Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/378

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saw the change; and, as was her custom, proceeded to crush the new movement, for rebellion against authority was, in her eyes, the one unpardonable sin. The church teaching began to assume, therefore, a more somber cast; the people became more gloomy and fanatical. This is clearly seen in art, which, before the invention of printing, served as an index to the spirit of the age. For example, up to the end of the tenth century Christ was always represented in painting as having a peaceful, gentle face, and as being engaged in works of mercy. The parable of the Good Shepherd was the favorite subject for the artist. But in the eleventh century this began to change: the painters deal with the death of Christ and with the last judgment. Moreover, Christ's face becomes sterner and mournful. In the twelfth century the change is complete: Christ appears stern and unyielding, like the God of old, whom it repented that he had made man. In this age and the succeeding ages occurred also a succession of physical, social, and political events, all tending to heighten and deepen the gloom which seemed to have settled upon men's minds. Chief among these was that awful scourge, "the Black Death," in all probability the greatest calamity that has ever visited the world, by which in six years twenty-five millions of persons, or one quarter the population of Europe, were swept away. Then began a veritable reign of terrorism: men's minds were paralyzed with dread, uncertain fear. They knew not whither to look; they abandoned themselves to the anguish of despair. Then it was that reappeared the Flagellants, scourging themselves and crying aloud like the prophets of old. Then it was that there wandered from land to land those bands of monks whose bodies were ever bleeding with self-inflicted torture; and then there loomed upon the horizon of a startled world the dread figure of the Inquisition, to whose autos da fé had been given the task of crushing out heresy and witchcraft. The trials for witchcraft increased tenfold, and in the fifteenth and the sixteenth century the persecution reached its climax. And truly the aspect which Europe presented at that time was in many ways full of discouragement for those who believed in the ultimate progress of humanity. As a great writer has said: "The Church, which had been all in all to Christendom, was heaving in what seemed the last throes of dissolution. The boundaries of religious thought were all obscured. Conflicting tendencies and passions were raging with a tempestuous violence, . . . and each of the opposing sects proclaimed its distinctive doctrines essential to salvation. Yet over all this chaos there were two great conceptions dominating unchanged. They were the sense of sin and of Satan, and the absolute necessity of a correct dogmatic system to save men from the agonies of hell." This was the state of Europe at the time of the Protest-