Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter xvi: The State of Religion, of the Clergy, and Learning, etc. - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
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chapter xvi: The State of Religion, of the Clergy, and Learning, etc. - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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The State of Religion, of the Clergy, and Learning, etc.
When the Corruptions of the Roman Church grew so intolerable to many Nations in Europe, that an Universal Reformation became necessary, Denmark, among the rest of the Northern Countries (which had been less managed and more abused by the Priests than the Southern) shook off that yoke, and instead of the Roman-Catholick, embraced the Doctrine and Opinions of Martin Luther. King Frederick the First, about one hundred and fifty years since, brought these in, and established them so generally in his Dominions, that at this day there is no other Religion here professed than the Lutheran, if we will except the little Reformed French Church of Copenhagen, set up by the Queen, and one Popish Chapel at Glucstadt, permitted about ten years ago to a few Popish Families in those parts; which is the first that has been since the Reformation. This great Unity in belief in the North (for Sweden has it as well as Denmark) is owing to the Sincerity of those Princes that began the Reformation there: for it is likely they did it upon a pure religious account, and therefore went effectually to work in the Conversion of all their Subjects, using proper means for such a purpose; whereas in England, and elsewhere, Reasons of State and other Byends, had at least as great a share in it as Conviction of Conscience; so that the business was done by halves, through the unsettledness of our Princes in their Opinions, who encouraged or connived at a dissenting Party, according as their worldly Interests led them. The vast convenience to any Prince of having all his Subjects of one Opinion, is visible in Denmark; where there are no Factions nor Disputes about Religion, which usually have a great influence on any Government; but all are of one Mind, as to the way of Salvation, and as to the Duty they owe their Sovereign. This cuts off occasion of Rebellion and Mutiny from many, who otherwise would desire it, and seem to have reason enough, because of the heavy pressures they lye under. As long as the Priests are entirely dependant upon the Crown, and the People absolutely governed by the Priests in Matters of Conscience, as they are here, the Prince may be as Arbitrary as he pleases, without running any risque from his Subjects: in due consideration of which benefit, the Clergy are very much favoured, and have full scope given them to be as bigotted as they please; which indeed they are to a very great degree, having no common Charity for any that differ from them in Opinion, except the Church of England; and to that they are very kind, often saying, That there is no Essential Difference between it and theirs, and wishing that there were an union of them projected and perfected: wherein their Design is not so much to reduce our Ecclesiasticks to the low estate theirs are in, as to raise their own to the Splendour and Revenues of ours; which are the principal Virtues they admire in us. They have cast off the Opinions of Rome in the Supremacy of the Pope, and other Points; but they would retain the Grandeur belonging to that Church, and applaud us for doing both so dexterously: so that I am confident the business of Consubstantiation would make no difference, did Princes think it worth their while to promote this Union. On the other side, the Calvinist is hated by them as much as the Papist; and the reason they give is, because he is against absolute Monarchy, and has a resisting Principle.
Notwithstanding this Flattery of the Court, they are not admitted into civil Affairs, nor have any thing to do in the Government: neither are they encouraged to appear about Court, or on Publick Occasions; the Pulpit is their Province, and it is left free to them. Here they take a vast Liberty of Reprehending not only Vices, but particular persons of the highest quality, which no body takes notice of, as long as they keep to their own Trade. The common People admire them for this boldness, and the best Subsistence of the Priests in Cities and Towns being voluntary Benevolence, they take care to cultivate the good Opinion of the Mobb, whom they keep likewise in awe by the practice of Confession before they Administer the Sacrament, which every one that receives is obliged to undergo; and this they retain of the Romish Church, as well as Crucifixes, and other Ceremonies.
There are six Superintendants in Denmark, who take it very kindly to be called Bishops, and My Lord; viz. one in Zealand, one in Funen, and four in Jutland: There are also four in Norway. These have no Temporalities, keep no Ecclesiastical Courts, have no Cathedrals, with Prebends, Canons, Deans, Subdeans, etc. But are only primi inter pares;40 having the Rank above the inferior Clergy of their Province, and the inspection into their Doctrine and Manners. The Revenue of the Bishop of Copenhagen is about Two thousand Rix Dollars yearly; the other Bishops of Denmark have about Fifteen hundred Rix Dollars, and of Norway One thousand Rix Dollars; they are allowed to have two or three Parishes each; their Habit is common with that of the other Ministers, viz. A plaited black Gown, with short Sleeves, a large stiff Ruff about the Neck, and a Cap with Edges, like our Masters of Art, except that theirs is round, and the others square.
Most of them understand English, and draw the very best of their Divinity, as they confess themselves, out of English Books. Many of them have studied in Oxford, who are more valued than the others; they are very constant Preachers, and never read their Sermons, but pronounce them with a great deal of Action. Holy-days and Fast-days are observed as solemnly as Sundays; and in Copenhagen the City Gates are close shut during Sermon time, so that no body can go in or out. The Commonalty are great frequenters of the Churches, which are kept much more decently, cleanly, and better adorned than with us: so that they look almost as gaudy as the Popish Churches.
They are all great Lovers of Organs, and have many very good ones, with skilful Organists, who entertain the Congregation with Musick, during half an hour, either before or after Service.
Denmark has formerly produced very Learned Men, Such as the famous Mathematician Tycho Brahe, the Bartholines for Physick and Anatomy, Borichius, who died lately, and bequeathed a considerable Legacy to the University of Copenhagen. But at present Learning is there at a very low Ebb; yet Latin is more commonly spoken by the Clergy than with us. The Books that come out in Print are very few, and those only some dull Treatises of Controversy against the Papists and Calvinists. The Belles Lettres, or Gentile Learning are very much strangers here, and will hardly be introduced till a greater affluence among the Gentry makes way for them. It is said that Necessity is the Mother of Invention; which may be true in some degree, but I am sure too much Necessity depresses the Spirits, and destroys it quite; neither is there any Invention here, or tolerable Imitation of what is brought in to them by Strangers.
There is but one University, which is at Copenhagen, and that mean enough in all respects; neither the Building nor Revenues being comparable to those of the worst of our single Colledges. The Students wear black Cloaks, and live scattered about the Town, after the manner of those in Leyden. Some of the Professors live in the House. Every year on the King’s Birth day they have a kind of Act; the King honours them with his presence, and the Rector Magnificus harangues him with a Latin Speech, full of as fulsome Flattery, as if Louis le Grand were the Monarch to be entertained, and a fawning Jesuit the Orator. At certain Periods there are a few Danish Verses sung by the ordinary singing Boys to very indifferent Musick; and so the Farce ends.
There was in this King’s Father’s time an University at Sora, a Town very pleasantly situated about Forty miles from the City, where the Lodgings and Conveniencies for studying much exceeded those of Copenhagen: But the King had occasion for the Revenues; so that now it is desolate, and in its stead only a small Grammar-school erected.
The Provisions for the Poor are very inconsiderable; formerly there was a pretty store of Hospitals scatter’d up and down the Country, but at present the Revenues of most of these are diverted to other uses, and those not Publick ones.
To conclude; I never knew any Country where the Minds of the People were more of one calibre and pitch than here; you shall meet with none of extraordinary Parts or Qualifications, or excellent in particular Studies and Trades; you see no Enthusiasts, Mad-men, Natural Fools, or fanciful Folks; but a certain equality of Understanding reigns among them: every one keeps the ordinary beaten road of sense, which in this Country is neither the fairest nor the foulest, without deviating to the right or left; yet I will add this one Remark to their praise, that the Common People do generally write and read.
[40. ]“First among equals.”