History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe
by W. E. H. Lecky
Footnotes to Chapter III
1:258. Constantine himself set the example in this respect. See the admiring remarks of Eusebius, Vita Const. lib. iii. caps. 5, 6.
1:259. When this impulse had ceased in Italy, it was still in some degree continued by the explorations of the French in Greece, where a French consulate was formed about 1630. See Vitet, Études sur l'Histoire de l'Art, tom i. p. 94.
2:259. See the description in Platina.
3:259. And was accordingly in sculpture (as in painting) singularly unfortunate in catching the moral expression of Scripture subjects. His Moses -- half prizefighter, half Jupiter Tonans -- is certainly the extreme antithesis to 'the meekest man in all the world.' His colossal statue of David after his victory over Goliath (it would be as rational to make a colossal statue of a Lilliputian) would be perfect as an Achilles.
1:260. Rio -- I think the best part of his book.
1:261. Better known as Fra Bartolommeo.
1:262. Anderson, Hist. of Commerce, vol. ii. p. 36. There is a very curious collection of passages from the Acts of the Saints, in which bells are alluded to (but none of them apparently earlier than the beginning of the seventh century) in an out-of-the-way quarter. (Suarez, De Fide, lib. ii. c. 16.) See, too, Colgan's Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ, tom. i. p. 149.
2:262. Anderson, vol. i. p. 30. There had before been known a water organ, rolled an hydraulicon. There was also a wind instrument which some have placed among the antecedents of the organ, but which seems to have been almost exactly the same as a Scotch bagpipe. I am sorry to say Julian had the bad taste to praise it in one of his epigrams. (See Burney, Hist. of Music, vol. ii. pp. 65-67.) There is a curious series of papers on the musical instruments in the middle ages, by Coussemaker, in the Annales Archéologiques (edited by Didron), tom. iv. They have since, I believe, been published separately.
1:264. We have a very striking example of this in both the buildings and the criticisms of the eighteenth century. What (e. g.) should we now say to an imaginative writer who, speaking of York Minster, assured us, as Smollett does, 'that the external appearance of an old cathedral cannot but be displeasing to the eye of every man who has any idea of propriety and proportion;' who could only describe Durham Cathedral as 'a huge gloomy pile;' and who acknowledged that he associated the idea of a church with a spire especially with that of a man impaled (see Humphrey Clinker)? Every one, I should think, who was well acquainted with the literature of the eighteenth century, must have been struck with the contempt for Gothic architecture pervading it; but the extent to which this was carried was never fully shown till the publication, a few years ago, of an exceedingly curious book by the Abbé Corblet, called L'Architecture du Moyen Age jugée par les Écrivains des deux derniers Siècles (Paris, 1859). The learned antiquarian has shown that, during the last half of the seventeenth century, and during the whole of the eighteenth century there was scarcely a single writer, no matter what may have been his religious opinions, who did not speak of Gothic architecture not merely without appreciation, but with the most supreme and unqualified contempt. The list includes, among others, Fénelon, Bossuet, Molière, Fleury, Rollin, Montesquieu, La Bruyère, Helvétius, Rousseau, Mengs, and Voltaire. Goethe at one time opposed, but afterwards yielded to, the stream. Milan Cathedral was the special object of ridicule. Gothic architecture was then almost universally ascribed to the Goths of the fifth century, and Bishop Warburton suggested that they had derived the idea from the overarching boughs of their native forests. Some, however (and among others Barry), regarded it as an imperfect imitation of Greek architecture. Many of the criticisms were very curious. Thus, Dupuis thought the zodiacs on the cathedrals were a remnant of the worship of Mithra. Another critic found a connection between the shape of the ogive and the eggs of Isis. A third, named Montluisant, explained all the sculptures on the fronts of Notre Dame de Paris by the science of the philosopher's stone: God the Father, holding an angel in each hand, is the Deity calling into existence the incombustible sulphur and the mercury of life. The flying dragon biting its tail is the philosopher's stone, composed of the fixed and the volatile substances, the former of which devours the latter, &c., &c. (uvres de St. Foix, tom. iii. pp. 245, 246.) It is to the Catholic revival of the present century that we mainly owe the revival of Gothic architecture.
1:265. It is true that the Greek traditions had always lingered in Italy, and that pure Gothic never succeeded in gaining an ascendency there as in other countries. The little church of St. Maria della Spina, at Pisa, which was designed by Nicolas of Pisa, is probably the best specimen of purely Italian origin, for Milan Cathedral is said to be due to German architects; but this fact, while it accounts for Italy having been the great assailant of the Gothic, did not prevent its influence from being cosmopolitan.
1:266. Julius II.
1:270. Indeed in Prussia, and some other parts of Germany, the Calvinists and Lutherans have actually coalesced. The tendency to assimilation appears to have been strongly felt as early as the middle of the seventeenth century, and Bishop Bedell exerted himself strongly to promote it. (See some interesting particulars in his Life, by Usher.) On the recent amalgamation of the Lutherans and Calvinists in Germany, and on its relation to rationalism, there are some remarks worth reading in Amand Saintes' Hist, de Ralionalisme en Allemagne.
2:270. The principles of parties change so much more than their names, that it is not easy to get an accurate notion of their strength at different periods. Shortly after the accession of William III., the Low Church clergy, according to Macaulay (History of England, vol. iii. p. 741), scarcely numbered a tenth part of the priesthood. On their strength in the present controversy, see some curious statistics in Conybeare's Essay on Church Parties. The failure of the movement was very candidly confessed by the leader, in his Anglican Difficulties.
1:272. See Beausobre, Hist. du Manichéisme, tom. i. pp. 286-288. Barbeyrac, Morale des Pères, ch. vii., has collected a number of wonderful extravagances of interpretation into which the love of allegory led Origen. One of the most curious writings of the ancient Church bearing on this subject has been lately printed in the Spicilegium Solesmense (curante Dom. J. B. Pitra). It is the Clavis of St. Melito, who was bishop of Sardis, it is said, in the beginning of the second century, and consists of a catalogue of many hundreds of birds, beasts, plants, and minerals, that were symbolical of Christian virtues, doctrines, and personages.
A modern High Churchman writes: 'I believe that a geologist deeply impressed with the mystery of baptism, that mystery by which a new creature is formed by means of water and fire would never have fallen into the absurdities of accounting for the formation of the globe solely by water or solely by fire. He would not have maintained a Vulcanian or a Neptunian theory. He would have suspected that the truth lay in the union of both.' -- Sewell, Christian Morals, p. 323.
1:273. The Church being wedded to Christ, 'bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh,' that is to say, participating alike of his strength and of his purity (De Genesi, contra Manichæos, lib. i. c. 23.)
1:274. Lib. v. cap. 25. This notion of marriage representing the union of the two main elements of life, is very beautifully developed by Swedenborg, in a book on Conjugal Affection.
2:274. The chest signifying pride, and the stomach sensuality.
3:274. Lib. ii. cap. 2.
1:275. Beausobre, Hist. du Manichéisme, tom. i. p. 246.
1:276. This work is published in the Benedictine edition of the Greek Fathers (Paris, 1706), tom. ii. I have quoted the Benedictine Latin translation. In his preface, Montfaucon has collected a long chain of passages from the Fathers denying the existence of the Antipodes.
2:276. Lib. i. prologus 2.
1:278. 'Ait, "Hic est liber generationis cli et terræ," quasi omnia iis contineantur, et universa quæ in eis sunt cum illis significentur. Nam si secundum fucatos illos Christianos clum tantummodo universa contineat, terram cum clo non nominasset, sed dixiset "Hic est liber generationis cli"' (P. 126.)
1:279. These were Isaiah xl. 22, and Job xxxviii. 38. The first was translated 'Qui statuit clum sicut fornicem.' The second, 'Clum autem in terram inclinavit, effusa est vero sicut terra, calx, conglutinavi autem ipsum quasi lapidem quadrum.'
2:279. 'Sic igitur et nos quemadmodum Hesaias figuram primi cli prima die conditi cum terra facti, cum terra universum complectentis ad fornicis figuram adornati statuimus esse. Ac quemadmodum in Job dictum est elum conglutinatum esse terræ, ita quoque nos dicimus. Itemque cum ex Moyse didicerimus terrain magis quoad longitudinem extendi, id nos quod fatemur gnari, scilicet Scripturæ divinæ credendum.' (P. 129.)
3:279. This very liberal opinion had been expressed by Basil and Ambrose.
1:280. This doctrine began to dawn upon a few minds during the Copernican controversy. Those who desire to trace its history may read with interest some opinions on the subject that were collected and answered by a contemporary writer on the question between Galileo and the Church (Libertus Fromundus, Vesta, sive Anti-Aristarchi Vindex: Antverpiæ, 1634). As I shall have occasion again to quote Fromundus, I may mention that he was a professor and doctor of theology at Louvain; that he was the author of a work on meteorology, in which he combated very forcibly the notion that atmospheric changes were the results of spiritual intervention, which Bodin had lately been defending; and that he was on the whole by no means a superstitious man, except on the subject of comets, of the prophetic character of which he was, I believe, a strenuous advocate. He wrote, in conjunction with a theologian named Fieni, a book about comets, which I have never been fortunate enough to meet with. He was one of the principal defenders of the immobility of the earth, and his works are full of curious information on the theological aspect of the subject. He died in 1653.
1:281. The first condemnation was in 1616, and was provoked by the book of a Carmelite, named Foscarini, in defence of the Copernican view. The cardinals of the Congregation of the Index, whose function it is to pronounce authoritatively in the name of the Church on the orthodoxy of new books, then issued a decree, of which the following is the principal part: -- 'Quia ad notitiam Sanctæ Congregationis pervenit falsam illam doctrinam Pythagoricam, divinæque Scripturæ omnino adversantem, de mobilitate terræ et immobilitate solis, quam Nicolaus Copernicus Revolutionibus orbium clestium, et Didacus Astunica in Job, etiam docent, jam divulgari et multis recipi, sicuti videre est ex quâdam epistolâ impressâ cujusdam P. Carmelitæ, cujus titulus Lettera del R. P. Maestro Paolo Foscarini sopra l'Opinione d' i Pythagorici e del Copernico, &c., in quâ dictus pater ostendere conatur præfatam doctrinam de immobilitate solis in centro mundi et mobilitate terræ consonam esse veritati, et non adversari Sacræ Scripturæ: ideo, ne ulterius hujusmodi opinio in perniciem Catholicæ veritatis serpat, censuit dictos hic Copernicum de Revolut. Orbium et Didacum Astunicam in Job suspendendos esse donec corrigantur. Librum vero P. Paulli Foscarini Carmelitæ omnino prohibendum, atque omnes alios libros pariter idem docentes prohibendos.' -- Fromundus, Anti-Aristarchus, sive Orbis Terræ immobilis. In quo Decretum S. Congregationis S. R. E. Cardinal. 1616 adversus Pythagorico-Copernicanos editum defenditur (Antverpiæ, 1631), p. 18.
1:282. Sylvester II. He was the first Frenchman who sat on the throne of Peter, the reputed author of Gallican opinions, and it is said the ablest mathematician and mechanician of his time. He died 1003. Among other things, he invented a kind of clock. He had also a statue, like that of Roger Bacon, which answered all his questions. According to the popular legend, he was in communion with the devil, who raised him successively to the sees of Rheims, Ravenna, and Rome; and promised that he should never die till he had been at Jerusalem, which Gerbert construed as a promise of immortality. But, like that made to Henry IV. of England, it proved to be a cheat, and the Pope felt the hand of death upon him while officiating in the Chapel of Jerusalem; in the Basilica of St. Croce. The legend goes on to say that, struck by remorse, he ordered his body to be cut in pieces, to be placed on a car drawn by oxen, and to be buried wherever they stopped of themselves, he being unworthy to rest in the church of God. But, to show that pardon may be extended even to the most guilty, the oxen stopped at the door of the Lateran. Whenever, it is said, a pope is about to die, the tomb of Sylvester grows moist, and the bones of the old magician clatter below. (See Gregorovius, On the Tombs of the Popes, and the original account in Matthew of Westminster anno 998.)
1:283. Novum Organon.
2:283. Even the sun and stars were supposed to shine with a feebler light since the Fall (St. Isidore, De Ordine Creaturarum, cap. v.). On the effects of man's sin on the vegetable world, see St. Augustine, De Genesi, lib. i. cap. 13.
1:284. I have already mentioned the bold attempt of Peter of Apono, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, to construct, by the aid of astrology, a philosophy of religions. Cardan, too, cast the horoscope of Christ, and declared that all the fortunes of Christianity were predicted by the stars. Vanini adopted a somewhat similar view. (Durand, Vie de Vanini, pp. 93-99.) Pomponazzi attempted to explain the phenomena of magic by the influence of the stars (Biog. Univ., art. Pomponazzi); and Bodin, in the very greatest political work of the sixteenth century, having raised the question whether it is possible to discover any principle of order presiding over the development of societies, maintains that such a principle can only be revealed by astrology. (République, liv. iv. c. 2.)
2:284. As a poet expresses it: --
'The warrior's fate is blazoned in the skies;
A world is darkened when a hero dies.'
1:285. Whatever may be thought of its justice, there cannot be two opinions about the exquisite beauty of the suggestion by which Dr. Chalmers sought to meet this difficulty -- that the parable of the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep to seek that which had gone astray, is but a description of the act of the Deity seeking to reclaim the single world that had revolted against Him, as though it were of more importance than all that remained faithful. It may be added that astronomy itself furnishes a striking illustration of the danger of trusting too implicitly to our notions of the fitness of things. The ancient astronomers unanimously maintained that the motions of the celestial bodies must necessarily be circular and uniform, because they regarded that as the most perfect kind of movement; and the persistence with which this notion was held, till it was overthrown by Kepler, was one of the chief obstacles to astronomical progress.
1:287. See a clear view of the old opinions on this subject in Barbeyrac, De la Nature du Sort (Amsterdam, 1714), who sustained an ardent controversy on the subject with a Dutch divine. The first writer, I believe, who clearly and systematically maintained that lots were governed by purely natural laws, was an English Puritan minister named Gataker, in a work On the Nature and Use of Different Kinds of Lots (London, 1619) -- a well-reasoned and curious book, teeming with quaint learning.
2:287. Hence the term 'sortes' was applied to oracles. Hence, too, such words as 'sorteligi,' 'sorcerers.'
1:288. Thus De Maistre, speaking of the ancients, says: -- 'Leur physique est à peu près nulle. Car non seulement ils n'attachaient aucun prix aux expériences physiques, mais ils les méprisaient, et même ils attachaient je ne sais quel 1égère idée d'impiété; et ce sentiment confus venait de bien haut.' (Soirées de St. Pétersbourg, 5me entretien.) This is the true spirit of superstition. Speaking of earthquakes, Cosmas says: 'Quod vero terra moveatur id non a vento fieri dicimus; non enim fabulas comminiscimur ut illi, sed illud jussu Dei fieri pronuntiamus, nec curiose rem perquirimus, ait quippe Scriptura per Davidem, "Qui respicit terrain et facit eam tremere," &c.' -- p. 115.
1:289. This was originally a remark of St. Simon, but it has been adopted and made great use of by M. Comte and some of his disciples. See that very able book, Littré, Vie de Comte.
2:289. Roccamora, De Cometis, p. 17; St. Isidore, De Ordine Creaturarum.
3:289. Maury, Légendes Pieuses, pp. 17-18. Angels were sometimes represented in old Christian painting and sculpture bearing along the stars (and especially the Star of Bethlehem) in their hands. See, e. g., a very curious old bas relief round the choir of Notre Dame at Paris.
1:290. The fullest statement of the evidence of the prophetic character of comets I have met with, is in Raxo, De Cometis (1578). The author was a Spanish physician.
1:291. Roccamora, De Cometis (Romæ, 1670), pp. 238, 239.
2:291. In a letter to Zwinglius.
3:291. And, flying off at a tangent from his main subject, for one of the very best dissertations on the relation between religion and morals. With the greatest possible admiration for the Critical Dictionary, which will be always regarded as one of the most stupendous monuments of erudition and of critical acumen ever bequeathed by a single scholar, I cannot but think that the original genius of Bayle shines still more brightly in the Contrains-les d'Entrer, in some of the Perishes diverses sur les Comètes, and in two or three of his Nouvelles Lettres.
1:292. The age of Bacon was certainly not as benighted and ignorant on scientific matters as he always represented it. On the contrary, when we remember that it was the age of Copernicus, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and Gilbert, it would be difficult to name one that was more distinguished. A large portion of the scientific revival in Europe may be justly ascribed to these great men; and the only apology that can be offered for the representations of Bacon is that, notwithstanding his great genius, he was totally unable to grasp their discoveries. The Copernican system -- the greatest discovery of the age -- he rejected to the last. The important discoveries of Gilbert about the magnet he treated not only with incredulity, but with the most arrogant contempt. In measuring his influence, we have to remember that it was certainly not dominant outside England till that union between the English and French intellects that immediately preceded the French Revolution. Then, indeed, his philosophy exercised an immense and salutary influence upon the Continent; but Europe had not been sleeping till then. In Great Britain itself, Bacon produced no perceptible effect upon the great school of literature and science that grew up beyond the Tweed; and even in England, where he has been almost omnipotent, two of the very greatest men stood apart from his disciples. The whole method and mental character of Newton was opposed to that of Bacon, and, as his biographer, Sir David Brewster, very forcibly contends, there is not the slightest reason to believe that Newton owed anything to his predecessor; while Harvey avowedly owed his great discovery to that doctrine of final causes which Bacon stigmatized as 'barren, like a virgin consecrated to God that can bear no fruit.'
1:295. See the remarks on the consistence of morphological conceptions with the doctrine of final causes in Whewell's History of Scientific Ideas.
1:297. Laplace, who has done more than any one else to systematise arguments from probability, and who will certainly not be accused of any desire to subordinate science to theology, states the argument for design derived from the motions of the planetary bodies in the following almost bewildering terms: 'Des phénomènes aussi extraordinaires ne sont point dûs à des causes irrégulières. En soumettant an calcul leur probabilité, on trouve qu'il y a plus de deux cents mille milliards à parier contre un qu'ils ne sont point l'effet du hasard.' -- Système du M'onde, liv. v. c. 6.
1:299. Lemoine, Le Vitalisme de Stahl, p. 6.
1:300. Systema Theologicum ex Præ-Adamitarum Hypothesi, pars i. The second part never appeared.
1:301. Some of La Peyrère's arguments on this point are curiously far-fetched. Thus he asks why Abel should have kept sheep if there were no robbers to be feared, and where Cain got the weapon with which he killed his brother. The existence of a race of men not descended from Adam was very strenuously maintained, towards the close of the last century, by an eccentric member of the Irish Parliament named Dobbs, in a very strange book called A Short View of Prophecy. It has also been advocated in America, with a view to the defence of Negro Slavery. Mr. Dobbs thought there was a race resulting from an intrigue of Eve with the Devil.
1:303. See Denis's Hist. des Idées Morales dam l'Antiquité.
2:303. Locke, in his Treatise on Government, adopts very fully the theory of Euhemerus about the origin of the pagan divinities.
3:303. The first Christian writer who maintained that the pagan oracles were simply impositions, unconnected with dæmons, is said to have been a Dutch Anabaptist physician named Van Dale; and the same position was afterwards maintained by Fontenelle, in his Histoire des Oracles, which was answered by a Jesuit named Baltus. (Durand, Vie de Vanini, pp. 170-172.)