Page images

to nium ofculis receperis, sive discedas aliquò, 6. ofculis dimitteris. Redis, redduntur suavia ; e venitur ad te, propinantur suavia ; disceditur « abs te, dividuntur basia; occurritur alicui, 6 bafiatur affatim; deniquequocunque te moveas, « suaviorum plena sunt omnia.”

Luther in his “ Table-Talk” speaks thus of this great scholar and elegant writer :

“ Erasmus was stained and poisoned at Rome “ and at Venice with Epicureism. He praises “ the Arians more than the Papists. But « amongst all his blunted darts I can endure 6 none less than his Catechism, in which he “ teaches nothing certain ; he only makes young “ persons err and despair. His principal doctrine " is, that we must carry ourselves according to 66 the times, and as the proverb says, We must " hang the cloak according to the wind. Eras“ mus only looked to himself, to easy and plea5 fant days. Erasmus is an enemy to true reli“ gion ; a picture and image of an Epicure and 66 of Lucian.”

When the portrait of Erasmus was one day shewn to Luther, he said, “ Were I to look like " this picture, I should be the greatest knave in s the world.”

Luther · Luther had a personal dislike to Erasmus. They differed in opinion respecting free-will.' Ať the beginning of the disputes between the Papists and the Protestants, Luther had done every thing in his power to bring him over to his opinion, and according to Bossuet had written some very servile letters to him for that purpose. At first Erasmus favoured the sentiments of Luther ; but when he found the schism between the two Churches openly declared, he withdrew from Luther, and wrote against him with his usual moderation. Luther answered with extreme violence; and Erasmus in one of his letters to Melanethon says, “I really thought that Luto ther's marriage would have softened him a ķa little. It is very hard for a man of my mode“ ration, and of my years, to be obliged to write « against a savage beast and furious wild boar,"

· Erasmus, in another letter to Melanethon, speaks of Luther's excess of vehemence, and gives a solution of it. " What shocks 'me the " most in Luther is, that 'whatever opinion he “ undertakes to defend, he pushes it to the ut" most. And when he is told of this, instead " of becoming more moderate he goes on still “ farther, and seems to have a great pleasure to “ hurry on to a greater extremity. I know his " disposition from his writings as well as if I was 66 living with him. He is of an ardent and im

66 petuous

* petuous spirit. You see in every thing that .fc he does an Achilles, whose anger is not to be “ subdued. Add to all this, his great success, 56 the favourable opinion of mankind, and the 56 applauses of the great Theatre of the World, 56 there is surely sufficient to spoil a man of the ““ most modest disposition,”

Malichias says of Erasmus, “ that he used to “ rise early, and give up his mornings to study “ and to writing; then, in imitation of the Ansó tients, make a late dinner, and afterwards give “ himself up to the company of his friends, or “ take a walk with them, and in conversation “ chat pleasantly and chearfully with them, or “ repeat those sentences which, taken down in « writing from his mouth by some of them, have “ fince appeared with the title of his Familiar “ Colloquies.”

Erasınus had so great an averfion to fish, that he could not even bear the smell of it: this made the Papists say, that Erafmus had not only a Lutheran disposition, but a Lutheran stomach.

The memory of Erasmus was held in such veneration even by sovereigns, that Philip the Second of Spain, Mary Queen of Hungary, and many Princes in their train, who were at Rotter


dam in 1549, inflamed with a veneration for the memory of this great man, visited the house and the chamber in which he was born.


The memory of this learned and excellent Prelate will be ever endeared to all lovers of li. terature, for the patronage which he constantly afforded to Erasmus.

· Warham died, as d'Alembert says a Catholic Bishop ever should die, without debts and without legacies. Though he had passed through the highest offices in the Church and State, he left little more than was requisite to pay his funeral charges. Not long before he died, he called for his steward to know how much money he had in his hands, who told him that he had about thirty pounds. " Well then,” replied he cheerfully, “ fatis viatici ad Cælum: There is · 66 enough to last me to Heaven.”

Erasmus, on hearing of the death of this kindest patron he ever had, thus expressed himfelf in one of his letters to Charles Blunt, the fon of Lord Mountjoy:'« My letter is, I fear, an

56 unpleasant

“ unpleasant melancholy letter. I have this in6 ftant heard that that incomparable treasure of

virtue and goodness William Warham has “ changed this life for a better. I lament my “ fate, not his; for he was truly my constant

anchor. We had made a solemn compact to“ gether, that we would have one common “ fepulchre; and I had no apprehension but " that he, though he was sixteen years older 66 than myself, would have survived me. Nei" ther age nor disease took away from us this excellent man, but a fatality not only to him. “ self, but to Learning, to Religion, to the “ State, to the Church. Though, as Lord " Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chan6c cellor of England, obliged to give audiences “ to Ambassadors, and his time to suitors, yet 66 he had still time enough not only to transact « all his secular business, but to bestow a large 56 portion of it upon study and religion : for he “ never lost a moment in hunting, in gaming,

in idle talk, or in amusement of any kind. " He occasionally received two hundred guests 6 at his table; amongst whom were Bishops, “ Dukes, and Earls; yet the dinner was always s over within the hour. Himself seldom tasted 66 wine; and when he was near seventy, he « drank, and that very moderately, a weak “ liquor which the English call Beer. Though « so sparing in his diet, he was always cheerful

as and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

was 1

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »