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´╗┐Title: History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science
Author: Draper, John William, 1811-1882
Language: English
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By John William Draper, M. D., LL. D.




WHOEVER has had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the mental
condition of the intelligent classes in Europe and America, must have
perceived that there is a great and rapidly-increasing departure from
the public religious faith, and that, while among the more frank this
divergence is not concealed, there is a far more extensive and far more
dangerous secession, private and unacknowledged.

So wide-spread and so powerful is this secession, that it can neither be
treated with contempt nor with punishment. It cannot be extinguished by
derision, by vituperation, or by force. The time is rapidly approaching
when it will give rise to serious political results.

Ecclesiastical spirit no longer inspires the policy of the world.
Military fervor in behalf of faith has disappeared. Its only souvenirs
are the marble effigies of crusading knights, reposing in the silent
crypts of churches on their tombs.

That a crisis is impending is shown by the attitude of the great powers
toward the papacy. The papacy represents the ideas and aspirations
of two-thirds of the population of Europe. It insists on a political
supremacy in accordance with its claims to a divine origin and mission,
and a restoration of the mediaeval order of things, loudly declaring
that it will accept no reconciliation with modern civilization.

The antagonism we thus witness between Religion and Science is the
continuation of a struggle that commenced when Christianity began
to attain political power. A divine revelation must necessarily be
intolerant of contradiction; it must repudiate all improvement in
itself, and view with disdain that arising from the progressive
intellectual development of man. But our opinions on every subject are
continually liable to modification, from the irresistible advance of
human knowledge.

Can we exaggerate the importance of a contention in which every
thoughtful person must take part whether he will or not? In a matter so
solemn as that of religion, all men, whose temporal interests are not
involved in existing institutions, earnestly desire to find the truth.
They seek information as to the subjects in dispute, and as to the
conduct of the disputants.

The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it
is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive
force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising
from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.

No one has hitherto treated the subject from this point of view. Yet
from this point it presents itself to us as a living issue--in fact, as
the most important of all living issues.

A few years ago, it was the politic and therefore the proper course to
abstain from all allusion to this controversy, and to keep it as far as
possible in the background. The tranquillity of society depends so
much on the stability of its religious convictions, that no one can
be justified in wantonly disturbing them. But faith is in its nature
unchangeable, stationary; Science is in its nature progressive; and
eventually a divergence between them, impossible to conceal, must take
place. It then becomes the duty of those whose lives have made them
familiar with both modes of thought, to present modestly, but
firmly, their views; to compare the antagonistic pretensions calmly,
impartially, philosophically. History shows that, if this be not done,
social misfortunes, disastrous and enduring, will ensue. When the old
mythological religion of Europe broke down under the weight of its own
inconsistencies, neither the Roman emperors nor the philosophers of
those times did any thing adequate for the guidance of public opinion.
They left religious affairs to take their chance, and accordingly those
affairs fell into the hands of ignorant and infuriated ecclesiastics,
parasites, eunuchs, and slaves.

The intellectual night which settled on Europe, in consequence of that
great neglect of duty, is passing away; we live in the daybreak of
better things. Society is anxiously expecting light, to see in what
direction it is drifting. It plainly discerns that the track along which
the voyage of civilization has thus far been made, has been left; and
that a new departure, on all unknown sea, has been taken.

Though deeply impressed with such thoughts, I should not have presumed
to write this book, or to intrude on the public the ideas it presents,
had I not made the facts with which it deals a subject of long and
earnest meditation. And I have gathered a strong incentive to undertake
this duty from the circumstance that a "History of the Intellectual
Development of Europe," published by me several years ago, which has
passed through many editions in America, and has been reprinted in
numerous European languages, English, French, German, Russian, Polish,
Servian, etc., is everywhere received with favor.

In collecting and arranging the materials for the volumes I published
under the title of "A History of the American Civil War," a work of very
great labor, I had become accustomed to the comparison of conflicting
statements, the adjustment of conflicting claims. The approval with
which that book has been received by the American public, a critical
judge of the events considered, has inspired me with additional
confidence. I had also devoted much attention to the experimental
investigation of natural phenomena, and had published many well-known
memoirs on such subjects. And perhaps no one can give himself to these
pursuits, and spend a large part of his life in the public teaching of
science, without partaking of that love of impartiality and truth which
Philosophy incites. She inspires us with a desire to dedicate our days
to the good of our race, so that in the fading light of life's evening
we may not, on looking back, be forced to acknowledge how unsubstantial
and useless are the objects that we have pursued.

Though I have spared no pains in the composition of this book, I am
very sensible how unequal it is to the subject, to do justice to which
a knowledge of science, history, theology, politics, is required; every
page should be alive with intelligence and glistening with facts. But
then I have remembered that this is only as it were the preface, or
forerunner, of a body of literature, which the events and wants of our
times will call forth. We have come to the brink of a great intellectual
change. Much of the frivolous reading of the present will be supplanted
by a thoughtful and austere literature, vivified by endangered
interests, and made fervid by ecclesiastical passion.

What I have sought to do is, to present a clear and impartial statement
of the views and acts of the two contending parties. In one sense I have
tried to identify myself with each, so as to comprehend thoroughly their
motives; but in another and higher sense I have endeavored to stand
aloof, and relate with impartiality their actions.

I therefore trust that those, who may be disposed to criticise this
book, will bear in mind that its object is not to advocate the views
and pretensions of either party, but to explain clearly, and without
shrinking those of both. In the management of each chapter I have
usually set forth the orthodox view first, and then followed it with
that of its opponents.

In thus treating the subject it has not been necessary to pay much
regard to more moderate or intermediate opinions, for, though they may
be intrinsically of great value, in conflicts of this kind it is not
with the moderates but with the extremists that the impartial reader is
mainly concerned. Their movements determine the issue.

For this reason I have had little to say respecting the two great
Christian confessions, the Protestant and Greek Churches. As to the
latter, it has never, since the restoration of science, arrayed itself
in opposition to the advancement of knowledge. On the contrary, it has
always met it with welcome. It has observed a reverential attitude to
truth, from whatever quarter it might come. Recognizing the apparent
discrepancies between its interpretations of revealed truth and the
discoveries of science, it has always expected that satisfactory
explanations and reconciliations would ensue, and in this it has not
been disappointed. It would have been well for modern civilization if
the Roman Church had done the same.

In speaking of Christianity, reference is generally made to the
Roman Church, partly because its adherents compose the majority of
Christendom, partly because its demands are the most pretentious, and
partly because it has commonly sought to enforce those demands by
the civil power. None of the Protestant Churches has ever occupied a
position so imperious--none has ever had such wide-spread political
influence. For the most part they have been averse to constraint, and
except in very few instances their opposition has not passed beyond the
exciting of theological odium.

As to Science, she has never sought to ally herself to civil power. She
has never attempted to throw odium or inflict social ruin on any human
being. She has never subjected any one to mental torment, physical
torture, least of all to death, for the purpose of upholding or
promoting her ideas. She presents herself unstained by cruelties and
crimes. But in the Vatican--we have only to recall the Inquisition--the
hands that are now raised in appeals to the Most Merciful are crimsoned.
They have been steeped in blood!

There are two modes of historical composition, the artistic and the
scientific. The former implies that men give origin to events; it
therefore selects some prominent individual, pictures him under
a fanciful form, and makes him the hero of a romance. The latter,
insisting that human affairs present an unbroken chain, in which each
fact is the offspring of some preceding fact, and the parent of some
subsequent fact, declares that men do not control events, but that
events control men. The former gives origin to compositions, which,
however much they may interest or delight us, are but a grade above
novels; the latter is austere, perhaps even repulsive, for it sternly
impresses us with a conviction of the irresistible dominion of law, and
the insignificance of human exertions. In a subject so solemn as that to
which this book is devoted, the romantic and the popular are altogether
out of place. He who presumes to treat of it must fix his eyes
steadfastly on that chain of destiny which universal history displays;
he must turn with disdain from the phantom impostures of pontiffs and
statesmen and kings.

If any thing were needed to show us the untrustworthiness of artistic
historical compositions, our personal experience would furnish it. How
often do our most intimate friends fail to perceive the real motives of
our every-day actions; how frequently they misinterpret our intentions!
If this be the case in what is passing before our eyes, may we not
be satisfied that it is impossible to comprehend justly the doings of
persons who lived many years ago, and whom we have never seen.

In selecting and arranging the topics now to be presented, I have been
guided in part by "the Confession" of the late Vatican Council, and in
part by the order of events in history. Not without interest will the
reader remark that the subjects offer themselves to us now as they did
to the old philosophers of Greece. We still deal with the same questions
about which they disputed. What is God? What is the soul? What is the
world? How is it governed? Have we any standard or criterion of truth?
And the thoughtful reader will earnestly ask, "Are our solutions of
these problems any better than theirs?"

The general argument of this book, then, is as follows:

I first direct attention to the origin of modern science as
distinguished from ancient, by depending on observation, experiment,
and mathematical discussion, instead of mere speculation, and shall show
that it was a consequence of the Macedonian campaigns, which brought
Asia and Europe into contact. A brief sketch of those campaigns, and of
the Museum of Alexandria, illustrates its character.

Then with brevity I recall the well-known origin of Christianity, and
show its advance to the attainment of imperial power, the transformation
it underwent by its incorporation with paganism, the existing religion
of the Roman Empire. A clear conception of its incompatibility with
science caused it to suppress forcibly the Schools of Alexandria. It was
constrained to this by the political necessities of its position.

The parties to the conflict thus placed, I next relate the story of
their first open struggle; it is the first or Southern Reformation. The
point in dispute had respect to the nature of God. It involved the rise
of Mohammedanism. Its result was, that much of Asia and Africa, with the
historic cities Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage, were wrenched from
Christendom, and the doctrine of the Unity of God established in the
larger portion of what had been the Roman Empire.

This political event was followed by the restoration of science, the
establishment of colleges, schools, libraries, throughout the dominions
of the Arabians. Those conquerors, pressing forward rapidly in their
intellectual development, rejected the anthropomorphic ideas of the
nature of God remaining in their popular belief, and accepted other more
philosophical ones, akin to those that had long previously been attained
to in India. The result of this was a second conflict, that respecting
the nature of the soul. Under the designation of Averroism, there came
into prominence the theories of Emanation and Absorption. At the
close of the middle ages the Inquisition succeeded in excluding those
doctrines from Europe, and now the Vatican Council has formally and
solemnly anathematized them.

Meantime, through the cultivation of astronomy, geography, and other
sciences, correct views had been gained as to the position and relations
of the earth, and as to the structure of the world; and since Religion,
resting itself on what was assumed to be the proper interpretation
of the Scriptures, insisted that the earth is the central and most
important part of the universe, a third conflict broke out. In this
Galileo led the way on the part of Science. Its issue was the overthrow
of the Church on the question in dispute. Subsequently a subordinate
controversy arose respecting the age of the world, the Church insisting
that it is only about six thousand years old. In this she was again
overthrown The light of history and of science had been gradually
spreading over Europe. In the sixteenth century the prestige of Roman
Christianity was greatly diminished by the intellectual reverses it
had experienced, and also by its political and moral condition. It was
clearly seen by many pious men that Religion was not accountable for
the false position in which she was found, but that the misfortune was
directly traceable to the alliance she had of old contracted with Roman
paganism. The obvious remedy, therefore, was a return to primitive
purity. Thus arose the fourth conflict, known to us as the
Reformation--the second or Northern Reformation. The special form it
assumed was a contest respecting the standard or criterion of
truth, whether it is to be found in the Church or in the Bible. The
determination of this involved a settlement of the rights of reason, or
intellectual freedom. Luther, who is the conspicuous man of the epoch,
carried into effect his intention with no inconsiderable success; and at
the close of the struggle it was found that Northern Europe was lost to
Roman Christianity.

We are now in the midst of a controversy respecting the mode of
government of the world, whether it be by incessant divine intervention,
or by the operation of primordial and unchangeable law. The intellectual
movement of Christendom has reached that point which Arabism had
attained to in the tenth and eleventh centuries; and doctrines which
were then discussed are presenting themselves again for review; such are
those of Evolution, Creation, Development.

Offered under these general titles, I think it will be found that all
the essential points of this great controversy are included. By grouping
under these comprehensive heads the facts to be considered, and dealing
with each group separately, we shall doubtless acquire clear views of
their inter-connection and their historical succession.

I have treated of these conflicts as nearly as I conveniently could in
their proper chronological order, and, for the sake of completeness,
have added chapters on--

An examination of what Latin Christianity has done for modern

A corresponding examination of what Science has done.

The attitude of Roman Christianity in the impending conflict, as defined
by the Vatican Council.

The attention of many truth-seeking persons has been so exclusively
given to the details of sectarian dissensions, that the long strife, to
the history of which these pages are devoted, is popularly but little
known. Having tried to keep steadfastly in view the determination to
write this work in an impartial spirit, to speak with respect of the
contending parties, but never to conceal the truth, I commit it to the
considerate judgment of the thoughtful reader.

                              JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER

UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK, December, 1878.




     Religious condition of the Greeks in the fourth century
     before Christ.--Their invasion of the Persian Empire brings
     them in contact with new aspects of Nature, and familiarizes
     them with new religious systems.--The military,
     engineering, and scientific activity, stimulated by the
     Macedonian campaigns, leads to the establishment in
     Alexandria of an institute, the Museum, for the cultivation
     of knowledge by experiment, observation, and mathematical
     discussion.--It is the origin of Science.

GREEK MYTHOLOGY. No spectacle can be presented to the thoughtful
mind more solemn, more mournful, than that of the dying of an ancient
religion, which in its day has given consolation to many generations of

Four centuries before the birth of Christ, Greece was fast outgrowing
her ancient faith. Her philosophers, in their studies of the world, had
been profoundly impressed with the contrast between the majesty of the
operations of Nature and the worthlessness of the divinities of Olympus.
Her historians, considering the orderly course of political affairs,
the manifest uniformity in the acts of men, and that there was no event
occurring before their eyes for which they could not find an obvious
cause in some preceding event, began to suspect that the miracles and
celestial interventions, with which the old annals were filled, were
only fictions. They demanded, when the age of the supernatural had
ceased, why oracles had become mute, and why there were now no more
prodigies in the world.

Traditions, descending from immemorial antiquity, and formerly accepted
by pious men as unquestionable truths, had filled the islands of
the Mediterranean and the conterminous countries with supernatural
wonders--enchantresses, sorcerers, giants, ogres, harpies, gorgons,
centaurs, cyclops. The azure vault was the floor of heaven; there Zeus,
surrounded by the gods with their wives and mistresses, held his court,
engaged in pursuits like those of men, and not refraining from acts of
human passion and crime.

A sea-coast broken by numerous indentations, an archipelago with some of
the most lovely islands in the world, inspired the Greeks with a taste
for maritime life, for geographical discovery, and colonization.
Their ships wandered all over the Black and Mediterranean Seas. The
time-honored wonders that had been glorified in the "Odyssey," and
sacred in public faith, were found to have no existence. As a better
knowledge of Nature was obtained, the sky was shown to be an illusion;
it was discovered that there is no Olympus, nothing above but space and
stars. With the vanishing of their habitation, the gods disappeared,
both those of the Ionian type of Homer and those of the Doric of Hesiod.

EFFECTS OF DISCOVERY AND CRITICISM. But this did not take place without
resistance. At first, the public, and particularly its religious
portion, denounced the rising doubts as atheism. They despoiled some
of the offenders of their goods, exiled others; some they put to death.
They asserted that what had been believed by pious men in the old times,
and had stood the test of ages, must necessarily be true. Then, as the
opposing evidence became irresistible, they were content to admit that
these marvels were allegories under which the wisdom of the ancients had
concealed many sacred and mysterious things. They tried to reconcile,
what now in their misgivings they feared might be myths, with their
advancing intellectual state. But their efforts were in vain, for there
are predestined phases through which on such an occasion public opinion
must pass. What it has received with veneration it begins to doubt, then
it offers new interpretations, then subsides into dissent, and ends with
a rejection of the whole as a mere fable.

In their secession the philosophers and historians were followed by
the poets. Euripides incurred the odium of heresy. Aeschylus narrowly
escaped being stoned to death for blasphemy. But the frantic efforts
of those who are interested in supporting delusions must always end in
defeat. The demoralization resistlessly extended through every branch of
literature, until at length it reached the common people.

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE. Greek philosophical criticism had lent its aid to
Greek philosophical discovery in this destruction of the national faith.
It sustained by many arguments the wide-spreading unbelief. It compared
the doctrines of the different schools with each other, and showed from
their contradictions that man has no criterion of truth; that, since his
ideas of what is good and what is evil differ according to the country
in which he lives, they can have no foundation in Nature, but must be
altogether the result of education; that right and wrong are nothing
more than fictions created by society for its own purposes. In Athens,
some of the more advanced classes had reached such a pass that they not
only denied the unseen, the supernatural, they even affirmed that the
world is only a day-dream, a phantasm, and that nothing at all exists.

The topographical configuration of Greece gave an impress to her
political condition. It divided her people into distinct communities
having conflicting interests, and made them incapable of centralization.
Incessant domestic wars between the rival states checked her
advancement. She was poor, her leading men had become corrupt. They were
ever ready to barter patriotic considerations for foreign gold, to sell
themselves for Persian bribes. Possessing a perception of the beautiful
as manifested in sculpture and architecture to a degree never
attained elsewhere either before or since, Greece had lost a practical
appreciation of the Good and the True.

While European Greece, full of ideas of liberty and independence,
rejected the sovereignty of Persia, Asiatic Greece acknowledged it
without reluctance. At that time the Persian Empire in territorial
extent was equal to half of modern Europe. It touched the waters of
the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Black, the Caspian, the Indian, the
Persian, the Red Seas. Through its territories there flowed six of the
grandest rivers in the world--the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Indus, the
Jaxartes, the Oxus, the Nile, each more than a thousand miles in length.
Its surface reached from thirteen hundred feet below the sea-level to
twenty thousand feet above. It yielded, therefore, every agricultural
product. Its mineral wealth was boundless. It inherited the prestige of
the Median, the Babylonian, the Assyrian, the Chaldean Empires, whose
annals reached back through more than twenty centuries.

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE. Persia had always looked upon European Greece as
politically insignificant, for it had scarcely half the territorial
extent of one of her satrapies. Her expeditions for compelling its
obedience had, however, taught her the military qualities of its people.
In her forces were incorporated Greek mercenaries, esteemed the very
best of her troops. She did not hesitate sometimes to give the command
of her armies to Greek generals, of her fleets to Greek captains. In the
political convulsions through which she had passed, Greek soldiers had
often been used by her contending chiefs. These military operations were
attended by a momentous result. They revealed, to the quick eye of
these warlike mercenaries, the political weakness of the empire and
the possibility of reaching its centre. After the death of Cyrus on the
battle-field of Cunaxa, it was demonstrated, by the immortal retreat of
the ten thousand under Xenophon, that a Greek army could force its way
to and from the heart of Persia.

That reverence for the military abilities of Asiatic generals, so
profoundly impressed on the Greeks by such engineering exploits as the
bridging of the Hellespont, and the cutting of the isthmus at Mount
Athos by Xerxes, had been obliterated at Salamis, Platea, Mycale. To
plunder rich Persian provinces had become an irresistible temptation.
Such was the expedition of Agesilaus, the Spartan king, whose brilliant
successes were, however, checked by the Persian government resorting to
its time-proved policy of bribing the neighbors of Sparta to attack her.
"I have been conquered by thirty thousand Persian archers," bitterly
exclaimed Agesilaus, as he re-embarked, alluding to the Persian coin,
the Daric, which was stamped with the image of an archer.

THE INVASION OF PERSIA BY GREECE. At length Philip, the King of Macedon,
projected a renewal of these attempts, under a far more formidable
organization, and with a grander object. He managed to have himself
appointed captain-general of all Greece not for the purpose of a mere
foray into the Asiatic satrapies, but for the overthrow of the Persian
dynasty in the very centre of its power. Assassinated while his
preparations were incomplete, he was succeeded by his son Alexander,
then a youth. A general assembly of Greeks at Corinth had unanimously
elected him in his father's stead. There were some disturbances in
Illyria; Alexander had to march his army as far north as the Danube to
quell them. During his absence the Thebans with some others conspired
against him. On his return he took Thebes by assault. He massacred
six thousand of its inhabitants, sold thirty thousand for slaves, and
utterly demolished the city. The military wisdom of this severity was
apparent in his Asiatic campaign. He was not troubled by any revolt in
his rear.

THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN. In the spring B.C. 334 Alexander crossed the
Hellespont into Asia. His army consisted of thirty-four thousand foot
and four thousand horse. He had with him only seventy talents in money.
He marched directly on the Persian army, which, vastly exceeding him in
strength, was holding the line of the Granicus. He forced the passage of
the river, routed the enemy, and the possession of all Asia Minor, with
its treasures, was the fruit of the victory. The remainder of that
year he spent in the military organization of the conquered provinces.
Meantime Darius, the Persian king, had advanced an army of six hundred
thousand men to prevent the passage of the Macedonians into Syria. In
a battle that ensued among the mountain-defiles at Issus, the Persians
were again overthrown. So great was the slaughter that Alexander, and
Ptolemy, one of his generals, crossed over a ravine choked with dead
bodies. It was estimated that the Persian loss was not less than ninety
thousand foot and ten thousand horse. The royal pavilion fell into the
conqueror's hands, and with it the wife and several of the children of
Darius. Syria was thus added to the Greek conquests. In Damascus were
found many of the concubines of Darius and his chief officers, together
with a vast treasure.

Before venturing into the plains of Mesopotamia for the final struggle,
Alexander, to secure his rear and preserve his communications with the
sea, marched southward down the Mediterranean coast, reducing the cities
in his way. In his speech before the council of war after Issus, he told
his generals that they must not pursue Darius with Tyre unsubdued, and
Persia in possession of Egypt and Cyprus, for, if Persia should regain
her seaports, she would transfer the war into Greece, and that it was
absolutely necessary for him to be sovereign at sea. With Cyprus and
Egypt in his possession he felt no solicitude about Greece. The siege
of Tyre cost him more than half a year. In revenge for this delay,
he crucified, it is said, two thousand of his prisoners. Jerusalem
voluntarily surrendered, and therefore was treated leniently: but the
passage of the Macedonian army into Egypt being obstructed at Gaza, the
Persian governor of which, Betis, made a most obstinate defense, that
place, after a siege of two months, was carried by assault, ten thousand
of its men were massacred, and the rest, with their wives and children,
sold into slavery. Betis himself was dragged alive round the city at the
chariot-wheels of the conqueror. There was now no further obstacle. The
Egyptians, who detested the Persian rule, received their invader with
open arms. He organized the country in his own interest, intrusting
all its military commands to Macedonian officers, and leaving the civil
government in the hands of native Egyptians.

CONQUEST OF EGYPT. While preparations for the final campaign were being
made, he undertook a journey to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, which was
situated in an oasis of the Libyan Desert, at a distance of two hundred
miles. The oracle declared him to be a son of that god who, under
the form of a serpent, had beguiled Olympias, his mother. Immaculate
conceptions and celestial descents were so currently received in those
days, that whoever had greatly distinguished himself in the affairs of
men was thought to be of supernatural lineage. Even in Rome, centuries
later, no one could with safety have denied that the city owed its
founder, Romulus, to an accidental meeting of the god Mars with the
virgin Rhea Sylvia, as she went with her pitcher for water to the
spring. The Egyptian disciples of Plato would have looked with anger on
those who rejected the legend that Perictione, the mother of that
great philosopher, a pure virgin, had suffered an immaculate conception
through the influences of Apollo, and that the god had declared to
Ariston, to whom she was betrothed, the parentage of the child. When
Alexander issued his letters, orders, and decrees, styling himself "King
Alexander, the son of Jupiter Ammon," they came to the inhabitants of
Egypt and Syria with an authority that now can hardly be realized. The
free-thinking Greeks, however, put on such a supernatural pedigree its
proper value. Olympias, who, of course, better than all others knew the
facts of the case, used jestingly to say, that "she wished Alexander
would cease from incessantly embroiling her with Jupiter's wife."
Arrian, the historian of the Macedonian expedition, observes, "I cannot
condemn him for endeavoring to draw his subjects into the belief of his
divine origin, nor can I be induced to think it any great crime, for it
is very reasonable to imagine that he intended no more by it than merely
to procure the greater authority among his soldiers."

GREEK CONQUEST OF PERSIA. All things being thus secured in his rear,
Alexander, having returned into Syria, directed the march of his army,
now consisting of fifty thousand veterans, eastward. After crossing the
Euphrates, he kept close to the Masian hills, to avoid the intense heat
of the more southerly Mesopotamian plains; more abundant forage could
also thus be procured for the cavalry. On the left bank of the Tigris,
near Arbela, he encountered the great army of eleven hundred thousand
men brought up by Darius from Babylon. The death of the Persian monarch,
which soon followed the defeat he suffered, left the Macedonian general
master of all the countries from the Danube to the Indus. Eventually he
extended his conquest to the Ganges. The treasures he seized are almost
beyond belief. At Susa alone he found--so Arrian says--fifty thousand
talents in money.

EVENTS OF THE CAMPAIGNS. The modern military student cannot look
upon these wonderful campaigns without admiration. The passage of the
Hellespont; the forcing of the Granicus; the winter spent in a political
organization of conquered Asia Minor; the march of the right wing and
centre of the army along the Syrian Mediterranean coast; the engineering
difficulties overcome at the siege of Tyre; the storming of Gaza; the
isolation of Persia from Greece; the absolute exclusion of her navy from
the Mediterranean; the check on all her attempts at intriguing with
or bribing Athenians or Spartans, heretofore so often resorted to with
success; the submission of Egypt; another winter spent in the political
organization of that venerable country; the convergence of the whole
army from the Black and Red Seas toward the nitre-covered plains of
Mesopotamia in the ensuing spring; the passage of the Euphrates fringed
with its weeping-willows at the broken bridge of Thapsacus; the crossing
of the Tigris; the nocturnal reconnaissance before the great and
memorable battle of Arbela; the oblique movement on the field; the
piercing of the enemy's centre--a manoeuvre destined to be repeated
many centuries subsequently at Austerlitz; the energetic pursuit of
the Persian monarch; these are exploits not surpassed by any soldier of
later times.

A prodigious stimulus was thus given to Greek intellectual activity.
There were men who had marched with the Macedonian army from the Danube
to the Nile, from the Nile to the Ganges. They had felt the hyperborean
blasts of the countries beyond the Black Sea, the simooms and
sand-tempests of the Egyptian deserts. They had seen the Pyramids which
had already stood for twenty centuries, the hieroglyph-covered obelisks
of Luxor, avenues of silent and mysterious sphinxes, colossi of monarchs
who reigned in the morning of the world. In the halls of Esar-haddon
they had stood before the thrones of grim old Assyrian kings, guarded by
winged bulls. In Babylon there still remained its walls, once more than
sixty miles in compass, and, after the ravages of three centuries and
three conquerors, still more than eighty feet in height; there were
still the ruins of the temple of cloud encompassed Bel, on its top was
planted the observatory wherein the weird Chaldean astronomers had held
nocturnal communion with the stars; still there were vestiges of the two
palaces with their hanging gardens in which were great trees growing in
mid-air, and the wreck of the hydraulic machinery that had supplied
them with water from the river. Into the artificial lake with its vast
apparatus of aqueducts and sluices the melted snows of the Armenian
mountains found their way, and were confined in their course through
the city by the embankments of the Euphrates. Most wonderful of all,
perhaps, was the tunnel under the river-bed.

EFFECT ON THE GREEK ARMY. If Chaldea, Assyria, Babylon, presented
stupendous and venerable antiquities reaching far back into the night of
time, Persia was not without her wonders of a later date. The pillared
halls of Persepolis were filled with miracles of art--carvings,
sculptures, enamels, alabaster libraries, obelisks, sphinxes, colossal
bulls. Ecbatana, the cool summer retreat of the Persian kings, was
defended by seven encircling walls of hewn and polished blocks, the
interior ones in succession of increasing height, and of different
colors, in astrological accordance with the seven planets. The palace
was roofed with silver tiles, its beams were plated with gold. At
midnight, in its halls the sunlight was rivaled by many a row of naphtha
cressets. A paradise--that luxury of the monarchs of the East--was
planted in the midst of the city. The Persian Empire, from the
Hellespont to the Indus, was truly the garden of the world.

EFFECTS ON THE GREEK ARMY. I have devoted a few pages to the story of
these marvelous campaigns, for the military talent they fostered led
to the establishment of the mathematical and practical schools of
Alexandria, the true origin of science. We trace back all our exact
knowledge to the Macedonian campaigns. Humboldt has well observed that
an introduction to new and grand objects of Nature enlarges the human
mind. The soldiers of Alexander and the hosts of his camp-followers
encountered at every march unexpected and picturesque scenery. Of all
men, the Greeks were the most observant, the most readily and profoundly
impressed. Here there were interminable sandy plains, there mountains
whose peaks were lost above the clouds. In the deserts were mirages,
on the hill-sides shadows of fleeting clouds sweeping over the forests.
They were in a land of amber-colored date-palms and cypresses, of
tamarisks, green myrtles, and oleanders. At Arbela they had fought
against Indian elephants; in the thickets of the Caspian they had roused
from his lair the lurking royal tiger. They had seen animals which,
compared with those of Europe, were not only strange, but colossal--the
rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the camel, the crocodiles of the Nile
and the Ganges. They had encountered men of many complexions and many
costumes: the swarthy Syrian, the olive-colored Persian, the black
African. Even of Alexander himself it is related that on his death-bed
he caused his admiral, Nearchus, to sit by his side, and found
consolation in listening to the adventures of that sailor--the story of
his voyage from the Indus up the Persian Gulf. The conqueror had seen
with astonishment the ebbing and flowing of the tides. He had built
ships for the exploration of the Caspian, supposing that it and
the Black Sea might be gulfs of a great ocean, such as Nearchus had
discovered the Persian and Red Seas to be. He had formed a resolution
that his fleet should attempt the circumnavigation of Africa, and come
into the Mediterranean through the Pillars of Hercules--a feat which, it
was affirmed, had once been accomplished by the Pharaohs.

INTELLECTUAL CONDITION OF PERSIA. Not only her greatest soldiers, but
also her greatest philosophers, found in the conquered empire much that
might excite the admiration of Greece. Callisthenes obtained in Babylon
a series of Chaldean astronomical observations ranging back through
1,903 years; these he sent to Aristotle. Perhaps, since they were on
burnt bricks, duplicates of them may be recovered by modern research
in the clay libraries of the Assyrian kings. Ptolemy, the Egyptian
astronomer, possessed a Babylonian record of eclipses, going back
747 years before our era. Long-continued and close observations were
necessary, before some of these astronomical results that have reached
our times could have been ascertained. Thus the Babylonians had fixed
the length of a tropical year within twenty-five seconds of the truth;
their estimate of the sidereal year was barely two minutes in excess.
They had detected the precession of the equinoxes. They knew the causes
of eclipses, and, by the aid of their cycle called Saros, could predict
them. Their estimate of the value of that cycle, which is more than
6,585 days, was within nineteen and a half minutes of the truth.

INTELLECTUAL CONDITION OF PERSIA. Such facts furnish incontrovertible
proof of the patience and skill with which astronomy had been cultivated
in Mesopotamia, and that, with very inadequate instrumental means, it
had reached no inconsiderable perfection. These old observers had made
a catalogue of the stars, had divided the zodiac into twelve signs; they
had parted the day into twelve hours, the night into twelve. They had,
as Alistotle says, for a long time devoted themselves to observations of
star-occultations by the moon. They had correct views of the structure
of the solar system, and knew the order of the emplacement of the
planets. They constructed sundials, clepsydras, astrolabes, gnomons.

Not without interest do we still look on specimens of their method of
printing. Upon a revolving roller they engraved, in cuneiform letters,
their records, and, running this over plastic clay formed into blocks,
produced ineffaceable proofs. From their tile-libraries we are still
to reap a literary and historical harvest. They were not without some
knowledge of optics. The convex lens found at Nimroud shows that they
were not unacquainted with magnifying instruments. In arithmetic they
had detected the value of position in the digits, though they missed the
grand Indian invention of the cipher.

What a spectacle for the conquering Greeks, who, up to this time, had
neither experimented nor observed! They had contented themselves with
mere meditation and useless speculation.

ITS RELIGIOUS CONDITION. But Greek intellectual development, due thus
in part to a more extended view of Nature, was powerfully aided by the
knowledge then acquired of the religion of the conquered country. The
idolatry of Greece had always been a horror to Persia, who, in her
invasions, had never failed to destroy the temples and insult the fanes
of the bestial gods. The impunity with which these sacrileges had
been perpetrated had made a profound impression, and did no little to
undermine Hellenic faith. But now the worshiper of the vile Olympian
divinities, whose obscene lives must have been shocking to every
pious man, was brought in contact with a grand, a solemn, a consistent
religious system having its foundation on a philosophical basis. Persia,
as is the case with all empires of long duration, had passed through
many changes of religion. She had followed the Monotheism of Zoroaster;
had then accepted Dualism, and exchanged that for Magianism. At the time
of the Macedonian expedition, she recognized one universal Intelligence,
the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, the most holy
essence of truth, the giver of all good. He was not to be represented by
any image, or any graven form. And, since, in every thing here below, we
see the resultant of two opposing forces, under him were two coequal and
coeternal principles, represented by the imagery of Light and Darkness.
These principles are in never-ending conflict. The world is their
battle-ground, man is their prize.

In the old legends of Dualism, the Evil Spirit was said to have sent
a serpent to ruin the paradise which the Good Spirit had made. These
legends became known to the Jews during their Babylonian captivity.

The existence of a principle of evil is the necessary incident of the
existence of a principle of good, as a shadow is the necessary incident
of the presence of light. In this manner could be explained the
occurrence of evil in a world, the maker and ruler of which is supremely
good. Each of the personified principles of light and darkness, Ormuzd
and Ahriman, had his subordinate angels, his counselors, his armies. It
is the duty of a good man to cultivate truth, purity, and industry. He
may look forward, when this life is over, to a life in another world,
and trust to a resurrection of the body, the immortality of the soul,
and a conscious future existence.

In the later years of the empire, the principles of Magianism had
gradually prevailed more and more over those of Zoroaster. Magianism was
essentially a worship of the elements. Of these, fire was considered as
the most worthy representative of the Supreme Being. On altars erected,
not in temples, but under the blue canopy of the sky, perpetual fires
were kept burning, and the rising sun was regarded as the noblest object
of human adoration. In the society of Asia, nothing is visible but the
monarch; in the expanse of heaven, all objects vanish in presence of the

DEATH OF ALEXANDER. Prematurely cut off in the midst of many great
projects Alexander died at Babylon before he had completed his
thirty-third year (B.C. 323). There was a suspicion that he had been
poisoned. His temper had become so unbridled, his passion so ferocious,
that his generals and even his intimate friends lived in continual
dread. Clitus, one of the latter, he in a moment of fury had stabbed to
the heart. Callisthenes, the intermedium between himself and Aristotle,
he had caused to be hanged, or, as was positively asserted by some who
knew the facts, had had him put upon the rack and then crucified. It
may have been in self-defense that the conspirators resolved on his
assassination. But surely it was a calumny to associate the name of
Aristotle with this transaction. He would have rather borne the worst
that Alexander could inflict, than have joined in the perpetration of so
great a crime.

A scene of confusion and bloodshed lasting many years ensued, nor did it
cease even after the Macedonian generals had divided the empire. Among
its vicissitudes one incident mainly claims our attention. Ptolemy, who
was a son of King Philip by Arsinoe, a beautiful concubine, and who
in his boyhood had been driven into exile with Alexander, when they
incurred their father's displeasure, who had been Alexander's comrade
in many of his battles and all his campaigns, became governor and
eventually king of Egypt.

FOUNDATION OF ALEXANDER. At the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy had been of
such signal service to its citizens that in gratitude they paid divine
honors to him, and saluted him with the title of Soter (the Savior).
By that designation--Ptolemy Soter--he is distinguished from succeeding
kings of the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt.

He established his seat of government not in any of the old capitals
of the country, but in Alexandria. At the time of the expedition to
the temple of Jupiter Ammon, the Macedonian conqueror had caused the
foundations of that city to be laid, foreseeing that it might be
made the commercial entrepot between Asia and Europe. It is to be
particularly remarked that not only did Alexander himself deport many
Jews from Palestine to people the city, and not only did Ptolemy Soter
bring one hundred thousand more after his siege of Jerusalem, but
Philadelphus, his successor, redeemed from slavery one hundred and
ninety-eight thousand of that people, paying their Egyptian owners a
just money equivalent for each. To all these Jews the same privileges
were accorded as to the Macedonians. In consequence of this considerate
treatment, vast numbers of their compatriots and many Syrians
voluntarily came into Egypt. To them the designation of Hellenistical
Jews was given. In like manner, tempted by the benign government of
Soter, multitudes of Greeks sought refuge in the country, and the
invasions of Perdiccas and Antigonus showed that Greek soldiers would
desert from other Macedonian generals to join is armies.

The population of Alexandria was therefore of three distinct
nationalities: 1. Native Egyptians 2. Greeks; 3. Jews--a fact that has
left an impress on the religious faith of modern Europe.

Greek architects and Greek engineers had made Alexandria the most
beautiful city of the ancient world. They had filled it with magnificent
palaces, temples, theatres. In its centre, at the intersection of its
two grand avenues, which crossed each other at right angles, and in the
midst of gardens, fountains, obelisks, stood the mausoleum, in
which, embalmed after the manner of the Egyptians, rested the body of
Alexander. In a funereal journey of two years it had been brought with
great pomp from Babylon. At first the coffin was of pure gold, but
this having led to a violation of the tomb, it was replaced by one of
alabaster. But not these, not even the great light-house, Pharos, built
of blocks of white marble and so high that the fire continually burning
on its top could be seen many miles off at sea--the Pharos counted
as one of the seven wonders of the world--it is not these magnificent
achievements of architecture that arrest our attention; the true, the
most glorious monument of the Macedonian kings of Egypt is the Museum.
Its influences will last when even the Pyramids have passed away.

THE ALEXANDRIAN MUSEUM. The Alexandrian Museum was commenced by Ptolemy
Soter, and was completed by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. It was
situated in the Bruchion, the aristocratic quarter of the city,
adjoining the king's palace. Built of marble, it was surrounded with
a piazza, in which the residents might walk and converse together. Its
sculptured apartments contained the Philadelphian library, and were
crowded with the choicest statues and pictures. This library eventually
comprised four hundred thousand volumes. In the course of time, probably
on account of inadequate accommodation for so many books, an additional
library was established in the adjacent quarter Rhacotis, and placed
in the Serapion or temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in this
library, which was called the Daughter of that in the Museum, was
eventually three hundred thousand. There were, therefore, seven hundred
thousand volumes in these royal collections.

Alexandria was not merely the capital of Egypt, it was the intellectual
metropolis of the world. Here it was truly said the Genius of the East
met the Genius of the West, and this Paris of antiquity became a focus
of fashionable dissipation and universal skepticism. In the allurements
of its bewitching society even the Jews forgot their patriotism. They
abandoned the language of their forefathers, and adopted Greek.

In the establishment of the Museum, Ptolemy Soter and his son
Philadelphus had three objects in view: 1. The perpetuation of such
knowledge as was then in the world; 2. Its increase; 3. Its diffusion.

1. For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orders were given to the chief
librarian to buy at the king's expense whatever books he could. A body
of transcribers was maintained in the Museum, whose duty it was to make
correct copies of such works as their owners were not disposed to sell.
Any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the
Museum, and, when correct copies had been made, the transcript was given
to the owner, and the original placed in the library. Often a very large
pecuniary indemnity was paid. Thus it is said of Ptolemy Euergetes
that, having obtained from Athens the works of Euripides, Sophocles,
and Aeschylus, he sent to their owners transcripts, together with about
fifteen thousand dollars, as an indemnity. On his return from the Syrian
expedition he carried back in triumph all the Egyptian monuments from
Ecbatana and Susa, which Cambyses and other invaders had removed from
Egypt. These he replaced in their original seats, or added as adornments
to his museums. When works were translated as well as transcribed, sums
which we should consider as almost incredible were paid, as was the
case with the Septuagint translation of the Bible, ordered by Ptolemy

2. For the increase of knowledge. One of the chief objects of the Museum
was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves
to study, and were lodged and maintained at the king's expense.
Occasionally he himself sat at their table. Anecdotes connected with
those festive occasions have descended to our times. In the original
organization of the Museum the residents were divided into four
faculties--literature; mathematics, astronomy, medicine. Minor branches
were appropriately classified under one of these general heads; thus
natural history was considered to be a branch of medicine. An officer of
very great distinction presided over the establishment, and had general
charge of its interests. Demetrius Phalareus, perhaps the most learned
man of his age, who had been governor of Athens for many years, was the
first so appointed. Under him was the librarian, an office sometimes
held by men whose names have descended to our times, as Eratosthenes,
and Apollonius Rhodius.

ORGANIZATION OF THE MUSEUM. In connection with the Museum were a
botanical and a zoological garden. These gardens, as their names import,
were for the purpose of facilitating the study of plants and animals.
There was also an astronomical observatory containing armillary spheres,
globes, solstitial and equatorial armils, astrolabes, parallactic
rules, and other apparatus then in use, the graduation on the divided
instruments being into degrees and sixths. On the floor of this
observatory a meridian line was drawn. The want of correct means of
measuring time and temperature was severely felt; the clepsydra of
Ctesibius answered very imperfectly for the former, the hydrometer
floating in a cup of water for the latter; it measured variations of
temperature by variations of density. Philadelphus, who toward the close
of his life was haunted with an intolerable dread of death, devoted much
of his time to the discovery of an elixir. For such pursuits the Museum
was provided with a chemical laboratory. In spite of the prejudices of
the age, and especially in spite of Egyptian prejudices, there was
in connection with the medical department an anatomical room for the
dissection, not only of the dead, but actually of the living, who for
crimes had been condemned.

3. For the diffusion of knowledge. In the Museum was given, by lectures,
conversation, or other appropriate methods instruction in all the
various departments of human knowledge. There flocked to this great
intellectual centre, students from all countries. It is said that at one
time not fewer than fourteen thousand were in attendance. Subsequently
even the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of
its Fathers, as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Athanasius.

The library in the Museum was burnt during the siege of Alexandria by
Julius Caesar. To make amends for this great loss, that collected
by Eumenes, King of Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen
Cleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that of the
Ptolemies. It was added to the collection in the Serapion.

SCIENTIFIC SCHOOL OF THE MUSEUM. It remains now to describe briefly the
philosophical basis of the Museum, and some of its contributions to the
stock of human knowledge.

In memory of the illustrious founder of this most noble institution--an
institution which antiquity delighted to call "The divine school of
Alexandria"--we must mention in the first rank his "History of the
Campaigns of Alexander." Great as a soldier and as a sovereign, Ptolemy
Soter added to his glory by being an author. Time, which has not been
able to destroy the memory of our obligations to him, has dealt unjustly
by his work. It is not now extant.

As might be expected from the friendship that existed between Alexander,
Ptolemy, and Aristotle, the Aristotelian philosophy was the intellectual
corner-stone on which the Museum rested. King Philip had committed the
education of Alexander to Aristotle, and during the Persian campaigns
the conqueror contributed materially, not only in money, but otherwise,
toward the "Natural History" then in preparation.

The essential principle of the Aristotelian philosophy was, to rise
from the study of particulars to a knowledge of general principles or
universals, advancing to them by induction. The induction is the
more certain as the facts on which it is based are more numerous; its
correctness is established if it should enable us to predict other facts
until then unknown. This system implies endless toil in the collection
of facts, both by experiment and observation; it implies also a close
meditation on them. It is, therefore, essentially a method of labor
and of reason, not a method of imagination. The failures that Aristotle
himself so often exhibits are no proof of its unreliability, but
rather of its trustworthiness. They are failures arising from want of a
sufficiency of facts.

ETHICAL SCHOOL OF THE MUSEUM. Some of the general results at which
Aristotle arrived are very grand. Thus, he concluded that every thing is
ready to burst into life, and that the various organic forms presented
to us by Nature are those which existing conditions permit. Should
the conditions change, the forms will also change. Hence there is an
unbroken chain from the simple element through plants and animals up to
man, the different groups merging by insensible shades into each other.

The inductive philosophy thus established by Aristotle is a method of
great power. To it all the modern advances in science are due. In
its most improved form it rises by inductions from phenomena to their
causes, and then, imitating the method of the Academy, it descends by
deductions from those causes to the detail of phenomena.

While thus the Scientific School of Alexandria was founded on the maxims
of one great Athenian philosopher, the Ethical School was founded on the
maxims of another, for Zeno, though a Cypriote or Phoenician, had for
many years been established at Athens. His disciples took the name of
Stoics. His doctrines long survived him, and, in times when there was no
other consolation for man, offered a support in the hour of trial, and
an unwavering guide in the vicissitudes of life, not only to illustrious
Greeks, but also to many of the great philosophers, statesmen, generals,
and emperors of Rome.

THE PRINCIPLES OF STOICISM. The aim of Zeno was, to furnish a guide
for the daily practice of life, to make men virtuous. He insisted that
education is the true foundation of virtue, for, if we know what is
good, we shall incline to do it. We must trust to sense, to furnish the
data of knowledge, and reason will suitably combine them. In this the
affinity of Zeno to Aristotle is plainly seen. Every appetite, lust,
desire, springs from imperfect knowledge. Our nature is imposed upon
us by Fate, but we must learn to control our passions, and live free,
intelligent, virtuous, in all things in accordance with reason. Our
existence should be intellectual, we should survey with equanimity all
pleasures and all pains. We should never forget that we are freemen, not
the slaves of society. "I possess," said the Stoic, "a treasure which
not all the world can rob me of--no one can deprive me of death." We
should remember that Nature in her operations aims at the universal, and
never spares individuals, but uses them as means for the accomplishment
of her ends. It is, therefore, for us to submit to Destiny, cultivating,
as the things necessary to virtue, knowledge, temperance, fortitude,
justice. We must remember that every thing around us is in mutation;
decay follows reproduction, and reproduction decay, and that it is
useless to repine at death in a world where every thing is dying. As a
cataract shows from year to year an invariable shape, though the water
composing it is perpetually changing, so the aspect of Nature is nothing
more than a flow of matter presenting an impermanent form. The universe,
considered as a whole, is unchangeable. Nothing is eternal but
space, atoms, force. The forms of Nature that we see are essentially
transitory, they must all pass away.

STOICISM IN THE MUSEUM. We must bear in mind that the majority of men
are imperfectly educated, and hence we must not needlessly offend the
religious ideas of our age. It is enough for us ourselves to know that,
though there is a Supreme Power, there is no Supreme Being. There is an
invisible principle, but not a personal God, to whom it would be not
so much blasphemy as absurdity to impute the form, the sentiments, the
passions of man. All revelation is, necessarily, a mere fiction. That
which men call chance is only the effect of an unknown cause. Even of
chances there is a law. There is no such thing as Providence, for Nature
proceeds under irresistible laws, and in this respect the universe is
only a vast automatic engine. The vital force which pervades the world
is what the illiterate call God. The modifications through which all
things are running take place in an irresistible way, and hence it may
be said that the progress of the world is, under Destiny, like a seed,
it can evolve only in a predetermined mode.

The soul of man is a spark of the vital flame, the general vital
principle. Like heat, it passes from one to another, and is finally
reabsorbed or reunited in the universal principle from which it came.
Hence we must not expect annihilation, but reunion; and, as the tired
man looks forward to the insensibility of sleep, so the philosopher,
weary of the world, should look forward to the tranquillity of
extinction. Of these things, however, we should think doubtingly, since
the mind can produce no certain knowledge from its internal resources
alone. It is unphilosophical to inquire into first causes; we must deal
only with phenomena. Above all, we must never forget that man cannot
ascertain absolute truth, and that the final result of human inquiry
into the matter is, that we are incapable of perfect knowledge; that,
even if the truth be in our possession, we cannot be sure of it.

What, then, remains for us? Is it not this--the acquisition of
knowledge, the cultivation of virtue and of friendship, the observance
of faith and truth, an unrepining submission to whatever befalls us, a
life led in accordance with reason?

PLATONISM IN THE MUSEUM. But, though the Alexandrian Museum was
especially intended for the cultivation of the Aristotelian philosophy,
it must not be supposed that other systems were excluded. Platonism was
not only carried to its full development, but in the end it supplanted
Peripateticism, and through the New Academy left a permanent impress on
Christianity. The philosophical method of Plato was the inverse of that
of Aristotle. Its starting-point was universals, the very existence of
which was a matter of faith, and from these it descended to particulars,
or details. Aristotle, on the contrary, rose from particulars to
universals, advancing to them by inductions.

Plato, therefore, trusted to the imagination, Aristotle to reason.
The former descended from the decomposition of a primitive idea into
particulars, the latter united particulars into a general conception.
Hence the method of Plato was capable of quickly producing what seemed
to be splendid, though in reality unsubstantial results; that of
Aristotle was more tardy in its operation, but much more solid. It
implied endless labor in the collection of facts, a tedious resort
to experiment and observation, the application of demonstration. The
philosophy of Plato is a gorgeous castle in the air; that of Aristotle
a solid structure, laboriously, and with many failures, founded on the
solid rock.

An appeal to the imagination is much more alluring than the employment
of reason. In the intellectual decline of Alexandria, indolent methods
were preferred to laborious observation and severe mental exercise. The
schools of Neo-Platonism were crowded with speculative mystics, such
as Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus. These took the place of the severe
geometers of the old Museum.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE IN THE MUSEUM. The Alexandrian school offers the first
example of that system which, in the hands of modern physicists, has
led to such wonderful results. It rejected imagination, and made its
theories the expression of facts obtained by experiment and observation,
aided by mathematical discussion. It enforced the principle that the
true method of studying Nature is by experimental interrogation. The
researches of Archimedes in specific gravity, and the works of
Ptolemy on optics, resemble our present investigations in experimental
philosophy, and stand in striking contrast with the speculative vagaries
of the older writers. Laplace says that the only observation which the
history of astronomy offers us, made by the Greeks before the school
of Alexandria, is that of the summer solstice of the year B.C. 432.
by Meton and Euctemon. We have, for the first time, in that school,
a combined system of observations made with instruments for the
measurement of angles, and calculated by trigonometrical methods.
Astronomy then took a form which subsequent ages could only perfect.

It does not accord with the compass or the intention of this work to
give a detailed account of the contributions of the Alexandrian Museum
to the stock of human knowledge. It is sufficient that the reader should
obtain a general impression of their character. For particulars, I
may refer him to the sixth chapter of my "History of the Intellectual
Development of Europe."

EUCLID--ARCHIMEDES. It has just been remarked that the Stoical
philosophy doubted whether the mind can ascertain absolute truth. While
Zeno was indulging in such doubts, Euclid was preparing his great work,
destined to challenge contradiction from the whole human race. After
more than twenty-two centuries it still survives, a model of accuracy,
perspicuity, and a standard of exact demonstration. This great geometer
not only wrote on other mathematical topics, such as Conic Sections and
Porisms, but there are imputed to him treatises on Harmonics and Optics,
the latter subject being discussed on the hypothesis of rays issuing
from the eye to the object.

With the Alexandrian mathematicians and physicists must be classed
Archimedes, though he eventually resided in Sicily. Among his
mathematical works were two books on the Sphere and Cylinder, in
which he gave the demonstration that the solid content of a sphere is
two-thirds that of its circumscribing cylinder. So highly did he esteem
this, that he directed the diagram to be engraved on his tombstone. He
also treated of the quadrature of the circle and of the parabola; he
wrote on Conoids and Spheroids, and on the spiral that bears his name,
the genesis of which was suggested to him by his friend Conon the
Alexandrian. As a mathematician, Europe produced no equal to him for
nearly two thousand years. In physical science he laid the foundation
of hydrostatics; invented a method for the determination of specific
gravities; discussed the equilibrium of floating bodies; discovered the
true theory of the lever, and invented a screw, which still bears
his name, for raising the water of the Nile. To him also are to be
attributed the endless screw, and a peculiar form of burning-mirror, by
which, at the siege of Syracuse, it is said that he set the Roman fleet
on fire.

ERATOSTHENES--APOLLONIUS--HIPPARCHUS. Eratosthenes, who at one time had
charge of the library, was the author of many important works. Among
them may be mentioned his determination of the interval between
the tropics, and an attempt to ascertain the size of the earth. He
considered the articulation and expansion of continents, the position
of mountain-chains, the action of clouds, the geological submersion of
lands, the elevation of ancient sea-beds, the opening of the Dardanelles
and the straits of Gibraltar, and the relations of the Euxine Sea.
He composed a complete system of the earth, in three books--physical,
mathematical, historical--accompanied by a map of all the parts then
known. It is only of late years that the fragments remaining of his
"Chronicles of the Theban Kings" have been justly appreciated. For
many centuries they were thrown into discredit by the authority of our
existing absurd theological chronology.

It is unnecessary to adduce the arguments relied upon by the
Alexandrians to prove the globular form of the earth. They had correct
ideas respecting the doctrine of the sphere, its poles, axis, equator,
arctic and antarctic circles, equinoctial points, solstices, the
distribution of climates, etc. I cannot do more than merely allude to
the treatises on Conic Sections and on Maxima and Minima by Apollonius,
who is said to have been the first to introduce the words ellipse and
hyperbola. In like manner I must pass the astronomical observations
of Alistyllus and Timocharis. It was to those of the latter on Spica
Virginis that Hipparchus was indebted for his great discovery of the
precession of the eqninoxes. Hipparchus also determined the first
inequality of the moon, the equation of the centre. He adopted the
theory of epicycles and eccentrics, a geometrical conception for the
purpose of resolving the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies on the
principle of circular movement. He also undertook to make a catalogue
of the stars by the method of alineations--that is, by indicating those
that are in the same apparent straight line. The number of stars so
catalogued was 1,080. If he thus attempted to depict the aspect of
the sky, he endeavored to do the same for the surface of the earth, by
marking the position of towns and other places by lines of latitude and
longitude. He was the first to construct tables of the sun and moon.

THE SYNTAXIS OF PTOLEMY. In the midst of such a brilliant constellation
of geometers, astronomers, physicists, conspicuously shines forth
Ptolemy, the author of the great work, "Syntaxis," "a Treatise on the
Mathematical Construction of the Heavens." It maintained its ground
for nearly fifteen hundred years, and indeed was only displaced by the
immortal "Principia" of Newton. It commences with the doctrine that the
earth is globular and fixed in space, it describes the construction of a
table of chords, and instruments for observing the solstices, it deduces
the obliquity of the ecliptic, it finds terrestrial latitudes by the
gnomon, describes climates, shows how ordinary may be converted into
sidereal time, gives reasons for preferring the tropical to the sidereal
year, furnishes the solar theory on the principle of the sun's orbit
being a simple eccentric, explains the equation of time, advances to the
discussion of the motions of the moon, treats of the first inequality,
of her eclipses, and the motion of her nodes. It then gives Ptolemy's
own great discovery--that which has made his name immortal--the
discovery of the moon's evection or second inequality, reducing it to
the epicyclic theory. It attempts the determination of the distances of
the sun and moon from the earth--with, however, only partial success. It
considers the precession of the equinoxes, the discovery of Hipparchus,
the full period of which is twenty-five thousand years. It gives a
catalogue of 1,022 stars, treats of the nature of the milky-way, and
discusses in the most masterly manner the motions of the planets. This
point constitutes another of Ptolemy's claims to scientific fame. His
determination of the planetary orbits was accomplished by comparing
his own observations with those of former astronomers, among them the
observations of Timocharis on the planet Venus.

INVENTION OF THE STEAM-ENGINE. In the Museum of Alexandria, Ctesibius
invented the fire-engine. His pupil, Hero, improved it by giving it two
cylinders. There, too, the first steam-engine worked. This also was the
invention of Hero, and was a reaction engine, on the principle of
the eolipile. The silence of the halls of Serapis was broken by the
water-clocks of Ctesibius and Apollonius, which drop by drop measured
time. When the Roman calendar had fallen into such confusion that it
had become absolutely necessary to rectify it, Julius Caesar brought
Sosigenes the astronomer from Alexandria. By his advice the lunar year
was abolished, the civil year regulated entirely by the sun, and the
Julian calendar introduced.

The Macedonian rulers of Egypt have been blamed for the manner in which
they dealt with the religious sentiment of their time. They prostituted
it to the purpose of state-craft, finding in it a means of governing
their lower classes. To the intelligent they gave philosophy.

POLICY OF THE PTOLEMIES. But doubtless they defended this policy by the
experience gathered in those great campaigns which had made the Greeks
the foremost nation of the world. They had seen the mythological
conceptions of their ancestral country dwindle into fables; the wonders
with which the old poets adorned the Mediterranean had been discovered
to be baseless illusions. From Olympus its divinities had disappeared;
indeed, Olympus itself had proved to be a phantom of the imagination.
Hades had lost its terrors; no place could be found for it.

From the woods and grottoes and rivers of Asia Minor the local gods and
goddesses had departed; even their devotees began to doubt whether they
had ever been there. If still the Syrian damsels lamented, in their
amorous ditties, the fate of Adonis, it was only as a recollection, not
as a reality. Again and again had Persia changed her national faith. For
the revelation of Zoroaster she had substituted Dualism; then under new
political influences she had adopted Magianism. She had worshiped fire,
and kept her altars burning on mountain-tops. She had adored the sun.
When Alexander came, she was fast falling into pantheism.

On a country to which in its political extremity the indigenous gods
have been found unable to give any protection, a change of faith is
impending. The venerable divinities of Egypt, to whose glory obelisks
had been raised and temples dedicated, had again and again submitted
to the sword of a foreign conqueror. In the land of the Pyramids, the
Colossi, the Sphinx, the images of the gods had ceased to represent
living realities. They had ceased to be objects of faith. Others of more
recent birth were needful, and Serapis confronted Osiris. In the shops
and streets of Alexandria there were thousands of Jews who had forgotten
the God that had made his habitation behind the veil of the temple.

Tradition, revelation, time, all had lost their influence. The
traditions of European mythology, the revelations of Asia, the
time-consecrated dogmas of Egypt, all had passed or were fast passing
away. And the Ptolemies recognized how ephemeral are forms of faith.

But the Ptolemies also recognized that there is something more durable
than forms of faith, which, like the organic forms of geological ages,
once gone, are clean gone forever, and have no restoration, no return.
They recognized that within this world of transient delusions and
unrealities there is a world of eternal truth.

That world is not to be discovered through the vain traditions that
have brought down to us the opinions of men who lived in the morning of
civilization, nor in the dreams of mystics who thought that they were
inspired. It is to be discovered by the investigations of geometry,
and by the practical interrogation of Nature. These confer on humanity
solid, and innumerable, and inestimable blessings.

The day will never come when any one of the propositions of Euclid will
be denied; no one henceforth will call in question the globular shape of
the earth, as recognized by Eratosthenes; the world will not permit
the great physical inventions and discoveries made in Alexandria and
Syracuse to be forgotten. The names of Hipparchus, of Apollonius, of
Ptolemy, of Archimedes, will be mentioned with reverence by men of every
religious profession, as long as there are men to speak.

THE MUSEUM AND MODERN SCIENCE. The Museum of Alexandria was thus
the birthplace of modern science. It is true that, long before its
establishment, astronomical observations had been made in China and
Mesopotamia; the mathematics also had been cultivated with a certain
degree of success in India. But in none of these countries had
investigation assumed a connected and consistent form; in none was
physical experimentation resorted to. The characteristic feature of
Alexandrian, as of modern science, is, that it did not restrict itself
to observation, but relied on a practical interrogation of Nature.



     Religious condition of the Roman Republic.--The adoption of
     imperialism leads to monotheism.--Christianity spreads over
     the Roman Empire.--The circumstances under which it
     attained imperial power make its union with Paganism a
     political necessity.--Tertullian's description of its
     doctrines and practices.--Debasing effect of the policy of
     Constantine on it.--Its alliance with the civil power.--Its
     incompatibility with science.--Destruction of the
     Alexandrian Library and prohibition of philosophy.--
     Exposition of the Augustinian philosophy and Patristic
     science generally.--The Scriptures made the standard of

IN a political sense, Christianity is the bequest of the Roman Empire to
the world.

At the epoch of the transition of Rome from the republican to the
imperial form of government, all the independent nationalities around
the Mediterranean Sea had been brought under the control of that central
power. The conquest that had befallen them in succession had been by no
means a disaster. The perpetual wars they had maintained with each
other came to an end; the miseries their conflicts had engendered were
exchanged for universal peace.

Not only as a token of the conquest she had made but also as a
gratification to her pride, the conquering republic brought the gods
of the vanquished peoples to Rome. With disdainful toleration, she
permitted the worship of them all. That paramount authority exercised by
each divinity in his original seat disappeared at once in the crowd of
gods and goddesses among whom he had been brought. Already, as we have
seen, through geographical discoveries and philosophical criticism,
faith in the religion of the old days had been profoundly shaken. It
was, by this policy of Rome, brought to an end.

MONOTHEISM IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. The kings of all the conquered provinces
had vanished; in their stead one emperor had come. The gods also had
disappeared. Considering the connection which in all ages has existed
between political and religious ideas, it was then not at all strange
that polytheism should manifest a tendency to pass into monotheism.
Accordingly, divine honors were paid at first to the deceased and at
length to the living emperor.

The facility with which gods were thus called into existence had a
powerful moral effect. The manufacture of a new one cast ridicule on
the origin of the old Incarnation in the East and apotheosis in the West
were fast filling Olympus with divinities. In the East, gods descended
from heaven, and were made incarnate in men; in the West, men ascended
from earth, and took their seat among the gods. It was not the
importation of Greek skepticism that made Rome skeptical. The excesses
of religion itself sapped the foundations of faith.

Not with equal rapidity did all classes of the population adopt
monotheistic views. The merchants and lawyers and soldiers, who by the
nature of their pursuits are more familiar with the vicissitudes of
life, and have larger intellectual views, were the first to be affected,
the land laborers and farmers the last.

THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY When the empire in a military and political
sense had reached its culmination, in a religious and social aspect
it had attained its height of immorality. It had become thoroughly
epicurean; its maxim was, that life should be made a feast, that
virtue is only the seasoning of pleasure, and temperance the means of
prolonging it. Dining-rooms glittering with gold and incrusted with
gems, slaves in superb apparel, the fascinations of female society where
all the women were dissolute, magnificent baths, theatres, gladiators,
such were the objects of Roman desire. The conquerors of the world had
discovered that the only thing worth worshiping is Force. By it all
things might be secured, all that toil and trade had laboriously
obtained. The confiscation of goods and lands, the taxation of
provinces, were the reward of successful warfare; and the emperor
was the symbol of force. There was a social splendor, but it was the
phosphorescent corruption of the ancient Mediterranean world.

In one of the Eastern provinces, Syria, some persons in very humble
life had associated themselves together for benevolent and religious
purposes. The doctrines they held were in harmony with that sentiment
of universal brotherhood arising from the coalescence of the conquered
kingdoms. They were doctrines inculcated by Jesus.

The Jewish people at that time entertained a belief, founded on old
traditions, that a deliverer would arise among them, who would restore
them to their ancient splendor. The disciples of Jesus regarded him
as this long-expected Messiah. But the priesthood, believing that the
doctrines he taught were prejudicial to their interests, denounced
him to the Roman governor, who, to satisfy their clamors, reluctantly
delivered him over to death.

His doctrines of benevolence and human brotherhood outlasted that
event. The disciples, instead of scattering, organized. They associated
themselves on a principle of communism, each throwing into the common
stock whatever property he possessed, and all his gains. The widows
and orphans of the community were thus supported, the poor and the sick
sustained. From this germ was developed a new, and as the events proved,
all-powerful society--the Church; new, for nothing of the kind had
existed in antiquity; powerful, for the local churches, at first
isolated, soon began to confederate for their common interest. Through
this organization Christianity achieved all her political triumphs.

As we have said, the military domination of Rome had brought about
universal peace, and had generated a sentiment of brotherhood among the
vanquished nations. Things were, therefore, propitious for the rapid
diffusion of the newly-established--the Christian--principle
throughout the empire. It spread from Syria through all Asia Minor,
and successively reached Cyprus, Greece, Italy, eventually extending
westward as far as Gaul and Britain.

Its propagation was hastened by missionaries who made it known in all
directions. None of the ancient classical philosophies had ever taken
advantage of such a means.

Political conditions determined the boundaries of the new religion. Its
limits were eventually those of the Roman Empire; Rome, doubtfully the
place of death of Peter, not Jerusalem, indisputably the place of the
death of our Savior, became the religious capital. It was better to have
possession of the imperial seven hilled city, than of Gethsemane and
Calvary with all their holy souvenirs.

IT GATHERS POLITICAL POWER. For many years Christianity manifested
itself as a system enjoining three things--toward God veneration, in
personal life purity, in social life benevolence. In its early days of
feebleness it made proselytes only by persuasion, but, as it increased
in numbers and influence, it began to exhibit political tendencies, a
disposition to form a government within the government, an empire within
the empire. These tendencies it has never since lost. They are, in
truth, the logical result of its development. The Roman emperors,
discovering that it was absolutely incompatible with the imperial
system, tried to put it down by force. This was in accordance with the
spirit of their military maxims, which had no other means but force for
the establishment of conformity.

In the winter A.D. 302-'3, the Christian soldiers in some of the legions
refused to join in the time-honored solemnities for propitiating the
gods. The mutiny spread so quickly, the emergency became so pressing,
that the Emperor Diocletian was compelled to hold a council for the
purpose of determining what should be done. The difficulty of the
position may perhaps be appreciated when it is understood that the wife
and the daughter of Diocletian himself were Christians. He was a man
of great capacity and large political views; he recognized in the
opposition that must be made to the new party a political necessity,
yet he expressly enjoined that there should be no bloodshed. But who can
control an infuriated civil commotion? The church of Nicomedia was razed
to the ground; in retaliation the imperial palace was set on fire, an
edict was openly insulted and torn down. The Christian officers in the
army were cashiered; in all directions, martyrdoms and massacres were
taking place. So resistless was the march of events, that not even the
emperor himself could stop the persecution.

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN EMPEROR. It had now become evident that the
Christians constituted a powerful party in the state, animated with
indignation at the atrocities they had suffered, and determined to
endure them no longer. After the abdication of Diocletian (A.D. 305),
Constantine, one of the competitors for the purple, perceiving the
advantages that would accrue to him from such a policy, put himself
forth as the head of the Christian party. This gave him, in every part
of the empire, men and women ready to encounter fire and sword in his
behalf; it gave him unwavering adherents in every legion of the armies.
In a decisive battle, near the Milvian bridge, victory crowned his
schemes. The death of Maximin, and subsequently that of Licinius,
removed all obstacles. He ascended the throne of the Caesars--the first
Christian emperor.

Place, profit, power--these were in view of whoever now joined the
conquering sect. Crowds of worldly persons, who cared nothing about its
religious ideas, became its warmest supporters. Pagans at heart, their
influence was soon manifested in the paganization of Christianity that
forthwith ensued. The emperor, no better than they, did nothing to check
their proceedings. But he did not personally conform to the ceremonial
requirements of the Church until the close of his evil life, A.D. 337.

the modifications now impressed on Christianity--modifications which
eventually brought it in conflict with science--we must have, as a
means of comparison, a statement of what it was in its purer days.
Such, fortunately, we find in the "Apology or Defense of the Christians
against the Accusations of the Gentiles," written by Tertullian, at
Rome, during the persecution of Severus. He addressed it, not to the
emperor, but to the magistrates who sat in judgment on the accused. It
is a solemn and most earnest expostulation, setting forth all that could
be said in explanation of the subject, a representation of the belief
and cause of the Christians made in the imperial city in the face of the
whole world, not a querulous or passionate ecclesiastical appeal, but
a grave historical document. It has ever been looked upon as one of the
ablest of the early Christian works. Its date is about A.D. 200.

With no inconsiderable skill Tertullian opens his argument. He tells
the magistrates that Christianity is a stranger upon earth, and that she
expects to meet with enemies in a country which is not her own. She only
asks that she may not be condemned unheard, and that Roman magistrates
will permit her to defend herself; that the laws of the empire will
gather lustre, if judgment be passed upon her after she has been tried
but not if she is sentenced without a hearing of her cause; that it is
unjust to hate a thing of which we are ignorant, even though it may be a
thing worthy of hate; that the laws of Rome deal with actions, not with
mere names; but that, notwithstanding this, persons have been punished
because they were called Christians, and that without any accusation of

He then advances to an exposition of the origin, the nature, and the
effects of Christianity, stating that it is founded on the Hebrew
Scriptures, which are the most venerable of all books. He says to the
magistrates: "The books of Moses, in which God has inclosed, as in
a treasure, all the religion of the Jews, and consequently all the
Christian religion, reach far beyond the oldest you have, even beyond
all your public monuments, the establishment of your state, the
foundation of many great cities--all that is most advanced by you in all
ages of history, and memory of times; the invention of letters, which
are the interpreters of sciences and the guardians of all excellent
things. I think I may say more--beyond your gods, your temples, your
oracles and sacrifices. The author of those books lived a thousand years
before the siege of Troy, and more than fifteen hundred before Homer."
Time is the ally of truth, and wise men believe nothing but what is
certain, and what has been verified by time. The principal authority
of these Scriptures is derived from their venerable antiquity. The most
learned of the Ptolemies, who was surnamed Philadelphus, an accomplished
prince, by the advice of Demetrius Phalareus, obtained a copy of these
holy books. It may be found at this day in his library. The divinity of
these Scriptures is proved by this, that all that is done in our days
may be found predicted in them; they contain all that has since passed
in the view of men.

Is not the accomplishment of a prophecy a testimony to its truth? Seeing
that events which are past have vindicated these prophecies, shall we be
blamed for trusting them in events that are to come? Now, as we believe
things that have been prophesied and have come to pass, so we believe
things that have been told us, but not yet come to pass, because they
have all been foretold by the same Scriptures, as well those that are
verified every day as those that still remain to be fulfilled.

These Holy Scriptures teach us that there is one God, who made the world
out of nothing, who, though daily seen, is invisible; his infiniteness
is known only to himself; his immensity conceals, but at the same
time discovers him. He has ordained for men, according to their lives,
rewards and punishments; he will raise all the dead that have ever lived
from the creation of the world, will command them to reassume their
bodies, and thereupon adjudge them to felicity that has so end, or to
eternal flames. The fires of hell are those hidden flames which the
earth shuts up in her bosom. He has in past times sent into the world
preachers or prophets. The prophets of those old times were Jews; they
addressed their oracles, for such they were, to the Jews, who
have stored them up in the Scriptures. On them, as has been said,
Christianity is founded, though the Christian differs in his ceremonies
from the Jew. We are accused of worshiping a man, and not the God of
the Jews. Not so. The honor we bear to Christ does not derogate from the
honor we bear to God.

On account of the merit of these ancient patriarchs, the Jews were the
only beloved people of God; he delighted to be in communication with
them by his own mouth. By him they were raised to admirable greatness.
But with perversity they wickedly ceased to regard him; they changed
his laws into a profane worship. He warned them that he would take to
himself servants more faithful than they, and, for their crime, punished
them by driving them forth from their country. They are now spread all
over the world; they wander in all parts; they cannot enjoy the air they
breathed at their birth; they have neither man nor God for their king.
As he threatened them, so he has done. He has taken, in all nations
and countries of the earth, people more faithful than they. Through his
prophets he had declared that these should have greater favors, and that
a Messiah should come, to publish a new law among them. This Messiah was
Jesus, who is also God. For God may be derived from God, as the light
of a candle may be derived from the light of another candle. God and his
Son are the self-same God--a light is the same light as that from which
it was taken.

The Scriptures make known two comings of the Son of God; the first in
humility, the second at the day of judgment, in power. The Jews might
have known all this from the prophets, but their sins have so blinded
them that they did not recognize him at his first coming, and are still
vainly expecting him. They believed that all the miracles wrought by
him were the work of magic. The doctors of the law and the chief priests
were envious of him; they denounced him to Pilate. He was crucified,
died, was buried, and after three days rose again. For forty days he
remained among his disciples. Then he was environed in a cloud, and
rose up to heaven--a truth far more certain than any human testimonies
touching the ascension of Romulus or of any other Roman prince mounting
up to the same place.

Tertullian then describes the origin and nature of devils, who, under
Satan, their prince, produce diseases, irregularities of the air,
plagues, and the blighting of the blossoms of the earth, who seduce men
to offer sacrifices, that they may have the blood of the victims, which
is their food. They are as nimble as the birds, and hence know every
thing that is passing upon earth; they live in the air, and hence can
spy what is going on in heaven; for this reason they can impose on men
reigned prophecies, and deliver oracles. Thus they announced in Rome
that a victory would be obtained over King Perseus, when in truth they
knew that the battle was already won. They falsely cure diseases; for,
taking possession of the body of a man, they produce in him a distemper,
and then ordaining some remedy to be used, they cease to afflict him,
and men think that a cure has taken place.

Though Christians deny that the emperor is a god, they nevertheless pray
for his prosperity, because the general dissolution that threatens the
universe, the conflagration of the world, is retarded so long as the
glorious majesty of the triumphant Roman Empire shall last. They desire
not to be present at the subversion of all Nature. They acknowledge
only one republic, but it is the whole world; they constitute one body,
worship one God, and all look forward to eternal happiness. Not only do
they pray for the emperor and the magistrates, but also for peace. They
read the Scriptures to nourish their faith, lift up their hope, and
strengthen the confidence they have in God. They assemble to exhort one
another; they remove sinners from their societies; they have bishops who
preside over them, approved by the suffrages of those whom they are to
conduct. At the end of each month every one contributes if he will, but
no one is constrained to give; the money gathered in this manner is
the pledge of piety; it is not consumed in eating and drinking, but
in feeding the poor, and burying them, in comforting children that are
destitute of parents and goods, in helping old men who have spent the
best of their days in the service of the faithful, in assisting those
who have lost by shipwreck what they had, and those who are condemned
to the mines, or have been banished to islands, or shut up in prisons,
because they professed the religion of the true God. There is but one
thing that Christians have not in common, and that one thing is their
wives. They do not feast as if they should die to-morrow, nor build
as if they should never die. The objects of their life are innocence,
justice, patience, temperance, chastity.

To this noble exposition of Christian belief and life in his day,
Tertullian does not hesitate to add an ominous warning to the
magistrates he is addressing--ominous, for it was a forecast of a great
event soon to come to pass: "Our origin is but recent, yet already we
fill all that your power acknowledges--cities, fortresses, islands,
provinces, the assemblies of the people, the wards of Rome, the palace,
the senate, the public places, and especially the armies. We have
left you nothing but your temples. Reflect what wars we are able to
undertake! With what promptitude might we not arm ourselves were we not
restrained by our religion, which teaches us that it is better to be
killed than to kill!"

Before he closes his defense, Tertullian renews an assertion which,
carried into practice, as it subsequently was, affected the intellectual
development of all Europe. He declares that the Holy Scriptures are a
treasure from which all the true wisdom in the world has been drawn;
that every philosopher and every poet is indebted to them. He labors
to show that they are the standard and measure of all truth, and that
whatever is inconsistent with them must necessarily be false.

From Tertullian's able work we see what Christianity was while it was
suffering persecution and struggling for existence. We have now to
see what it became when in possession of imperial power. Great is the
difference between Christianity under Severus and Christianity after
Constantine. Many of the doctrines which at the latter period were
preeminent, in the former were unknown.

PAGANIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY. Two causes led to the amalgamation of
Christianity with paganism: 1. The political necessities of the new
dynasty; 2. The policy adopted by the new religion to insure its spread.

1. Though the Christian party had proved itself sufficiently strong to
give a master to the empire, it was never sufficiently strong to destroy
its antagonist, paganism. The issue of the struggle between them was an
amalgamation of the principles of both. In this, Christianity differed
from Mohammedanism, which absolutely annihilated its antagonist, and
spread its own doctrines without adulteration.

Constantine continually showed by his acts that he felt he must be the
impartial sovereign of all his people, not merely the representative
of a successful faction. Hence, if he built Christian churches, he also
restored pagan temples; if he listened to the clergy, he also consulted
the haruspices; if he summoned the Council of Nicea, he also honored the
statue of Fortune; if he accepted the rite of baptism, he also struck
a medal bearing his title of "God." His statue, on the top of the great
porphyry pillar at Constantinople, consisted of an ancient image of
Apollo, whose features were replaced by those of the emperor, and
its head surrounded by the nails feigned to have been used at the
crucifixion of Christ, arranged so as to form a crown of glory.

Feeling that there must be concessions to the defeated pagan party,
in accordance with its ideas, he looked with favor on the idolatrous
movements of his court. In fact, the leaders of these movements were
persons of his own family.

CHRISTIANITY UNDER CONSTANTINE. 2. To the emperor--a mere worldling--a
man without any religious convictions, doubtless it appeared best for
himself, best for the empire, and best for the contending parties,
Christian and pagan, to promote their union or amalgamation as much as
possible. Even sincere Christians do not seem to have been averse to
this; perhaps they believed that the new doctrines would diffuse most
thoroughly by incorporating in themselves ideas borrowed from the old,
that Truth would assert her self in the end, and the impurity be cast
off. In accomplishing this amalgamation, Helena, the empress-mother,
aided by the court ladies, led the way. For her gratification there were
discovered, in a cavern at Jerusalem, wherein they had lain buried for
more than three centuries, the Savior's cross, and those of the two
thieves, the inscription, and the nails that had been used. They were
identified by miracle. A true relic-worship set in. The superstition of
the old Greek times reappeared; the times when the tools with which the
Trojan horse was made might still be seen at Metapontum, the sceptre of
Pelops at Chaeroneia, the spear of Achilles at Phaselis, the sword
of Memnon at Nicomedia, when the Tegeates could show the hide of the
Calydonian boar and very many cities boasted their possession of the
true palladium of Troy; when there were statues of Minerva that could
brandish spears, paintings that could blush, images that could sweat,
and endless shrines and sanctuaries at which miracle-cures could be

As years passed on, the faith described by Tertullian was transmuted
into one more fashionable and more debased. It was incorporated with
the old Greek mythology. Olympus was restored, but the divinities passed
under other names. The more powerful provinces insisted on the adoption
of their time-honored conceptions. Views of the Trinity, in accordance
with Egyptian traditions, were established. Not only was the adoration
of Isis under a new name restored, but even her image, standing on the
crescent moon, reappeared. The well-known effigy of that goddess,
with the infant Horus in her arms, has descended to our days in
the beautiful, artistic creations of the Madonna and Child. Such
restorations of old conceptions under novel forms were everywhere
received with delight. When it was announced to the Ephesians that the
Council of that place, headed by Cyril, had decreed that the Virgin
should be called "the Mother of God," with tears of joy they embraced
the knees of their bishop; it was the old instinct peeping out; their
ancestors would have done the same for Diana.

This attempt to conciliate worldly converts, by adopting their ideas
and practices, did not pass without remonstrance from those whose
intelligence discerned the motive. "You have," says Faustus to
Augustine, "substituted your agapae for the sacrifices of the pagans;
for their idols your martyrs, whom you serve with the very same honors.
You appease the shades of the dead with wine and feasts; you celebrate
the solemn festivities of the Gentiles, their calends, and their
solstices; and, as to their manners, those you have retained without any
alteration. Nothing distinguishes you from the pagans, except that you
hold your assemblies apart from them." Pagan observances were everywhere
introduced. At weddings it was the custom to sing hymns to Venus.

INTRODUCTION OF ROMAN RITES. Let us pause here a moment, and see, in
anticipation, to what a depth of intellectual degradation this policy of
paganization eventually led. Heathen rites were adopted, a pompous
and splendid ritual, gorgeous robes, mitres, tiaras, wax-tapers,
processional services, lustrations, gold and silver vases, were
introduced. The Roman lituus, the chief ensign of the augurs, became the
crozier. Churches were built over the tombs of martyrs, and consecrated
with rites borrowed from the ancient laws of the Roman pontiffs.
Festivals and commemorations of martyrs multiplied with the numberless
fictitious discoveries of their remains. Fasting became the grand means
of repelling the devil and appeasing God; celibacy the greatest of
the virtues. Pilgrimages were made to Palestine and the tombs of the
martyrs. Quantities of dust and earth were brought from the Holy Land
and sold at enormous prices, as antidotes against devils. The virtues
of consecrated water were upheld. Images and relics were introduced into
the churches, and worshiped after the fashion of the heathen gods. It
was given out that prodigies and miracles were to be seen in certain
places, as in the heathen times. The happy souls of departed Christians
were invoked; it was believed that they were wandering about the world,
or haunting their graves. There was a multiplication of temples, altars,
and penitential garments. The festival of the purification of the Virgin
was invented to remove the uneasiness of heathen converts on account of
the loss of their Lupercalia, or feasts of Pan. The worship of images,
of fragments of the cross, or bones, nails, and other relics, a true
fetich worship, was cultivated. Two arguments were relied on for the
authenticity of these objects--the authority of the Church, and the
working of miracles. Even the worn-out clothing of the saints and the
earth of their graves were venerated. From Palestine were brought what
were affirmed to be the skeletons of St. Mark and St. James, and other
ancient worthies. The apotheosis of the old Roman times was replaced by
canonization; tutelary saints succeed to local mythological divinities.
Then came the mystery of transubstantiation, or the conversion of bread
and wine by the priest into the flesh and blood of Christ. As centuries
passed, the paganization became more and more complete. Festivals sacred
to the memory of the lance with which the Savior's side was pierced,
the nails that fastened him to the cross, and the crown of thorns, were
instituted. Though there were several abbeys that possessed this last
peerless relic, no one dared to say that it was impossible they could
all be authentic.

We may read with advantage the remarks made by Bishop Newton on this
paganization of Christianity. He asks: "Is not the worship of saints and
angels now in all respects the same that the worship of demons was in
former times? The name only is different, the thing is identically
the same,... the deified men of the Christians are substituted for the
deified men of the heathens. The promoters of this worship were sensible
that it was the same, and that the one succeeded to the other; and,
as the worship is the same, so likewise it is performed with the same
ceremonies. The burning of incense or perfumes on several altars at one
and the same time; the sprinkling of holy water, or a mixture of salt
and common water, at going into and coming out of places of public
worship; the lighting up of a great number of lamps and wax-candles in
broad daylight before altars and statues of these deities; the hanging
up of votive offerings and rich presents as attestations of so many
miraculous cures and deliverances from diseases and dangers; the
canonization or deification of deceased worthies; the assigning of
distinct provinces or prefectures to departed heroes and saints; the
worshiping and adoring of the dead in their sepulchres, shrines, and
relics; the consecrating and bowing down to images; the attributing
of miraculous powers and virtues to idols; the setting up of little
oratories, altars, and statues in the streets and highways, and on
the tops of mountains; the carrying of images and relics in pompous
procession, with numerous lights and with music and singing;
flagellations at solemn seasons under the notion of penance; a great
variety of religious orders and fraternities of priests; the shaving of
priests, or the tonsure as it is called, on the crown of their heads;
the imposing of celibacy and vows of chastity on the religious of both
sexes--all these and many more rites and ceremonies are equally parts of
pagan and popish superstition. Nay, the very same temples, the very same
images, which were once consecrated to Jupiter and the other demons, are
now consecrated to the Virgin Mary and the other saints. The very same
rites and inscriptions are ascribed to both, the very same prodigies and
miracles are related of these as of those. In short, almost the whole
of paganism is converted and applied to popery; the one is manifestly
formed upon the same plan and principles as the other; so that there is
not only a conformity, but even a uniformity, in the worship of ancient
and modern, of heathen and Christian Rome."

DEBASEMENT OF CHRISTIANITY. Thus far Bishop Newton; but to return to the
times of Constantine: though these concessions to old and popular ideas
were permitted and even encouraged, the dominant religious party never
for a moment hesitated to enforce its decisions by the aid of the civil
power--an aid which was freely given. Constantine thus carried into
effect the acts of the Council of Nicea. In the affair of Arius, he even
ordered that whoever should find a book of that heretic, and not burn
it, should be put to death. In like manner Nestor was by Theodosius the
Younger banished to an Egyptian oasis.

The pagan party included many of the old aristocratic families of the
empire; it counted among its adherents all the disciples of the old
philosophical schools. It looked down on its antagonist with contempt.
It asserted that knowledge is to be obtained only by the laborious
exercise of human observation and human reason.

The Christian party asserted that all knowledge is to be found in the
Scriptures and in the traditions of the Church; that, in the written
revelation, God had not only given a criterion of truth, but had
furnished us all that he intended us to know. The Scriptures, therefore,
contain the sum, the end of all knowledge. The clergy, with the emperor
at their back, would endure no intellectual competition.

Thus came into prominence what were termed sacred and profane knowledge;
thus came into presence of each other two opposing parties, one relying
on human reason as its guide, the other on revelation. Paganism leaned
for support on the learning of its philosophers, Christianity on the
inspiration of its Fathers.

The Church thus set herself forth as the depository and arbiter of
knowledge; she was ever ready to resort to the civil power to compel
obedience to her decisions. She thus took a course which determined her
whole future career: she became a stumbling-block in the intellectual
advancement of Europe for more than a thousand years.

The reign of Constantine marks the epoch of the transformation of
Christianity from a religion into a political system; and though, in
one sense, that system was degraded into an idolatry, in another it had
risen into a development of the old Greek mythology. The maxim holds
good in the social as well as in the mechanical world, that, when two
bodies strike, the form of both is changed. Paganism was modified by
Christianity; Christianity by Paganism.

THE TRINITARIAN DISPUTE. In the Trinitarian controversy, which first
broke out in Egypt--Egypt, the land of Trinities--the chief point in
discussion was to define the position of "the Son." There lived in
Alexandria a presbyter of the name of Arius, a disappointed candidate
for the office of bishop. He took the ground that there was a time when,
from the very nature of sonship, the Son did not exist, and a time at
which he commenced to be, asserting that it is the necessary condition
of the filial relation that a father must be older than his son. But
this assertion evidently denied the coeternity of the three persons of
the Trinity; it suggested a subordination or inequality among them,
and indeed implied a time when the Trinity did not exist. Hereupon, the
bishop, who had been the successful competitor against Arius, displayed
his rhetorical powers in public debates on the question, and, the strife
spreading, the Jews and pagans, who formed a very large portion of
the population of Alexandria, amused themselves with theatrical
representations of the contest on the stage--the point of their
burlesques being the equality of age of the Father and his Son.

Such was the violence the controversy at length assumed, that the matter
had to be referred to the emperor. At first he looked upon the dispute
as altogether frivolous, and perhaps in truth inclined to the assertion
of Arius, that in the very nature of the thing a father must be older
than his son. So great, however, was the pressure laid upon him, that
he was eventually compelled to summon the Council of Nicea, which, to
dispose of the conflict, set forth a formulary or creed, and attached to
it this anathema: "The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes
those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, and
that, before he was begotten, he was not, and that he was made out of
nothing, or out of another substance or essence, and is created, or
changeable, or alterable." Constantine at once enforced the decision of
the council by the civil power.

A few years subsequently the Emperor Theodosius prohibited sacrifices,
made the inspection of the entrails of animals a capital offense, and
forbade any one entering a temple. He instituted Inquisitors of Faith,
and ordained that all who did not accord with the belief of Damasus, the
Bishop of Rome, and Peter, the Bishop of Alexandria, should be driven
into exile, and deprived of civil rights. Those who presumed to
celebrate Easter on the same day as the Jews, he condemned to death.
The Greek language was now ceasing to be known in the West, and true
learning was becoming extinct.

At this time the bishopric of Alexandria was held by one Theophilus. An
ancient temple of Osiris having been given to the Christians of the city
for the site of a church, it happened that, in digging the foundation
for the new edifice, the obscene symbols of the former worship chanced
to be found. These, with more zeal than modesty, Theophilus exhibited
in the market-place to public derision. With less forbearance than the
Christian party showed when it was insulted in the theatre during the
Trinitarian dispute, the pagans resorted to violence, and a riot ensued.
They held the Serapion as their headquarters. Such were the disorder and
bloodshed that the emperor had to interfere. He dispatched a rescript to
Alexandria, enjoining the bishop, Theophilus, to destroy the Serapion;
and the great library, which had been collected by the Ptolemies, and
had escaped the fire of Julius Caesar, was by that fanatic dispersed.

THE MURDER OF HYPATIA. The bishopric thus held by Theophilus was in due
time occupied by his nephew St. Cyril, who had commended himself to
the approval of the Alexandrian congregations as a successful and
fashionable preacher. It was he who had so much to do with the
introduction of the worship of the Virgin Mary. His hold upon the
audiences of the giddy city was, however, much weakened by Hypatia, the
daughter of Theon, the mathematician, who not only distinguished herself
by her expositions of the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, but also by
her comments on the writings of Apollonius and other geometers. Each day
before her academy stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was
crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen
to her discourses on those questions which man in all ages has asked,
but which never yet have been answered: "What am I? Where am I? What can
I know?"

Hypatia and Cyril! Philosophy and bigotry. They cannot exist together.
So Cyril felt, and on that feeling he acted. As Hypatia repaired to her
academy, she was assaulted by Cyril's mob--a mob of many monks. Stripped
naked in the street, she was dragged into a church, and there killed by
the club of Peter the Reader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh
was scraped from the bones with shells, and the remnants cast into a
fire. For this frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It
seemed to be admitted that the end sanctified the means.

So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandria, so came to an untimely close
the learning that the Ptolemies had done so much to promote. The
"Daughter Library," that of the Serapion, had been dispersed. The fate
of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profane knowledge.
Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought. Every one must
think as the ecclesiastical authority ordered him, A.D. 414. In Athens
itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at length prohibited its
teaching, and caused all its schools in that city to be closed.

PELAGIUS. While these events were transpiring in the Eastern provinces
of the Roman Empire, the spirit that had produced them was displaying
itself in the West. A British monk, who had assumed the name of
Pelagius, passed through Western Europe and Northern Africa, teaching
that death was not introduced into the world by the sin of Adam; that
on the contrary he was necessarily and by nature mortal, and had he not
sinned he would nevertheless have died; that the consequences of his
sins were confined to himself, and did not affect his posterity. From
these premises Pelagius drew certain important theological conclusions.

At Rome, Pelagius had been received with favor; at Carthage, at the
instigation of St. Augustine, he was denounced. By a synod, held at
Diospolis, he was acquitted of heresy, but, on referring the matter to
the Bishop of Rome, Innocent I., he was, on the contrary, condemned. It
happened that at this moment Innocent died, and his successor, Zosimus,
annulled his judgment and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be
orthodox. These contradictory decisions are still often referred to
by the opponents of papal infallibility. Things were in this state of
confusion, when the wily African bishops, through the influence of Count
Valerius, procured from the emperor an edict denouncing Pelagins as
a heretic; he and his accomplices were condemned to exile and the
forfeiture of their goods. To affirm that death was in the world before
the fall of Adam, was a state crime.

CONDEMNATION OF PELAGIUS. It is very instructive to consider the
principles on which this strange decision was founded. Since the
question was purely philosophical, one might suppose that it would
have been discussed on natural principles; instead of that, theological
considerations alone were adduced. The attentive reader will have
remarked, in Tertullian's statement of the principles of Christianity,
a complete absence of the doctrines of original sin, total depravity,
predestination, grace, and atonement. The intention of Christianity,
as set forth by him, has nothing in common with the plan of salvation
upheld two centuries subsequently. It is to St. Augustine, a
Carthaginian, that we are indebted for the precision of our views on
these important points.

In deciding whether death had been in the world before the fall of Adam,
or whether it was the penalty inflicted on the world for his sin,
the course taken was to ascertain whether the views of Pelagius were
accordant or discordant not with Nature but with the theological
doctrines of St. Augustine. And the result has been such as might
be expected. The doctrine declared to be orthodox by ecclesiastical
authority is overthrown by the unquestionable discoveries of modern
science. Long before a human being had appeared upon earth, millions of
individuals--nay, more, thousands of species and even genera--had died;
those which remain with us are an insignificant fraction of the vast
hosts that have passed away.

A consequence of great importance issued from the decision of the
Pelagian controversy. The book of Genesis had been made the basis of
Christianity. If, in a theological point of view, to its account of the
sin in the garden of Eden, and the transgression and punishment of Adam,
so much weight had been attached, it also in a philosophical point
of view became the grand authority of Patristic science. Astronomy,
geology, geography, anthropology, chronology, and indeed all the various
departments of human knowledge, were made to conform to it.

ST. AUGUSTINE. As the doctrines of St. Augustine have had the effect of
thus placing theology in antagonism with science, it may be interesting
to examine briefly some of the more purely philosophical views of that
great man. For this purpose, we may appropriately select portions of
his study of the first chapter of Genesis, as contained in the eleventh,
twelfth, and thirteenth books of his "Confessions."

These consist of philosophical discussions, largely interspersed
with rhapsodies. He prays that God will give him to understand the
Scriptures, and will open their meaning to him; he declares that in
them there is nothing superfluous, but that the words have a manifold

The face of creation testifies that there has been a Creator; but at
once arises the question, "How and when did he make heaven and earth?
They could not have been made IN heaven and earth, the world could not
have been made IN the world, nor could they have been made when there
was nothing to make them of." The solution of this fundamental inquiry
St. Augustine finds in saying, "Thou spakest, and they were made."

But the difficulty does not end here. St. Augustine goes on to remark
that the syllables thus uttered by God came forth in succession, and
there must have been some created thing to express the words. This
created thing must, therefore, have existed before heaven and earth, and
yet there could have been no corporeal thing before heaven and earth. It
must have been a creature, because the words passed away and came to an
end but we know that "the word of the Lord endureth forever."

Moreover, it is plain that the words thus spoken could not have been
spoken successively, but simultaneously, else there would have been time
and change--succession in its nature implying time; whereas there was
then nothing but eternity and immortality. God knows and says eternally
what takes place in time.

CRITICISM OF ST. AUGUSTINE. St. Augustine then defines, not without
much mysticism, what is meant by the opening words of Genesis: "In
the beginning." He is guided to his conclusion by another scriptural
passage: "How wonderful are thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast thou made
them all." This "wisdom" is "the beginning," and in that beginning the
Lord created the heaven and the earth.

"But," he adds, "some one may ask, 'What was God doing before he made
the heaven and the earth? for, if at any particular moment he began
to employ himself, that means time, not eternity. In eternity nothing
transpires--the whole is present.'" In answering this question, he
cannot forbear one of those touches of rhetoric for which he was so
celebrated: "I will not answer this question by saying that he was
preparing hell for priers into his mysteries. I say that, before God
made heaven and earth, he did not make any thing, for no creature could
be made before any creature was made. Time itself is a creature, and
hence it could not possibly exist before creation.

"What, then, is time? The past is not, the future is not, the
present--who can tell what it is, unless it be that which has no
duration between two nonentities? There is no such thing as 'a long
time,' or 'a short time,' for there are no such things as the past and
the future. They have no existence, except in the soul."

The style in which St. Augustine conveyed his ideas is that of a
rhapsodical conversation with God. His works are an incoherent dream.
That the reader may appreciate this remark, I might copy almost at
random any of his paragraphs. The following is from the twelfth book:

"This then, is what I conceive, O my God, when I hear thy Scripture
saying, In the beginning God made heaven and earth: and the earth was
invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep, and not
mentioning what day thou createdst them; this is what I conceive,
that because of the heaven of heavens--that intellectual heaven, whose
intelligences know all at once, not in part, not darkly, not through a
glass, but as a whole, in manifestation, face to face; not this thing
now, and that thing anon; but (as I said) know all at once, without any
succession of times; and because of the earth, invisible and without
form, without any succession of times, which succession presents 'this
thing now, that thing anon;' because, where there is no form, there
is no distinction of things; it is, then, on account of these two, a
primitive formed, and a primitive formless; the one, heaven, but the
heaven of heavens; the other, earth, but the earth movable and without
form; because of these two do I conceive, did thy Scripture say without
mention of days, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
For, forthwith it subjoined what earth it spake of; and also in that the
firmament is recorded to be created the second day, and called heaven,
it conveys to us of which heaven he before spake, without mention of

"Wondrous depth of thy words! whose surface behold! is before us,
inviting to little ones; yet are they a wondrous depth, O my God, a
wondrous depth! It is awful to look therein; an awfulness of honor, and
a trembling of love. The enemies thereof I hate vehemently; O that thou
wouldst slay them with thy two-edged sword, that they might no longer be
enemies to it: for so do I love to have them slain unto themselves, that
they may live unto thee."

As an example of the hermeneutical manner in which St. Augustine
unfolded the concealed facts of the Scriptures, I may cite the following
from the thirteenth book of the "Confessions;" his object is to show
that the doctrine of the Trinity is contained in the Mosaic narrative of
the creation:

"Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass darkly, which is thou my
God, because thou, O Father, in him who is the beginning of our wisdom,
which is thy wisdom, born of thyself, equal unto thee and coeternal,
that is, in thy Son, createdst heaven and earth. Much now have we said
of the heaven of heavens, and of the earth invisible and without form,
and of the darksome deep, in reference to the wandering instability of
its spiritual deformity, unless it had been converted unto him, from
whom it had its then degree of life, and by his enlightening became a
beauteous life, and the heaven of that heaven, which was afterward
set between water and water. And under the name of God, I now held the
Father, who made these things; and under the name of the beginning, the
Son, in whom he made these things; and believing, as I did, my God as
the Trinity, I searched further in his holy words, and lo! thy Spirit
moved upon the waters. Behold the Trinity, my God!--Father, and Son, and
Holy Ghost Creator of all creation."

That I might convey to my reader a just impression of the character of
St. Augustine's philosophical writings, I have, in the two quotations
here given, substituted for my own translation that of the Rev. Dr.
Pusey, as contained in Vol. I. of the "Library of Fathers of the Holy
Catholic Church," published at Oxford, 1840.

Considering the eminent authority which has been attributed to the
writings of St. Augustine by the religious world for nearly fifteen
centuries, it is proper to speak of them with respect. And indeed it
is not necessary to do otherwise. The paragraphs here quoted criticise
themselves. No one did more than this Father to bring science and
religion into antagonism; it was mainly he who diverted the Bible
from its true office--a guide to purity of life--and placed it in the
perilous position of being the arbiter of human knowledge, an audacious
tyranny over the mind of man. The example once set, there was no want of
followers; the works of the great Greek philosophers were stigmatized
as profane; the transcendently glorious achievements of the Museum of
Alexandria were hidden from sight by a cloud of ignorance, mysticism,
and unintelligible jargon, out of which there too often flashed the
destroying lightnings of ecclesiastical vengeance.

A divine revelation of science admits of no improvement, no change, no
advance. It discourages as needless, and indeed as presumptuous, all new
discovery, considering it as an unlawful prying into things which it was
the intention of God to conceal.

What, then, is that sacred, that revealed science, declared by the
Fathers to be the sum of all knowledge?

It likened all phenomena, natural and spiritual, to human acts. It saw
in the Almighty, the Eternal, only a gigantic man.

THE PATRISTIC PHILOSOPHY. As to the earth, it affirmed that it is a flat
surface, over which the sky is spread like a dome, or, as St. Augustine
tells us, is stretched like a skin. In this the sun and moon and stars
move, so that they may give light by day and by night to man. The earth
was made of matter created by God out of nothing, and, with all the
tribes of animals and plants inhabiting it, was finished in six days.
Above the sky or firmament is heaven; in the dark and fiery space
beneath the earth is hell. The earth is the central and most important
body of the universe, all other things being intended for and
subservient to it.

As to man, he was made out of the dust of the earth. At first he was
alone, but subsequently woman was formed from one of his ribs. He is the
greatest and choicest of the works of God. He was placed in a paradise
near the banks of the Euphrates, and was very wise and very pure; but,
having tasted of the forbidden fruit, and thereby broken the commandment
given to him, he was condemned to labor and to death.

The descendants of the first man, undeterred by his punishment, pursued
such a career of wickedness that it became necessary to destroy them. A
deluge, therefore, flooded the face of the earth, and rose over the tops
of the mountains. Having accomplished its purpose, the water was dried
up by a wind.

From this catastrophe Noah and his three sons, with their wives, were
saved in an ark. Of these sons, Shem remained in Asia and repeopled it.
Ham peopled Africa; Japhet, Europe. As the Fathers were not acquainted
with the existence of America, they did not provide an ancestor for its

Let us listen to what some of these authorities say in support of their
assertions. Thus Lactantius, referring to the heretical doctrine of the
globular form of the earth, remarks: "Is it possible that men can be so
absurd as to believe that the crops and the trees on the other side of
the earth hang downward, and that men have their feet higher than their
heads? If you ask them how they defend these monstrosities, how things
do not fall away from the earth on that side, they reply that the nature
of things is such that heavy bodies tend toward the centre, like the
spokes of a wheel, while light bodies, as clouds, smoke, fire, tend from
the centre to the heavens on all sides. Now, I am really at a loss what
to say of those who, when they have once gone wrong, steadily persevere
in their folly, and defend one absurd opinion by another." On the
question of the antipodes, St. Augustine asserts that "it is impossible
there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of the earth, since
no such race is recorded by Scripture among the descendants of Adam."
Perhaps, however, the most unanswerable argument against the sphericity
of the earth was this, that "in the day of judgment, men on the other
side of a globe could not see the Lord descending through the air."

It is unnecessary for me to say any thing respecting the introduction of
death into the world, the continual interventions of spiritual agencies
in the course of events, the offices of angels and devils, the expected
conflagration of the earth, the tower of Babel, the confusion of
tongues, the dispersion of mankind, the interpretation of natural
phenomena, as eclipses, the rainbow, etc. Above all, I abstain from
commenting on the Patristic conceptions of the Almighty; they are too
anthropomorphic, and wanting in sublimity.

Perhaps, however, I may quote from Cosmas Indicopleustes the views
that were entertained in the sixth century. He wrote a work entitled
"Christian Topography," the chief intent of which was to confute the
heretical opinion of the globular form of the earth, and the pagan
assertion that there is a temperate zone on the southern side of the
torrid. He affirms that, according to the true orthodox system of
geography, the earth is a quadrangular plane, extending four hundred
days' journey east and west, and exactly half as much north and south;
that it is inclosed by mountains, on which the sky rests; that one on
the north side, huger than the others, by intercepting the rays of the
sun, produces night; and that the plane of the earth is not set exactly
horizontally, but with a little inclination from the north: hence the
Euphrates, Tigris, and other rivers, running southward, are rapid; but
the Nile, having to run up-hill, has necessarily a very slow current.

The Venerable Bede, writing in the seventh century, tells us that "the
creation was accomplished in six days, and that the earth is its centre
and its primary object. The heaven is of a fiery and subtile nature,
round, and equidistant in every part, as a canopy from the centre of the
earth. It turns round every day with ineffable rapidity, only moderated
by the resistance of the seven planets, three above the sun--Saturn,
Jupiter, Mars--then the sun; three below--Venus, Mercury, the moon. The
stars go round in their fixed courses, the northern perform the shortest
circle. The highest heaven has its proper limit; it contains the angelic
virtues who descend upon earth, assume ethereal bodies, perform human
functions, and return. The heaven is tempered with glacial waters, lest
it should be set on fire. The inferior heaven is called the firmament,
because it separates the superincumbent waters from the waters below.
The firmamental waters are lower than the spiritual heaven, higher than
all corporeal beings, reserved, some say, for a second deluge; others,
more truly, to temper the fire of the fixed stars."

Was it for this preposterous scheme--this product of ignorance and
audacity--that the works of the Greek philosophers were to be given
up? It was none too soon that the great critics who appeared at the
Reformation, by comparing the works of these writers with one another,
brought them to their proper level, and taught us to look upon them all
with contempt.

Of this presumptuous system, the strangest part was its logic, the
nature of its proofs. It relied upon miracle-evidence. A fact was
supposed to be demonstrated by an astounding illustration of something
else! An Arabian writer, referring to this, says: "If a conjurer should
say to me, 'Three are more than ten, and in proof of it I will change
this stick into a serpent,' I might be surprised at his legerdemain,
but I certainly should not admit his assertion." Yet, for more than
a thousand years, such was the accepted logic, and all over Europe
propositions equally absurd were accepted on equally ridiculous proof.

Since the party that had become dominant in the empire could not furnish
works capable of intellectual competition with those of the great pagan
authors, and since it was impossible for it to accept a position of
inferiority, there arose a political necessity for the discouragement,
and even persecution, of profane learning. The persecution of the
Platonists under Valentinian was due to that necessity. They were
accused of magic, and many of them were put to death. The profession
of philosophy had become dangerous--it was a state crime. In its stead
there arose a passion for the marvelous, a spirit of superstition. Egypt
exchanged the great men, who had made her Museum immortal, for bands of
solitary monks and sequestered virgins, with which she was overrun.



     The Egyptians insist on the introduction of the worship of
     the Virgin Mary--They are resisted by Nestor, the Patriarch
     of Constantinople, but eventually, through their influence
     with the emperor, cause Nestor's exile and the dispersion of
     his followers.

     Prelude to the Southern Reformation--The Persian attack; its
     moral effects.

     The Arabian Reformation.--Mohammed is brought in contact
     with the Nestorians--He adopts and extends their principles,
     rejecting the worship of the Virgin, the doctrine of the
     Trinity, and every thing in opposition to the unity of God.--
     He extinguishes idolatry in Arabia, by force, and prepares
     to make war on the Roman Empire.--His successors conquer
     Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, and invade

     As the result of this conflict, the doctrine of the unity of
     God was established in the greater part of the Roman Empire--
     The cultivation of science was restored, and Christendom
     lost many of her most illustrious capitals, as Alexandria,
     Carthage, and, above all, Jerusalem.

THE policy of the Byzantine court had given to primitive Christianity a
paganized form, which it had spread over all the idolatrous populations
constituting the empire. There had been an amalgamation of the two
parties. Christianity had modified paganism, paganism had modified
Christianity. The limits of this adulterated religion were the confines
of the Roman Empire. With this great extension there had come to the
Christian party political influence and wealth. No insignificant portion
of the vast public revenues found their way into the treasuries of the
Church. As under such circumstances must ever be the case, there were
many competitors for the spoils--men who, under the mask of zeal for the
predominant faith, sought only the enjoyment of its emoluments.

ECCLESIASTICAL DISPUTES. Under the early emperors, conquest had reached
its culmination; the empire was completed; there remained no adequate
objects for military life; the days of war-peculation, and the
plundering of provinces, were over. For the ambitious, however, another
path was open; other objects presented. A successful career in the
Church led to results not unworthy of comparison with those that in
former days had been attained by a successful career in the army.

The ecclesiastical, and indeed, it may be said, much of the political
history of that time, turns on the struggles of the bishops of the
three great metropolitan cities--Constantinople, Alexandria, Rome--for
supremacy: Constantinople based her claims on the fact that she was
the existing imperial city; Alexandria pointed to her commercial
and literary position; Rome, to her souvenirs. But the Patriarch of
Constantinople labored under the disadvantage that he was too closely
under the eye, and, as he found to his cost, too often under the hand,
of the emperor. Distance gave security to the episcopates of Alexandria
and Rome.

ECCLESIASTICAL DISPUTES. Religious disputations in the East have
generally turned on diversities of opinion respecting the nature and
attributes of God; in the West, on the relations and life of man. This
peculiarity has been strikingly manifested in the transformations that
Christianity has undergone in Asia and Europe respectively. Accordingly,
at the time of which we are speaking, all the Eastern provinces of
the Roman Empire exhibited an intellectual anarchy. There were fierce
quarrels respecting the Trinity, the essence of God, the position of the
Son, the nature of the Holy Spirit, the influences of the Virgin Mary.
The triumphant clamor first of one then of another sect was confirmed,
sometimes by miracle-proof, sometimes by bloodshed. No attempt was ever
made to submit the rival opinions to logical examination. All parties,
however, agreed in this, that the imposture of the old classical pagan
forms of faith was demonstrated by the facility with which they had been
overthrown. The triumphant ecclesiastics proclaimed that the images of
the gods had failed to defend themselves when the time of trial came.

Polytheistic ideas have always been held in repute by the southern
European races, the Semitic have maintained the unity of God. Perhaps
this is due to the fact, as a recent author has suggested, that a
diversified landscape of mountains and valleys, islands, and rivers, and
gulfs, predisposes man to a belief in a multitude of divinities. A vast
sandy desert, the illimitable ocean, impresses him with an idea of the
oneness of God.

Political reasons had led the emperors to look with favor on the
admixture of Christianity and paganism, and doubtless by this means the
bitterness of the rivalry between those antagonists was somewhat abated.
The heaven of the popular, the fashionable Christianity was the old
Olympus, from which the venerable Greek divinities had been removed.
There, on a great white throne, sat God the Father, on his right the
Son, and then the blessed Virgin, clad in a golden robe, and "covered
with various female adornments;" on the left sat God the Holy Ghost.
Surrounding these thrones were hosts of angels with their harps. The
vast expanse beyond was filled with tables, seated at which the happy
spirits of the just enjoyed a perpetual banquet.

If, satisfied with this picture of happiness, illiterate persons never
inquired how the details of such a heaven were carried out, or how much
pleasure there could be in the ennui of such an eternally unchanging,
unmoving scene, it was not so with the intelligent. As we are soon to
see, there were among the higher ecclesiastics those who rejected with
sentiments of horror these carnal, these materialistic conceptions, and
raised their protesting voices in vindication of the attributes of the
Omnipresent, the Almighty God.

EGYPTIAN DOCTRINES. In the paganization of religion, now in all
directions taking place, it became the interest of every bishop to
procure an adoption of the ideas which, time out of mind, had been
current in the community under his charge. The Egyptians had already
thus forced on the Church their peculiar Trinitarian views; and now they
were resolved that, under the form of the adoration of the Virgin Mary,
the worship of Isis should be restored.

THE NESTORIANS. It so happened that Nestor, the Bishop of Antioch, who
entertained the philosophical views of Theodore of Mopsuestia, had
been called by the Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the Episcopate
of Constantinople (A.D. 427). Nestor rejected the base popular
anthropomorphism, looking upon it as little better than blasphemous,
and pictured to himself an awful eternal Divinity, who pervaded the
universe, and had none of the aspects or attributes of man. Nestor
was deeply imbued with the doctrines of Aristotle, and attempted to
coordinate them with what he considered to be orthodox Christian tenets.
Between him and Cyril, the Bishop or Patriarch of Alexandria, a
quarrel accordingly arose. Cyril represented the paganizing, Nestor the
philosophizing party of the Church. This was that Cyril who had murdered
Hypatia. Cyril was determined that the worship of the Virgin as the
Mother of God should be recognized, Nestor was determined that it should
not. In a sermon delivered in the metropolitan church at Constantinople,
he vindicated the attributes of the Eternal, the Almighty God. "And can
this God have a mother?" he exclaimed. In other sermons and writings,
he set forth with more precision his ideas that the Virgin should be
considered not as the Mother of God, but as the mother of the human
portion of Christ, that portion being as essentially distinct from the
divine as is a temple from its contained deity.

PERSECUTION AND DEATH OF NESTOR. Instigated by the monks of Alexandria,
the monks of Constantinople took up arms in behalf of "the Mother of
God." The quarrel rose to such a pitch that the emperor was constrained
to summon a council to meet at Ephesus. In the mean time Cyril had
given a bribe of many pounds of gold to the chief eunuch of the imperial
court, and had thereby obtained the influence of the emperor's sister.
"The holy virgin of the court of heaven thus found an ally of her own
sex in the holy virgin of the emperor's court." Cyril hastened to the
council, attended by a mob of men and women of the baser sort. He
at once assumed the presidency, and in the midst of a tumult had the
emperor's rescript read before the Syrian bishops could arrive. A single
day served to complete his triumph. All offers of accommodation on the
part of Nestor were refused, his explanations were not read, he was
condemned unheard. On the arrival of the Syrian ecclesiastics, a meeting
of protest was held by them. A riot, with much bloodshed, ensued in the
cathedral of St. John. Nestor was abandoned by the court, and eventually
exiled to an Egyptian oasis. His persecutors tormented him as long as
he lived, by every means in their power, and at his death gave out that
"his blasphemous tongue had been devoured by worms, and that from the
heats of an Egyptian desert he had escaped only into the hotter torments
of hell!"

The overthrow and punishment of Nestor, however, by no means destroyed
his opinions. He and his followers, insisting on the plain inference of
the last verse of the first chapter of St. Matthew, together with the
fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth verses of the thirteenth of the same gospel,
could never be brought to an acknowledgment of the perpetual virginity
of the new queen of heaven. Their philosophical tendencies were soon
indicated by their actions. While their leader was tormented in an
African oasis, many of them emigrated to the Euphrates, and established
the Chaldean Church. Under their auspices the college of Edessa was
founded. From the college of Nisibis issued those doctors who spread
Nestor's tenets through Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, China, Egypt.
The Nestorians, of course, adopted the philosophy of Aristotle, and
translated the works of that great writer into Syriac and Persian. They
also made similar translations of later works, such as those of
Pliny. In connection with the Jews they founded the medical college
of Djondesabour. Their missionaries disseminated the Nestorian form of
Christianity to such an extent over Asia, that its worshipers eventually
outnumbered all the European Christians of the Greek and Roman Churches
combined. It may be particularly remarked that in Arabia they had a

THE PERSIAN CAMPAIGN. The dissensions between Constantinople and
Alexandria had thus filled all Western Asia with sectaries, ferocious
in their contests with each other, and many of them burning with hatred
against the imperial power for the persecutions it had inflicted on
them. A religious revolution, the consequences of which are felt in our
own times, was the result. It affected the whole world.

We shall gain a clear view of this great event, if we consider
separately the two acts into which it may be decomposed: 1. The
temporary overthrow of Asiatic Christianity by the Persians; 2. The
decisive and final reformation under the Arabians.

1. It happened (A.D. 590) that, by one of those revolutions so frequent
in Oriental courts, Chosroes, the lawful heir to the Persian throne, was
compelled to seek refuge in the Byzantine Empire, and implore the aid
of the Emperor Maurice. That aid was cheerfully given. A brief and
successful campaign restored Chosroes to the throne of his ancestors.

But the glories of this generous campaign could not preserve Maurice
himself. A mutiny broke out in the Roman army, headed by Phocas, a
centurion. The statues of the emperor were overthrown. The Patriarch
of Constantinople, having declared that he had assured himself of the
orthodoxy of Phocas, consecrated him emperor. The unfortunate Maurice
was dragged from a sanctuary, in which he had sought refuge; his five
sons were beheaded before his eyes, and then he was put to death. His
empress was inveigled from the church of St. Sophia, tortured, and
with her three young daughters beheaded. The adherents of the massacred
family were pursued with ferocious vindictiveness; of some the eyes were
blinded, of others the tongues were torn out, or the feet and hands cut
off, some were whipped to death, others were burnt.

When the news reached Rome, Pope Gregory received it with exultation,
praying that the hands of Phocas might be strengthened against all his
enemies. As an equivalent for this subserviency, he was greeted with the
title of "Universal Bishop." The cause of his action, as well as of that
of the Patriarch of Constantinople, was doubtless the fact that Maurice
was suspected of Magrian tendencies, into which he had been lured by the
Persians. The mob of Constantinople had hooted after him in the streets,
branding him as a Marcionite, a sect which believed in the Magian
doctrine of two conflicting principles.

With very different sentiments Chosroes heard of the murder of his
friend. Phocas had sent him the heads of Maurice and his sons. The
Persian king turned from the ghastly spectacle with horror, and at once
made ready to avenge the wrongs of his benefactor by war.

THE EXPEDITION OF HERACLIUS. The Exarch of Africa, Heraclius, one of
the chief officers of the state, also received the shocking tidings with
indignation. He was determined that the imperial purple should not be
usurped by an obscure centurion of disgusting aspect. "The person of
this Phocas was diminutive and deformed; the closeness of his shaggy
eyebrows, his red hair, his beardless chin, were in keeping with his
cheek, disfigured and discolored by a formidable scar. Ignorant of
letters, of laws, and even of arms, he indulged in an ample privilege of
lust and drunkenness." At first Heraclius refused tribute and obedience
to him; then, admonished by age and infirmities, he committed the
dangerous enterprise of resistance to his son of the same name. A
prosperous voyage from Carthage soon brought the younger Heraclius in
front of Constantinople. The inconstant clergy, senate, and people of
the city joined him, the usurper was seized in his palace and beheaded.

INVASION OF CHOSROES. But the revolution that had taken place in
Constantinople did not arrest the movements of the Persian king. His
Magian priests had warned him to act independently of the Greeks,
whose superstition, they declared, was devoid of all truth and justice.
Chosroes, therefore, crossed the Euphrates; his army was received with
transport by the Syrian sectaries, insurrections in his favor everywhere
breaking out. In succession, Antioch, Caesarea, Damascus fell; Jerusalem
itself was taken by storm; the sepulchre of Christ, the churches of
Constantine and of Helena were given to the flames; the Savior's cross
was sent as a trophy to Persia; the churches were rifled of their
riches; the sacred relics, collected by superstition, were dispersed.
Egypt was invaded, conquered, and annexed to the Persian Empire; the
Patriarch of Alexandria escaped by flight to Cyprus; the African coast
to Tripoli was seized. On the north, Asia Minor was subdued, and for
ten years the Persian forces encamped on the shores of the Bosporus, in
front of Constantinople.

In his extremity Heraclius begged for peace. "I will never give peace
to the Emperor of Rome," replied the proud Persian, "till he has abjured
his crucified God, and embraced the worship of the sun." After a long
delay terms were, however, secured, and the Roman Empire was ransomed at
the price of "a thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver,
a thousand silk robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins."

But Heraclius submitted only for a moment. He found means not only
to restore his affairs but to retaliate on the Persian Empire. The
operations by which he achieved this result were worthy of the most
brilliant days of Rome.

INVASION OF CHOSROES Though her military renown was thus recovered,
though her territory was regained, there was something that the Roman
Empire had irrecoverably lost. Religious faith could never be restored.
In face of the world Magianism had insulted Christianity, by profaning
her most sacred places--Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary--by burning
the sepulchre of Christ, by rifling and destroying the churches, by
scattering to the winds priceless relics, by carrying off, with shouts
of laughter, the cross.

Miracles had once abounded in Syria, in Egypt, in Asia Minor; there was
not a church which had not its long catalogue of them. Very often they
were displayed on unimportant occasions and in insignificant cases. In
this supreme moment, when such aid was most urgently demanded, not a
miracle was worked.

Amazement filled the Christian populations of the East when they
witnessed these Persian sacrileges perpetrated with impunity. The
heavens should have rolled asunder, the earth should have opened her
abysses, the sword of the Almighty should have flashed in the sky, the
fate of Sennacherib should have been repeated. But it was not so. In the
land of miracles, amazement was followed by consternation--consternation
died out in disbelief.

2. But, dreadful as it was, the Persian conquest was but a prelude to
the great event, the story of which we have now to relate--the Southern
revolt against Christianity. Its issue was the loss of nine-tenths of
her geographical possessions--Asia, Africa, and part of Europe.

MOHAMMED. In the summer of 581 of the Christian era, there came to
Bozrah, a town on the confines of Syria, south of Damascus, a caravan
of camels. It was from Mecca, and was laden with the costly products of
South Arabia--Arabia the Happy. The conductor of the caravan, one Abou
Taleb, and his nephew, a lad of twelve years, were hospitably received
and entertained at the Nestorian convent of the town.

The monks of this convent soon found that their young visitor, Halibi or
Mohammed, was the nephew of the guardian of the Caaba, the sacred temple
of the Arabs. One of them, by name Bahira, spared no pains to secure his
conversion from the idolatry in which he had been brought up. He found
the boy not only precociously intelligent, but eagerly desirous of
information, especially on matters relating to religion.

In Mohammed's own country the chief object of Meccan worship was a
black meteoric stone, kept in the Caaba, with three hundred and sixty
subordinate idols, representing the days of the year, as the year was
then counted.

At this time, as we have seen, the Christian Church, through the
ambition and wickedness of its clergy, had been brought into a condition
of anarchy. Councils had been held on various pretenses, while the real
motives were concealed. Too often they were scenes of violence, bribery,
corruption. In the West, such were the temptations of riches, luxury,
and power, presented by the episcopates, that the election of a bishop
was often disgraced by frightful murders. In the East, in consequence of
the policy of the court of Constantinople, the Church had been torn in
pieces by contentions and schisms. Among a countless host of disputants
may be mentioned Arians, Basilidians, Carpocratians, Collyridians,
Eutychians, Gnostics, Jacobites, Marcionites, Marionites, Nestorians,
Sabellians, Valentinians. Of these, the Marionites regarded the Trinity
as consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Virgin Mary;
the Collyridians worshiped the Virgin as a divinity, offering her
sacrifices of cakes; the Nestorians, as we have seen, denied that God
had "a mother." They prided themselves on being the inheritors, the
possessors of the science of old Greece.

But, though they were irreconcilable in matters of faith, there was one
point in which all these sects agreed--ferocious hatred and persecution
of each other. Arabia, an unconquered land of liberty, stretching from
the Indian Ocean to the Desert of Syria, gave them all, as the tide
of fortune successively turned, a refuge. It had been so from the old
times. Thither, after the Roman conquest of Palestine, vast numbers of
Jews escaped; thither, immediately after his conversion, St. Paul
tells the Galatians that he retired. The deserts were now filled with
Christian anchorites, and among the chief tribes of the Arabs many
proselytes had been made. Here and there churches had been built. The
Christian princes of Abyssinia, who were Nestorians, held the southern
province of Arabia--Yemen--in possession.

By the monk Bahira, in the convent at Bozrah, Mohammed was taught the
tenets of the Nestorians; from them the young Arab learned the story of
their persecutions. It was these interviews which engendered in him a
hatred of the idolatrous practices of the Eastern Church, and indeed of
all idolatry; that taught him, in his wonderful career, never to speak
of Jesus as the Son of God, but always as "Jesus, the son of Mary." His
untutored but active mind could not fail to be profoundly impressed not
only with the religious but also with the philosophical ideas of
his instructors, who gloried in being the living representatives of
Aristotelian science. His subsequent career shows how completely their
religious thoughts had taken possession of him, and repeated acts
manifest his affectionate regard for them. His own life was devoted to
the expansion and extension of their theological doctrine, and, that
once effectually established, his successors energetically adopted and
diffused their scientific, their Aristotelian opinions.

As Mohammed grew to manhood, he made other expeditions to Syria.
Perhaps, we may suppose, that on these occasions the convent and its
hospitable in mates were not forgotten. He had a mysterious reverence
for that country. A wealthy Meccan widow Chadizah, had intrusted him
with the care of her Syrian trade. She was charmed with his capacity
and fidelity, and (since he is said to have been characterized by the
possession of singular manly beauty and a most courteous demeanor)
charmed with his person. The female heart in all ages and countries is
the same. She caused a slave to intimate to him what was passing in her
mind, and, for the remaining twenty-four years of her life, Mohammed was
her faithful husband. In a land of polygamy, he never insulted her by
the presence of a rival. Many years subsequently, in the height of his
power, Ayesha, who was one of the most beautiful women in Arabia, said
to him: "Was she not old? Did not God give you in me a better wife in
her place?" "No, by God!" exclaimed Mohammed, and with a burst of honest
gratitude, "there never can be a better. She believed in me when men
despised me, she relieved me when I was poor and persecuted by the

His marriage with Chadizah placed him in circumstances of ease, and gave
him an opportunity of indulging his inclination to religious meditation.
It so happened that her cousin Waraka, who was a Jew, had turned
Christian. He was the first to translate the Bible into Arabic. By his
conversation Mohammed's detestation of idolatry was confirmed.

After the example of the Christian anchorites in their hermitages in
the desert, Mohammed retired to a grotto in Mount Hera, a few miles from
Mecca, giving himself up to meditation and prayer. In this seclusion,
contemplating the awful attributes of the Omnipotent and Eternal God, he
addressed to his conscience the solemn inquiry, whether he could adopt
the dogmas then held in Asiatic Christendom respecting the Trinity, the
sonship of Jesus as begotten by the Almighty, the character of Mary as
at once a virgin, a mother, and the queen of heaven, without incurring
the guilt and the peril of blasphemy.

By his solitary meditations in the grotto Mohammed was drawn to the
conclusion that, through the cloud of dogmas and disputations around
him, one great truth might be discerned--the unity of God. Leaning
against the stem of a palm-tree, he unfolded his views on this subject
to his neighbors and friends, and announced to them that he should
dedicate his life to the preaching of that truth. Again and again, in
his sermons and in the Koran, he declared: "I am nothing but a public
preacher.... I preach the oneness of God." Such was his own conception
of his so-called apostleship. Henceforth, to the day of his death, he
wore on his finger a seal-ring on which was engraved, "Mohammed, the
messenger of God."

VICTORIES OF MOHAMMED. It is well known among physicians that prolonged
fasting and mental anxiety inevitably give rise to hallucination.
Perhaps there never has been any religious system introduced by
self-denying, earnest men that did not offer examples of supernatural
temptations and supernatural commands. Mysterious voices encouraged the
Arabian preacher to persist in his determination; shadows of strange
forms passed before him. He heard sounds in the air like those of a
distant bell. In a nocturnal dream he was carried by Gabriel from Mecca
to Jerusalem, and thence in succession through the six heavens. Into the
seventh the angel feared to intrude and Mohammed alone passed into the
dread cloud that forever enshrouds the Almighty. "A shiver thrilled his
heart as he felt upon his shoulder the touch of the cold hand of God."

His public ministrations met with much resistance and little success at
first. Expelled from Mecca by the upholders of the prevalent idolatry,
he sought refuge in Medina, a town in which there were many Jews and
Nestorians; the latter at once became proselytes to his faith. He had
already been compelled to send his daughter and others of his disciples
to Abyssinia, the king of which was a Nestorian Christian. At the end of
six years he had made only fifteen hundred converts. But in three little
skirmishes, magnified in subsequent times by the designation of the
battles of Beder, of Ohud, and of the Nations, Mohammed discovered that
his most convincing argument was his sword. Afterward, with Oriental
eloquence, he said, "Paradise will be found in the shadow of the
crossing of swords." By a series of well-conducted military operations,
his enemies were completely overthrown. Arabian idolatry was absolutely
exterminated; the doctrine he proclaimed, that "there is but one God,"
was universally adopted by his countrymen, and his own apostleship

DEATH OF MOHAMMED. Let us pass over his stormy life, and hear what
he says when, on the pinnacle of earthly power and glory, he was
approaching its close.

Steadfast in his declaration of the unity of God, he departed from
Medina on his last pilgrimage to Mecca, at the head of one hundred
and fourteen thousand devotees, with camels decorated with garlands of
flowers and fluttering streamers. When he approached the holy city, he
uttered the solemn invocation: "Here am I in thy service, O God! Thou
hast no companion. To thee alone belongeth worship. Thine alone is the
kingdom. There is none to share it with thee."

With his own hand he offered up the camels in sacrifice. He considered
that primeval institution to be equally sacred as prayer, and that no
reason can be alleged in support of the one which is not equally strong
in support of the other.

From the pulpit of the Caaba he reiterated, "O my hearers, I am only a
man like yourselves." They remembered that he had once said to one who
approached him with timid steps: "Of what dost thou stand in awe? I am
no king. I am nothing but the son of an Arab woman, who ate flesh dried
in the sun."

He returned to Medina to die. In his farewell to his congregation, he
said: "Every thing happens according to the will of God, and has its
appointed time, which can neither be hastened nor avoided. I return to
him who sent me, and my last command to you is, that ye love, honor, and
uphold each other, that ye exhort each other to faith and constancy in
belief, and to the performance of pious deeds. My life has been for your
good, and so will be my death."

In his dying agony, his head was reclined on the lap of Ayesha. From
time to time he had dipped his hand in a vase of water, and moistened
his face. At last he ceased, and, gazing steadfastly upward, said, in
broken accents: "O God--forgive my sins--be it so. I come."

Shall we speak of this man with disrespect? His precepts are, at this
day, the religious guide of one-third of the human race.

DOCTRINES OF MOHAMMED. In Mohammed, who had already broken away from the
ancient idolatrous worship of his native country, preparation had been
made for the rejection of those tenets which his Nestorian teachers
had communicated to him, inconsistent with reason and conscience. And,
though, in the first pages of the Koran, he declares his belief in what
was delivered to Moses and Jesus, and his reverence for them personally,
his veneration for the Almighty is perpetually displayed. He is
horror-stricken at the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus, the Worship of
Mary as the mother of God, the adoration of images and paintings, in
his eyes a base idolatry. He absolutely rejects the Trinity, of which
he seems to have entertained the idea that it could not be interpreted
otherwise than as presenting three distinct Gods.

His first and ruling idea was simply religious reform--to overthrow
Arabian idolatry, and put an end to the wild sectarianism of
Christianity. That he proposed to set up a new religion was a calumny
invented against him in Constantinople, where he was looked upon with
detestation, like that with which in after ages Luther was regarded in

But, though he rejected with indignation whatever might seem to
disparage the doctrine of the unity of God, he was not able to
emancipate himself from anthropomorphic conceptions. The God of the
Koran is altogether human, both corporeally and mentally, if such
expressions may with propriety be used. Very soon, however, the
followers of Mohammed divested themselves of these base ideas and rose
to nobler ones.

The view here presented of the primitive character of Mohammedanism
has long been adopted by many competent authorities. Sir William
Jones, following Locke, regards the main point in the divergence of
Mohammedanism from Christianity to consist "in denying vehemently the
character of our Savior as the Son, and his equality as God with the
Father, of whose unity and attributes the Mohammedans entertain and
express the most awful ideas." This opinion has been largely entertained
in Italy. Dante regarded Mohammed only as the author of a schism, and
saw in Islamism only an Arian sect. In England, Whately views it as a
corruption of Christianity. It was an offshoot of Nestorianism, and not
until it had overthrown Greek Christianity in many great battles, was
spreading rapidly over Asia and Africa, and had become intoxicated
with its wonderful successes, did it repudiate its primitive limited
intentions, and assert itself to be founded on a separate and distinct

THE FIRST KHALIF. Mohammed's life had been almost entirely consumed
in the conversion or conquest of his native country. Toward its close,
however, he felt himself strong enough to threaten the invasion of Syria
and Persia. He had made no provision for the perpetuation of his own
dominion, and hence it was not without a struggle that a successor was
appointed. At length Abubeker, the father of Ayesha, was selected. He
was proclaimed the first khalif, or successor of the Prophet.

There is a very important difference between the spread of Mohammedanism
and the spread of Christianity. The latter was never sufficiently
strong to over throw and extirpate idolatry in the Roman Empire. As it
advanced, there was an amalgamation, a union. The old forms of the one
were vivified by the new spirit of the other, and that paganization to
which reference has already been made was the result.

THE MOHAMMEDAN HEAVEN. But, in Arabia, Mohammed overthrew and absolutely
annihilated the old idolatry. No trace of it is found in the doctrines
preached by him and his successors. The black stone that had fallen from
heaven--the meteorite of the Caaba--and its encircling idols, passed
totally out of view. The essential dogma of the new faith--"There is but
one God"--spread without any adulteration. Military successes had, in a
worldly sense made the religion of the Koran profitable; and, no matter
what dogmas may be, when that is the case, there will be plenty of

As to the popular doctrines of Mohammedanism, I shall here have nothing
to say. The reader who is interested in that matter will find an account
of them in a review of the Koran in the eleventh chapter of my "History
of the Intellectual Development of Europe." It is enough now to remark
that their heaven was arranged in seven stories, and was only a palace
of Oriental carnal delight. It was filled with black-eyed concubines
and servants. The form of God was, perhaps, more awful than that
of paganized Christianity. Anthropomorphism will, however, never be
obliterated from the ideas of the unintellectual. Their God, at the
best, will never be any thing more than the gigantic shadow of a man--a
vast phantom of humanity--like one of those Alpine spectres seen in the
midst of the clouds by him who turns his back on the sun.

Abubeker had scarcely seated himself in the khalifate, when he put forth
the following proclamation:

In the name of the most merciful God! Abubeker to the rest of the true
believers, health and happiness. The mercy and blessing of God be upon
you. I praise the most high God. I pray for his prophet Mohammed.

INVASION OF SYRIA. "This is to inform you that I intend to send the true
believers into Syria, to take it out of the hands of the infidels. And
I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of
obedience to God."

On the first encounter, Khaled, the Saracen general, hard pressed,
lifted up his hands in the midst of his army and said: "O God! these
vile wretches pray with idolatrous expressions and take to themselves
another God besides thee, but we acknowledge thy unity and affirm that
there is no other God but thee alone. Help us, we beseech thee, for the
sake of thy prophet Mohammed, against these idolaters." On the part of
the Saracens the conquest of Syria was conducted with ferocious piety.
The belief of the Syrian Christians aroused in their antagonists
sentiments of horror and indignation. "I will cleave the skull of any
blaspheming idolater who says that the Most Holy God, the Almighty
and Eternal, has begotten a son." The Khalif Omar, who took Jerusalem,
commences a letter to Heraclius, the Roman emperor: "In the name of the
most merciful God! Praise be to God, the Lord of this and of the other
world, who has neither female consort nor son." The Saracens nicknamed
the Christians "Associators," because they joined Mary and Jesus as
partners with the Almighty and Most Holy God.

It was not the intention of the khalif to command his army; that duty
was devolved on Abou Obeidah nominally, on Khaled in reality. In a
parting review the khalif enjoined on his troops justice, mercy, and the
observance of fidelity in their engagements he commanded them to abstain
from all frivolous conversation and from wine, and rigorously to observe
the hours of prayer; to be kind to the common people among whom they
passed, but to show no mercy to their priests.

FALL OF BOZRAH. Eastward of the river Jordan is Bozrah, a strong town
where Mohammed had first met his Nestorian Christian instructors. It was
one of the Roman forts with which the country was dotted over. Before
this place the Saracen army encamped. The garrison was strong, the
ramparts were covered with holy crosses and consecrated banners. It
might have made a long defense. But its governor, Romanus, betrayed his
trust, and stealthily opened its gates to the besiegers. His conduct
shows to what a deplorable condition the population of Syria had come.
After the surrender, in a speech he made to the people he had betrayed,
he said: "I renounce your society, both in this world and that to come.
And I deny him that was crucified, and whosoever worships him. And I
choose God for my Lord, Islam for my faith, Mecca for my temple, the
Moslems for my brethren, Mohammed for my prophet, who was sent to lead
us in the right way, and to exalt the true religion in spite of those
who join partners with God." Since the Persian invasion, Asia Minor,
Syria, and even Palestine, were full of traitors and apostates, ready to
join the Saracens. Romanus was but one of many thousands who had fallen
into disbelief through the victories of the Persians.

FALL OF DAMASCUS. From Bozrah it was only seventy miles northward to
Damascus, the capital of Syria. Thither, without delay, the Saracen army
marched. The city was at once summoned to take its option--conversion,
tribute, or the sword. In his palace at Antioch, barely one hundred and
fifty miles still farther north, the Emperor Heraclius received tidings
of the alarming advance of his assailants. He at once dispatched an army
of seventy thousand men. The Saracens were compelled to raise the
siege. A battle took place in the plains of Aiznadin, the Roman army
was overthrown and dispersed. Khaled reappeared before Damascus with his
standard of the black eagle, and after a renewed investment of seventy
days Damascus surrendered.

From the Arabian historians of these events we may gather that thus far
the Saracen armies were little better than a fanatic mob. Many of the
men fought naked. It was not unusual for a warrior to stand forth in
front and challenge an antagonist to mortal duel. Nay, more, even the
women engaged in the combats. Picturesque narratives have been
handed down to us relating the gallant manner in which they acquitted

FALL OF JERUSALEM. From Damascus the Saracen army advanced northward,
guided by the snow-clad peaks of Libanus and the beautiful river
Orontes. It captured on its way Baalbec, the capital of the Syrian
valley, and Emesa, the chief city of the eastern plain. To resist its
further progress, Heraclius collected an army of one hundred and forty
thousand men. A battle took place at Yermuck; the right wing of the
Saracens was broken, but the soldiers were driven back to the field by
the fanatic expostulations of their women. The conflict ended in
the complete overthrow of the Roman army. Forty thousand were taken
prisoners, and a vast number killed. The whole country now lay open to
the victors. The advance of their army had been east of the Jordan.
It was clear that, before Asia Minor could be touched, the strong and
important cities of Palestine, which was now in their rear, must be
secured. There was a difference of opinion among the generals in the
field as to whether Caesarea or Jerusalem should be assailed first. The
matter was referred to the khalif, who, rightly preferring the moral
advantages of the capture of Jerusalem to the military advantages of the
capture of Caesarea, ordered the Holy City to be taken, and that at any
cost. Close siege was therefore laid to it. The inhabitants, remembering
the atrocities inflicted by the Persians, and the indignities that had
been offered to the Savior's sepulchre, prepared now for a vigorous
defense. But, after an investment of four months, the Patriarch
Sophronius appeared on the wall, asking terms of capitulation. There had
been misunderstandings among the generals at the capture of Damascus,
followed by a massacre of the fleeing inhabitants. Sophronius,
therefore, stipulated that the surrender of Jerusalem should take place
in presence of the khalif himself Accordingly, Omar, the khalif, came
from Medina for that purpose. He journeyed on a red camel, carrying
a bag of corn and one of dates, a wooden dish, and a leathern
water-bottle. The Arab conqueror entered the Holy City riding by the
side of the Christian patriarch and the transference of the capital of
Christianity to the representative of Mohammedanism was effected without
tumult or outrage. Having ordered that a mosque should be built on the
site of the temple of Solomon, the khalif returned to the tomb of the
Prophet at Medina.

Heraclius saw plainly that the disasters which were fast settling on
Christianity were due to the dissensions of its conflicting sects; and
hence, while he endeavored to defend the empire with his armies, he
sedulously tried to compose those differences. With this view he pressed
for acceptance the Monothelite doctrine of the nature of Christ. But it
was now too late. Aleppo and Antioch were taken. Nothing could prevent
the Saracens from overrunning Asia Minor. Heraclius himself had to seek
safety in flight. Syria, which had been added by Pompey the Great,
the rival of Caesar, to the provinces of Rome, seven hundred years
previously--Syria, the birthplace of Christianity, the scene of its most
sacred and precious souvenirs, the land from which Heraclius himself had
once expelled the Persian intruder--was irretrievably lost. Apostates
and traitors had wrought this calamity. We are told that, as the ship
which bore him to Constantinople parted from the shore, Heraclius
gazed intently on the receding hills, and in the bitterness of anguish
exclaimed, "Farewell, Syria, forever farewell!"

It is needless to dwell on the remaining details of the Saracen
conquest: how Tripoli and Tyre were betrayed; how Caesarea was captured;
how with the trees of Libanus and the sailors of Phoenicia a Saraeen
fleet was equipped, which drove the Roman navy into the Hellespont; how
Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades, were ravaged, and the Colossus, which
was counted as one of the wonders of the world, sold to a Jew, who
loaded nine hundred camels with its brass; how the armies of the khalif
advanced to the Black Sea, and even lay in front of Constantinople--all
this was as nothing after the fall of Jerusalem.

OVERTHROW OF THE PERSIANS. The fall of Jerusalem! the loss of
the metropolis of Christianity! In the ideas of that age the two
antagonistic forms of faith had submitted themselves to the ordeal of
the judgment of God. Victory had awarded the prize of battle, Jerusalem,
to the Mohammedan; and, notwithstanding the temporary successes of the
Crusaders, after much more than a thousand years in his hands it remains
to this day. The Byzantine historians are not without excuse for the
course they are condemned for taking: "They have wholly neglected the
great topic of the ruin of the Eastern Church." And as for the Western
Church, even the debased popes of the middle ages--the ages of the
Crusades--could not see without indignation that they were compelled
to rest the claims of Rome as the metropolis of Christendom on a false
legendary story of a visit of St. Peter to that city; while the true
metropolis, the grand, the sacred place of the birth, the life, the
death of Christ himself, was in the hands of the infidels! It has not
been the Byzantine historians alone who have tried to conceal this great
catastrophe. The Christian writers of Europe on all manner of subjects,
whether of history, religion, or science, have followed a similar
course against their conquering antagonists. It has been their constant
practice to hide what they could not depreciate, and depreciate what
they could not hide.

INVASION OF EGYPT. I have not space, nor indeed does it comport with the
intention of this work, to relate, in such detail as I have given to
the fall of Jerusalem, other conquests of the Saracens--conquests which
eventually established a Mohammedan empire far exceeding in geographical
extent that of Alexander, and even that of Rome. But, devoting a few
words to this subject, it may be said that Magianism received a worse
blow than that which had been inflicted on Christianity; The fate of
Persia was settled at the battle of Cadesia. At the sack of Ctesiphon,
the treasury, the royal arms, and an unlimited spoil, fell into the
hands of the Saracens. Not without reason do they call the battle of
Nehavend the "victory of victories." In one direction they advanced to
the Caspian, in the other southward along the Tigris to Persepolis.
The Persian king fled for his life over the great Salt Desert, from the
columns and statues of that city which had lain in ruins since the night
of the riotous banquet of Alexander. One division of the Arabian army
forced the Persian monarch over the Oxus. He was assassinated by the
Turks. His son was driven into China, and became a captain in the
Chinese emperor's guards. The country beyond the Oxus was reduced.
It paid a tribute of two million pieces of gold. While the emperor
at Peking was demanding the friendship of the khalif at Medina, the
standard of the Prophet was displayed on the banks of the Indus.

Among the generals who had greatly distinguished themselves in the
Syrian wars was Amrou, destined to be the conqueror of Egypt; for the
khalifs, not content with their victories on the North and East, now
turned their eyes to the West, and prepared for the annexation of
Africa. As in the former cases, so in this, sectarian treason assisted
them. The Saracen army was hailed as the deliverer of the Jacobite
Church; the Monophysite Christians of Egypt, that is, they who, in the
language of the Athanasian Creed, confounded the substance of the
Son, proclaimed, through their leader, Mokaukas, that they desired no
communion with the Greeks, either in this world or the next, that they
abjured forever the Byzantine tyrant and his synod of Chalcedon. They
hastened to pay tribute to the khalif, to repair the roads and bridges,
and to supply provisions and intelligence to the invading army.

FALL OF ALEXANDRIA. Memphis, one of the old Pharaonic capitals, soon
fell, and Alexandria was invested. The open sea behind gave opportunity
to Heraclius to reenforce the garrison continually. On his part, Omar,
who was now khalif sent to the succor of the besieging army the veteran
troops of Syria. There were many assaults and many sallies. In one Amrou
himself was taken prisoner by the besieged, but, through the dexterity
of a slave, made his escape. After a siege of fourteen months, and a
loss of twenty-three thousand men, the Saracens captured the city. In
his dispatch to the Khalif, Amrou enumerated the splendors of the great
city of the West "its four thousand palaces, four thousand baths, four
hundred theatres, twelve thousand shops for the sale of vegetable food,
and forty thousand tributary Jews."

So fell the second great city of Christendom--the fate of Jerusalem had
fallen on Alexandria, the city of Athanasius, and Arius, and Cyril; the
city that had imposed Trinitarian ideas and Mariolatry on the Church.
In his palace at Constantinople Heraclius received the fatal tidings.
He was overwhelmed with grief. It seemed as if his reign was to be
disgraced by the downfall of Christianity. He lived scarcely a month
after the loss of the town.

But if Alexandria had been essential to Constantinople in the supply
of orthodox faith, she was also essential in the supply of daily food.
Egypt was the granary of the Byzantines. For this reason two attempts
were made by powerful fleets and armies for the recovery of the place,
and twice had Amrou to renew his conquest. He saw with what facility
these attacks could be made, the place being open to the sea; he saw
that there was but one and that a fatal remedy. "By the living God, if
this thing be repeated a third time I will make Alexandria as open to
anybody as is the house of a prostitute!" He was better than his word,
for he forthwith dismantled its fortifications, and made it an untenable

FALL OF CARTHAGE. It was not the intention of the khalifs to limit their
conquest to Egypt. Othman contemplated the annexation of the entire
North-African coast. His general, Abdallah, set out from Memphis with
forty thousand men, passed through the desert of Barca, and besieged
Tripoli. But, the plague breaking out in his army, he was compelled to
retreat to Egypt.

All attempts were now suspended for more than twenty years. Then Akbah
forced his way from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean. In front of the
Canary Islands he rode his horse into the sea, exclaiming: "Great God!
if my course were not stopped by this sea, I would still go on to the
unknown kingdoms of the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and
putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship any other gods
than thee."

These Saracen expeditions had been through the interior of the country,
for the Byzantine emperors, controlling for the time the Mediterranean,
had retained possession of the cities on the coast. The Khalif
Abdalmalek at length resolved on the reduction of Carthage, the most
important of those cities, and indeed the capital of North Africa.
His general, Hassan, carried it by escalade; but reenforcements from
Constantinople, aided by some Sicilian and Gothic troops, compelled
him to retreat. The relief was, however, only temporary. Hassan, in the
course of a few months renewed his attack. It proved successful, and he
delivered Carthage to the flames.

Jerusalem, Alexandria, Carthage, three out of the five great Christian
capitals, were lost. The fall of Constantinople was only a question of
time. After its fall, Rome alone remained.

In the development of Christianity, Carthage had played no insignificant
part. It had given to Europe its Latin form of faith, and some of its
greatest theologians. It was the home of St. Augustine.

Never in the history of the world had there been so rapid and extensive
a propagation of any religion as Mohammedanism. It was now dominating
from the Altai Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, from the centre of Asia
to the western verge of Africa.

CONQUEST OF SPAIN. The Khalif Alwalid next authorized the invasion of
Europe, the conquest of Andalusia, or the Region of the Evening.
Musa, his general, found, as had so often been the case elsewhere, two
effective allies sectarianism and treason--the Archbishop of Toledo and
Count Julian the Gothic general. Under their lead, in the very crisis
of the battle of Xeres, a large portion of the army went over to the
invaders; the Spanish king was compelled to flee from the field, and in
the pursuit he was drowned in the waters of the Guadalquivir.

With great rapidity Tarik, the lieutenant of Musa, pushed forward from
the battle-field to Toledo, and thence northward. On the arrival of Musa
the reduction of the Spanish peninsula was completed, and the wreck of
the Gothic army driven beyond the Pyrenees into France. Considering the
conquest of Spain as only the first step in his victories, he announced
his intention of forcing his way into Italy, and preaching the unity of
God in the Vatican. Thence he would march to Constantinople, and, having
put all end to the Roman Empire and Christianity, would pass into Asia
and lay his victorious sword on the footstool of the khalif at Damascus.

But this was not to be. Musa, envious of his lieutenant, Tarik, had
treated him with great indignity. The friends of Tarik at the court of
the khalif found means of retaliation. An envoy from Damascus arrested
Musa in his camp; he was carried before his sovereign, disgraced by a
public whipping, and died of a broken heart.

INVASION OF FRANCE. Under other leaders, however, the Saracen conquest
of France was attempted. In a preliminary campaign the country from the
mouth of the Garonne to that of the Loire was secured. Then Abderahman,
the Saracen commander, dividing his forces into two columns, with one
on the east passed the Rhone, and laid siege to Arles. A Christian army,
attempting the relief of the place, was defeated with heavy loss.
His western column, equally successful, passed the Dordogne, defeated
another Christian army, inflicting on it such dreadful loss that,
according to its own fugitives, "God alone could number the slain." All
Central France was now overrun; the banks of the Loire were reached;
the churches and monasteries were despoiled of their treasures; and
the tutelar saints, who had worked so many miracles when there was no
necessity, were found to want the requisite power when it was so greatly

The progress of the invaders was at length stopped by Charles Martel
(A.D. 732). Between Tours and Poictiers, a great battle, which lasted
seven days, was fought. Abderahman was killed, the Saracens retreated,
and soon afterward were compelled to recross the Pyrenees.

The banks of the Loire, therefore, mark the boundary of the Mohammedan
advance in Western Europe. Gibbon, in his narrative of these great
events, makes this remark: "A victorious line of march had been
prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks
of the Loire--a repetition of an equal space would have carried the
Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland."

INSULT TO ROME. It is not necessary for me to add to this sketch of the
military diffusion of Mohammedanism, the operations of the Saracens on
the Mediterranean Sea, their conquest of Crete and Sicily, their insult
to Rome. It will be found, however, that their presence in Sicily
and the south of Italy exerted a marked influence on the intellectual
development of Europe.

Their insult to Rome! What could be more humiliating than the
circumstances under which it took place (A.D. 846)? An insignificant
Saracen expedition entered the Tiber and appeared before the walls of
the city. Too weak to force an entrance, it insulted and plundered the
precincts, sacrilegiously violating the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Had the city itself been sacked, the moral effect could not have been
greater. From the church of St. Peter its altar of silver was torn
away and sent to Africa--St. Peter's altar, the very emblem of Roman

Constantinople had already been besieged by the Saracens more than once;
its fall was predestined, and only postponed. Rome had received the
direst insult, the greatest loss that could be inflicted upon it;
the venerable churches of Asia Minor had passed out of existence; no
Christian could set his foot in Jerusalem without permission; the Mosque
of Omar stood on the site of the Temple of Solomon. Among the ruins of
Alexandria the Mosque of Mercy marked the spot where a Saracen general,
satiated with massacre, had, in contemptuous compassion, spared the
fugitive relics of the enemies of Mohammed; nothing remained of Carthage
but her blackened ruins. The most powerful religious empire that the
world had ever seen had suddenly come into existence. It stretched from
the Atlantic Ocean to the Chinese Wall, from the shores of the Caspian
to those of the Indian Ocean, and yet, in one sense, it had not reached
its culmination. The day was to come when it was to expel the successors
of the Caesars from their capital, and hold the peninsula of Greece in
subjection, to dispute with Christianity the empire of Europe in the
very centre of that continent, and in Africa to extend its dogmas and
faith across burning deserts and through pestilential forests from the
Mediterranean to regions southward far beyond the equinoetial line.

DISSENSIONS OF THE ARABS. But, though Mohammedanism had not reached its
culmination, the dominion of the khalifs had. Not the sword of Charles
Martel, but the internal dissension of the vast Arabian Empire, was the
salvation of Europe. Though the Ommiade Khalifs were popular in Syria,
elsewhere they were looked upon as intruders or usurpers; the kindred
of the apostle was considered to be the rightful representative of his
faith. Three parties, distinguished by their colors, tore the khalifate
asunder with their disputes, and disgraced it by their atrocities. The
color of the Ommiades was white, that of the Fatimites green, that of
the Abassides black; the last represented the party of Abbas, the uncle
of Mohammed. The result of these discords was a tripartite division
of the Mohammedan Empire in the tenth century into the khalifates of
Bagdad, of Cairoan, and of Cordova. Unity in Mohammedan political action
was at an end, and Christendom found its safeguard, not in supernatural
help, but in the quarrels of the rival potentates. To internal
animosities foreign pressures were eventually added and Arabism, which
had done so much for the intellectual advancement of the world, came to
an end when the Turks and the Berbers attained to power.

The Saracens had become totally regardless of European opposition--they
were wholly taken up with their domestic quarrels. Ockley says with
truth, in his history: "The Saracens had scarce a deputy lieutenant or
general that would not have thought it the greatest affront, and such
as ought to stigmatize him with indelible disgrace, if he should have
suffered himself to have been insulted by the united forces of all
Europe. And if any one asks why the Greeks did not exert themselves
more, in order to the extirpation of these insolent invaders, it is a
sufficient answer to any person that is acquainted with the characters
of those men to say that Amrou kept his residence at Alexandria, and
Moawyah at Damascus."

As to their contempt, this instance may suffice: Nicephorus, the Roman
emperor, had sent to the Khalif Haroun-al-Raschid a threatening
letter, and this was the reply: "In the name of the most merciful God,
Haroun-al-Raschid, commander of the faithful, to Nicephorus, the Roman
dog! I have read thy letter, O thou son of an unbelieving mother. Thou
shalt not hear, thou shalt behold my reply!" It was written in letters
of blood and fire on the plains of Phrygia.

POLITICAL EFFECT OF POLYGAMY. A nation may recover the confiscation
of its provinces, the confiscation of its wealth; it may survive the
imposition of enormous war-fines; but it never can recover from that
most frightful of all war-acts, the confiscation of its women. When
Abou Obeidah sent to Omar news of his capture of Antioch, Omar gently
upbraided him that he had not let the troops have the women. "If they
want to marry in Syria, let them; and let them have as many female
slaves as they have occasion for." It was the institution of polygamy,
based upon the confiscation of the women in the vanquished countries,
that secured forever the Mohammedan rule. The children of these unions
gloried in their descent from their conquering fathers. No better proof
can be given of the efficacy of this policy than that which is furnished
by North Africa. The irresistible effect of polygamy in consolidating
the new order of things was very striking. In little more than a single
generation, the Khalif was informed by his officers that the tribute
must cease, for all the children born in that region were Mohammedans,
and all spoke Arabic.

MOHAMMEDANISM. Mohammedanism, as left by its founder, was an
anthropomorphic religion. Its God was only a gigantic man, its heaven
a mansion of carnal pleasures. From these imperfect ideas its more
intelligent classes very soon freed themselves, substituting for them
others more philosophical, more correct. Eventually they attained to an
accordance with those that have been pronounced in our own times by the
Vatican Council as orthodox. Thus Al-Gazzali says: "A knowledge of God
cannot be obtained by means of the knowledge a man has of himself, or
of his own soul. The attributes of God cannot be determined from
the attributes of man. His sovereignty and government can neither be
compared nor measured."



     By the influence of the Nestorians and Jews, the Arabians
     are turned to the cultivation of Science.--They modify
     their views as to the destiny of man, and obtain true
     conceptions respecting the structure of the world.--They
     ascertain the size of the earth, and determine its shape.--
     Their khalifs collect great libraries, patronize every
     department of science and literature, establish astronomical
     observatories.--They develop the mathematical sciences,
     invent algebra, and improve geometry and trigonometry.--They
     collect and translate the old Greek mathematical and
     astronomical works, and adopt the inductive method of
     Aristotle.--They establish many colleges, and, with the aid
     of the Nestorians, organize a public-school system.--They
     introduce the Arabic numerals and arithmetic, and catalogue
     and give names to the stars.--They lay the foundation of
     modern astronomy, chemistry, and physics, and introduce
     great improvements in agriculture and manufactures.

"IN the course of my long life," said the Khalif Ali, "I have often
observed that men are more like the times they live in than they
are like their fathers." This profoundly philosophical remark of the
son-in-law of Mohammed is strictly true; for, though the personal, the
bodily lineaments of a man may indicate his parentage, the constitution
of his mind, and therefore the direction of his thoughts, is determined
by the environment in which he lives.

When Amrou, the lieutenant of the Khalif Omar, conquered Egypt, and
annexed it to the Saracenic Empire, he found in Alexandria a Greek
grammarian, John surnamed Philoponus, or the Labor-lover. Presuming on
the friendship which had arisen between them, the Greek solicited as a
gift the remnant of the great library--a remnant which war and time and
bigotry had spared. Amrou, therefore, sent to the khalif to ascertain
his pleasure. "If," replied the khalif, "the books agree with the Koran,
the Word of God, they are useless, and need not be preserved; if
they disagree with it, they are pernicious. Let them be destroyed."
Accordingly, they were distributed among the baths of Alexandria, and it
is said that six months were barely sufficient to consume them.

Although the fact has been denied, there can be little doubt that Omar
gave this order. The khalif was an illiterate man; his environment
was an environment of fanaticism and ignorance. Omar's act was an
illustration of Ali's remark.

THE ALEXANDRIAN LIBRARY BURNT. But it must not be supposed that the
books which John the Labor-lover coveted were those which constituted
the great library of the Ptolemies, and that of Eumenes, King of
Pergamus. Nearly a thousand years had elapsed since Philadelphus began
his collection. Julius Caesar had burnt more than half; the Patriarchs
of Alexandria had not only permitted but superintended the dispersion
of almost all the rest. Orosius expressly states that he saw the empty
cases or shelves of the library twenty years after Theophilus, the uncle
of St. Cyril, had procured from the Emperor Theodosius a rescript for
its destruction. Even had this once noble collection never endured such
acts of violence, the mere wear and tear, and perhaps, I may add, the
pilfering of a thousand years, would have diminished it sadly.
Though John, as the surname he received indicates, might rejoice in a
superfluity of occupation, we may be certain that the care of a library
of half a million books would transcend even his well-tried powers; and
the cost of preserving and supporting it, that had demanded the ample
resources of the Ptolemies and the Caesars, was beyond the means of a
grammarian. Nor is the time required for its combustion or destruction
any indication of the extent of the collection. Of all articles of
fuel, parchment is, perhaps, the most wretched. Paper and papyrus do
excellently well as kindling-materials, but we may be sure that the
bath-men of Alexandria did not resort to parchment so long as they could
find any thing else, and of parchment a very large portion of these
books was composed.

There can, then, be no more doubt that Omar did order the destruction of
this library, under an impression of its uselessness or its irreligious
tendency, than that the Crusaders burnt the library of Tripoli,
fancifully said to have consisted of three million volumes. The first
apartment entered being found to contain nothing but the Koran, all the
other books were supposed to be the works of the Arabian impostor,
and were consequently committed to the flames. In both cases the story
contains some truth and much exaggeration. Bigotry, however, has often
distinguished itself by such exploits. The Spaniards burnt in Mexico
vast piles of American picture-writings, an irretrievable loss; and
Cardinal Ximenes delivered to the flames, in the squares of Granada,
eighty thousand Arabic manuscripts, many of them translations of
classical authors.

We have seen how engineering talent, stimulated by Alexander's Persian
campaign, led to a wonderful development of pure science under the
Ptolemies; a similar effect may be noted as the result of the Saracenic
military operations.

The friendship contracted by Amrou, the conqueror of Egypt, with John
the Grammarian, indicates how much the Arabian mind was predisposed to
liberal ideas. Its step from the idolatry of the Caaba to the monotheism
of Mohammed prepared it to expatiate in the wide and pleasing fields
of literature and philosophy. There were two influences to which it
was continually exposed. They conspired in determining its path. These
were--1. That of the Nestorians in Syria; 2. That of the Jews in Egypt.

INFLUENCE OF THE NESTORIANS AND JEWS. In the last chapter I have briefly
related the persecution of Nestor and his disciples. They bore testimony
to the oneness of God, through many sufferings and martyrdoms. They
utterly repudiated an Olympus filled with gods and goddesses. "Away from
us a queen of heaven!"

Such being their special views, the Nestorians found no difficulty in
affiliating with their Saracen conquerors, by whom they were treated
not only with the highest respect, but intrusted with some of the most
important offices of the state. Mohammed, in the strongest manner,
prohibited his followers from committing any injuries against them.
Jesuiabbas, their pontiff, concluded treaties both with the Prophet and
with Omar, and subsequently the Khalif Haroun-al-Raschid placed all his
public schools under the superintendence of John Masue, a Nestorian.

To the influence of the Nestorians that of the Jews was added. When
Christianity displayed a tendency to unite itself with paganism, the
conversion of the Jews was arrested; it totally ceased when Trinitarian
ideas were introduced. The cities of Syria and Egypt were full of Jews.
In Alexandria alone, at the time of its capture by Amrou, there were
forty thousand who paid tribute. Centuries of misfortune and persecution
had served only to confirm them in their monotheism, and to strengthen
that implacable hatred of idolatry which they had cherished ever
since the Babylonian captivity. Associated with the Nestorians, they
translated into Syriac many Greek and Latin philosophical works, which
were retranslated into Arabic. While the Nestorian was occupied with
the education of the children of the great Mohammedan families, the Jew
found his way into them in the character of a physician.

FATALISM OF THE ARABIANS. Under these influences the ferocious
fanaticism of the Saracens abated, their manners were polished, their
thoughts elevated. They overran the realms of Philosophy and Science
as quickly as they had overrun the provinces of the Roman Empire. They
abandoned the fallacies of vulgar Mohammedanism, accepting in their
stead scientific truth.

In a world devoted to idolatry, the sword of the Saracen had vindicated
the majesty of God. The doctrine of fatalism, inculcated by the Koran,
had powerfully contributed to that result. "No man can anticipate or
postpone his predetermined end. Death will overtake us even in lofty
towers. From the beginning God hath settled the place in which each man
shall die." In his figurative language the Arab said: "No man can by
flight escape his fate. The Destinies ride their horses by night....
Whether asleep in bed or in the storm of battle, the angel of death will
find thee." "I am convinced," said Ali, to whose wisdom we have already
referred--"I am convinced that the affairs of men go by divine decree,
and not by our administration." The Mussulmen are those who submissively
resign themselves to the will of God. They reconciled fate and free-will
by saying, "The outline is given us, we color the picture of life as we
will." They said that, if we would overcome the laws of Nature, we must
not resist, we must balance them against each other.

This dark doctrine prepared its devotees for the accomplishment of great
things--things such as the Saracens did accomplish. It converted despair
into resignation, and taught men to disdain hope. There was a proverb
among them that "Despair is a freeman, Hope is a slave."

But many of the incidents of war showed plainly that medicines
may assuage pain, that skill may close wounds, that those who are
incontestably dying may be snatched from the grave. The Jewish physician
became a living, an accepted protest against the fatalism of the Koran.
By degrees the sternness of predestination was mitigated, and it was
admitted that in individual life there is an effect due to free-will;
that by his voluntary acts man may within certain limits determine his
own course. But, so far as nations are concerned, since they can yield
no personal accountability to God, they are placed under the control of
immutable law.

In this respect the contrast between the Christian and the Mohammedan
nations was very striking: The Christian was convinced of incessant
providential interventions; he believed that there was no such thing as
law in the government of the world. By prayers and entreaties he might
prevail with God to change the current of affairs, or, if that failed,
he might succeed with Christ, or perhaps with the Virgin Mary, or
through the intercession of the saints, or by the influence of their
relics or bones. If his own supplications were unavailing, he might
obtain his desire through the intervention of his priest, or through
that of the holy men of the Church, and especially if oblations or gifts
of money were added. Christendom believed that she could change the
course of affairs by influencing the conduct of superior beings. Islam
rested in a pious resignation to the unchangeable will of God. The
prayer of the Christian was mainly an earnest intercession for benefits
hoped for, that of the Saracen a devout expression of gratitude for the
past. Both substituted prayer for the ecstatic meditation of India.
To the Christian the progress of the world was an exhibition of
disconnected impulses, of sudden surprises. To the Mohammedan that
progress presented a very different aspect. Every corporeal motion was
due to some preceding motion; every thought to some preceding thought;
every historical event was the offspring of some preceding event; every
human action was the result of some foregone and accomplished action. In
the long annals of our race, nothing has ever been abruptly introduced.
There has been an orderly, an inevitable sequence from event to event.
There is an iron chain of destiny, of which the links are facts; each
stands in its preordained place--not one has ever been disturbed, not
one has ever been removed. Every man came into the world without his own
knowledge, he is to depart from it perhaps against his own wishes. Then
let him calmly fold his hands, and expect the issues of fate.

Coincidently with this change of opinion as to the government of
individual life, there came a change as respects the mechanical
construction of the world. According to the Koran, the earth is a square
plane, edged with vast mountains, which serve the double purpose of
balancing it in its seat, and of sustaining the dome of the sky. Our
devout admiration of the power and wisdom of God should be excited by
the spectacle of this vast crystalline brittle expanse, which has been
safely set in its position without so much as a crack or any other
injury. Above the sky, and resting on it, is heaven, built in seven
stories, the uppermost being the habitation of God, who, under the form
of a gigantic man, sits on a throne, having on either side winged bulls,
like those in the palaces of old Assyrian kings.

THEY MEASURE THE EARTH. These ideas, which indeed are not peculiar to
Mohammedanism, but are entertained by all men in a certain stage of
their intellectual development as religious revelations, were
very quickly exchanged by the more advanced Mohammedans for others
scientifically correct. Yet, as has been the case in Christian
countries, the advance was not made without resistance on the part
of the defenders of revealed truth. Thus when Al-Mamun, having become
acquainted with the globular form of the earth, gave orders to his
mathematicians and astronomers to measure a degree of a great circle
upon it, Takyuddin, one of the most celebrated doctors of divinity
of that time, denounced the wicked khalif, declaring that God would
assuredly punish him for presumptuously interrupting the devotions
of the faithful by encouraging and diffusing a false and atheistical
philosophy among them. Al-Mamun, however, persisted. On the shores of
the Red Sea, in the plains of Shinar, by the aid of an astrolabe, the
elevation of the pole above the horizon was determined at two stations
on the same meridian, exactly one degree apart. The distance between
the two stations was then measured, and found to be two hundred thousand
Hashemite cubits; this gave for the entire circumference of the earth
about twenty-four thousand of our miles, a determination not far
from the truth. But, since the spherical form could not be positively
asserted from one such measurement, the khalif caused another to be made
near Cufa in Mesopotamia. His astronomers divided themselves into two
parties, and, starting from a given point, each party measured an arc
of one degree, the one northward, the other southward. Their result
is given in cubits. If the cubit employed was that known as the royal
cubit, the length of a degree was ascertained within one-third of a mile
of its true value. From these measures the khalif concluded that the
globular form was established.

THEIR PASSION FOR SCIENCE. It is remarkable how quickly the ferocious
fanaticism of the Saracens was transformed into a passion for
intellectual pursuits. At first the Koran was an obstacle to
literature and science. Mohammed had extolled it as the grandest of all
compositions, and had adduced its unapproachable excellence as a proof
of his divine mission. But, in little more than twenty years after his
death, the experience that had been acquired in Syria, Persia, Asia
Minor, Egypt, had produced a striking effect, and Ali the khalif
reigning at that time, avowedly encouraged all kinds of literary
pursuits. Moawyah, the founder of the Ommiade dynasty, who followed in
661, revolutionized the government. It had been elective, he made it
hereditary. He removed its seat from Medina to a more central position
at Damascus, and entered on a career of luxury and magnificence. He
broke the bonds of a stern fanaticism, and put himself forth as a
cultivator and patron of letters. Thirty years had wrought a wonderful
change. A Persian satrap who had occasion to pay homage to Omar, the
second khalif, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the
Mosque of Medina; but foreign envoys who had occasion to seek Moawyah,
the sixth khalif, were presented to him in a magnificent palace,
decorated with exquisite arabesques, and adorned with flower-gardens and

THEIR LITERATURE. In less than a century after the death of Mohammed,
translations of the chief Greek philosophical authors had been made into
Arabic; poems such as the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey," being considered
to have an irreligious tendency from their mythological allusions, were
rendered into Syriac, to gratify the curiosity of the learned. Almansor,
during his khalifate (A.D. 753-775), transferred the seat of government
to Bagdad, which he converted into a splendid metropolis; he gave much
of his time to the study and promotion of astronomy, and established
schools of medicine and law. His grandson, Haroun-al-Raschid (A.D. 786),
followed his example, and ordered that to every mosque in his dominions
a school should be attached. But the Augustan age of Asiatic learning
was during the khalifate of Al-Mamun (A.D. 813-832). He made Bagdad the
centre of science, collected great libraries, and surrounded himself
with learned men.

The elevated taste thus cultivated continued after the division of the
Saracen Empire by internal dissensions into three parts. The Abasside
dynasty in Asia, the Fatimite in Egypt, and the Ommiade in Spain, became
rivals not merely in politics, but also in letters and science.

THEY ORIGINATE CHEMISTRY. In letters the Saracens embraced every topic
that can amuse or edify the mind. In later times, it was their boast
that they had produced more poets than all other nations combined. In
science their great merit consists in this, that they cultivated it
after the manner of the Alexandrian Greeks, not after the manner of the
European Greeks. They perceived that it can never be advanced by mere
speculation; its only sure progress is by the practical interrogation of
Nature. The essential characteristics of their method are experiment and
observation. Geometry and the mathematical sciences they looked upon
as instruments of reasoning. In their numerous writings on mechanics,
hydrostatics, optics, it is interesting to remark that the solution of
a problem is always obtained by performing an experiment, or by an
instrumental observation. It was this that made them the originators of
chemistry, that led them to the invention of all kinds of apparatus for
distillation, sublimation, fusion, filtration, etc.; that in astronomy
caused them to appeal to divided instruments, as quadrants and
astrolabes; in chemistry, to employ the balance, the theory of which
they were perfectly familiar with; to construct tables of specific
gravities and astronomical tables, as those of Bagdad, Spain, Samarcand;
that produced their great improvements in geometry, trigonometry, the
invention of algebra, and the adoption of the Indian numeration in
arithmetic. Such were the results of their preference of the inductive
method of Aristotle, their declining the reveries of Plato.

THEIR GREAT LIBRARIES. For the establishment and extension of the public
libraries, books were sedulously collected. Thus the khalif Al-Mamun
is reported to have brought into Bagdad hundreds of camel-loads of
manuscripts. In a treaty he made with the Greek emperor, Michael III.,
he stipulated that one of the Constantinople libraries should be given
up to him. Among the treasures he thus acquired was the treatise of
Ptolemy on the mathematical construction of the heavens. He had it
forthwith translated into Arabic, under the title of "Al-magest." The
collections thus acquired sometimes became very large; thus the Fatimite
Library at Cairo contained one hundred thousand volumes, elegantly
transcribed and bound. Among these, there were six thousand five hundred
manuscripts on astronomy and medicine alone. The rules of this library
permitted the lending out of books to students resident at Cairo. It
also contained two globes, one of massive silver and one of brass; the
latter was said to have been constructed by Ptolemy, the former cost
three thousand golden crowns. The great library of the Spanish khalifs
eventually numbered six hundred thousand volumes; its catalogue alone
occupied forty-four. Besides this, there were seventy public libraries
in Andalusia. The collections in the possession of individuals were
sometimes very extensive. A private doctor refused the invitation of a
Sultan of Bokhara because the carriage of his books would have required
four hundred camels.

There was in every great library a department for the copying or
manufacture of translations. Such manufactures were also often an
affair of private enterprise. Honian, a Nestorian physician, had an
establishment of the kind at Bagdad (A.D. 850). He issued versions of
Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Galen, etc. As to original works, it was
the custom of the authorities of colleges to require their professors
to prepare treatises on prescribed topics. Every khalif had his own
historian. Books of romances and tales, such as "The Thousand and One
Arabian Nights' Entertainments," bear testimony to the creative fancy
of the Saracens. Besides these, there were works on all kinds of
subjects--history, jurisprudence, politics, philosophy, biographies not
only of illustrious men, but also of celebrated horses and camels. These
were issued without any censorship or restraint, though, in later times,
works on theology required a license for publication. Books of reference
abounded, geographical, statistical, medical, historical dictionaries,
and even abridgments or condensations of them, as the "Encyclopedic
Dictionary of all the Sciences," by Mohammed Abu Abdallah. Much pride
was taken in the purity and whiteness of the paper, in the skillful
intermixture of variously-colored inks, and in the illumination of
titles by gilding and other adornments.

The Saracen Empire was dotted all over with colleges. They were
established in Mongolia, Tartary, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt,
North Africa, Morocco, Fez, Spain. At one extremity of this vast region,
which far exceeded the Roman Empire in geographical extent, were the
college and astronomical observatory of Samarcand, at the other the
Giralda in Spain. Gibbon, referring to this patronage of learning, says:
"The same royal prerogative was claimed by the independent emirs of the
provinces, and their emulation diffused the taste and the rewards of
science from Samarcand and Bokhara to Fez and Cordova. The vizier of a
sultan consecrated a sum of two hundred thousand pieces of gold to
the foundation of a college at Bagdad, which he endowed with an annual
revenue of fifteen thousand dinars. The fruits of instruction were
communicated, perhaps, at different times, to six thousand disciples
of every degree, from the son of the noble to that of the mechanic; a
sufficient allowance was provided for the indigent scholars, and the
merit or industry of the professors was repaid with adequate stipends.
In every city the productions of Arabic literature were copied and
collected, by the curiosity of the studious and the vanity of the rich."
The superintendence of these schools was committed with noble liberality
sometimes to Nestorians, sometimes to Jews. It mattered not in what
country a man was born, nor what were his religious opinions; his
attainment in learning was the only thing to be considered. The great
Khalif Al-Mamun had declared that "they are the elect of God, his best
and most useful servants, whose lives are devoted to the improvement
of their rational faculties; that the teachers of wisdom are the true
luminaries and legislators of this world, which, without their aid,
would again sink into ignorance and barbarism."

After the example of the medical college of Cairo, other medical
colleges required their students to pass a rigid examination. The
candidate then received authority to enter on the practice of his
profession. The first medical college established in Europe was that
founded by the Saracens at Salerno, in Italy. The first astronomical
observatory was that erected by them at Seville, in Spain.

THE ARABIAN SCIENTIFIC MOVEMENT. It would far transcend the limits of
this book to give an adequate statement of the results of this imposing
scientific movement. The ancient sciences were greatly extended--new
ones were brought into existence. The Indian method of arithmetic was
introduced, a beautiful invention, which expresses all numbers by ten
characters, giving them an absolute value, and a value by position,
and furnishing simple rules for the easy performance of all kinds
of calculations. Algebra, or universal arithmetic--the method of
calculating indeterminate quantities, or investigating the relations
that subsist among quantities of all kinds, whether arithmetical or
geometrical--was developed from the germ that Diophantus had left.
Mohammed Ben Musa furnished the solution of quadratic equations,
Omar Ben Ibra him that of cubic equations. The Saracens also gave to
trigonometry its modern form, substituting sines for chords, which had
been previously used; they elevated it into a separate science.
Musa, above mentioned, was the author of a "Treatise on Spherical
Trigonometry." Al-Baghadadi left one on land-surveying, so excellent,
that by some it has been declared to be a copy of Euclid's lost work on
that subject.

ARABIAN ASTRONOMY. In astronomy, they not only made catalogues, but
maps of the stars visible in their skies, giving to those of the larger
magnitudes the Arabic names they still bear on our celestial globes.
They ascertained, as we have seen, the size of the earth by the
measurement of a degree on her surface, determined the obliquity of
the ecliptic, published corrected tables of the sun and moon fixed
the length of the year, verified the precession of the equinoxes. The
treatise of Albategnius on "The Science of the Stars" is spoken of by
Laplace with respect; he also draws attention to an important fragment
of Ibn-Junis, the astronomer of Hakem, the Khalif of Egypt, A.D. 1000,
as containing a long series of observations from the time of Almansor,
of eclipses, equinoxes, solstices, conjunctions of planets, occultations
of stars--observations which have cast much light on the great
variations of the system of the world. The Arabian astronomers also
devoted themselves to the construction and perfection of astronomical
instruments, to the measurement of time by clocks of various kinds, by
clepsydras and sun-dials. They were the first to introduce, for this
purpose, the use of the pendulum.

In the experimental sciences, they originated chemistry; they discovered
some of its most important reagents--sulphuric acid, nitric acid,
alcohol. They applied that science in the practice of medicine, being
the first to publish pharmacopoeias or dispensatories, and to include in
them mineral preparations. In mechanics, they had determined the laws
of falling bodies, had ideas, by no means indistinct, of the nature of
gravity; they were familiar with the theory of the mechanical powers. In
hydrostatics they constructed the first tables of the specific gravities
of bodies, and wrote treatises on the flotation and sinking of bodies
in water. In optics, they corrected the Greek misconception, that a
ray proceeds from the eye, and touches the object seen, introducing
the hypothesis that the ray passes from the object to the eye. They
understood the phenomena of the reflection and refraction of light.
Alhazen made the great discovery of the curvilinear path of a ray of
light through the atmosphere, and proved that we see the sun and moon
before they have risen, and after they have set.

AGRICULTURE AND MANUFACTURE. The effects of this scientific activity are
plainly perceived in the great improvements that took place in many
of the industrial arts. Agriculture shows it in better methods of
irrigation, the skillful employment of manures, the raising of improved
breeds of cattle, the enactment of wise codes of rural laws, the
introduction of the culture of rice, and that of sugar and coffee. The
manufactures show it in the great extension of the industries of silk,
cotton, wool; in the fabrication of cordova and morocco leather, and
paper; in mining, casting, and various metallurgic operations; in the
making of Toledo blades.

Passionate lovers of poetry and music, they dedicated much of their
leisure time to those elegant pursuits. They taught Europe the game of
chess; they gave it its taste for works of fiction--romances and novels.
In the graver domains of literature they took delight: they had many
admirable compositions on such subjects as the instability of human
greatness; the consequences of irreligion; the reverses of fortune; the
origin, duration, and end of the world. Sometimes, not without surprise,
we meet with ideas which we flatter ourselves have originated in our
own times. Thus our modern doctrines of evolution and development were
taught in their schools. In fact, they carried them much farther than we
are disposed to do, extending them even to inorganic or mineral
things. The fundamental principle of alchemy was the natural process of
development of metalline bodies. "When common people," says Al-Khazini,
writing in the twelfth century, "hear from natural philosophers that
gold is a body which has attained to perfection of maturity, to the
goal of completeness, they firmly believe that it is something which has
gradually come to that perfection by passing through the forms of all
other metallic bodies, so that its gold nature was originally lead,
afterward it became tin, then brass, then silver, and finally reached
the development of gold; not knowing that the natural philosophers mean,
in saying this, only something like what they mean when they speak of
man, and attribute to him a completeness and equilibrium in nature and
constitution--not that man was once a bull, and was changed into an
ass, and afterward into a horse, and after that into an ape, and finally
became a man."



     European ideas respecting the soul.--It resembles the form
     of the body.

     Philosophical views of the Orientals.--The Vedic theology
     and Buddhism assert the doctrine of emanation and
     absorption.--It is advocated by Aristotle, who is followed
     by the Alexandrian school, and subsequently by the Jews and
     Arabians.--It is found in the writings of Erigena.

     Connection of this doctrine with the theory of conservation
     and correlation of force.--Parallel between the origin and
     destiny of the body and the soul.--The necessity of founding
     human on comparative psychology.

     Averroism, which is based on these facts, is brought into
     Christendom through Spain and Sicily.

     History of the repression of Averroism.--Revolt of Islam
     against it.--Antagonism of the Jewish synagogues.--Its
     destruction undertaken by the papacy.--Institution of the
     Inquisition in Spain.--Frightful persecutions and their
     results.--Expulsion of the Jews and Moors.--Overthrow of
     Averroism in Europe.--Decisive action of the late Vatican

THE pagan Greeks and Romans believed that the spirit of man resembles
his bodily form, varying its appearance with his variations, and growing
with his growth. Heroes, to whom it had been permitted to descend into
Hades, had therefore without difficulty recognized their former friends.
Not only had the corporeal aspect been retained, but even the customary

THE SOUL. The primitive Christians, whose conceptions of a future life
and of heaven and hell, the abodes of the blessed and the sinful, were
far more vivid than those of their pagan predecessors, accepted and
intensified these ancient ideas. They did not doubt that in the world
to come they should meet their friends, and hold converse with them, as
they had done here upon earth--an expectation that gives consolation to
the human heart, reconciling it to the most sorrowful bereavements, and
restoring to it its dead.

In the uncertainty as to what becomes of the soul in the interval
between its separation from the body and the judgment-day, many
different opinions were held. Some thought that it hovered over the
grave, some that it wandered disconsolate through the air. In the
popular belief, St. Peter sat as a door-keeper at the gate of heaven. To
him it had been given to bind or to loose. He admitted or excluded the
Spirits of men at his pleasure. Many persons, however, were disposed to
deny him this power, since his decisions would be anticipatory of the
judgment-day, which would thus be rendered needless. After the time
of Gregory the Great, the doctrine of purgatory met with general
acceptance. A resting-place was provided for departed spirits.

That the spirits of the dead occasionally revisit the living, or haunt
their former abodes, has been in all ages, in all European countries,
a fixed belief, not confined to rustics, but participated in by the
intelligent. A pleasing terror gathers round the winter's-evening
fireside at the stories of apparitions, goblins, ghosts. In the old
times the Romans had their lares, or spirits of those who had led
virtuous lives; their larvae or lemures, the spirits of the wicked;
their manes, the spirits of those of whom the merits were doubtful. If
human testimony on such subjects can be of any value, there is a body
of evidence reaching from the remotest ages to the present time, as
extensive and unimpeachable as is to be found in support of any thing
whatever, that these shades of the dead congregate near tombstones,
or take up their secret abode in the gloomy chambers of dilapidated
castles, or walk by moonlight in moody solitude.

ASIATIC PSYCHOLOGICAL VIEWS. While these opinions have universally found
popular acceptance in Europe, others of a very different nature have
prevailed extensively in Asia, and indeed very generally in the higher
regions of thought. Ecclesiastical authority succeeded in repressing
them in the sixteenth century, but they never altogether disappeared.
In our own times so silently and extensively have they been diffused in
Europe, that it was found expedient in the papal Syllabus to draw
them in a very conspicuous manner into the open light; and the Vatican
Council, agreeing in that view of their obnoxious tendency and secret
spread, has in an equally prominent and signal manner among its first
canons anathematized all persons who hold them. "Let him be anathema who
says that spiritual things are emanations of the divine substance, or
that the divine essence by manifestation or development becomes all
things." In view of this authoritative action, it is necessary now to
consider the character and history of these opinions.

Ideas respecting the nature of God necessarily influence ideas
respecting the nature of the soul. The eastern Asiatics had adopted the
conception of an impersonal God, and, as regards the soul, its necessary
consequence, the doctrine of emanation and absorption.

EMANATION AND ABSORPTION. Thus the Vedic theology is based on the
acknowledgment of a universal spirit pervading all things. "There is in
truth but one Deity, the supreme Spirit; he is of the same nature as the
soul of man." Both the Vedas and the Institutes of Menu affirm that
the soul is an emanation of the all-pervading Intellect, and that it is
necessarily destined to be reabsorbed. They consider it to be without
form, and that visible Nature, with all its beauties and harmonies, is
only the shadow of God.

Vedaism developed itself into Buddhism, which has become the faith of
a majority of the human race. This system acknowledges that there is a
supreme Power, but denies that there is a supreme Being. It contemplates
the existence of Force, giving rise as its manifestation to matter. It
adopts the theory of emanation and absorption. In a burning taper it
sees an effigy of man--an embodiment of matter, and an evolution of
force. If we interrogate it respecting the destiny of the soul, it
demands of us what has become of the flame when it is blown out, and in
what condition it was before the taper was lighted. Was it a nonentity?
Has it been annihilated? It admits that the idea of personality which
has deluded us through life may not be instantaneously extinguished at
death, but may be lost by slow degrees. On this is founded the doctrine
of transmigration. But at length reunion with the universal Intellect
takes place, Nirwana is reached, oblivion is attained, a state that has
no relation to matter, space, or time, the state into which the departed
flame of the extinguished taper has gone, the state in which we were
before we were born. This is the end that we ought to hope for; it is
reabsorption in the universal Force--supreme bliss, eternal rest.

Through Aristotle these doctrines were first introduced into Eastern
Europe; indeed, eventually, as we shall see, he was regarded as the
author of them. They exerted a dominating influence in the later period
of the Alexandrian school. Philo, the Jew, who lived in the time of
Caligula, based his philosophy on the theory of emanation. Plotinus
not only accepted that theory as applicable to the soul of man, but as
affording an illustration of the nature of the Trinity. For, as a beam
of light emanates from the sun, and as warmth emanates from the beam
when it touches material bodies, so from the Father the Son emanates,
and thence the Holy Ghost. From these views Plotinus derived a practical
religious system, teaching the devout how to pass into a condition of
ecstasy, a foretaste of absorption into the universal mundane soul.
In that condition the soul loses its individual consciousness. In like
manner Porphyry sought absorption in or union with God. He was a Tyrian
by birth, established a school at Rome, and wrote against Christianity;
his treatise on that subject was answered by Eusebius and St. Jerome,
but the Emperor Theodosius silenced it more effectually by causing all
the copies to be burnt. Porphyry bewails his own unworthiness, saying
that he had been united to God in ecstasy but once in eighty-six years,
whereas his master Plotinus had been so united six times in sixty years.
A complete system of theology, based on the theory of emanation, was
constructed by Proclus, who speculated on the manner in which absorption
takes place: whether the soul is instantly reabsorbed and reunited in
the moment of death, or whether it retains the sentiment of personality
for a time, and subsides into complete reunion by successive steps.

ARABIC PSYCHOLOGY. From the Alexandrian Greeks these ideas passed to
the Saracen philosophers, who very soon after the capture of the great
Egyptian city abandoned to the lower orders their anthropomorphic
notions of the nature of God and the simulachral form of the spirit of
man. As Arabism developed itself into a distinct scientific system,
the theories of emanation and absorption were among its characteristic
features. In this abandonment of vulgar Mohammedanism, the example of
the Jews greatly assisted. They, too, had given up the anthropomorphism
of their ancestors; they had exchanged the God who of old lived behind
the veil of the temple for an infinite Intelligence pervading the
universe, and, avowing their inability to conceive that any thing
which had on a sudden been called into existence should be capable of
immortality, they affirmed that the soul of man is connected with a past
of which there was no beginning, and with a future to which there is no

In the intellectual history of Arabism the Jew and the Saracen are
continually seen together. It was the same in their political history,
whether we consider it in Syria, in Egypt, or in Spain. From them
conjointly Western Europe derived its philosophical ideas, which in
the course of time culminated in Averroism; Averroism is philosophical
Islamism. Europeans generally regarded Averroes as the author of these
heresies, and the orthodox branded him accordingly, but he was nothing
more than their collector and commentator. His works invaded Christendom
by two routes: from Spain through Southern France they reached Upper
Italy, engendering numerous heresies on their way; from Sicily they
passed to Naples and South Italy, under the auspices of Frederick II.

But, long before Europe suffered this great intellectual invasion, there
were what might, perhaps, be termed sporadic instances of Orientalism.
As an example I may quote the views of John Erigena (A.D. 800) He had
adopted and taught the philosophy of Aristotle had made a pilgrimage
to the birthplace of that philosopher, and indulged a hope of uniting
philosophy and religion in the manner proposed by the Christian
ecclesiastics who were then studying in the Mohammedan universities of
Spain. He was a native of Britain.

In a letter to Charles the Bald, Anastasius expresses his astonishment
"how such a barbarian man, coming from the very ends of the earth, and
remote from human conversation, could comprehend things so clearly, and
transfer them into another language so well." The general intention of
his writings was, as we have said, to unite philosophy with religion,
but his treatment of these subjects brought him under ecclesiastical
censure, and some of his works were adjudged to the flames. His most
important book is entitled "De Divisione Nature."

Erigena's philosophy rests upon the observed and admitted fact that
every living thing comes from something that had previously lived. The
visible world, being a world of life, has therefore emanated necessarily
from some primordial existence, and that existence is God, who is thus
the originator and conservator of all. Whatever we see maintains itself
as a visible thing through force derived from him, and, were that force
withdrawn, it must necessarily disappear. Erigena thus conceives of
the Deity as an unceasing participator in Nature, being its preserver,
maintainer, upholder, and in that respect answering to the soul of the
world of the Greeks. The particular life of individuals is therefore a
part of general existence, that is, of the mundane soul.

If ever there were a withdrawal of the maintaining power, all things
must return to the source from which they issued--that is, they must
return to God, and be absorbed in him. All visible Nature must thus
pass back into "the Intellect" at last. "The death of the flesh is the
auspices of the restitution of things, and of a return to their ancient
conservation. So sounds revert back to the air in which they were born,
and by which they were maintained, and they are heard no more; no man
knows what has become of them. In that final absorption which, after
a lapse of time, must necessarily come, God will be all in all, and
nothing exist but him alone." "I contemplate him as the beginning and
cause of all things; all things that are and those that have been, but
now are not, were created from him, and by him, and in him. I also view
him as the end and intransgressible term of all things.... There is a
fourfold conception of universal Nature--two views of divine Nature, as
origin and end; two also of framed Nature, causes and effects. There is
nothing eternal but God."

The return of the soul to the universal Intellect is designated by
Erigena as Theosis, or Deification. In that final absorption all
remembrance of its past experiences is lost. The soul reverts to the
condition in which it was before it animated the body. Necessarily,
therefore, Erigena fell under the displeasure of the Church.

It was in India that men first recognized the fact that force is
indestructible and eternal. This implies ideas more or less distinct
of that which we now term its "correlation and conservation."
Considerations connected with the stability of the universe give
strength to this view, since it is clear that, were there either
an increase or a diminution, the order of the world must cease. The
definite and invariable amount of energy in the universe must therefore
be accepted as a scientific fact. The changes we witness are in its

But, since the soul must be regarded as an active principle, to call a
new one into existence out of nothing is necessarily to add to the force
previously in the world. And, if this has been done in the case of every
individual who has been born, and is to be repeated for every individual
hereafter, the totality of force must be continually increasing.

Moreover, to many devout persons there is something very revolting in
the suggestion that the Almighty is a servitor to the caprices and lusts
of man, and that, at a certain term after its origin, it is necessary
for him to create for the embryo a soul.

Considering man as composed of two portions, a soul and a body, the
obvious relations of the latter may cast much light on the mysterious,
the obscure relations of the former. Now, the substance of which the
body consists is obtained from the general mass of matter around us,
and after death to that general mass it is restored. Has Nature, then,
displayed before our eyes in the origin, mutations, and destiny of the
material part, the body, a revelation that may guide us to a knowledge
of the origin and destiny of the companion, the spiritual part, the

Let us listen for a moment to one of the most powerful of Mohammedan

"God has created the spirit of man out of a drop of his own light;
its destiny is to return to him. Do not deceive yourself with the vain
imagination that it will die when the body dies. The form you had on
your entrance into this world, and your present form, are not the
same; hence there is no necessity of your perishing, on account of the
perishing of your body. Your spirit came into this world a stranger, it
is only sojourning, in a temporary home. From the trials and tempests
of this troublesome life, our refuge is in God. In reunion with him we
shall find eternal rest--a rest without sorrow, a joy without pain, a
strength without infirmity, a knowledge without doubt, a tranquil and
yet an ecstatic vision of the source of life and light and glory, the
source from which we came." So says the Saracen philosopher, Al-Gazzali
(A.D. 1010).

In a stone the material particles are in a state of stable equilibrium;
it may, therefore, endure forever. An animal is in reality only a form
through which a stream of matter is incessantly flowing. It receives its
supplies, and dismisses its wastes. In this it resembles a cataract,
a river, a flame. The particles that compose it at one instant have
departed from it the next. It depends for its continuance on exterior
supplies. It has a definite duration in time, and an inevitable moment
comes in which it must die.

In the great problem of psychology we cannot expect to reach a
scientific result, if we persist in restricting ourselves to the
contemplation of one fact. We must avail ourselves of all accessible
facts. Human psychology can never be completely resolved except through
comparative psychology. With Descartes, we must inquire whether the
souls of animals be relations of the human soul, less perfect members in
the same series of development. We must take account of what we discover
in the intelligent principle of the ant, as well as what we discern in
the intelligent principle of man. Where would human physiology be, if
it were not illuminated by the bright irradiations of comparative

Brodie, after an exhaustive consideration of the facts, affirms that
the mind of animals is essentially the same as that of man. Every one
familiar with the dog will admit that that creature knows right from
wrong, and is conscious when he has committed a fault. Many domestic
animals have reasoning powers, and employ proper means for the
attainment of ends. How numerous are the anecdotes related of the
intentional actions of the elephant and the ape! Nor is this apparent
intelligence due to imitation, to their association with man, for
wild animals that have no such relation exhibit similar properties. In
different species, the capacity and character greatly vary. Thus the dog
is not only more intelligent, but has social and moral qualities that
the cat does not possess; the former loves his master, the latter her

Du Bois-Reymond makes this striking remark: "With awe and wonder must
the student of Nature regard that microscopic molecule of nervous
substance which is the seat of the laborious, constructive, orderly,
loyal, dauntless soul of the ant. It has developed itself to its present
state through a countless series of generations." What an impressive
inference we may draw from the statement of Huber, who has written so
well on this subject: "If you will watch a single ant at work, you can
tell what he will next do!" He is considering the matter, and reasoning
as you are doing. Listen to one of the many anecdotes which Huber, at
once truthful and artless, relates: "On the visit of an overseer ant to
the works, when the laborers had begun the roof too soon, he examined it
and had it taken down, the wall raised to the proper height, and a new
ceiling constructed with the fragments of the old one." Surely these
insects are not automata, they show intention. They recognize their old
companions, who have been shut up from them for many months, and exhibit
sentiments of joy at their return. Their antennal language is capable
of manifold expression; it suits the interior of the nest, where all is

While solitary insects do not live to raise their young, social insects
have a longer term, they exhibit moral affections and educate
their offspring. Patterns of patience and industry, some of these
insignificant creatures will work sixteen or eighteen hours a day. Few
men are capable of sustained mental application more than four or five

Similarity of effects indicates similarity of causes; similarity of
actions demands similarity of organs. I would ask the reader of these
paragraphs, who is familiar with the habits of animals, and especially
with the social relations of that wonderful insect to which reference
has been made, to turn to the nineteenth chapter of my work on
the "Intellectual Development of Europe," in which he will find a
description of the social system of the Incas of Peru. Perhaps, then, in
view of the similarity of the social institutions and personal conduct
of the insect, and the social institutions and personal conduct of the
civilized Indian--the one an insignificant speck, the other a man--he
will not be disposed to disagree with me in the opinion that "from bees,
and wasps, and ants, and birds, from all that low animal life on which
he looks with supercilious contempt, man is destined one day to learn
what in truth he really is."

The views of Descartes, who regarded all insects as automata, can
scarcely be accepted without modification. Insects are automata only
so far as the action of their ventral cord, and that portion of their
cephalic ganglia which deals with contemporaneous impressions, is

It is one of the functions of vesicular-nervous material to retain
traces or relics of impressions brought to it by the organs of sense;
hence, nervous ganglia, being composed of that material, may be
considered as registering apparatus. They also introduce the element
of time into the action of the nervous mechanism. An impression, which
without them might have forthwith ended in reflex action, is delayed,
and with this duration come all those important effects arising through
the interaction of many impressions, old and new, upon each other.

There is no such thing as a spontaneous, or self-originated, thought.
Every intellectual act is the consequence of some preceding act. It
comes into existence in virtue of something that has gone before. Two
minds constituted precisely alike, and placed under the influence of
precisely the same environment, must give rise to precisely the same
thought. To such sameness of action we allude in the popular expression
"common-sense"--a term full of meaning. In the origination of a
thought there are two distinct conditions: the state of the organism
as dependent on antecedent impressions, and on the existing physical

In the cephalic ganglia of insects are stored up the relics of
impressions that have been made upon the common peripheral nerves, and
in them are kept those which are brought in by the organs of special
sense--the visual, olfactive, auditory. The interaction of these raises
insects above mere mechanical automata, in which the reaction instantly
follows the impression.

In all cases the action of every nerve-centre, no matter what its stage
of development may be, high or low, depends upon an essential chemical
condition--oxidation. Even in man, if the supply of arterial blood
be stopped but for a moment, the nerve-mechanism loses its power; if
diminished, it correspondingly declines; if, on the contrary, it
be increased--as when nitrogen monoxide is breathed--there is more
energetic action. Hence there arises a need of repair, a necessity for
rest and sleep.

Two fundamental ideas are essentially attached to all our perceptions
of external things: they are SPACE and TIME, and for these provision is
made in the nervous mechanism while it is yet in an almost rudimentary
state. The eye is the organ of space, the ear of time; the perceptions
of which by the elaborate mechanism of these structures become
infinitely more precise than would be possible if the sense of touch
alone were resorted to.

There are some simple experiments which illustrate the vestiges of
ganglionic impressions. If on a cold, polished metal, as a new razor,
any object, such as a wafer, be laid, and the metal be then breathed
upon, and, when the moisture has had time to disappear, the wafer be
thrown off, though now the most critical inspection of the polished
surface can discover no trace of any form, if we breathe once more upon
it, a spectral image of the wafer comes plainly into view; and this may
be done again and again. Nay, more, if the polished metal be carefully
put aside where nothing can deteriorate its surface, and be so kept for
many months, on breathing again upon it the shadowy form emerges.

Such an illustration shows how trivial an impression may be thus
registered and preserved. But, if, on such an inorganic surface, an
impression may thus be indelibly marked, how much more likely in the
purposely-constructed ganglion! A shadow never falls upon a wall without
leaving thereupon a permanent trace, a trace which might be made visible
by resorting to proper processes. Photographic operations are cases in
point. The portraits of our friends, or landscape views, may be hidden
on the sensitive surface from the eye, but they are ready to make their
appearance as soon as proper developers are resorted to. A spectre is
concealed on a silver or glassy surface until, by our necromancy, we
make it come forth into the visible world. Upon the walls of our most
private apartments, where we think the eye of intrusion is altogether
shut out and our retirement can never be profaned, there exist the
vestiges of all our acts, silhouettes of whatever we have done.

If, after the eyelids have been closed for some time, as when we
first awake in the morning, we suddenly and steadfastly gaze at a
brightly-illuminated object and then quickly close the lids again, a
phantom image is perceived in the indefinite darkness beyond us. We may
satisfy ourselves that this is not a fiction, but a reality, for many
details that we had not time to identify in the momentary glance may
be contemplated at our leisure in the phantom. We may thus make out the
pattern of such an object as a lace curtain hanging in the window, or
the branches of a tree beyond. By degrees the image becomes less and
less distinct; in a minute or two it has disappeared. It seems to have a
tendency to float away in the vacancy before us. If we attempt to follow
it by moving the eyeball, it suddenly vanishes.

Such a duration of impressions on the retina proves that the effect of
external influences on nerve-vesicles is not necessarily transitory.
In this there is a correspondence to the duration, the emergence, the
extinction, of impressions on photographic preparations. Thus, I have
seen landscapes and architectural views taken in Mexico developed, as
artists say, months subsequently in New York--the images coming out,
after the long voyage, in all their proper forms and in all their proper
contrast of light and shade. The photograph had forgotten nothing. It
had equally preserved the contour of the everlasting mountains and the
passing smoke of a bandit-fire.

Are there, then, contained in the brain more permanently, as in the
retina more transiently, the vestiges of impressions that have been
gathered by the sensory organs? Is this the explanation of memory--the
Mind contemplating such pictures of past things and events as have
been committed to her custody. In her silent galleries are there hung
micrographs of the living and the dead, of scenes that we have
visited, of incidents in which we have borne a part? Are these abiding
impressions mere signal-marks, like the letters of a book, which impart
ideas to the mind? or are they actual picture-images, inconceivably
smaller than those made for us by artists, in which, by the aid of a
microscope, we can see, in a space not bigger than a pinhole, a whole
family group at a glance?

The phantom images of the retina are not perceptible in the light of the
day. Those that exist in the sensorium in like manner do not attract our
attention so long as the sensory organs are in vigorous operation, and
occupied in bringing new impressions in. But, when those organs become
weary or dull, or when we experience hours of great anxiety, or are
in twilight reveries, or are asleep, the latent apparitions have their
vividness increased by the contrast, and obtrude themselves on the
mind. For the same reason they occupy us in the delirium of fevers, and
doubtless also in the solemn moments of death. During a third part of
our life, in sleep, we are withdrawn from external influences; hearing
and sight and the other senses are inactive, but the never-sleeping Mind,
that pensive, that veiled enchantress, in her mysterious retirement,
looks over the ambrotypes she has collected--ambrotypes, for they are
truly unfading impressions--and, combining them together, as they chance
to occur, constructs from them the panorama of a dream.

Nature has thus implanted in the organization of every man means which
impressively suggest to him the immortality of the soul and a future
life. Even the benighted savage thus sees in his visions the fading
forms of landscapes, which are, perhaps, connected with some of his
most pleasant recollections; and what other conclusion can be possibly
extract from those unreal pictures than that they are the foreshadowings
of another land beyond that in which his lot is cast? At intervals he is
visited in his dreams by the resemblances of those whom he has loved
or hated while they were alive; and these manifestations are to him
incontrovertible proofs of the existence and immortality of the soul.
In our most refined social conditions we are never able to shake off the
impressions of these occurrences, and are perpetually drawing from
them the same conclusions that our uncivilized ancestors did. Our more
elevated condition of life in no respect relieves us from the inevitable
operation of our own organization, any more than it relieves us from
infirmities and disease. In these respects, all over the globe men are
on an equality. Savage or civilized, we carry within us a mechanism
which presents us with mementoes of the most solemn facts with which we
can be concerned. It wants only moments of repose or sickness, when the
influence of external things is diminished, to come into full play, and
these are precisely the moments when we are best prepared for the truths
it is going to suggest. That mechanism is no respecter of persons. It
neither permits the haughtiest to be free from the monitions, nor leaves
the humblest without the consolation of a knowledge of another life.
Open to no opportunities of being tampered with by the designing or
interested, requiring no extraneous human agency for its effect,
out always present with every man wherever he may go, it marvelously
extracts from vestiges of the impressions of the past overwhelming
proofs of the realities of the future, and, gathering its power from
what would seem to be a most unlikely source, it insensibly leads us, no
matter who or where we may be, to a profound belief in the immortal and
imperishable, from phantoms which have scarcely made their appearance
before they are ready to vanish away.

The insect differs from a mere automaton in this, that it is influenced
by old, by registered impressions. In the higher forms of animated life
that registration becomes more and more complete, memory becomes more
perfect. There is not any necessary resemblance between an external form
and its ganglionic impression, any more than there is between the words
of a message delivered in a telegraphic office and the signals which
the telegraph may give to the distant station; any more than there
is between the letters of a printed page and the acts or scenes they
describe, but the letters call up with clearness to the mind of the
reader the events and scenes.

An animal without any apparatus for the retention of impressions must
be a pure automaton--it cannot have memory. From insignificant and
uncertain beginnings, such an apparatus is gradually evolved, and, as
its development advances, the intellectual capacity increases. In man,
this retention or registration reaches perfection; he guides, himself by
past as well as by present impressions; he is influenced by experience;
his conduct is determined by reason.

A most important advance is made when the capability is acquired by any
animal of imparting a knowledge of the impressions stored up in its own
nerve-centres to another of the same kind. This marks the extension of
individual into social life, and indeed is essential thereto. In the
higher insects it is accomplished by antennal contacts, in man by
speech. Humanity, in its earlier, its savage stages, was limited to
this: the knowledge of one person could be transmitted to another by
conversation. The acts and thoughts of one generation could be imparted
to another, and influence its acts and thoughts.

But tradition has its limit. The faculty of speech makes society
possible--nothing more.

Not without interest do we remark the progress of development of
this function. The invention of the art of writing gave extension and
durability to the registration or record of impressions. These, which
had hitherto been stored up in the brain of one man, might now be
imparted to the whole human race, and be made to endure forever.
Civilization became possible--for civilization cannot exist without
writing, or the means of record in some shape.

From this psychological point of view we perceive the real significance
of the invention of printing--a development of writing which, by
increasing the rapidity of the diffusion of ideas, and insuring their
permanence, tends to promote civilization and to unify the human race.

In the foregoing paragraphs, relating to nervous impressions, their
registry, and the consequences, that spring from them, I have given an
abstract of views presented in my work on "Human Physiology," published
in 1856, and may, therefore, refer the reader to the chapter on "Inverse
Vision, or Cerebral Sight;" to Chapter XIV., Book I.; and to Chapter
VIII., Book II.; of that work, for other particulars.

The only path to scientific human psychology is through comparative
psychology. It is a long and wearisome path, but it leads to truth.

Is there, then, a vast spiritual existence pervading the universe, even
as there is a vast existence of matter pervading it--a spirit which,
as a great German author tells us, "sleeps in the stone, dreams in the
animal, awakes in man?" Does the soul arise from the one as the body
arises from the other? Do they in like manner return, each to the source
from which it has come? If so, we can interpret human existence, and our
ideas may still be in unison with scientific truth, and in accord with
our conception of the stability, the unchangeability of the universe.

To this spiritual existence the Saracens, following Eastern nations,
gave the designation "the Active Intellect." They believed that the soul
of man emanated from it, as a rain-drop comes from the sea, and, after a
season, returns. So arose among them the imposing doctrines of emanation
and absorption. The active intellect is God.

In one of its forms, as we have seen, this idea was developed by Chakia
Mouni, in India, in a most masterly manner, and embodied in the vast
practical system of Buddhism; in another, it was with less power
presented among the Saracens by Averroes.

But, perhaps we ought rather to say that Europeans hold Averroes as
the author of this doctrine, because they saw him isolated from his
antecedents. But Mohammedans gave him little credit for originality.
He stood to them in the light of a commentator on Aristotle, and as
presenting the opinions of the Alexandrian and other philosophical
schools up to his time. The following excerpts from the "Historical
Essay on Averroism," by M. Renan, will show how closely the Sarscenic
ideas approached those presented above:

This system supposes that, at the death of an individual, his
intelligent principle or soul no longer possesses a separate existence,
but returns to or is absorbed in the universal mind, the active
intelligence, the mundane soul, which is God; from whom, indeed, it had
originally emanated or issued forth.

The universal, or active, or objective intellect, is uncreated,
impassible, incorruptible, has neither beginning nor end; nor does it
increase as the number of individual souls increases. It is altogether
separate from matter. It is, as it were, a cosmic principle. This
oneness of the active intellect, or reason, is the essential principle
of the Averroistic theory, and is in harmony with the cardinal doctrine
of Mohammedanism--the unity of God.

The individual, or passive, or subjective intellect, is an emanation
from the universal, and constitutes what is termed the soul of man. In
one sense it is perishable and ends with the body, but in a higher
sense it endures; for, after death, it returns to or is absorbed in the
universal soul, and thus of all human souls there remains at last
but one--the aggregate of them all, life is not the property of the
individual, it belongs to Nature. The end of, man is to enter into union
more and more complete with the active intellect--reason. In that the
happiness of the soul consists. Our destiny is quietude. It was the
opinion of Averroes that the transition from the individual to the
universal is instantaneous at death, but the Buddhists maintain that
human personality continues in a declining manner for a certain term
before nonentity, or Nirwana, is attained.

Philosophy has never proposed but two hypotheses to explain the system
of the world: first, a personal God existing apart, and a human soul
called into existence or created, and thenceforth immortal; second, an
impersonal intelligence, or indeterminate God, and a soul emerging from
and returning to him. As to the origin of beings, there are two opposite
opinions: first, that they are created from nothing; second, that they
come by development from pre-existing forms. The theory of creation
belongs to the first of the above hypotheses, that of evolution to the

Philosophy among the Arabs thus took the same direction that it had
taken in China, in India, and indeed throughout the East. Its whole
spirit depended on the admission of the indestructibility of matter and
force. It saw an analogy between the gathering of the material of which
the body of man consists from the vast store of matter in Nature, and
its final restoration to that store, and the emanation of the spirit
of man from the universal Intellect, the Divinity, and its final

Having thus indicated in sufficient detail the philosophical
characteristics of the doctrine of emanation and absorption, I have in
the next place to relate its history. It was introduced into Europe by
the Spanish Arabs. Spain was the focal point from which, issuing forth,
it affected the ranks of intelligence and fashion all over Europe, and
in Spain it had a melancholy end.

The Spanish khalifs had surrounded themselves with all the luxuries
of Oriental life. They had magnificent palaces, enchanting gardens,
seraglios filled with beautiful women. Europe at the present day does
not offer more taste, more refinement, more elegance, than might have
been seen, at the epoch of which we are speaking, in the capitals of the
Spanish Arabs. Their streets were lighted and solidly paved. The houses
were frescoed and carpeted; they were warmed in winter by furnaces, and
cooled in summer with perfumed air brought by underground pipes from
flower-beds. They had baths, and libraries, and dining-halls, fountains
of quicksilver and water. City and country were full of conviviality,
and of dancing to the lute and mandolin. Instead of the drunken and
gluttonous wassail orgies of their Northern neighbors, the feasts of the
Saracens were marked by sobriety. Wine was prohibited. The enchanting
moonlight evenings of Andalusia were spent by the Moors in sequestered,
fairy-like gardens or in orange-groves, listening to the romances of
the story-teller, or engaged in philosophical discourse; consoling
themselves for the disappointments of this life by such reflections
as that, if virtue were rewarded in this world, we should be without
expectations in the life to come; and reconciling themselves to their
daily toil by the expectation that rest will be found after death--a
rest never to be succeeded by labor.

In the tenth century the Khalif Hakein II. had made beautiful Andalusia
the paradise of the world. Christians, Mussulmen, Jews, mixed together
without restraint. There, among many celebrated names that have
descended to our times, was Gerbert, destined subsequently to
become pope. There, too, was Peter the Venerable, and many Christian
ecclesiastics. Peter says that he found learned men even from Britain
pursuing astronomy. All learned men, no matter from what country they
came, or what their religious views, were welcomed. The khalif had in
his palace a manufactory of books, and copyists, binders, illuminators.
He kept book-buyers in all the great cities of Asia and Africa. His
library contained four hundred thousand volumes, superbly bound and

Throughout the Mohammedan dominions in Asia, in Africa, and in Spain,
the lower order of Mussulmen entertained a fanatical hatred against
learning. Among the more devout--those who claimed to be orthodox--there
were painful doubts as to the salvation of the great Khalif
Al-Mamun--the wicked khalif, as they called him--for he had not only
disturbed the people by introducing the writings of Aristotle and other
Greek heathens, but had even struck at the existence of heaven and
hell by saying that the earth is a globe, and pretending that he could
measure its size. These persons, from their numbers, constituted a
political power.

Almansor, who usurped the khalifate to the prejudice of Hakem's son,
thought that his usurpation would be sustained if he put himself at
the head of the orthodox party. He therefore had the library of Hakem
searched, and all works of a scientific or philosophical nature carried
into the public places and burnt, or thrown into the cisterns of the
palace. By a similar court revolution Averroes, in his old age--he died
A.D. 1193--was expelled from Spain; the religious party had triumphed
over the philosophical. He was denounced as a traitor to religion.
An opposition to philosophy had been organized all over the Mussulman
world. There was hardly a philosopher who was not punished. Some
were put to death, and the consequence was, that Islam was full of

Into Italy, Germany, England, Averroism had silently made its way.
It found favor in the eyes of the Franciscans, and a focus in the
University of Paris. By very many of the leading minds it had been
accepted. But at length the Dominicans, the rivals of the Franciscans,
sounded an alarm. They said it destroys all personality, conducts
to fatalism, and renders inexplicable the difference and progress
of individual intelligences. The declaration that there is but one
intellect is an error subversive of the merits of the saints, it is
an assertion that there is no difference among men. What! is there no
difference between the holy soul of Peter and the damned soul of Judas?
are they identical? Averroes in this his blasphemous doctrine denies
creation, providence, revelation, the Trinity, the efficacy of prayers,
of alms, and of litanies; he disbelieves in the resurrection and
immortality; he places the summum bonum in mere pleasure.

So, too, among the Jews who were then the leading intellects of the
world, Averroism had been largely propagated. Their great writer
Maimonides had thoroughly accepted it; his school was spreading it in
all directions. A furious persecution arose on the part of the orthodox
Jews. Of Maimonides it had been formerly their delight to declare that
he was "the Eagle of the Doctors, the Great Sage, the Glory of the West,
the Light of the East, second only to Moses." Now, they proclaimed that
he had abandoned the faith of Abraham; had denied the possibility of
creation, believed in the eternity of the world; had given himself up to
the manufacture of atheists; had deprived God of his attributes; made a
vacuum of him; had declared him inaccessible to prayer, and a stranger
to the government of the world. The works of Maimonides were committed
to the flames by the synagogues of Montpellier, Barcelona, and Toledo.

Scarcely had the conquering arms of Ferdinand and Isabella overthrown
the Arabian dominion in Spain, when measures were taken by the papacy
to extinguish these opinions, which, it was believed, were undermining
European Christianity.

Until Innocent IV. (1243), there was no special tribunal against
heretics, distinct from those of the bishops. The Inquisition, then
introduced, in accordance with the centralization of the times, was
a general and papal tribunal, which displaced the old local ones.
The bishops, therefore, viewed the innovation with great dislike,
considering it as an intrusion on their rights. It was established in
Italy, Spain, Germany, and the southern provinces of France.

The temporal sovereigns were only too desirous to make use of this
powerful engine for their own political purposes. Against this the popes
strongly protested. They were not willing that its use should pass out
of the ecclesiastical hand.

The Inquisition, having already been tried in the south of France, had
there proved to be very effective for the suppression of heresy. It had
been introduced into Aragon. Now was assigned to it the duty of dealing
with the Jews.

In the old times under Visigothic rule these people had greatly
prospered, but the leniency that had been shown to them was succeeded by
atrocious persecution, when the Visigoths abandoned their Arianism and
became orthodox. The most inhuman ordinances were issued against them--a
law was enacted condemning them all to be slaves. It was not to be
wondered at that, when the Saracen invasion took place, the Jews did
whatever they could to promote its success. They, like the Arabs, were
an Oriental people, both traced their lineage to Abraham, their common
ancestor; both were believers in the unity of God. It was their
defense of that doctrine that had brought upon them the hatred of their
Visigothic masters.

Under the Saracen rule they were treated with the highest consideration.
They became distinguished for their wealth and their learning. For
the most part they were Aristotelians. They founded many schools and
colleges. Their mercantile interests led them to travel all over the
world. They particularly studied the science of medicine. Throughout the
middle ages they were the physicians and bankers of Europe. Of all men
they saw the course of human affairs from the most elevated point of
view. Among the special sciences they became proficient in mathematics
and astronomy; they composed the tables of Alfonso, and were the cause
of the voyage of De Gama. They distinguished themselves greatly in light
literature. From the tenth to the fourteenth century their literature
was the first in Europe. They were to be found in the courts of princes
as physicians, or as treasurers managing the public finances.

The orthodox clergy in Navarre had excited popular prejudices against
them. To escape the persecutions that arose, many of them feigned to
turn Christians, and of these many apostatized to their former
faith. The papal nuncio at the court of Castile raised a cry for the
establishment of the Inquisition. The poorer Jews were accused of
sacrificing Christian children at the Passover, in mockery of the
crucifixion; the richer were denounced as Averroists. Under the
influence of Torquemada, a Dominican monk, the confessor of Queen
Isabella, that princess solicited a bull from the pope for the
establishment of the Holy Office. A bull was accordingly issued in
November, 1478, for the detection and suppression of heresy. In the
first year of the operation of the Inquisition, 1481, two thousand
victims were burnt in Andalusia; besides these, many thousands were dug
up from their graves and burnt; seventeen thousand were fined or
imprisoned for life. Whoever of the persecuted race could flee, escaped
for his life. Torquemada, now appointed inquisitor-general for Castile
and Leon, illustrated his office by his ferocity. Anonymous accusations
were received, the accused was not confronted by witnesses, torture was
relied upon for conviction; it was inflicted in vaults where no one
could hear the cries of the tormented. As, in pretended mercy, it was
forbidden to inflict torture a second time, with horrible duplicity it
was affirmed that the torment had not been completed at first, but had
only been suspended out of charity until the following day! The families
of the convicted were plunged into irretrievable ruin. Llorente, the
historian of the Inquisition, computes that Torquemada and his
collaborators, in the course of eighteen years, burnt at the stake ten
thousand two hundred and twenty persons, six thousand eight hundred and
sixty in effigy, and otherwise punished ninety-seven thousand three
hundred and twenty-one. This frantic priest destroyed Hebrew Bibles
wherever he could find them, And burnt six thousand volumes of Oriental
literature at Salamanca, under an imputation that they inculcated
Judaism. With unutterable disgust and indignation, we learn that the
papal government realized much money by selling to the rich
dispensations to secure them from the Inquisition.

But all these frightful atrocities proved failures. The conversions
were few. Torquemada, therefore, insisted on the immediate banishment
of every unbaptized Jew. On March 30, 1492, the edict of expulsion was
signed. All unbaptized Jews, of whatever age, sex, or condition, were
ordered to leave the realm by the end of the following July. If they
revisited it, they should suffer death. They might sell their effects
and take the proceeds in merchandise or bills of exchange, but not in
gold or silver. Exiled thus suddenly from the land of their birth, the
land of their ancestors for hundreds of years, they could not in
the glutted market that arose sell what they possessed. Nobody would
purchase what could be got for nothing after July. The Spanish clergy
occupied themselves by preaching in the public squares sermons filled
with denunciations against their victims, who, when the time for
expatriation came, swarmed in the roads and filled the air with their
cries of despair. Even the Spanish onlookers wept at the scene of agony.
Torquemada, however, enforced the ordinance that no one should afford
them any help.

Of the banished persons some made their way into Africa, some into
Italy; the latter carried with them to Naples ship-fever, which
destroyed not fewer than twenty thousand in that city, and devastated
that peninsula; some reached Turkey, a few England. Thousands,
especially mothers with nursing children, infants, and old people, died
by the way; many of them in the agonies of thirst.

This action against the Jews was soon followed by one against the Moors.
A pragmatica was issued at Seville, February, 1502, setting forth the
obligations of the Castilians to drive the enemies of God from the land,
and ordering that all unbaptized Moors in the kingdoms of Castile and
Leon above the age of infancy should leave the country by the end of
April. They might sell their property, but not take away any gold or
silver; they were forbidden to emigrate to the Mohammedan dominions; the
penalty of disobedience was death. Their condition was thus worse than
that of the Jews, who had been permitted to go where they chose. Such
was the fiendish intolerance of the Spaniards, that they asserted the
government would be justified in taking the lives of all the Moors for
their shameless infidelity.

What an ungrateful return for the toleration that the Moors in their
day of power had given to the Christians! No faith was kept with the
victims. Granada had surrendered under the solemn guarantee of the full
enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. At the instigation of
Cardinal Ximenes that pledge was broken, and, after a residence of eight
centuries, the Mohammedans were driven out of the land.

The coexistence of three religions in Andalusia--the Christian, the
Mohammedan, the Mosaic--had given opportunity for the development of
Averroism or philosophical Arabism. This was a repetition of what had
occurred at Rome, when the gods of all the conquered countries were
confronted in that capital, and universal disbelief in them all ensued.
Averroes himself was accused of having been first a Mussulman, then a
Christian, then a Jew, and finally a misbeliever. It was affirmed that
he was the author of the mysterious book "De Tribus Impostoribus."

In the middle ages there were two celebrated heretical books, "The
Everlasting Gospel," and the "De Tribus Impostoribus." The latter was
variously imputed to Pope Gerbert, to Frederick II., and to Averroes.
In their unrelenting hatred the Dominicans fastened all the blasphemies
current in those times on Averroes; they never tired of recalling the
celebrated and outrageous one respecting the eucharist. His writings had
first been generally made known to Christian Europe by the translation
of Michael Scot in the beginning of the thirteenth century, but long
before his time the literature of the West, like that of Asia, was full
of these ideas. We have seen how broadly they were set forth by Erigena.
The Arabians, from their first cultivation of philosophy, had been
infected by them; they were current in all the colleges of the three
khalifates. Considered not as a mode of thought, that will spontaneously
occur to all men at a certain stage of intellectual development, but as
having originated with Aristotle, they continually found favor with men
of the highest culture. We see them in Robert Grostete, in Roger Bacon,
and eventually in Spinoza. Averroes was not their inventor, he merely
gave them clearness and expression. Among the Jews of the thirteenth
century, he had completely supplanted his imputed master. Aristotle had
passed away from their eyes; his great commentator, Averroes, stood in
his place. So numerous were the converts to the doctrine of emanation
in Christendom, that Pope Alexander IV. (1255) found it necessary to
interfere. By his order, Albertus Magnus composed a work against the
"Unity of the Intellect." Treating of the origin and nature of the
soul, he attempted to prove that the theory of "a separate intellect,
enlightening man by irradiation anterior to the individual and surviving
the individual, is a detestable error." But the most illustrious
antagonist of the great commentator was St. Thomas Aquinas, the
destroyer of all such heresies as the unity of the intellect, the denial
of Providence, the impossibility of creation; the victories of "the
Angelic Doctor" were celebrated not only in the disputations of the
Dominicans, but also in the works of art of the painters of Florence
and Pisa. The indignation of that saint knew no bounds when Christians
became the disciples of an infidel, who was worse than a Mohammedan.
The wrath of the Dominicans, the order to which St. Thomas belonged, was
sharpened by the fact that their rivals, the Franciscans, inclined to
Averroistic views; and Dante, who leaned to the Dominicans, denounced
Averroes as the author of a most dangerous system. The theological odium
of all three dominant religions was put upon him; he was pointed out
as the originator of the atrocious maxim that "all religions are false,
although all are probably useful." An attempt was made at the Council
of Vienne to have his writings absolutely suppressed, and to forbid all
Christians reading them. The Dominicans, armed with the weapons of
the Inquisition, terrified Christian Europe with their unrelenting
persecutions. They imputed all the infidelity of the times to the
Arabian philosopher. But he was not without support. In Paris and in the
cities of Northern Italy the Franciscans sustained his views, and all
Christendom was agitated with these disputes.

Under the inspiration of the Dominicans, Averroes oceanic to the Italian
painters the emblem of unbelief. Many of the Italian towns had pictures
or frescoes of the Day of Judgment and of Hell. In these Averroes not
unfrequently appears. Thus, in one at Pisa, he figures with Arius,
Mohammed, and Antichrist. In another he is represented as overthrown by
St. Thomas. He had become an essential element in the triumphs of the
great Dominican doctor. He continued thus to be familiar to the Italian
painters until the sixteenth century. His doctrines were maintained in
the University of Padua until the seventeenth.

Such is, in brief, the history of Averroism as it invaded Europe from
Spain. Under the auspices of Frederick II., it, in a less imposing
manner, issued from Sicily. That sovereign bad adopted it fully. In his
"Sicilian Questions" he had demanded light on the eternity of the world,
and on the nature of the soul, and supposed he had found it in the
replies of Ibn Sabin, an upholder of these doctrines. But in his
conflict with the papacy be was overthrown, and with him these heresies
were destroyed.

In Upper Italy, Averroism long maintained its ground. It was so
fashionable in high Venetian society that every gentleman felt
constrained to profess it. At length the Church took decisive action
against it. The Lateran Council, A.D. 1512, condemned the abettors of
these detestable doctrines to be held as heretics and infidels. As
we have seen, the late Vatican Council has anathematized them.
Notwithstanding that stigma, it is to be borne in mind that these
opinions are held to be true by a majority of the human race.



     Scriptural view of the world: the earth a flat surface;
     location of heaven and hell.

     Scientific view: the earth a globe; its size determined; its
     position in and relations to the solar system.--The three
     great voyages.--Columbus, De Gama, Magellan.--
     Circumnavigation of the earth.--Determination of its
     curvature by the measurement of a degree and by the

     The discoveries of Copernicus.--Invention of the telescope.--
     Galileo brought before the Inquisition.--His punishment.--
     Victory over the Church.

     Attempts to ascertain the dimensions of the solar system.--
     Determination of the sun's parallax by the transits of
     Venus.--Insignificance, of the earth and man.

     Ideas respecting the dimensions of the universe.--Parallax
     of the stars.--The plurality of worlds asserted by Bruno.--
     He is seized and murdered by the Inquisition.

I HAVE now to present the discussions that arose respecting the third
great philosophical problem--the nature of the world.

An uncritical observation of the aspect of Nature persuades us that the
earth is an extended level surface which sustains the dome of the sky,
a firmament dividing the waters above from the waters beneath; that the
heavenly bodies--the sun, the moon, the stars--pursue their way,
moving from east to west, their insignificant size and motion round the
motionless earth proclaiming their inferiority. Of the various organic
forms surrounding man none rival him in dignity, and hence he seems
justified in concluding that every thing has been created for his
use--the sun for the purpose of giving him light by day, the moon and
stars by night.

Comparative theology shows us that this is the conception of Nature
universally adopted in the early phase of intellectual life. It is the
belief of all nations in all parts of the world in the beginning of
their civilization: geocentric, for it makes the earth the centre of the
universe; anthropocentric, for it makes man the central object of the
earth. And not only is this the conclusion spontaneously come to from
inconsiderate glimpses of the world, it is also the philosophical basis
of various religious revelations, vouchsafed to man from time to time.
These revelations, moreover, declare to him that above the crystalline
dome of the sky is a region of eternal light and happiness--heaven--the
abode of God and the angelic hosts, perhaps also his own abode after
death; and beneath the earth a region of eternal darkness and misery,
the habitation of those that are evil. In the visible world is thus seen
a picture of the invisible.

On the basis of this view of the structure of the world great religious
systems have been founded, and hence powerful material interests have
been engaged in its support. These have resisted, sometimes by resorting
to bloodshed, attempts that have been made to correct its incontestable
errors--a resistance grounded on the suspicion that the localization of
heaven and hell and the supreme value of man in the universe might be

That such attempts would be made was inevitable. As soon as men began
to reason on the subject at all, they could not fail to discredit the
assertion that the earth is an indefinite plane. No one can doubt that
the sun we see to-day is the self-same sun that we saw yesterday. His
reappearance each morning irresistibly suggests that he has passed on
the underside of the earth. But this is incompatible with the reign of
night in those regions. It presents more or less distinctly the idea of
the globular form of the earth.

The earth cannot extend indefinitely downward; for the sun cannot go
through it, nor through any crevice or passage in it, Since he rises and
sets in different positions at different seasons of the year. The stars
also move under it in countless courses. There must, therefore, be a
clear way beneath.

To reconcile revelation with these innovating facts, schemes, such
as that of Cosmas Indicopleustes in his Christian Topography, were
doubtless often adopted. To this in particular we have had occasion on a
former page to refer. It asserted that in the northern parts of the flat
earth there is an immense mountain, behind which the sun passes, and
thus produces night.

At a very remote historical period the mechanism of eclipses had been
discovered. Those of the moon demonstrated that the shadow of the earth
is always circular. The form of the earth must therefore be globular.
A body which in all positions casts a circular shadow must itself be
spherical. Other considerations, with which every one is now familiar,
could not fail to establish that such is her figure.

But the determination of the shape of the earth by no means deposed
her from her position of superiority. Apparently vastly larger than all
other things, it was fitting that she should be considered not merely as
the centre of the world, but, in truth, as--the world. All other objects
in their aggregate seemed utterly unimportant in comparison with her.

Though the consequences flowing from an admission of the globular figure
of the earth affected very profoundly existing theological ideas, they
were of much less moment than those depending on a determination of her
size. It needed but an elementary knowledge of geometry to perceive that
correct ideas on this point could be readily obtained by measuring a
degree on her surface. Probably there were early attempts to accomplish
this object, the results of which have been lost. But Eratosthenes
executed one between Syene and Alexandria, in Egypt, Syene being
supposed to be exactly under the tropic of Cancer. The two places are,
however, not on the same meridian, and the distance between them was
estimated, not measured. Two centuries later, Posidonius made another
attempt between Alexandria and Rhodes; the bright star Canopus just
grazed the horizon at the latter place, at Alexandria it rose 7 1/2
degrees. In this instance, also, since the direction lay across the sea,
the distance was estimated, not measured. Finally, as we have already
related, the Khalif Al-Mamun made two sets of measures, one on the shore
of the Red Sea, the other near Cufa, in Mesopotamia. The general result
of these various observations gave for the earth's diameter between
seven and eight thousand miles.

This approximate determination of the size of the earth tended to
depose her from her dominating position, and gave rise to very serious
theological results. In this the ancient investigations of Aristarchus
of Samos, one of the Alexandrian school, 280 B.C., powerfully aided.
In his treatise on the magnitudes and distances of the sun and moon, he
explains the ingenious though imperfect method to which he had resorted
for the solution of that problem. Many ages previously a speculation had
been brought from India to Europe by Pythagoras. It presented the sun
as the centre of the system. Around him the planets revolved in circular
orbits, their order of position being Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars,
Jupiter, Saturn, each of them being supposed to rotate on its axis as it
revolved round the sun. According to Cicero, Nicetas suggested that,
if it were admitted that the earth revolves on her axis, the difficulty
presented by the inconceivable velocity of the heavens would be avoided.

There is reason to believe that the works of Aristarchus, in the
Alexandrian Library, were burnt at the time of the fire of Caesar. The
only treatise of his that has come down to us is that above mentioned,
on the size and distance of the sun and moon.

Aristarchus adopted the Pythagorean system as representing the actual
facts. This was the result of a recognition of the sun's amazing
distance, and therefore of his enormous size. The heliocentric system,
thus regarding the sun as the central orb, degraded the earth to a very
subordinate rank, making her only one of a company of six revolving

But this is not the only contribution conferred on astronomy by
Aristarchus, for, considering that the movement of the earth does not
sensibly affect the apparent position of the stars, he inferred that
they are incomparably more distant from us than the sun. He, therefore,
of all the ancients, as Laplace remarks, had the most correct ideas of
the grandeur of the universe. He saw that the earth is of absolutely
insignificant size, when compared with the stellar distances. He saw,
too, that there is nothing above us but space and stars.

But the views of Aristarchus, as respects the emplacement of the
planetary bodies, were not accepted by antiquity; the system proposed by
Ptolemy, and incorporated in his "Syntaxis," was universally preferred.
The physical philosophy of those times was very imperfect--one of
Ptolemy's objections to the Pythagorean system being that, if the earth
were in motion, it would leave the air and other light bodies behind it.
He therefore placed the earth in the central position, and in succession
revolved round her the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn; beyond the orbit of Saturn came the firmament of the fixed
stars. As to the solid crystalline spheres, one moving from east to
west, the other from north to south, these were a fancy of Eudoxus, to
which Ptolemy does not allude.

The Ptolemaic system is, therefore, essentially a geocentric system. It
left the earth in her position of superiority, and hence gave no cause
of umbrage to religious opinions, Christian or Mohammedan. The immense
reputation of its author, the signal ability of his great work on the
mechanism of the heavens, sustained it for almost fourteen hundred
years--that is, from the second to the sixteenth century.

In Christendom, the greater part of this long period was consumed
in disputes respecting the nature of God, and in struggles for
ecclesiastical power. The authority of the Fathers, and the prevailing
belief that the Scriptures contain the sum, of all knowledge,
discouraged any investigation of Nature. If by chance a passing interest
was taken in some astronomical question, it was at once settled by
a reference to such authorities as the writings of Augustine or
Lactantius, not by an appeal to the phenomena of the heavens. So
great was the preference given to sacred over profane learning that
Christianity had been in existence fifteen hundred years, and had not
produced a single astronomer.

The Mohammedan nations did much better. Their cultivation of science
dates from the capture of Alexandria, A.D. 638. This was only six years
after the death of the Prophet. In less than two centuries they had
not only become acquainted with, but correctly appreciated, the Greek
scientific writers. As we have already mentioned, by his treaty with
Michael III., the khalif Al-Mamun had obtained a copy of the "Syntaxis"
of Ptolemy. He had it forthwith translated into Arabic. It became at
once the great authority of Saracen astronomy. From this basis the
Saracens had advanced to the solution of some of the most important
scientific problems. They had ascertained the dimensions of the earth;
they had registered or catalogued all the stars visible in their
heavens, giving to those of the larger magnitudes the names they still
bear on our maps and globes; they determined the true length of the
year, discovered astronomical refraction, invented the pendulum-clock,
improved the photometry of the stars, ascertained the curvilinear
path of a ray of light through the air, explained the phenomena of the
horizontal sun and moon, and why we see those bodies before they have
risen and after they have set; measured the height of the atmosphere,
determining it to be fifty-eight miles; given the true theory of the
twilight, and of the twinkling of the stars. They had built the first
observatory in Europe. So accurate were they in their observations, that
the ablest modern mathematicians have made use of their results.
Thus Laplace, in his "Systeme du Monde," adduces the observations of
Al-Batagni as affording incontestable proof of the diminution of the
eccentricity of the earth's orbit. He uses those of Ibn-Junis in his
discussion of the obliquity of the ecliptic, and also in the case of the
problems of the greater inequalities of Jupiter and Saturn.

These represent but a part, and indeed but a small part, of the services
rendered by the Arabian astronomers, in the solution of the problem of
the nature of the world. Meanwhile, such was the benighted condition of
Christendom, such its deplorable ignorance, that it cared nothing
about the matter. Its attention was engrossed by image-worship,
transubstantiation, the merits of the saints, miracles, shrine-cures.

This indifference continued until the close of the fifteenth century.
Even then there was no scientific inducement. The inciting motives were
altogether of a different kind. They originated in commercial rivalries,
and the question of the shape of the earth was finally settled by three
sailors, Columbus, De Gama, and, above all, by Ferdinand Magellan.

The trade of Eastern Asia has always been a source of immense wealth to
the Western nations who in succession have obtained it. In the middle
ages it had centred in Upper Italy. It was conducted along two lines--a
northern, by way of the Black and Caspian Seas, and camel-caravans
beyond--the headquarters of this were at Genoa; and a southern, through
the Syrian and Egyptian ports, and by the Arabian Sea, the headquarters
of this being at Venice. The merchants engaged in the latter traffic had
also made great gains in the transport service of the Crusade-wars.

The Venetians had managed to maintain amicable relations with the
Mohammedan powers of Syria and Egypt; they were permitted to have
consulates at Alexandria and Damascus, and, notwithstanding the military
commotions of which those countries had been the scene, the trade was
still maintained in a comparatively flourishing condition. But the
northern or Genoese line had been completely broken up by the
irruptions of the Tartars and the Turks, and the military and political
disturbances of the countries through which it passed. The Eastern trade
of Genoa was not merely in a precarious condition--it was on the brink
of destruction.

The circular visible horizon and its dip at sea, the gradual appearance
and disappearance of ships in the offing, cannot fail to incline
intelligent sailors to a belief in the globular figure of the earth.
The writings of the Mohammedan astronomers and philosophers had given
currency to that doctrine throughout Western Europe, but, as might be
expected, it was received with disfavor by theologians. When Genoa was
thus on the very brink of ruin, it occurred to some of her mariners
that, if this view were correct, her affairs might be re-established.
A ship sailing through the straits of Gibraltar westward, across the
Atlantic, would not fail to reach the East Indies. There were apparently
other great advantages. Heavy cargoes might be transported without
tedious and expensive land-carriage, and without breaking bulk.

Among the Genoese sailors who entertained these views was Christopher

He tells us that his attention was drawn to this subject by the writings
of Averroes, but among his friends he numbered Toscanelli, a Florentine,
who had turned his attention to astronomy, and had become a strong
advocate of the globular form. In Genoa itself Columbus met with but
little encouragement. He then spent many years in trying to interest
different princes in his proposed attempt. Its irreligious tendency was
pointed out by the Spanish ecclesiastics, and condemned by the Council
of Salamanca; its orthodoxy was confuted from the Pentateuch, the
Psalms, the Prophecies, the Gospels, the Epistles, and the writings of
the Fathers--St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory, St.
Basil, St Ambrose.

At length, however, encouraged by the Spanish Queen Isabella, and
substantially aided by a wealthy seafaring family, the Pinzons of Palos,
some of whom joined him personally, he sailed on August 3, 1492, with
three small ships, from Palos, carrying with him a letter from King
Ferdinand to the Grand-Khan of Tartary, and also a chart, or map,
constructed on the basis of that of Toscanelli. A little before
midnight, October 11, 1492, he saw from the forecastle of his ship a
moving light at a distance. Two hours subsequently a signal-gun from
another of the ships announced that they had descried land. At sunrise
Columbus landed in the New World.

On his return to Europe it was universally supposed that he had reached
the eastern parts of Asia, and that therefore his voyage bad been
theoretically successful. Columbus himself died in that belief. But
numerous voyages which were soon undertaken made known the general
contour of the American coast-line, and the discovery of the Great South
Sea by Balboa revealed at length the true facts of the case, and the
mistake into which both Toscanelli and Columbus had fallen, that in a
voyage to the West the distance from Europe to Asia could not exceed
the distance passed over in a voyage from Italy to the Gulf of Guinea--a
voyage that Columbus had repeatedly made.

In his first voyage, at nightfall on September 13, 1492, being then two
and a half degrees east of Corvo, one of the Azores, Columbus observed
that the compass needles of the ships no longer pointed a little to the
east of north, but were varying to the west. The deviation became more
and more marked as the expedition advanced. He was not the first to
detect the fact of variation, but he was incontestably the first to
discover the line of no variation. On the return-voyage the reverse
was observed; the variation westward diminished until the meridian in
question was reached, when the needles again pointed due north. Thence,
as the coast of Europe was approached, the variation was to the
east. Columbus, therefore, came to the conclusion that the line of
no variation was a fixed geographical line, or boundary, between
the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. In the bull of May, 1493, Pope
Alexander VI. accordingly adopted this line as the perpetual boundary
between the possessions of Spain and Portugal, in his settlement of the
disputes of those nations. Subsequently, however, it was discovered that
the line was moving eastward. It coincided with the meridian of London
in 1662.

By the papal bull the Portuguese possessions were limited to the east of
the line of no variation. Information derived from certain Egyptian
Jews had reached that government, that it was possible to sail round the
continent of Africa, there being at its extreme south a cape which could
be easily doubled. An expedition of three ships under Vasco de Gama set
sail, July 9, 1497; it doubled the cape on November 20th, and reached
Calicut, on the coast of India, May 19, 1498. Under the bull, this
voyage to the East gave to the Portuguese the right to the India trade.

Until the cape was doubled, the course of De Gama's ships was in a
general manner southward. Very soon, it was noticed that the elevation
of the pole-star above the horizon was diminishing, and, soon after the
equator was reached, that star had ceased to be visible. Meantime other
stars, some of them forming magnificent constellations, had come into
view--the stars of the Southern Hemisphere. All this was in conformity
to theoretical expectations founded on the admission of the globular
form of the earth.

The political consequences that at once ensued placed the Papal
Government in a position of great embarrassment. Its traditions and
policy forbade it to admit any other than the flat figure of the earth,
as revealed in the Scriptures. Concealment of the facts was impossible,
sophistry was unavailing. Commercial prosperity now left Venice as well
as Genoa. The front of Europe was changed. Maritime power had departed
from the Mediterranean countries, and passed to those upon the Atlantic

But the Spanish Government did not submit to the advantage thus
gained by its commercial rival without an effort. It listened to the
representations of one Ferdinand Magellan, that India and the Spice
Islands could be reached by sailing to the west, if only a strait or
passage through what had now been recognized as "the American Continent"
could be discovered; and, if this should be accomplished, Spain,
under the papal bull, would have as good a right to the India trade as
Portugal. Under the command of Magellan, an expedition of five ships,
carrying two hundred and thirty-seven men, was dispatched from Seville,
August 10, 1519.

Magellan at once struck boldly for the South American coast, hoping to
find some cleft or passage through the continent by which he might reach
the great South Sea. For seventy days he was becalmed on the line; his
sailors were appalled by the apprehension that they had drifted into a
region where the winds never blew, and that it was impossible for them
to escape. Calms, tempests, mutiny, desertion, could not shake his
resolution. After more than a year he discovered the strait which
now bears his name, and, as Pigafetti, an Italian, who was with him,
relates, he shed fears of joy when he found that it had pleased God at
length to bring him where he might grapple with the unknown dangers of
the South Sea, "the Great and Pacific Ocean."

Driven by famine to eat scraps of skin and leather with which his
rigging was here and there bound, to drink water that had gone putrid,
his crew dying of hunger and scurvy, this man, firm in his belief of the
globular figure of the earth, steered steadily to the northwest, and for
nearly four months never saw inhabited land. He estimated that he had
sailed over the Pacific not less than twelve thousand miles. He crossed
the equator, saw once more the pole-star, and at length made land--the
Ladrones. Here he met with adventurers from Sumatra. Among these islands
he was killed, either by the savages or by his own men. His lieutenant,
Sebastian d'Elcano, now took command of the ship, directing her course
for the Cape of Good Hope, and encountering frightful hardships. He
doubled the cape at last, and then for the fourth time crossed the
equator. On September 7, 1522, after a voyage of more than three years,
he brought his ship, the San Vittoria, to anchor in the port of St.
Lucar, near Seville. She had accomplished the greatest achievement in
the history of the human race. She had circumnavigated the earth.

The San Vittoria, sailing westward, had come back to her starting-point.
Henceforth the theological doctrine of the flatness of the earth was
irretrievably overthrown.

Five years after the completion of the voyage of Magellan, was made the
first attempt in Christendom to ascertain the size of the earth. This
was by Fernel, a French physician, who, having observed the height of
the pole at Paris, went thence northward until he came to a place where
the height of the pole was exactly one degree more than at that city.
He measured the distance between the two stations by the number of
revolutions of one of the wheels of his carriage, to which a proper
indicator bad been attached, and came to the conclusion that the earth's
circumference is about twenty-four thousand four hundred and eighty
Italian miles.

Measures executed more and more carefully were made in many countries:
by Snell in Holland; by Norwood between London and York in England; by
Picard, under the auspices of the French Academy of Sciences, in France.
Picard's plan was to connect two points by a series of triangles,
and, thus ascertaining the length of the arc of a meridian intercepted
between them, to compare it with the difference of latitudes found from
celestial observations. The stations were Malvoisine in the vicinity
of Paris, and Sourdon near Amiens. The difference of latitudes was
determined by observing the zenith-distances, of delta Cassiopeia. There
are two points of interest connected with Picard's operation: it was the
first in which instruments furnished with telescopes were employed;
and its result, as we shall shortly see, was to Newton the first
confirmation of the theory of universal gravitation.

At this time it had become clear from mechanical considerations, more
especially such as had been deduced by Newton, that, since the earth is
a rotating body, her form cannot be that of a perfect sphere, but
must be that of a spheroid, oblate or flattened at the poles. It would
follow, from this, that the length of a degree must be greater near the
poles than at the equator.

The French Academy resolved to extend Picard's operation, by prolonging
the measures in each direction, and making the result the basis of a
more accurate map of France. Delays, however, took place, and it was not
until 1718 that the measures, from Dunkirk on the north to the southern
extremity of France, were completed. A discussion arose as to the
interpretation of these measures, some affirming that they indicated a
prolate, others an oblate spheroid; the former figure may be popularly
represented by a lemon, the latter by an orange. To settle this, the
French Government, aided by the Academy, sent out two expeditions to
measure degrees of the meridian--one under the equator, the other as
far north as possible; the former went to Peru, the latter to Swedish
Lapland. Very great difficulties were encountered by both parties. The
Lapland commission, however, completed its observations long before the
Peruvian, which consumed not less than nine years. The results of the
measures thus obtained confirmed the theoretical expectation of the
oblate form. Since that time many extensive and exact repetitions of the
observation have been made, among which may be mentioned those of the
English in England and in India, and particularly that of the French
on the occasion of the introduction of the metric system of weights
and measures. It was begun by Delambre and Mechain, from Dunkirk to
Barcelona, and thence extended, by Biot and Arago, to the island
of Formentera near Minorea. Its length was nearly twelve and a half

Besides this method of direct measurement, the figure of the earth
may be determined from the observed number of oscillations made by a
pendulum of invariable length in different latitudes. These, though they
confirm the foregoing results, give a somewhat greater ellipticity
to the earth than that found by the measurement of degrees. Pendulums
vibrate more slowly the nearer they are to the equator. It follows,
therefore, that they are there farther from the centre of the earth.

From the most reliable measures that have been made, the dimensions of
the earth may be thus stated:

  Greater or equatorial diameter..............7,925 miles.
  Less or polar diameter......................7,899 "
  Difference or polar compression.............   26 "

Such was the result of the discussion respecting the figure and size
of the earth. While it was yet undetermined, another controversy arose,
fraught with even more serious consequences. This was the conflict
respecting the earth's position with regard to the sun and the planetary

Copernicus, a Prussian, about the year 1507, had completed a book "On
the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies." He had journeyed to Italy
in his youth, had devoted his attention to astronomy, and had taught
mathematics at Rome. From a profound study of the Ptolemaic and
Pythagorean systems, he had come to a conclusion in favor of the latter,
the object of his book being to sustain it. Aware that his doctrines
were totally opposed to revealed truth, and foreseeing that they would
bring upon him the punishments of the Church, he expressed himself in
a cautious and apologetic manner, saying that he had only taken the
liberty of trying whether, on the supposition of the earth's motion, it
was possible to find better explanations than the ancient ones of the
revolutions of the celestial orbs; that in doing this he had only
taken the privilege that had been allowed to others, of feigning what
hypothesis they chose. The preface was addressed to Pope Paul III.

Full of misgivings as to what might be the result, he refrained from
publishing his book for thirty-six years, thinking that "perhaps it
might be better to follow the examples of the Pythagoreans and others,
who delivered their doctrine only by tradition and to friends." At the
entreaty of Cardinal Schomberg he at length published it in 1543. A copy
of it was brought to him on his death-bed. Its fate was such as he had
anticipated. The Inquisition condemned it as heretical. In their decree,
prohibiting it, the Congregation of the Index denounced his system
as "that false Pythagorean doctrine utterly contrary to the Holy

Astronomers justly affirm that the book of Copernicus, "De
Revolutionibus," changed the face of their science. It incontestably
established the heliocentric theory. It showed that the distance of the
fixed stars is infinitely great, and that the earth is a mere point in
the heavens. Anticipating Newton, Copernicus imputed gravity to the sun,
the moon, and heavenly bodies, but he was led astray by assuming that
the celestial motions must be circular. Observations on the orbit of
Mars, and his different diameters at different times, had led Copernicus
to his theory.

In thus denouncing the Copernican system as being in contradiction to
revelation, the ecclesiastical authorities were doubtless deeply moved
by inferential considerations. To dethrone the earth from her central
dominating position, to give her many equals and not a few superiors,
seemed to diminish her claims upon the Divine regard. If each of the
countless myriads of stars was a sun, surrounded by revolving globes,
peopled with responsible beings like ourselves, if we had fallen so
easily and had been redeemed at so stupendous a price as the death of
the Son of God, how was it with them? Of them were there none who had
fallen or might fall like us? Where, then, for them could a Savior be

During the year 1608 one Lippershey, a Hollander, discovered that, by
looking through two glass lenses, combined in a certain manner together,
distant objects were magnified and rendered very plain. He had invented
the telescope. In the following year Galileo, a Florentine, greatly
distinguished by his mathematical and scientific writings, hearing
of the circumstance, but without knowing the particulars of the
construction, invented a form of the instrument for himself. Improving
it gradually, he succeeded in making one that could magnify thirty
times. Examining the moon, he found that she had valleys like those of
the earth, and mountains casting shadows. It had been said in the old
times that in the Pleiades there were formerly seven stars, but a legend
related that one of them had mysteriously disappeared. On turning his
telescope toward them, Galileo found that he could easily count not
fewer than forty. In whatever direction he looked, he discovered stars
that were totally invisible to the naked eye.

On the night of January 7, 1610, he perceived three small stars in
a straight line, adjacent to the planet Jupiter, and, a few evenings
later, a fourth. He found that these were revolving in orbits round the
body of the planet, and, with transport, recognized that they presented
a miniature representation of the Copernican system.

The announcement of these wonders at once attracted universal attention.
The spiritual authorities were not slow to detect their tendency, as
endangering the doctrine that the universe was made for man. In the
creation of myriads of stars, hitherto invisible, there must surely have
been some other motive than that of illuminating the nights for him.

It had been objected to the Copernican theory that, if the planets
Mercury and Venus move round the sun in orbits interior to that of the
earth, they ought to show phases like those of the moon; and that in
the case of Venus, which is so brilliant and conspicuous, these phases
should be very obvious. Copernicus himself had admitted the force of
the objection, and had vainly tried to find an explanation. Galileo, on
turning his telescope to the planet, discovered that the expected phases
actually exist; now she was a crescent, then half-moon, then gibbous,
then full. Previously to Copernicus, it was supposed that the planets
shine by their own light, but the phases of Venus and Mars proved that
their light is reflected. The Aristotelian notion, that celestial differ
from terrestrial bodies in being incorruptible, received a rude shock
from the discoveries of Galileo, that there are mountains and valleys in
the moon like those of the earth, that the sun is not perfect, but has
spots on his face, and that he turns on his axis instead of being in a
state of majestic rest. The apparition of new stars had already thrown
serious doubts on this theory of incorruptibility.

These and many other beautiful telescopic discoveries tended to the
establishment of the truth of the Copernican theory and gave unbounded
alarm to the Church. By the low and ignorant ecclesiastics they were
denounced as deceptions or frauds. Some affirmed that the telescope
might be relied on well enough for terrestrial objects, but with the
heavenly bodies it was altogether a different affair. Others declared
that its invention was a mere application of Aristotle's remark that
stars could be seen in the daytime from the bottom of a deep well.
Galileo was accused of imposture, heresy, blasphemy, atheism. With a
view of defending himself, he addressed a letter to the Abbe Castelli,
suggesting that the Scriptures were never intended to be a scientific
authority, but only a moral guide. This made matters worse. He was
summoned before the Holy Inquisition, under an accusation of having
taught that the earth moves round the sun, a doctrine "utterly contrary
to the Scriptures." He was ordered to renounce that heresy, on pain of
being imprisoned. He was directed to desist from teaching and advocating
the Copernican theory, and pledge himself that he would neither publish
nor defend it for the future. Knowing well that Truth has no need of
martyrs, he assented to the required recantation, and gave the promise

For sixteen years the Church had rest. But in 1632 Galileo ventured
on the publication of his work entitled "The System of the World," its
object being the vindication of the Copernican doctrine. He was again
summoned before the Inquisition at Rome, accused of having asserted
that the earth moves round the sun. He was declared to have brought
upon himself the penalties of heresy. On his knees, with his hand on the
Bible, he was compelled to abjure and curse the doctrine of the movement
of the earth. What a spectacle! This venerable man, the most illustrious
of his age, forced by the threat of death to deny facts which his judges
as well as himself knew to be true! He was then committed to prison,
treated with remorseless severity during the remaining ten years of
his life, and was denied burial in consecrated ground. Must not that
be false which requires for its support so much imposture, so much
barbarity? The opinions thus defended by the Inquisition are now objects
of derision to the whole civilized world.

One of the greatest of modern mathematicians, referring to this subject,
says that the point here contested was one which is for mankind of the
highest interest, because of the rank it assigns to the globe that we
inhabit. If the earth be immovable in the midst of the universe, man has
a right to regard himself as the principal object of the care of Nature.
But if the earth be only one of the planets revolving round the sun, an
insignificant body in the solar system, she will disappear entirely
in the immensity of the heavens, in which this system, vast as it may
appear to us, is nothing but an insensible point.

The triumphant establishment of the Copernican doctrine dates from the
invention of the telescope. Soon there was not to be found in all Europe
an astronomer who had not accepted the heliocentric theory with its
essential postulate, the double motion of the earth--movement of
rotation on her axis, and a movement of revolution round the sun.
If additional proof of the latter were needed, it was furnished by
Bradley's great discovery of the aberration of the fixed stars, an
aberration depending partly on the progressive motion of light, and
partly on the revolution of the earth. Bradley's discovery ranked
in importance with that of the precession of the equinoxes. Roemer's
discovery of the progressive motion of light, though denounced by
Fontenelle as a seductive error, and not admitted by Cassini, at length
forced its way to universal acceptance.

Next it was necessary to obtain correct ideas of the dimensions of the
solar system, or, putting the problem under a more limited form, to
determine the distance of the earth from the sun.

In the time of Copernicus it was supposed that the sun's distance could
not exceed five million miles, and indeed there were many who thought
that estimate very extravagant. From a review of the observations of
Tycho Brahe, Kepler, however, concluded that the error was actually in
the opposite direction, and that the estimate must be raised to at
least thirteen million. In 1670 Cassini showed that these numbers were
altogether inconsistent with the facts, and gave as his conclusion
eighty-five million.

The transit of Venus over the face of the sun, June 3, 1769, had been
foreseen, and its great value in the solution of this fundamental
problem in astronomy appreciated. With commendable alacrity various
governments contributed their assistance in making observations, so that
in Europe there were fifty stations, in Asia six, in America seventeen.
It was for this purpose that the English Government dispatched Captain
Cook on his celebrated first voyage. He went to Otaheite. His voyage
was crowned with success. The sun rose without a cloud, and the sky
continued equally clear throughout the day. The transit at Cook's
station lasted from about half-past nine in the morning until about
half-past three in the afternoon, and all the observations were made in
a satisfactory manner.

But, on the discussion of the observations made at the different
stations, it was found that there was not the accordance that could have
been desired--the result varying from eighty-eight to one hundred and
nine million. The celebrated mathematician, Encke, therefore reviewed
them in 1822-'24, and came to the conclusion that the sun's horizontal
parallax, that is, the angle under which the semi-diameter of the earth
is seen from the sun, is 8 576/1000 seconds; this gave as the distance
95,274,000 miles. Subsequently the observations were reconsidered
by Hansen, who gave as their result 91,659,000 miles. Still later,
Leverrier made it 91,759,000. Airy and Stone, by another method, made
it 91,400,000; Stone alone, by a revision of the old observations,
91,730,000; and finally, Foucault and Fizeau, from physical experiments,
determining the velocity of light, and therefore in their nature
altogether differing from transit observations, 91,400,000. Until the
results of the transit of next year (1874) are ascertained, it must
therefore be admitted that the distance of the earth from the sun is
somewhat less than ninety-two million miles.

This distance once determined, the dimensions of the solar system may
be ascertained with ease and precision. It is enough to mention that
the distance of Neptune from the sun, the most remote of the planets at
present known, is about thirty times that of the earth.

By the aid of these numbers we may begin to gain a just appreciation of
the doctrine of the human destiny of the universe--the doctrine that all
things were made for man. Seen from the sun, the earth dwindles away to
a mere speck, a mere dust-mote glistening in his beams. If the reader
wishes a more precise valuation, let him hold a page of this book a
couple of feet from his eye; then let him consider one of its dots or
full stops; that dot is several hundred times larger in surface than is
the earth as seen from the sun!

Of what consequence, then, can such an almost imperceptible particle be?
One might think that it could be removed or even annihilated, and yet
never be missed. Of what consequence is one of those human monads, of
whom more than a thousand millions swarm on the surface of this all
but invisible speck, and of a million of whom scarcely one will leave
a trace that he has ever existed? Of what consequence is man, his
pleasures or his pains?

Among the arguments brought forward against the Copernican system at the
time of its promulgation, was one by the great Danish astronomer, Tycho
Brahe, originally urged by Aristarchus against the Pythagorean system,
to the effect that, if, as was alleged, the earth moves round the sun,
there ought to be a change of the direction in which the fixed stars
appear. At one time we are nearer to a particular region of the heavens
by a distance equal to the whole diameter of the earth's orbit than we
were six months previously, and hence there ought to be a change in
the relative position of the stars; they should seem to separate as we
approach them, and to close together as we recede from them; or, to use
the astronomical expression, these stars should have a yearly parallax.

The parallax of a star is the angle contained between two lines drawn
from it--one to the sun, the other to the earth.

At that time, the earth's distance from the sun was greatly
under-estimated. Had it been known, as it is now, that that distance
exceeds ninety million miles, or that the diameter of the orbit is more
than one hundred and eighty million, that argument would doubtless have
had very great weight.

In reply to Tycho, it was said that, since the parallax of a body
diminishes as its distance increases, a star may be so far off that its
parallax may be imperceptible. This answer proved to be correct. The
detection of the parallax of the stars depended on the improvement of
instruments for the measurement of angles.

The parallax of alpha Centauri, a fine double star of the Southern
Hemisphere, at present considered to be the nearest of the fixed stars,
was first determined by Henderson and Maclear at the Cape of Good Hope
in 1832-'33. It is about nine-tenths of a second. Hence this star is
almost two hundred and thirty thousand times as far from us as the sun.
Seen from it, if the sun were even large enough to fill the whole orbit
of the earth, or one hundred and eighty million miles in diameter,
he would be a mere point. With its companion, it revolves round their
common centre of gravity in eighty-one years, and hence it would seem
that their conjoint mass is less than that of the sun.

The star 61 Cygni is of the sixth magnitude. Its parallax was first
found by Bessel in 1838, and is about one-third of a second. The
distance from us is, therefore, much more than five hundred thousand
times that of the sun. With its companion, it revolves round their
common centre of gravity in five hundred and twenty years. Their
conjoint weight is about one-third that of the sun.

There is reason to believe that the great star Sirius, the brightest
in the heavens, is about six times as far off as alpha Centauri. His
probable diameter is twelve million miles, and the light he emits two
hundred times more brilliant than that of the sun. Yet, even through the
telescope, he has no measurable diameter; he looks merely like a very
bright spark.

The stars, then, differ not merely in visible magnitude, but also in
actual size. As the spectroscope shows, they differ greatly in chemical
and physical constitution. That instrument is also revealing to us the
duration of the life of a star, through changes in the refrangibility of
the emitted light. Though, as we have seen, the nearest to us is at
an enormous and all but immeasurable distance, this is but the first
step--there are others the rays of which have taken thousands, perhaps
millions, of years to reach us! The limits of our own system are far
beyond the range of our greatest telescopes; what, then, shall we say of
other systems beyond? Worlds are scattered like dust in the abysses in

Have these gigantic bodies--myriads of which are placed at so vast a
distance that our unassisted eyes cannot perceive them--have these no
other purpose than that assigned by theologians, to give light to us?
Does not their enormous size demonstrate that, as they are centres of
force, so they must be centres of motion--suns for other systems of

While yet these facts were very imperfectly known--indeed, were rather
speculations than facts--Giordano Bruno, an Italian, born seven years
after the death of Copernicus, published a work on the "Infinity of
the Universe and of Worlds;" he was also the author of "Evening
Conversations on Ash-Wednesday," an apology for the Copernican system,
and of "The One Sole Cause of Things." To these may be added an allegory
published in 1584, "The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast." He had also
collected, for the use of future astronomers, all the observations he
could find respecting the new star that suddenly appeared in Cassiopeia,
A.D. 1572, and increased in brilliancy, until it surpassed all the other
stars. It could be plainly seen in the daytime. On a sudden, November
11th, it was as bright as Venus at her brightest. In the following March
it was of the first magnitude. It exhibited various hues of color in a
few months, and disappeared in March, 1574.

The star that suddenly appeared in Serpentarius, in Kepler's time
(1604), was at first brighter than Venus. It lasted more than a year,
and, passing through various tints of purple, yellow, red, became

Originally, Bruno was intended for the Church. He had become a
Dominican, but was led into doubt by his meditations on the subjects of
transubstantiation and the immaculate conception. Not caring to
conceal his opinions, he soon fell under the censure of the spiritual
authorities, and found it necessary to seek refuge successively in
Switzerland, France, England, Germany. The cold-scented sleuth-hounds of
the Inquisition followed his track remorselessly, and eventually hunted
him back to Italy. He was arrested in Venice, and confined in the Piombi
for six years, without books, or paper, or friends.

In England he had given lectures on the plurality of worlds, and in that
country had written, in Italian, his most important works. It added
not a little to the exasperation against him, that he was perpetually
declaiming against the insincerity; the impostures, of his
persecutors--that wherever he went he found skepticism varnished over
and concealed by hypocrisy; and that it was not against the belief of
men, but against their pretended belief, that he was fighting; that he
was struggling with an orthodoxy that had neither morality nor faith.

In his "Evening Conversations" he had insisted that the Scriptures were
never intended to teach science, but morals only; and that they cannot
be received as of any authority on astronomical and physical subjects.
Especially must we reject the view they reveal to us of the constitution
of the world, that the earth is a flat surface, supported on pillars;
that the sky is a firmament--the floor of heaven. On the contrary, we
must believe that the universe is infinite, and that it is filled with
self-luminous and opaque worlds, many of them inhabited; that there
is nothing above and around us but space and stars. His meditations
on these subjects had brought him to the conclusion that the views of
Averroes are not far from the truth--that there is an Intellect which
animates the universe, and of this Intellect the visible world is only
an emanation or manifestation, originated and sustained by force derived
from it, and, were that force withdrawn, all things would disappear.
This ever-present, all-pervading Intellect is God, who lives in all
things, even such as seem not to live; that every thing is ready to
become organized, to burst into life. God is, therefore, "the One Sole
Cause of Things," "the All in All."

Bruno may hence be considered among philosophical writers as
intermediate between Averroes and Spinoza. The latter held that God and
the Universe are the same, that all events happen by an immutable law
of Nature, by an unconquerable necessity; that God is the Universe,
producing a series of necessary movements or acts, in consequence of
intrinsic, unchangeable, and irresistible energy.

On the demand of the spiritual authorities, Bruno was removed from
Venice to Rome, and confined in the prison of the Inquisition, accused
not only of being a heretic, but also a heresiarch, who had written
things unseemly concerning religion; the special charge against him
being that he had taught the plurality of worlds, a doctrine repugnant
to the whole tenor of Scripture and inimical to revealed religion,
especially as regards the plan of salvation. After an imprisonment of
two years he was brought before his judges, declared guilty of the
acts alleged, excommunicated, and, on his nobly refusing to recant, was
delivered over to the secular authorities to be punished "as mercifully
as possible, and without the shedding of his blood," the horrible
formula for burning a prisoner at the stake. Knowing well that though
his tormentors might destroy his body, his thoughts would still live
among men, he said to his judges, "Perhaps it is with greater fear
that you pass the sentence upon me than I receive it." The sentence was
carried into effect, and he was burnt at Rome, February 16th, A.D. 1600.

No one can recall without sentiments of pity the sufferings of those
countless martyrs, who first by one party, and then by another, have
been brought for their religious opinions to the stake. But each of
these had in his supreme moment a powerful and unfailing support. The
passage from this life to the next, though through a hard trial, was the
passage from a transient trouble to eternal happiness, an escape from
the cruelty of earth to the charity of heaven. On his way through the
dark valley the martyr believed that there was an invisible hand that
would lead him, a friend that would guide him all the more gently and
firmly because of the terrors of the flames. For Bruno there was no
such support. The philosophical opinions, for the sake of which he
surrendered his life, could give him no consolation. He must fight the
last fight alone. Is there not something very grand in the attitude of
this solitary man, something which human nature cannot help admiring, as
he stands in the gloomy hall before his inexorable judges? No accuser,
no witness, no advocate is present, but the familiars of the Holy
Office, clad in black, are stealthily moving about. The tormentors and
the rack are in the vaults below. He is simply told that he has brought
upon himself strong suspicions of heresy, since he has said that there
are other worlds than ours. He is asked if he will recant and abjure
his error. He cannot and will not deny what he knows to be true, and
perhaps--for he had often done so before--he tells his judges that they,
too, in their hearts are of the same belief. What a contrast between
this scene of manly honor, of unshaken firmness, of inflexible adherence
to the truth, and that other scene which took place more than fifteen
centuries previously by the fireside in the hall of Caiaphas the
high-priest, when the cock crew, and "the Lord turned and looked upon
Peter" (Luke xxii. 61)! And yet it is upon Peter that the Church has
grounded her right to act as she did to Bruno. But perhaps the day
approaches when posterity will offer an expiation for this great
ecclesiastical crime, and a statue of Bruno be unveiled under the dome
of St. Peter's at Rome.



     Scriptural view that the Earth is only six thousand years
     old, and that it was made in a week.--Patristic chronology
     founded on the ages of the patriarchs.--Difficulties arising
     from different estimates in different versions of the Bible.

     Legend of the Deluge.--The repeopling.--The Tower of Babel;
     the confusion of tongues.--The primitive language.

     Discovery by Cassini of the oblateness of the planet
     Jupiter.--Discovery by Newton of the oblateness of the
     Earth.--Deduction that she has been modeled by mechanical
     causes.--Confirmation of this by geological discoveries
     respecting aqueous rocks; corroboration by organic remains.--
     The necessity of admitting enormously long periods of
     time.--Displacement of the doctrine of Creation by that of
     Evolution--Discoveries respecting the Antiquity of Man.

     The time-scale and space-scale of the world are infinite.--
     Moderation with which the discussion of the Age of the World
     has been conducted.

THE true position of the earth in the universe was established only
after a long and severe conflict. The Church used whatever power she
had, even to the infliction of death, for sustaining her ideas. But
it was in vain. The evidence in behalf of the Copernican theory became
irresistible. It was at length universally admitted that the sun is the
central, the ruling body of our system; the earth only one, and by no
means the largest, of a family of encircling planets. Taught by the
issue of that dispute, when the question of the age of the world
presented itself for consideration, the Church did not exhibit the
active resistance she had displayed on the former occasion. For,
though her traditions were again put in jeopardy, they were not, in her
judgment, so vitally assailed. To dethrone the Earth from her dominating
position was, so the spiritual authorities declared, to undermine the
very foundation of revealed truth; but discussions respecting the date
of creation might within certain limits be permitted. Those limits were,
however, very quickly overpassed, and thus the controversy became as
dangerous as the former one had been.

It was not possible to adopt the advice given by Plato in his "Timaeus,"
when treating of this subject--the origin of the universe: "It is proper
that both I who speak and you who judge should remember that we are but
men, and therefore, receiving the probable mythological tradition, it
is meet that we inquire no further into it." Since the time of St.
Augustine the Scriptures had been made the great and final authority in
all matters of science, and theologians had deduced from them schemes of
chronology and cosmogony which had proved to be stumbling-blocks to the
advance of real knowledge.

It is not necessary for us to do more than to allude to some of the
leading features of these schemes; their peculiarities will be easily
discerned with sufficient clearness. Thus, from the six days of creation
and the Sabbath-day of rest, since we are told that a day is with the
Lord as a thousand years, it was inferred that the duration of the
world will be through six thousand years of suffering, and an additional
thousand, a millennium of rest. It was generally admitted that the
earth was about four thousand years old at the birth of Christ, but, so
careless had Europe been in the study of its annals, that not Until
A.D. 627 had it a proper chronology of its own. A Roman abbot, Dionysius
Exiguus, or Dennis the Less, then fixed the vulgar era, and gave Europe
its present Christian chronology.

The method followed in obtaining the earliest chronological dates was
by computations, mainly founded on the lives of the patriarchs. Much
difficulty was encountered in reconciling numerical discrepancies. Even
if, as was taken for granted in those uncritical ages, Moses was the
author of the books imputed to him, due weight was not given to the fact
that he related events, many of which took place more than two thousand
years before he was born. It scarcely seemed necessary to regard the
Pentateuch as of plenary inspiration, since no means had been provided
to perpetuate its correctness. The different copies which had escaped
the chances of time varied very much; thus the Samaritan made thirteen
hundred and seven years from the Creation to the Deluge, the Hebrew
sixteen hundred and fifty-six, the Septuagint twenty-two hundred and
sixty-three. The Septuagint counted fifteen hundred years more from the
Creation to Abraham than the Hebrew. In general, however, there was
an inclination to the supposition that the Deluge took place about two
thousand years after the Creation, and, after another interval of two
thousand years, Christ was born. Persons who had given much attention
to the subject affirmed that there were not less than one hundred
and thirty-two different opinions as to the year in which the Messiah
appeared, and hence they declared that it was inexpedient to press for
acceptance the Scriptural numbers too closely, since it was plain,
from the great differences in different copies, that there had been no
providential intervention to perpetuate a correct reading, nor was there
any mark by which men could be guided to the only authentic version.
Even those held in the highest esteem contained undeniable errors. Thus
the Septuagint made Methuselah live until after the Deluge.

It was thought that, in the antediluvian world, the year consisted
of three hundred and sixty days. Some even affirmed that this was
the origin of the division of the circle into three hundred and sixty
degrees. At the time of the Deluge, so many theologians declared, the
motion of the sun was altered, and the year became five days and six
hours longer. There was a prevalent opinion that that stupendous event
occurred on November 2d, in the year of the world 1656. Dr. Whiston,
however, disposed to greater precision, inclined to postpone it to
November 28th. Some thought that the rainbow was not seen until after
the flood; others, apparently with better reason, inferred that it was
then first established as a sign. On coming forth from the ark, men
received permission to use flesh as food, the antediluvians having been
herbivorous! It would seem that the Deluge had not occasioned any great
geographical changes, for Noah, relying on his antediluvian knowledge,
proceeded to divide the earth among his three sons, giving to Japhet
Europe, to Shem Asia, to Ham Africa. No provision was made for America,
as he did not know of its existence. These patriarchs, undeterred by the
terrible solitudes to which they were going, by the undrained swamps
and untracked forests, journeyed to their allotted possessions, and
commenced the settlement of the continents.

In seventy years the Asiatic family had increased to several hundred.
They had found their way to the plains of Mesopotamia, and there, for
some motive that we cannot divine, began building a tower "whose top
might reach to heaven." Eusebius informs us that the work continued for
forty years. They did not abandon it until a miraculous confusion of
their language took place and dispersed them all over the earth. St.
Ambrose shows that this confusion could not have been brought about by
men. Origen believes that not even the angels accomplished it.

The confusion of tongues has given rise to many curious speculations
among divines as to the primitive speech of man. Some have thought
that the language of Adam consisted altogether of nouns, that they were
monosyllables, and that the confusion was occasioned by the introduction
of polysyllables. But these learned men must surely have overlooked the
numerous conversations reported in Genesis, such as those between the
Almighty and Adam, the serpent and Eve, etc. In these all the various
parts of speech occur. There was, however, a coincidence of opinion
that the primitive language was Hebrew. On the general principles of
patristicism, it was fitting that this should be the case.

The Greek Fathers computed that, at the time of the dispersion,
seventy-two nations were formed, and in this conclusion St. Augustine
coincides. But difficulties seem to have been recognized in these
computations; thus the learned Dr. Shuckford, who has treated very
elaborately on all the foregoing points in his excellent work "On the
Sacred and Profane History of the World connected," demonstrates that
there could not have been more than twenty-one or twenty-two men, women,
and children, in each of those kingdoms.

A very vital point in this system of chronological computation, based
upon the ages of the patriarchs, was the great length of life to which
those worthies attained. It was generally supposed that before the Flood
"there was a perpetual equinox," and no vicissitudes in Nature. After
that event the standard of life diminished one-half, and in the time of
the Psalmist it had sunk to seventy years, at which it still remains.
Austerities of climate were affirmed to have arisen through the shifting
of the earth's axis at the Flood, and to this ill effect were added the
noxious influences of that universal catastrophe, which, "converting the
surface of the earth into a vast swamp, gave rise to fermentations of
the blood and a weakening of the fibres."

With a view of avoiding difficulties arising from the extraordinary
length of the patriarchal lives, certain divines suggested that the
years spoken of by the sacred penman were not ordinary but lunar years.
This, though it might bring the age of those venerable men within
the recent term of life, introduced, however, another insuperable
difficulty, since it made them have children when only five or six years

Sacred science, as interpreted by the Fathers of the Church,
demonstrated these facts: 1. That the date of Creation was comparatively
recent, not more than four or five thousand years before Christ; 2. That
the act of Creation occupied the space of six ordinary days; 3. That
the Deluge was universal, and that the animals which survived it were
preserved in an ark; 4. That Adam was created perfect in morality and
intelligence, that he fell, and that his descendants have shared in his
sin and his fall.

Of these points and others that might be mentioned there were two on
which ecclesiastical authority felt that it must insist. These were:
1. The recent date of Creation; for, the remoter that event, the more
urgent the necessity of vindicating the justice of God, who apparently
had left the majority of our race to its fate, and had reserved
salvation for the few who were living in the closing ages of the
world; 2. The perfect condition of Adam at his creation, since this was
necessary to the theory of the fall, and the plan of salvation.

Theological authorities were therefore constrained to look with disfavor
on any attempt to carry back the origin of the earth, to an epoch
indefinitely remote, and on the Mohammedan theory of the evolution
of man from lower forms, or his gradual development to his present
condition in the long lapse of time.

From the puerilities, absurdities, and contradictions of the foregoing
statement, we may gather how very unsatisfactory this so-called sacred
science was. And perhaps we may be brought to the conclusion to
which Dr. Shuckford, above quoted, was constrained to come, after his
wearisome and unavailing attempt to coordinate its various parts: "As to
the Fathers of the first ages of the Church, they were good men, but not
men of universal learning."

Sacred cosmogony regards the formation and modeling of the earth as the
direct act of God; it rejects the intervention of secondary causes in
those events.

Scientific cosmogony dates from the telescopic discovery made by
Cassini--an Italian astronomer, under whose care Louis XIV. placed the
Observatory of Paris--that the planet Jupiter is not a sphere, but
an oblate spheroid, flattened at the poles. Mechanical philosophy
demonstrated that such a figure is the necessary result of the rotation
of a yielding mass, and that the more rapid the rotation the greater the
flattening, or, what comes to the same thing, the greater the equatorial
bulging must be.

From considerations--purely of a mechanical kind--Newton had foreseen
that such likewise, though to a less striking extent, must be the figure
of the earth. To the protuberant mass is due the precession of the
equinoxes, which requires twenty-five thousand eight hundred and
sixty-eight years for its completion, and also the nutation of the
earth's axis, discovered by Bradley. We have already had occasion to
remark that the earth's equatorial diameter exceeds the polar by about
twenty-six miles.

Two facts are revealed by the oblateness of the earth: 1. That she has
formerly been in a yielding or plastic condition; 2. That she has been
modeled by a mechanical and therefore a secondary cause.

But this influence of mechanical causes is manifested not only in
the exterior configuration of the globe of the earth as a spheroid of
revolution, it also plainly appears on an examination of the arrangement
of her substance.

If we consider the aqueous rocks, their aggregate is many miles in
thickness; yet they undeniably have been of slow deposit. The material
of which they consist has been obtained by the disintegration of ancient
lands; it has found its way into the water-courses, and by them been
distributed anew. Effects of this kind, taking place before our eyes,
require a very considerable lapse of time to produce a well-marked
result--a water deposit may in this manner measure in thickness a few
inches in a century--what, then, shall we say as to the time consumed in
the formation of deposits of many thousand yards?

The position of the coast-line of Egypt has been known for much more
than two thousand years. In that time it has made, by reason of the
detritus brought down by the Nile, a distinctly-marked encroachment on
the Mediterranean. But all Lower Egypt has had a similar origin. The
coast-line near the mouth of the Mississippi has been well known
for three hundred years, and during that time has scarcely made a
perceptible advance on the Gulf of Mexico; but there was a time when the
delta of that river was at St. Louis, more than seven hundred miles
from its present position. In Egypt and in America--in fact, in all
countries--the rivers have been inch by inch prolonging the land into
the sea; the slowness of their work and the vastness of its extent
satisfy us that we must concede for the operation enormous periods of

To the same conclusion we are brought if we consider the filling of
lakes, the deposit of travertines, the denudation of hills, the
cutting action of the sea on its shores, the undermining of cliffs, the
weathering of rocks by atmospheric water and carbonic acid.

Sedimentary strata must have been originally deposited in planes nearly
horizontal. Vast numbers of them have been forced, either by paroxysms
at intervals or by gradual movement, into all manner of angular
inclinations. Whatever explanations we may offer of these innumerable
and immense tilts and fractures, they would seem to demand for their
completion an inconceivable length of time.

The coal-bearing strata in Wales, by their gradual submergence, have
attained a thickness of 12,000 feet; in Nova Scotia of 14,570 feet.
So slow and so steady was this submergence, that erect trees stand one
above another on successive levels; seventeen such repetitions may be
counted in a thickness of 4,515 feet. The age of the trees is proved
by their size, some being four feet in diameter. Round them, as they
gradually went down with the subsiding soil, calamites grew, at one
level after another. In the Sydney coal-field fifty-nine fossil forests
occur in superposition.

Marine shells, found on mountain-tops far in the interior of continents,
were regarded by theological writers as an indisputable illustration of
the Deluge. But when, as geological studies became more exact, it was
proved that in the crust of the earth vast fresh-water formations are
repeatedly intercalated with vast marine ones, like the leaves of a
book, it became evident that no single cataclysm was sufficient
to account for such results; that the same region, through gradual
variations of its level and changes in its topographical surroundings,
had sometimes been dry land, sometimes covered with fresh and sometimes
with sea water. It became evident also that, for the completion of these
changes, tens of thousands of years were required.

To this evidence of a remote origin of the earth, derived from the vast
superficial extent, the enormous thickness, and the varied characters of
its strata, was added an imposing body of proof depending on its fossil
remains. The relative ages of formations having been ascertained, it
was shown that there has been an advancing physiological progression of
organic forms, both vegetable and animal, from the oldest to the most
recent; that those which inhabit the surface in our times are but an
insignificant fraction of the prodigious multitude that have inhabited
it heretofore; that for each species now living there are thousands
that have become extinct. Though special formations are so strikingly
characterized by some predominating type of life as to justify such
expressions as the age of mollusks, the age of reptiles, the age of
mammals, the introduction of the new-comers did not take place abruptly.
as by sudden creation. They gradually emerged in an antecedent age,
reached their culmination in the one which they characterize, and then
gradually died out in a succeeding. There is no such thing as a
sudden creation, a sudden strange appearance--but there is a slow
metamorphosis, a slow development from a preexisting form. Here again
we encounter the necessity of admitting for such results long periods
of time. Within the range of history no well-marked instance of such
development has been witnessed, and we speak with hesitation of doubtful
instances of extinction. Yet in geological times myriads of evolutions
and extinctions have occurred.

Since thus, within the experience of man, no case of metamorphosis
or development has been observed, some have been disposed to deny its
possibility altogether, affirming that all the different species have
come into existence by separate creative acts. But surely it is less
unphilosophical to suppose that each species has been evolved from a
predecessor by a modification of its parts, than that it has suddenly
started into existence out of nothing. Nor is there much weight in
the remark that no man has ever witnessed such a transformation taking
place. Let it be remembered that no man has ever witnessed an act
of creation, the sudden appearance of an organic form, without any

Abrupt, arbitrary, disconnected creative acts may serve to illustrate
the Divine power; but that continuous unbroken chain of organisms which
extends from palaeozoic formations to the formations of recent times, a
chain in which each link hangs on a preceding and sustains a succeeding
one, demonstrates to us not only that the production of animated beings
is governed by law, but that it is by law that has undergone no change.
In its operation, through myriads of ages, there has been no variation,
no suspension.

The foregoing paragraphs may serve to indicate the character of a
portion of the evidence with which we must deal in considering the
problem of the age of the earth. Through the unintermitting labors of
geologists, so immense a mass has been accumulated, that many volumes
would be required to contain the details. It is drawn from the phenomena
presented by all kinds of rocks, aqueous, igneous, metamorphic. Of
aqueous rocks it investigates the thickness, the inclined positions,
and how they rest unconformably on one another; how those that are of
fresh-water origin are intercalated with those that are marine; how
vast masses of material have been removed by slow-acting causes of
denudation, and extensive geographical surfaces have been remodeled; how
continents have undergone movements of elevation and depression, their
shores sunk under the ocean, or sea-beaches and sea-cliffs carried far
into the interior. It considers the zoological and botanical facts, the
fauna and flora of the successive ages, and how in an orderly manner the
chain of organic forms, plants, and animals, has been extended, from its
dim and doubtful beginnings to our own times. From facts presented by
the deposits of coal-coal which, in all its varieties, has originated
from the decay of plants--it not only demon strates the changes that
have taken place in the earth's atmosphere, but also universal changes
of climate. From other facts it proves that there have been oscillations
of temperature, periods in which the mean heat has risen, and periods
in which the polar ices and snows have covered large portions of the
existing continents--glacial periods, as they are termed.

One school of geologists, resting its argument on very imposing
evidence, teaches that the whole mass of the earth, from being in a
molten, or perhaps a vaporous condition, has cooled by radiation in the
lapse of millions of ages, until it has reached its present equilibrium
of temperature. Astronomical observations give great weight to this
interpretation, especially so far as the planetary bodies of the solar
system are concerned. It is also supported by such facts as the small
mean density of the earth, the increasing temperature at increasing
depths, the phenomena of volcanoes and injected veins, and those of
igneous and metamorphic rocks. To satisfy the physical changes which
this school of geologists contemplates, myriads of centuries are

But, with the views that the adoption of the Copernican system has given
us, it is plain that we cannot consider the origin and biography of the
earth in an isolated way; we must include with her all the other members
of the system or family to which she belongs. Nay, more, we cannot
restrict ourselves to the solar system; we must embrace in our
discussions the starry worlds. And, since we have become familiarized
with their almost immeasurable distances from one another, we are
prepared to accept for their origin an immeasurably remote time. There
are stars so far off that their light, fast as it travels, has taken
thousands of years to reach us, and hence they must have been in
existence many thousands of years ago.

Geologists having unanimously agreed--for perhaps there is not a single
dissenting voice--that the chronology of the earth must be greatly
extended, attempts have been made to give precision to it. Some of
these have been based on astronomical, some on physical principles. Thus
calculations founded on the known changes of the eccentricity of the
earth's orbit, with a view of determining the lapse of time since the
beginning of the last glacial period, have given two hundred and
forty thousand years. Though the general postulate of the immensity of
geological times may be conceded, such calculations are on too uncertain
a theoretical basis to furnish incontestable results.

But, considering the whole subject from the present scientific
stand-point, it is very clear that the views presented by theological
writers, as derived from the Mosaic record, cannot be admitted. Attempts
have been repeatedly made to reconcile the revealed with the discovered
facts, but they have proved to be unsatisfactory. The Mosaic time is
too short, the order of creation incorrect, the divine interventions
too anthropomorphic; and, though the presentment of the subject is in
harmony with the ideas that men have entertained, when first their
minds were turned to the acquisition of natural knowledge, it is not in
accordance with their present conceptions of the insignificance of the
earth and the grandeur of the universe.

Among late geological discoveries is one of special interest; it is the
detection of human remains and human works in formations which, though
geologically recent, are historically very remote.

The fossil remains of men, with rude implements of rough or chipped
flint, of polished stone, of bone, of bronze, are found in Europe in
caves, in drifts, in peat-beds. They indicate a savage life, spent in
hunting and fishing. Recent researches give reason to believe that,
under low and base grades, the existence of man can be traced back into
the tertiary times. He was contemporary with the southern elephant,
the rhinoceros leptorhinus, the great hippopotamus, perhaps even in the
miocene contemporary with the mastodon.

At the close of the Tertiary period, from causes not yet determined, the
Northern Hemisphere underwent a great depression of temperature. From
a torrid it passed to a glacial condition. After a period of prodigious
length, the temperature again rose, and the glaciers that had so
extensively covered the surface receded. Once more there was a decline
in the heat, and the glaciers again advanced, but this time not so far
as formerly. This ushered in the Quaternary period, during which very
slowly the temperature came to its present degree. The water deposits
that were being made required thousands of centuries for their
completion. At the beginning of the Quaternary period there were
alive the cave-bear, the cave-lion, the amphibious hippopotamus, the
rhinoceros with chambered nostrils, the mammoth. In fact, the mammoth
swarmed. He delighted in a boreal climate. By degrees the reindeer, the
horse, the ox, the bison, multiplied, and disputed with him his food.
Partly for this reason, and partly because of the increasing heat, he
became extinct. From middle Europe, also, the reindeer retired. His
departure marks the end of the Quaternary period.

Since the advent of man on the earth, we have, therefore, to deal with
periods of incalculable length. Vast changes in the climate and fauna
were produced by the slow operation of causes such as are in action at
the present day. Figures cannot enable us to appreciate these enormous
lapses of time.

It seems to be satisfactorily established, that a race allied to the
Basques may be traced back to the Neolithic age. At that time the
British Islands were undergoing a change of level, like that at present
occurring in the Scandinavian Peninsula. Scotland was rising, England
was sinking. In the Pleistocene age there existed in Central Europe a
rude race of hunters and fishers closely allied to the Esquimaux.

In the old glacial drift of Scotland the relics of man are found along
with those of the fossil elephant. This carries us back to that time
above referred to, when a large portion of Europe was covered with ice,
which had edged down from the polar regions to southerly latitudes, and,
as glaciers, descended from the summits of the mountain-chains into the
plains. Countless species of animals perished in this cataclysm of ice
and snow, but man survived.

In his primitive savage condition, living for the most part on fruits,
roots, shell-fish, man was in possession of a fact which was certain
eventually to insure his civilization. He knew how to make a fire. In
peat-beds, under the remains of trees that in those localities have
long ago become extinct, his relics are still found, the implements
that accompany him indicating a distinct chronological order. Near the
surface are those of bronze, lower down those of bone or horn, still
lower those of polished stone, and beneath all those of chipped or rough
stone. The date of the origin of some of these beds cannot be estimated
at less than forty or fifty thousand years.

The caves that have been examined in France and elsewhere have furnished
for the Stone age axes, knives, lance and arrow points, scrapers,
hammers. The change from what may be termed the chipped to the polished
stone period is very gradual. It coincides with the domestication of the
dog, an epoch in hunting-life. It embraces thousands of centuries. The
appearance of arrow-heads indicates the invention of the bow, and
the rise of man from a defensive to an offensive mode of life. The
introduction of barbed arrows shows how inventive talent was displaying
itself; bone and horn tips, that the huntsman was including smaller
animals, and perhaps birds, in his chase; bone whistles, his
companionship with other huntsmen or with his dog. The scraping-knives
of flint indicate the use of skin for clothing, and rude bodkins and
needles its manufacture. Shells perforated for bracelets and necklaces
prove how soon a taste for personal adornment was acquired; the
implements necessary for the preparation of pigments suggest the
painting of the body, and perhaps tattooing; and batons of rank bear
witness to the beginning of a social organization.

With the utmost interest we look upon the first germs of art among these
primitive men. They have left its rude sketches on pieces of ivory and
flakes of bone, and carvings, of the animals contemporary with them. In
these prehistoric delineations, sometimes not without spirit, we have
mammoths, combats of reindeer. One presents us with a man harpooning a
fish, another a hunting-scene of naked men armed with the dart. Man is
the only animal who has the propensity of depicting external forms, and
of availing himself of the use of fire.

Shell-mounds, consisting of bones and shells, some of which may be
justly described as of vast extent, and of a date anterior to the Bronze
age, and full of stone implements, bear in all their parts indications
of the use of fire. These are often adjacent to the existing coasts
sometimes, however, they are far inland, in certain instances as far
as fifty miles. Their contents and position indicate for them a date
posterior to that of the great extinct mammals, but prior to the
domesticated. Some of these, it is said, cannot be less than one hundred
thousand years old.

The lake-dwellings in Switzerland--huts built on piles or logs, wattled
with boughs--were, as may be inferred from the accompanying implements,
begun in the Stone age, and continued into that of Bronze. In the latter
period the evidences become numerous of the adoption of an agricultural

It must not be supposed that the periods into which geologists have
found it convenient to divide the progress of man in civilization are
abrupt epochs, which hold good simultaneously for the whole human race.
Thus the wandering Indians of America are only at the present moment
emerging from the Stone age. They are still to be seen in many places
armed with arrows, tipped with flakes of flint. It is but as yesterday
that some have obtained, from the white man, iron, fire-arms, and the

So far as investigations have gone, they indisputably refer the
existence of man to a date remote from us by many hundreds of thousands
of years. It must be borne in mind that these investigations are quite
recent, and confined to a very limited geographical space. No researches
have yet been made in those regions which might reasonably be regarded
as the primitive habitat of man.

We are thus carried back immeasurably beyond the six thousand years of
Patristic chronology. It is difficult to assign a shorter date for the
last glaciation of Europe than a quarter of a million of years, and
human existence antedates that. But not only is it this grand fact that
confronts us, we have to admit also a primitive animalized state, and a
slow, a gradual development. But this forlorn, this savage condition
of humanity is in strong contrast to the paradisiacal happiness of the
garden of Eden, and, what is far in ore serious, it is inconsistent with
the theory of the Fall.

I have been induced to place the subject of this chapter out of its
proper chronological order, for the sake of presenting what I had to
say respecting the nature of the world more completely by itself. The
discussions that arose as to the age of the earth were long after the
conflict as to the criterion of truth--that is, after the Reformation;
indeed, they were substantially included in the present century. They
have been conducted with so much moderation as to justify the term
I have used in the title of this chapter, "Controversy," rather than
"Conflict." Geology has not had to encounter the vindictive opposition
with which astronomy was assailed, and, though, on her part, she has
insisted on a concession of great antiquity for the earth, she has
herself pointed out the unreliability of all numerical estimates thus
far offered. The attentive reader of this chapter cannot have failed to
observe inconsistencies in the numbers quoted. Though wanting the
merit of exactness, those numbers, however, justify the claim of vast
antiquity, and draw us to the conclusion that the time-scale of the
world answers to the space-scale in magnitude.



     Ancient philosophy declares that man has no means of
     ascertaining the truth.

     Differences of belief arise among the early Christians--An
     ineffectual attempt is made to remedy them by Councils.--
     Miracle and ordeal proof introduced.

     The papacy resorts to auricular confession and the
     Inquisition.--It perpetrates frightful atrocities for the
     suppression of differences of opinion.

     Effect of the discovery of the Pandects of Justinian and
     development of the canon law on the nature of evidence.--It
     becomes more scientific.

     The Reformation establishes the rights of individual
     reason.--Catholicism asserts that the criterion of truth is
     in the Church. It restrains the reading of books by the
     Index Expurgatorius, and combats dissent by such means as
     the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve.

     Examination of the authenticity of the Pentateuch as the
     Protestant criterion.--Spurious character of those books.

     For Science the criterion of truth is to be found in the
     revelations of Nature: for the Protestant, it is in the
     Scriptures; for the Catholic, in an infallible Pope.

"WHAT is truth?" was the passionate demand of a Roman procurator on one
of the most momentous occasions in history. And the Divine Person who
stood before him, to whom the interrogation was addressed, made no
reply--unless, indeed, silence contained the reply.

Often and vainly had that demand been made before--often and vainly has
it been made since. No one has yet given a satisfactory answer.

When, at the dawn of science in Greece, the ancient religion was
disappearing like a mist at sunrise, the pious and thoughtful men of
that country were thrown into a condition of intellectual despair.
Anaxagoras plaintively exclaims, "Nothing can be known, nothing can be
learned, nothing can be certain, sense is limited, intellect is weak,
life is short." Xenophanes tells us that it is impossible for us to be
certain even when we utter the truth. Parmenides declares that the
very constitution of man prevents him from ascertaining absolute truth.
Empedocles affirms that all philosophical and religious systems must
be unreliable, because we have no criterion by which to test them.
Democritus asserts that even things that are true cannot impart
certainty to us; that the final result of human inquiry is the discovery
that man is incapable of absolute knowledge; that, even if the truth be
in his possession, he cannot be certain of it. Pyrrho bids us reflect
on the necessity of suspending our judgment of things, since we have no
criterion of truth; so deep a distrust did he impart to his followers,
that they were in the habit of saying, "We assert nothing; no, not even
that we assert nothing." Epicurus taught his disciples that truth can
never be determined by reason. Arcesilaus, denying both intellectual and
sensuous knowledge, publicly avowed that he knew nothing, not even his
own ignorance! The general conclusion to which Greek philosophy came was
this--that, in view of the contradiction of the evidence of the
senses, we cannot distinguish the true from the false; and such is the
imperfection of reason, that we cannot affirm the correctness of any
philosophical deduction.

It might be supposed that a revelation from God to man would come with
such force and clearness as to settle all uncertainties and overwhelm
all opposition. A Greek philosopher, less despairing than others, had
ventured to affirm that the coexistence of two forms of faith, both
claiming to be revealed by the omnipotent God, proves that neither of
them is true. But let us remember that it is difficult for men to come
to the same conclusion as regards even material and visible things,
unless they stand at the same point of view. If discord and distrust
were the condition of philosophy three hundred years before the birth
of Christ, discord and distrust were the condition of religion three
hundred years after his death. This is what Hilary, the Bishop of
Poictiers, in his well-known passage written about the time of the
Nicene Council, says:

"It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous that there are, as many
creeds as opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as
many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us, because we make
creeds arbitrarily and explain them as arbitrarily. Every year, nay,
every moon, we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries; we
repent of what we have done; we defend those who repent; we anathematize
those whom we defend; we condemn either the doctrines of others in
ourselves, or our own in that of others; and, reciprocally tearing each
other to pieces, we have been the cause of each other's ruin."

These are not mere words; but the import of this self-accusation can
be realized fully only by such as are familiar with the ecclesiastical
history of those times. As soon as the first fervor of Christianity as a
system of benevolence had declined, dissensions appeared. Ecclesiastical
historians assert that "as early as the second century began the contest
between faith and reason, religion and philosophy, piety and genius." To
compose these dissensions, to obtain some authoritative expression, some
criterion of truth, assemblies for consultation were resorted to, which
eventually took the form of councils. For a long time they had nothing
more than an advisory authority; but, when, in the fourth century,
Christianity had attained to imperial rule, their dictates became
compulsory, being enforced by the civil power. By this the whole face
of the Church was changed. Oecumenical councils--parliaments of
Christianity--consisting of delegates from all the churches in the
world, were summoned by the authority of the emperor; he presided either
personally or nominally in them--composed all differences, and was, in
fact, the Pope of Christendom. Mosheim, the historian, to whom I have
more particularly referred above, speaking of these times, remarks
that "there was nothing to exclude the ignorant from ecclesiastical
preferment; the savage and illiterate party, who looked on all kinds
of learning, particularly philosophy, as pernicious to piety, was
increasing;" and, accordingly, "the disputes carried on in the Council
of Nicea offered a remarkable example of the greatest ignorance and
utter confusion of ideas, particularly in the language and explanations
of those who approved of the decisions of that council." Vast as its
influence has been, "the ancient critics are neither agreed concerning
the time nor place in which it was assembled, the number of those who
sat in it, nor the bishop who presided. No authentic acts of its famous
sentence have been committed to writing, or, at least, none have been
transmitted to our times." The Church had now become what, in the
language of modern politicians, would be called "a confederated
republic." The will of the council was determined by a majority vote,
and, to secure that, all manner of intrigues and impositions were
resorted to; the influence of court females, bribery, and violence, were
not spared. The Council of Nicea had scarcely adjourned,--when it was
plain to all impartial men that, as a method of establishing a criterion
of truth in religious matters, such councils were a total failure. The
minority had no rights which the majority need respect. The protest of
many good men, that a mere majority vote given by delegates, whose right
to vote had never been examined and authorized, could not be received
as ascertaining absolute truth, was passed over with contempt, and the
consequence was, that council was assembled against council, and their
jarring and contradictory decrees spread perplexity and confusion
throughout the Christian world. In the fourth century alone there were
thirteen councils adverse to Arius, fifteen in his favor, and seventeen
for the semi-Arians--in all, forty-five. Minorities were perpetually
attempting to use the weapon which majorities had abused.

The impartial ecclesiastical historian above quoted, moreover, says
that "two monstrous and calamitous errors were adopted in this fourth
century: 1. That it was an act of virtue to deceive and lie when, by
that means, the interests of the Church might be promoted. 2. That
errors in religion, when maintained and adhered to after proper
admonition, were punishable with civil penalties and corporal tortures."

Not without astonishment can we look back at what, in those times, were
popularly regarded as criteria of truth. Doctrines were considered
as established by the number of martyrs who had professed them, by
miracles, by the confession of demons, of lunatics, or of persons
possessed of evil spirits: thus, St. Ambrose, in his disputes with the
Arians, produced men possessed by devils, who, on the approach of the
relics of certain martyrs, acknowledged, with loud cries, that the
Nicean doctrine of the three persons of the Godhead was true. But
the Arians charged him with suborning these infernal witnesses with a
weighty bribe. Already, ordeal tribunals were making their appearance.
During the following six centuries they were held as a final resort for
establishing guilt or innocence, under the forms of trial by cold water,
by duel, by the fire, by the cross.

What an utter ignorance of the nature of evidence and its laws have we
here! An accused man sinks or swims when thrown into a pond of water;
he is burnt or escapes unharmed when he holds a piece of red-hot iron
in his hand; a champion whom he has hired is vanquished or vanquishes in
single fight; he can keep his arms outstretched like a cross, or fails
to do so longer than his accuser, and his innocence or guilt of some
imputed crime is established! Are these criteria of truth?

Is it surprising that all Europe was filled with imposture miracles
during those ages?--miracles that are a disgrace to the common-sense of

But the inevitable day came at length. Assertions and doctrines based
upon such preposterous evidence were involved in the discredit that fell
upon the evidence itself. As the thirteenth century is approached, we
find unbelief in all directions setting in. First, it is plainly seen
among the monastic orders, then it spreads rapidly among the common
people. Books, such as "The Everlasting Gospel," appear among the
former; sects, such as the Catharists, Waldenses, Petrobrussians, arise
among the latter. They agreed in this, "that the public and established
religion was a motley system of errors and superstitions, and that the
dominion which the pope had usurped over Christians was unlawful and
tyrannical; that the claim put forth by Rome, that the Bishop of Rome is
the supreme lord of the universe, and that neither princes nor bishops,
civil governors nor ecclesiastical rulers, have any lawful power in
church or state but what they receive from him, is utterly without
foundation, and a usurpation of the rights of man."

To withstand this flood of impiety, the papal government established two
institutions: 1. The Inquisition; 2. Auricular confession--the latter as
a means of detection, the former as a tribunal for punishment.

In general terms, the commission of the Inquisition was, to extirpate
religious dissent by terrorism, and surround heresy with the most
horrible associations; this necessarily implied the power of determining
what constitutes heresy. The criterion of truth was thus in possession
of this tribunal, which was charged "to discover and bring to judgment
heretics lurking in towns, houses, cellars, woods, caves, and fields."
With such savage alacrity did it carry out its object of protecting the
interests of religion, that between 1481 and 1808 it had punished three
hundred and forty thousand persons, and of these nearly thirty-two
thousand had been burnt! In its earlier days, when public opinion could
find no means of protesting against its atrocities, "it often put to
death, without appeal, on the very day that they were accused, nobles,
clerks, monks, hermits, and lay persons of every rank." In whatever
direction thoughtful men looked, the air was full of fearful shadows. No
one could indulge in freedom of thought without expecting punishment. So
dreadful were the proceedings of the Inquisition, that the exclamation
of Pagliarici was the exclamation of thousands: "It is hardly possible
for a man to be a Christian, and die in his bed."

The Inquisition destroyed the sectaries of Southern France in the
thirteenth century. Its unscrupulous atrocities extirpated Protestantism
in Italy and Spain. Nor did it confine itself to religious affairs; it
engaged in the suppression of political discontent. Nicolas Eymeric, who
was inquisitor-general of the kingdom of Aragon for nearly fifty years,
and who died in 1399, has left a frightful statement of its conduct and
appalling cruelties in his "Directorium Inquisitorum."

This disgrace of Christianity, and indeed of the human race, had
different constitutions in different countries. The papal Inquisition
continued the tyranny, and eventually superseded the old episcopal
inquisitions. The authority of the bishops was unceremoniously put aside
by the officers of the pope.

By the action of the fourth Lateran Council, A.D. 1215, the power of
the Inquisition was frightfully increased, the necessity of private
confession to a priest--auricular confession--being at that time
formally established. This, so far as domestic life was concerned, gave
omnipresence and omniscience to the Inquisition. Not a man was safe.
In the hands of the priest, who, at the confessional, could extract or
extort from them their most secret thoughts, his wife and his servants
were turned into spies. Summoned before the dread tribunal, he was
simply informed that he lay under strong suspicions of heresy. No
accuser was named; but the thumb-screw, the stretching-rope, the boot
and wedge, or other enginery of torture, soon supplied that defect, and,
innocent or guilty, he accused himself!

Notwithstanding all this power, the Inquisition failed of its purpose.
When the heretic could no longer confront it, he evaded it. A dismal
disbelief stealthily pervaded all Europe,--a denial of Providence,
of the immortality of the soul, of human free-will, and that man can
possibly resist the absolute necessity, the destiny which envelops him.
Ideas such as these were cherished in silence by multitudes of persons
driven to them by the tyrannical acts of ecclesiasticism. In spite of
persecution, the Waldenses still survived to propagate their declaration
that the Roman Church, since Constantine, had degenerated from its
purity and sanctity; to protest against the sale of indulgences, which
they said had nearly abolished prayer, fasting, alms; to affirm that it
was utterly useless to pray for the souls of the dead, since they must
already have gone either to heaven or hell. Though it was generally
believed that philosophy or science was pernicious to the interests of
Christianity or true piety, the Mohammedan literature then prevailing
in Spain was making converts among all classes of society. We see very
plainly its influence in many of the sects that then arose; thus, "the
Brethren and Sisters of the Free. Spirit" held that "the universe came
by emanation from God, and would finally return to him by absorption;
that rational souls are so many portions of the Supreme Deity; and that
the universe, considered as one great whole, is God." These are ideas
that can only be entertained in an advanced intellectual condition. Of
this sect it is said that many suffered burning with unclouded serenity,
with triumphant feelings of cheerfulness and joy. Their orthodox enemies
accused them of gratifying their passions at midnight assemblages in
darkened rooms, to which both sexes in a condition of nudity repaired. A
similar accusation, as is well known, was brought against the primitive
Christians by the fashionable society of Rome.

The influences of the Averroistic philosophy were apparent in many of
these sects. That Mohammedan system, considered from a Christian point
of view, led to the heretical belief that the end of the precepts of
Christianity is the union of the soul with the Supreme Being; that God
and Nature have the same relations to each other as the soul and the
body; that there is but one individual intelligence; and that one soul
performs all the spiritual and rational functions in all the human race.
When, subsequently, toward the time of the Reformation, the Italian
Averroists were required by the Inquisition to give an account of
themselves, they attempted to show that there is a wide distinction
between philosophical and religious truth; that things may be
philosophically true, and yet theologically false--an exculpatory device
condemned at length by the Lateran Council in the time of Leo X.

But, in spite of auricular confession, and the Inquisition, these
heretical tendencies survived. It has been truly said that, at the
epoch of the Reformation, there lay concealed, in many parts of Europe,
persons who entertained the most virulent enmity against Christianity.
In this pernicious class were many Aristotelians, such as Pomponatius;
many philosophers and wits, such as Bodin, Rabelais, Montaigne; many
Italians, as Leo X., Bembo, Bruno.

Miracle-evidence began to fall into discredit during the eleventh and
twelfth centuries. The sarcasms of the Hispano-Moorish philosophers
had forcibly drawn the attention of many of the more enlightened
ecclesiastics to its illusory nature. The discovery of the Pandects
of Justinian, at Amalfi, in 1130, doubtless exerted a very powerful
influence in promoting the study of Roman jurisprudence, and
disseminating better notions as to the character of legal or
philosophical evidence. Hallam has cast some doubt on the well-known
story of this discovery, but he admits that the celebrated copy in the
Laurentian library, at Florence, is the only one containing the entire
fifty books. Twenty years subsequently, the monk Gratian collected
together the various papal edicts, the canons of councils, the
declarations of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, in a volume
called "The Decretum," considered as the earliest authority in canon
law. In the next century Gregory IX. published five books of Decretals,
and Boniface VIII. subsequently added a sixth. To these followed the
Clementine Constitutions, a seventh book of Decretals, and "A Book of
Institutes," published together, by Gregory XIII., in 1580, under the
title of "Corpus Juris Canonici." The canon law had gradually gained
enormous power through the control it had obtained over wills, the
guardianship of orphans, marriages, and divorces.

The rejection of miracle-evidence, and the substitution of legal
evidence in its stead, accelerated the approach of the Reformation. No
longer was it possible to admit the requirement which, in former days,
Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his treatise, "Cur Deus Homo,"
had enforced, that we must first believe without examination, and
may afterward endeavor to understand what we have thus believed. When
Cajetan said to Luther, "Thou must believe that one single drop of
Christ's blood is sufficient to redeem the whole human race, and the
remaining quantity that was shed in the garden and on the cross was left
as a legacy to the pope, to be a treasure from which indulgences were
to be drawn," the soul of the sturdy German monk revolted against such
a monstrous assertion, nor would he have believed it though a thousand
miracles had been worked in its support. This shameful practice of
selling indulgences for the commission of sin originated among the
bishops, who, when they had need of money for their private pleasures,
obtained it in that way. Abbots and monks, to whom this gainful commerce
was denied, raised funds by carrying about relics in solemn procession,
and charging a fee for touching them. The popes, in their pecuniary
straits, perceiving how lucrative the practice might become, deprived
the bishops of the right of making such sales, and appropriated it to
themselves, establishing agencies, chiefly among the mendicant orders,
for the traffic. Among these orders there was a sharp competition, each
boasting of the superior value of its indulgences through its greater
influence at the court of heaven, its familiar connection with the
Virgin Mary and the saints in glory. Even against Luther himself, who
had been an Augustinian monk, a calumny was circulated that he was
first alienated from the Church by a traffic of this kind having been
conferred on the Dominicans, instead of on his own order, at the time
when Leo X. was raising funds by this means for building St. Peter's, at
Rome, A.D. 1517. and there is reason to think that Leo himself, in the
earlier stages of the Reformation, attached weight to that allegation.

Indulgences were thus the immediate inciting cause of the Reformation,
but very soon there came into light the real principle that was
animating the controversy. It lay in the question, Does the Bible owe
its authenticity to the Church? or does the Church owe her authenticity
to the Bible? Where is the criterion of truth?

It is not necessary for me here to relate the well known particulars of
that controversy, the desolating wars and scenes of blood to which it
gave rise: how Luther posted on the door of the cathedral of Wittemberg
ninety-five theses, and was summoned to Rome to answer for his offense;
how he appealed from the pope, ill-informed at the time, to the pope
when he should have been better instructed; how he was condemned as a
heretic, and thereupon appealed to a general council; how, through the
disputes about purgatory, transubstantiation, auricular confession,
absolution, the fundamental idea which lay at the bottom of the whole
movement came into relief, the right of individual judgment; how Luther
was now excommunicated, A.D. 1520, and in defiance burnt the bull of
excommunication and the volumes of the canon law, which he denounced as
aiming at the subversion of all civil government, and the exaltation of
the papacy; how by this skillful manoeuvre he brought over many of the
German princes to his views; how, summoned before the Imperial Diet at
Worms, he refused to retract, and, while he was bidden in the castle of
Wartburg, his doctrines were spreading, and a reformation under Zwingli
broke out in Switzerland; how the principle of sectarian decomposition
embedded in the movement gave rise to rivalries and dissensions between
the Germans and the Swiss, and even divided the latter among themselves
under the leadership of Zwingli and of Calvin; how the Conference of
Marburg, the Diet of Spires, and that at Augsburg, failed to compose
the troubles, and eventually the German Reformation assumed a political
organization at Smalcalde. The quarrels between the Lutherans and the
Calvinists gave hopes to Rome that she might recover her losses.

Leo was not slow to discern that the Lutheran Reformation was something
more serious than a squabble among some monks about the profits of
indulgence-sales, and the papacy set itself seriously at work to
overcome the revolters. It instigated the frightful wars that for so
many years desolated Europe, and left animosities which neither the
Treaty of Westphalia, nor the Council of Trent after eighteen years of
debate, could compose. No one can read without a shudder the attempts
that were made to extend the Inquisition in foreign countries. All
Europe, Catholic and Protestant, was horror-stricken at the Huguenot
massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve (A.D. 1572). For perfidy and atrocity
it has no equal in the annals of the world.

The desperate attempt in which the papacy had been engaged to put down
its opponents by instigating civil wars, massacres, and assassinations,
proved to be altogether abortive. Nor had the Council of Trent any
better result. Ostensibly summoned to correct, illustrate, and fix with
perspicacity the doctrine of the Church, to restore the vigor of
its discipline, and to reform the lives of its ministers, it was so
manipulated that a large majority of its members were Italians, and
under the influence of the pope. Hence the Protestants could not
possibly accept its decisions.

The issue of the Reformation was the acceptance by all the Protestant
Churches of the dogma that the Bible is a sufficient guide for every
Christian man. Tradition was rejected, and the right of private
interpretation assured. It was thought that the criterion of truth had
at length been obtained.

The authority thus imputed to the Scriptures was not restricted
to matters of a purely religious or moral kind; it extended over
philosophical facts and to the interpretation of Nature. Many went as
far as in the old times Epiphanius had done: he believed that the Bible
contained a complete system of mineralogy! The Reformers would tolerate
no science that was not in accordance with Genesis. Among them there
were many who maintained that religion and piety could never flourish
unless separated from learning and science. The fatal maxim that the
Bible contained the sum and substance of all knowledge, useful or
possible to man--a maxim employed with such pernicious effect of old by
Tertullian and by St. Augustine, and which had so often been enforced
by papal authority--was still strictly insisted upon. The leaders of
the Reformation, Luther and Melanchthon, were determined to banish
philosophy from the Church. Luther declared that the study of Aristotle
is wholly useless; his vilification of that Greek philosopher knew no
bounds. He is, says Luther, "truly a devil, a horrid calumniator, a
wicked sycophant, a prince of darkness, a real Apollyon, a beast, a
most horrid impostor on mankind, one in whom there is scarcely any
philosophy, a public and professed liar, a goat, a complete epicure,
this twice execrable Aristotle." The schoolmen were, so Luther said,
"locusts, caterpillars, frogs, lice." He entertained an abhorrence
for them. These opinions, though not so emphatically expressed, were
entertained by Calvin. So far as science is concerned, nothing is owed
to the Reformation. The Procrustean bed of the Pentateuch was still
before her.

In the annals of Christianity the most ill-omened day is that in which
she separated herself from science. She compelled Origen, at that time
(A.D. 231) its chief representative and supporter in the Church, to
abandon his charge in Alexandria, and retire to Caesarea. In vain
through many subsequent centuries did her leading men spend themselves
in--as the phrase then went--"drawing forth the internal juice and
marrow of the Scriptures for the explaining of things." Universal
history from the third to the sixteenth century shows with what result.
The dark ages owe their darkness to this fatal policy. Here and there,
it is true, there were great men, such as Frederick II. and Alphonso X.,
who, standing at a very elevated and general point of view, had detected
the value of learning to civilization, and, in the midst of the dreary
prospect that ecclesiasticism had created around them, had recognized
that science alone can improve the social condition of man.

The infliction of the death-punishment for difference of opinion was
still resorted to. When Calvin caused Servetus to be burnt at Geneva, it
was obvious to every one that the spirit of persecution was unimpaired.
The offense of that philosopher lay in his belief. This was, that the
genuine doctrines of Christianity had been lost even before the time of
the Council of Nicea; that the Holy Ghost animates the whole system of
Nature, like a soul of the world, and that, with the Christ, it will
be absorbed, at the end of all things, into the substance of the Deity,
from which they had emanated. For this he was roasted to death over a
slow fire. Was there any distinction between this Protestant auto-da-fe
and the Catholic one of Vanini, who was burnt at Toulouse, by the
Inquisition, in 1629, for his "Dialogues concerning Nature?"

The invention of printing, the dissemination of books, had introduced
a class of dangers which the persecution of the Inquisition could not
reach. In 1559, Pope Paul IV. instituted the Congregation of the Index
Expurgatorius. "Its duty is to examine books and manuscripts intended
for publication, and to decide whether the people may be permitted to
read them; to correct those books of which the errors are not numerous,
and which contain certain useful and salutary truths, so as to bring
them into harmony with the doctrines of the Church; to condemn those
of which the principles are heretical and pernicious; and to grant the
peculiar privilege of perusing heretical books to certain persons.
This congregation, which is sometimes held in presence of the pope, but
generally in the palace of the Cardinal-president, has a more extensive
jurisdiction than that of the Inquisition, as it not only takes
cognizance of those books that contain doctrines contrary to the Roman
Catholic faith, but of those that concern the duties of morality, the
discipline of the Church, the interests of society. Its name is derived
from the alphabetical tables or indexes of heretical books and authors
composed by its appointment."

The Index Expurgatorius of prohibited books at first indicated
those works which it was unlawful to read; but, on this being found
insufficient, whatever was not permitted was prohibited--an audacious
attempt to prevent all knowledge, except such as suited the purposes of
the Church, from reaching the people.

The two rival divisions of the Christian Church--Protestant and
Catholic--were thus in accord on one point: to tolerate no science
except such as they considered to be agreeable to the Scriptures. The
Catholic, being in possession of centralized power, could make its
decisions respected wherever its sway was acknowledged, and enforce the
monitions of the Index Expurgatorius; the Protestant, whose influence
was diffused among many foci in different nations, could not act in such
a direct and resolute manner. Its mode of procedure was, by raising a
theological odium against an offender, to put him under a social ban--a
course perhaps not less effectual than the other.

As we have seen in former chapters, an antagonism between religion and
science had existed from the earliest days of Christianity. On every
occasion permitting its display it may be detected through successive
centuries. We witness it in the downfall of the Alexandrian Museum, in
the cases of Erigena and Wiclif, in the contemptuous rejection by the
heretics of the thirteenth century of the Scriptural account of the
Creation; but it was not until the epoch of Copernicus, Kepler, and
Galileo, that the efforts of Science to burst from the thraldom in which
she was fettered became uncontrollable. In all countries the political
power of the Church had greatly declined; her leading men perceived
that the cloudy foundation on which she had stood was dissolving away.
Repressive measures against her antagonists, in old times resorted
to with effect, could be no longer advantageously employed. To her
interests the burning of a philosopher here and there did more harm than
good. In her great conflict with astronomy, a conflict in which Galileo
stands as the central figure, she received an utter overthrow; and, as
we have seen, when the immortal work of Newton was printed, she could
offer no resistance, though Leibnitz affirmed, in the face of Europe,
that "Newton had robbed the Deity of some of his most excellent
attributes, and had sapped the foundation of natural religion."

From the time of Newton to our own time, the divergence of science from
the dogmas of the Church has continually increased. The Church declared
that the earth is the central and most important body in the universe;
that the sun and moon and stars are tributary to it. On these points
she was worsted by astronomy. She affirmed that a universal deluge had
covered the earth; that the only surviving animals were such as had
been saved in an ark. In this her error was established by geology. She
taught that there was a first man, who, some six or eight thousand years
ago, was suddenly created or called into existence in a condition of
physical and moral perfection, and from that condition he fell. But
anthropology has shown that human beings existed far back in geological
time, and in a savage state but little better than that of the brute.

Many good and well-meaning men have attempted to reconcile the
statements of Genesis with the discoveries of science, but it is in
vain. The divergence has increased so much, that it has become an
absolute opposition. One of the antagonists must give way.

May we not, then, be permitted to examine the authenticity of this book,
which, since the second century, has been put forth as the criterion of
scientific truth? To maintain itself in a position so exalted, it must
challenge human criticism.

In the early Christian ages, many of the most eminent Fathers of the
Church had serious doubts respecting the authorship of the entire
Pentateuch. I have not space, in the limited compass of these pages, to
present in detail the facts and arguments that were then and have since
been adduced. The literature of the subject is now very extensive. I
may, however, refer the reader to the work of the pious and learned Dean
Prideaux, on "The Old and New Testament connected," a work which is one
of the literary ornaments of the last century. He will also find the
subject more recently and exhaustively discussed by Bishop Colenso. The
following paragraphs will convey a sufficiently distinct impression of
the present state of the controversy:

The Pentateuch is affirmed to have been written by Moses, under the
influence of divine inspiration. Considered thus, as a record vouchsafed
and dictated by the Almighty, it commands not only scientific but
universal consent.

But here, in the first place, it may be demanded, Who or what is it that
has put forth this great claim in its behalf?

Not the work itself. It nowhere claims the authorship of one man, or
makes the impious declaration that it is the writing of Almighty God.

Not until after the second century was there any such extravagant
demand on human credulity. It originated, not among the higher ranks of
Christian philosophers, but among the more fervid Fathers of the Church,
whose own writings prove them to have been unlearned and uncritical

Every age, from the second century to our times, has offered men of
great ability, both Christian and Jewish, who have altogether repudiated
these claims. Their decision has been founded upon the intrinsic
evidence of the books themselves. These furnish plain indications of at
least two distinct authors, who have been respectively termed Elohistic
and Jehovistic. Hupfeld maintains that the Jehovistic narrative bears
marks of having been a second original record, wholly independent of the
Elohistic. The two sources from which the narratives have been derived
are, in many respects, contradictory of each other. Moreover, it is
asserted that the books of the Pentateuch are never ascribed to Moses
in the inscriptions of Hebrew manuscripts, or in printed copies of the
Hebrew Bible, nor are they styled "Books of Moses" in the Septuagint or
Vulgate, but only in modern translations.

It is clear that they cannot be imputed to the sole authorship of Moses,
since they record his death. It is clear that they were not written
until many hundred years after that event, since they contain references
to facts which did not occur until after the establishment of the
government of kings among the Jews.

No man may dare to impute them to the inspiration of Almighty God--their
inconsistencies, incongruities, contradictions, and impossibilities, as
exposed by many learned and pious moderns, both German and English,
are so great. It is the decision of these critics that Genesis is a
narrative based upon legends; that Exodus is not historically true; that
the whole Pentateuch is unhistoric and non-Mosaic; it contains the most
extraordinary contradictions and impossibilities, sufficient to involve
the credibility of the whole--imperfections so many and so conspicuous
that they would destroy the authenticity of any modern historical work.

Hengstenberg, in his "Dissertations on the Genuineness of the
Pentateuch," says: "It is the unavoidable fate of a spurious historical
work of any length to be involved in contradictions. This must be the
case to a very great extent with the Pentateuch, if it be not genuine.
If the Pentateuch is spurious, its histories and laws have been
fabricated in successive portions, and were committed to writing in the
course of many centuries by different individuals. From such a mode of
origination, a mass of contradictions is inseparable, and the improving
hand of a later editor could never be capable of entirely obliterating

To the above conclusions I may add that we are expressly told by Ezra
(Esdras ii. 14) that he himself, aided by five other persons, wrote
these books in the space of forty days. He says that at the time of the
Babylonian captivity the ancient sacred writings of the Jews were burnt,
and gives a particular detail of the circumstances under which these
were composed. He sets forth that he undertook to write all that had
been done in the world since the beginning. It may be said that the
books of Esdras are apocryphal, but in return it may be demanded, Has
that conclusion been reached on evidence that will withstand modern
criticism? In the early ages of Christianity, when the story of the fall
of man was not considered as essential to the Christian system, and the
doctrine of the atonement had not attained that precision which Anselm
eventually gave it, it was very generally admitted by the Fathers of the
Church that Ezra probably did so compose the Pentateuch. Thus St. Jerome
says, "Sive Mosem dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchi, sive Esdram
ejusdem instauratorem operis, non recuso." Clemens Alexandrinus
says that when these books had been destroyed in the captivity of
Nebuchadnezzar, Esdras, having become inspired prophetically, reproduced
them. Irenaeus says the same.

The incidents contained in Genesis, from the first to the tenth chapters
inclusive (chapters which, in their bearing upon science, are of more
importance than other portions of the Pentateuch), have been obviously
compiled from short, fragmentary legends of various authorship. To the
critical eye they all, however, present peculiarities which demonstrate
that they were written on the banks of the Euphrates, and not in the
Desert of Arabia. They contain many Chaldaisms. An Egyptian would not
speak of the Mediterranean Sea as being west of him, an Assyrian would.
Their scenery and machinery, if such expressions may with propriety be
used, are altogether Assyrian, not Egyptian. They were such records as
one might expect to meet with in the cuneiform impressions of the
tile libraries of the Mesopotamian kings. It is affirmed that one such
legend, that of the Deluge, has already been exhumed, and it is not
beyond the bounds of probability that the remainder may in like manner
be obtained.

From such Assyrian sources, the legends of the creation of the earth and
heaven, the garden of Eden, the making of man from clay, and of woman
from one of his ribs, the temptation by the serpent, the naming of
animals, the cherubim and flaming sword, the Deluge and the ark, the
drying up of the waters by the wind, the building of the Tower of
Babel, and the confusion of tongues, were obtained by Ezra. He commences
abruptly the proper history of the Jews in the eleventh chapter. At that
point his universal history ceases; he occupies himself with the story
of one family, the descendants of Shem.

It is of this restriction that the Duke of Argyll, in his book on
"Primeval Man," very graphically says:

In the genealogy of the family of Shem we have a list of names which are
names, and nothing more to us. It is a genealogy which neither does, nor
pretends to do, more than to trace the order of succession among a few
families only, out of the millions then already existing in the world.
Nothing but this order of succession is given, nor is it at all certain
that this order is consecutive or complete. Nothing is told us of all
that lay behind that curtain of thick darkness, in front of which
these names are made to pass; and yet there are, as it were, momentary
liftings, through which we have glimpses of great movements which were
going on, and had been long going on beyond. No shapes are distinctly
seen. Even the direction of those movements can only be guessed. But
voices are heard which are "as the voices of many waters." I agree in
the opinion of Hupfeld, that "the discovery that the Pentateuch is put
together out of various sources, or original documents, is beyond
all doubt not only one of the most important and most pregnant with
consequences for the interpretation of the historical books of the Old
Testament, or rather for the whole of theology and history, but it is
also one of the most certain discoveries which have been made in
the domain of criticism and the history of literature. Whatever the
anticritical party may bring forward to the contrary, it will maintain
itself, and not retrograde again through any thing, so long as there
exists such a thing as criticism; and it will not be easy for a reader
upon the stage of culture on which we stand in the present day, if he
goes to the examination unprejudiced, and with an uncorrupted power of
appreciating the truth, to be able to ward off its influence."

What then? shall we give up these books? Does not the admission that the
narrative of the fall in Eden is legendary carry with it the surrender
of that most solemn and sacred of Christian doctrines, the atonement?

Let us reflect on this! Christianity, in its earliest days, when it was
converting and conquering the world, knew little or nothing about that
doctrine. We have seen that, in his "Apology," Tertullian did not
think it worth his while to mention it. It originated among the Gnostic
heretics. It was not admitted by the Alexandrian theological school. It
was never prominently advanced by the Fathers. It was not brought into
its present commanding position until the time of Anselm Philo Judaeus
speaks of the story of the fall as symbolical; Origen regarded it as an
allegory. Perhaps some of the Protestant churches may, with reason, be
accused of inconsistency, since in part they consider it as mythical, in
part real. But, if, with them, we admit that the serpent is symbolical
of Satan, does not that cast an air of allegory over the whole

It is to be regretted that the Christian Church has burdened itself with
the defense of these books, and voluntarily made itself answerable for
their manifest contradictions and errors. Their vindication, if it
were possible, should have been resigned to the Jews, among whom they
originated, and by whom they have been transmitted to us. Still more, it
is to be deeply regretted that the Pentateuch, a production so imperfect
as to be unable to stand the touch of modern criticism, should be put
forth as the arbiter of science. Let it be remembered that the exposure
of the true character of these books has been made, not by captious
enemies, but by pious and learned churchmen, some of them of the highest

While thus the Protestant churches have insisted on the acknowledgment
of the Scriptures as the criterion of truth, the Catholic has, in our
own times, declared the infallibility of the pope. It may be said that
this infallibility applies only to moral or religious things; but where
shall the line of separation be drawn? Onmiscience cannot be limited
to a restricted group of questions; in its very nature it implies the
knowledge of all, and infallibility means omniscience.

Doubtless, if the fundamental principles of Italian Christianity be
admitted, their logical issue is an infallible pope. There is no need to
dwell on the unphilosophical nature of this conception; it is destroyed
by an examination of the political history of the papacy, and the
biography of the popes. The former exhibits all the errors and mistakes
to which institutions of a confessedly human character have been found
liable; the latter is only ton frequently a story of sin and shame.

It was not possible that the authoritative promulgation of the dogma of
papal infallibility should meet among enlightened Catholics universal
acceptance. Serious and wide-spread dissent has been produced. A
doctrine so revolting to common-sense could not find any other result.
There are many who affirm that, if infallibility exists anywhere, it is
in oecumenical councils, and yet such councils have not always agreed
with each other. There are also many who remember that councils
have deposed popes, and have passed judgment on their clamors and
contentions. Not without reason do Protestants demand, What proof can
be given that infallibility exists in the Church at all? what proof is
there that the Church has ever been fairly or justly represented in
any council? and why should the truth be ascertained by the vote of a
majority rather than by that of a minority? How often it has happened
that one man, standing at the right point of view, has descried the
truth, and, after having been denounced and persecuted by all others,
they have eventually been constrained to adopt his declarations! Of many
great discoveries, has not this been the history?

It is not for Science to compose these contesting claims; it is not for
her to determine whether the criterion of truth for the religious man
shall be found in the Bible, or in the oecumenical council, or in the
pope. She only asks the right, which she so willingly accords to others,
of adopting a criterion of her own. If she regards unhistorical
legends with disdain; if she considers the vote of a majority in the
ascertainment of truth with supreme indifference; if she leaves the
claim of infallibility in any human being to be vindicated by the stern
logic of coming events--the cold impassiveness which in these matters
she maintains is what she displays toward her own doctrines. Without
hesitation she would give up the theories of gravitation or undulations,
if she found that they were irreconcilable with facts. For her the
volume of inspiration is the book of Nature, of which the open scroll
is ever spread forth before the eyes of every man. Confronting all, it
needs no societies for its dissemination. Infinite in extent, eternal
in duration, human ambition and human fanaticism have never been able
to tamper with it. On the earth it is illustrated by all that is
magnificent and beautiful, on the heavens its letters are suns and



     There are two conceptions of the government of the world: 1.
     By Providence; 2. By Law.--The former maintained by the
     priesthood.--Sketch of the introduction of the latter.

     Kepler discovers the laws that preside over the solar
     system.--His works are denounced by papal authority.--The
     foundations of mechanical philosophy are laid by Da Vinci.--
     Galileo discovers the fundamental laws of Dynamics.--Newton
     applies them to the movements of the celestial bodies, and
     shows that the solar system is governed by mathematical
     necessity.--Herschel extends that conclusion to the
     universe.--The nebular hypothesis.--Theological exceptions
     to it.

     Evidences of the control of law in the construction of the
     earth, and in the development of the animal and plant
     series.--They arose by Evolution, not by Creation.

     The reign of law is exhibited by the historic career of
     human societies, and in the case of individual man.

     Partial adoption of this view by some of the Reformed

Two interpretations may be given of the mode of government of the world.
It may be by incessant divine interventions, or by the operation of
unvarying law.

To the adoption of the former a priesthood will always incline, since
it must desire to be considered as standing between the prayer of the
votary and the providential act. Its importance is magnified by the
power it claims of determining what that act shall be. In the pre
Christian (Roman) religion, the grand office of the priesthood was the
discovery of future events by oracles, omens, or an inspection of the
entrails of animals, and by the offering of sacrifices to propitiate the
gods. In the later, the Christian times, a higher power was claimed; the
clergy asserting that, by their intercessions, they could regulate the
course of affairs, avert dangers, secure benefits, work miracles, and
even change the order of Nature.

Not without reason, therefore, did they look upon the doctrine of
government by unvarying law with disfavor. It seemed to depreciate
their dignity, to lessen their importance. To them there was something
shocking in a God who cannot be swayed by human entreaty, a cold,
passionless divinity--something frightful in fatalism, destiny.

But the orderly movement of the heavens could not fail in all ages to
make a deep impression on thoughtful observers--the rising and setting
of the sun; the increasing or diminishing light of the day; the waxing
and waning of the moon; the return of the seasons in their proper
courses; the measured march of the wandering planets in the sky--what
are all these, and a thousand such, but manifestations of an orderly and
unchanging procession of events? The faith of early observers in this
interpretation may perhaps have been shaken by the occurrence of such a
phenomenon as an eclipse, a sudden and mysterious breach of the ordinary
course of natural events; but it would be resumed in tenfold strength as
soon as the discovery was made that eclipses themselves recur, and may
be predicted.

Astronomical predictions of all kinds depend upon the admission of this
fact--that there never has been and never will be any intervention in
the operation of natural laws. The scientific philosopher affirms that
the condition of the world at any given moment is the direct result
of its condition in the preceding moment, and the direct cause of its
condition in the subsequent moment. Law and chance are only different
names for mechanical necessity.

About fifty years after the death of Copernicus, John Kepler, a native
of Wurtemberg, who had adopted the heliocentric theory, and who was
deeply impressed with the belief that relationships exist in the
revolutions of the planetary bodies round the sun, and that these if
correctly examined would reveal the laws under which those movements
take place, devoted himself to the study of the distances, times, and
velocities of the planets, and the form of their orbits. His method
was, to submit the observations to which he had access, such as those
of Tycho Brahe, to computations based first on one and then on another
hypothesis, rejecting the hypothesis if he found that the calculations
did not accord with the observations. The incredible labor he had
undergone (he says, "I considered, and I computed, until I almost went
mad") was at length rewarded, and in 1609 he published his book, "On the
Motions of the Planet Mars." In this he had attempted to reconcile the
movements of that planet to the hypothesis of eccentrics and epicycles,
but eventually discovered that the orbit of a planet is not a circle but
an ellipse, the sun being in one of the foci, and that the areas swept
over by a line drawn from the planet to the sun are proportional to the
times. These constitute what are now known as the first and second laws
of Kepler. Eight years subsequently, he was rewarded by the discovery
of a third law, defining the relation between the mean distances of the
planets from the sun and the times of their revolutions; "the squares of
the periodic times are proportional to the cubes of the distances." In
"An Epitome of the Copernican System," published in 1618, he announced
this law, and showed that it holds good for the satellites of Jupiter as
regards their primary. Hence it was inferred that the laws which preside
over the grand movements of the solar system preside also over the less
movements of its constituent parts.

The conception of law which is unmistakably conveyed by Kepler's
discoveries, and the evidence they gave in support of the heliocentric
as against the geocentric theory, could not fail to incur the
reprehension of the Roman authorities. The congregation of the Index,
therefore, when they denounced the Copernican system as utterly contrary
to the Holy Scriptures, prohibited Kepler's "Epitome" of that system. It
was on this occasion that Kepler submitted his celebrated remonstrance:
"Eighty years have elapsed during which the doctrines of Copernicus
regarding the movement of the earth and the immobility of the sun have
been promulgated without hinderance, because it was deemed allowable to
dispute concerning natural things, and to elucidate the works of God,
and now that new testimony is discovered in proof of the truth of those
doctrines--testimony which was not known to the spiritual judges--ye
would prohibit the promulgation of the true system of the structure of
the universe."

None of Kepler's contemporaries believed the law of the areas, nor was
it accepted until the publication of the "Principia" of Newton. In fact,
no one in those times understood the philosophical meaning of Kepler's
laws. He himself did not foresee what they must inevitably lead to. His
mistakes showed how far he was from perceiving their result. Thus he
thought that each planet is the seat of an intelligent principle, and
that there is a relation between the magnitudes of the orbits of the
five principal planets and the five regular solids of geometry. At first
he inclined to believe that the orbit of Mars is oval, nor was it until
after a wearisome study that he detected the grand truth, its elliptical
form. An idea of the incorruptibility of the celestial objects had
led to the adoption of the Aristotelian doctrine of the perfection of
circular motions, and to the belief that there were none but circular
motions in the heavens. He bitterly complains of this as having been a
fatal "thief of his time." His philosophical daring is illustrated in
his breaking through this time-honored tradition.

In some most important particulars Kepler anticipated Newton. He was the
first to give clear ideas respecting gravity. He says every particle of
matter will rest until it is disturbed by some other particle--that the
earth attracts a stone more than the stone attracts the earth, and that
bodies move to each other in proportion to their masses; that the earth
would ascend to the moon one-fifty-fourth of the distance, and the moon
would move toward the earth the other fifty-three. He affirms that the
moon's attraction causes the tides, and that the planets must impress
irregularities on the moon's motions.

The progress of astronomy is obviously divisible into three periods:

1. The period of observation of the apparent motions of the heavenly

2. The period of discovery of their real motions, and particularly of
the laws of the planetary revolutions; this was signally illustrated by
Copernicus and Kepler.

3. The period of the ascertainment of the causes of those laws. It was
the epoch of Newton.

The passage of the second into the third period depended on the
development of the Dynamical branch of mechanics, which had been in
a stagnant condition from the time of Archimedes or the Alexandrian

In Christian Europe there had not been a cultivator of mechanical
philosophy until Leonardo da Vinci, who was born A.D. 1452. To him, and
not to Lord Bacon, must be attributed the renaissance of science. Bacon
was not only ignorant of mathematics, but depreciated its application
to physical inquiries. He contemptuously rejected the Copernican system,
alleging absurd objections to it. While Galileo was on the brink of
his great telescopic discoveries, Bacon was publishing doubts as to
the utility of instruments in scientific investigations. To ascribe the
inductive method to him is to ignore history. His fanciful philosophical
suggestions have never been of the slightest practical use. No one has
ever thought of employing them. Except among English readers, his name
is almost unknown.

To Da Vinci I shall have occasion to allude more particularly on a
subsequent page. Of his works still remaining in manuscript, two volumes
are at Milan, and one in Paris, carried there by Napoleon. After an
interval of about seventy years, Da Vinci was followed by the Dutch
engineer, Stevinus, whose work on the principles of equilibrium was
published in 1586. Six years afterward appeared Galileo's treatise on

To this great Italian is due the establishment of the three fundamental
laws of dynamics, known as the Laws of Motion.

The consequences of the establishment of these laws were very important.

It had been supposed that continuous movements, such, for instance, as
those of the celestial bodies, could only be maintained by a perpetual
consumption and perpetual application of force, but the first of
Galileo's laws declared that every body will persevere in its state of
rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, until it is compelled to
change that state by disturbing forces. A clear perception of this
fundamental principle is essential to a comprehension of the elementary
facts of physical astronomy. Since all the motions that we witness
taking place on the surface of the earth soon come to an end, we are
led to infer that rest is the natural condition of things. We have made,
then, a very great advance when we have become satisfied that a body is
equally indifferent to rest as to motion, and that it equally perseveres
in either state until disturbing forces are applied. Such disturbing
forces in the case of common movements are friction and the resistance
of the air. When no such resistances exist, movement must be perpetual,
as is the case with the heavenly bodies, which are moving in a void.

Forces, no matter what their difference of magnitude may be, will exert
their full influence conjointly, each as though the other did not exist.
Thus, when a ball is suffered to drop from the mouth of a cannon, it
falls to the ground in a certain interval of time through the influence
of gravity upon it. If, then, it be fired from the cannon, though now
it may be projected some thousands of feet in a second, the effect
of gravity upon it will be precisely the same as before. In the
intermingling of forces there is no deterioration; each produces its own
specific effect.

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, through the works of
Borelli, Hooke, and Huyghens, it had become plain that circular motions
could be accounted for by the laws of Galileo. Borelli, treating of the
motions of Jupiter's satellites, shows how a circular movement may arise
under the influence of a central force. Hooke exhibited the inflection
of a direct motion into a circular by a supervening central attraction.

The year 1687 presents, not only an epoch in European science, but also
in the intellectual development of man. It is marked by the publication
of the "Principia" of Newton, an incomparable, an immortal work.

On the principle that all bodies attract each other with forces directly
as their masses, and inversely as the squares of their distances, Newton
showed that all the movements of the celestial bodies may be accounted
for, and that Kepler's laws might all have been predicted--the elliptic
motions--the described areas the relation of the times and distances. As
we have seen, Newton's contemporaries had perceived how circular motions
could be explained; that was a special case, but Newton furnished the
solution of the general problem, containing all special cases of motion
in circles, ellipses, parabolas, hyperbolas--that is, in all the conic

The Alexandrian mathematicians had shown that the direction of movement
of falling bodies is toward the centre of the earth. Newton proved that
this must necessarily be the case, the general effect of the attraction
of all the particles of a sphere being the same as if they were all
concentrated in its centre. To this central force, thus determining the
fall of bodies, the designation of gravity was given. Up to this time,
no one, except Kepler, had considered how far its influence reached. It
seemed to Newton possible that it might extend as far as the moon, and
be the force that deflects her from a rectilinear path, and makes her
revolve in her orbit round the earth. It was easy to compute, on the
principle of the law of inverse squares, whether the earth's attraction
was sufficient to produce the observed effect. Employing the measures
of the size of the earth accessible at the time, Newton found that the
moon's deflection was only thirteen feet in a minute; whereas, if his
hypothesis of gravitation were true, it should be fifteen feet. But in
1669 Picard, as we have seen, executed the measurement of a degree more
carefully than had previously been done; this changed the estimate of
the magnitude of the earth, and, therefore, of the distance of the moon;
and, Newton's attention having been directed to it by some discussions
that took place at the Royal Society in 1679, he obtained Picard's
results, went home, took out his old papers, and resumed his
calculations. As they drew to a close, he became so much agitated
that he was obliged to desire a friend to finish them. The expected
coincidence was established. It was proved that the moon is retained
in her orbit and made to revolve round the earth by the force of
terrestrial gravity. The genii of Kepler had given place to the vortices
of Descartes, and these in their turn to the central force of Newton.

In like manner the earth, and each of the planets, are made to move
in an elliptic orbit round the sun by his attractive force, and
perturbations arise by reason of the disturbing action of the planetary
masses on one another. Knowing the masses and the distances, these
disturbances may be computed. Later astronomers have even succeeded with
the inverse problem, that is, knowing the perturbations or disturbances,
to find the place and the mass of the disturbing body. Thus, from the
deviations of Uranus from his theoretical position, the discovery of
Neptune was accomplished.

Newton's merit consisted in this, that he applied the laws of dynamics
to the movements of the celestial bodies, and insisted that scientific
theories must be substantiated by the agreement of observations with

When Kepler announced his three laws, they were received with
condemnation by the spiritual authorities, not because of any error they
were supposed to present or to contain, but partly because they gave
support to the Copernican system, and partly because it was judged
inexpedient to admit the prevalence of law of any kind as opposed to
providential intervention. The world was regarded as the theatre in
which the divine will was daily displayed; it was considered derogatory
to the majesty of God that that will should be fettered in any way. The
power of the clergy was chiefly manifested in the influence the were
alleged to possess in changing his arbitrary determinations. It was thus
that they could abate the baleful action of comets, secure fine weather
or rain, prevent eclipses, and, arresting the course of Nature, work all
manner of miracles; it was thus that the shadow had been made to go back
on the dial, and the sun and the moon stopped in mid-career.

In the century preceding the epoch of Newton, a great religious and
political revolution had taken place--the Reformation. Though its
effect had not been the securing of complete liberty for thought, it bad
weakened many of the old ecclesiastical bonds. In the reformed countries
there was no power to express a condemnation of Newton's works, and
among the clergy there was no disposition to give themselves any concern
about the matter. At first the attention of the Protestant was engrossed
by the movements of his great enemy the Catholic, and when that source
of disquietude ceased, and the inevitable partitions of the Reformation
arose, that attention was fastened upon the rival and antagonistic
Churches. The Lutheran, the Calvinist, the Episcopalian, the
Presbyterian, had something more urgent on hand than Newton's
mathematical demonstrations.

So, uncondemned, and indeed unobserved, in this clamor of fighting
sects, Newton's grand theory solidly established itself. Its
philosophical significance was infinitely more momentous than the dogmas
that these persons were quarreling about. It not only accepted the
heliocentric theory and the laws discovered by Kepler, but it proved
that, no matter what might be the weight of opposing ecclesiastical
authority, the sun MUST be the centre of our system, and that Kepler's
laws are the result of a mathematical necessity. It is impossible that
they should be other than they are.

But what is the meaning of all this? Plainly that the solar system
is not interrupted by providential interventions, but is under the
government of irreversible law--law that is itself the issue of
mathematical necessity.

The telescopic observations of Herschel I. satisfied him that there are
very many double stars--double not merely because they are accidentally
in the same line of view, but because they are connected physically,
revolving round each other. These observations were continued and
greatly extended by Herschel II. The elements of the elliptic orbit of
the double star zeta of the Great Bear were determined by Savary, its
period being fifty-eight and one-quarter years; those of another, sigma
Coronae, were determined by Hind, its period being more than seven
hundred and thirty-six years. The orbital movement of these double suns
in ellipses compels us to admit that the law of gravitation holds good
far beyond the boundaries of the solar system; indeed, as far as the
telescope can reach, it demonstrates the reign of law. D'Alembert, in
the Introduction to the Encyclopaedia, says: "The universe is but a
single fact; it is only one great truth."

Shall we, then, conclude that the solar and the starry systems have been
called into existence by God, and that he has then imposed upon them by
his arbitrary will laws under the control of which it was his pleasure
that their movements should be made?

Or are there reasons for believing that these several systems came into
existence not by such an arbitrary fiat, but through the operation of

The following are some peculiarities displayed by the solar system as
enumerated by Laplace. All the planets and their satellites move in
ellipses of such small eccentricity that they are nearly circles. All
the planets move in the same direction and nearly in the same plane. The
movements of the satellites are in the same direction as those of the
planets. The movements of rotation of the sun, of the planets, and the
satellites, are in the same direction as their orbital motions, and in
planes little different.

It is impossible that so many coincidences could be the result of
chance! Is it not plain that there must have been a common tie among
all these bodies, that they are only parts of what must once have been a
single mass?

But if we admit that the substance of which the solar system consists
once existed in a nebulous condition, and was in rotation, all the above
peculiarities follow as necessary mechanical consequences. Nay, more,
the formation of planets, the formation of satellites and of asteroids,
is accounted for. We see why the outer planets and satellites are larger
than the interior ones; why the larger planets rotate rapidly, and the
small ones slowly; why of the satellites the outer planets have more,
the inner fewer. We are furnished with indications of the time of
revolution of the planets in their orbits, and of the satellites in
theirs; we perceive the mode of formation of Saturn's rings. We find an
explanation of the physical condition of the sun, and the transitions of
condition through which the earth and moon have passed, as indicated by
their geology.

But two exceptions to the above peculiarities have been noted; they are
in the cases of Uranus and Neptune.

The existence of such a nebulous mass once admitted, all the rest
follows as a matter of necessity. Is there not, however, a most serious
objection in the way? Is not this to exclude Almighty God from the
worlds he has made?

First, we must be satisfied whether there is any solid evidence for
admitting the existence of such a nebulous mass.

The nebular hypothesis rests primarily on the telescopic discovery made
by Herschel I., that there are scattered here and there in the heavens
pale, gleaming patches of light, a few of which are large enough to be
visible to the naked eye. Of these, many may be resolved by a sufficient
telescopic power into a congeries of stars, but some, such as the great
nebula in Orion, have resisted the best instruments hitherto made.

It was asserted by those who were indisposed to accept the nebular
hypothesis, that the non-resolution was due to imperfection in the
telescopes used. In these instruments two distinct functions may be
observed: their light-gathering power depends on the diameter of their
object mirror or lens, their defining power depends on the exquisite
correctness of their optical surfaces. Grand instruments may possess
the former quality in perfection by reason of their size, but the latter
very imperfectly, either through want of original configuration, or
distortion arising from flexure through their own weight. But, unless an
instrument be perfect in this respect, as well as adequate in the other,
it may fail to decompose a nebula into discrete points.

Fortunately, however, other means for the settlement of this question
are available. In 1846, it was discovered by the author of this book
that the spectrum of an ignited solid is continuous--that is, has
neither dark nor bright lines. Fraunhofer had previously made known that
the spectrum of ignited gases is discontinuous. Here, then, is the means
of determining whether the light emitted by a given nebula comes from an
incandescent gas, or from a congeries of ignited solids, stars, or
suns. If its spectrum be discontinuous, it is a true nebula or gas; if
continuous, a congeries of stars.

In 1864, Mr. Huggins made this examination in the case of a nebula in
the constellation Draco. It proved to be gaseous.

Subsequent observations have shown that, of sixty nebulae examined,
nineteen give discontinuous or gaseous spectra--the remainder continuous

It may, therefore, be admitted that physical evidence has at length
been obtained, demonstrating the existence of vast masses of matter in a
gaseous condition, and at a temperature of incandescence. The hypothesis
of Laplace has thus a firm basis. In such a nebular mass, cooling by
radiation is a necessary incident, and condensation and rotation the
inevitable results. There must be a separation of rings all lying in
one plane, a generation of planets and satellites all rotating alike,
a central sun and engirdling globes. From a chaotic mass, through the
operation of natural laws, an organized system has been produced. An
integration of matter into worlds has taken place through a decline of

If such be the cosmogony of the solar system, such the genesis of the
planetary worlds, we are constrained to extend our views of the dominion
of law, and to recognize its agency in the creation as well as in the
conservation of the innumerable orbs that throng the universe.

But, again, it may be asked: "Is there not something profoundly impious
in this? Are we not excluding Almighty God from the world he has made?"

We have often witnessed the formation of a cloud in a serene sky. A hazy
point, barely perceptible--a little wreath of mist--increases in volume,
and becomes darker and denser, until it obscures a large portion of the
heavens. It throws itself into fantastic shapes, it gathers a glory
from the sun, is borne onward by the wind, and, perhaps, as it gradually
came, so it gradually disappears, melting away in the untroubled air.

Now, we say that the little vesicles of which this cloud was composed
arose from the condensation of water-vapor preexisting in the
atmosphere, through reduction of temperature; we show how they assumed
the form they present. We assign optical reasons for the brightness
or blackness of the cloud; we explain, on mechanical principles, its
drifting before the wind; for its disappearance we account on
the principles of chemistry. It never occurs to us to invoke the
interposition of the Almighty in the production and fashioning of this
fugitive form. We explain all the facts connected with it by physical
laws, and perhaps should reverentially hesitate to call into operation
the finger of God.

But the universe is nothing more than such a cloud--a cloud of suns and
worlds. Supremely grand though it may seem to us, to the Infinite and
Eternal Intellect it is no more than a fleeting mist. If there be a
multiplicity of worlds in infinite space, there is also a succession of
worlds in infinite time. As one after another cloud replaces cloud in
the skies, so this starry system, the universe, is the successor of
countless others that have preceded it--the predecessor of countless
others that will follow. There is an unceasing metamorphosis, a sequence
of events, without beginning or end.

If, on physical principles, we account for minor meteorological
incidents, mists and clouds, is it not permissible for us to appeal to
the same principle in the origin of world-systems and universes, which
are only clouds on a space-scale somewhat larger, mists on a time-scale
somewhat less transient? Can any man place the line which bounds
the physical on one side, the supernatural on the other? Do not our
estimates of the extent and the duration of things depend altogether
on our point of view? Were we set in the midst of the great nebula
of Orion, how transcendently magnificent the scene! The vast
transformations, the condensations of a fiery mist into worlds, might
seem worthy of the immediate presence, the supervision of God; here, at
our distant station, where millions of miles are inappreciable to our
eyes, and suns seem no bigger than motes in the air, that nebula is more
insignificant than the faintest cloud. Galileo, in his description of
the constellation of Orion, did not think it worth while so much as to
mention it. The most rigorous theologian of those days would have seen
nothing to blame in imputing its origin to secondary causes, nothing
irreligious in failing to invoke the arbitrary interference of God in
its metamorphoses. If such be the conclusion to which we come respecting
it, what would be the conclusion to which an Intelligence seated in it
might come respecting us? It occupies an extent of space millions of
times greater than that of our solar system; we are invisible from it,
and therefore absolutely insignificant. Would such an Intelligence think
it necessary to require for our origin and maintenance the immediate
intervention of God?

From the solar system let us descend to what is still more
insignificant--a little portion of it; let us descend to our own earth.
In the lapse of time it has experienced great changes. Have these been
due to incessant divine interventions, or to the continuous operation of
unfailing law? The aspect of Nature perpetually varies under our eyes,
still more grandly and strikingly has it altered in geological
times. But the laws guiding those changes never exhibit the slightest
variation. In the midst of immense vicissitudes they are immutable.
The present order of things is only a link in a vast connected chain
reaching back to an incalculable past, and forward to an infinite

There is evidence, geological and astronomical, that the temperature of
the earth and her satellite was in the remote past very much higher than
it is now. A decline so slow as to be imperceptible at short intervals,
but manifest enough in the course of many ages, has occurred. The heat
has been lost by radiation into space.

The cooling of a mass of any kind, no matter whether large or small, is
not discontinuous; it does not go on by fits and starts; it takes
place under the operation of a mathematical law, though for such mighty
changes as are here contemplated neither the formula of Newton, nor that
of Dulong and Petit, may apply. It signifies nothing that periods of
partial decline, glacial periods, or others of temporary elevation, have
been intercalated; it signifies nothing whether these variations may
have arisen from topographical variations, as those of level, or from
periodicities in the radiation of the sun. A periodical sun would act as
a mere perturbation in the gradual decline of heat. The perturbations of
the planetary motions are a confirmation, not a disproof, of gravity.

Now, such a decline of temperature must have been attended by
innumerable changes of a physical character in our globe. Her dimensions
must have diminished through contraction, the length of her day must
have lessened, her surface must have collapsed, and fractures taken
place along the lines of least resistance; the density of the sea must
have increased, its volume must have become less; the constitution of
the atmosphere must have varied, especially in the amount of water-vapor
and carbonic acid that it contained; the barometric pressure must have

These changes, and very many more that might be mentioned, must have
taken place not in a discontinuous but in an orderly manner, since the
master-fact, the decline of heat, that was causing them, was itself
following a mathematical law.

But not alone did lifeless Nature submit to these inevitable mutations;
living Nature was also simultaneously affected.

An organic form of any kind, vegetable or animal, will remain unchanged
only so long as the environment in which it is placed remains unchanged.
Should an alteration in the environment occur, the organism will either
be modified or destroyed.

Destruction is more likely to happen as the change in the environment
is more sudden; modification or transformation is more possible as that
change is more gradual.

Since it is demonstrably certain that lifeless Nature has in the lapse
of ages undergone vast modifications; since the crust of the earth, and
the sea, and the atmosphere, are no longer such as they once were; since
the distribution of the land and the ocean and all manner of physical
conditions have varied; since there have been such grand changes in
the environment of living things on the surface of our planet--it
necessarily follows that organic Nature must have passed through
destructions and transformations in correspondence thereto.

That such extinctions, such modifications, have taken place, how
copious, how convincing, is the evidence!

Here, again, we must observe that, since the disturbing agency
was itself following a mathematical law, these its results must be
considered as following that law too.

Such considerations, then, plainly force upon us the conclusion that
the organic progress of the world has been guided by the operation of
immutable law--not determined by discontinuous, disconnected, arbitrary
interventions of God. They incline us to view favorably the idea of
transmutations of one form into another, rather than that of sudden

Creation implies an abrupt appearance, transformation a gradual change.

In this manner is presented to our contemplation the great theory of
Evolution. Every organic being has a place in a chain of events. It is
not an isolated, a capricious fact, but an unavoidable phenomenon. It
has its place in that vast, orderly concourse which has successively
risen in the past, has introduced the present, and is preparing the way
for a predestined future. From point to point in this vast progression
there has been a gradual, a definite, a continuous unfolding, a
resistless order of evolution. But in the midst of these mighty changes
stand forth immutable the laws that are dominating over all.

If we examine the introduction of any type of life in the animal series,
we find that it is in accordance with transformation, not with creation.
Its beginning is under an imperfect form in the midst of other forms,
of which the time is nearly complete, and which are passing into
extinction. By degrees, one species after another in succession more and
more perfect arises, until, after many ages, a culmination is reached.
From that there is, in like manner, a long, a gradual decline.

Thus, though the mammal type of life is the characteristic of the
Tertiary and post-Tertiary periods, it does not suddenly make its
appearance without premonition in those periods. Far back, in the
Secondary, we find it under imperfect forms, struggling, as it were, to
make good a foothold. At length it gains a predominance under higher and
better models.

So, too, of reptiles, the characteristic type of life of the Secondary
period. As we see in a dissolving view, out of the fading outlines of
a scene that is passing away, the dim form of a new one emerging, which
gradually gains strength, reaches its culmination, and then melts
away in some other that is displacing it, so reptile-life doubtfully,
appears, reaches its culmination, and gradually declines. In all this
there is nothing abrupt; the changes shade into each other by insensible

How could it be otherwise? The hot-blooded animals could not exist in
an atmosphere so laden with carbonic acid as was that of the primitive
times. But the removal of that noxious ingredient from the air by the
leaves of plants under the influence of sunlight, the enveloping of its
carbon in the earth under the form of coal, the disengagement of its
oxygen, permitted their life. As the atmosphere was thus modified,
the sea was involved in the change; it surrendered a large part of its
carbonic acid, and the limestone hitherto held in solution by it was
deposited in the solid form. For every equivalent of carbon buried in
the earth, there was an equivalent of carbonate of lime separated from
the sea--not necessarily in an amorphous condition, most frequently
under an organic form. The sunshine kept up its work day by day, but
there were demanded myriads of days for the work to be completed. It was
a slow passage from a noxious to a purified atmosphere, and an equally
slow passage from a cold-blooded to a hot-blooded type of life. But the
physical changes were taking place under the control of law, and the
organic transformations were not sudden or arbitrary providential acts.
They were the immediate, the inevitable consequences of the physical
changes, and therefore, like them, the necessary issue of law.

For a more detailed consideration of this subject, I may refer the
reader to Chapters I, II., VII, of the second book of my "Treatise on
Human Physiology," published in 1856.

Is the world, then, governed by law or by providential interventions,
abruptly breaking the proper sequence of events?

To complete our view of this question, we turn finally to what, in one
sense, is the most insignificant, in another the most important, case
that can be considered. Do human societies, in their historic career,
exhibit the marks of a predetermined progress in an unavoidable track?
Is there any evidence that the life of nations is under the control of
immutable law?

May we conclude that, in society, as in the individual man, parts never
spring from nothing, but are evolved or developed from parts that are
already in existence?

If any one should object to or deride the doctrine of the evolution
or successive development of the animated forms which constitute that
unbroken organic chain reaching from the beginning of life on the globe
to the present times, let him reflect that he has himself passed through
modifications the counterpart of those he disputes. For nine months
his type of life was aquatic, and during that time he assumed, in
succession, many distinct but correlated forms. At birth his type of
life became aerial; he began respiring the atmospheric air; new elements
of food were supplied to him; the mode of his nutrition changed; but
as yet he could see nothing, hear nothing, notice nothing. By degrees
conscious existence was assumed; he became aware that there is an
external world. In due time organs adapted to another change of food,
the teeth, appeared, and a change of food ensued. He then passed through
the stages of childhood and youth, his bodily form developing, and with
it his intellectual powers. At about fifteen years, in consequence of
the evolution which special parts of his system had attained, his moral
character changed. New ideas, new passions, influenced him. And that
that was the cause, and this the effect, is demonstrated when, by the
skill of the surgeon, those parts have been interfered with. Nor does
the development, the metamorphosis, end here; it requires many years
for the body to reach its full perfection, many years for the mind. A
culmination is at length reached, and then there is a decline. I need
not picture its mournful incidents--the corporeal, the intellectual
enfeeblement. Perhaps there is little exaggeration in saying that in
less than a century every human being on the face of the globe, if not
cut off in an untimely manner, has passed through all these changes.

Is there for each of us a providential intervention as we thus pass
from stage to stage of life? or shall we not rather believe that the
countless myriads of human beings who have peopled the earth have been
under the guidance of an unchanging, a universal law?

But individuals are the elementary constituents of communities--nations.
They maintain therein a relation like that which the particles of the
body maintain to the body itself. These, introduced into it, commence
and complete their function; they die, and are dismissed.

Like the individual, the nation comes into existence without its own
knowledge, and dies without its own consent, often against its own will.
National life differs in no particular from individual, except in this,
that it is spread over a longer span, but no nation can escape its
inevitable term. Each, if its history be well considered, shows its
time of infancy, its time of youth, its time of maturity, its time of
decline, if its phases of life be completed.

In the phases of existence of all, so far as those phases are
completed, there are common characteristics, and, as like accordances in
individuals point out that all are living under a reign of law, we
are justified in inferring that the course of nations, and indeed the
progress of humanity, does not take place in a chance or random way,
that supernatural interventions never break the chain of historic acts,
that every historic event has its warrant in some preceding event, and
gives warrant to others that are to follow..

But this conclusion is the essential principle of Stoicism--that Grecian
philosophical system which, as I have already said, offered a support in
their hour of trial and an unwavering guide in the vicissitudes of
life, not only to many illustrious Greeks, but also to some of the great
philosophers, statesmen, generals, and emperors of Rome; a system which
excluded chance from every thing, and asserted the direction of all
events by irresistible necessity, to the promotion of perfect good; a
system of earnestness, sternness, austerity, virtue--a protest in favor
of the common-sense of mankind. And perhaps we shall not dissent from
the remark of Montesquieu, who affirms that the destruction of the
Stoics was a great calamity to the human race; for they alone made great
citizens, great men.

To the principle of government by law, Latin Christianity, in its papal
form, is in absolute contradiction. The history of this branch of
the Christian Church is almost a diary of miracles and supernatural
interventions. These show that the supplications of holy men have often
arrested the course of Nature--if, indeed, there be any such course;
that images and pictures have worked wonders; that bones, hairs, and
other sacred relics, have wrought miracles. The criterion or proof of
the authenticity of many of these objects is, not an unchallengeable
record of their origin and history, but an exhibition of their
miracle-working powers.

Is not that a strange logic which finds proof of an asserted fact in an
inexplicable illustration of something else?

Even in the darkest ages intelligent Christian men must have had
misgivings as to these alleged providential or miraculous interventions.
There is a solemn grandeur in the orderly progress of Nature which
profoundly impresses us; and such is the character of continuity in the
events of our individual life that we instinctively doubt the occurrence
of the supernatural in that of our neighbor. The intelligent man knows
well that, for his personal behoof, the course of Nature has never been
checked; for him no miracle has ever been worked; he attributes justly
every event of his life to some antecedent event; this he looks upon
as the cause, that as the consequence. When it is affirmed that, in his
neighbor's behalf, such grand interventions have been vouchsafed, he
cannot do otherwise than believe that his neighbor is either deceived,
or practising deception.

As might, then, have been anticipated, the Catholic doctrine of
miraculous intervention received a rude shock at the time of the
Reformation, when predestination and election were upheld by some of the
greatest theologians, and accepted by some of the greatest Protestant
Churches. With stoical austerity Calvin declares: "We were elected from
eternity, before the foundation of the world, from no merit of our own,
but according to the purpose of the divine pleasure." In affirming this,
Calvin was resting on the belief that God has from all eternity decreed
whatever comes to pass. Thus, after the lapse of many ages, were again
emerging into prominence the ideas of the Basilidians wad Valentinians,
Christian sects of the second century, whose Gnostical views led to the
engraftment of the great doctrine of the Trinity upon Christianity. They
asserted that all the actions of men are necessary, that even faith is
a natural gift, to which men are forcibly determined, and must therefore
be saved, though their lives be ever so irregular. From the Supreme God
all things proceeded. Thus, also, came into prominence the views which
were developed by Augustine in his work, "De dono perseverantiae." These
were: that God, by his arbitrary will, has selected certain persons
without respect to foreseen faith or good works, and has infallibly
ordained to bestow upon them eternal happiness; other persons, in like
manner, he has condemned to eternal reprobation. The Sublapsarians
believed that "God permitted the fall of Adam;" the Supralapsarians that
"he predestinated it, with all its pernicious consequences, from all
eternity, and that our first parents had no liberty from the beginning."
In this, these sectarians disregarded the remark of St. Augustine:
"Nefas est dicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum predestinare."

Is it true, then, that "predestination to eternal happiness is the
everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world
were laid, he hath constantly decreed by his council, secret to us,
to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen out of
mankind?" Is it true that of the human family there are some who, in
view of no fault of their own, Almighty God has condemned to unending
torture, eternal misery?

In 1595 the Lambeth Articles asserted that "God from eternity hath
predestinated certain men unto life; certain he hath reprobated." In
1618 the Synod of Dort decided in favor of this view. It condemned the
remonstrants against it, and treated them with such severity, that many
of them had to flee to foreign countries. Even in the Church of England,
as is manifested by its seventeenth Article of Faith, these doctrines
have found favor.

Probably there was no point which brought down from the Catholics on the
Protestants severer condemnation than this, their partial acceptance
of the government of the world by law. In all Reformed Europe miracles
ceased. But, with the cessation of shrine-cure, relic-cure, great
pecuniary profits ended. Indeed, as is well known, it was the sale
of indulgences that provoked the Reformation--indulgences which are
essentially a permit from God for the practice of sin, conditioned on
the payment of a certain sum of money to the priest.

Philosophically, the Reformation implied a protest against the Catholic
doctrine of incessant divine intervention in human affairs, invoked by
sacerdotal agency; but this protest was far from being fully made by
all the Reforming Churches. The evidence in behalf of government by law,
which has of late years been offered by science, is received by many of
them with suspicion, perhaps with dislike; sentiments which, however,
must eventually give way before the hourly-increasing weight of

Shall we not, then, conclude with Cicero, who, quoted by Lactantius,
says: "One eternal and immutable law embraces all things and all times?"



     For more than a thousand years Latin Christianity controlled
     the intelligence of Europe, and is responsible for the

     That result is manifested by the condition of the city of
     Rome at the Reformation, and by the condition of the
     Continent of Europe in domestic and social life.--European
     nations suffered under the coexistence of a dual government,
     a spiritual and a temporal.--They were immersed in
     ignorance, superstition, discomfort.--Explanation of the
     failure of Catholicism--Political history of the papacy: it
     was transmuted from a spiritual confederacy into an absolute
     monarchy.--Action of the College of Cardinals and the Curia--
     Demoralization that ensued from the necessity of raising
     large revenues.

     The advantages accruing to Europe during the Catholic rule
     arose not from direct intention, but were incidental.

     The general result is, that the political influence of
     Catholicism was prejudicial to modern civilization.

LATIN Christianity is responsible for the condition and progress of
Europe from the fourth to the sixteenth century. We have now to examine
how it discharged its trust.

It will be convenient to limit to the case of Europe what has here to
be presented, though, from the claim of the papacy to superhuman origin,
and its demand for universal obedience, it should strictly be held to
account for the condition of all mankind. Its inefficacy against the
great and venerable religions of Southern and Eastern Asia would furnish
an important and instructive theme for consideration, and lead us to
the conclusion that it has impressed itself only where Roman imperial
influences have prevailed; a political conclusion which, however, it
contemptuously rejects.

Doubtless at the inception of the Reformation there were many persons
who compared the existing social condition with what it had been in
ancient times. Morals had not changed, intelligence had not advanced,
society had little improved. From the Eternal City itself its splendors
had vanished. The marble streets, of which Augustus had once boasted,
had disappeared. Temples, broken columns, and the long, arcaded vistas
of gigantic aqueducts bestriding the desolate Campagna, presented a
mournful scene. From the uses to which they had been respectively put,
the Capitol had been known as Goats' Hill, and the site of the Roman
Forum, whence laws had been issued to the world, as Cows' Field. The
palace of the Caesars was hidden by mounds of earth, crested with
flowering shrubs. The baths of Caracalla, with their porticoes, gardens,
reservoirs, had long ago become useless through the destruction of their
supplying aqueducts. On the ruins of that grand edifice, "flowery glades
and thickets of odoriferous trees extended in ever-winding labyrinths
upon immense platforms, and dizzy arches suspended in the air." Of
the Coliseum, the most colossal of Roman ruins, only about one-third
remained. Once capable of accommodating nearly ninety thousand
spectators, it had, in succession, been turned into a fortress in the
middle ages, and then into a stone-quarry to furnish material for the
palaces of degenerate Roman princes. Some of the popes had occupied it
as a woollen-mill, some as a saltpetre factory; some had planned the
conversion of its magnificent arcades into shops for tradesmen. The iron
clamps which bound its stones together had been stolen. The walls were
fissured and falling. Even in our own times botanical works have been
composed on the plants which have made this noble wreck their home. "The
Flora of the Coliseum" contains four hundred and twenty species.
Among the ruins of classical buildings might be seen broken columns,
cypresses, and mouldy frescoes, dropping from the walls. Even the
vegetable world participated in the melancholy change: the myrtle, which
once flourished on the Aventine, had nearly become extinct; the laurel,
which once gave its leaves to encircle the brows of emperors, had been
replaced by ivy--the companion of death.

But perhaps it may be said the popes were not responsible for all this.
Let it be remembered that in less than one hundred and forty years the
city had been successively taken by Alaric, Genseric, Rieimer, Vitiges,
Totila; that many of its great edifices had been converted into
defensive works. The aqueducts were destroyed by Vitiges, who ruined the
Campagna; the palace of the Caesars was ravaged by Totila; then there
had been the Lombard sieges; then Robert Guiscard and his Normans had
burnt the city from the Antonine Column to the Flaminian Gate, from
the Lateran to the Capitol; then it was sacked and mutilated by the
Constable Bourbon; again and again it was flooded by inundations of the
Tiber and shattered by earthquakes. We must, however, bear in mind the
accusation of Machiavelli, who says, in his "History of Florence," that
nearly all the barbarian invasions of Italy were by the invitations of
the pontiffs, who called in those hordes! It was not the Goth, nor
the Vandal, nor the Norman, nor the Saracen, but the popes and their
nephews, who produced the dilapidation of Rome! Lime-kilns had been fed
from the ruins, classical buildings had become stone-quarries for the
palaces of Italian princes, and churches were decorated from the old

Churches decorated from the temples! It is for this and such as this
that the popes must be held responsible. Superb Corinthian columns bad
been chiseled into images of the saints. Magnificent Egyptian obelisks
had been dishonored by papal inscriptions. The Septizonium of Severus
had been demolished to furnish materials for the building of St.
Peter's; the bronze roof of the Pantheon had been melted into columns to
ornament the apostle's tomb.

The great bell of Viterbo, in the tower of the Capitol, had announced
the death of many a pope, and still desecration of the buildings
and demoralization of the people went on. Papal Rome manifested no
consideration, but rather hatred, for classical Rome, The pontiffs had
been subordinates of the Byzantine sovereigns, then lieutenants of the
Frankish kings, then arbiters of Europe; their government had changed as
much as those of any of the surrounding nations; there had been complete
metamorphoses in its maxims, objects, claims. In one point only it had
never changed--intolerance. Claiming to be the centre of the religious
life of Europe, it steadfastly refused to recognize any religious
existence outside of itself, yet both in a political and theological
sense it was rotten to the core. Erasmus and Luther heard with amazement
the blasphemies and witnessed with a shudder the atheism of the city.

The historian Ranke, to whom I am indebted for many of these facts,
has depicted in a very graphic manner the demoralization of the great
metropolis. The popes were, for the most part, at their election, aged
men. Power was, therefore, incessantly passing into new hands. Every
election was a revolution in prospects and expectations. In a community
where all might rise, where all might aspire to all, it necessarily
followed that every man was occupied in thrusting some other into the
background. Though the population of the city at the inception of the
Reformation had sunk to eighty thousand, there were vast crowds of
placemen, and still greater ones of aspirants for place. The
successful occupant of the pontificate had thousands of offices to give
away--offices from many of which the incumbents had been remorselessly
ejected; many had been created for the purpose of sale. The integrity
and capacity of an applicant were never inquired into; the points
considered were, what services has he rendered or can he render to the
party? how much can he pay for the preferment? An American reader can
thoroughly realize this state of things. At every presidential election
he witnesses similar acts. The election of a pope by the Conclave is not
unlike the nomination of an American president by a convention. In both
cases there are many offices to give away.

William of Malmesbury says that in his day the Romans made a sale of
whatever was righteous and sacred for gold. After his time there was
no improvement; the Church degenerated into an instrument for the
exploitation of money. Vast sums were collected in Italy; vast sums
were drawn under all manner of pretenses from surrounding and reluctant
countries. Of these the most nefarious was the sale of indulgences
for the perpetration of sin. Italian religion had become the art of
plundering the people.

For more than a thousand years the sovereign pontiffs had been rulers
of the city. True, it had witnessed many scenes of devastation for which
they were not responsible; but they were responsible for this, that they
had never made any vigorous, any persistent effort for its material, its
moral improvement. Instead of being in these respects an exemplar for
the imitation of the world, it became an exemplar of a condition that
ought to be shunned. Things steadily went on from bad to worse, until
at the epoch of the Reformation no pious stranger could visit it without
being shocked.

The papacy, repudiating science as absolutely incompatible with its
pretensions, had in later years addressed itself to the encouragement of
art. But music and painting, though they may be exquisite adornments
of life, contain no living force that can develop a weak nation into a
strong one; nothing that can permanently assure the material well-being
or happiness of communities; and hence at the time of the Reformation,
to one who thoughtfully considered her condition, Rome had lost all
living energy. She was no longer the arbiter of the physical or the
religious progress of the world. For the progressive maxims of the
republic and the empire, she had substituted the stationary maxims of
the papacy. She had the appearance of piety and the possession of art.
In this she resembled one of those friar-corpses which we still see in
their brown cowls in the vaults of the Cappuccini, with a breviary or
some withered flowers in its hands.

From this view of the Eternal City, this survey of what Latin
Christianity had done for Rome itself, let us turn to the whole European
Continent. Let us try to determine the true value of the system that was
guiding society; let us judge it by its fruits.

The condition of nations as to their well-being is most precisely
represented by the variations of their population. Forms of government
have very little influence on population, but policy may control it

It has been very satisfactorily shown by authors who have given
attention to the subject, that the variations of population depend
upon the interbalancing of the generative force of society and the
resistances to life.

By the generative force of society is meant that instinct which
manifests itself in the multiplication of the race. To some extent it
depends on climate; but, since the climate of Europe did not sensibly
change between the fourth and the sixteenth centuries, we may regard
this force as having been, on that continent, during the period under
consideration, invariable.

By the resistances to life is meant whatever tends to make individual
existence more difficult of support. Among such may be enumerated
insufficient food, inadequate clothing, imperfect shelter.

It is also known that, if the resistances become inappreciable, the
generative force will double a population in twenty-five years.

The resistances operate in two modes: 1. Physically; since they diminish
the number of births, and shorten the term of the life of all. 2.
Intellectually; since, in a moral, and particularly in a religious
community, they postpone marriage, by causing individuals to decline
its responsibilities until they feel that they are competent to meet
the charges and cares of a family. Hence the explanation of a
long-recognized fact, that the number of marriages during a given period
has a connection with the price of food.

The increase of population keeps pace with the increase of food; and,
indeed, such being the power of the generative force, it overpasses the
means of subsistence, establishing a constant pressure upon them. Under
these circumstances, it necessarily happens that a certain amount of
destitution must occur. Individuals have come into existence who must be

As illustrations of the variations that have occurred in the population
of different countries, may be mentioned the immense diminution of that
of Italy in consequence of the wars of Justinian; the depopulation of
North Africa in consequence of theological quarrels; its restoration
through the establishment of Mohammedanism; the increase of that of all
Europe through the feudal system, when estates became more valuable in
proportion to the number of retainers they could supply. The crusades
caused a sensible diminution, not only through the enormous army losses,
but also by reason of the withdrawal of so many able-bodied men
from marriage-life. Similar variations have occurred on the American
Continent. The population of Mexico was very quickly diminished by two
million through the rapacity and atrocious cruelty of the Spaniards, who
drove the civilized Indians to despair. The same happened in Peru.

The population of England at the Norman conquest was about two million.
In five hundred years it had scarcely doubled. It may be supposed that
this stationary condition was to some extent induced by the papal policy
of the enforcement of celibacy in the clergy. The "legal generative
force" was doubtless affected by that policy, the "actual generative
force" was not. For those who have made this subject their study have
long ago been satisfied that public celibacy is private wickedness. This
mainly determined the laity, as well as the government in England, to
suppress the monasteries. It was openly asserted that there were one
hundred thousand women in England made dissolute by the clergy.

In my history of the "American Civil War," I have presented some
reflections on this point, which I will take the liberty of quoting
here: "What, then, does this stationary condition of the population
mean? It means, food obtained with hardship, insufficient clothing,
personal uncleanness, cabins that could not keep out the weather,
the destructive effects of cold and heat, miasm, want of sanitary
provisions, absence of physicians, uselessness of shrine-cure, the
deceptiveness of miracles, in which society was putting its trust; or,
to sum up a long catalogue of sorrows, wants, and sufferings, in one
term--it means a high death-rate.

"But more; it means deficient births. And what does that point out?
Marriage postponed, licentious life, private wickedness, demoralized

"To an American, who lives in a country that was yesterday an
interminable and impenetrable desert, but which to-day is filling with
a population doubling itself every twenty-five years at the prescribed
rate, this awful waste of actual and contingent life cannot but be a
most surprising fact. His curiosity will lead him to inquire what kind
of system that could have been which was pretending to guide and
develop society, but which must be held responsible for this prodigious
destruction, excelling, in its insidious result, war, pestilence, and
famine combined; insidious, for men were actually believing that it
secured their highest temporal interests. How different now! In England,
the same geographical surface is sustaining ten times the population
of that day, and sending forth its emigrating swarms. Let him, who looks
back, with veneration on the past, settle in his own mind what such a
system could have been worth."

These variations in the population of Europe have been attended with
changes in distribution. The centre of population has passed northward
since the establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire. It
has since passed westward, in consequence of the development of
manufacturing industry.

We may now examine somewhat more minutely the character of the
resistances which thus, for a thousand years, kept the population of
Europe stationary. The surface of the Continent was for the most
part covered with pathless forests; here and there it was dotted with
monasteries and towns. In the lowlands and along the river-courses were
fens, sometimes hundreds of miles in extent, exhaling their pestiferous
miasms, and spreading agues far and wide. In Paris and London, the
houses were of wood daubed with clay, and thatched with straw or reeds.
They had no windows, and, until the invention of the saw-mill, very
few had wooden floors. The luxury of a carpet was unknown; some straw,
scattered in the room, supplied its place. There were no chimneys; the
smoke of the ill-fed, cheerless fire escaped through a hole in the roof.
In such habitations there was scarcely any protection from the weather.
No attempt was made at drainage, but the putrefying garbage and rubbish
were simply thrown out of the door. Men, women, and children, slept
in the same apartment; not unfrequently, domestic animals were their
companions; in such a confusion of the family, it was impossible that
modesty or morality could be maintained. The bed was usually a bag of
straw, a wooden log served as a pillow. Personal cleanliness was utterly
unknown; great officers of state, even dignitaries so high as the
Archbishop of Canterbury, swarmed with vermin; such, it is related, was
the condition of Thomas a Becket, the antagonist of an English king. To
conceal personal impurity, perfumes were necessarily and profusely
used. The citizen clothed himself in leather, a garment which, with its
ever-accumulating impurity, might last for many years. He was considered
to be in circumstances of ease, if he could procure fresh meat once
a week for his dinner. The streets had no sewers; they were without
pavement or lamps. After nightfall, the chamber-shatters were thrown
open, and slops unceremoniously emptied down, to the discomfiture of the
wayfarer tracking his path through the narrow streets, with his dismal
lantern in his hand.

Aeneas Sylvius, who afterward became Pope Pius II., and was therefore a
very competent and impartial writer, has left us a graphic account of
a journey he made to the British Islands, about 1430. He describes the
houses of the peasantry as constructed of stones put together without
mortar; the roofs were of turf, a stiffened bull's-hide served for a
door. The food consisted of coarse vegetable products, such as peas,
and even the bark of trees. In some places they were unacquainted with

Cabins of reeds plastered with mud, houses of wattled stakes,
chimneyless peat-fires from which there was scarcely an escape for the
smoke, dens of physical and moral pollution swarming with vermin, wisps
of straw twisted round the limbs to keep off the cold, the ague-stricken
peasant, with no help except shrine-cure! How was it possible that the
population could increase? Shall we, then, wonder that, in the famine of
1030, human flesh was cooked and sold; or that, in that of 1258, fifteen
thousand persons died of hunger in London? Shall we wonder that, in some
of the invasions of the plague, the deaths were so frightfully numerous
that the living could hardly bury the dead? By that of 1348, which came
from the East along the lines of commercial travel, and spread all over
Europe, one-third of the population of France was destroyed.

Such was the condition of the peasantry, and of the common inhabitants
of cities. Not much better was that of the nobles. William of
Malmesbury, speaking of the degraded manners of the Anglo-Saxons, says:
"Their nobles, devoted to gluttony and voluptuousness, never visited the
church, but the matins and the mass were read over to them by a hurrying
priest in their bedchambers, before they rose, themselves not listening.
The common people were a prey to the more powerful; their property was
seized, their bodies dragged away to distant countries; their maidens
were either thrown into a brothel, or sold for slaves. Drinking day
and night was the general pursuit; vices, the companions of inebriety,
followed, effeminating the manly mind." The baronial castles were dens
of robbers. The Saxon chronicler records how men and women were caught
and dragged into those strongholds, hung up by their thumbs or feet,
fire applied to them, knotted strings twisted round their heads, and
many other torments inflicted to extort ransom.

All over Europe, the great and profitable political offices were filled
by ecclesiastics. In every country there was a dual government: 1.
That of a local kind, represented by a temporal sovereign; 2. That of
a foreign kind, acknowledging the authority of the pope, This Roman
influence was, in the nature of things, superior to the local; it
expressed the sovereign will of one man over all the nations of
the continent conjointly, and gathered overwhelming power from its
compactness and unity. The local influence was necessarily of a feeble
nature, since it was commonly weakened by the rivalries of conterminous
states, and the dissensions dexterously provoked by its competitor. On
not a single occasion could the various European states form a coalition
against their common antagonist. Whenever a question arose, they were
skillfully taken in detail, and commonly mastered. The ostensible
object of papal intrusion was to secure for the different peoples moral
well-being; the real object was to obtain large revenues, and give
support to vast bodies of ecclesiastics. The revenues thus abstracted
were not infrequently many times greater than those passing into the
treasury of the local power. Thus, on the occasion of Innocent IV.
demanding provision to be made for three hundred additional Italian
clergy by the Church of England, and that one of his nephews--a mere
boy--should have a stall in Lincoln Cathedral, it was found that the sum
already annually abstracted by foreign ecclesiastics from England was
thrice that which went into the coffers of the king.

While thus the higher clergy secured every political appointment
worth having, and abbots vied with counts in the herds of slaves
they possessed--some, it is said, owned not fewer than twenty
thousand--begging friars pervaded society in all directions, picking
up a share of what still remained to the poor. There was a vast body of
non-producers, living in idleness and owning a foreign allegiance, who
were subsisting on the fruits of the toil of the laborers. It could not
be otherwise than that small farms should be unceasingly merged into
the larger estates; that the poor should steadily become poorer; that
society, far from improving, should exhibit a continually increasing
demoralization. Outside the monastic institutions no attempt at
intellectual advancement was made; indeed, so far as the laity were
concerned, the influence of the Church was directed to an opposite
result, for the maxim universally received was, that "ignorance is the
mother of devotion."

The settled practice of republican and imperial Rome was to have swift
communication with all her outlying provinces, by means of substantial
bridges and roads. One of the prime duties of the legions was to
construct them and keep them in repair. By this, her military authority
was assured. But the dominion of papal Rome, depending upon a different
principle, had no exigencies of that kind, and this duty accordingly
was left for the local powers to neglect. And so, in all directions,
the roads were almost impassable for a large part of the year. A common
means of transportation was in clumsy carts drawn by oxen, going at the
most but three or four miles an hour. Where boat-conveyance along
rivers could not be had, pack-horses and mules were resorted to for
the transportation of merchandise, an adequate means for the slender
commerce of the times. When large bodies of men had to be moved, the
difficulties became almost insuperable. Of this, perhaps, one of the
best illustrations may be found in the story of the march of the first
Crusaders. These restraints upon intercommunication tended powerfully to
promote the general benighted condition. Journeys by individuals could
not be undertaken without much risk, for there was scarcely a moor or a
forest that had not its highwaymen.

An illiterate condition everywhere prevailing, gave opportunity for the
development of superstition. Europe was full of disgraceful miracles. On
all the roads pilgrims were wending their way to the shrines of saints,
renowned for the cures they had wrought. It had always been the policy
of the Church to discourage the physician and his art; he interfered too
much with the gifts and profits of the shrines. Time has brought this
once lucrative imposture to its proper value. How many shrines are there
now in successful operation in Europe?

For patients too sick to move or be moved, there were no remedies except
those of a ghostly kind--the Pater-noster or the Ave. For the prevention
of diseases, prayers were put up in the churches, but no sanitary
measures were resorted to. From cities reeking with putrefying filth
it was thought that the plague might be stayed by the prayers of the
priests, by them rain and dry weather might be secured, and deliverance
obtained from the baleful influences of eclipses and comets. But when
Halley's comet came, in 1456, so tremendous was its apparition that
it was necessary for the pope himself to interfere. He exorcised and
expelled it from the skies. It slunk away into the abysses of space,
terror-stricken by the maledictions of Calixtus III., and did not
venture back for seventy-five years!

The physical value of shrine-cures and ghostly remedies is measured
by the death-rate. In those days it was, probably, about one in
twenty-three, under the present more material practice it is about one
in forty.

The moral condition of Europe was signally illustrated when syphilis was
introduced from the West Indies by the companions of Columbus. It spread
with wonderful rapidity; all ranks of persons, from the Holy Father Leo
X. to the beggar by the wayside, contracting the shameful disease. Many
excused their misfortune by declaring that it was an epidemic proceeding
from a certain malignity in the constitution of the air, but in truth
its spread was due to a certain infirmity in the constitution of man--an
infirmity which had not been removed by the spiritual guidance under
which he had been living.

To the medical efficacy of shrines must be added that of special relics.
These were sometimes of the most extraordinary kind. There were several
abbeys that possessed our Savior's crown of thorns. Eleven had the
lance that had pierced his side. If any person was adventurous enough
to suggest that these could not all be authentic, he would have been
denounced as an atheist. During the holy wars the Templar-Knights had
driven a profitable commerce by bringing from Jerusalem to the Crusading
armies bottles of the milk of the Blessed Virgin, which they sold for
enormous sums; these bottles were preserved with pious care in many of
the great religious establishments. But perhaps none of these impostures
surpassed in audacity that offered by a monastery in Jerusalem, which
presented to the beholder one of the fingers of the Holy Ghost! Modern
society has silently rendered its verdict on these scandalous objects.
Though they once nourished the piety of thousands of earnest people,
they are now considered too vile to have a place in any public museum.

How shall we account for the great failure we thus detect in the
guardianship of the Church over Europe? This is not the result that
must have occurred had there been in Rome an unremitting care for the
spiritual and material prosperity of the continent, had the universal
pastor, the successor of Peter, occupied himself with singleness of
purpose for the holiness and happiness of his flock.

The explanation is not difficult to find. It is contained in a story
of sin and shame. I prefer, therefore, in the following paragraphs, to
offer explanatory facts derived from Catholic authors, and, indeed, to
present them as nearly as I can in the words of those writers.

The story I am about to relate is a narrative of the transformation of a
confederacy into an absolute monarchy.

In the early times every church, without prejudice to its agreement with
the Church universal in all essential points, managed its own affairs
with perfect freedom and independence, maintaining its own traditional
usages and discipline, all questions not concerning the whole Church, or
of primary importance, being settled on the spot.

Until the beginning of the ninth century, there was no change in the
constitution of the Roman Church. But about 845 the Isidorian Decretals
were fabricated in the west of Gaul--a forgery containing about one
hundred pretended decrees of the early popes, together with certain
spurious writings of other church dignitaries and acts of synods. This
forgery produced an immense extension of the papal power, it displaced
the old system of church government, divesting it of the republican
attributes it had possessed, and transforming it into an absolute
monarchy. It brought the bishops into subjection to Rome, and made the
pontiff the supreme judge of the clergy of the whole Christian world. It
prepared the way for the great attempt, subsequently made by Hildebrand,
to convert the states of Europe into a theocratic priest-kingdom, with
the pope at its head.

Gregory VII., the author of this great attempt, saw that his plans
would be best carried out through the agency of synods. He, therefore,
restricted the right of holding them to the popes and their legates. To
aid in the matter, a new system of church law was devised by Anselm
of Lucca, partly from the old Isidorian forgeries, and partly from new
inventions. To establish the supremacy of Rome, not only had a new
civil and a new canon law to be produced, a new history had also to
be invented. This furnished needful instances of the deposition
and excommunication of kings, and proved that they had always been
subordinate to the popes. The decretal letters of the popes were put on
a par with Scripture. At length it came to be received, throughout
the West, that the popes had been, from the beginning of Christianity,
legislators for the whole Church. As absolute sovereigns in later times
cannot endure representative assemblies, so the papacy, when it wished
to become absolute, found that the synods of particular national
churches must be put an end to, and those only under the immediate
control of the pontiff permitted. This, in itself, constituted a great

Another fiction concocted in Rome in the eighth century led to important
consequences. It feigned that the Emperor Constantine, in gratitude for
his cure from leprosy, and baptism by Pope Sylvester, had bestowed
Italy and the Western provinces on the pope, and that, in token of his
subordination, he had served the pope as his groom, and led his horse
some distance. This forgery was intended to work on the Frankish kings,
to impress them with a correct idea of their inferiority, and to show
that, in the territorial concessions they made to the Church, they were
not giving but only restoring what rightfully belonged to it.

The most potent instrument of the new papal system was Gratian's
Decretum, which was issued about the middle of the twelfth century. It
was a mass of fabrications. It made the whole Christian world, through
the papacy, the domain of the Italian clergy. It inculcated that it is
lawful to constrain men to goodness, to torture and execute heretics,
and to confiscate their property; that to kill an excommunicated person
is not murder; that the pope, in his unlimited superiority to all law,
stands on an equality with the Son of God!

As the new system of centralization developed, maxims, that in the olden
times would have been held to be shocking, were boldly avowed--the whole
Church is the property of the pope to do with as he will; what is simony
in others is not simony in him; he is above all law, and can be called
to account by none; whoever disobeys him must be put to death; every
baptized man is his subject, and must for life remain so, whether he
will or not. Up to the end of the twelfth century, the popes were the
vicars of Peter; after Innocent III. they were the vicars of Christ.

But an absolute sovereign has need of revenues, and to this the popes
were no exception. The institution of legates was brought in from
Hildebrand's time. Sometimes their duty was to visit churches, sometimes
they were sent on special business, but always invested with unlimited
powers to bring back money over the Alps. And since the pope could not
only make laws, but could suspend their operation, a legislation was
introduced in view to the purchase of dispensations. Monasteries were
exempted from episcopal jurisdiction on payment of a tribute to Rome.
The pope had now become "the universal bishop;" he had a concurrent
jurisdiction in all the dioceses, and could bring any cases before
his own courts. His relation to the bishops was that of an absolute
sovereign to his officials. A bishop could resign only by his
permission, and sees vacated by resignation lapsed to him. Appeals to
him were encouraged in every way for the sake of the dispensations;
thousands of processes came before the Curia, bringing a rich harvest to
Rome. Often when there were disputing claimants to benefices, the
pope would oust them all, and appoint a creature of his own. Often the
candidates had to waste years in Rome, and either died there, or carried
back a vivid impression of the dominant corruption. Germany suffered
more than other countries from these appeals and processes, and hence
of all countries was best prepared for the Reformation. During the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the popes made gigantic strides in
the acquisition of power. Instead of recommending their favorites for
benefices, now they issued mandates. Their Italian partisans must
be rewarded; nothing could be done to satisfy their clamors, but to
provide for them in foreign countries. Shoals of contesting claimants
died in Rome; and, when death took place in that city, the Pope claimed
the right of giving away the benefices. At length it was affirmed that
he had the right of disposing of all church-offices without distinction,
and that the oath of obedience of a bishop to him implied political as
well as ecclesiastical subjection. In countries having a dual government
this increased the power of the spiritual element prodigiously.

Rights of every kind were remorselessly overthrown to complete this
centralization. In this the mendicant orders were most efficient aids.
It was the pope and those orders on one side, the bishops and the
parochial clergy on the other. The Roman court had seized the rights
of synods, metropolitans, bishops, national churches. Incessantly
interfered with by the legates, the bishops lost all desire to
discipline their dioceses; incessantly interfered with by the begging
monks, the parish priest had become powerless in his own village; his
pastoral influence was utterly destroyed by the papal indulgences and
absolutions they sold. The money was carried off to Rome.

Pecuniary necessities urged many of the popes to resort to such petty
expedients as to require from a prince, a bishop, or a grand-master, who
bad a cause pending in the court, a present of a golden cup filled
with ducats. Such necessities also gave origin to jubilees. Sixtus IV.
established whole colleges, and sold the places at three or four hundred
ducats. Innocent VIII. pawned the papal tiara. Of Leo X. it was said
that he squandered the revenues of three popes, he wasted the savings
of his predecessor, he spent his own income, he anticipated that of his
successor, he created twenty-one hundred and fifty new offices and sold
them; they were considered to be a good investment, as they produced
twelve per cent. The interest was extorted from Catholic countries.
Nowhere in Europe could capital be so well invested as at Rome. Large
sums were raised by the foreclosing of mortgages, and not only by the
sale but the resale of offices. Men were promoted, for the purpose of
selling their offices again.

Though against the papal theory, which denounced usurious practices,
an immense papal banking system had sprung up, in connection with the
Curia, and sums at usurious interest were advanced to prelates, place.
hunters, and litigants. The papal bankers were privileged; all others
were under the ban. The Curia had discovered that it was for their
interest to have ecelesiastics all over Europe in their debt. They could
make them pliant, and excommunicate them for non-payment of interest.
In 1327 it was reckoned that half the Christian world was under
excommunication: bishops were excommunicated because they could not
meet the extortions of legates; and persons were excommunicated,
under various pretenses, to compel them to purchase absolution at an
exorbitant price. The ecclesiastical revenues of all Europe were flowing
into Rome, a sink of corruption, simony, usury, bribery, extortion. The
popes, since 1066, when the great centralizing movement began, had no
time to pay attention to the internal affairs of their own special
flock in the city of Rome. There were thousands of foreign cases, each
bringing in money. "Whenever," says the Bishop Alvaro Pelayo, "I entered
the apartments of the Roman court clergy, I found them occupied in
counting up the gold-coin, which lay about the rooms in heaps." Every
opportunity of extending the jurisdiction of the Curia was welcome.
Exemptions were so managed that fresh grants were constantly necessary.
Bishops were privileged against cathedral chapters, chapters against
their bishops; bishops, convents, and individuals, against the
extortions of legates.

The two pillars on which the papal system now rested were the College of
Cardinals and the Curia. The cardinals, in 1059, had become electors of
the popes. Up to that time elections were made by the whole body of the
Roman clergy, and the concurrence of the magistrates and citizens
was necessary. But Nicolas II. restricted elections to the College of
Cardinals by a two-thirds vote, and gave to the German emperor the
right of confirmation. For almost two centuries there was a struggle
for mastery between the cardinal oligarchy and papal absolutism. The
cardinals were willing enough that the pope should be absolute in his
foreign rule, but the never failed to attempt, before giving him
their votes, to bind him to accord to them a recognized share in the
government. After his election, and before his consecration, he swore
to observe certain capitulations, such as a participation of revenues
between himself and the cardinals; an obligation that lie would not
remove them, but would permit them to assemble twice a year to discuss
whether he had kept his oath. Repeatedly the popes broke their oath. On
one side, the cardinals wanted a larger share in the church government
and emoluments; on the other, the popes refused to surrender revenues or
power. The cardinals wanted to be conspicuous in pomp and extravagance,
and for this vast sums were requisite. In one instance, not fewer than
five hundred benefices were held by one of them; their friends and
retainers must be supplied, their families enriched. It was affirmed
that the whole revenues of France were insufficient to meet their
expenditures. In their rivalries it sometimes happened that no pope
was elected for several years. It seemed as if they wanted to show how
easily the Church could get on without the Vicar of Christ.

Toward the close of the eleventh century the Roman Church became the
Roman court. In place of the Christian sheep gently following their
shepherd in the holy precincts of the city, there had arisen a
chancery of writers, notaries, tax-gatherers, where transactions about
privileges, dispensations, exemptions, were carried on; and suitors
went with petitions from door to door. Rome was a rallying-point for
place-hunters of every nation. In presence of the enormous mass of
business-processes, graces, indulgences, absolutions, commands, and
decisions, addressed to all parts of Europe and Asia, the functions
of the local church sank into insignificance. Several hundred persons,
whose home was the Curia, were required. Their aim was to rise in it by
enlarging the profits of the papal treasury. The whole Christian
world had become tributary to it. Here every vestige of religion had
disappeared; its members were busy with politics, litigations, and
processes; not a word could be heard about spiritual concerns. Every
stroke of the pen had its price. Benefices, dispensations, licenses,
absolutions, indulgences, privileges, were bought and sold like
merchandise. The suitor had to bribe every one, from the doorkeeper
to the pope, or his case was lost. Poor men could neither attain
preferment, nor hope for it; and the result was, that every cleric felt
he had a right to follow the example he had seen at Rome, and that
he might make profits out of his spiritual ministries and sacraments,
having bought the right to do so at Rome, and having no other way to
pay off his debt. The transference of power from Italians to Frenchmen,
through the removal of the Curia to Avignon, produced no change--only
the Italians felt that the enrichment of Italian families had slipped
out of their grasp. They had learned to consider the papacy as their
appanage, and that they, under the Christian dispensation, were God's
chosen people, as the Jews had been under the Mosaic.

At the end of the thirteenth century a new kingdom was discovered,
capable of yielding immense revenues. This was Purgatory. It was shown
that the pope could empty it by his indulgences. In this there was no
need of hypocrisy. Things were done openly. The original germ of the
apostolic primacy had now expanded into a colossal monarchy.

NEED OF A GENERAL COUNCIL. The Inquisition had made the papal system
irresistible. All opposition must be punished with death by fire. A mere
thought, without having betrayed itself by outward sign, was considered
as guilt. As time went on, this practice of the Inquisition became
more and more atrocious. Torture was resorted to on mere suspicion.
The accused was not allowed to know the name of his accuser. He was
not permitted to have any legal adviser. There was no appeal. The
Inquisition was ordered not to lean to pity. No recantation was of
avail. The innocent family of the accused was deprived of its
property by confiscation; half went to the papal treasury, half to the
inquisitors. Life only, said Innocent III., was to be left to the sons
of misbelievers, and that merely as an act of mercy. The consequence
was, that popes, such as Nicolas III., enriched their families through
plunder acquired by this tribunal. Inquisitors did the same habitually.

The struggle between the French and Italians for the possession of the
papacy inevitably led to the schism of the fourteenth century. For more
than forty years two rival popes were now anathematizing each other,
two rival Curias were squeezing the nations for money. Eventually, there
were three obediences, and triple revenues to be extorted. Nobody, now,
could guarantee the validity of the sacraments, for nobody could be
sure which was the true pope. Men were thus compelled to think for
themselves. They could not find who was the legitimate thinker for them.
They began to see that the Church must rid herself of the curialistic
chains, and resort to a General Council. That attempt was again and
again made, the intention being to raise the Council into a Parliament
of Christendom, and make the pope its chief executive officer. But the
vast interests that had grown out of the corruption of ages could not
so easily be overcome; the Curia again recovered its ascendency, and
ecclesiastical trading was resumed. The Germans, who had never been
permitted to share in the Curia, took the leading part in these attempts
at reform. As things went on from bad to worse, even they at last found
out that all hope of reforming the Church by means of councils was
delusive. Erasmus exclaimed, "If Christ does not deliver his people
from this multiform ecclesiastical tyranny, the tyranny of the Turk will
become less intolerable." Cardinals' hats were now sold, and under Leo
X. ecclesiastical and religious offices were actually put up to auction.
The maxim of life had become, interest first, honor afterward. Among
the officials, there was not one who could be honest in the dark, and
virtuous without a witness. The violet-colored velvet cloaks and white
ermine capes of the cardinals were truly a cover for wickedness.

The unity of the Church, and therefore its power, required the use of
Latin as a sacred language. Through this, Rome had stood in an attitude
strictly European, and was enabled to maintain a general international
relation. It gave her far more power than her asserted celestial
authority, and, much as she claims to have done, she is open to
condemnation that, with such a signal advantage in her hands, never
again to be enjoyed by any successor, she did not accomplish much
more. Had not the sovereign pontiffs been so completely occupied with
maintaining their emoluments and temporalities in Italy, they might have
made the whole continent advance like one man. Their officials could
pass without difficulty into every nation, and communicate without
embarrassment with each other, from Ireland to Bohemia, from Italy to
Scotland. The possession of a common tongue gave them the administration
of international affairs with intelligent allies everywhere, speaking
the same language.

Not without cause was the hatred manifested by Rome to the restoration
of Greek and introduction of Hebrew, and the alarm with which she
perceived the modern languages forming out of the vulgar dialects.
Not without reason did the Faculty of Theology in Paris re-echo the
sentiment that, was prevalent in the time of Ximenes, "What will
become of religion if the study of Greek and Hebrew be permitted?" The
prevalence of Latin was the condition of her power; its deterioration,
the measure of her decay; its disuse, the signal of her limitation to
a little principality in Italy. In fact, the development of European
languages was the instrument of her overthrow. They formed an effectual
communication between the mendicant friars and the illiterate populace,
and there was not one of them that did not display in its earliest
productions a sovereign contempt for her.

The rise of the many-tongued European literature was therefore
coincident with the decline of papal Christianity; European literature
was impossible under Catholic rule. A grand, a solemn, an imposing
religious unity enforced the literary unity which is implied in the use
of a single tongue.

While thus the possession of a universal language so signally secured
her power, the real secret of much of the influence of the Church lay
in the control she had so skillfully obtained over domestic life. Her
influence diminished as that declined. Coincident with this was her
displacement in the guidance of international relations by diplomacy.

CATHOLICITY AND CIVILIZATION. In the old times of Roman domination the
encampments of the legions in the provinces had always proved to be foci
of civilization. The industry and order exhibited in them presented an
example not lost on the surrounding barbarians of Britain, Gaul, and
Germany. And, though it was no part of their duty to occupy themselves
actively in the betterment of the conquered tribes, but rather to keep
them in a depressed condition that aided in maintaining subjection,
a steady improvement both in the individual and social condition took

Under the ecclesiastical domination of Rome similar effects occurred. In
the open country the monastery replaced the legionary encampment; in the
village or town, the church was a centre of light. A powerful effect
was produced by the elegant luxury of the former, and by the sacred and
solemn monitions of the latter.

In extolling the papal system for what it did in the organization of the
family, the definition of civil policy, the construction of the states
of Europe, our praise must be limited by the recollection that the chief
object of ecclesiastical policy was the aggrandizement of the Church,
not the promotion of civilization. The benefit obtained by the laity was
not through any special intention, but incidental or collateral.

There was no far-reaching, no persistent plan to ameliorate the physical
condition of the nations. Nothing was done to favor their intellectual
development; indeed, on the contrary, it was the settled policy to keep
them not merely illiterate, but ignorant. Century after century passed
away, and left the peasantry but little better than the cattle in the
fields. Intercommunication and locomotion, which tend so powerfully to
expand the ideas, received no encouragement; the majority of men died
without ever having ventured out of the neighborhood in which they were
born. For them there was no hope of personal improvement, none of the
bettering of their lot; there were no comprehensive schemes for the
avoidance of individual want, none for the resistance of famines.
Pestilences were permitted to stalk forth unchecked, or at best opposed
only by mummeries. Bad food, wretched clothing, inadequate shelter, were
suffered to produce their result, and at the end of a thousand years the
population of Europe had not doubled.

If policy may be held accountable as much for the births it prevents as
for the deaths it occasions, what a great responsibility there is here!

In this investigation of the influence of Catholicism, we must carefully
keep separate what it did for the people and what it did for itself.
When we think of the stately monastery, an embodiment of luxury, with
its closely-mown lawns, its gardens and bowers, its fountains and many
murmuring streams, we must connect it not with the ague-stricken peasant
dying without help in the fens, but with the abbot, his ambling palfrey,
his hawk and hounds, his well-stocked cellar and larder. He is part of
a system that has its centre of authority in Italy.. To that his
allegiance is due. For its behoof are all his acts. When we survey, as
still we may, the magnificent churches and cathedrals of those
times, miracles of architectural skill--the only real miracles of
Catholicism--when in imagination we restore the transcendently
imposing, the noble services of which they were once the scene, the
dim, religious-light streaming in through the many-colored windows, the
sounds of voices not inferior in their melody to those of heaven,
the priests in their sacred vestments, and above all the prostrate
worshipers listening to litanies and prayers in a foreign and unknown
tongue, shall we not ask ourselves, Was all this for the sake of those
worshipers, or for the glory of the great, the overshadowing authority
at Rome?

But perhaps some one may say, Are there not limits to human
exertion--things which no political system, no human power, no matter
how excellent its intention, can accomplish? Men cannot be raised from
barbarism, a continent cannot be civilized, in a day!

The Catholic power is not, however, to be tried by any such standard.
It scornfully rejected and still rejects a human origin. It claims to
be accredited supernaturally. The sovereign pontiff is the Vicar of God
upon earth. Infallible in judgment, it is given to him to accomplish
all things by miracle if need be. He had exercised an autocratic tyranny
over the intellect of Europe for more than a thousand years; and, though
on some occasions he had encountered the resistances of disobedient
princes, these, in the aggregate, were of so little moment, that the
physical, the political power of the continent may be affirmed to have
been at his disposal.

Such facts as have been presented in this chapter were, doubtless,
well weighed by the Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century, and
brought them to the conclusion that Catholicism had altogether failed in
its mission; that it had become a vast system of delusion and imposture,
and that a restoration of true Christianity could only be accomplished
by returning to the faith and practices of the primitive times. This was
no decision suddenly arrived at; it had long been the opinion of many
religious and learned men. The pious Fratricelli in the middle ages had
loudly expressed their belief that the fatal gift of a Roman emperor had
been the doom of true religion. It wanted nothing more than the voice of
Luther to bring men throughout the north of Europe to the determination
that the worship of the Virgin Mary, the invocation of saints, the
working of miracles, supernatural cures of the sick, the purchase of
indulgences for the perpetration of sin, and all other evil practices,
lucrative to their abettors, which had been fastened on Christianity,
but which were no part of it, should come to an end. Catholicism, as
a system for promoting the well-being of man, had plainly failed in
justifying its alleged origin; its performance had not corresponded to
its great pretensions; and, after an opportunity of more than a
thousand years' duration, it had left the masses of men submitted to
its influences, both as regards physical well-being and intellectual
culture, in a condition far lower than what it ought to have been.



     Illustration of the general influences of Science from the
     history of America.

     Moorish Spain to Upper Italy, and was favored by the absence
     of the popes at Avignon.--The effects of printing, of
     maritime adventure, and of the Reformation--Establishment of
     the Italian scientific societies.

     and the direction of thought in Europe.--The transactions of
     the Royal Society of London, and other scientific societies,
     furnish an illustration of this.

     THE ECONOMICAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE is illustrated by the
     numerous mechanical and physical inventions, made since the
     fourteenth century.--Their influence on health and domestic
     life, on the arts of peace and of war.

     Answer to the question, What has Science done for humanity?

EUROPE, at the epoch of the Reformation, furnishes us with the result of
the influences of Roman Christianity in the promotion of civilization.
America, examined in like manner at the present time, furnishes us with
an illustration of the influences of science.

SCIENCE AND CIVILIZATION. In the course of the seventeenth century a
sparse European population bad settled along the western Atlantic coast.
Attracted by the cod-fishery of Newfoundland, the French had a little
colony north of the St. Lawrence; the English, Dutch, and Swedes,
occupied the shore of New England and the Middle States; some Huguenots
were living in the Carolinas. Rumors of a spring that could confer
perpetual youth--a fountain of life--had brought a few Spaniards into
Florida. Behind the fringe of villages which these adventurers had
built, lay a vast and unknown country, inhabited by wandering Indians,
whose numbers from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence did not exceed
one hundred and eighty thousand. From them the European strangers had
learned that in those solitary regions there were fresh-water seas,
and a great river which they called the Mississippi. Some said that it
flowed through Virginia into the Atlantic, some that it passed through
Florida, some that it emptied into the Pacific, and some that it reached
the Gulf of Mexico. Parted from their native countries by the stormy
Atlantic, to cross which implied a voyage of many months, these refugees
seemed lost to the world.

But before the close of the nineteenth century the descendants of this
feeble people had become one of the great powers of the earth. They
had established a republic whose sway extended from the Atlantic to
the Pacific. With an army of more than a million men, not on paper, but
actually in the field, they had overthrown a domestic assailant.
They had maintained at sea a war-fleet of nearly seven hundred ships,
carrying five thousand guns, some of them the heaviest in the world. The
tonnage of this navy amounted to half a million. In the defense of their
national life they had expended in less than five years more than four
thousand million dollars. Their census, periodically taken, showed that
the population was doubling itself every twenty-five years; it justified
the expectation that at the close of that century it would number nearly
one hundred million souls.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. A silent continent had been changed into a scene of
industry; it was full of the din of machinery and the restless moving
of men. Where there had been an unbroken forest, there were hundreds of
cities and towns. To commerce were furnished in profusion some of the
most important staples, as cotton, tobacco, breadstuffs. The mines
yielded incredible quantities of gold, iron, coal. Countless churches,
colleges, and public schools, testified that a moral influence vivified
this material activity. Locomotion was effectually provided for. The
railways exceeded in aggregate length those of all Europe combined.
In 1873 the aggregate length of the European railways was sixty-three
thousand three hundred and sixty miles, that of the American was seventy
thousand six hundred and fifty miles. One of them, built across the
continent, connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

But not alone are these material results worthy of notice. Others of a
moral and social kind force themselves on our attention. Four million
negro slaves had been set free. Legislation, if it inclined to the
advantage of any class, inclined to that of the poor. Its intention was
to raise them from poverty, and better their lot. A career was open
to talent, and that without any restraint. Every thing was possible to
intelligence and industry. Many of the most important public offices
were filled by men who had risen from the humblest walks of life.
If there was not social equality, as there never can be in rich and
prosperous communities, there was civil equality, rigorously maintained.

It may perhaps be said that much of this material prosperity arose from
special conditions, such as had never occurred in the case of any people
before, There was a vast, an open theatre of action, a whole continent
ready for any who chose to take possession of it. Nothing more than
courage and industry was needed to overcome Nature, and to seize the
abounding advantages she offered.

ILLUSTRATIONS FROM AMERICAN HISTORY. But must not men be animated by a
great principle who successfully transform the primeval solitudes into
an abode of civilization, who are not dismayed by gloomy forests, or
rivers, mountains, or frightful deserts, who push their conquering
way in the course of a century across a continent, and hold it in
subjection? Let us contrast with this the results of the invasion of
Mexico and Peru by the Spaniards, who in those countries overthrew
a wonderful civilization, in many respects superior to their own--a
civilization that had been accomplished without iron and gunpowder--a
civilization resting on an agriculture that had neither horse, nor
ox, nor plough. The Spaniards had a clear base to start from, and
no obstruction whatever in their advance. They ruined all that the
aboriginal children of America had accomplished. Millions of those
unfortunates were destroyed by their cruelty. Nations that for
many centuries had been living in contentment and prosperity, under
institutions shown by their history to be suitable to them, were plunged
into anarchy; the people fell into a baneful superstition, and a
greater part of their landed and other property found its way into the
possession of the Roman Church.

I have selected the foregoing illustration, drawn from American history,
in preference to many others that might have been taken from European,
because it furnishes an instance of the operation of the acting
principle least interfered with by extraneous conditions. European
political progress is less simple than American.

QUARREL BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE PAPACY. Before considering its manner
of action, and its results, I will briefly relate how the scientific
principle found an introduction into Europe.

INTRODUCTION OF SCIENCE INTO EUROPE. Not only had the Crusades, for many
years, brought vast sums to Rome, extorted from the fears or the piety
of every Christian nation; they had also increased the papal power to a
most dangerous extent. In the dual governments everywhere prevailing in
Europe, the spiritual had obtained the mastery; the temporal was little
better than its servant.

From all quarters, and under all kinds of pretenses, streams of money
were steadily flowing into Italy. The temporal princes found that there
were left for them inadequate and impoverished revenues. Philip the
Fair, King of France (A.D. 1300), not only determined to check this
drain from his dominions, by prohibiting the export of gold and
silver without his license; he also resolved that the clergy and the
ecclesiastical estates should pay their share of taxes to him.
This brought on a mortal contest with the papacy. The king was
excommunicated, and, in retaliation, he accused the pope, Boniface
VIII., of atheism; demanding that he should be tried by a general
council. He sent some trusty persons into Italy, who seized Boniface in
his palace at Anagni, and treated him with so much severity, that in a
few days he died. The succeeding pontiff, Benedict XI., was poisoned.

The French king was determined that the papacy should be purified and
reformed; that it should no longer be the appanage of a few Italian
families, who were dexterously transmuting the credulity of Europe into
coin--that French influence should prevail in it. He Therefore came to
an understanding with the cardinals; a French archbishop was elevated
to the pontificate; he took the name of Clement V. The papal court was
removed to Avignon, in France, and Rome was abandoned as the metropolis
of Christianity.

the papacy was restored to the Eternal City (A.D. 1376). The diminution
of its influence in the peninsula, that had thus occurred, gave
opportunity for the memorable intellectual movement which soon
manifested itself in the great commercial cities of Upper Italy.
Contemporaneously, also, there were other propitious events. The result
of the Crusades had shaken the faith of all Christendom. In an age when
the test of the ordeal of battle was universally accepted, those wars
had ended in leaving the Holy Land in the hands of the Saracens; the
many thousand Christian warriors who had returned from them did not
hesitate to declare that they had found their antagonists not such as
had been pictured by the Church, but valiant, courteous, just. Through
the gay cities of the South of France a love of romantic literature
had been spreading; the wandering troubadours had been singing their
songs--songs far from being restricted to ladye-love and feats of war;
often their burden was the awful atrocities that had been perpetrated
by papal authority--the religious massacres of Languedoc; often their
burden was the illicit amours of the clergy. From Moorish Spain the
gentle and gallant idea of chivalry had been brought, and with it the
noble sentiment of "personal honor," destined in the course of time to
give a code of its own to Europe.

EFFECT OF THE GREAT SCHISM. The return of the papacy to Rome was far
from restoring the influence of the popes over the Italian Peninsula.
More than two generations had passed away since their departure, and,
had they come back even in their original strength, they could not
have resisted the intellectual progress that had been made during their
absence. The papacy, however, came back not to rule, but to be divided
against itself, to encounter the Great Schism. Out of its dissensions
emerged two rival popes; eventually there were three, each pressing
his claims upon the religious, each cursing his rival. A sentiment
of indignation soon spread all over Europe, a determination that the
shameful scenes which were then enacting should be ended. How could the
dogma of a Vicar of God upon earth, the dogma of an infallible pope,
be sustained in presence of such scandals? Herein lay the cause of that
resolution of the ablest ecclesiastics of those times (which, alas for
Europe! could not be carried into effect), that a general council should
be made the permanent religious parliament of the whole continent,
with the pope as its chief executive officer. Had that intention been
accomplished, there would have been at this day no conflict between
science and religion; the convulsion of the Reformation would have been
avoided; there would have been no jarring Protestant sects. But the
Councils of Constance and Basle failed to shake off the Italian yoke,
failed to attain that noble result.

Catholicism was thus weakening; as its leaden pressure lifted, the
intellect of man expanded. The Saracens had invented the method of
making paper from linen rags and from cotton. The Venetians had brought
from China to Europe the art of printing. The former of these inventions
was essential to the latter. Hence forth, without the possibility of a
check, there was intellectual intercommunication among all men.

INVENTION OF PRINTING. The invention of printing was a severe blow to
Catholicism, which had, previously, enjoyed the inappreciable advantage
of a monopoly of intercommunication. From its central seat, orders could
be disseminated through all the ecclesiastical ranks, and fulminated
through the pulpits. This monopoly and the amazing power it conferred
were destroyed by the press. In modern times, the influence of the
pulpit has become insignificant. The pulpit has been thoroughly
supplanted by the newspaper.

Yet, Catholicism did not yield its ancient advantage without a struggle.
As soon as the inevitable tendency of the new art was detected, a
restraint upon it, under the form of a censorship, was attempted. It was
made necessary to have a permit, in order to print a book. For this, it
was needful that the work should have been read, examined, and approved
by the clergy. There must be a certificate that it was a godly and
orthodox book. A bull of excommunication was issued in 1501, by
Alexander VI., against printers who should publish pernicious doctrines.
In 1515 the Lateran Council ordered that no books should be printed but
such as had been inspected by the ecclesiastical censors, under pain of
excommunication and fine; the censors being directed "to take the utmost
care that nothing should be printed contrary to the orthodox faith."
There was thus a dread of religious discussion; a terror lest truth
should emerge.

But these frantic struggles of the powers of ignorance were unavailing.
Intellectual intercommunication among men was secured. It culminated in
the modern newspaper, which daily gives its contemporaneous intelligence
from all parts of the world. Reading became a common occupation. In
ancient society that art was possessed by comparatively few persons.
Modern society owes some of its most striking characteristics to this

EFFECTS OF MARITIME ENTERPRISE. Such was the result of bringing into
Europe the manufacture of paper and the printing-press. In like manner
the introduction of the mariner's compass was followed by imposing
material and moral effects. These were--the discovery of America in
consequence of the rivalry of the Venetians and Genoese about the India
trade; the doubling of Africa by De Gama; and the circumnavigation of
the earth by Magellan. With respect to the last, the grandest of
all human undertakings, it is to be remembered that Catholicism had
irrevocably committed itself to the dogma of a flat earth, with the
sky as the floor of heaven, and hell in the under-world. Some of the
Fathers, whose authority was held to be paramount, had, as we have
previously said, furnished philosophical and religious arguments against
the globular form. The controversy had now suddenly come to an end--the
Church was found to be in error.

The correction of that geographical error was by no means the only
important result that followed the three great voyages. The spirit of
Columbus, De Gama, Magellan, diffused itself among all the enterprising
men of Western Europe. Society had been hitherto living under the dogma
of "loyalty to the king, obedience to the Church." It had therefore been
living for others, not for itself. The political effect of that dogma
had culminated in the Crusades. Countless thousands had perished in
wars that could bring them no reward, and of which the result had been
conspicuous failure. Experience had revealed the fact that the only
gainers were the pontiffs, cardinals, and other ecclesiastics in Rome,
and the shipmasters of Venice. But, when it became known that the
wealth of Mexico, Peru, and India, might be shared by any one who had
enterprise and courage, the motives that had animated the restless
populations of Europe suddenly changed. The story of Cortez and Pizarro
found enthusiastic listeners everywhere. Maritime adventure supplanted
religious enthusiasm.

If we attempt to isolate the principle that lay at the basis of the
wonderful social changes that now took place, we may recognize it
without difficulty. Heretofore each man had dedicated his services to
his superior--feudal or ecclesiastical; now he had resolved to gather
the fruits of his exertions himself. Individualism was becoming
predominant, loyalty was declining into a sentiment. We shall now see
how it was with the Church.

INDIVIDUALISM. Individualism rests on the principle that a man shall
be his own master, that he shall have liberty to form his own opinions,
freedom to carry into effect his resolves. He is, therefore, ever
brought into competition with his fellow-men. His life is a display of

To remove the stagnation of centuries front European life, to vivify
suddenly what had hitherto been an inert mass, to impart to it
individualism, was to bring it into conflict with the influences
that had been oppressing it. All through the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries uneasy strugglings gave a premonition of what was coming.
In the early part of the sixteenth (1517), the battle was joined.
Individualism found its embodiment in a sturdy German monk, and
therefore, perhaps necessarily, asserted its rights under theological
forms. There were some preliminary skirmishes about indulgences and
other minor matters, but very soon the real cause of dispute came
plainly into view. Martin Luther refused to think as he was ordered to
do by his ecclesiastical superiors at Rome; he asserted that he had an
inalienable right to interpret the Bible for himself.

At her first glance, Rome saw nothing in Martin Luther but a vulgar,
insubordinate, quarrelsome monk. Could the Inquisition have laid hold of
him, it would have speedily disposed of his affair; but, as the conflict
went on, it was discovered that Martin was not standing alone. Many
thousands of men, as resolute as himself, were coming up to his support;
and, while he carried on the combat with writings and words, they made
good his propositions with the sword.

THE REFORMATION. The vilification which was poured on Luther and his
doings was so bitter as to be ludicrous. It was declared that his father
was not his mother's husband, but an impish incubus, who had deluded
her; that, after ten years' struggling with his conscience, he had
become an atheist; that he denied the immortality of the soul; that
he had composed hymns in honor of drunkenness, a vice to which he
was unceasingly addicted; that he blasphemed the Holy Scriptures, and
particularly Moses; that he did not believe a word of what he preached;
that he had called the Epistle of St. James a thing of straw; and, above
all, that the Reformation was no work of his, but, in reality, was due
to a certain astrological position of the stars. It was, however, a
vulgar saying among the Roman ecclesiastics that Erasmus laid the egg of
the Reformation, and Luther hatched it.

Rome at first made the mistake of supposing that this was nothing more
than a casual outbreak; she failed to discern that it was, in fact, the
culmination of an internal movement which for two centuries had been
going on in Europe, and which had been hourly gathering force; that,
had there been nothing else, the existence of three popes--three
obediences--would have compelled men to think, to deliberate, to
conclude for themselves. The Councils of Constance and Basle taught them
that there was a higher power than the popes. The long and bloody wars
that ensued were closed by the Peace of Westphalia; and then it was
found that Central and Northern Europe had cast off the intellectual
tyranny of Rome, that individualism had carried its point, and had
established the right of every man to think for himself.

DECOMPOSITION OF PROTESTANTISM. But it was impossible that the
establishment of this right of private judgment should end with the
rejection of Catholicism. Early in the movement some of the most
distinguished men, such as Erasmus, who had been among its first
promoters, abandoned it. They perceived that many of the Reformers
entertained a bitter dislike of learning, and they were afraid of
being brought under bigoted caprice. The Protestant party, having thus
established its existence by dissent and separation, must, in its turn,
submit to the operation of the same principles. A decomposition into
many subordinate sects was inevitable. And these, now that they had no
longer any thing to fear from their great Italian adversary, commenced
partisan warfares on each other. As, in different countries, first one
and then another sect rose to power, it stained itself with cruelties
perpetrated upon its competitors. The mortal retaliations that had
ensued, when, in the chances of the times, the oppressed got the better
of their oppressors, convinced the contending sectarians that they must
concede to their competitors what they claimed for themselves; and thus,
from their broils and their crimes, the great principle of toleration
extricated itself. But toleration is only an intermediate stage; and,
as the intellectual decomposition of Protestantism keeps going on, that
transitional condition will lead to a higher and nobler state--the hope
of philosophy in all past ages of the world--a social state in which
there shall be unfettered freedom for thought. Toleration, except
when extorted by fear, can only come from those who are capable of
entertaining and respecting other opinions than their own. It can
therefore only come from philosophy. History teaches us only too plainly
that fanaticism is stimulated by religion, and neutralized or eradicated
by philosophy.

TOLERATION. The avowed object of the Reformation was, to remove from
Christianity the pagan ideas and pagan rites engrafted upon it by
Constantine and his successors, in their attempt to reconcile the Roman
Empire to it. The Protestants designed to bring it back to its primitive
purity; and hence, while restoring the ancient doctrines, they cast out
of it all such practices as the adoration of the Virgin Mary and
the invocation of saints. The Virgin Mary, we are assured by the
Evangelists, had accepted the duties of married life, and borne to her
husband several children. In the prevailing idolatry, she had ceased to
be regarded as the carpenter's wife; she had become the queen of heaven,
and the mother of God.

DA VINCI. The science of the Arabians followed the invading track of
their literature, which had come into Christendom by two routes--the
south of France, and Sicily. Favored by the exile of the popes to
Avignon, and by the Great Schism, it made good its foothold in Upper
Italy. The Aristotelian or Inductive philosophy, clad in the Saracenic
costume that Averroes had given it, made many secret and not a few open
friends. It found many minds eager to receive and able to appreciate
it. Among these were Leonardo da Vinci, who proclaimed the fundamental
principle that experiment and observation are the only reliable
foundations of reasoning in science, that experiment is the only
trustworthy interpreter of Nature, and is essential to the ascertainment
of laws. He showed that the action of two perpendicular forces upon a
point is the same as that denoted by the diagonal of a rectangle, of
which they represent the sides. From this the passage to the proposition
of oblique forces was very easy. This proposition was rediscovered by
Stevinus, a century later, and applied by him to the explanation of the
mechanical powers. Da Vinci gave a clear exposition of the theory of
forces applied obliquely on a lever, discovered the laws of friction
subsequently demonstrated by Amontons, and understood the principle of
virtual velocities. He treated of the conditions of descent of bodies
along inclined planes and circular arcs, invented the camera-obscura,
discussed correctly several physiological problems, and foreshadowed
some of the great conclusions of modern geology, such as the nature
of fossil remains, and the elevation of continents. He explained the
earth-light reflected by the moon. With surprising versatility of genius
he excelled as a sculptor, architect, engineer; was thoroughly versed in
the astronomy, anatomy, and chemistry of his times. In painting, he
was the rival of Michel Angelo; in a competition between them, he was
considered to have established his superiority. His "Last Supper," on
the wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Sta. Maria delle
Grazie, is well known, from the numerous engravings and copies that have
been made of it.

ITALIAN SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES. Once firmly established in the north of
Italy, Science soon extended her sway over the entire peninsula. The
increasing number of her devotees is indicated by the rise and rapid
multiplication of learned societies. These were reproductions of the
Moorish ones that had formerly existed in Granada and Cordova. As if
to mark by a monument the track through which civilizing influences had
come, the Academy of Toulouse, founded in 1345, has survived to our
own times. It represented, however, the gay literature of the south of
France, and was known under the fanciful title of "the Academy of Floral
Games." The first society for the promotion of physical science, the
Academia Secretorum Naturae, was founded at Naples, by Baptista
Porta. It was, as Tiraboschi relates, dissolved by the ecclesiastical
authorities. The Lyncean was founded by Prince Frederic Cesi at Rome;
its device plainly indicated its intention: a lynx, with its eyes turned
upward toward heaven, tearing a triple-headed Cerberus with its claws.
The Accademia del Cimento, established at Florence, 1657, held its
meetings in the ducal palace. It lasted ten years, and was then
suppressed at the instance of the papal government; as an equivalent,
the brother of the grand-duke was made a cardinal. It numbered many
great men, such as Torricelli and Castelli, among its members. The
condition of admission into it was an abjuration of all faith, and a
resolution to inquire into the truth. These societies extricated the
cultivators of science from the isolation in which they had hitherto
lived, and, by promoting their intercommunication and union, imparted
activity and strength to them all.

Returning now from this digression, this historical sketch of the
circumstances under which science was introduced into Europe, I pass to
the consideration of its manner of action and its results.

INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE. The influence of science on modern
civilization has been twofold: 1. Intellectual; 2. Economical. Under
these titles we may conveniently consider it.

Intellectually it overthrew the authority of tradition. It refused to
accept, unless accompanied by proof, the dicta of any master, no matter
how eminent or honored his name. The conditions of admission into
the Italian Accademia del Cimento, and the motto adopted by the Royal
Society of London, illustrate the position it took in this respect.

It rejected the supernatural and miraculous as evidence in physical
discussions. It abandoned sign-proof such as the Jews in old days
required, and denied that a demonstration can be given through an
illustration of something else, thus casting aside the logic that had
been in vogue for many centuries.

In physical inquiries, its mode of procedure was, to test the value of
any proposed hypothesis, by executing computations in any special case
on the basis or principle of that hypothesis, and then, by performing an
experiment or making an observation, to ascertain whether the result
of these agreed with the result of the computation. If it did not, the
hypothesis was to be rejected.

We may here introduce an illustration or two of this mode of procedure:

influence of the earth's attraction, gravity, may extend as far as the
moon, and be the force that causes her to revolve in her orbit round the
earth, calculated that, by her motion in her orbit, she was deflected
from the tangent thirteen feet every minute; but, by ascertaining the
space through which bodies would fall in one minute at the earth's
surface, and supposing it to be diminished in the ratio of the inverse
square, it appeared that the attraction at the moon's orbit would draw
a body through more than fifteen feet. He, therefore, for the time,
considered his hypothesis as unsustained. But it so happened that Picard
shortly afterward executed more correctly a new measurement of a degree;
this changed the estimated magnitude of the earth, and the distance of
the moon, which was measured in earth-semidiameters. Newton now renewed
his computation, and, as I have related on a previous page, as it drew
to a close, foreseeing that a coincidence was about to be established,
was so much agitated that he was obliged to ask a friend to complete it.
The hypothesis was sustained.

A second instance will sufficiently illustrate the method under
consideration. It is presented by the chemical theory of phlogiston.
Stahl, the author of this theory, asserted that there is a principle of
inflammability, to which he gave the name phlogiston, having the quality
of uniting with substances. Thus, when what we now term a metallic oxide
was united to it, a metal was produced; and, if the phlogiston were
withdrawn, the metal passed back into its earthy or oxidized state. On
this principle, then, the metals were compound bodies, earths combined
with phlogiston.

SCIENCE AND ECCLESIASTICISM. But during the eighteenth century the
balance was introduced as an instrument of chemical research. Now, if
the phlogistic hypothesis be true, it would follow that a metal should
be the heavier, its oxide the lighter body, for the former contains
something--phlogiston--that has been added to the latter. But, on
weighing a portion of any metal, and also the oxide producible from it,
the latter proves to be the heavier, and here the phlogistic hypothesis
fails. Still further, on continuing the investigation, it may be shown
that the oxide or calx, as it used to be called, has become heavier by
combining with one of the ingredients of the air.

To Lavoisier is usually attributed this test experiment; but the fact
that the weight of a metal increases by calcination was established
by earlier European experimenters, and, indeed, was well known to the
Arabian chemists. Lavoisier, however, was the first to recognize its
great importance. In his hands it produced a revolution in chemistry.

The abandonment of the phlogistic theory is an illustration of the
readiness with which scientific hypotheses are surrendered, when found
to be wanting in accordance with facts. Authority and tradition pass for
nothing. Every thing is settled by an appeal to Nature. It is assumed
that the answers she gives to a practical interrogation will ever be

Comparing now the philosophical principles on which science was
proceeding, with the principles on which ecclesiasticism rested, we see
that, while the former repudiated tradition, to the latter it was the
main support while the former insisted on the agreement of calculation
and observation, or the correspondence of reasoning and fact, the latter
leaned upon mysteries; while the former summarily rejected its own
theories, if it saw that they could not be coordinated with Nature, the
latter found merit in a faith that blindly accepted the inexplicable, a
satisfied contemplation of "things above reason." The alienation between
the two continually increased. On one side there was a sentiment of
disdain, on the other a sentiment of hatred. Impartial witnesses on all
hands perceived that science was rapidly undermining ecclesiasticism.

MATHEMATICS. Mathematics had thus become the great instrument of
scientific research, it had become the instrument of scientific
reasoning. In one respect it may be said that it reduced the operations
of the mind to a mechanical process, for its symbols often saved the
labor of thinking. The habit of mental exactness it encouraged extended
to other branches of thought, and produced an intellectual revolution.
No longer was it possible to be satisfied with miracle-proof, or the
logic that had been relied upon throughout the middle ages. Not only did
it thus influence the manner of thinking, it also changed the direction
of thought. Of this we may be satisfied by comparing the subjects
considered in the transactions of the various learned societies with the
discussions that had occupied the attention of the middle ages.

But the use of mathematics was not limited to the verification of
theories; as above indicated, it also furnished a means of predicting
what had hitherto been unobserved. In this it offered a counterpart
to the prophecies of ecclesiasticism. The discovery of Neptune is
an instance of the kind furnished by astronomy, and that of conical
refraction by the optical theory of undulations.

But, while this great instrument led to such a wonderful development in
natural science, it was itself undergoing development--improvement. Let
us in a few lines recall its progress.

The germ of algebra may be discerned in the works of Diophantus of
Alexandria, who is supposed to have lived in the second century of our
era. In that Egyptian school Euclid had formerly collected the great
truths of geometry, and arranged them in logical sequence. Archimedes,
in Syracuse, had attempted the solution of the higher problems by the
method of exhaustions. Such was the tendency of things that, had the
patronage of science been continued, algebra would inevitably have been

To the Arabians we owe our knowledge of the rudiments of algebra; we
owe to them the very name under which this branch of mathematics passes.
They had carefully added, to the remains of the Alexandrian School,
improvements obtained in India, and had communicated to the subject
a certain consistency and form. The knowledge of algebra, as they
possessed it, was first brought into Italy about the beginning of the
thirteenth century. It attracted so little attention, that nearly three
hundred years elapsed before any European work on the subject appeared.
In 1496 Paccioli published his book entitled "Arte Maggiore," or
"Alghebra." In 1501, Cardan, of Milan, gave a method for the solution of
cubic equations; other improvements were contributed by Scipio Ferreo,
1508, by Tartalea, by Vieta. The Germans now took up the subject. At
this time the notation was in an imperfect state.

The publication of the Geometry of Descartes, which contains the
application of algebra to the definition and investigation of curve
lines (1637), constitutes an epoch in the history of the mathematical
sciences. Two years previously, Cavalieri's work on Indivisibles had
appeared. This method was improved by Torricelli and others. The way was
now open, for the development of the Infinitesimal Calculus, the method
of Fluxions of Newton, and the Differential and Integral Calculus
of Leibnitz. Though in his possession many years previously, Newton
published nothing on Fluxions until 1704; the imperfect notation he
employed retarded very much the application of his method. Meantime, on
the Continent, very largely through the brilliant solutions of some of
the higher problems, accomplished by the Bernouillis, the Calculus of
Leibnitz was universally accepted, and improved by many mathematicians.
An extraordinary development of the science now took place, and
continued throughout the century. To the Binomial theorem, previously
discovered by Newton, Taylor now added, in his "Method of Increments,"
the celebrated theorem that bears his name. This was in 1715. The
Calculus of Partial Differences was introduced by Euler in 1734. It was
extended by D'Alembert, and was followed by that of Variations, by Euler
and Lagrange, and by the method of Derivative Functions, by Lagrange, in

But it was not only in Italy, in Germany, in England, in France, that
this great movement in mathematics was witnessed; Scotland had added a
new gem to the intellectual diadem with which her brow is encircled,
by the grand invention of Logarithms, by Napier of Merchiston. It is
impossible to give any adequate conception of the scientific importance
of this incomparable invention. The modern physicist and astronomer
will most cordially agree with Briggs, the Professor of Mathematics in
Gresham College, in his exclamation: "I never saw a book that pleased
me better, and that made I me more wonder!" Not without reason did the
immortal Kepler regard Napier "to be the greatest man of his age, in the
department to which he had applied his abilities." Napier died in 1617.
It is no exaggeration to say that this invention, by shortening the
labors, doubled the life of the astronomer.

But here I must check myself. I must remember that my present purpose is
not to give the history of mathematics, but to consider what science has
done for the advancement of human civilization. And now, at once, recurs
the question, How is it that the Church produced no geometer in her
autocratic reign of twelve hundred years?

With respect to pure mathematics this remark may be made: Its
cultivation does not demand appliances that are beyond the reach of
most individuals. Astronomy must have its observatory, chemistry its
laboratory; but mathematics asks only personal disposition and a
few books. No great expenditures are called for, nor the services
of assistants. One would think that nothing could be more congenial,
nothing more delightful, even in the retirement of monastic life.

Shall we answer with Eusebius, "It is through contempt of such useless
labor that we think so little of these matters; we turn our souls to
the exercise of better things?" Better things! What can be better than
absolute truth? Are mysteries, miracles, lying impostures, better? It
was these that stood in the way!

The ecclesiastical authorities had recognized, from the outset of this
scientific invasion, that the principles it was disseminating were
absolutely irreconcilable with the current theology. Directly and
indirectly, they struggled against it. So great was their detestation
of experimental science, that they thought they had gained a great
advantage when the Accademia del Cimento was suppressed. Nor was the
sentiment restricted to Catholicism. When the Royal Society of London
was founded, theological odium was directed against it with so much
rancor that, doubtless, it would have been extinguished, had not King
Charles II. given it his open and avowed support. It was accused of
an intention of "destroying the established religion, of injuring the
universities, and of upsetting ancient and solid learning."

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON. We have only to turn over the pages of its
Transactions to discern how much this society has done for the progress
of humanity. It was incorporated in 1662, and has interested itself in
all the great scientific movements and discoveries that have since been
made. It published Newton's "Principia;" it promoted Halley's voyage,
the first scientific expedition undertaken by any government; it made
experiments on the transfusion of blood, and accepted Harvey's discovery
of the circulation. The encouragement it gave to inoculation led Queen
Caroline to beg six condemned criminals for experiment, and then to
submit her own children to that operation. Through its encouragement
Bradley accomplished his great discovery, the aberration of the fixed
stars, and that of the nutation of the earth's axis; to these two
discoveries, Delambre says, we owe the exactness of modern astronomy. It
promoted the improvement of the thermometer, the measure of temperature,
and in Harrison's watch, the chronometer, the measure of time. Through
it the Gregorian Calendar was introduced into England, in 1752, against
a violent religious opposition. Some of its Fellows were pursued through
the streets by an ignorant and infuriated mob, who believed it had
robbed them of eleven days of their lives; it was found necessary to
conceal the name of Father Walmesley, a learned Jesuit, who had taken
deep interest in the matter; and, Bradley happening to die during the
commotion, it was declared that he had suffered a judgment from Heaven
for his crime!

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON. If I were to attempt to do justice to the
merits of this great society, I should have to devote many pages, to
such subjects as the achromatic telescope of Dollond; the dividing
engine of Ramsden, which first gave precision to astronomical
observations, the measurement of a degree on the earth's surface by
Mason and Dixon; the expeditions of Cook in connection with the transit
of Venus; his circumnavigation of the earth; his proof that scurvy,
the curse of long sea-voyages, may be avoided by the use of vegetable
substances; the polar expeditions; the determination of the density of
the earth by Maskelyne's experiments at Scheliallion, and by those
of Cavendish; the discovery of the planet Uranus by Herschel; the
composition of water by Cavendish and Watt; the determination of the
difference of longitude between London and Paris; the invention of
the voltaic pile; the surveys of the heavens by the Herschels;
the development of the principle of interference by Young, and his
establishment of the undulatory theory of light; the ventilation
of jails and other buildings; the introduction of gas for city
illumination; the ascertainment of the length of the seconds-pendulum;
the measurement of the variations of gravity in different latitudes; the
operations to ascertain the curvature of the earth; the polar expedition
of Ross; the invention of the safety-lamp by Davy, and his decomposition
of the alkalies and earths; the electro-magnetic discoveries of Oersted
and Faraday; the calculating-engines of Babbage; the measures taken
at the instance of Humboldt for the establishment of many magnetic
observatories; the verification of contemporaneous magnetic disturbances
over the earth's surface. But it is impossible, in the limited space at
my disposal, to give even so little as a catalogue of its Transactions.
Its spirit was identical with that which animated the Accademia del
Cimento, and its motto accordingly was "Nullius in Verba." It proscribed
superstition, and permitted only calculation, observation, and

INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE. Not for a moment must it be supposed that in these
great attempts, these great Successes, the Royal Society stood alone.
In all the capitals of Europe there were Academies, Institutes, or
Societies, equal in distinction, and equally successful in promoting
human knowledge and modern civilization.


The scientific study of Nature tends not only to correct and ennoble
the intellectual conceptions of man; it serves also to ameliorate his
physical condition. It perpetually suggests to him the inquiry, how he
may make, by their economical application, ascertained facts subservient
to his use.

The investigation of principles is quickly followed by practical
inventions. This, indeed, is the characteristic feature of our times. It
has produced a great revolution in national policy.

In former ages wars were made for the procuring of slaves. A conqueror
transported entire populations, and extorted from them forced labor, for
it was only by human labor that human labor could be relieved. But when
it was discovered that physical agents and mechanical combinations could
be employed to incomparably greater advantage, public policy underwent a
change; when it was recognized that the application of a new principle,
or the invention of a new machine, was better than the acquisition of an
additional slave, peace became preferable to war. And not only so, but
nations possessing great slave or serf populations, as was the care in
America and Russia, found that considerations of humanity were supported
by considerations of interest, and set their bondmen free.

SCIENTIFIC INVENTIONS. Thus we live in a period of which a
characteristic is the supplanting of human and animal labor by machines.
Its mechanical inventions have wrought a social revolution. We appeal
to the natural, not to the supernatural, for the accomplishment of our
ends. It is with the "modern civilization" thus arising that Catholicism
refuses to be reconciled. The papacy loudly proclaims its inflexible
repudiation of this state of affairs, and insists on a restoration of
the medieval condition of things.

That a piece of amber, when rubbed, will attract and then repel light
bodies, was a fact known six hundred years before Christ. It remained an
isolated, uncultivated fact, a mere trifle, until sixteen hundred years
after Christ. Then dealt with by the scientific methods of mathematical
discussion and experiment, and practical application made of the result,
it has permitted men to communicate instantaneously with each other
across continents and under oceans. It has centralized the world. By
enabling the sovereign authority to transmit its mandates without
regard to distance or to time, it has revolutionized statesmanship and
condensed political power.

In the Museum of Alexandria there was a machine invented by Hero, the
mathematician, a little more than one hundred years before Christ. It
revolved by the agency of steam, and was of the form that we should
now call a reaction-engine. This, the germ of one of the most important
inventions ever made, was remembered as a mere curiosity for seventeen
hundred years.

Chance had nothing to do with the invention of the modern steam-engine.
It was the product of meditation and experiment. In the middle of the
seventeenth century several mechanical engineers attempted to utilize
the properties of steam; their labors were brought to perfection by Watt
in the middle of the eighteenth.

The steam-engine quickly became the drudge of civilization. It performed
the work of many millions of men. It gave, to those who would have been
condemned to a life of brutal toil, the opportunity of better pursuits.
He who formerly labored might now think.

Its earliest application was in such operations as pumping, wherein mere
force is required. Soon, however, it vindicated its delicacy of touch
in the industrial arts of spinning and weaving. It created vast
manufacturing establishments, and supplied clothing for the world. It
changed the industry of nations.

In its application, first to the navigation of rivers, and then to the
navigation of the ocean, it more than quadrupled the speed that had
heretofore been attained. Instead of forty days being requisite for
the passage, the Atlantic might now be crossed in eight. But, in land
transportation, its power was most strikingly displayed. The admirable
invention of the locomotive enabled men to travel farther in less than
an hour than they formerly could have done in more than a day.

The locomotive has not only enlarged the field of human activity, but,
by diminishing space, it has increased the capabilities of human life.
In the swift transportation of manufactured goods and agricultural
products, it has become a most efficient incentive to human industry

The perfection of ocean steam-navigation was greatly promoted by the
invention of the chronometer, which rendered it possible to find
with accuracy the place of a ship at sea. The great drawback on the
advancement of science in the Alexandrian School was the want of an
instrument for the measurement of time, and one for the measurement of
temperature--the chronometer and the thermometer; indeed, the invention
of the latter is essential to that of the former. Clepsydras, or
water-clocks, had been tried, but they were deficient in accuracy. Of
one of them, ornamented with the signs of the zodiac, and destroyed by
certain primitive Christians, St. Polycarp significantly remarked, "In
all these monstrous demons is seen an art hostile to God." Not until
about 1680 did the chronometer begin to approach accuracy. Hooke, the
contemporary of Newton, gave it the balance-wheel, with the spiral
spring, and various escapements in succession were devised, such as the
anchor, the dead-beat, the duplex, the remontoir. Provisions for the
variation of temperature were introduced. It was brought to perfection
eventually by Harrison and Arnold, in their hands becoming an accurate
measure of the flight of time. To the invention of the chronometer
must be added that of the reflecting sextant by Godfrey. This permitted
astronomical observations to be made, notwithstanding the motion of a

Improvements in ocean navigation are exercising a powerful influence on
the distribution of mankind. They are increasing the amount and altering
the character of colonization.

DOMESTIC IMPROVEMENT. But not alone have these great discoveries and
inventions, the offspring of scientific investigation, changed the
lot of the human race; very many minor ones, perhaps individually
insignificant, have in their aggregate accomplished surprising effects.
The commencing cultivation of science in the fourteenth century gave
a wonderful stimulus to inventive talent, directed mainly to useful
practical results; and this, subsequently, was greatly encouraged by the
system of patents, which secure to the originator a reasonable portion
of the benefits of his skill. It is sufficient to refer in the most
cursory manner to a few of these improvements; we appreciate at once how
much they have done. The introduction of the saw-mill gave wooden floors
to houses, banishing those of gypsum, tile, or stone; improvements
cheapening the manufacture of glass gave windows, making possible the
warming of apartments. However, it was not until the sixteenth century
that glazing could be well done. The cutting of glass by the diamond
was then introduced. The addition of chimneys purified the atmosphere
of dwellings, smoky and sooty as the huts of savages; it gave that
indescribable blessing of northern homes--a cheerful fireside. Hitherto
a hole in the roof for the escape of the smoke, a pit in the midst of
the floor to contain the fuel, and to be covered with a lid when the
curfew-bell sounded or night came, such had been the cheerless and
inadequate means of warming.

MUNICIPAL IMPROVEMENTS. Though not without a bitter resistance on
the part of the clergy, men began to think that pestilences are not
punishments inflicted by God on society for its religious shortcomings,
but the physical consequences of filth and wretchedness; that the proper
mode of avoiding them is not by praying to the saints, but by insuring
personal and municipal cleanliness. In the twelfth century it was
found necessary to pave the streets of Paris, the stench in them was so
dreadful At once dysenteries and spotted fever diminished; a sanitary
condition approaching that of the Moorish cities of Spain, which had
been paved for centuries, was attained. In that now beautiful metropolis
it was forbidden to keep swine, an ordinance resented by the monks
of the abbey of St. Anthony, who demanded that the pigs of that saint
should go where they chose; the government was obliged to compromise the
matter by requiring that bells should be fastened to the animals' necks.
King Philip, the son of Louis the Fat, had been killed by his horse
stumbling over a sow. Prohibitions were published against throwing slops
out of the windows. In 1870 an eye-witness, the author of this book,
at the close of the pontifical rule in Rome, found that, in walking the
ordure-defiled streets of that city, it was more necessary to inspect
the earth than to contemplate the heavens, in order to preserve personal
purity. Until the beginning of the seventeenth century, the streets of
Berlin were never swept. There was a law that every countryman, who came
to market with a cart, should carry back a load of dirt!

Paving was followed by attempts, often of an imperfect kind, at
the construction of drains and sewers. It had become obvious to all
reflecting men that these were necessary to the preservation of health,
not only in towns, but in isolated houses. Then followed the lighting
of the public thoroughfares. At first houses facing the streets were
compelled to have candles or lamps in their windows; next the system
that had been followed with so much advantage in Cordova and Granada--of
having public lamps--was tried, but this was not brought to perfection
until the present century, when lighting by gas was invented.
Contemporaneously with public lamps were improved organizations for
night-watchmen and police.

By the sixteenth century, mechanical inventions and manufacturing
improvements were exercising a conspicuous influence on domestic and
social life. There were looking-glasses and clocks on the walls, mantels
over the fireplaces. Though in many districts the kitchen-fire was still
supplied with turf, the use of coal began to prevail. The table in the
dining-room offered new delicacies; commerce was bringing to it foreign
products; the coarse drinks of the North were supplanted by the delicate
wines of the South. Ice-houses were constructed. The bolting of flour,
introduced at the windmills, had given whiter and finer bread. By
degrees things that had been rarities became common--Indian-corn, the
potato, the turkey, and, conspicuous in the long list, tobacco. Forks,
an Italian invention, displaced the filthy use of the fingers. It may be
said that the diet of civilized men now underwent a radical change. Tea
came from China, coffee from Arabia, the use of sugar from India, and
these to no insignificant degree supplanted fermented liquors. Carpets
replaced on the floors the layer of straw; in the chambers
there appeared better beds, in the wardrobes cleaner and more
frequently-changed clothing. In many towns the aqueduct was substituted
for the public fountain and the street-pump. Ceilings which in the old
days would have been dingy with soot and dirt, were now decorated with
ornamental frescoes. Baths were more commonly resorted to; there was
less need to use perfumery for the concealment of personal odors.
An increasing taste for the innocent pleasures of horticulture
was manifested, by the introduction of many foreign flowers in the
gardens--the tuberose, the auricula, the crown imperial, the Persian
lily, the ranunculus, and African marigolds. In the streets there
appeared sedans, then close carriages, and at length hackney-coaches.

Among the dull rustics mechanical improvements forced their way, and
gradually attained, in the implements for ploughing, sowing, mowing,
reaping, thrashing, the perfection of our own times.

MERCANTILE INVENTIONS. It began to be recognized, in spite of the
preaching of the mendicant orders, that poverty is the source of crime,
the obstruction to knowledge; that the pursuit of riches by commerce is
far better than the acquisition of power by war. For, though it may
be true, as Montesquieu says, that, while commerce unites nations, it
antagonizes individuals, and makes a traffic of morality, it alone can
give unity to the world; its dream, its hope, is universal peace.

MEDICAL IMPROVEMENTS. Though, instead of a few pages, it would require
volumes to record adequately the ameliorations that took place in
domestic and social life after science began to exert its beneficent
influences, and inventive talent came to the aid of industry, there
are some things which cannot be passed in silence. From the port of
Barcelona the Spanish khalifs had carried on an enormous commerce, and
they with their coadjutors--Jewish merchants--had adopted or originated
many commercial inventions, which, with matters of pure science,
they had transmitted to the trading communities of Europe. The art of
book-keeping by double entry was thus brought into Upper Italy. The
different kinds of insurance were adopted, though strenuously resisted
by the clergy. They opposed fire and marine insurance, on the ground
that it is a tempting of Providence. Life insurance was regarded as
an act of interference with the consequences of God's will. Houses
for lending money on interest and on pledges, that is, banking and
pawnbroking establishments, were bitterly denounced, and especially was
indignation excited against the taking of high rates of interest,
which was stigmatized as usury--a feeling existing in some backward
communities up to the present day. Bills of exchange in the present form
and terms were adopted, the office of the public notary established, and
protests for dishonored obligations resorted to. Indeed, it may be said,
with but little exaggeration, that the commercial machinery now used
was thus introduced. I have already remarked that, in consequence of the
discovery of America, the front of Europe had been changed. Many rich
Italian merchants and many enterprising Jews, had settled in Holland
England, France, and brought into those countries various mercantile
devices. The Jews, who cared nothing about papal maledictions, were
enriched by the pontifical action in relation to the lending of money at
high interest; but Pius II., perceiving the mistake that had been
made, withdrew his opposition. Pawnbroking establishments were finally
authorized by Leo X., who threatened excommunication of those who wrote
against them. In their turn the Protestants now exhibited a dislike
against establishments thus authorized by Rome. As the theological
dogma, that the plague, like the earthquake, is an unavoidable
visitation from God for the sins of men, began to be doubted, attempts
were made to resist its progress by the establishment of quarantines.
When the Mohammedan discovery of inoculation was brought from
Constantinople in 1721, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, it was so
strenuously resisted by the clergy, that nothing short of its adoption
by the royal family of England brought it into use. A similar resistance
was exhibited when Jenner introduced his great improvement, vaccination;
yet a century ago it was the exception to see a face unpitted by
smallpox--now it is the exception to see one so disfigured. In like
manner, when the great American discovery of anaesthetics was applied
in obstetrical cases, it was discouraged, not so much for physiological
reasons, as under the pretense that it was an impious attempt to escape
from the curse denounced against all women in Genesis iii. 16.

MAGIC AND MIRACLES. Inventive ingenuity did not restrict itself to the
production of useful contrivances, it added amusing ones. Soon after the
introduction of science into Italy, the houses of the virtuosi began to
abound in all kinds of curious mechanical surprises, and, as they
were termed, magical effects. In the latter the invention of the
magic-lantern greatly assisted. Not without reason did the ecclesiastics
detest experimental philosophy, for a result of no little importance
ensued--the juggler became a successful rival to the miracle-worker. The
pious frauds enacted in the churches lost their wonder when brought
into competition with the tricks of the conjurer in the market-place: he
breathed flame, walked on burning coals, held red-hot iron in his
teeth, drew basketfuls of eggs out of his mouth, worked miracles by
marionettes. Yet the old idea of the supernatural was with difficulty
destroyed. A horse, whose master had taught him many tricks, was tried
at Lisbon in 1601, found guilty of being, possessed by the devil, and
was burnt. Still later than that many witches were brought to the stake.

discovery and invention have unceasingly advanced at an accelerated
pace. Each continually reacted on the other, continually they sapped
supernaturalism. De Dominis commenced, and Newton completed, the
explanation of the rainbow; they showed that it was not the weapon of
warfare of God, but the accident of rays of light in drops of water. De
Dominis was decoyed to Rome through the promise of an archbishopric,
and the hope of a cardinal's hat. He was lodged in a fine residence, but
carefully watched. Accused of having suggested a concord between Rome
and England, he was imprisoned in the castle of St Angelo, and there
died. He was brought in his coffin before an ecclesiastical tribunal,
adjudged guilty of heresy, and his body, with a heap of heretical books,
was cast into the flames. Franklin, by demonstrating the identity of
lightning and electricity, deprived Jupiter of his thunder-bolt. The
marvels of superstition were displaced by the wonders of truth. The two
telescopes, the reflector and the achromatic, inventions of the last
century, permitted man to penetrate into the infinite grandeurs of
the universe, to recognize, as far as such a thing is possible, its
illimitable spaces, its measureless times; and a little later the
achromatic microscope placed before his eyes the world of the infinitely
small. The air-balloon carried him above the clouds, the diving-bell
to the bottom of the sea. The thermometer gave him true measures of
the variations of heat; the barometer, of the pressure of the air. The
introduction of the balance imparted exactness to chemistry, it proved
the indestructibility of matter. The discovery of oxygen, hydrogen, and
many other gases, the isolation of aluminum, calcium, and other metals,
showed that earth and air and water are not elements. With an enterprise
that can never be too much commended, advantage was taken of the
transits of Venus, and, by sending expeditions to different regions,
the distance of the earth from the sun was determined. The step that
European intellect had made between 1456 and 1759 was illustrated by
Halley's comet. When it appeared in the former year, it was considered
as the harbinger of the vengeance of God, the dispenser of the most
dreadful of his retributions, war, pestilence, famine. By order of the
pope, all the church-bells in Europe were rung to scare it away, the
faithful were commanded to add each day another prayer; and, as their
prayers had often in so marked a manner been answered in eclipses and
droughts and rains, so on this occasion it was declared that a victory
over the comet had been vouchsafed to the pope. But, in the mean time,
Halley, guided by the revelations of Kepler and Newton, had discovered
that its motions, so far from being controlled by the supplications of
Christendom, were guided in an elliptic orbit by destiny. Knowing that
Nature bad denied to him an opportunity of witnessing the fulfillment
of his daring prophecy, he besought the astronomers of the succeeding
generation to watch for its return in 1759, and in that year it came.

INVENTIONS AND DISCOVERIES. Whoever will in a spirit of impartiality
examine what had been done by Catholicism for the intellectual and
material advancement of Europe, during her long reign, and what has been
done by science in its brief period of action, can, I am persuaded, come
to no other conclusion than this, that, in instituting a comparison, he
has established a contrast. And yet, how imperfect, how inadequate is
the catalogue of facts I have furnished in the foregoing pages! I have
said nothing of the spread of instruction by the diffusion of the arts
of reading and writing, through public schools, and the consequent
creation of a reading community; the modes of manufacturing public
opinion by newspapers and reviews, the power of journalism, the
diffusion of information public and private by the post-office and cheap
mails, the individual and social advantages of newspaper advertisements.
I have said nothing of the establishment of hospitals, the first
exemplar of which was the Invalides of Paris; nothing of the improved
prisons, reformatories, penitentiaries, asylums, the treatment of
lunatics, paupers, criminals; nothing of the construction of canals, of
sanitary engineering, or of census reports; nothing of the invention of
stereotyping, bleaching by chlorine, the cotton-gin, or of the marvelous
contrivances with which cotton-mills are filled--contrivances which have
given us cheap clothing, and therefore added to cleanliness, comfort,
health; nothing of the grand advancement of medicine and surgery, or
of the discoveries in physiology, the cultivation of the fine arts,
the improvement of agriculture and rural economy, the introduction
of chemical manures and farm-machinery. I have not referred to the
manufacture of iron and its vast affiliated industries; to those of
textile fabrics; to the collection of museums of natural history,
antiquities, curiosities. I have passed unnoticed the great subject of
the manufacture of machinery by itself--the invention of the slide-rest,
the planing-machine, and many other contrivances by which engines can
be constructed with almost mathematical correctness. I have said nothing
adequate about the railway system, or the electric telegraph, nor about
the calculus, or lithography, the airpump, or the voltaic battery; the
discovery of Uranus or Neptune, and more than a hundred asteroids; the
relation of meteoric streams to comets; nothing of the expeditions by
land and sea that have been sent forth by various governments for the
determination of important astronomical or geographical questions;
nothing of the costly and accurate experiments they have caused to be
made for the ascertainment of fundamental physical data. I have been so
unjust to our own century that I have made no allusion to some of its
greatest scientific triumphs: its grand conceptions in natural history;
its discoveries in magnetism and electricity; its invention of the
beautiful art of photography; its applications of spectrum analysis; its
attempts to bring chemistry under the three laws of Avogadro, of Boyle
and Mariotte, and of Charles; its artificial production of organic
substances from inorganic material, of which the philosophical
consequences are of the utmost importance; its reconstruction of
physiology by laying the foundation of that science on chemistry; its
improvements and advances in topographical surveying and in the correct
representation of the surface of the globe. I have said nothing about
rifled-guns and armored ships, nor of the revolution that has been made
in the art of war; nothing of that gift to women, the sewing-machine;
nothing of the noble contentions and triumphs of the arts of peace--the
industrial exhibitions and world's fairs.

What a catalogue have we here, and yet how imperfect! It gives merely a
random glimpse at an ever-increasing intellectual commotion--a mention
of things as they casually present themselves to view. How striking
the contrast between this literary, this scientific activity, and the
stagnation of the middle ages!

The intellectual enlightenment that surrounds this activity has imparted
unnumbered blessings to the human race. In Russia it has emancipated a
vast serf-population; in America it has given freedom to four million
negro slaves. In place of the sparse dole of the monastery-gate, it has
organized charity and directed legislation to the poor. It has shown
medicine its true function, to prevent rather than to cure disease. In
statesmanship it has introduced scientific methods, displacing random
and empirical legislation by a laborious ascertainment of social facts
previous to the application of legal remedies. So conspicuous, so
impressive is the manner in which it is elevating men, that the hoary
nations of Asia seek to participate in the boon. Let us not forget that
our action on them must be attended by their reaction on us. If the
destruction of paganism was completed when all the gods were brought
to Rome and confronted there, now, when by our wonderful facilities of
locomotion strange nations and conflicting religions are brought into
common presence--the Mohammedan, the Buddhist, the Brahman-modifications
of them all must ensue. In that conflict science alone will stand
secure; for it has given us grander views of the universe, more awful
views of God.

AMERICAN AND FRENCH REVOLUTIONS. The spirit that has imparted life to
this movement, that has animated these discoveries and inventions, is
Individualism; in some minds the hope of gain, in other and nobler ones
the expectation of honor. It is, then, not to be wondered at that
this principle found a political embodiment, and that, during the last
century, on two occasions, it gave rise to social convulsions--the
American and the French Revolutions. The former has ended in the
dedication of a continent to Individualism--there, under republican
forms, before the close of the present century, one hundred million
people, with no more restraint than their common security requires, will
be pursuing an unfettered career. The latter, though it has modified
the political aspect of all Europe, and though illustrated by surprising
military successes, has, thus far, not consummated its intentions; again
and again it has brought upon France fearful disasters. Her dual form of
government--her allegiance to her two sovereigns, the political and the
spiritual--has made her at once the leader and the antagonist of modern
progress. With one hand she has enthroned Reason, with the other she
has re-established and sustained the pope. Nor will this anomaly in her
conduct cease until she bestows a true education on all her children,
even on those of the humblest rustic.

SCIENCE AND CIVILIZATION. The intellectual attack made on existing
opinions by the French Revolution was not of a scientific, but of a
literary character; it was critical and aggressive. But Science has
never been an aggressor. She has always acted on the defensive, and left
to her antagonist the making of wanton attacks. Nevertheless, literary
dissent is not of such ominous import as scientific; for literature is,
in its nature, local--science is cosmopolitan.

If, now, we demand, What has science done for the promotion of modern
civilization; what has it done for the happiness, the well-being of
society? we shall find our answer in the same manner that we reached
a just estimate of what Latin Christianity had done. The reader of the
foregoing paragraphs would undoubtedly infer that there must have
been an amelioration in the lot of our race; but, when we apply the
touchstone of statistics, that inference gathers precision. Systems of
philosophy and forms of religion find a measure of their influence on
humanity in census-returns. Latin Christianity, in a thousand years,
could not double the population of Europe; it did not add perceptibly
to the term of individual life. But, as Dr. Jarvis, in his report to
the Massachusetts Board of Health, has stated, at the epoch of the
Reformation "the average longevity in Geneva was 21.21 years, between
1814 and 1833 it was 40.68; as large a number of persons now live to
seventy years as lived to forty, three hundred years ago. In 1693 the
British Government borrowed money by selling annuities on lives from
infancy upward, on the basis of the average longevity. The contract
was profitable. Ninety-seven years later another tontine, or scale
of annuities, on the basis of the same expectation of life as in the
previous century, was issued. These latter annuitants, however, lived so
much longer than their predecessors, that it proved to be a very costly
loan for the government. It was found that, while ten thousand of each
sex in the first tontine died under the age of twenty-eight, only five
thousand seven hundred and seventy-two males and six thousand four
hundred and sixteen females in the second tontine died at the same age,
one hundred years later."

We have been comparing the spiritual with the practical, the imaginary
with the real. The maxims that have been followed in the earlier and the
later period produced their inevitable result. In the former that maxim
was, "Ignorance is the mother of Devotion in the latter, Knowledge is



     Acts of the Vatican Council in relation to the infallibility
     of the pope, and to Science.--Abstract of decisions arrived

     Controversy between the Prussian Government and the papacy.--
     It is a contest between the State and the Church for
     supremacy--Effect of dual government in Europe--Declaration
     by the Vatican Council of its position as to Science--The
     dogmatic constitution of the Catholic faith.--Its
     definitions respecting God, Revelation, Faith, Reason.--The
     anathemas it pronounces.--Its denunciation of modern

     The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and its acts.

     General review of the foregoing definitions, and acts.--
     Present condition of the controversy, and its future

PREDOMINANCE OF CATHOLICITY. No one who is acquainted with the present
tone of thought in Christendom can hide from himself the fact that an
intellectual, a religious crisis is impending.

In all directions we see the lowering skies, we hear the mutterings
of the coming storm. In Germany, the national party is arraying itself
against the ultramontane; in France, the men of progress are struggling
against the unprogressive, and in their contest the political supremacy
of that great country is wellnigh neutralized or lost. In Italy, Rome
has passed into the hands of an excommunicated king. The sovereign
pontiff, feigning that he is a prisoner, is fulminating from the Vatican
his anathemas, and, in the midst of the most convincing proofs of his
manifold errors, asserting his own infallibility. A Catholic archbishop
with truth declares that the whole civil society of Europe seems to be
withdrawing itself in its public life from Christianity. In England and
America, religious persons perceive with dismay that the intellectual
basis of faith has been undermined by the spirit of the age. They
prepare for the approaching disaster in the best manner they can.

The most serious trial through which society can pass is encountered in
the exuviation of its religious restraints. The history of Greece and
the history of Rome exhibit to us in an impressive manner how great are
the perils. But it is not given to religions to endure forever. They
necessarily undergo transformation with the intellectual development of
man. How many countries are there professing the same religion now that
they did at the birth of Christ?

It is estimated that the entire population of Europe is about three
hundred and one million. Of these, one hundred and eighty-five million
are Roman Catholics, thirty-three million are Greek Catholics. Of
Protestants there are seventy-one million, separated into many sects. Of
Jews, five million; of Mohammedans, seven million.

Of the religious subdivisions of America an accurate numerical statement
cannot be given. The whole of Christian South America is Roman Catholic,
the same may be said of Central America and of Mexico, as also of the
Spanish and French West India possessions. In the United States and
Canada the Protestant population predominates. To Australia the same
remark applies. In India the sparse Christian population sinks into
insignificance in presence of two hundred million Mohammedans and other
Oriental denominations. The Roman Catholic Church is the most widely
diffused and the most powerfully organized of all modern societies. It
is far more a political than a religious combination. Its principle is
that all power is in the clergy, and that for laymen there is only the
privilege of obedience. The republican forms under which the Churches
existed in primitive Christianity have gradually merged into an absolute
centralization, with a man as vice-God at its head. This Church
asserts that the divine commission under which it acts comprises civil
government; that it has a right to use the state for its own purposes,
but that the state has no right to intermeddle with it; that even in
Protestant countries it is not merely a coordinate government, but the
sovereign power. It insists that the state has no rights over any thing
which it declares to be in its domain, and that Protestantism, being
a mere rebellion, has no rights at all; that even in Protestant
communities the Catholic bishop is the only lawful spiritual pastor.

It is plain, therefore, that of professing Christians the vast majority
are Catholic; and such is the authoritative demand of the papacy for
supremacy, that, in any survey of the present religious condition of
Christendom, regard must be mainly had to its acts. Its movements are
guided by the highest intelligence and skill. Catholicism obeys the
orders of one man, and has therefore a unity, a compactness, a power,
which Protestant denominations do not possess. Moreover, it derives
inestimable strength from the souvenirs of the great name of Rome.

Unembarrassed by any hesitating sentiment, the papacy has contemplated
the coming intellectual crisis. It has pronounced its decision, and
occupied what seems to it to be the most advantageous ground.

This definition of position we find in the acts of the late Vatican

THE OECUMENICAL COUNCIL. Pius IX., by a bull dated June 29, 1868,
convoked an Oecumenical Council, to meet in Rome, on December 8, 1869.
Its sessions ended in July, 1870. Among other matters submitted to its
consideration, two stand forth in conspicuous prominence--they are the
assertion of the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, and the definition
of the relations of religion to science.

But the convocation of the Council was far from meeting with general

The views of the Oriental Churches were, for the most part, unfavorable.
They affirmed that they saw a desire in the Roman pontiff to set himself
up as the head of Christianity, whereas they recognized the Lord Jesus
Christ alone as the head of the Church. They believed that the Council
would only lead to new quarrels and scandals. The sentiment of these
venerable Churches is well shown by the incident that, when, in
1867, the Nestorian Patriarch Simeon had been invited by the Chaldean
Patriarch to return to Roman Catholic unity, he, in his reply, showed
that there was no prospect for harmonious action between the East and
the West: "You invite me to kiss humbly the slipper of the Bishop of
Rome; but is he not, in every respect, a man like yourself--is his
dignity superior to yours? We will never permit to be introduced into
our holy temples of worship images and statues, which are nothing but
abominable and impure idols. What! shall we attribute to Almighty God a
mother, as you dare to do? Away from us, such blasphemy!"

EXPECTATIONS OF THE PAPACY. Eventually, the patriarchs, archbishops, and
bishops, from all regions of the world, who took part in this Council,
were seven hundred and four.

Rome had seen very plainly that Science was not only rapidly undermining
the dogmas of the papacy, but was gathering great political power. She
recognized that all over Europe there was a fast-spreading secession
among persons of education, and that its true focus was North Germany.

She looked, therefore, with deep interest on the Prusso-Austrian War,
giving to Austria whatever encouragement she could. The battle of Sadowa
was a bitter disappointment to her.

With satisfaction again she looked upon the breaking out of the
Franco-Prussian War, not doubting that its issue would be favorable to
France, and therefore favorable to her. Here, again, she was doomed to
disappointment at Sedan.

Having now no further hope, for many years to come, from external war,
she resolved to see what could be done by internal insurrection, and the
present movement in the German Empire is the result of her machinations.

Had Austria or had France succeeded, Protestantism would have been
overthrown along with Prussia.

But, while these military movements were being carried on, a movement of
a different, an intellectual kind, was engaged in. Its principle was, to
restore the worn-out mediaeval doctrines and practices, carrying them to
an extreme, no matter what the consequences might be.

ENCYCLICAL LETTER AND SYLLABUS. Not only was it asserted that the papacy
has a divine right to participate in the government of all countries,
coordinately with their temporal authorities, but that the supremacy of
Rome in this matter must be recognized; and that in any question between
them the temporal authority must conform itself to her order.

And, since the endangering of her position had been mainly brought about
by the progress of science, she presumed to define its boundaries, and
prescribe limits to its authority. Still more, she undertook to denounce
modern civilization.

These measures were contemplated soon after the return of his Holiness
from Gaeta in 1848, and were undertaken by the advice of the Jesuits,
who, lingering in the hope that God would work the impossible, supposed
that the papacy, in its old age, might be reinvigorated. The organ of
the Curia proclaimed the absolute independence of the Church as regards
the state; the dependence of the bishops on the pope; of the diocesan
clergy on the bishops; the obligation of the Protestants to abandon
their atheism, and return to the fold; the absolute condemnation of all
kinds of toleration. In December, 1854, in an assembly of bishops, the
pope had proclaimed the dogma of the immaculate conception. Ten years
subsequently he put forth the celebrated Encyclical Letter and the

The Encyclical Letter is dated December 8, 1864. It was drawn up by
learned ecclesiastics, and subsequently debated at the Congregation of
the Holy Office, then forwarded to prelates, and finally gone over by
the pope and cardinals.

ENCYCLICAL LETTER AND SYLLABUS. Many of the clergy objected to its
condemnation of modern civilization. Some of the cardinals were
reluctant to concur in it. The Catholic press accepted it, not, however,
without misgivings and regrets. The Protestant governments put no
obstacle in its way; the Catholic were embarrassed by it. France allowed
the publication only of that portion proclaiming the jubilee; Austria
and Italy permitted its introduction, but withheld their approval.
The political press and legislatures of Catholic countries gave it an
unfavorable reception. Many deplored it as likely to widen the breach
between the Church and modern society. The Italian press regarded it as
determining a war, without truce or armistice, between the papacy and
modern civilization. Even in Spain there were journals that regretted
"the obstinacy and blindness of the court of Rome, in branding and
condemning modern civilization."

It denounces that "most pernicious and insane opinion, that liberty of
conscience and of worship is the right of every man, and that this right
ought, in every well-governed state, to be proclaimed and asserted by
law; and that the will of the people, manifested by public opinion (as
it is called), or by other means, constitutes a supreme law, independent
of all divine and human rights." It denies the right of parents to
educate their children outside the Catholic Church. It denounces "the
impudence" of those who presume to subordinate the authority of the
Church and of the Apostolic See, "conferred upon it by Christ our Lord,
to the judgment of the civil authority." His Holiness commends, to
the venerable brothers to whom the Encyclical is addressed, incessant
prayer, and, "in order that God may accede the more easily to our and
your prayers, let us employ in all confidence, as our mediatrix with
him, the Virgin Mary, mother of God, who sits as a queen upon the
right hand of her only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in a golden
vestment, clothed around with various adornments. There is nothing she
cannot obtain from him."

CONVOCATION OF THE COUNCIL. Plainly, the principle now avowed by the
papacy must bring it into collision even with governments which had
heretofore maintained amicable relations with it. Great dissatisfaction
was manifested by Russia, and the incidents that ensued drew forth from
his Holiness an allocution (November, 1866) condemnatory of the course
of that government. To this, Russia replied, by declaring the Concordat
of 1867 abrogated.

Undeterred by the result of the battle of Sadowa (July, 1866), though
it was plain that the political condition of Europe was now profoundly
affected, and especially the relations of the papacy, the pope delivered
an allocution (June 27, 1867), confirming the Encyclical and Syllabus.
He announced his intention of convoking an Oecumenical Council.

Accordingly, as we have already mentioned, in the following year (June
29, 1868), a bull was issued convoking that Council. Misunderstandings,
however, had now sprung up with Austria. The Austrian Reichsrath
had adopted laws introducing equality of civil rights for all the
inhabitants of the empire, and restricting the influence of the Church.
This produced on the part of the papal government an expostulation.
Acting as Russia had done, the Austrian Government found it necessary to
abrogate the Concordat of 1855.

In France, as above stated, the publication of the entire Syllabus was
not permitted; but Prussia, desirous of keeping on good terms with the
papacy, did not disallow it. The exacting disposition of the papacy
increased. It was openly declared that the faithful must now sacrifice
to the Church, property, life, and even their intellectual convictions.
The Protestants and the Greeks were invited to tender their submission.

THE VATICAN COUNCIL. On the appointed day, the Council opened. Its
objects were, to translate the Syllabus into practice, to establish the
dogma of papal infallibility, and define the relations of religion to
science. Every preparation had been made that the points determined on
should be carried. The bishops were informed that they were coming to
Rome not to deliberate, but to sanction decrees previously made by
an infallible pope. No idea was entertained of any such thing as
free discussion. The minutes of the meetings were not permitted to be
inspected; the prelates of the opposition were hardly allowed to speak.
On January 22, 1870, a petition, requesting that the infallibility of
the pope should be defined, was presented; an opposition petition of the
minority was offered. Hereupon, the deliberations of the minority were
forbidden, and their publications prohibited. And, though the Curia had
provided a compact majority, it was found expedient to issue an order
that to carry any proposition it was not necessary that the vote should
be near unanimity, a simple majority sufficed. The remonstrances of the
minority were altogether unheeded.

As the Council pressed forward to its object, foreign authorities
became alarmed at its reckless determination. A petition drawn up by the
Archbishop of Vienna, and signed by several cardinals and archbishops,
entreated his Holiness not to submit the dogma of infallibility for
consideration, "because the Church has to sustain at present a struggle
unknown in former times, against men who oppose religion itself as
an institution baneful to human nature, and that it is inopportune
to impose upon Catholic nations, led into temptation by so many
machinations, more dogmas than the Council of Trent proclaimed." It
added that "the definition demanded would furnish fresh arms to
the enemies of religion, to excite against the Catholic Church the
resentment of men avowedly the best." The Austrian prime-minister
addressed a protest to the papal government, warning it against any
steps that might lead to encroachments on the rights of Austria. The
French Government also addressed a note, suggesting that a French bishop
should explain to the Council the condition and the rights of France. To
this the papal government replied that a bishop could not reconcile the
double duties of an ambassador and a Father of the Council. Hereupon,
the French Government, in a very respectful note, remarked that,
to prevent ultra opinions from becoming dogmas, it reckoned on the
moderation of the bishops, and the prudence of the Holy Father; and,
to defend its civil and political laws against the encroachments of the
theocracy, it had counted on public reason and the patriotism of French
Catholics. In these remonstrances the North-German Confederation joined,
seriously pressing them on the consideration of the papal government.

On April 23d, Von Arnim, the Prussian embassador, united with Daru, the
French minister, in suggesting to the Curia the inexpediency of reviving
mediaeval ideas. The minority bishops, thus encouraged, demanded now
that the relations of the spiritual to the secular power should be
determined before the pope's infallibility was discussed, and that it
should be settled whether Christ had conferred on St. Peter and his
successors a power over kings and emperors.

INFALLIBILITY OF THE POPE. No regard was paid to this, not even delay
was consented to. The Jesuits, who were at the bottom of the movement,
carried their measures through the packed assembly with a high hand. The
Council omitted no device to screen itself from popular criticism. Its
proceedings were conducted with the utmost secrecy; all who took part in
them were bound by a solemn oath to observe silence.

On July 13th, the votes were taken. Of 601 votes, 451 were affirmative.
Under the majority rule, the measure was pronounced carried, and, five
days subsequently, the pope proclaimed the dogma of his infallibility.
It has often been remarked that this was the day on which the French
declared war against Prussia. Eight days afterward the French troops
were withdrawn from Rome. Perhaps both the statesman and the philosopher
will admit that an infallible pope would be a great harmonizing element,
if only common-sense could acknowledge him.

Hereupon, the King of Italy addressed an autograph letter to the pope,
setting forth in very respectful terms the necessity that his troops
should advance and occupy positions "indispensable to the security of
his Holiness, and the maintenance of order;" that, while satisfying
the national aspirations, the chief of Catholicity, surrounded by the
devotion of the Italian populations, "might preserve on the banks of the
Tiber a glorious seat, independent of all human sovereignty."

To this his Holiness replied in a brief and caustic letter: "I give
thanks to God, who has permitted your majesty to fill the last days of
my life with bitterness. For the rest, I cannot grant certain requests,
nor conform with certain principles contained in your letter. Again, I
call upon God, and into his hands commit my cause, which is his cause.
I pray God to grant your majesty many graces, to free you from dangers,
and to dispense to you his mercy which you so much need."

THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT. The Italian troops met with but little
resistance. They occupied Rome on September 20, 1870. A manifesto was
issued, setting forth the details of a plebiscitum, the vote to be by
ballot, the question, "the unification of Italy." Its result showed how
completely the popular mind in Italy is emancipated from theology. In
the Roman provinces the number of votes on the lists was 167,548; the
number who voted, 135,291; the number who voted for annexation, 133,681;
the number who voted against it, 1,507; votes annulled, 103. The
Parliament of Italy ratified the vote of the Roman people for annexation
by a vote of 239 to 20. A royal decree now announced the annexation of
the Papal States to the kingdom of Italy, and a manifesto was issued
indicating the details of the arrangement. It declared that "by these
concessions the Italian Government seeks to prove to Europe that Italy
respects the sovereignty of the pope in conformity with the principle of
a free Church in a free state."

AFFAIRS IN PRUSSIA. In the Prusso-Austrian War it had been the hope of
the papacy, to restore the German Empire under Austria, and make
Germany a Catholic nation. In the Franco-German War the French expected
ultramontane sympathies in Germany. No means were spared to excite
Catholic sentiment against the Protestants. No vilification was spared.
They were spoken of as atheists; they were declared incapable of being
honest men; their sects were pointed out as indicating that their
secession was in a state of dissolution. "The followers of Luther are
the most abandoned men in all Europe." Even the pope himself, presuming
that the whole world had forgotten all history, did not hesitate to say,
"Let the German people understand that no other Church but that of Rome
is the Church of freedom and progress."

Meantime, among the clergy of Germany a party was organized to
remonstrate against, and even resist, the papal usurpation. It protested
against "a man being placed on the throne of God," against a vice-God
of any kind, nor would it yield its scientific convictions to
ecclesiastical authority. Some did not hesitate to accuse the
pope himself of being a heretic. Against these insubordinates
excommunications began to be fulminated, and at length it was demanded
that certain professors and teachers should be removed from their
offices, and infallibilists substituted. With this demand the Prussian
Government declined to comply.

The Prussian Government had earnestly desired to remain on amicable
terms with the papacy; it had no wish to enter on a theological quarrel;
but gradually the conviction was forced upon it that the question was
not a religious but a political one--whether the power of the state
should be used against the state. A teacher in a gymnasium had been
excommunicated; the government, on being required to dismiss him,
refused. The Church authorities denounced this as an attack upon faith.
The emperor sustained his minister. The organ of the infallible party
threatened the emperor with the opposition of all good Catholics, and
told him that, in a contention with the pope, systems of government can
and must change. It was now plain to every one that the question had
become, "Who is to be master in the state, the government or the Roman
Church? It is plainly impossible for men to live under two governments,
one of which declares to be wrong what the other commands. If the
government will not submit to the Roman Church, the two are enemies." A
conflict was thus forced upon Prussia by Rome--a conflict in which the
latter, impelled by her antagonism to modern civilization, is clearly
the aggressor.

ACTION OF THE PRUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. The government, now recognizing its
antagonist, defended itself by abolishing the Catholic department in
the ministry of Public Worship. This was about midsummer, 1871. In
the following November the Imperial Parliament passed a law that
ecclesiastics abusing their office, to the disturbance of the public
peace, should be criminally punished. And, guided by the principle that
the future belongs to him to whom the school belongs, a movement arose
for the purpose of separating the schools from the Church.

THE CHURCH A POLITICAL POWER. The Jesuit party was extending and
strengthening an organization all over Germany, based on the principle
that state legislation in ecclesiastical matters is not binding. Here
was an act of open insurrection. Could the government allow itself to be
intimidated? The Bishop of Ermeland declared that he would not obey the
laws of the state if they touched the Church. The government stopped the
payment of his salary; and, perceiving that there could be no peace
so long as the Jesuits were permitted to remain in the country, their
expulsion was resolved on, and carried into effect. At the close of
1872 his Holiness delivered an allocution, in which he touched on the
"persecution of the Church in the German Empire," and asserted that the
Church alone has a right to fix the limits between its domain and that
of the state--a dangerous and inadmissible principle, since under the
term morals the Church comprises all the relations of men to each other,
and asserts that whatever does not assist her oppresses her. Hereupon, a
few days subsequently (January 9, 1873), four laws were brought forward
by the government: 1. Regulating the means by which a person might
sever his connection with the Church; 2. Restricting the Church in the
exercise of ecclesiastical punishments; 3. Regulating the ecclesiastical
power of discipline, forbidding bodily chastisement, regulating fines
and banishments granting the privilege of an appeal to the Royal Court
of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the decision of which is final;
4. Ordaining the preliminary education and appointment of priests. They
must have had a satisfactory education, passed a public examination
conducted by the state, and have a knowledge of philosophy, history,
and German literature. Institutions refusing to be superintended by the
state are to be closed.

These laws demonstrate that Germany is resolved that she will no longer
be dictated to nor embarrassed by a few Italian noble families; that she
will be master of her own house. She sees in the conflict, not an affair
of religion or of conscience, but a struggle between the sovereignty
of state legislation and the sovereignty of the Church. She treats the
papacy not in the aspect of a religious, but of a political power, and
is resolved that the declaration of the Prussian Constitution shall be
maintained, that "the exercise of religious freedom must not interfere
with the duties of a citizen toward the community and the state."

DUAL GOVERNMENT IN EUROPE. With truth it is affirmed that the papacy is
administered not oecumenically, not as a universal Church, for all
the nations, but for the benefit of some Italian families. Look at its
composition! It consists of pope, cardinal bishops, cardinal deacons,
who at the present moment are all Italians; cardinal priests, nearly all
Italians; ministers and secretaries of the Sacred Congregation in Rome,
all Italians. France has not given a pope since the middle ages. It
is the same with Austria, Portugal, Spain. In spite of all attempts to
change this system of exclusion, to open the dignities of the Church to
all Catholicism, no foreigner can reach the holy chair. It is recognized
that the Church is a domain given by God to the princely Italian
families. Of fifty-five members of the present College of Cardinals,
forty are Italians--that is, thirty-two beyond their proper share.

The stumbling-block to the progress of Europe has been its dual system
of government. So long as every nation had two sovereigns, a temporal
one at home and a spiritual one in a foreign land--there being different
temporal masters in different nations, but only one foreign master
for all, the pontiff at Rome--how was it possible that history should
present us with any thing more than a narrative of the strifes of these
rival powers? Whoever will reflect on this state of things will see
how it is that those nations which have shaken off the dual form of
government are those which have made the greatest advance. He will
discern what is the cause of the paralysis which has befallen France. On
one hand she wishes to be the leader of Europe, on the other she clings
to a dead past. For the sake of propitiating her ignorant classes, she
enters upon lines of policy which her intelligence must condemn. So
evenly balanced are the two sovereignties under which she lives, that
sometimes one, sometimes the other, prevails; and not unfrequently the
one uses the other as an engine for the accomplishment of its ends.

INTENTIONS OF THE POPE. But this dual system approaches its close. To
the northern nations, less imaginative and less superstitious, it had
long ago become intolerable; they rejected it summarily at the epoch of
the Reformation, notwithstanding the protestations and pretensions
of Rome, Russia, happier than the rest, has never acknowledged the
influence of any foreign spiritual power. She gloried in her attachment
to the ancient Greek rite, and saw in the papacy nothing more than a
troublesome dissenter from the primitive faith. In America the temporal
and the spiritual have been absolutely divorced--the latter is not
permitted to have any thing to do with affairs of state, though in all
other respects liberty is conceded to it. The condition of the New
World also satisfies us that both forms of Christianity, Catholic and
Protestant, have lost their expansive power; neither can pass beyond its
long-established boundary-line--the Catholic republics remain Catholic,
the Protestant Protestant. And among the latter the disposition to
sectarian isolation is disappearing; persons of different denominations
consort without hesitation together. They gather their current opinions
from newspapers, not from the Church.

Pius IX., in the movements we have been considering, has had two objects
in view: 1. The more thorough centralization of the papacy, with a
spiritual autocrat assuming the prerogatives of God at its head; 2.
Control over the intellectual development of the nations professing

The logical consequence of the former of these is political
intervention. He insists that in all cases the temporal must subordinate
itself to the spiritual power; all laws inconsistent with the interests
of the Church must be repealed. They are not binding on the faithful.
In the preceding pages I have briefly related some of the complications
that have already occurred in the attempt to maintain this policy.

THE SYLLABUS. I now come to the consideration of the manner in which the
papacy proposes to establish its intellectual control; how it defines
its relation to its antagonist, Science, and, seeking a restoration
of the mediaeval condition, opposes modern civilization, and denounces
modern society.

The Encyclical and Syllabus present the principles which it was the
object of the Vatican Council to carry into practical effect. The
Syllabus stigmatizes pantheism, naturalism, and absolute rationalism,
denouncing such opinions as that God is the world; that there is no God
other than Nature; that theological matters must be treated in the same
manner as philosophical ones, that the methods and principles by which
the old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable
to the demands of the age and the progress of science; that every man
is free to embrace and profess the religion he may believe to be true,
guided by the light of his reason; that it appertains to the civil
power to define what are the rights and limits in which the Church
may exercise authority; that the Church has not the right of availing
herself of force or any direct or indirect temporal power; that the
Church ought to be separated from the state and the state from the
Church; that it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion shall
be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other
modes of worship; that persons coming to reside in Catholic countries
have a right to the public exercise of their own worship; that the
Roman pontiff can and ought to reconcile himself to, and agree with, the
progress of modern civilization. The Syllabus claims the right of the
Church to control public schools, and denies the right of the state in
that respect; it claims the control over marriage and divorce.

Such of these principles as the Council found expedient at present to
formularize, were set forth by it in "The Dogmatic Constitution of
the Catholic Faith." The essential points of this constitution, more
especially as regards the relations of religion to science, we have now
to examine. It will be understood that the following does not present
the entire document, but only an abstract of what appear to be its more
important parts.

CONSTITUTION OF CATHOLIC FAITH. This definition opens with a severe
review of the principles and consequences of the Protestant Reformation:

"The rejection of the divine authority of the Church to teach, and the
subjection of all things belonging to religion to the judgment of each
individual, have led to the production of many sects, and, as these
differed and disputed with each other, all belief in Christ was
overthrown in the minds of not a few, and the Holy Scriptures began to
be counted as myths and fables. Christianity has been rejected, and
the reign of mere Reason as they call it, or Nature, substituted; many
falling into the abyss of pantheism, materialism, and atheism, and,
repudiating the reasoning nature of man, and every rule of right and
wrong, they are laboring to overthrow the very foundations of human
society. As this impious heresy is spreading everywhere, not a few
Catholics have been inveigled by it. They have confounded human science
and divine faith.

"But the Church, the Mother and Mistress of nations, is ever ready to
strengthen the weak, to take to her bosom those that return, and carry
them on to better things. And, now the bishops of the whole world
being gathered together in this Oecumenical Council, and the Holy Ghost
sitting therein, and judging with us, we have determined to declare from
this chair of St. Peter the saving doctrine of Christ, and proscribe and
condemn the opposing errors.

"OF GOD, THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS.--The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman
Church believes that there is one true and living God, Creator and
Lord of Heaven and Earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible,
Infinite in understanding and will, and in all perfection. He is
distinct from the world. Of his own most free counsel he made alike out
of nothing two created creatures, a spiritual and a temporal, angelic
and earthly. Afterward he made the human nature, composed of both.
Moreover, God by his providence protects and governs all things,
reaching from end to end mightily, and ordering all things harmoniously.
Every thing is open to his eyes, even things that come to pass by the
free action of his creatures."

"OF REVELATION.--The Holy Mother Church holds that God can be known with
certainty by the natural light of human reason, but that it has also
pleased him to reveal himself and the eternal decrees of his will in a
supernatural way. This supernatural revelation, as declared by the
Holy Council of Trent, is contained in the books of the Old and New
Testament, as enumerated in the decrees of that Council, and as are to
be had in the old Vulgate Latin edition. These are sacred because they
were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They have God for
their author, and as such have been delivered to the Church.

"And, in order to restrain restless spirits, who may give erroneous
explanations, it is decreed--renewing the decision of the Council of
Trent--that no one may interpret the sacred Scriptures contrary to the
sense in which they are interpreted by Holy Mother Church, to whom such
interpretation belongs."

"OF FAITH.--Inasmuch as man depends on God as his Lord, and created
reason is wholly subject to uncreated truth, he is bound when God makes
a revelation to obey it by faith. This faith is a supernatural virtue,
and the beginning of man's salvation who believes revealed things to
be true, not for their intrinsic truth as seen by the natural light
of reason, but for the authority of God in revealing them. But,
nevertheless that faith might be agreeable to reason, God willed to
join miracles and prophecies, which, showing forth his omnipotence and
knowledge, are proofs suited to the understanding of all. Such we have
in Moses and the prophets, and above all in Christ. Now, all those
things are to be believed which are written in the word of God, or
handed down by tradition, which the Church by her teaching has proposed
for belief.

"No one can be justified without this faith, nor shall any one, unless
he persevere therein to the end, attain everlasting life. Hence God,
through his only-begotten Son, has established the Church as the
guardian and teacher of his revealed word. For only to the Catholic
Church do all those signs belong which make evident the credibility of
the Christian faith. Nay, more, the very Church herself, in view of
her wonderful propagation, her eminent holiness, her exhaustless
fruitfulness in all that is good, her Catholic unity, her unshaken
stability, offers a great and evident claim to belief, and an undeniable
proof of her divine mission. Thus the Church shows to her children that
the faith they hold rests on a most solid foundation. Wherefore, totally
unlike is the condition of those who, by the heavenly gift of faith,
have embraced the Catholic truth, and of those who, led by human
opinions, are following, a false religion."

"OF FAITH AND REASON.--Moreover, the Catholic Church has ever held and
now holds that there exists a twofold order of knowledge, each of which
is distinct from the other, both as to its principle and its object. As
to its principle, because in the one we know by natural reason, in the
other by divine faith; as to the object, because, besides those things
which our natural reason can attain, there are proposed to our belief
mysteries hidden in God, which, unless by him revealed, cannot come to
our knowledge.

"Reason, indeed, enlightened by faith, and seeking, with diligence and
godly sobriety, may, by God's gift, come to some understanding, limited
in degree, but most wholesome in its effects, of mysteries, both from
the analogy of things which are naturally known and from the connection
of the mysteries themselves with one another and with man's last end.
But never can reason be rendered capable of thoroughly understanding
mysteries as it does those truths which form its proper object. For
God's mysteries, in their very nature, so far surpass the reach of
created intellect, that, even when taught by revelation and received by
faith, they remain covered by faith itself, as by a veil, and shrouded,
as it were, in darkness as long as in this mortal life.

"But, although faith be above reason, there never can be a real
disagreement between them, since the same God who reveals mysteries and
infuses faith has given man's soul the light of reason, and God cannot
deny himself, nor can one truth ever contradict another. Wherefore the
empty shadow of such contradiction arises chiefly from this, that either
the doctrines of faith are not understood and set forth as the Church
really holds them, or that the vain devices and opinions of men are
mistaken for the dictates of reason. We therefore pronounce false every
assertion which is contrary to the enlightened truth of faith. Moreover,
the Church, which, together with her apostolic office of teaching,
is charged also with the guardianship of the deposits of faith, holds
likewise from God the right and the duty to condemn 'knowledge, falsely
so called,' 'lest any man be cheated by philosophy and vain deceit.'
Hence all the Christian faithful are not only forbidden to defend, as
legitimate conclusions of science, those opinions which are known to
be contrary to the doctrine of faith, especially when condemned by the
Church, but are rather absolutely bound to hold them for errors wearing
the deceitful appearance of truth."

THE VATICAN ANATHEMAS. "Not only is it impossible for faith and reason
ever to contradict each other, but they rather afford each other mutual
assistance. For right reason establishes the foundation of faith, and,
by the aid of its light, cultivates the science of divine things; and
faith, on the other hand, frees and preserves reason from errors, and
enriches it with knowledge of many kinds. So far, then, is the Church
from opposing the culture of human arts and sciences, that she rather
aids and promotes it in many ways. For she is not ignorant of nor does
she despise the advantages which flow from them to the life of man; on
the contrary, she acknowledges that, as they sprang from God, the Lord
of knowledge, so, if they be rightly pursued, they will, through the aid
of his grace, lead to God. Nor does she forbid any of those sciences
the use of its own principles and its own method within its own proper
sphere; but, recognizing this reasonable freedom, she takes care that
they may not, by contradicting God's teaching, fall into errors, or,
overstepping the due limits, invade or throw into confusion the domain
of faith.

"For the doctrine of faith revealed by God has not been proposed, like
some philosophical discovery, to be made perfect by human ingenuity, but
it has been delivered to the spouse of Christ as a divine deposit, to be
faithfully guarded and unerringly set forth. Hence, all tenets of holy
faith are to be explained always according to the sense and meaning of
the Church; nor is it ever lawful to depart therefrom under pretense or
color of a more enlightened explanation. Therefore, as generations and
centuries roll on, let the understanding, knowledge, and wisdom of each
and every one, of individuals and of the whole Church, grow apace and
increase exceedingly, yet only in its kind; that is to say retaining
pure and inviolate the sense and meaning and belief of the same

Among other canons the following were promulgated.

"Let him be anathema--

"Who denies the one true God, Creator and Lord of all things, visible
and invisible.

"Who unblushingly affirms that, besides matter, nothing else exists.

"Who says that the substance or essence of God, and of all things, is
one and the same.

"Who says that finite things, both corporeal and spiritual, or at least
spiritual things, are emanations of the divine substance; or that the
divine essence, by manifestation or development of itself, becomes all

"Who does not acknowledge that the world and all things which it
contains were produced by God out of nothing.

"Who shall say that man can and ought to, of his own efforts, by means
of, constant progress, arrive, at last, at the possession of all truth
and goodness.

"Who shall refuse to receive, for sacred and canonical, the books of
Holy Scripture in their integrity, with all their parts, according as
they were enumerated by the holy Council of Trent, or shall deny that
they are Inspired by God.

"Who shall say that human reason is in such wise independent, that faith
cannot be demanded of it by God.

"Who shall say that divine revelation cannot be rendered credible by
external evidences.

"Who shall say that no miracles can be wrought, or that they can never
be known with certainty, and that the divine origin of Christianity
cannot be proved by them.

"Who shall say that divine revelation includes no mysteries, but that
all the dogmas of faith may be understood and demonstrated by reason
duly cultivated.

"Who shall say that human sciences ought to be pursued in such a spirit
of freedom that one may be allowed to hold as true their assertions,
even when opposed to revealed doctrine.

"Who shall say that it may at any time come to pass, in the progress
of science, that the doctrines set forth by the Church must be taken in
another sense than that in which the Church has ever received and yet
receives them."

THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE. The extraordinary and, indeed, it may be said,
arrogant assumptions contained in these decisions were far from being
received with satisfaction by educated Catholics. On the part of the
German universities there was resistance; and, when, at the close of the
year, the decrees of the Vatican Council were generally acquiesced in,
it was not through conviction of their truth, but through a disciplinary
sense of obedience.

By many of the most pious Catholics the entire movement and the results
to which it had led were looked upon with the sincerest sorrow. Pere
Hyacinthe, in a letter to the superior of his order, says: "I protest
against the divorce, as impious as it is insensate, sought to be
effected between the Church, which is our eternal mother, and the
society of the nineteenth century, of which we are the temporal
children, and toward which we have also duties and regards. It is my
most profound conviction that, if France in particular, and the Latin
race in general, are given up to social, moral, and religious anarchy,
the principal cause undoubtedly is not Catholicism itself, but the
manner in which Catholicism has for a long time been understood and

Notwithstanding his infallibility, which implies omniscience, his
Holiness did not foresee the issue of the Franco-Prussian War. Had the
prophetical talent been vouchsafed to him, he would have detected the
inopportuneness of the acts of his Council. His request to the King of
Prussia for military aid to support his temporal power was denied. The
excommunicated King of Italy, as we have seen, took possession of Rome.
A bitter papal encyclical, strangely contrasting with the courteous
politeness of modern state-papers, was issued, November 1, 1870,
denouncing the acts of the Piedmontese court, "which had followed the
counsel of the sects of perdition." In this his Holiness declares that
he is in captivity, and that he will have no agreement with Belial. He
pronounces the greater excommunication, with censures and penalties,
against his antagonists, and prays for "the intercession of the
immaculate Virgin Mary, mother of God, and that of the blessed apostles
Peter and Paul."

Of the various Protestant denominations, several had associated
themselves, for the purposes of consultation, under the designation of
the Evangelical Alliance. Their last meeting was held in New York, in
the autumn of 1873. Though, in this meeting, were gathered together many
pious representatives of the Reformed Churches, European and American,
it had not the prestige nor the authority of the Great Council that had
just previously closed its sessions in St. Peters, at Rome. It could
not appeal to an unbroken ancestry of far more than a thousand years;
it could not speak with the authority of an equal and, indeed, of
a superior to emperors and kings. While profound intelligence and a
statesmanlike, worldly wisdom gleamed in every thing that the Vatican
Council had done, the Evangelical Alliance met without a clear and
precise view of its objects, without any definitely-marked intentions.
Its wish was to draw into closer union the various Protestant Churches,
but it had no well-grounded hope of accomplishing that desirable result.
It illustrated the necessary working, of the principle on which
those Churches originated. They were founded on dissent and exist by

Yet in the action of the Evangelical Alliance may be discerned
certain very impressive facts. It averted its eyes from its ancient
antagonist--that antagonist which had so recently loaded the Reformation
with contumely and denunciation--it fastened them, as the Vatican
Council had done, on Science. Under that dreaded name there stood before
it what seemed to be a spectre of uncertain form, of hourly-dilating
proportions, of threatening aspect. Sometimes the Alliance addressed
this stupendous apparition in words of courtesy, sometimes in tones of

THE VATICAN CONSTITUTION CRITICISED. The Alliance failed to perceive
that modern Science is the legitimate sister--indeed, it is the
twin-sister--of the Reformation. They were begotten together and
were born together. It failed to perceive that, though there is an
impossibility of bringing into coalition the many conflicting sects,
they may all find in science a point of connection; and that, not a
distrustful attitude toward it, but a cordial union with it, is their
true policy.

It remains now to offer some reflections on this "Constitution of the
Catholic Faith," as defined by the Vatican Council.

For objects to present themselves under identical relations to different
persons, they must be seen from the same point of view. In the instance
we are now considering, the religious man has his own especial station;
the scientific man another, a very different one. It is not for either
to demand that his co-observer shall admit that the panorama of facts
spread before them is actually such as it appears to him to be.

The Dogmatic Constitution insists on the admission of this postulate,
that the Roman Church acts under a divine commission, specially and
exclusively delivered to it. In virtue of that great authority, it
requires of all men the surrender of their intellectual convictions, and
of all nations the subordination of their civil power.

But a claim so imposing must be substantiated by the most decisive and
unimpeachable credentials; proofs, not only of an implied and indirect
kind, but clear, emphatic, and to the point; proofs that it would be
impossible to call in question.

The Church, however, declares, that she will not submit her claim to
the arbitrament of human reason; she demands that it shall be at once
conceded as an article of faith.

If this be admitted, all bar requirements must necessarily be assented
to, no matter how exorbitant they may be.

With strange inconsistency the Dogmatic Constitution deprecates reason,
affirming that it cannot determine the points under consideration, and
yet submits to it arguments for adjudication. In truth, it might be said
that the whole composition is a passionate plea to Reason to stultify
itself in favor of Roman Christianity.

With points of view so widely asunder, it is impossible that Religion
and Science should accord in their representation of things. Nor can
any conclusion in common be reached, except by an appeal to Reason as a
supreme and final judge.

There are many religions in the world, some of them of more venerable
antiquity, some having far more numerous adherents, than the Roman. How
can a selection be made among them, except by such an appeal to Reason?
Religion and Science must both submit their claims and their dissensions
to its arbitrament.

Against this the Vatican Council protests. It exalts faith to a
superiority over reason; it says that they constitute two separate
orders of knowledge, having respectively for their objects mysteries
and facts. Faith deals with mysteries, reason with facts. Asserting the
dominating superiority of faith, it tries to satisfy the reluctant mind
with miracles and prophecies.

On the other hand, Science turns away from the incomprehensible, and
rests herself on the maxim of Wiclif: "God forceth not a man to believe
that which he cannot understand." In the absence of an exhibition of
satisfactory credentials on the part of her opponent, she considers
whether there be in the history of the papacy, and in the biography of
the popes, any thing that can adequately sustain a divine commission,
any thing that can justify pontifical infallibility, or extort that
unhesitating obedience which is due to the vice-God.

One of the most striking and vet contradictory features of the Dogmatic
Constitution is, the reluctant homage it pays to the intelligence of
man. It presents a definition of the philosophical basis of Catholicism,
but it veils from view the repulsive features of the vulgar faith. It
sets forth the attributes of God, the Creator of all things, in words
fitly designating its sublime conception, but it abstains from affirming
that this most awful and eternal Being was born of an earthly mother,
the wife of a Jewish carpenter, who has since become the queen of
heaven. The God it depicts is not the God of the middle ages, seated
on his golden throne, surrounded by choirs of angels, but the God of
Philosophy. The Constitution has nothing to say about the Trinity,
nothing of the worship due to the Virgin--on the contrary, that is by
implication sternly condemned; nothing about transubstantiation, or
the making of the flesh and blood of God by the priest; nothing of the
invocation of the saints. It bears on its face subordination to the
thought of the age, the impress of the intellectual progress of man.

THE PASSAGE OF EUROPE TO LLAMAISM. Such being the exposition rendered to
us respecting the attributes of God, it next instructs us as to his
mode of government of the world. The Church asserts that she possesses a
supernatural control over all material and moral events. The priesthood,
in its various grades, can determine issues of the future, either by the
exercise of its inherent attributes, or by its influential invocation of
the celestial powers. To the sovereign pontiff it has been given to bind
or loose at his pleasure. It is unlawful to appeal from his judgments
to an Oecumenical Council, as if to an earthly arbiter superior to him.
Powers such as these are consistent with arbitrary rule, but they are
inconsistent with the government of the world by immutable law. Hence
the Dogmatic Constitution plants itself firmly in behalf of incessant
providential interventions; it will not for a moment admit that in
natural things there is an irresistible sequence of events, or in the
affairs of men an unavoidable course of acts.

But has not the order of civilization in all parts of the world been the
same? Does not the growth of society resemble individual growth? Do not
both exhibit to us phases of youth, of maturity, of decrepitude? To
a person who has carefully considered the progressive civilization of
groups of men in regions of the earth far apart, who has observed the
identical forms under which that advancing civilization has manifested
itself, is it not clear that the procedure is determined by law? The
religious ideas of the Incas of Peru and the emperors of Mexico, and the
ceremonials of their court-life, were the same as those in Europe--the
same as those in Asia. The current of thought had been the same. A swarm
of bees carried to some distant land will build its combs and regulate
its social institutions as other unknown swarms would do, and so with
separated and disconnected swarms of men. So invariable is this sequence
of thought and act, that there are philosophers who, transferring the
past example offered by Asiatic history to the case of Europe, would
not hesitate to sustain the proposition--given a bishop of Rome and some
centuries, and you will have an infallible pope: given an infallible
pope and a little more time, and you will have Llamaism--Llamaism to
which Asia has long, ago attained.

As to the origin of corporeal and spiritual things, the Dogmatic
Constitution adds a solemn emphasis to its declarations, by
anathematizing all those who bold the doctrine of emanation, or who
believe that visible Nature is only a manifestation of the Divine
Essence. In this its authors had a task of no ordinary difficulty before
them. They must encounter those formidable ideas, whether old or new,
which in our times are so strongly forcing themselves on thoughtful men.
The doctrine of the conservation and correlation of Force yields as its
logical issue the time-worn Oriental emanation theory; the doctrines of
Evolution and Development strike at that of successive creative acts.
The former rests on the fundamental principle that the quantity of
force in the universe is invariable. Though that quantity can neither be
increased nor diminished, the forms under which Force expresses itself
may be transmuted into each other. As yet this doctrine has not received
complete scientific demonstration, but so numerous and so cogent are the
arguments adduced in its behalf, that it stands in an imposing, almost
in an authoritative attitude. Now, the Asiatic theory of emanation and
absorption is seen to be in harmony with this grand idea. It does not
hold that, at the conception of a human being, a soul is created by
God out of nothing and given to it, but that a portion of the already
existing, the divine, the universal intelligence, is imparted, and, when
life is over, this returns to and is absorbed in the general source from
which it originally came. The authors of the Constitution forbid these
ideas to be held, under pain of eternal punishment.

In like manner they dispose of the doctrines of Evolution and
Development, bluntly insisting that the Church believes in distinct
creative acts. The doctrine that every living form is derived from some
preceding form is scientifically in a much more advanced position than
that concerning Force, and probably may be considered as established,
whatever may become of the additions with which it has recently been

In her condemnation of the Reformation, the Church carries into effect
her ideas of the subordination of reason to faith. In her eyes the
Reformation is an impious heresy, leading to the abyss of pantheism,
materialism, and atheism, and tending to overthrow the very foundations
of human society. She therefore would restrain those "restless spirits"
who, following Luther, have upheld the "right of every man to interpret
the Scriptures for himself." She asserts that it is a wicked error to
admit Protestants to equal political privileges with Catholics, and that
to coerce them and suppress them is a sacred duty; that it is abominable
to permit them to establish educational institutions. Gregory XVI.
denounced freedom of conscience as an insane folly, and the freedom of
the press a pestilent error, which cannot be sufficiently detested.

But how is it possible to recognize an inspired and infallible oracle on
the Tiber, when it is remembered that again and again successive popes
have contradicted each other; that popes have denounced councils, and
councils have denounced popes; that the Bible of Sixtus V. had so many
admitted errors--nearly two thousand--that its own authors had to recall
it? How is it possible for the children of the Church to regard as
"delusive errors" the globular form of the earth, her position as a
planet in the solar system, her rotation on her axis, her movement round
the sun? How can they deny that there are antipodes, and other worlds
than ours? How can they believe that the world was made out of nothing,
completed in a week, finished just as we see it now; that it has
undergone no change, but that its parts have worked so indifferently as
to require incessant interventions?

THE ERRORS OF ECCLESIASTICISM. When Science is thus commanded to
surrender her intellectual convictions, may she not ask the ecclesiastic
to remember the past? The contest respecting the figure of the earth,
and the location of heaven and hell, ended adversely to him. He affirmed
that the earth is an extended plane, and that the sky is a firmament,
the floor of heaven, through which again and again persons have been
seen to ascend. The globular form demonstrated beyond any possibility
of contradiction by astronomical facts, and by the voyage of Magellan's
ship, he then maintained that it is the central body of the universe,
all others being in subordination to it, and it the grand object of
God's regard. Forced from this position, he next affirmed that it is
motionless, the sun and the stars actually revolving, as they apparently
do, around it. The invention of the telescope proved that here again
he was in error. Then he maintained that all the motions of the solar
system are regulated by providential intervention; the "Principia"
of Newton demonstrated that they are due to irresistible law. He then
affirmed that the earth and all the celestial bodies were created about
six thousand years ago, and that in six days the order of Nature was
settled, and plants and animals in their various tribes introduced.
Constrained by the accumulating mass of adverse evidence, he enlarged
his days into periods of indefinite length--only, however, to find that
even this device was inadequate. The six ages, with their six special
creations, could no longer be maintained, when it was discovered that
species, slowly emerged in one age, reached a culmination in a second,
and gradually died out in a third: this overlapping from age to age
would not only have demanded creations, but re-creations also. He
affirmed that there had been a deluge, which covered the whole earth
above the tops of the highest mountains, and that the waters of this
flood were removed by a wind. Correct ideas respecting the dimensions
of the atmosphere, and of the sea, and of the operation of evaporation,
proved how untenable these statements are. Of the progenitors of the
human race, he declared that they had come from their Maker's hand
perfect, both in body and mind, and had subsequently experienced a fall.
He is now considering how best to dispose of the evidence continually
accumulating respecting the savage condition of prehistoric man.

Is it at all surprising that the number of those who hold the opinions
of the Church in light esteem should so rapidly increase? How can that
be received as a trustworthy guide in the invisible, which falls into so
many errors in the visible? How can that give confidence in the moral,
the spiritual, which has so signally failed in the physical? It is not
possible to dispose of these conflicting facts as "empty shadows," "vain
devices," "fictions coming from knowledge falsely so called," "errors
wearing the deceitful appearance of truth," as the Church stigmatizes
them. On the contrary, they are stern witnesses, bearing emphatic
and unimpeachable testimony against the ecclesiastical claim to
infallibility, and fastening a conviction of ignorance and blindness
upon her.

Convicted of so many errors, the papacy makes no attempt at explanation.
It ignores the whole matter Nay, more, relying on the efficacy
of audacity, though confronted by these facts, it lays claim to

other rights can be conceded than those he can establish at the bar of
Reason. He cannot claim infallibility in religious affairs, and
decline it in scientific. Infallibility embraces all things. It implies
omniscience. If it holds good for theology, it necessarily holds good
for science. How is it possible to coordinate the infallibility of the
papacy with the well-known errors into which it has fallen?

Does it not, then, become needful to reject the claim of the papacy
to the employment of coercion in the maintenance of its opinions; to
repudiate utterly the declaration that "the Inquisition is an urgent
necessity in view of the unbelief of the present age," and in the name
of human nature to protest loudly against the ferocity and terrorism of
that institution? Has not conscience inalienable rights?

An impassable and hourly-widening gulf intervenes between Catholicism
and the spirit of the age. Catholicism insists that blind faith is
superior to reason; that mysteries are of more importance than facts.
She claims to be the sole interpreter of Nature and revelation, the
supreme arbiter of knowledge; she summarily rejects all modern criticism
of the Scriptures, and orders the Bible to be accepted in accordance
with the views of the theologians of Trent; she openly avows her hatred
of free institutions and constitutional systems, and declares that those
are in damnable error who regard the reconciliation of the pope with
modern civilization as either possible or desirable.

SCIENCE AND PROTESTANTISM. But the spirit of the age demands--is the
human intellect to be subordinated to the Tridentine Fathers, or to the
fancy of illiterate and uncritical persons who wrote in the earlier ages
of the Church? It sees no merit in blind faith, but rather distrusts it.
It looks forward to an improvement in the popular canon of credibility
for a decision between fact and fiction. It does not consider itself
bound to believe fables and falsehoods that have been invented for
ecclesiastical ends. It finds no argument in behalf of their truth, that
traditions and legends have been long-lived; in this respect, those of
the Church are greatly inferior to the fables of paganism. The longevity
of the Church itself is not due to divine protection or intervention,
but to the skill with which it has adapted its policy to existing
circumstances. If antiquity be the criterion of authenticity, the claims
of Buddhism must be respected; it has the superior warrant of many
centuries. There can be no defense of those deliberate falsifications of
history, that concealment of historical facts, of which the Church has
so often taken advantage. In these things the end does not justify the

Then has it in truth come to this, that Roman Christianity and Science
are recognized by their respective adherents as being absolutely
incompatible; they cannot exist together; one must yield to the other;
mankind must make its choice--it cannot have both.

SCIENCE AND FAITH. While such is, perhaps, the issue as regards
Catholicism, a reconciliation of the Reformation with Science is not
only possible, but would easily take place, if the Protestant Churches
would only live up to the maxim taught by Luther, and established by so
many years of war. That maxim is, the right of private interpretation of
the Scriptures. It was the foundation of intellectual liberty. But, if
a personal interpretation of the book of Revelation is permissible,
how can it be denied in the case of the book of Nature? In the
misunderstandings that have taken place, we must ever bear in mind
the infirmities of men. The generations that immediately followed
the Reformation may perhaps be excused for not comprehending the full
significance of their cardinal principle, and for not on all occasions
carrying it into effect. When Calvin caused Servetus, to be burnt, he
was animated, not by the principles of the Reformation, but by those
of Catholicism, from which he had not been able to emancipate himself
completely. And when the clergy of influential Protestant confessions
have stigmatized the investigators of Nature as infidels and atheists,
the same may be said. For Catholicism to reconcile itself to Science,
there are formidable, perhaps insuperable obstacles in the way. For
Protestantism to achieve that great result there are not. In the one
case there is a bitter, a mortal animosity to be overcome; in the other,
a friendship, that misunderstandings have alienated, to be restored.

CIVILIZATION AND RELIGION. But, whatever may be the preparatory
incidents of that great impending intellectual crisis which Christendom
must soon inevitably witness, of this we may rest assured, that the
silent secession from the public faith, which in so ominous a manner
characterizes the present generation, will find at length political
expression. It is not without significance that France reenforces the
ultramontane tendencies of her lower population, by the promotion of
pilgrimages, the perpetration of miracles, the exhibition of celestial
apparitions. Constrained to do this by her destiny, she does it with
a blush. It is not without significance that Germany resolves to rid
herself of the incubus of a dual government, by the exclusion of the
Italian element, and to carry to its completion that Reformation which
three centuries ago she left unfinished. The time approaches when
men must take their choice between quiescent, immobile faith and
ever-advancing Science--faith, with its mediaeval consolations, Science,
which is incessantly scattering its material blessings in the pathway
of life, elevating the lot of man in this world, and unifying the
human race. Its triumphs are solid and enduring. But the glory which
Catholicism might gain from a conflict with material ideas is at the
best only like that of other celestial meteors when they touch the
atmosphere of the earth--transitory and useless.

Though Guizot's affirmation that the Church has always sided with
despotism is only too true, it must be remembered that in the policy
she follows there is much of political necessity. She is urged on by
the pressure of nineteen centuries. But, if the irresistible indicates
itself in her action, the inevitable manifests itself in her life. For
it is with the papacy as with a man. It has passed through the struggles
of infancy, it has displayed the energies of maturity, and, its work
completed, it must sink into the feebleness and querulousness of old
age. Its youth can never be renewed. The influence of its souvenirs
alone will remain. As pagan Rome threw her departing shadow over the
empire and tinctured all its thoughts, so Christian Rome casts her
parting shadow over Europe.

INADMISSIBLE CLAIMS OF CATHOLICISM. Will modern civilization consent to
abandon the career of advancement which has given it so much power and
happiness? Will it consent to retrace its steps to the semi-barbarian
ignorance and superstition of the middle ages? Will it submit to the
dictation of a power, which, claiming divine authority, can present
no adequate credentials of its office; a power which kept Europe in a
stagnant condition for many centuries, ferociously suppressing by the
stake and the sword every attempt at progress; a power that is founded
in a cloud of mysteries; that sets itself above reason and common-sense;
that loudly proclaims the hatred it entertains against liberty of
thought and freedom in civil institutions; that professes its intention
of repressing the one and destroying the other whenever it can find the
opportunity; that denounces as most pernicious and insane the opinion
that liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of every man;
that protests against that right being proclaimed and asserted by law in
every well-governed state; that contemptuously repudiates the principle
that the will of the people, manifested by public opinion (as it is
called) or by other means, shall constitute law; that refuses to every
man any title to opinion in matters of religion, but holds that it is
simply his duty to believe what he is told by the Church, and to obey
her commands; that will not permit any temporal government to define
the rights and prescribe limits to the authority of the Church;
that declares it not only may but will resort to force to discipline
disobedient individuals; that invades the sanctify of private life, by
making, at the confessional, the wife and daughters and servants of one
suspected, spies and informers against him; that tries him without an
accuser, and by torture makes him bear witness against himself; that
denies the right of parents to educate their children outside of its own
Church, and insists that to it alone belongs the supervision of domestic
life and the control of marriages and divorces; that denounces "the
impudence" of those who presume to subordinate the authority of the
Church to the civil authority, or who advocate the separation of the
Church from the state; that absolutely repudiates all toleration, and
affirms that the Catholic religion is entitled to be held as the only
religion in every country, to the exclusion of all other modes of
worship; that requires all laws standing in the way of its interests
to be repealed, and, if that be refused, orders all its followers to
disobey them?

ISSUE OF THE CONFLICT. This power, conscious that it can work no miracle
to serve itself, does not hesitate to disturb society by its intrigues
against governments, and seeks to accomplish its ends by alliances with

Claims such as these mean a revolt against modern civilization, an
intention of destroying it, no matter at what social cost. To submit to
them without resistance, men must be slaves indeed!

As to the issue of the coming conflict, can any one doubt? Whatever
is resting on fiction and fraud will be overthrown. Institutions that
organize impostures and spread delusions must show what right they have
to exist. Faith must render an account of herself to Reason. Mysteries
must give place to facts. Religion must relinquish that imperious, that
domineering position which she has so long maintained against Science.
There must be absolute freedom for thought. The ecclesiastic must learn
to keep himself within the domain he has chosen, and cease to tyrannize
over the philosopher, who, conscious of his own strength and the purity
of his motives, will bear such interference no longer. What was
written by Esdras near the willow-fringed rivers of Babylon, more than
twenty-three centuries ago, still holds good: "As for Truth it endureth
and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore."

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