who was in Germany at the same time, felt somewhat differently from Valdes. Francisco de Angelis, provincial of the religious order called Angeli in Spain, had been present at the coronation of the emperor, by whom he was despatched, after the diet of Worms, to assist in quelling the revolt which had broken out in Castile.
On his way home he stopped at Basle, where he had a long conversation with Conrad Pellican on the opinions of Luther, with whom he professed to agree upon most points. f210 Who would have thought of the Spanish ambassador at Rome writing home in favor of Luther? We have already adverted to the difficulty which Charles found in procuring the recall of certain briefs which the pope had issued for the reform of the Inquisition. It occurred to Don Juan de Manuel, as a stroke of policy, that his master should give countenance to another species of reform which his Holiness dreaded. Accordingly, in a letter dated 10 May 1520, he advises his majesty “to undertake a journey to Germany, and to appear to show a little favor to a certain friar, Martin Luther, at the court of Saxony, who gives great uneasiness to the sovereign pontiff, by certain things which he preaches and publishes against the papal authority. This monk (adds the ambassador) is said to be very learned, and creates great embarrassment to the pope.” Nor was this a mere passing thought; for he recurs to the subject in a subsequent letter. “As to the affair of Liege, the pope appears much more discontented, because it has been told him that the bishop favours friar Martin Luther, who condemns the pontifical power in Germany. He is also displeased with Erasmus in Holland, and for the same reason. I say, they complain here of the bishop of Liege in the affair of Luther, who gives them more distress than they could wish. f211 On the 20th of March 1521, Leo X. issued two briefs, one addressed to the constable and the other to the admiral of Castile, who governed the kingdom in the absence of Charles V., requiring them to adopt measures for preventing the introduction of the books of Luther and his defenders into Spain. In the course of the following month, cardinal Adrian charged the inquisitors to seize all books of this description; and this charge was reiterated by him in the year 1523, after he had ascended the papal throne, on which occasion he required the corregidor of Guipuscoa to furnish the officers of the Inquisition with every assistance which they might require in the execution of this duty. f212 These were not measures of mere precaution, or intended only for the purpose of display; for the works of Luther were read and approved of in Spain. The report of this fact drew from Erasmus the sarcasm which gave great offence to the duke of Alva, “that the Spaniards favored Luther, in order that they might be thought Christians.” So eager were the inquisitors in their search after the disciples of the new doctrine, that they fixed their suspicions on the venerable Juan de Avila, commonly called the apostle of Andalusia. In his preaching, which was recommended by the exemplary piety and charity of his life, he kept to the simplicity of scripture, rejecting the abstruse and foolish questions of the schools.
Irritated by his reproofs, and envious of his fame, the monks, in 1525, denounced to the Inquisition some propositions advanced by him, as Lutheran, or savoring of Lutheranism and the doctrine of the illuminati. He was thrown into prison, and would have been condemned, had not Manrique, one of the mildest of the inquisitors-general, who felt a high respect for his character, extended to him the shield of his powerful protection, which did not however prevent his works from being afterwards put into the list of prohibited books. f214 The Spanish monks were diverted for a time from searching after the writings of Luther, by their anxiety to suppress those of Erasmus, from which they dreaded more immediate danger. This learned man, to whom the name of the forerunner of Luther has not unjustly been given, had many friends in Spain, who were so confident in their strength, as to write him that they expected to be victorious in the contest. They were mistaken; for his adversaries outnumbered them in an ecclesiastical junta held at Madrid in the year 1527; and in consequence of this, his Colloquies, his Praise of Folly, and his Paraphrase of the New Testament, were censured, and prohibited to be explained in schools, or to be sold or read. “How I am to be pitied!” exclaims he; “the Lutherans attack me as a convicted papist, and the Catholics run me down as a friend of Luther.”
The patrons of ignorance resolved to pursue their victory, and prosecutions of heresy were immediately commenced against some of the most learned men in the kingdom. Pedro de Lerma professor of divinity and chancellor of the university of Alcala, was denounced to the inquisition of Toledo, as suspected of the Lutheran opinions, and fled to Paris. His nephew and successor, Luis de Cadena, soon fell under the same suspicion, and followed his example. Juan de Vergara, one of the editors of the Polyglot, and his brother Bernardin Tobar, were less fortunate; for, being seized by the orders of the inquisitors of Toledo, they were not permitted to leave the dungeons of the Holy Office, until they had abjured the heresy of Luther as persons slightly suspected, received absolution ad cautelam , and submitted to certain penances. f217 Two events which happened at this time had considerable influence in turning the attention of the Spaniards to the cause of Luther, and giving them a more favorable impression of his opinions. The first was the dispute between Charles V. and pope Clement VII., which led, in 1527, to the sack of Rome and imprisonment of the pontiff. Though Charles, on that occasion, ordered the public rejoicings for the birth of his son Philip to be suspended, as a mark of his sorrow for so untoward an occurrence, yet it was regarded as a triumph by the nation, and gave occasion to satirical ballads against the pope and see of Rome. The other event was the presenting, in 1530, of the protestant confession of faith to the imperial diet of Augsburg, at which Charles was present, attended by a great body of Spanish nobles and clergy. This had no inconsiderable effect in dissipating the false idea of the opinions of Luther which had hitherto been industriously propagated. At the diet of Worms in 1521, the Spanish attendants of the emperor, instead of admiring the heroism displayed by Luther, treated him with insult as he retired from the court-room to his lodgings. But there was a marked difference in their behavior on the present occasion. Persons of note, including the emperor’s confessor, who was a native of Spain, acknowledged that they had hitherto been deceived. When Charles asked the advice of the Spanish nobility who were present, they replied, after perusing the confession in a French translation, that if his majesty found it contrary to the articles of faith, he ought to suppress the Lutherans; but if it merely required the abolition of certain ceremonies and such like things, he ought not to have recourse to violent measures against them; and they gave it as their advice, that the litigated points should be submitted to some pious persons who were addicted to neither party. Alfonso Valdes, the emperor’s secretary, of whom we have already spoken, had several friendly and confidential interviews with Melanchthon at this important crisis. He read the Augsburg confession before it was presented to the diet; and the only objection which he appears to have made to it was, that its language was rather too severe for its opponents. In one of the conversations between these two learned men, held in the presence of Cornelius Scepper, an agent of the king of Denmark, Melanch-thon lamented the strong prejudices which the natives of Spain had conceived against the reformers, and said, that he had frequently endeavored, both by word of mouth and by letters, to convince them of the misconceptions under which they labored, but with very little success. Valdes acknowledged that it was a common opinion among his countrymen, that Luther and his followers believed neither in God nor the Trinity, in Christ nor the Virgin; and that in Spain it was thought as meritorious an action to strangle a Lutheran as to shoot a Turk. He added, that his influence had been exerted to relieve the mind of the emperor from such false impressions; and that, at a late interview, he had received it in charge to say, that his majesty wished Melanchthon to draw up a clear summary of the opinions of the Lutherans, contrasted, article by article, with those of their opponents. The reformer readily complied with this request, and the result of his labors was communicated by Valdes to Campegio, the papal legate. f226 These proceedings did not escape the vigilant eye of the Inquisition. When Vales returned soon after to his native country, he was accused before the Holy Office, and condemned as a suspected Lutheran; a censure which he incurred by his exertions to promote polite letters in his native country, as well as by the familiarity which he had cultivated with the reformers of Germany. Alfonso de Virves met with the same treatment as his friend Valdes, and for the same reasons. This learned Benedictine was chaplain to Charles V. who had taken him along with him in his late visits to Germany, and was so fond of him that, on his return to Spain, he would hear no other preacher. Virves had favored, though with much reserve, the writings of Erasmus, and was known to have conversed with some of the principal reformers. On these grounds his conduct was watched, and he soon found himself in the hands of the inquisitors at Seville. In vain did he appeal to a work against Melanchthon which he had prepared for the press; and, what is more singular, in vain did the emperor interpose to stop the process, banish the inquisitor-general from Seville, and signify his displeasure against the other members of the council of the Supreme.
Virves was kept in the secret prisons for four years, during which, to use his own words, “he was occupied, without breathing or respite, with charges, replies, rejoinders, depositions, defences, arguments, acts, (words, the very utterance of which made him shudder) errors, heresies, schisms, blasphemies, anathemas.” At last, in 1537, a definitive sentence was pronounced, condemning him, as suspected of holding the errors of Luther, to make a formal abjuration, to be absolved ad cautelam , to be confined in a monastery for two years, and to be prohibited from preaching for other two years. He was accordingly obliged to abjure, on the day of his autoda- fe in the metropolitan church of Seville, all the heresies of Luther in general, and those in particular which he was suspected of entertaining.
The emperor procured a brief from the pope, absolving his favorite preacher from the remaining pains of censure; but when he afterwards presented him to the bishopric of the Canaries, it was with the utmost reluctance that his Holiness granted the bull of confirmation to a man who had incurred the suspicion of heresy in the eyes of the Inquisition. f229 “Many have adopted the maxim,” says Virves, speaking of the proper manner of converting heretics, “that it is lawful to abuse a heretic by word and writing, when they have it not in their power to kill or torture him. If they get a poor man, whom they can persecute with impunity, into their hands, they subject him to a disgraceful sentence; so that, though he prove himself innocent and obtain an acquittal, he is stigmatized for life as a criminal. If, on the other hand, the unhappy person has fallen into error through inadvertence, or the conversation of those with whom he associated, his judges do not labor to undeceive him by explaining the doctrine of scripture, soft persuasion, and paternal advice, but, in spite of the character of fathers to which they lay claim, have recourse to the prison, the torture, chains, and the axe. And what is the effect of these horrible means? All these torments inflicted on the body can produce no change whatever on the dispositions of the mind, which can be brought back to the truth only by the word of God, which is quick, powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword.” f230 These reflections are so excellent in themselves, and so refreshing as coming from the pen of a Spanish catholic of the sixteenth century, that, in reading them, we feel disposed to rejoice, instead of grieving at that imprisonment which, if it did not suggest them, must have served to deepen their impression on his mind. No thanks, however, to the persecutors.
Some writers have expressed their surprise that the proceedings against Virves and others did not open the eyes of Charles V. to the iniquity of the Inquisition; and they think he continued to be its protector from horror at Lutheranism. But Charles was instructed in the nature of that court, and had given it his decided support, before the name of Luther became formidable. A despotical monarch may be displeased at the procedure of a tribunal of terror when it happens to touch one of his favorites, and may choose to check its encroachments on his own authority, without feeling the slightest wish to weaken its power as an engine for enslaving and oppressing his subjects.
In the mean time every method was taken to prevent the spread of Lutheran books and opinions. The council of the Supreme, in 1530, addressed a circular letter to the inquisitors dispersed over the kingdom, informing them that the writings of Luther had made their way into the country under fictitious names, and that his errors were introduced in the form of notes appended to the works of catholic authors; and therefore requiring them to add to the annual edict of denunciation a clause relating to such books, and to examine all public libraries with the view of discovering them. This led to the domiciliary visits which the familiars of the Inquisition were accustomed, at a subsequent period, to pay to private houses. During the following year the inquisitors were authorized to strike with the sentence of excommunication all who hindered them in the discharge of their duty, and all who read or kept such books, or who did not denounce those whom they knew to be guilty of that offence. The same penalty was extended to the parish priests who did not publish the edict in every city, town, and village; and all prelates of the regular orders, confessors, and preachers, were laid under an obligation to urge their hearers and penitents, under the pain of incurring mortal sin, to inform against themselves and others. The edict enumerated the different articles of the Lutheran heresy, down to the slightest deviation from the ceremonies of the church, and required the informers to declare “if they knew or had heard it said, that any person had taught, maintained, or entertained in his thoughts, any of these opinions. f232 Hitherto we have not met with a single Spaniard who avowed the reformed tenets, or who was convicted on good grounds of holding them. We have every reason, however, to think that there were persons of this description in Spain, though their names have not come down to us. If this had not been the case, the inquisitors would have been guilty of the grossest indiscretion, in exposing the ears of the people to the risk of infection by publishing, with such particularity, the opinions of the German heretic in every parish church of the kingdom. Yet it must be acknowledged that, in their eagerness to discover what did not exist, and to aggravate the slightest deviation from the received faith into a dangerous error, they were sometimes instrumental in propagating what they sought to extirpate. A simple countryman was brought before the inquisitors in Seville, accused of having said among friends, that he did not think there was any purgatory but the blood of Christ. He confessed that he had thought so, but, understanding that it was offensive to the holy fathers, declared himself ready to retract the sentiment. This was by no means satisfactory to the inquisitors, who told him, that by adopting that one error he had involved himself in a multitude; for, if there was no purgatory, then the pope, who had decreed the contrary, was not infallible, then general councils had erred, then justification was by faith; and so on. In vain did the poor man protest that such ideas had never once entered into his mind; he was remanded to prison until he should be prepared to retract them. The consequence was, that he was led seriously to think on these topics, and came out of the Inquisition a confirmed Lutheran. f233 The study of polite letters had been communicated from Spain to Portugal, and the knowledge of the reformed opinions proceeded in the same course. As early as 1521, Emanuel, the Portuguese monarch, addressed a letter to the elector of Saxony, urging him to punish Luther, and extirpate his pernicious tenets, before they should spread farther in Germany and penetrate into other Christian countries. In 1534, pope Clement VII. being informed that the reformed opinions were daily making progress in Portugal, appointed Diego de Silva as inquisitor of that kingdom; and in the following year, we find the king representing to the court of Rome that a number of the converted Jews had become protestants. f236 It has been conjectured that the first converts to the reformed doctrine in Spain belonged to the religious fraternity of Franciscans, because the pope, in 1526, granted power to the general and provincials of that order to absolve such of their brethren as had imbibed the new opinions, and were willing to abjure them. But this is rather to be viewed in the light of a privilege, craved by the Franciscans to exempt them from the jurisdiction of the inquisitors, who were at first chosen from the rival order of Dominicans. Few of those who afterwards became protestants belonged to the brotherhood of St. Francis.
Juan Valdes, with whom we have met elsewhere, was the first person, so far as I can discover, who embraced and was active in spreading the reformed opinions in Spain. He was of a good family, and had received a liberal education. If we may judge from those with whom he was on terms of intimacy, he had studied at the university of Alcala. Having attached himself to the court, he quitted Spain about the year 1535 in the company of Charles V., who sent him to Naples to act as secretary to the viceroy. f239 The common opinion has been that he became a convert to the Lutheran creed in Germany, but the fact is, that his mind was imbued with its leading tenets before he left his native country. This appears from a treatise drawn up by him under the title of Advice on the Interpreters of sacred scripture, which was circulated privately among his acquaintance. It was originally sent in the form of a letter to his friend Bartolome Carranza, who afterwards became archbishop of Toledo, but had early incurred the suspicions of the Holy Office by the freedom of his opinions. This tract was found among the papers of the primate when he was subsequently seized by the order of the Inquisition, and formed one of the gravest articles of charge against that distinguished and long-persecuted prelate.
The Advice contained the following propositions, among others: first, that in order to understand the sacred scriptures, we must not rely on the interpretations of the fathers; second, that we are justified by a lively faith in the passion and death of our Saviour; and third, that we may attain to certainty concerning our justification. The agreement between these and the leading sentiments maintained by Luther, renders it highly probable that Valdes had read the writings of that reformer or of some of his adherents.
At the same time we are told that the principal things in this tract were taken from the Christian Institutes of Tauler. This fact throws light on the sentiments of Valdes, and the peculiar cast of his writings. John Tauler was a distinguished German preacher of the fourteenth century, and one of those writers in the church of Rome who have obtained the name of mystics. They were disgusted with the intricate and jejune theology of the scholastic divines, and with the routine of exterior services which constituted the whole practice of piety in the convents; but, being imperfectly instructed in the doctrine of the gospel, in flying from the vice of their age they fell into the opposite extreme. They resolved religion almost entirely into contemplation and meditation; their discourses, consisting of soliloquies on the love of God and the sufferings of Christ, were chiefly calculated to stimulate the passions; and they occasionally made use of extravagant and hyperbolical expressions, which implied that the soul of the devotee was absorbed in the divine essence, and, when favored with supernatural visitations, was rendered independent upon and superior to external means and ordinances. The Exercises, or meditations, on the Life of Christ by Tauler bear a strong resemblance to the betterknown work of Thomas à Kempis on the Imitation of Christ. They have the same excellencies and the same faults; breathe the same rich odor of spiritual devotion, and labor under the same deficiency of clear and distinct views of divine truth. Those who are well grounded in the doctrines of Christianity may reap great advantage from a perusal of them; candidates for the ministry will find in them an excellent supplement to a course of systematic divinity; but in minds warm and uninformed they are apt to foster a self-righteous and servile disposition, and to give rise to enthusiastic notions. f243 The mystic theology had its votaries in Spain. A Spanish translation of the Imitation of Christ, and of an earlier work of the same character, entitled the Ladder of Paradise, were published at the close of the fifteenth century. Juan de Avila, Luis de Granada, confessor to the queen regent of Portugal, and St. Francis de Borgia, duke of Gandia, and third general of the order of Jesuits, were the authors of works, for which they were persecuted before the Inquisition as mystics and illuminati. Several of the protestants, who were afterwards brought to the stake at Valladolid, appealed to the writings of the two last-named individuals as containing sentiments similar to those which they held on the head of justification. f246 Valdes may have become acquainted with the writings of Tauler through the recommendation of Luther, who, at one period of his life, was enamored with them, and republished, with a commendatory preface, a work written in the same strain, but more liable to exception, under the title of German Theology. In a letter to his friend Spalatin, the reformer says, “If you wish to read in your own language the ancient and pure divinity, procure Tauler’s sermons, of which I now send you an abstract; for nowhere, either in Latin or German, have I met with a theology more wholesome and accordant to the gospel.” The doctrines of justification by faith in Christ, and of regeneration by the agency of the Spirit, form the groundwork in the writings of Valdes, and so far his creed is Lutheran or protestant; but we can trace in them the influence of the transcendental divinity which he had caught from Tauler. More intellectual and speculative than the mystic divines, he exhibits in his works the rationale of their creed rather than an exemplification of their mode of writing, and hazards some sentiments which gave just offence to several of the principal reformers. f248 It is amusing to observe his natural inquisitiveness contending with and overcoming that principle in his creed which led him to condemn as sinful all curious inquiries into matters of religion, or indeed into any other matter.
Valdes left his native country at an early period, but he contributed greatly to the spread of the reformed opinions in it by his writings, several of which were published in Spanish. Though he had remained, his personal presence would most probably have produced little effect. It required a person of less caution and more adventurous spirit to burst the terrible barrier which opposed the entrance of the gospel into Spain, and to raise the standard of truth within sight of the flames of the Inquisition. Such a person was found in the man of whom I am now to speak.
Rodrigo de Valer, a native of Lebrixa, distant about thirty miles from Seville, had spent his youth in those idle and dissipated habits which were common among the nobility and gentry of Spain. The love of dress, and of horses and sports, engrossed his attention; and in Seville, which was his favorite residence, he shone in the first rank among the young men of fashion in every scene of amusement and feat of gallantry. All of a sudden he disappeared from those places of entertainment of which he had been the life and ornament. He was in good health, and his fortune had sustained no injury. But his mind had undergone a complete change; his splendid equipage was laid aside; he became negligent of his dress; and, shut up in his closet, he devoted himself entirely to reading and meditation on religion. Had he become unexpectedly pious, and immured himself in a convent, his conduct would not have excited general surprise among his countrymen; but to retire from the world, and yet to shun those consecrated abodes, the choice of which was viewed as the great and almost exclusive mark of superior sanctity, appeared to them unaccountable on any other supposition than that of mental derangement.
Valer had acquired a slight acquaintance with the Latin language in his youth. He now procured a copy of the Vulgate, the only translation of the Bible permitted in Spain; and having by dint of application, by day and by night, made himself master of the language, he, in a short time, became so well acquainted with the contents of the scriptures, that he could repeat almost any passage in them from memory, and explain it with wonderful promptitude and intelligence. Whether he had any other means of instruction, or what these were, must remain a secret; but it is certain that he was led to form a system of doctrine not different from that of the reformers in Germany, and to lay the foundations of a church in Seville which was Lutheran in all the main articles of its belief.
When Valer had informed and satisfied his mind as to the truths of religion, he left off that solitary life which had been chosen by him as an instrument and not as an end. He now returned to company, but with a very different spirit and intention. His great desire was now to impart to others those impressions of divine truth which had been made on his own mind. With this view, he courted the society of the clergy and monks, with whom he dealt, first by argument and persuasion, and afterwards in the severer style of reproof. He set before them the general defection, among all classes, from primitive Christianity, both as to faith and practice; the corruptions of their own order, which had contributed to spread infection over the whole Christian community; and the sacred obligations which they were under to apply a speedy and thorough remedy to the evil before it should become altogether incurable. These representations were uniformly accompanied with an appeal to the sacred writings as the supreme standard in religion, and with an exhibition of the principal doctrines which they taught. When the clergy, weary of the ungrateful theme, shunned his company, he threw himself in their way, and did not hesitate to introduce his favorite but dangerous topics in the public walks and other places of concourse. His exhortations were not entirely without success; but in most instances their effects were such as might have been anticipated from the situation and character of those to whom they were addressed. The surprise excited by his first address gave place to indignation and disdain. It was not to be borne that a layman, and one who had no pretensions to learning, should presume to instruct his teachers, and inveigh against doctrines and institutions which were held in reverence by the universal church, and sanctioned by its highest authority. Whence had he his pretended knowledge of the scriptures? Who gave him a right to teach? And what were the signs and proof of his mission? To these questions Valer replied with candor, but with firmness. That it was true he had been brought up in ignorance of divine things; he had derived his knowledge, not from the polluted streams of tradition and human inventions, but from the pure fountain of revealed truth, through the teaching of that Spirit by whose influence living waters are made to flow from the hearts of those who believe in Christ; there was no good reason for supposing that these influences were confined to persons of the ecclesiastical order, especially when it was so deeply depraved as at present; private and illiterate men had convicted a learned sanhedrim of blindness, and called a whole world to the knowledge of salvation; he had the authority of Christ for warning them of their errors and vices; and none would require a sign from him but a spurious and degenerate race, whose eyes could not bear the brightness of that pure light which laid open and reproved their works of darkness.
It was not to be expected that he would be long permitted to continue in this offensive course. He was brought before the inquisitors, with whom he maintained a keen dispute on the church, the marks by which it is distinguished, justification, and similar points. On that occasion, some individuals of considerable authority, who had secretly imbibed his sentiments, exerted themselves in his favor. Their influence, joined to the purity of his descent, the station which he held in society, and the circumstances that his judges either believed or wished it to be believed that he was insane, procured for him a milder sentence than that jealous and inexorable tribunal was accustomed to pronounce. He was dismissed with the loss of his property. But neither confiscation of goods, nor the fear of a severer punishment, could induce Valer to alter his conduct. He yielded so far to the importunities of his friends as to abstain from a public declaration of his sentiments for a short time, during which he explained to them in private the Epistle to the Romans. But his zeal soon burst through his restraint. He considered himself in the light of a soldier sent on the forlorn hope, and resolved to fall in the breach, trusting that others, animated by his example, would press forward and secure the victory.
Resuming his former reproofs of the reigning errors and superstition, he was a second time denounced to the Holy Office, which condemned him to wear a san-benito, and to be imprisoned for life. When conducted, along with other penitents, to the church of St. Salvador in Seville, to attend public service on festival days, instead of exhibiting the marks of sorrow exacted from persons in his situation, he scrupled not to address the audience after sermon, and to warn them against the erroneous doctrine which they had heard from the preacher, whenever he thought it contrary to the word of God. This of itself would have been reckoned sufficient cause for adjudging him to the flames; but the reasons already mentioned had influence to save him from that fate. To rid themselves in the most quiet way of so troublesome a penitent, the inquisitors came to the resolution of confining him in a monastery belonging to the town of San Lucar, near the mouth of the Guadalquivir, where, secluded from all society, he died about the age of fifty. His san-benito, which was hung up in the metropolitan church of Seville, long attracted curiosity by its extraordinary size, and the inscription which it bore,—“Rodrigo Valer, a citizen of Lebrixa and Seville, an apostate, and false apostle who pretended to be sent of God.” f251 It was about the year 1541 that the final sentence was pronounced on Valer. The most distinguished of his converts was Juan Gil, commonly called Dr. Egidius. He was born at Olvera in Aragon, and educated at the university of Alcala, where he distinguished himself by his skill in scholastic theology, the only science then valued in Spain, except among a few individuals who, by addicting themselves to the study of scripture in the original languages, were derisively named Biblists. After obtaining the highest academical honors, he was appointed professor of divinity at Siguenza. Such was his celebrity, that when the office of canon-magistral, or preacher, in the cathedral church of Seville became vacant, he was chosen to fill it by the unanimous vote of the chapter, without being required to undergo the comparative trial prescribed in such cases. But how well versed soever in the writings of Lombard, Aquinas and Scotus, he proved an unpopular preacher; and not being indifferent to his reputation and usefulness, he felt, after continuing for some years, nearly as anxious to relinquish his situation as the people were to get rid of him. In this state of mind he was accosted by Valer, who had the penetration to discover his feelings, and to perceive the good dispositions, as well as talents, with which he was endowed. He pointed out the defects of his mode of preaching, and exhorted him, as the sure remedy, to give himself to the diligent and serious perusal of the word of God. This advice, frequently repeated, produced at last the desired effect. He took the course pointed out to him, and his “profiting appeared to all.” He soon became the most acceptable preacher who had appeared in Seville. Instead of the dry, abstruse, and unprofitable discussions which he had formerly pursued, he brought forward the great truths of the Bible; and the frigid manner in which he had been accustomed to acquit himself in public was succeeded by powerful appeals to the consciences, and affectionate addresses to the hearts of his auditors. Their attention was aroused; deep convictions of the necessity and suitableness of that salvation which the gospel reveals were made on their minds; and they were prepared for receiving those new views of divine truth which the preacher presented to them, as they were gradually unfolded to himself, and with a caution which regard to the weakness of the people, as well as to his own perilous situation, seemed to warrant and require. In this manner, by a zeal more tempered with prudence than that of his revered instructor, he was honored not only to make converts to Christ, but to train up martyrs for the truth. “Among the other gifts divinely bestowed on this holy man,” says one who owed his soul to him, “was the singular faculty which he had of kindling in the breasts of those who listened to his instructions a sacred flame which animated them in all the exercises of piety, internal and external, and made them not only willing to take up the cross, but cheerful in the prospect of the sufferings of which they stood in jeopardy every hour; a clear proof that the master whom he served was present with him, by his Spirit engraving the doctrine which he taught on the hearts of his hearers.” f254 Egidius was not left alone in the work of enlightening the citizens of Seville. In addition to those who, like himself, had profited by the conversation of Valer, he was joined by Doctor Vargas and Constantine Ponce de la Fuente, who had been his fellow-students at the university, and were men of superior talents and learning. He imparted to them his knowledge of evangelical truth, and they in their turn contributed by their conversation to the improvement of his ministerial gifts. The three friends concerted a plan, according to which they might co-operate in advancing the common cause. Vargas read lectures to the more learned, in which he expounded the Epistle to the Romans, and subsequently the book of Psalms; and Constantine, of whom we shall have occasion to speak more particularly afterwards, assisted Egidius occasionally in the pulpit. Their zeal, while it awakened the suspicions, provoked the diligence of the clergy who were devoted to the ancient superstition; and the city was divided in its attachments between the two classes of preachers. Those of the one class urged the necessity and importance of the repetition of prayers at certain stated hours, the frequent hearing of mass, the visiting of consecrated places, and the regular observance of fasting and of auricular confession; while they exhorted those who aimed at higher degrees of sanctity to dedicate their substance to pious uses, or, renouncing the world, to take on them the triple vow. Those of the other class either passed over these things entirely, or inculcated their inefficacy; exhorted their hearers to rely on the merits of Christ instead of their own works, and to prove the genuineness of their faith by obedience to the commands of God; and, in place of recommending rosaries and scales of devotion, spoke in the warmest style of the advantages to be derived from a serious and daily perusal of the sacred writings. The first class carried along with them the great body of the people, whose religion is the creature of authority and habit. But the eloquence of Egidius and his two associates, their prudence, unaffected piety, and irreproachable morals, and the harmony with which they continued to act, gradually subdued the prejudices of the multitude, and thinned the ranks even of their clerical opponents. Assiduously employed in the duties of their public functions through the day, they met in the evening with the friends of the reformed doctrine, sometimes in one private house and sometimes in another; the small society in Seville grew insensibly, and became the parent stock, from which branches were taken and planted in the adjacent country.
The Inquisition had for some time fixed its jealous eyes on the three preachers; nor were there wanting persons ready to accuse them, and especially Egidius, who was most obnoxious on account of his greater openness of disposition, and his appearing more frequently in the pulpit.
Surmises unfavorable to his orthodoxy were circulated, spies were set on his conduct, and consultations held in secret as to the surest method of ruining one who had become popular among all ranks. While these things were going on he was deprived of his two trusty associates; Vargas being removed by death, and Constantine called to the Low Countries. But even after he was thus left alone his enemies were afraid to proceed against him. f255 So great was the reputation of Egidius, that in 1550 the emperor nominated him to the vacant bishopric of Tortosa, which was one of the richest benefices in Spain, and had been held by cardinal Adrian, the preceptor of Charles V., immediately before his elevation to the popedom.
This distinguished mark of royal favor inflamed the resentment of his adversaries, and determined them to proceed to extremities. Instead of confining themselves as formerly to murmurs, they now charged him openly with heresy, and predicted that his elevation to the episcopate would prove the most disastrous calamity which Spain had witnessed. He was formally denounced to the Holy Office, and, the preliminary steps having been taken, was thrown into its secret prisons. The charges against him related to the doctrine of justification, assurance of salvation, human merits, plurality of mediators, purgatory, auricular confession, and the worshipping of images. He was also accused of having favored Rodrigo de Valer on his trial, and opposed the erection of a crucifix in the room of one who had been accidentally burnt. In his defence he drew up an ample statement of his sentiments on the head of justification, with the reasons on which they were founded; a display of frankness which proved hurtful to his cause, as it furnished the procurator fiscal at once with evidence in support of his charges and materials for increasing their number. The friends of Egidius now became alarmed for his safety. The emperor, hearing of the danger to which he was exposed, wrote in his favor to the inquisitor general. The chapter of Seville followed his example. And, what is more strange, the licentiate Correa, one of the most inexorable judges of the Holy Office, became an advocate for him, influenced, it is said, by indignation at the conduct of Pedro Diaz, another inquisitor, who had formerly been a disciple of Valer along with Egidius, whom he now prosecuted with base and unrelenting hostility. In consequence of this powerful intercession the inquisitors found it necessary to adopt a moderate course, and agreed, instead of remitting the articles of charge to the ordinary qualificators , to submit them to two arbiters chosen by the parties.
Egidius, after nominating Bartolome Carranza and several other individuals, who were either absent from the country or objected to by the inquisitors, at last fixed, with the approbation of his judges, on Domingo de Soto, a Dominican and professor at Salamanca, as his arbiter. Soto came to Seville, and having obtained access to Edigius, with whom he had been acquainted at the university, professed, after mutual explanations, to coincide with him in his views of justification, which was the main article in the indictment, and to think that there would be no difficulty in procuring an amicable adjustment in the affair. It was arranged between them, that each should draw up a paper containing his sentiments on the disputed point expressed in his own words, and that these papers should be read in the presence of the inquisitors. As the cause had excited great interest from its relation to a bishop elect and a preacher so popular in Seville, it was thought proper that it should be discussed at a public meeting held in the cathedral. On the day appointed for the trial, pulpits were allotted for Egidius and his arbiter Soto; but, either from design or accident, they were placed at a great distance from one another. After sermon was ended, Soto read the declaration of his sentiments. Egidius, owing partly to the distance at which he sat, and partly to the bustle prevailing in a crowded and anxious assembly, was unable to follow the speaker; but taking it for granted that what was read agreed with what had passed between them in conversation, he nodded assent to it, as Soto raised his voice and looked toward him at the end of every proposition. He then proceeded to read his own declaration, which in the judgment of all who were present, whether friends or foes, contradicted the former on all the leading points. The inquisitors availed themselves of this variance between his gestures and language to raise an outcry against him. These two declarations were instantly joined in process, and sentence was given forth, declaring him violently suspected of the Lutheran heresy, and condemning him to abjure the propositions imputed to him, to be imprisoned for three years, to abstain from writing or teaching for ten years, and not to leave the kingdom during that period, under the pain of being punished as a formal and relapsed heretic, or, in other words, of being burnt alive. Confounded at the unexpected issue of the process, abashed by the exultation of his enemies, and half-convinced, by the mortification which he read in the countenances of his friends, that he must have said something far wrong, Egidius lost courage, and silently acquiesced in the sentence pronounced against him. It was not until some time after he had returned to his prison that he learned from one of his companions the base treachery of the friend in whom he had confided. f257 Such is the account of the process given by De Montes. The late historian of the Inquisition is disposed to call in question the truth of his statement so far as concerns the artifice imputed to the professor of Salamanca; upon this ground, that Carranza, archbishop of Toledo, during his trial, retaliated upon Soto by accusing him of “having been too indulgent in regard to Doctor Egidius of Seville.” But this objection is by no means conclusive. For, in the first place, Llorente bears witness to the general accuracy of De Montes, who expressly asserts that he received his information from Egidius in prison. In the second place, the charge of Carranza is not irreconcilable with the narrative which has been given; for De Montes states that Soto claimed the merit of having procured a lenient sentence for Egidius. In fine, Llorente has shown, in reference to another case, that Soto was perfectly capable of the disgraceful conduct imputed to him on this occasion. f260 No sooner was it known that Edigius was condemned, than a flight of hungry applicants gathered round the fat benefit of Tortosa like crows round carrion. The holy fathers assembled at Trent were not so intently occupied in watching over the interests of the catholic church as not to have one eye turned to Spain, and ready to discern what might happen there to their advantage. While the trial of the bishop elect was in dependence, cardinal Granville, then bishop of Arras and prime minister of Spain, had his table covered with applications, in which the incense of adulation was thickly sprinkled on rancid avarice. In a letter, dated from Trent on the 19th of November 1551, the titular bishop Jubin, in partibus Infidelium, writes: “We have received intelligence here, that the bishop elect of Tortosa has been condemned to perpetual imprisonment. I shall be infinitely obliged to you to think of me—the least of your servants— provided his lordship of Elna shall be translated to the bishopric of Tortosa, now vacant by this means.” On the preceding day, the bishop of Elna had addressed a letter to the same quarter, in which, without giving the least hint of the object he had in view, he begs the premier to command him “as the meanest domestic of his household,” calls himself “his slave,” and assures him that the rare qualities of his eminence, his native goodness, and the favors he had conferred, were so deeply seated in the heart of his servant that he remembered him without ceasing, especially “in his poor sacrifices, the fittest time to make mention of one’s masters.”
Two days after, the modest bishop has acquired as much courage as to name his request: he acknowledges that the bishopric of Tortosa was “too weighty a burden for his weak shoulders,” but urges that he could discharge his episcopal functions better in such a tranquil spot than in the frontier province of Roussillon, where his pious exercises were interrupted by the noise of warlike instruments, and that he “felt a strong desire to end his days in tending his infirm sheep in the peace of God.” The bishop of Algeri was equally disinterested as his brethren in seeking promotion. “It was not avarice that induced him to ask the favor” to be translated from the island of Sardinia; he only wished to “have his residence on terra firma, ” that his spirit being relieved from the continual agitation in which it was kept by the restless waves which surrounded him, he might be “at more liberty to serve God, and pray for the life of the king and his minister.” The bishop of Elna having been unsuccessful in his application, renewed it in the course of the following year, when he had recourse to a new line of argument in its support. After telling the premier “that his hands had made him,” he requests him to remember, “if he pleased,” that his majesty had certain rights in Valencia called les bayles de Morella, of which large sums were due to the treasury, as would appear from the lists which he had procured and took the liberty to transmit to his eminence; that most luckily the diocese of Tortosa included that district, though the episcopal seat was in his native country of Catalonia; and that, if it should please his majesty to gratify him with that bishopric, he could see to the payment of these dues without leaving his diocese, and “thus would have it in his power to serve God and the king at the same time.” f266 O the duplicity, the selfishness, the servility of the clergy! What good cause but one would they not have ruined? And how deeply has that been marred by them! Boccaccio relates, (it is a tale, but deserves to be repeated for the sake of the moral it teaches,) that two persons, a Christian layman and a Jew, lived together in a retired spot on the northern boundary of Italy. The Christian had long piously labored to convert his neighbor, and had succeeded so far as to be in daily expectation of his submitting to baptism, when all at once the idea struck the latter that he would previously visit the capital of Christendom. Dreading the effects of his journey, the Christian endeavored to divert him from it; but in vain. After an absence of some weeks the Jew returned, and repairing to the house of the Christian, who had given up his convert for lost, surprised him with the intimation that he was now ready to be baptized; “for (added he) I have been at Rome, and have seen the pope and his clergy, and I am convinced that if Christianity had not been divine, it would have been ruined long ago under the care of such guardians.”
All the applicants for the bishopric of Tortosa took care to urge the services which they had done to the emperor at the council of Trent.
Several authors have spoken in high terms of the liberal views and independent spirit displayed by the Spanish divines who sat in the council; and Father Simon, in particular, asserts that they were ready, upon the refusal of the ecclesiastical reforms which they sought, to join with the French church in throwing off the authority of the court of Rome, if Charles V. had not, from political motives, discouraged them by withdrawing his support. A perusal of their correspondence and that of the imperial embassy serves to abate, in no small degree, the high opinion which these commendations are calculated to produce. If the Italian bishops were passive tools in the hands of the papal legates, their brethren of Spain were not less under the influence of the imperial ambassadors; and it is quite as clear that their zeal for the reformation of abuses was at first excited, as that it was afterwards restrained, by the policy of the emperor.
Several of the reforms which they demanded were in favor of their own order, and would have added to their power and wealth in proportion as they diminished those of the papal see; a circumstance which did not escape the observation of the court of Spain. At the same time they satisfied themselves with murmuring in private at the shameful arts by which the council was managed, and had not the courage to resent the attacks made on its freedom, or the insults openly offered to their colleagues. The bishop of Verdun happening to apply the term pretended reformation to some of the plans proposed in the council, the papal legate, cardinal Crescentio, assailed him publicly with invective, calling him a thoughtless young man and a fool, and ordering him to be silent. “Is this a free council?” said the elector of Cologne to the Spanish bishop of Orense, who sat next him. “It ought to be free,” replied the bishop, with a caution which would not have disgraced an Italian. “But tell me your opinion candidly. Is the synod free?” “Do not press me at present, my lord,” rejoined the prudent bishop; “that’s a difficult question; I will answer it at home.” It has been alleged that the papal influence over the council was confined to matters of discipline and ecclesiastical polity, and did not extend to points of faith, in the decision of which all the members were of one accord. But this is contradicted by unquestionable documents.
Some of the most learned divines who were at Trent were dissatisfied with certain parts of the doctrine of the council, and with the confused and hurried manner in which this important part of the business was transacted. After the article concerning the sacraments of penance and extreme unction had received the formal sanction of the holy and universal council, the divines of Louvain succeeded in convincing the leaders that it was erroneous. What was to be done? They agreed in a private conclave to alter it, after taking precautions to have the whole affair buried in silence, lest they should incur the ridicule of the Lutherans. “A great misfortune!” says the archbishop of Cologne; “but the least of two evils.” The reflections of the counsellor of the imperial embassy are more unceremonious. “I believe (says he) that God has permitted this occurrence to cover them with shame and confusion. Surely, after this, they will open their eyes, according to the saying of the psalmist, Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name. God grant they may comprehend this; but I dare not hope for so much, and have always said that nothing short of a miracle will work a change.” It is impossible to conceive any thing more deplorable than the picture of the council drawn in the confidential correspondence of Vargas, who was attached, as a legal adviser, to the embassy sent by Charles V. to Trent. “The legate is always the same,” says he in a letter to the cardinal-bishop of Arras; “he is a man lost to all shame.
Believe me, Sir, I have not words to express the pride and effrontery which he displays in the affairs of the council. Perceiving that we are timid, and that his majesty is unwilling to hurt or offend the pope, he endeavors to terrify us by assuming stately airs and a haughty tone. He treats the bishops as slaves; threatens and swears that he will depart. It is useless for his majesty to continue longer to urge the pope and his ministers. It is speaking to the deaf, and trying to soften the stones. It serves only to make us a laughing-stock to the world, and to furnish the heretics with subjects for pasquinades. We must delay till the time when God will purify the sons of Levi. That time must come soon, and, in my opinion, this purification will not be accomplished without some extraordinary chastisement. Things cannot remain long in their present state: the evils are too great. All the nerves of ecclesiastical discipline are broken. the traffic in things sacred is shameful. . . . The prediction of St. Paul is about to be accomplished in the church of Rome, That day cannot come, unless there come a falling away first . As to the manner of treating doctrines, I have already written you, that they precipitate every thing, examine few questions, and do not submit them to the judgment of the learned divines who are here in attendance.
Many of the bishops give their vote, and say placet , on points which they do not understand and are incapable of understanding. There is no one here who appears on the side of God, or dares to speak. We are all dumb dogs that cannot bark.” Notwithstanding all this, and much more to the same purpose, Vargas adds, like a true son of the church: “As for myself, I obey implicitly, and will submit without resistance to whatever shall be determined in matters of faith. God grant that all may do this.” f273 These facts are not irrelative to the subject. The secrets of the council of Trent soon transpired; and several individuals, who were afterwards brought to the stake in Spain, acknowledged that their eyes were first opened to the radical corruptions of the church of Rome by the accounts they received from some of the members of that synod as to the scandalous manner in which its decisions were influenced. f274 Egidius appeared among the criminals condemned to penance, in an autoda- fe celebrated at Seville in 1552. The term of his imprisonment having expired in 1555, he, in the course of the following year, paid a visit to Valladolid, where he found a number of converts to the reformed doctrine.
His wounded spirit was refreshed by what he saw of the grace of God in that city, and after spending a short time in the company of his brethren, and exhorting them to constancy in the faith, he returned to Seville. But the fatigue of traveling, to which he had been unaccustomed for some years, brought on a fever, which cut him off in a few days. He left behind him a number of writings in his native tongue, none of which appears to have been printed. His bones were afterwards taken from their grave, and committed to the flames, his property confiscated, and his memory declared infamous, by a sentence of the inquisitors, finding that he had died in the Lutheran faith. f277 The first introduction of the reformed doctrine into Valladolid was attended with circumstances nearly as extraordinary as those which had led to its reception in Seville. Francisco San-Roman, a native of Burgos, and son of the alcayde mayor of Bribiesca, having engaged in mercantile pursuits, went to the Low Countries. In the year 1540 his employers sent him from Antwerp to Bremen, to settle some accounts due to them in that city. The reformed religion had been introduced into Bremen; and the young Spaniard, curious to become acquainted with that doctrine which was so much condemned in his native country, went to one of the churches, where he heard James Sprent, formerly prior of the Augustinian monastery at Antwerp, and one of the first persons of note who embraced the opinions of Luther in the Netherlands. The sermon made so deep an impression on the mind of San-Roman, that he could not refrain from calling on the preacher, who, pleased with his candor and thirst for knowledge, introduced him to the acquaintance of some of his pious and learned friends. Among them was our countryman Doctor Maccabeus, f279 then at Bremen, by whose conversation he profited greatly. Like some young converts he greatly flattered himself that he could easily persuade others to embrace those truths which appeared to his own mind as clear as the light of day; and he burned with the desire of returning home and imparting the knowledge which he had received to his relations and countrymen. In vain did Sprent endeavor to restrain an enthusiasm from which he had himself suffered at an earlier period of his life. In the letters which he wrote to his employers at Antwerp, San-Roman could not help alluding to the change which his religious sentiments had undergone, and lamenting the blindness of his countrymen. The consequence was, that on his return to that city he was immediately seized by certain friars, to whom the contents of his letters had been communicated; and a number of Lutheran books and satirical prints against the church of Rome being found in his possession, he was thrown into prison. After a rigorous confinement of eight months, he was released at the solicitation of his friends, who represented that his zeal was now cooled, and that he would be duly watched in his native country. Going to Louvain, he met with Francisco Enzinas, one of his fellow-citizens, of whom we shall afterwards speak, who urged him not to rush upon certain danger by an indiscreet or unnecessary avowal of his sentiments, and to confine himself to the sphere of his proper calling, within which he might do much good, instead of assuming the office of a public teacher, or talking on religious subjects with every person who fell in his way. San-Roman promised to regulate his conduct by this prudential advice; but having gone to Ratisbon, where a diet of the empire was then sitting, and being elated at hearing of the favor which the emperor showed to the protestants, with the view of securing their assistance against the Turks, he forgot his prudent resolutions.
Obtaining an introduction to Charles, he deplored the state of religion in his native country, and begged him to use his royal power in restraining the inquisitors and priests, who sought, by every species of violence and cruelty, to prevent the entrance of the only true and saving doctrine of Jesus Christ into Spain. By the mild answer which he received from the emperor, he was emboldened to renew his application, at which some of the Spanish attendants were so incensed that they would have thrown him instantly into the Danube, had not their master interposed, by ordering him to be reserved for trial before the proper judges. He was accordingly cast into chains, and conveyed, in the retinue of the emperor, from Germany into Italy, and from Italy to Africa. After the failure of the expedition against Algiers, he was landed in Spain, and delivered to the Inquisition at Valladolid. His process was short. When brought before the inquisitors, he frankly professed his belief in the cardinal doctrine of the Reformation, that salvation comes to no man by his own works, merit or strength, but solely from the mercy of God through the sacrifice of the one Mediator; and he pronounced the mass, auricular confession, purgatory, the invocation of saints, and the worshipping of images, to be blasphemy against the living God. If his zeal was impetuous, it supported him to the last. He endured the horrors of a protracted imprisonment with the utmost fortitude and patience. He resisted all the importunities used by the friars to induce him to recant. He refused, at the place of execution, to purchase a mitigation of punishment by making confession to a priest, or bowing to a crucifix which was placed before him. When the flames first reached him on his being fastened to the stake, he made an involuntary motion with his head, upon which the friars in attendance exclaimed that he was become penitent, and ordered him to be brought from the fire. On recovering his breath, he looked them calmly in the face, and said, “Did you envy my happiness?” at which words he was thrust back into the flames, and almost instantly suffocated. Among a great number of prisoners brought out in this public spectacle, he was the only individual who suffered death. The novelty of the crimes with which he was charged, joined to the resolution which he displayed on the scaffold and at the stake, produced a sensible impression on the spectators. A proclamation was issued by the inquisitors, forbidding any to pray for his soul, or to express a favorable opinion of such an obstinate heretic. Notwithstanding this, some of the emperor’s bodyguards collected his ashes as those of a martyr; and the English ambassador, who happened to be at Valladolid at that time, used means to procure a part of his bones as a relic. The guards were thrown into prison, and the ambassador was prohibited from appearing at court for some time.
It is not unworthy of observation, that the sermon at this auto-da-fe was preached by the well-known Carranza, who was afterwards tried by the Inquisition, and died in prison after a confinement of seventeen years. f281 This even took place in the year 1544. The reformed doctrine had previously been introduced into Valladolid, but its disciples contented themselves with retaining it in their own breasts, or talking of it in the most cautious way to their confidential friends. The speculation excited by the martyrdom of San-Roman took off this restraint. Expressions of sympathy for his fate, or of astonishment at his opinions, led to conversations, in the course of which the favorers of the new faith, as it was called, were easily able to recognize one another. The zeal, and even magnanimity, which he evinced in encountering public odium, and braving so horrible a death, for the sake of the truth, provoked to emulation the most timid among them; and within a few years after his martyrdom, they formed themselves into a church, which met regularly in private for the purposes of religious instruction and worship. f283