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ground in spite of the immense progress which | who, at fourteen, have thought enough c knowledge has made since the days of Queen these questions to be fully entitled to the Elizabeth. praise which Voltaire gives to Zadig, "Il en savait ce qu'on én a su dans tous les âges, c'est-à-dire, fort peu de chose." The book of Job shows, that long before letters and arts were known to Ionia, these vexing questions were debated with no common skill and eloquence, under the tents of the Idumean Emirs; nor has human reason, in the course of three thousand years, discovered any satisfactory solution of the riddles which perplexed Eliphaz and Zophar.
Indeed, the argament which we are considering seems to us to be founded on an entire mistake. There are branches of knowledge, with respect to which the law of the human mind is progress. In mathematics, when once a proposition has been demonstrated, it is never afterwards contested. Every fresh story s as solid a basis for a new superstructure as the original foundation was. Here, therefore, there is a constant addition to the stock of truth. In the inductive sciences again, the Natural theology, then, is not a progressive law is progress. Every day furnishes new science. That knowledge of our origin and facts, and thus brings theory nearer and nearer of our destiny which we derive from revelato perfection. There is no chance that either tion, is indeed of very different clearness, and in the purely demonstrative, or in the purely very different importance. But neither is reexperimental sciences, the world will ever go vealed religion of the nature of a progressive back or even remain stationary. Nobody science. All Divine truth is, according to the ever heard of a reaction against Taylor's theo-doctrine of the Protestant churches, recorded rem, or of a reaction against Harvey's doc- in certain books. It is equally open to all who trine of the circulation of the blood. in any age can read those books; nor can all But with theology the case is very different. the discoveries of all the philosophers in the As respects natural religion-revelation being world add a single verse to any of these books. for the present altogether left out of the ques- It is plain, therefore, that in divinity there cantion-it is not easy to see that a philosopher not be a progress analogous to that which is of the present day is more favourably situated constantly taking place in pharmacy, geology, than Thales or Simonides. He has before him and navigation. A Christian of the fifth cenjust the same evidences of design in the struc- tury with a Bible is on a par with a Christian ture of the universe which the early Greeks of the nineteenth century with a Bible, candour had. We say just the same; for the discove- and natural acuteness being, of course, supries of modern astronomers and anatomists posed equal. It matters not at all that the have really added nothing to the force of that compass, printing, gunpowder, steam, gas, vacargument which a reflecting mind finds in cination, and a thousand other discoveries and every beast, bird, insect, fish, leaf, flower, and inventions which were unknown in the fifth shell. The reasoning by which Socrates, in century are familiar to the nineteenth. None Xenophon's hearing, confuted the little atheist of these discoveries and inventions have the Aristodemus, is exactly the reasoning of Pa- smallest bearing on the question whether man ley's "Natural Theology." Socrates makes is justified by faith alone, or whether the invoprecisely the same use of the statues of Poly-cation of saints is an orthodox practice. It cletus and the pictures of Zeuxis, which Paley seems to us, therefore, that we have no secumakes of the watch. As to the other great rity for the future against the prevalence of question-the question, what becomes of man any theological error that has ever prevailed after death-we do not see that a highly edu-in time past among Christian men. We are cated European, left to his unassisted reason, confident that the world will never go back to is more likely to be in the right than a Black- the solar system of Ptolemy; nor is our confifoot Indian. Not a single one of the many dence in the least shaken by the circumstance sciences in which we surpass the Blackfoot that even so great a man as Bacon rejected Indians, throws the smallest light on the state the theory of Galileo with scorn; for Bacon of the soul after the animal life is extinct. In had not all the means of arriving at a sound truth, all the philosophers, ancient and modern, conclusion which are within our reach, and who have attempted, without the help of reve- which secure people, who would not have been lation to prove the immortality of man, from worthy to mend his pens, from falling into his Plato down to Franklin, appear to us to have mistakes. But we are very differently affected failed deplorably. when we reflect that Sir Thomas More was ready to die for the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was a man of eminent talents. He had all the information on the subject that we have, or that, while the world lasts, any human being will have. The text "This is my body," was in his New Testament as it is in ours.
Then, again, all the great enigmas which perplex the natural theologian are the same in all ages. The ingenuity of a people just emerging from barbarism is quite sufficient to propound them. The wisdom of Locke or Clarke is quite unable to solve them. It is a mistake to imagine that subtle speculations touching the Divine attributes, the origin of evil, the necessity of human actions, the foundation of moral obligation, imply any high degree of intellectual culture. Such speculations, on the contrary, are in a peculiar manner the deJight of intelligent children and of half-civilised men. The number of boys is not small
The absurdity of the literal interpretation was as great and as obvious in the sixteenth century as it is now. No progress that science has made or will make can add to what seems to us the overwhelming force of the argument against the real presence. We are therefore unable to understand why what Sir Thomas More believed respecting transubstan
tiation may not be believed to the end of time by men equal in abilities and honesty to Sir Thomas More. But Sir Thomas More is one of the choice specimens of human wisdom and virtue, and the doctrine of transubstantiation is a kind of proof charge. A faith which stands that test will stand any test. The prophesies of Brothers and the miracles of Prince Hohenlohe sink to trifles in the comparison. One reservation, indeed, must be made. The books and traditions of a sect may contain, mingled The history of Catholicism strikingly illus with propositions strictly theological, other pro- trates these observations. During the last positions purporting to rest on the same autho- seven centuries the public mind of Europe has rity which relate to physics. If new discover-made constant progress in every department ies should throw discredit on the physical pro- of secular knowledge. But in religion we can positions, the theological propositions, unless trace no constant progress. The ecclesiastithey can be separated from the physical pro-cal history of that long period is the history positions, will share in their discredit. In this of movement to and fro. Four times since the way, undoubtedly, the progress of science may authority of the Church of Rome was esta indirectly serve the cause of religious truth. blished in Western Christendom has the huThe Hindoo mythology, for example, is bound man intellect risen up against her yoke. Twice up with a most absurd geography. Every she remained completely victorious. Twice she young Brahmin, therefore, who learns geogra-came forth from the conflict bearing the marks phy in our colleges, learns to smile at the in-of cruel wounds, but with the principle of life doo mythology. If Catholicism has not suffer- still strong within her. When we reflect on ed to an equal degree from the Papal decision the tremendous assaults which she has surthat the sun goes round the earth, this is be- vived, we find it difficult to conceive in what cause all intelligent Catholics now hold, with way she is to perish. Pascal, that in deciding the point at all the The first of these insurrections broke out in Church exceeded her powers, and was, there- the region where the beautiful language of Oc fore, justly left destitute of that supernatural was spoken. That country, singularly favour assistance which, in the exercise of her legiti-ed by nature, was, in the twelfth century, the mate functions, the promise of her Founder most flourishing and civilized part of Western authorized her to expect. Europe. It was in nowise a part of France. This reservation affects not at all the truth It had a distinct political existence, a distinct of our proposition, that divinity, properly so national character, distinct usages, and a discalled, is not a progressive science. A very tinct speech. The soil was fruitful and well common knowledge of history, a very little ob-cultivated; and amidst the cornfields and vineservation of life, will suffice to prove that no yards arose many rich cities, each of which learning, no sagacity, affords a security against was a little republic; and many stately castles, the greatest errors on subjects relating to the each of which contained a miniature of an iminvisible world. Bayle and Chillingworth, two perial court. It was there that the spirit of of the most skeptical of mankind, turned Ca- chivalry first laid aside its terrors, first took a tholics from sincere conviction. Johnson, in-humane and graceful form, first appeared as credulous on all other points, was a ready the inseparable associate of art and literature, believer in miracles and apparitions. He of courtesy and love. The other vernacular would not believe in Ossian, but he believed dialects which, since the fifth century, had in the second sight. He would not believe in sprung up in the ancient provinces of the Rothe earthquake of Lisbon, but he believed in man empire, were still rude and imperfect. the Cock Lane Ghost. The sweet Tuscan, the rich and energetic EngFor these reasons we have ceased to wonder at lish, were abandoned to artisans and shepany vagaries of superstition. We have seen men, herds. No clerk had ever condescended to not of mean intellect or neglected education, use such barbarous jargon for the teaching of but qualified by their talents and acquirements science, for the recording of great events, or to attain eminence either in active or speculative for the painting of life and manners. But the pursuits, well-read scholars, expert logicians, language of Provence was already the lankeen observers of life and manners, prophe-guage of the learned and polite, and was emsying, interpreting, talking unknown tongues, ployed by numerous writers, studious of all the working miraculous cures, coming down with arts of composition and versification. messages from God to the Houses of Commons. We have seen an old woman, with no talents beyond the cunning of a fortune-teller, and with the education of a scullion, exalted into a prophetess, and surrounded by tens of thousands of devoted followers, many of whom were, in station and knowledge, immeasurably her superiors; and all this in the nineteenth century, and all this in London. Yet why not? For of the dealings of God with man no more has been revealed to the nineteenth century
A literature rich in ballads, in war-songs, in satire, and, above all, in amatory poetry, amused the leisure of the knights and ladies whose fortified mansions adorned the banks of the Rhone and Garonne. With civilization had come freedom of thought. Use had taken away the horror with which misbelievers were elsewhere regarded. No Norman or Breton ever saw a Mussulman, except to give and receive blows on some Syrian field of battle. But the people of the rich countries which lay un
than to the first, or to London than to the wildest parish in the Hebrides. It is true that, in those things which concern this life and this world, man constantly becomes wiser. But it is no less true that, as respects a higher power and a future state, man, in the language of Goethe's scoffing fiend,
"bleibt stets von gleichem schlag, Und ist so wunderlich als wie am ersten tag."
der the Pyrenees lived in habits of courteous great European family. Rome, in the mean and profitable intercourse with the Moorish time, warned by that fearful danger from which kingdoms of Spain, and gave a hospitable wel- the exterminating swords of her crusaders had come to skilful teachers and mathematicians, narrowly saved her, proceeded to revise and who, in the schools of Cordova and Granada, to strengthen her whole system of polity. A had become versed in all the learning of the this period were instituted the order of Francis, Arabians. The Greek, still preserving, in the the order of Dominic, the tribunal of the Inqui midst of political degradation, the ready wit sition. The new spiritual police was every and the inquiring spirit of his fathers, still able where. No alley in a great city, no hamlet on to read the most perfect of human composi-a remote mountain, was unvisited by the beg. tions, still speaking the most powerful and ging friar. The simple Catholic, who was flexible of human languages, brought to the content to be no wiser than his fathers, found, marts of Narbonne and Toulouse, together with wherever he turned, a friendly voice to encouthe drugs and silks of remote climates, bold and rage him. The path of the heretic was beset subtle theories, long unknown to the ignorant by innumerable spies; and the Church, lately and credulous West. The Paulician theology in danger of utter subversion, now appeared -a theology in which, as it should seem, many to be impregnably fortified by the love, the of the doctrines of the modern Calvinists were reverence, and the terror of mankind. mingled with some doctrines derived from the A century and a half passed away, and then ancient Manichees,-spread rapidly through came the second great rising up of the humaŋ Provence and Languedoc. The clergy of the intellect against the spiritual domination of Catholic Church were regarded with loathing Rome. During the two generations which foland contempt. "Viler than a priest,"-"Ilowed the Albigensian crusade, the power of the would as soon be a priest,"-became prover- Papacy had been at the height. Frederick II. bial expressions. The Papacy lost all autho--the ablest and most accomplished of the long rity with all classes, from the great feudal line of German Casars--had in vain exhaust princes down to the cultivators of the soil. ed all the resources of military and political skill in the attempt to defend the rights of the civil power against the encroachments of the Church. The vengeance of the priesthood had pursued his house to the third generation. Manfred had perished on the field of battle; Conradin on the scaffold. Then a turn took place. The secular authority, long unduly depressed, regained the ascendant with startling rapidity. The change is doubtless to be ascribed chiefly to the general disgust excited by the way in which the Church had abused
The danger to the hierarchy was indeed formidable. Only one transalpine nation had emerged from barbarism, and that nation had thrown off all respect for Rome. Only one of the vernacular languages of Europe had yet been extensively employed for literary purposes, and that language was a machine in the hands of heretics. The geographical position of the sectaries made the danger peculiarly formidable. They occupied a central region communicating directly with France, with Italy, and with Spain. The provinces its power and its success. which were still untainted were separated But something must be attributed to the from each other by this infected district. Un-character and situation of individuals. The der these circumstances, it seemed probable | man who bore the chief part in effecting this that a single generation would suffice to spread revolution was Philip IV. of France, surnamed the reformed doctrine to Lisbon, to London, the Beautiful-a despot by position, a despot and to Naples. But this was not to be. Rome by temperament, stern, implacable, and un cried for help to the warriors of northern scrupulous, equally prepared for violence and France. She appealed at once to their super- for chicanery, and surrounded by a devoted stition and to their cupidity. To the devout | band of men of the sword, and of men of law. believers she promised pardons as ample as The fiercest and most high-minded of the Ro those with which she had rewarded the deliver-man Pontiffs, while bestowing kingdoms, and ers of the holy Sepulchre. To the rapacious citing great princes to his judgment-seat, was and profligate she offered the plunder of fertile seized in his palace by armed men, and so plains and wealthy cities. Unhappily, the in- foully outraged that he died mad with rage genious and polished inhabitants of the Lan- and terror. "Thus," sang the great Florenguedocian provinces were far better qualified tine poet, "was Christ in the person of his to enrich and embellish their country than to vicar, a second time seized by ruffians, a sedefend it. Eminent in the arts of peace, un-cond time mocked, a second time drenched rivalled in the "gay science," elevated above with the vinegar and the ga!!."* The seat of many vulgar superstitions, they wanted that the Papal court was carried beyond the Alps, iron courage, and that skill in martial exer- and the Bishops of Rome became dependants cises, which distinguished the chivalry of the of France. Then came the great schism of region beyond the Loire, and were ill-fitted to the West. Two Popes, each with a doubtful face enemies, who, in every country from Ire- title, made all Europe ring with their mutual land to Palestine, had been victorious against invectives and anathemas. Rome cried out tenfold odds. A war, distinguished even among against the corruptions of Avignon; and Avig. wars of religion by its merciless atrocity, de- non, with equal justice, recriminated on Rome. stroyed the Albigensian heresy; and with that The plain Christian people, brought up in the heresy the prosperity, the civilization, the lite-belief that it was a sacred duty to be in com. rature, the national existence, of what was once he most opulent and enlightened part of the
* Purgatorio, xx. 87.
munion with the Head of the Church, were before. All ranks, all varieties of character, unable to discover, amidst conflicting testimo- joined the ranks of the innovators. Sove nies and conflicting arguments, to which of reigns impatient to appropriate to themselves the two worthless priests who were cursing the prerogatives of the Pope-nobles desirous an' reviling each other, the headship of the to share the plunder of abbeys-suitors exasChurch rightfully belonged. It was nearly at perated by the extortions of the Roman Camera this juncture that the voice of John Wickliffe-patriots impatient of a foreign rule-good began to make itself heard. The public mind men scandalized by the corruptions of the of England was soon stirred to its inmost Church-bad men desirous of the license indepths; and the influence of the new doctrines separable from great moral revolutions-wise was soon felt, even in the distant kingdom of men eager in the pursuit of truth-weak men Bohemia. In Bohemia, indeed, there had long allured by the glitter of novelty-all were been a predisposition to heresy. Merchants found on one side. Alone, among the northfrom the Lower Danube were often seen in the ern nations, the Irish adhered to the ancient fairs of Prague; and the Lower Danube was faith; and the cause of this seems to have peculiarly the seat of the Paulician theology. been, that the national feeling which, in hapThe Church, torn by schism, and fiercely as- pier countries, was directed against Rome, was sailed at once in England and the German in Ireland directed against England. In fifty empire, was in a situation scarcely less peril-years from the day in which Luther publicly ous than at the crisis which preceded the Albi- renounced communion with the Church of gensian crusade. Rome, and burned the bull of Leo before the But this danger also passed by. The civil gates of Wittenberg, Protestantism attained power gave its strenuous support to the its highest ascendency-an ascendency which Church; and the Church made some show it soon lost, and which it never regained. of reforming itself. The council of Constance Hundreds, who could well remember Brother put an end to the schism. The whole Catholic Martin a devout Catholic, lived to see the revoworld was again united under a single chief, lution of which he was the chief author, victo and rules were laid down which seemed to rious in half the states of Europe. In England, make it improbable that the power of that Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Livonia, Prussia, chief would be grossly abused. The most dis-Saxony, Hesse, Würtemberg, the Palatinate, in tinguished teachers of the new doctrine were several cantons of Switzerland, in the Northern put to death. The English government put | Netherlands, the Reformation had completely down the Lollards with merciless rigour; and, triumphed; and in all the other countries on in the next generation, no trace of the second this side of the Alps and the Pyrenees, it great revolt against the Papacy could be found, scemed on the point of triumphing. except among the rude population of the mountains of Bohemia.
But while this mighty work was proceeding in the north of Europe, a revolution of a very different kind had taken place in the south. The temper of Italy and Spain was widely dif ferent from that of Germany and England. As the national feeling of the Teutonic nations impelled them to throw off the Italian supremacy, so the national feeling of the Italians impelled them to resist any change which might deprive their country of the honour and advantage of being the seat of the government of the Universal Church. It was in Italy that the tributes were spent, of which foreign nations so bitterly complained. It was to adorn Italy that the traffic in indulgences had been carried to that scandalous excess which had roused the indignation of Luther. There was among the Italians both much piety and much impiety; but with very few exceptions, neither the piety nor the impiety took the turn of Protestantism. The religious Italians desired a reform of morals and discipline, but not a reform of doctrine, and least of all a schism. The irreligious Italians simply disbelieved Christianity, without hating it. They looked at it as artists, or as statesmen; and so looking at it, they liked it better in the established form than in any other. It was to them what the Pagan worship was to Trajan and Pliny. Neither the spirit of Savanarola, nor that of Machiavelli, had any thing in common with that of the religious or political Protestants of the north.
Another century went by; and then began the third and the most memorable struggle for spiritual freedom. The times were changed. The great remains of Athenian and Roman genius were studied by thousands. The Church had no longer a monopoly of learning. The powers of the modern languages had at length been developed. The invention of printing had given new facilities to the intercourse of mind with mind. With such auspices commenced the great Reformation.
We will attempt to lay before our readers, in a short compass, what appears to us to be the real history of the contest, which began with the preaching of Luther against the indulgences, and which may, in one sense, be said to have been terminated, a hundred and thirty years later, by the treaty of Westphalia. In the northern parts of Europe, the victory of Protestantism was rapid and decisive. The dominion of the Papacy was felt by the nations of Teutonic blood as the dominion of Italians, of foreigners, of men alien in language, manners, and intellectual constitution. The large jurisdiction exercised by the spiritual tribunals of Rome seemed to be a degrading badge of servitude. The sums which, under a thousand pretexts, were exacted by a distant court, were regarded both as a humiliating and as a ruinous tribute. The character of that court excited the scorn and disgust of a grave, earnest, sincere, and devout people. The new the logy spread with a rapidity never known
Spain again was, with respect to the Catholic Church, in a situation very different from that
of the Teutonic nations. Italy was, in fact, a | ed. Everywhere old religious communities
It is not, therefore, strange that the effect of the great outbreak of Protestantism in one part of Christendom should have been to produce an equally violent outbreak of Catholic zeal in another. Two reformations were pushed on at once with equal energy and effect-a reformation of doctrine in the North-a reformation of manners and discipline in the South. In the course of a single generation, the whole spirit of the Church of Rome underwent a change. From the halls of the Vatican to the most secluded hermitage of the Apennines, the great revival was everywhere felt and seen. All the institutions anciently devised for the propagation and defence of the faith, were furbished up and made efficient. New engines of still more formidable power were construct