Professor ahitney reminded us sours years ago that " it is needful for the sake of understanding the Reformation to study its
origins in the aiddleAges and to study its characters not where
they diverged most widely, but at moments when they approached
most closely." This. opinion is also held by the aarden of Keble;
"- origins are common ground. Developments mark the points of
These opinions appear to justify us in going back to
far beyond í52L into the earlier history of the Italian Church.
Ohy the religious Reformation ultimately failed in Italy,andi probably more important,how its effect was permanent,are questions
to which no satisfactory answer can be given if pre -Reformation
Italy with its particular characteristics receives no consideration,
The parable of the sower refers to the ground just as much as to t
And therefore we have spoken of the Italian tradition,
artificially dividing it into three sides for greater ease of
treatment. Then comes the zenith of ecclesiastical abuses with
the Italian reply to them. As could only be expected,first,Savonarola,then the Lateran failed,although both had awakened a greater desire for reform. Could an external Reformation help to
fulfil that desire ? - a direct effsct,or a radical change could
not and did not, but its indirect effect certainly could and did.
The Italian tradition was almost quite antagonistic to an
external Reformation, and when certain rtalians escaped that
tradition they became not Protestants but "Protesters"- seeking a faith as different from Luther's as it was from Rome's,
exalting the individual above the Church and owing their chief
debt to Scotism. This movement wax was ,of course, that of the
Sozzini, whose occasion only was the external Reformation: together with the first chapter the last which treats of this reveals something of Italian character and its behaviour in pre-Reformation times, as well as in our period.