The Movement towards Catholic Reform in the Early XVI Century


In times of transition the subtle forces at work are scarcely perceived by the ordinary sort of persons. It is left for a few of more than average capacity to give voice to their consciousness of what all might know, if the power of observing the currents of human thought were a common possession. Those remarkable men, who thus become interpreters to their contemporaries, are oftentimes described as the originators of the movements, of which they, after all, are only the exponents; they are, in truth, as much subject to the spirit of the age in which they live as the rest of mankind. If there be any justification at all for terming such men originators, it must be sought rather in their control, their guidance of forces already existent, than in any actual production of them. All these men, in the past, have undoubtedly performed the task of interpreters to their generation by words of counsel and admonition. But some have illustrated their instructions by their activities, by operating upon the principal tendencies of thought peculiar to their times and directing them to a beneficial fulfilment. Among the latter have been Savonarola and the Catholic Reformers.

The epoch in which they lived was pre-eminently one of transition. Classical learning had sprung up again into new life, and the study of it had developed into a passion. Consequent upon this renascence of intellectual energy, an extension of the empire over which the human mind bore sway was bound to take place and to overleap the accustomed limits. Accordingly, a spirit of critical investigation had made its . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1914


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