Page:Georges Sorel, Reflections On Violence (1915).djvu/28

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REFLECTIONS ON VIOLENCE

are the antipodes of each other. I cannot understand how Hartmann came to say that Protestantism "is a halting place in the journey of true Christianity," and that it "allied itself with the renaissance of ancient paganism."[1] These judgments only apply to recent Protestantism, which has abandoned its own principles in order to adopt those of the Renaissance. Pessimism, which formed no part of the current of ideas which characterised the Renaissance,[2] has never been so strongly affirmed as it was by the Reformers. The dogmas of sin and predestination which correspond to the two first aspects of pessimism, the wretchedness of the human species, and social determinism, were pushed to their most extreme consequences. Deliverance was conceived under a very different form to that which had been given it by primitive Christianity; Protestants organised themselves into a military force wherever possible; they made expeditions into Catholic countries, expelled the priests, introduced the reformed cult, and promulgated laws of proscription against papists. They no longer borrowed from the apocalypses the idea of a great final catastrophe, of which the brothers-in-arms who had for so long defended themselves against the attacks of Satan would only be spectators; the Protestants, nourished on the reading of the Old Testament, wished to imitate the exploits of the conquerors of the Holy Land; they took the offensive, and wished to establish the kingdom of God by force. In each locality they conquered the Calvinists brought about a real catastrophic revolution, which changed everything from top to bottom.

  1. Hartmann, The Religion of the Future, Eng. trans., p. 23.
  2. "At this epoch commenced the struggle between the Pagan love of life and the Christian hatred of this world and avoidance of it" (Hartmann, op. cit. p. 88). This pagan conception is to be found in liberal protestantism, and this is why Hartmann rightly considers it to be irreligious; but the men of the sixteenth century took a very different view of the matter.