VOL. 1.


W. E. H. LECKY, M.A.



VOL. 1.

549 & 551 BROADWAY
[HTML, Editing by Cliff Walker]


During the fierce theological controversies that accompanied and followed the Reformation, while a judicial spirit was as yet unknown, while each party imagined itself the representative of absolute and necessary truth in opposition to absolute and fatal error, and while the fluctuations of belief were usually attributed to direct miraculous agency, it was natural that all the causes of theological changes should have been sought exclusively within the circle of theology. Each theologian imagined that the existence of the opinions he denounced was fully accounted for by the exertions of certain evil-minded men, who had triumphed by means of sophistical arguments, aided by a judicial blindness that had been cast upon the deluded. His own opinions, on the other hand, had been sustained or revived by apostles raised for the purpose, illuminated by special inspiration, and triumphing by the force of theological arguments. As long as this point of view continued, the position of the theologian and of the ecclesiastical historian was nearly the same. Each was confined to a single province, and each, recognising a primitive faith as his ideal, had to indicate the successive innovations upon its purity. But when towards the close of the eighteenth century the delcline of theological passions enabled men to discuss these matters in a calmer spirit, and when increased knowledge produced more comprehensive views, the historical standing-point was materially altered. It was observed that every great change of belief had been preceded by a great change in the intellectual condition of Europe, that the success of any opinion depended much less upon the force of its arguments, or upon the ability of its advocates, than upon the predisposition of society to receive it, and that that predisposition resulted from the intellectual type of the age. As men advance from an imperfect to a higher civilisation, they gradually sublimate and refine their creed. Their imaginations insensibly detach themselves from those grosser conceptions and doctrines that were formerly most powerful, and they sooner or later reduce all their opinions into conformity with the moral and intellectual standards which the new civilisation produces. Thus, long before the Reformation, the tendencies of the Reformation were manifest. The revival of Grecian learning, the development of art, the reaction against the schoolmen, had raised society to an elevation in which a more refined and less oppressive creed was absolutely essential to its well-being. Luther and Calvin only represented the prevailing wants, and embodied them in a definite form. The pressure of the general intellectual influences of the time determines the predispositions which ultimately regulate the details of belief; and though all men do not yield to that pressure with the same facility, all large bodies are at last controlled. A change of speculative opinions does not imply an increase of the data upon which those opinions rest, but a change of the habits of thought and mind which they reflect. Definite arguments are the symptoms and pretexts, but seldom the causes of the change. Their chief merit is to accelerate the inevitable crisis. They derive their force and efficacy from their conformity with the mental habits of those to whom they are addressed. Reasoning which in one age would make no impression whatever, in the next age is received with enthusiastic applause. It is one thing to understand its nature, but quite another to appreciate its force.

And this standard of belief, this tone and habit of thought, which is the supreme arbiter of the opinions of successive periods, is created, not by the influences arising out of any one department of intellect, but by the combination of all the intellectual and even social tendencies of the age. Those who contribute most largely to its formation are, I believe, the philosophers. Men like Bacon, Descartes, and Locke have probably done more than any others to set the current of their age. They have formed a certain cast and tone of mind. They have introduced peculiar habits of thought, new modes of reasoning, new tendencies of enquiry, The impulse they have given to the higher literature, has been by that literature communicated to the more popular writers; and the impress of these master-minds is clearly visible in the writings of multitudes who are totally unacquainted with their works. But philosophical methods, great and unquestionable as is their power, form but one of the many influences that contribute to the mental habits of society. Thus the discoveries of physical science, entrenching upon the domain of the anomalous and the incomprehensible, enlarging our conceptions of the range of law, and revealing the connection of phenomena that had formerly appeared altogether isolated, form a habit of mind which is carried far beyond the limits of physics. Thus the astronomical discovery, that our world is not the centre and axis of the material universe, but is an inconsiderable planet occupying to all appearance an altogether insignificant and subordinate position, and revolving with many others around a sun which is itself but an infinitesimal point in creation, in as far as it is realised by the imagination, has a vast and palpable influence upon our theological conceptions. Thus the commercial or municipal spirit exhibits certain habits of thought, certain modes of reasoning, certain repugnances and attractions, which make it invariably tend to one class of opinions. To encourage the occupations that produce this spirit, is to encourage the opinions that are most congenial to it. It is impossible to lay down a railway without creating an intellectual influence. It is probable that Watt and Stephenson will eventually modify the opinions of mankind almost as profoundly as Luther or Voltaire.

If these views be correct, they establish at once a broad distinction between the province of the theologian and that of the historian of opinions. The first confines his attention to the question of the truth or falsehood of particular doctrines, which he ascertains by examining the arguments upon which they rest; the second should endeavour to trace the causes of the rise and fall of those doctrines which are to be found in the general intellectual condition of the age. The first is restricted to a single department of mental phenomena, and to those logical connections which determine the opinions of the severe reasoner; the second is obliged to take a wide survey of the intellectual influences of the period he is describing, and to trace that connection of congruity which has a much greater influence upon the sequence of opinions than logical arguments.

Although in the present work we are concerned only with the last of these two points of view, it will be necessary to consider briefly the possibility of their coexistence; for this question involves one of the most important problems in history -- the position reserved for the individual will and the individual judgment in the great current of general causes.

It was a saying of Locke, that we should not ask whether our will is free, but whether we are free; for our conception of freedom is the power of acting according to our will, or, in other words, the consciousness, when pursuing a certain course of action, that we might, if we had chosen, have pursued a different one. If, however, pushing our analysis still further, we ask what it is that determines our volition, I conceive that the highest principles of liberty we are capable of attaining are to be found in the two facts, that our will is a faculty distinct from our desires, and that it is not a mere passive thing, the direction and intensity of which are necessarily determined by the attraction and repulsion of pleasure and pain. We are conscious that we are capable of pursuing a course which is extremely distasteful, rather than another course which would be extremely agreeable; that in doing so we are making a continual and. painful effort; that every relaxation of that effort produces the most lively pleasure; and that it is at least possible that the motive which induces us to pursue tile path of self-abnegation, may be a sense of right altogether uninfluenced by prospects of future reward. We are also conscious that if our desires act powerfully upon our will, our will can in its turn act upon our desires. We can strengthen the natural powers of our will by steadily exerting it. We can diminish the intensity of our desires by habitually repressing them; we can alter, by a process of mental discipline, the whole symmetry of our passions, deliberately selecting one class for gratification and for development, and crushing and subduing the others. These considerations do not, of course, dispel the mystery which perhaps necessarily rests upon the subject of free-will. They do not solve the questions, whether the will can ever act without a motive, or what are its relations to its motives, or whether the desires may not sometimes be too strong for its most developed powers; but they form a theory of human liberty which I believe to be the highest we can attain. He who has realised, on the one hand, his power of acting according to his will , and, on the other hand, the power of his will to emancipate itself from the empire of pain and pleasure, and to modify and control the current of the emotions, has probably touched the limits of his freedom.

The struggle of the will for a right motive against the pressure of the desires, is one of the chief forms of virtue; and the relative position of these two influences, one of the chief measures of the moral standing of each individual. Sometimes, in the conflict between the will and a particular desire, the former, either through its own natural strength, or through the natural weakness of its opponent. or through the process of mental discipline I have described, has obtained a supreme ascendency which is seldom or never seriously disturbed. Sometimes, through causes that are innate, and perhaps more frequently through causes for which we are responsible, the two powers exhibit almost an equipoise, and each often succumbs to the other. Between these two positions there are numerous gradations; so that every cause that in any degree intensifies the desires, gives them in some cases a triumph over the will.

The application of these principles to those constantly-recurring figures which moral statistics present is not difficult. The statistician, for example, shows that a certain condition of temperature increases the force of a passion -- or, in other words, the temptation to a particular vice; and he then proceeds to argue, that the whole history of that vice is strictly regulated by atmospheric changes. The vice rises into prominence with the rising temperature; it is sustained during its continuance, it declines with its decline. Year after year, the same figures and the same variations are nearly reproduced. Investigations in the most dissimilar nations only strengthen the proof; and the evidence is so ample, that it enables us, within certain limits, even to predict the future. The rivers that rise and fall with the winter torrents or the summer drought; the insect life that is called into being by the genial spring, and destroyed by the returning frost; the aspect of vegetation, which pursues its appointed changes through the recurring seasons; these do not reflect more faithfully or obey more implicitly external influences, than do some great departments of the acts of man.

This is the fact which statistical tables prove, but what is the inference to be deduced from them? Not, surely, that there is no such thing as free-will, but, what we should have regarded as antecedently probable, that the degree of energy with which it is exerted is in different periods nearly the same. As long as the resistance is unaltered, the fluctuations of our desires determine the fluctuations of our actions. In this there is nothing extraordinary. It would be strange indeed if it were otherwise -- strange if, the average of virtue remaining the same, or nearly the same, an equal amount of solicitation did not at different periods produce the same, or nearly the same, amount of compliance. The fact, therefore, that there is an order and sequence in the history of vice, and that influences altogether independent of human control contribute largely to its course, in no degree destroys the freedom of will, and the conclusion of the historian is perfectly reconcilable with the principles of the moralist. From this spectacle of regularity, we simply infer that the changes in the moral condition of mankind are very slow; that there are periods when, certain desires being strengthened by natural causes, the task of the will in opposing them is peculiarly arduous; and that any attempt to write a history of vice without taking into consideration external influences, would be miserably deficient.

Again, if we turn to a different class of phenomena, nothing can be more certain to an attentive observer, than that the great majority even of those who reason much about their opinions have arrived at their conclusions by a process quite distinct from reasoning. They may be perfectly unconscious of the fact, but the ascendency of old associations is upon them; and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, men of the most various creeds conclude their investigations by simply acquiescing in the opinions they have been taught. They insensibly judge all questions by a mental standard derived from education; they proportion their attention and sympathy to the degree in which the facts or arguments presented to them support their foregone conclusions; and they thus speedily convince themselves that the arguments in behalf of their hereditary opinions are irresistibly cogent, and the arguments against them exceedingly absurd. Nor are those who have diverged from the opinions they have been taught necessarily more independent of illegitimate influences. The love of singularity, the ambition to be thought intellectually superior to others, the bias of taste, the attraction of vice, the influence of friendship, the magnetism of genius, -- these and countless other influences into which it is needless to enter, all determine conclusions. The number of persons who have a rational basis for their belief is probably infinitesimal; for illegitimate influences not only determine the convictions of those who do not examine, but usually give a dominating bias to the reasonings of those who do. But it would be manifestly absurd to conclude from this, that reason has no part or function in the formation of opinions. No mind, it is true, was ever altogether free from distorting influences ; but in the struggle between the reason and the affection which leads to truth, as in the struggle between the will and the desires which leads to virtue, every effort is crowned with a measure of success, and innumerable gradations of progress are manifested. All that we can rightly infer is, that the process of reasoning is much more difficult than is commonly supposed; and that to those who would investigate the causes of existing opinions, the study of predispositions is much more important than the study of arguments.

The doctrine, that the opinions of a given period are mainly determined by the intellectual condition of society, and that every great change of opinion is the consequence of general causes, simply implies that there exists a strong bias which acts upon all large masses of men, and eventually triumphs over every obstacle. The inequalities of civilisation, the distorting influences arising out of special circumstances, the force of conservatism, and the efforts of individual genius, produce innumerable diversities; but a careful examination shows that these are but the eddies of an advancing stream, that the various systems are being all gradually modified in a given direction, and that a certain class of tendencies appears with more and more prominence in all departments of intellect. Individuals may resist the stream; and this power supplies a firm and legitimate stand-point to the theologian: but these efforts are too rare and feeble to have much influence upon the general course.

To this last proposition there is, however, an important exception to be made in favour of men of genius, who are commonly at once representative and creative. They embody and reflect the tendencies of their time, but they also frequently materially modify them, and their ideas become the subject or the basis of the succeeding developments. To trace in every great movement the part which belongs to the individual and the part which belongs to general causes, without exaggerating either side, is one of the most delicate tasks of the historian.

What I have written will, I trust, be sufficient to show the distinction between the sphere of the historian and the sphere of the theologian. It must, however, be acknowledged that they have some points of contact; for it is impossible to reveal the causes that called an opinion into being without throwing some light upon its intrinsic value. It must be acknowledged, also, that there is a theory or method of research which would amalgamate the two spheres, or, to speak more correctly, would entirely subordinate the theologian to the historian. Those who have appreciated the extremely small influence of definite arguments in determining the opinions either of an individual or of a nation -- who have perceived how invariably an increase of civilisation implies a modification of belief, and how completely the controversialists of successive ages are the puppets and the unconscious exponents of the deep under-current of their time, will feel an intense distrust of their unassisted reason, and will naturally look for some guide to direct their judgment. I think it must be admitted that the general and increasing tendency, in the present day, is to seek such a guide in the collective wisdom of mankind as it is displayed in the developments of history. In other words, the way in which our leading thinkers, consciously or unconsciously, form their opinions, is by endeavouring to ascertain what are the laws that govern the successive modifications of belief; in what directions, towards what conceptions, the intellect of man advances with the advance of civilisation; what are the leading characteristics that mark the belief of civilised ages and nations as compared with barbarous ones, and of the most educated as compared with the most illiterate classes, This mode of reasoning may be said to resolve itself into three problems. It is necessary, in the first place, to ascertain what are the general intellectual tendencies of civilisation; it is then necessary to ascertain how far those tendencies are connected, or, in other words, how far the existence of one depends upon and implies the existence of the others; and it is necessary, in the last place, to ascertain whether they have been accompanied by an increase or diminution of happiness, of virtue, and of humanity.

My object in the present work has been, to trace the history of the spirit of Rationalism; by which I understand, not any class of definite doctrines or criticisms, but rather a certain cast of thought, or bias of reasoning, which has during the last three centuries gained a marked ascendency in Europe. The nature of this bias will be exhibited in detail in the ensuing pages, when we examine its influence upon the various forms of moral and intellectual development. At present, it will be sufficient to say, that it leads men on all occasions to subordinate dogmatic theology to the dictates of reason and of conscience, and, as a necessary consequence, greatly to restrict its influence upon life. It predisposes men, in history, to attribute all kinds of phenomena to natural rather than miraculous causes; in theology, to esteem succeeding systems the expressions of the wants and aspirations of that religious sentiment which is planted in all men; and, in ethics, to regard as duties only those which conscience reveals to be such.

It is manifest that, in attempting to write the history of a mental tendency, some difficulties have to be encountered quite distinct from those which attend a simple relation of facts. No one can be truly said to understand any great system of belief, if he has not in some degree realised the point of view from which its arguments assume an appearance of plausibility and of cogency, the habit of thought which makes its various doctrines appear probable, harmonious, and consistent. Yet, even in the great controversies of the present day -- even in the disputes between the Catholic and the Protestant, it is evident that very few controversialists ever succeed in arriving at this appreciation of the opinions they are combating, But the difficulty becomes far greater when our research extends over forms of belief of which there are no living representatives, and when we have not merely to estimate the different measures of probability subsisting in different societies, but have also to indicate their causes and their changes. To reconstruct the modes of thought which produced superstitions that have long since vanished from among us; to trace through the obscurity of the distant past that hidden bias of the imagination which -- deeper than any strife of arguments, deeper than any change of creed -- determines in each succeeding age the realised belief; to grasp the principle of analogy or congruity according to which the conceptions of a given period were grouped and harmonised, and then to show how the discoveries of science, or the revolutions in philosophy, or the developments of industrial or political life, introduced new centres of attraction, and made the force of analogy act in new directions; to follow out the process till the period when conclusions the reason had once naturally and almost instinctively adopted seem incongruous and grotesque, and till the whole current of intellectual tendencies is changed: -- this is the task which devolves upon every one who, not content with relating the fluctuations of opinions, seeks to throw some light upon the laws that govern them.

Probably, the greatest difficulty of such a process of investigation arises from the wide difference between professed and realised belief. When an opinion that is opposed to the age is incapable of modification and is an obstacle to progress, it will at last be openly repudiated; and if it is identified with any existing interests, or associated with some eternal truth, its rejection will be accompanied by paroxysms of painful agitation. But much more frequently civilisation makes opinions that are opposed to it simply obsolete. They perish by indifference, not by controversy. They are relegated to the dim twilight land that surrounds every living faith; the land, not of death, but of the shadow of death; the land of the unrealised and the inoperative. Sometimes, too, we find the phraseology, the ceremonies, the formularies, the external aspect of some phase of belief that has long since perished, connected with a system that has been created by the wants and is thrilling with the life of modern civilisation. They resemble those images of departed ancestors, which, it is said, the ancient Ethiopians were accustomed to paint upon their bodies, as if to preserve the pleasing illusion that those could not be really dead whose lineaments were still visible among them, and were still associated with life. In order to appreciate the change, we must translate these opinions into action, must examine what would be their effects if fully realised, and ascertain how far those effects are actually produced. It is necessary, therefore, not merely to examine successive creeds, but also to study the types of character of successive ages.

It only remains for me, before drawing this introduction to a close, to describe the method I have employed in tracing the influence of the rationalistic spirit upon opinions. In the first place, I have examined the history and the causes of that decline of the sense of the miraculous, which is so manifest a fruit of civilisation. But it soon becomes evident that this movement cannot be considered by itself; for the predisposition in favour of miracles grows out of, and can only be adequately explained by, certain conceptions of the nature of the Supreme Being, and of the habitual government of the universe, which invariably accompany the earlier, or, as it may be termed, the anthropomorphic stage of intellectual development. Of the nature of this stage we have some important evidence in the history of art, which is then probably the most accurate expression of the religious realisations; while the history of the encroachments of physical science upon our first notions of the system of the world, goes far to explain its decay. Together with the intellectual movement, we have to consider a moral movement that has accompanied it, which has had the effect of diminishing the influence of fear as the motive of duty, of destroying the overwhelming importance of dogmatic teaching, and of establishing the supremacy of conscience. This progress involves many important consequences; but the most remarkable of all is the decay of persecution, which, I have endeavoured to show, is indissolubly connected with a profound change in theological realisations. I have, in the last place, sought to gather fresh evidence of the operations of the rationalistic spirit in the great fields of politics and of industry. In the first, I have shown how the movement of secularisation has passed through every department of political life, how the progress of democracy has influenced and been influenced by theological tendencies, and how political pursuits contribute to the formation of habits of thought, which affect the whole circle of our judgments. In the second, I have traced the rise of the industrial spirit in Europe; its collisions with the Church; the profound moral and intellectual changes it effected; and the tendency of the great science of political economy, which is its expression.

I am deeply conscious that the present work can furnish at best but a meagre sketch of these subjects, and that to treat them as they deserve would require an amount both of learning and of ability to which I can make no pretension. I shall be content if I have succeeded in detecting some forgotten link in the great chain of causes, or in casting a ray of light on some of the obscurer pages of the history of opinions.




The Belief in Satanic Miracles, having been universal among Protestants and Roman Catholics, passed away by a silent and unreasoning process under the influence of Civilisation -- Witchcraft arose from a vivid Realisation of Satanic Presence acting on the Imagination -- and afterwards on the Reason -- Its Existence and Importance among Savages -- The Christians attributed to Magic the Pagan Miracles -- Constantine and Constantlus attempted to subvert Paganism by persecuting Magic -- Magical Character soon attributed to Christian Rites -- Miracle of St. Hilarion -- Persecution suspended under Julian and Jovian, but afterwards renewed -- Not entirely due to Ecclesiastical Influence -- Compromise between Christianity and Paganism -- Prohibited Pagan Rites continue to be practised as Magic -- From the Sixth to the Twelfth Century, extreme Superstition with little Terrorism, and, consequently, little Sorcery -- Effects of Eclipses, Comets, and Pestilence on the Superstition -- The Cabalists -- Psellus -- The Revival of Literature in the Twelfth Century produced a Spirit of Rebellion which was encountered by Terrorism -- which, acting on the Popular Creed, produced a bias towards Witchcraft -- The Black Death -- Influence of the Reformation In stimulating Witchcraft -- Luther -- The Inquisitors -- The Theology of Witchcraft -- First Evidence of a Rationalistic Spirit in Europe -- Wier -- answered by Bodin -- Rationalistic Spirit fully manifested in Montaigne -- Charron -- Rapid and silent Decadence of the Belief in Witches -- Opinions and Influence of La Bruyère, Bayle, Descartes, Malebranche, and Voltaire -- Gradual Cessation of the Persecution in France -- In England, the First Law against Witchcraft was made under Henry VIII. -- Repealed in the following Reign, but renewed under Elizabeth -- Cranmer and Jewel -- Reginald Scott pronounced Witchcraft a delusion -- The Law of James I. -- Opinions of Coke, Bacon, Shakespeare, Browne, and Selden -- English Witchcraft reached its climax in the Commonwealth -- Declined immediately after the Restoration -- The Three Causes were, the Reaction against Puritanism, the Influence of Hobbes, and the Baconian Philosophy as represented by the Royal Society -- Charge of Sir Matthew Hale -- Glanvil undertakes the Defence of the Belief -- Supported by Henry More, Cudworth, Casaubon, &c. -- Opposed by Webster and Wagstaafe -- Baxter vainly tries to revive the Belief by Accounts of Witch Trials in America -- Rapid Progress of the Scepticism -- Trial of Jane Wenham -- Repeal of the Laws against Witchcraft -- Wesley's Summary of the History of the Movement -- Great Moderation of the English Church as compared with Puritanism -- Extreme Atrocity of the Witch Persecution in Scotland, and its Causes -- Slow Decline of the Belief in Scotland -- Conclusion. Page 27.


Miracles related by the Fathers and Midiæval Writers as ordinary and undoubted Occurrences -- Rapid Growth of Scepticism on the Subject since the Reformation -- The Sceptical Habit of Mind acts more powerfully on Contemporary than on Historical Narrations -- Among the early Protestants, the Cessation of Miracles supposed to have taken place when the Fathers passed away -- Persecution regarded by some English Divines as a Substitute for Miracles -- Opinions of Locke and Newton on the Subject -- Tendencies of the Eighteenth Century adverse to the Miraculous -- Middleton -- Discussion of his Principles by Church, Dodwell, Gibbon, Hume, Farmer, Warburton, and Douglas -- General Abandonment of the Patriotic Miracles -- Rise of Tractarianism -- Small Place Catholic Miracles occupied in the Discussion it evoked -- Weakness of the Common Arguments against the continuance of Miracles -- Development of Continental Protestantism into Rationalism-Rationalistic Tendencies in Roman Catholic Countries -- Origin and Decline of the Evidential School in England -- Modification of the Conception of Miracles -- Reasonableness of the Doctrine of Interference -- Summary of the Stages of Rationalism in its relation to the Miraculous -- Its Causes. -- Its Influence on Christianity. Page 155.


The Expectation of Miracles grows out of the Religious Conceptions of an early Stage of Civilisation, and its Decline Implies a general Modification of Religious Opinions -- Fetishism probably the First Stage of Religious Belief -- Examples of Fetish Notions in the Early Church -- Patristic Opinions concerning the Cross and the Water of Baptism -- Anthropomorphism the next Stage -- Men then ascribe the Government of the Universe to Beings like themselves; but, being unable to concentrate their Attention on the Invisible, they fall into Idolatry -- Idolatry a Sign sometimes of Progress, and sometimes of Retrogression -- During its continuance, Art is the most faithful Expression of Religious Realisation -- Influence of the National Religions on the Art of Persia, Egypt, India, and Greece -- The Art of the Catacombs altogether removed from Idolatry -- Its Freedom from Terrorism -- Its Symbolism -- Progress of Anthropomorphism -- Position of the First Person of the Trinity in Art -- Growing Worship of the Virgin -- Strengthened by Gnosticism -- by Dogmatic Definitions -- by Painting, Celibacy, and the Crusades -- Its Moral Consequences -- Growth of Idolatrous Conceptions -- Stages of the Veneration of Relics -- Tendency towards the Miraculous invests Images with peculiar Sanctity -- The Portrait of Edessa -- The Image at Paneas -- Conversion of the Barbarians makes Idolatry general -- Decree of Illiberis -- The Iconoclasts -- The Second Council of Nice -- St. Agobard -- Mahometanism the sole Example of a great Religion restraining Semi-barbarians from Idolatry -- Three Causes of its Success -- Low Condition of Art during the Period of Mediæval Idolatry -- Difference between the Religious and Æsthetic Sentiment -- Aversion to Innovation -- Contrast between the Pagan and Christian Estimate of the Body -- Greek Idolatry faded into Art -- Its Four Stages -- A corresponding Transition takes place in Christendom -- Greek Influence on Art -- Iconoclasm -- Tradition of the Deformity of Christ -- The Byzantine Style -- Broken by a Study of Ancient Sculpture renewed by Nicolas of Pisa -- Christian School of Giotto and Fra Angelico -- Corresponded with the Intellectual Character of the Time -- Influence of Dante -- Apocalyptic Subjects -- Progress of Terrorism In Art -- Increase of Scepticism -- Religious Paintings regarded simply as Studies of the Beautiful -- Influence of Venetian Sensuality -- Sensuality favourable to Art -- Parallel of Titan and Praxiteles -- Influence of the Pagan Sculpture -- History of Greek Statues after the rise of Christianity -- Reaction in favour of Spiritualism led by Savonarola -- Complete Secularisation of Art by Michael Angelo -- Cycle of Painting completed -- A corresponding Transition took place in Architecture -- Fluctuations in the Estimate in which it has been held represent Fluctuations of Religious Sentiments -- Decline of Gothic Architecture -- Brunelleschi -- St. Peter's -- Intellectual Importance of the History of Art -- The Euthanasia of Opinions -- Continued Revolt against Anthropomorphism -- Results from the Totality of the Influences of Civilisation, but especially from the Encroachments of Physical Science on the old Conceptions of the Government of the Universe -- In the Early Church, Science was subordinated [to?] Systems of Scriptural Interpretation -- Allegorical School of Orlren -- St. Augustine De Genesi -- Literal School -- Controversy about the Antipodes -- Cosmas -- Virgilius. -- Rise of the Copernican System -- Condemnation of Foscarini and of Galileo -- Influence of Theology on the Progress of Science -- Opinion of Bacon -- Astronomy displaces the Ancient Notion of Man's Position in the Universe -- Philosophical Importance of Astrology -- Refutation by Geology of the Doctrine of the Penal Nature of Death -- Increasing Sense of Law -- Reasons why apparently Capricious Phenomena were especially associated with Religious Ideas -- On Lots -- Irreligious Character attributed to Scientific Explanations -- Difference between the Conception of the Divinity in a Scientific and Unscientific Age -- Growth of Astronomy -- Comets -- Influence of Paracelsus, Bayle, and Halley -- Rise of Scientific Academies -- Ascendency of the Belief in Law -- Harsher Features of Theology thereby corrected -- The Morphological Theory of the Universe -- Its Influence on History -- Illegitimate Effects of Science -- Influence on Biblical Interpretation -- La Peyrère -- Spinoza -- Kant -- Lessing -- Moral Development accompanies the Intellectual Movement -- Illustrations of its Nature -- Moral Genius -- Relations of Theology to Morals -- Complete Separation in Antiquity -- Originality of the Moral Type of Christianity -- Conceptions of the Divinity -- Evanescence of Duties unconnected with our Moral Nature -- History of Religious Terrorism -- Patristic Conception of Hell -- Origen and Gregory of Nyssa -- Faint Notions of the Jews and Heathens on the Subject -- Doctrine of Purgatory -- Scotus Erigena -- Extreme Terrorism of the Fourteenth Century -- Destruction of Natural Religion by the Conception of Hell -- Its Effect in habituating Men to contemplate the Sufferings of others with complacency -- Illustration of this from Tertullian -- and from the History of Persecution -- and from that of Torture -- Abolition of Torture in France, Spain, Prussia, Italy, and Russia -- Relations between the prevailing Sense of the Enormity of Sin and the Severity of the Penal Code -- Decline of the Mediæval Notions of Hell due partly to the Progress of Moral Philosophy, and partly to that of Psychology Apparitions and the Belief in Hell the Corner-stones of the Psychology of the Fathers -- Repudiation of Platonism -- Two Schools of Materialism -- Materialism of the Middle Ages -- Impulse given to Psychology by Averroes -- and by the Mystics of the Fourteenth Century -- Descartes -- Swinden, Whiston, Horbery -- Change in the Ecclesiastical Type of Character -- Part taken by Theologians in ameliorating the English Penal Code -- First Impulse due to Voltaire and Beccaria -- Bentham -- Elimination of the Doctrine of Future Torture from Religious Realisations. Page 202.


Persecution is the result, not of the personal Character of the Persecutors, but of the Principles they profess -- Foundations of all Religious Systems are the Sense of Virtues and the Sense of Sin -- Political and Intellectual Circumstances determine in each System their relative Importance -- These Sentiments gradually converted into Dogmas, under the Names of Justification by Works and Justification by Faith -- Dogmas unfaithful Expressions of Moral Sentiments -- The Conception of Hereditary Guilt -- Theories to account for it -- The Progress of Democratic Habits destroys it -- Its dogmatic Expression the Doctrine that all Men are by Nature doomed to Damnation -- Unanimity of the Fathers concerning the Non-salvability of unbaptised Infants -- Divergence concerning their Fate -- The Greek Fathers believed in a Limbo -- The Latin Fathers denied this -- Angustine, Fulgentius -- Origen associates the Doctrine with that of Pre-existence -- Pseudo-baptisms of the Middle Ages -- The Reformation produced conflicting Tendencies on the subject, diminishing the Sense of the Efficacy of Ceremonies, increasing that of imputed Guilt -- The Lutherans and Calvinists held a Doctrine that was less superstitious but more revolting than that of Catholicism -- Jonathan Edwards -- Dogmatic Character of early Protestantism -- Rationalism appeared with Socinus -- Antecedents of Italian Rationalism -- Socinus rejects Original Sin -- as also does Zuinglius -- Rationalistic Tendencies of this Reformer -- Rapid Progress of his View of Baptism -- The Scope of the Doctrine of the Condemnation of all Men extends to Adults -- Sentiments of the Fathers on the Damnation of the Heathen -- Great Use of this Doctrine of Exclusive Salvation in consolidating the Power of the Church -- and in abbreviating the Paroxysms of the Reformation -- The Protestants almost all accepted it -- Protest of Zuinglius -- Opposition between Dogmatic and Natural Religion resulting from the Doctrine -- Influence on Predestinarianism -- Augustine -- Luther De Servo Arbitrio -- Calvin and Beza -- Injurious Influence of the Doctrine of Exclusive Salvation on Morals -- and on the Sense of Truth -- Pious Frauds -- Total Destruction in the Middle Ages of the Sense of Truth resulting from the Influence of Theology -- The Classes who were most addicted to Falsehood proclaimed Credulity a Virtue -- Doctrine of Probabilities of Pascal and Craig -- Revival of the Sense of Truth due to Secular Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century -- Causes of the Influence of Bacon, Descartes, and Locke -- The Decline of Theological Belief a necessary Antecedent of their Success. Page 353.


CHAPTER IV. -- Continued.

Men who believe the Doctrine of Salvation in the Church alone will always persecute -- Success of Persecution shown in the Cases of the Japanese Christians, the Albigenses, the Spanish Protestants, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the Laws of Elizabeth -- Weakness of the Objection derived from the History of Ireland -- And from that of the English Dissenters -- True Causes of Opinions -- Influence of the Levitical Laws on Persecution -- Opinions of the Fathers determined chiefly by their Circumstances -- Uncompromising Tolerance of Lactantius -- Constantine persecutes the Jews -- And the Heretics -- And the Pagans -- Review of their Condition before Theodosius -- Destruction of the Temples in the Country Districts -- Libanius -- Even in the Days of Persecution Cyprian regarded the Levitical System as the foundation of dealings with Heretics -- Theology of Persecution systematised by Augustine -- His Character and Influence -- Aversion to the Effusion of Blood -- St. Martin and Ambrose -- Opinion that Ecclesiastics should under no circumstances cause the Death of Men -- Increase of the Corporate Action of the Church stimulates Persecution -- The first Monks -- Ruin of Paganism -- The Church was then for several Centuries an almost unmixed Blessing -- Decomposition of the Mediæval Society renews Heresies -- Which are encountered by Persecution -- Innocent III. -- Unparalleled Magnitude and Atrocity of the Persecution perpetrated by Catholicism -- Protestants persecuted not so atrociously, but quite as generally, as Catholics -- Examples in Germany, England Ireland, Scotland, France, Sweden, America, and Holland -- Persecution advocated or practised by Luther, Calvin, Beza, Jurieu, Knox, Cranmer, Ridley, Melanchthon, etc. -- Scoinus and Zuinglius tolerant -- Castellio, his Life and Writings -- Answered by Calvin and Beza -- Persecution by Protestants peculiarly inexcusable -- Comparative liberality of Erasmus, Hôpital, and More -- Position assigned by Bossuet to Socinians and Anabaptist -- Persecution a positive Dogma among Protestants -- Toleration favoured by the Mingling of Religions produced by the Reformation -- And by the Marriage of the Clergy -- And by the greater flexibility of Protestantism -- Proof of this is in a comparison of Tolerance in France and England -- French Tolerance based on three forms of Scepticism -- Montaigne, the Sceptical Man of the World -- Descartes, the Sceptical Philosopher -- Boyle, the Sceptical Scholar -- The 'Compelle intrare' -- Political circumstances favourable to Toleration -- Comparison of the Regency and the Restoration -- Influence of Vice on Historic Development -- Volaire -- Intolerance of Rousseau -- Revolution removes all Civil Disabilities from Jews and Protestants -- Catholicism incapable of adopting Religious Liberty -- Bull of Gregory XVI. -- In Protestant Countries, Tolerance the result and measure of the advance of Rationalism -- Writings of the great Divines of the seventeenth century lead to it -- First Movement during the Rebellion -- Policy of Cromwell -- Contrast between the Independents and Presbyterians -- Harrington -- Milton -- Jeremy Taylor -- Repeal of the writ 'De Hæretico comburendo' -- Intolerance of Hobbes -- Attitude of the Clergy during the Revolution -- Toleration Act -- Abrogation of the Censorship -- Establishment of the Scottish Kirk -- Complete Tolerance of Protestantism -- Review of the influence of Rationalism on the Method of Enquiry. Page 11.


The Secularisation of Politics consists of two parts: the elimination of Theological Interests from the Motives of Policy, and the substitution of a Secular for a Theological Principle as the Basis of Authority -- Religion and Patriotism the chief Moral Principles of Society -- The First the Moral Principle of Antiquity -- Type of Character it formed -- Patriotism the Moral Principle of Judaism -- Corresponds to the Spirit of Sect in Religion -- Christianity in the Roman Empire triumphed [??] the condition of transforming itself under the influence of the Spirit of Sect -- Complete ascendency of Theology -- The Crusades The Church replaced the Civil Government when the latter proved inefficient -- The Truce of God -- Contest between the Regal and Ecclesiastical Power -- A Comparison of the Crusades and the Religious Wars shows the declining influence of Theology -- Alliances of Francis I. and Richelieu -- Close of Religious Wars -- The Inquisition separates Religious Questions from Politics -- Sketch of its Constitution and Progress -- The Doctrine of the Incapacity of the Magistrate to decide Religious Questions, which is the Basis of Modern Tolerance, first advocated in favour of the Inquisition -- Collisions with the Civil Power -- Difficulty of Defining Ecclesiastical Offences -- Unpopularity attaching to the Inquisition -- Decline of Persecution -- Suppression of Heretical Books still continued -- Its prevalence in the Early Church -- Reuchlin -- System of Religious Disabilities next abolished -- Change in France effected in 1830 -- That in England accelerated by Irish Policy -- The Irish Parliament -- The Clergy disappear from Offices of Power -- Review of the steps of Secularisation -- Decline of the Temporal Power of the Pope -- Political Life acts powerfully on the Theological Habits -- It diminishes the sense of the Importance of Theology -- It leads to a neglect of General Principles -- Difference between the Political and Philosophical Standing Point -- Injurious effects now resulting from the ascendency of Political Modes of Thought -- Important influence of Political Life in promoting a True Method of Enquiry -- Three phases of the Conflict between the Sectarian and the Judicial Spirit in Politics -- The Secularisation of the Basis of Authority -- Passive Obedience -- According to the Fathers all Rebellion sinful -- Considering the Anarchy and Worship of Force that was then general, this Teaching was favourable to Liberty -- The Election of Bishops by Universal Suffrage -- Conflict between the Pope and Kings favourable to Liberty -- Power of Deposition -- Moral Authority necessarily with the Pope -- Public Penance -- Power of Dispensation -- Scholasticism favourable to liberty -- St. Thomas Aquinas -- Doctrine of the Mediate Character of the Divine Right of Kings -- The Reformation produces a Variety of Interests, and therefore of Political Opinions -- The Papal Party insists on the Right of Deposition -- Works of Bellarmine and Suarez burnt at Paris -- The Jesuits proclaim the Social Contract -- Suarez de Fide -- Mariana de Rege -- Tyrannicide fascinates an Early Civilisation -- Its Importance in the History of Liberal Opinions -- First maintained unequivocally by Jean Petit -- Advocated by Grévin, Toletus, Sa, Molina, Ayala, and Kellerus -- Murder of Henry III. eulogised in the League and by the Pope -- Political Assassination approved among Protestants -- But the Jesuits were its Special Advocates -- Great Services of the Jesuits to Liberalism -- Gallican Church represented Despotic Interests -- Reasons of this -- Circumstances that made Patriotism in France antagonistic to Liberty -- Slight fluctuation produced by the Attitude of the Protestants in 1615 -- Resolutions of 1665 and 1682 -- Bossuet -- Protestantism being a Rebellion was favourable to Democracy -- The two compensatory parts of Primitive Church Government revived but dissevered -- Different Political Tendencies of Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism -- Different Political Tendencies resulting from the Relative Positions assigned to the Old and New Testament -- Opinions of Huss and Wycliffe and of the Leaders of the Reformation -- The Scotch lead the van of Protestant Liberalism -- Knox -- Buchanan -- The Scotch Deputation to Elizabeth -- English Dissenters assimilated with the Scotch -- Debt England owes to the Non-Episcopal Churches -- Extreme servility of Anglicanism -- The Homilies -- Taylor -- Anglicanism supported every Reaction -- Exceptional Position of Hooker -- Two Schools of Despotism in England -- Barclay, Filmer, Hobbes -- Sidney, Locke -- Parallel between the History of Religious and of Political Liberty in England -- Greatest English Freethinkers inimical to Liberty -- Hobbes, Bolingbroke, Hume -- Difference between the Growth of English and French Liberty analogous to that between English and French tolerance -- French Protestants -- Circumstances that diminished their Influence -- Sectarianism incompatible with Patriotism -- Two currents of Opinion among the French Protestants -- The Liberal Opinion dominated -- The 'Franco-Gallia' of Hotman -- The 'Vindiciæ contra Tyrannos' -- Montaigne notices the Subordination of Opinions to Interests in France -- Revival of Classical Writings acted on Liberty -- In the first place, by the renewed Study of Roman Law -- Opinions of Rodin, Gronovius, Noodt, etc. -- Phases of Jurisprudence -- Principal effect of the Classics in altering the Type of Heroism -- Different Types resulting from the Sense of Dignity and the Sense of Sin -- La Boétie -- Circumstances that prepared the Democracy of the Eighteenth Century: First, the Increase of Capital; Second, the Increase of Knowledge -- Servitude and Superstition the necessary lot of all great bodies of men before Printing -- Third, Change in the Relative Position of the Cavalry and Infantry in War -- The English Archers -- Rise of the Flemish Infantry -- The Italian Condottieri -- The Invention of Gunpowder and of the Bayonet -- Fourth, Influence of Political Economy on Democracy -- The French Revolution inevitable; Importance of the Question into whose guidance it would fall -- Reasons why Catholicism was incompetent for the Task -- Early Freethinkers not favourable to Political Liberty -- Opinions of Socinus, Montaigne, Charron, and Bayle -- Change in their Attitude in the Eighteenth Century -- Wide Influence of the Revolution -- Rousseau -- His Power over French Society -- Dress, Theatre, Gardens -- The Stream of Self-Sacrifice passing from Theology to Politics -- The Democratic ideal consists of Two Parts -- The Doctrine of Nationalities -- Theories of International Arrangements, of Hildebrand, Dante, Grotius, and Diplomacy -- Causes that rendered it possible in the Nineteenth Century -- Synthesis of the Moral Principles of Christianity and Paganism -- Democracy an Aspect of the Christian Spirit. Page 100.


The Industrial System of Antiquity rested upon Slavery -- Effects of this Institution on National Character -- Decline of Industry in Rome -- Comparison between Ancient and Modern Slavery -- Atrocious Excesses to which the Empire arrived -- Christianity undertook the Abolition of Slavery -- First Movement in favour of the Slaves due to Seneca and his followers -- Invasion of Barbarians favourable to Slaves -- But Christianity the most efficient opponent of the evil -- Review of the Measures for abolishing Slavery -- And for alleviating the condition of those who still continued enslaved -- Anglo-Saxon measures -- Services of the Fathers and the Benedictines in making Labour honourable -- The Ferocity of Manners corrected by the Creation of Charity -- Long period that elapsed before the preëminent services of Christianity were in this respect appreciated -- Great Development of Self-sacrifice -- Deficiency of the Industrial Theory of the Church -- Long continuance of Serfdom -- Emancipation of the Towns begins Modern Industrial History -- Effects of the Crusades on Industry -- The System of Corporations politically useful though economically bad -- Points of Contact of Industrial and Theological Enterprises -- First ground of collision was Usury -- The Principles that regulate Interest altogether unknown to the Ancients -- Position of Money-lenders in Greece and Gaul -- And in the Roman Empire -- The Early and Mediæval Church condemned all Interest -- On the twofold ground of the Law of Nature and of Authority -- Money-lending first monopolised by Jews -- Rise of the Industrial Republics of Italy, makes it popular among Christians -- Council of the Lateran -- Reformation shakes the Old Superstition -- Saumaise -- Change in the meaning of the word Usury in the Sixteenth Century -- Casuistry of the Jesuits -- Decree of Benedict XIV. -- Laws upon Usury based on Theological grounds, disappear -- The Economical Question discussed by Locke, Adam Smith, Hume, Turgot, and Bentham -- The Russian Raskol the last Representative of the Ancient Doctrine -- Importance of this Controversy in producing an Antagonism between Industry and Theology -- Commerce produces a New Principle of Federation -- Foundation of Consulships Organisation of Diplomacy -- Commerce leads to Intercourse with Men of different Religions, and therefore to Tolerance -- First class who benefited by this Tolerance, the Jews -- Sketch of the different Persecutions of which they were the Object -- Their Services to Literature -- And to Commerce -- Tolerated at Leghorn, Venice, Pisa, and Genoa -- Industrial Habits of Thought make Men estimate lowly the Influence of Dogma -- Injury Persecution has done to Industry -- Spain, France, Bruges, and Amsterdam -- Decline of the Ideal of Poverty produced by the Industrial Civilisation -- Luxury of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries -- Sumptuary Laws -- Influence of the Black Death -- Economical effects of Luxury -- It is substituted for Monasticism as a Check upon Population -- Its Influence on Intellectual Development -- Decadence of Monastic Spirit -- Alliance of the Clergy with the Aristocracy -- Increase of Commerce -- The Navigation Laws -- First Mercantile Societies in England -- Wealth of Belgium -- Rapid growth of Diplomacy -- The Hanseatic League represses Piracy -- The Venetians found Political Economy, and the Medici give an Intellectual Ascendency to Industry -- Manner in which all this combined with the Revival of Classic Learning -- And with the Influence of Moorish Civilisation -- Change of Tastes resulting from increased Wealth revives the Theatre -- Importance of this Amusement as an Intellectual Influence -- And as an Index of the Condition of Civilisation -- Its great Corruption in Pagan Rome -- Denounced by the Fathers -- The Last Refuge of Paganism -- Not encouraged by Julian -- Disappeared with the Dissolution of the Roman Civilisation -- New Types of Amusement -- The 'Histriones' of St. Thomas Aquinas -- Rise of the Religious Plays -- Hroswitha -- The Religious Plays pass from the Churches to the Theatres -- Their Immorality -- Position assigned to Satan -- Effect in bringing the Church into Contempt -- Faint Signs of Secular Plays -- Impromptus -- Pantomimes, etc. -- The Farces -- The higher Drama reappears in Italy -- First Plays -- Examples of its encouragement by Ecclesiastics -- Contrast between the Italian and French Drama in their Relation to the Church -- The Secularisation of Music, its successive stages -- Influence of Gothic Architecture upon the Stage -- The Religious Struggle produces a Revulsion in the Sentiments with which the Theatre was regarded -- Fierce Opposition in France -- Sacraments denied to Actors -- Molière, Racine, Lully, Huerne de la Motho -- Advance of Theatre in France, Spain, and Italy -- Voltaire -- The Revolution removes Disqualifications from Actors -- Triumph of the Theatre at Rome -- Important effects of this Contest -- The Creation of the Theatre the last Service of the Industrial Civilisation of Italy -- The Reformation -- Importance of the Question to which Religion the Sceptre of Industry would fall -- It seemed at first in the grasp of Spain -- Magnificent Position of Spain under Charles V. -- The Economical Error that Gold alone is Wealth -- The Italians in a great measure escaped this -- First consequence of this error in Spain, was that Manufactures were neglected, and all the national energies were concentrated upon the Gold Mines -- Second consequence, that the Colonies were ruined by Restrictive Laws -- Third consequence, a Convulsion of Prices resulting indeed from the Excessive Supply of Gold, but aggravated by Laws prohibiting its Export -- These Economical Causes aggravated by the vast Development of the Monastic System -- Its Incompatibility with Industry -- And by the Revival of Slavery -- Las Casas -- And by four great acts of Religious Intolerance -- The Downfall of Spain an almost unmingled Benefit to Mankind -- Introduction of Hot Drinks into Europe, their Moral and Social Effects -- On the Downfall of Spain the Sceptre of Industry passes to Protestantism, but the Influence of the two Religions ceased to be involved in the Contest -- Antagonism of Intellectual Tendency between Town and Country -- Changes that have been effected in their Relative Importance -- Mediæval preference for Agriculture -- School of Sully Superseded by the Mercantile Theory which was more favourable to Manufacture -- Colbert -- The School of Quesnay which followed was theoretically extremely unfavourable to Manufactures, but practically favourable to it -- Modification of this School by Raynal -- Adam Smith proves Manufactures to be a Source of Wealth -- But maintains the superior Productivity of Agriculture -- Refuted on this last point by Ricardo -- Movement in favour of Manufactures stimulated by the Invention of Credit -- And by the Development of Machinery -- Economical effects of Machines -- Special Force of their Influence in England -- The Intellectual Expression of an Industrial Civilisation is Political Economy -- Its Pacific Influence -- Theological Agencies not pacific -- And Philosophical ones inefficient -- Effects of Political Economy in uniting different Countries -- And different Classes -- Effects of the Principle of Interest upon the Affections -- The Philosophy of Mortification and the Philosophy of Development represented respectively by Asceticism and Industrialism -- Asceticism supreme till the Fourteenth Century -- The History of Monasteries shows its steady Decline -- Position assigned by Industrialism to Wealth -- The Destruction of Asceticism among the Ancient Greeks due to Art; among the Moderns, to Industry -- Intellectual Influences favourable to Industrialism -- Utilitarianism, the Philosophical Expression of Industrialism -- Evils resulting from this Philosophy -- Decline of the Spirit of Self-Sacrifice -- Tendency to Materialism -- Conclusion. Page 222.