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Title: History of Free Thought in Reference to The Christian Religion
Author: Farrar, Adam Storey, 1826-1905
Language: English
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                         History of Free Thought

                             in Reference to

                          The Christian Religion

                              Eight Lectures

                           Preached Before The

 University of Oxford, in the year M.DCCC.LXII., on the Foundation of the
            Late Rev. John Bampton, M.A., Canon of Salisbury.


                         Adam Storey Farrar, M.A.

                Michel Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford.

                                New York:

                         D. Appleton And Company,

                           443 & 445 Broadway.



Will of Rev. John Bampton.
Analysis of the lectures.
Lecture I. On The Subject, Method, And Purpose Of The Course Of Lectures.
Lecture II. The Literary Opposition of Heathens Against Christianity in
the Early Ages.
Lecture III. Free Thought During The Middle Ages, and At The Renaissance;
Together With Its Rise in Modern Times.
Lecture IV. Deism in England Previous to A.D. 1760.
Lecture V. Infidelity in France in the Eighteenth Century, and Unbelief in
England Subsequent to 1760.
Lecture VI. Free Thought In The Theology Of Germany From 1750-1835.
Lecture VII. Free Thought: In Germany Subsequently To 1835; And In France
During The Present Century.
Lecture VIII. Free Thought in England in the Present Century; Summary of
the Course of Lectures; Inferences in Reference to Present Dangers and
   Lecture I.
   Lecture II.
   Lecture III.
   Lecture IV.
   Lecture V.
   Lecture VI.
   Lecture VII.
   Lecture VIII.


Extract From The Last Will And Testament Of The Late Rev. John Bampton,
Canon Of Salisbury.


“——I give and bequeath my Lands and Estates to the Chancellor, Masters,
and Scholars of the University of Oxford for ever, to have and to hold all
and singular the said Lands or Estates upon trust, and to the intents and
purposes hereinafter mentioned; that is to say, I will and appoint that
the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford for the time being shall
take and receive all the rents, issues, and profits thereof, and (after
all taxes, reparations, and necessary deductions made) that he pay all the
remainder to the endowment of eight Divinity Lecture Sermons, to be
established for ever in the said University, and to be performed in the
manner following:


“I direct and appoint, that, upon the first Tuesday in Easter Term, a
Lecturer be yearly chosen by the Heads of Colleges only, and by no others,
in the room adjoining to the Printing-House, between the hours of ten in
the morning and two in the afternoon, to preach eight Divinity Lecture
Sermons, the year following, at St. Mary’s in Oxford, between the
commencement of the last month in Lent Term, and the end of the third week
in Act Term.

“Also I direct and appoint, that the eight Divinity Lecture Sermons shall
be preached upon either of the following Subjects—to confirm and establish
the Christian Faith, and to confute all heretics and schismatics—upon the
divine authority of the holy Scriptures—upon the authority of the writings
of the primitive Fathers, as to the faith and practice of the primitive
Church—upon the Divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—upon the
Divinity of the Holy Ghost—upon the Articles of the Christian Faith as
comprehended in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.

“Also I direct, that thirty copies of the eight Divinity Lecture Sermons
shall be always printed, within two months after they are preached; and
one copy shall be given to the Chancellor of the University, and one copy
to the Head of every College, and one copy to the Mayor of the city of
Oxford, and one copy to be put into the Bodleian Library; and the expense
of printing them shall be paid out of the revenue of the Land or Estates
given for establishing the Divinity Lecture Sermons; and the Preacher
shall not be paid nor be entitled to the revenue before they are printed.

“Also I direct and appoint, that no person shall be qualified to preach
the Divinity Lecture Sermons, unless he hath taken the degree of Master of
Arts at least, in one of the two Universities of Oxford or Cambridge; and
that the same person shall never preach the Divinity Lecture Sermons


The object of this Preface is to explain the design of the following
Lectures, and to enumerate the sources on which they are founded.

What is the province and mode of inquiry intended in a “Critical History
of Free Thought”?(1) What are the causes which led the author into this
line of study?(2) What the object proposed by the work?(3) What the
sources from which it is drawn?(4)—these probably are the questions which
will at once suggest themselves to the reader. The answers to most of them
are so fully given in the work,(5) that it will only be necessary here to
touch upon them briefly.

The word “free thought” is now commonly used, at least in foreign
literature(6), to express the result of the revolt of the mind against the
pressure of external authority in any department of life or speculation.
Information concerning the history of the term is given elsewhere.(7) It
will be sufficient now to state, that the cognate term, _free thinking_,
was appropriated by Collins early in the last century(8) to express Deism.
It differs from the modern term _free thought_, both in being restricted
to religion, and in conveying the idea rather of the method than of its
result, the freedom of the mode of inquiry rather than the character of
the conclusions attained; but the same fundamental idea of independence
and freedom from authority is implied in the modern term.

Within the sphere of its application to the Christian religion, free
thought is generally used to denote three different systems; viz.
Protestantism, scepticism, and unbelief. Its application to the first of
these is unfair.(9) It is true that all three agree in resisting the
dogmatism of any earthly authority; but Protestantism reposes implicitly
on what it believes to be the divine authority of the inspired writers of
the books of holy scripture; whereas the other two forms acknowledge no
authority external to the mind, no communication superior to reason and
science. Thus, though Protestantism by its attitude of independence seems
similar to the other two systems, it is really separated by a difference
of kind, and not merely of degree.(10) The present history is restricted
accordingly to the treatment of the two latter species of free
thought,—the resistance of the human mind to the Christian religion as
communicated through revelation, either in part or in whole, neither the
scepticism which disintegrates it, or the unbelief which rejects it: the
former directing itself especially against Christianity, the latter
against the idea of revelation, or even of the supernatural generally.

An analogous reason to that which excludes the history of Protestantism,
excludes also that of the opposition made to Christianity by heresy, and
by rival religions:(11) inasmuch as they repose on authorities, however
false, and do not profess to resort to an unassisted study of nature and

This account of the province included under free thought will prepare the
way for the explanation of the mode in which the subject is treated.

It is clear that the history, in order to rise above a chronicle, must
inquire into the causes which have made freedom of inquiry develop into
unbelief. The causes have usually been regarded by theologians to be of
two kinds, viz. either superhuman or human; and, if of the latter kind, to
be either moral or intellectual. Bishop Van Mildert, in his History of
Infidelity, restricted himself entirely to the former.(12) Holding
strongly that the existence of evil in the world was attributable, not
only indirectly and originally, but directly and perpetually, to the
operation of the evil spirit, he regarded every form of heresy and
unbelief to be the attempt of an invisible evil agent to thwart the truth
of God; and viewed the history of infidelity as the study of the results
of the operation of this cause in destroying the kingdom of righteousness.
Such a view invests human life and history with a very solemn character,
and is not without practical value; but it will be obvious that an
analysis of this kind must be strictly theological, and removes the
inquiry from the province of human science. Even when completed, it leaves
unexplored the whole field in which such an evil principle operates, and
the agencies which he employs as his instruments.

The majority of writers on unbelief accordingly have treated the subject
from a less elevated point of view, and have limited their inquiry to the
sphere of the operation of human causes, the _media axiomata_ as it
were,(13) which express the motives and agencies which have been
manifested on the theatre of the world, and visible in actual history. It
will be clear that within this sphere the causes are specially of two
kinds; viz. those which have their source in the will, and arise from the
antagonism of feeling, which wishes revelation untrue, and those which
manifest themselves in the intellect, and are exhibited under the form of
difficulties which beset the mind, or doubts which mislead it, in respect
to the evidence on which revelation reposes. The former, it may be feared,
are generally the ground of unbelief; the latter the basis of doubt.
Christian writers, in the wish to refer unbelief to the source of
efficient causation in the human will, with a view of enforcing on the
doubter the moral lesson of responsibility, have generally restricted
themselves to the former of these two classes; and by doing so have
omitted to explore the interesting field of inquiry presented in the
natural history of the variety of forms assumed by scepticism, and their
relation to the general causes which have operated in particular ages:—a
subject most important, if the intellectual antecedents thus discovered be
regarded as causes of doubt; and not less interesting, if, instead of
being causes, they are merely considered to be instruments and conditions
made use of by the emotional powers.

A history of free thought seems to point especially to the study of the
latter class. A biographical history of free thinkers would imply the
former; the investigation of the moral history of the individuals, the
play of their will and feelings and character; but the history of free
thought points to that which has been the product of their characters, the
doctrines which they have taught. Science however no less than piety would
decline entirely to separate the two;(14) piety, because, though admitting
the possibility that a judgment may be formed in the abstract on free
thought, it would feel itself constantly drawn into the inquiry of the
moral responsibility of the freethinker in judging of the concrete
cases;—science, because, even in an intellectual point of view, the
analysis of a work of art is defective if it be studied apart from the
personality of the mental and moral character of the artist who produces
it. If even the inquiry be restricted to the analysis of intellectual
causes, a biographic treatment of the subject, which would allow for the
existence of the emotional, would be requisite.(15)

The province of the following work accordingly is, the examination of this
neglected branch in the analysis of unbelief. While admitting most fully
and unhesitatingly the operation of emotional causes, and the absolute
necessity, scientific as well as practical, of allowing for their
operation, it is proposed to analyse the forms of doubt or unbelief in
reference mainly to the intellectual element which has entered into them,
and the discovery of the intellectual causes which have produced or
modified them. Thus the history, while not ceasing to belong to church
history, becomes also a chapter in the history of philosophy, a page in
the history of the human mind.

The enumeration of the causes into which the intellectual elements of
doubt are resolvable, is furnished in the text of the first Lecture.(16)
If the nature of some of them be obscure, and the reader be unaccustomed
to the philosophical study necessary for fully understanding them;
information must be sought in the books to which references are elsewhere
given, as the subject is too large to be developed in the limited space of
this Preface.

The work however professes to be not merely a narrative, but a “critical
history.” The idea of criticism in a history imparts to it an ethical
aspect. For criticism does not rest content with ideas, viewed as facts,
but as realities. It seeks to pass above the relative, and attain the
absolute; to determine either what is right or what is true. It may make
this determination by means of two different standards. It may be either
independent or dogmatic;—independent if it enters upon a new field
candidly and without prepossessions, and rests content with the inferences
which the study suggests;—dogmatic, when it approaches a subject with
views derived from other sources, and pronounces on right or wrong, truth
or falsehood, by reference to them.

It is hoped that the reader will not be unduly prejudiced, if the
confession be frankly made, that the criticism in these Lectures is of the
latter kind. This indeed might be expected from their very character. The
Bampton Lecture is an establishment for producing apologetic treatises.
The authors are supposed to assume the truth of Christianity, and to seek
to repel attacks upon it. They are defenders, not investigators. The
reader has a right to demand fairness, but not independence; truth in the
facts, but not hesitation in the inferences. While however the writer of
these Lectures takes a definite line in the controversy, and one not
adopted professionally, but with cordial assent and heartfelt conviction,
he has nevertheless considered that it is due to the cause of scientific
truth to intermingle his own opinions as little as possible with the facts
of the history. A history without inferences is ethically and religiously
worthless: it is a chronicle, not a philosophical narrative. But a history
distorted to suit the inferences is not only worthless, but harmful. It is
for the reader to judge how far the author has succeeded in the result:
but his aim has been not to allow his opinions to warp his view of the
facts. History ought to be written with the same spirit of cold analysis
which belongs to science. Caricature must not be substituted for portrait,
nor vituperation for description.(17)

Such a mode of treatment in the present instance was the more possible,
from the circumstance that the writer, when studying the subject for his
private information, without any design to write upon it, had endeavoured
to bring his own principles and views perpetually to the test; and to
reconsider them candidly by the light of the new suggestions which were
brought before him. Instead of approaching the inquiry with a spirit of
hostility, he had investigated it as a student, not as a partisan. It may
perhaps be permitted him without egotism to explain the causes which led
him to the study. He had taken holy orders, cordially and heartily
believing the truths taught by the church of which he is privileged to be
an humble minister. Before doing so, he had read thoughtfully the great
works of evidences of the last century, and knew directly or indirectly
the character of the deist doubts against which they were directed. His
own faith was one of the head as well as the heart; founded on the study
of the evidences, as well as on the religious training of early years. But
he perceived in the English church earnest men who held a different view;
and, on becoming acquainted with contemporary theology, he found the
theological literature of a whole people, the Germans, constructed on
another basis; a literature which was acknowledged to be so full of
learning, that contemporary English writers of theology not only
perpetually referred to it, but largely borrowed their materials from
German sources. He wished therefore fully to understand the character of
these new forms of doubt, and the causes which had produced them. He may
confess that, reposing on the affirmative verities of the Christian faith,
as gathered from the scriptures and embodied in the immemorial teaching of
Christ’s church, he did not anticipate that he should discover that which
would overthrow or even materially modify his own faith; but he wished,
while exploring this field, and gratifying intellectual curiosity, to
re-examine his opinions at each point by the light of those with which he
might meet in the inquiry. The serious wish also to fulfill his duty in
the sphere in which he might move, made him desire to understand these new
views; that if false, he might know how to refute them when they came
before him, and not be first made aware of their existence from the harsh
satire of sceptical critics. His own studies were accordingly conducted in
a spirit of fairness—the fairness of the inquirer, not of the doubter; and
a habit of mind formed by the study of the history of philosophy, was
brought to bear upon the investigation of this chapter in church history:
first, of modern forms of doubt, and afterwards the consecutive history of
unbelief generally. Accordingly, while he hopes that he has taken care to
leave the student in no case unguided, who may accompany him in these
pages through the history, he has wished to place him, as he strove to
place himself, in the position to see the subject in its true light before
drawing the inferences; to understand each topic to a certain extent, as
it appears when seen from the opposite point of view, as well as when seen
from the Christian. And when this has been effected, he has criticised
each by a comparison with those principles which form his standard for
testing them, the truth of which the study has confirmed to the writer’s
own mind. The criticism therefore does not profess to be independent, but
dogmatic; but it is hoped that the definite character of the results will
not be found to have prevented fairness in the method of inquiry. If the
student has the facts correctly, he can form his own judgment on the

The standard of truth here adopted, as the point of view in criticism, is
the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the dogmatic teaching of the
creeds of the church; or, if it will facilitate clearness to be more
definite, three great truths may be specified, which present themselves to
the writer’s mind as the very foundation of the Christian religion: (1)
the doctrine of the reality of the vicarious atonement provided by the
passion of our blessed Lord; (2) the supernatural and miraculous character
of the religious revelation in the book of God; and (3) the direct
operation of the Holy Ghost in converting and communing with the human
soul. Lacking the first of these, Christianity appears to him to be a
religion without a system of redemption; lacking the second, a doctrine
without authority; lacking the third, a system of ethics without spiritual
power. These three principles accordingly are the measure, by agreement
with which the truth and falsehood of systems of free thought are
ultimately tested.(18)

The above remarks, together with those which occur in the text, where
fuller explanation is afforded, will illustrate the province of the
inquiry, and the spirit in which it is conducted.(19)

The explanation also of the further question concerning the object which
the writer proposed to effect, by the treatment of such a subject in a
course of Bampton Lectures, is given so fully elsewhere, that a few words
may here suffice in reference to it.(20) Experience of the wants of
students in this time of doubt and transition, which those who are
practically acquainted with the subject will best understand, as well as
observation of the tone of thought expressed in our sceptical literature,
led him to believe that a history, natural as well as literary, of doubt;
an analysis of the forms and a statement of the intellectual causes of it,
would have a value, direct and indirect, in many ways. His desire, he is
willing to confess, was to guide the student, rather than to refute the
unbeliever. He did not expect to furnish the combatant with ready-made
weapons, which would make him omnipotent in conflict; but he hoped to give
him some suggestions in reference to the tactics for conducting the
contest. The Lectures have a polemical aspect, but they seek to obtain
their end by means of the educational. The writer has aimed at assisting
the student, in the struggle with his doubts, in the inquiry for truth, in
the quiet meditative search for light and knowledge, preparatory to
ministering to others. The survey of a new region, which ordinary works on
the history of infidelity rarely touch, may lay bare unsuspected or
undetected causes of unbelief; and thus indirectly offer a refutation of
it; for intellectual error is refuted, when the origin of it is referred
to false systems of thought. The anatomy of error is the first step to its

In another point of view, independently of the value of the line of
inquiry generally, and the special suitability of it to individual minds,
there is a further use, which in the present day belongs to it in common
with all inquiries into the history of thought.

It is hard to persuade the students of a past generation that the historic
mode of approaching any problem is the first step toward its successful
solution. Yet a little reflection may at least make the meaning of the
assertion understood. If we view the literary characteristic of the
present, in comparison with that of past ages, we are perhaps right in
stating, that its peculiar feature is the prevalence of the method of
historical criticism. If the four centuries since the Renaissance be
considered, the critical peculiarity of the sixteenth and seventeenth will
be found to be the investigation of ancient literature; in the former
directed to _words_, in the latter to _things_. The eighteenth century
broke away from the past, and, emancipating itself from authority, tried
to rebuild truth from its foundations from present materials, independent
of the judgment formed by past ages. The nineteenth century unites both
methods. It ventures not to explore the universe, unguided by the
experience of the past; but, while reuniting itself to the past, it does
not bow to it. It accepts it as a fact, not as an authority. The
seventeenth century worshipped the past; the eighteenth despised it: the
nineteenth mediates, by means of criticism. Accordingly, in literary
investigations at present, each question is approached from the historic
side, with the belief that the historico-critical inquiry not only
gratifies curiosity, but actually contributes to the solution of the
problem. Some indeed assert(21) this, because they think that the historic
study of philosophy is the whole of philosophy; and, believing that all
truth is relative to its age, are hopeless of attaining the absolute and
unaltering solution of any problem. We, on the other hand, are content to
believe that the history of philosophy is only the entrance to philosophy.
But in either case, truth is sought by means of a philosophical history of
the past; which, tracking the progress of truth and error in any
particular department, lays bare the natural as well as the literary
history; the causes of the past, as well as its form. Truth and error are
thus discovered, not by breaking with the past, and using abstract
speculations on original data, but by tracing the growth of thought,
gathering the harvest of past investigations, and learning by experience
to escape error.

These considerations bear upon the present subject in this manner: they
show not only the special adaptation to the passing tastes of the age, of
an historic mode of approaching a subject, but exhibit also that the mode
of proof and of refutation must be sought, not on abstract grounds, but
historic. The position of an enemy is not to be forced, but turned; his
premises to be refuted, not his conclusions; the antecedent reasons which
led him into his opinion to be exhibited, not merely evidence offered of
the fact that he is in error.

This view, that doubt might be refuted by the historic analysis of its
operation, by laying bare the antecedent grounds which had produced it,
will explain why the author was led to believe that a chapter of mental
and moral physiology might be useful, which would not merely carry out the
anatomy of actual forms of disease, but discover their origin by the study
of the preceding natural history of the patients.

These remarks will perhaps suffice for explaining the object which was
proposed in writing this history; and may justify the hope that this work,
thus adapted to the wants of the time, may offer such a contribution to
the subject of the Christian evidences, as not only to possess an
intellectual value, but to coincide with the purpose contemplated by the
founder of the Lectures.

It remains to state the sources which have been used for the literary
materials of the history. Though they are sufficiently indicated in the
notes, a general description of them may be useful.

They may be distributed under four classes;

1. The histories which have been professedly devoted to the subject.

2. The notices of the history of unbelief in general histories of the
church or of literature.

3. (Which ought indeed to rank first in importance;) the original
authorities for the facts, i.e. the works of the sceptical writers
themselves; or of the contemporary authors who have refuted them.

4. The monographs, which treat of particular writers, ages, or schools, of
sceptical thought.

In approaching the subject, a student would probably commence with the
first two classes; and after having thus acquired for himself a _carte du
pays_, would then explore it in detail by the aid of the third and fourth.

1. The works which have professedly treated of the history of infidelity,
as a whole, are not of great importance.

One of the earliest was the _Historia Univ. Atheismi_, 1725, of Reimannus;
and the _De Atheismo_, 1737, of Buddeus. (An explanation of the word
_Atheism_, as employed by them, is given in Note 21. p. 413.) hey furnish,
as the name implies, a history of scepticism, as well as of sceptics; yet,
though the labours of such diligent and learned men can never be useless,
they afford little information now available. Their date also necessarily
precluded them from knowing the more recent forms of unbelief. Perhaps
under this head we ought also to name the chapters on polemical theology
in the great works of bibliography of the German scholars of the same
time, such as Pfaff (_Hist. Litt. Thol._); Buddeus (_Isagoge_); Fabricius
(_Delectus Argum._); Walch’s (_Biblical Theol. Select._); which contain
lists of sceptical works, either directly, or indirectly by naming the
apologists who have answered them. The references to these works will be
found in Note 39. p. 436.

Among French writers, the only one of importance is Houtteville, who
prefixed an Introduction to his work, _La Religion Chrétienne prouvée par
des faits_, 1722, containing an account of the writers for and against
Christianity from the earliest times. (Translated 1739.) It contains
little information concerning the authors or the events, but a clearly and
correctly written analysis of their works and thoughts.

Among the English writers who have attempted a consecutive history of the
whole subject was Van Mildert, afterwards bishop of Durham, who has been
already named. The first volume of his _Boyle Lectures_, in 1802-4, was
devoted to the history of infidelity; the second to a general statement of
the evidences for Christianity. This work, on account of its date,
necessarily stops short before the existence of modern forms of doubt; and
indeed evinces no knowledge concerning the contemporary forms of
literature in Germany, which had already attracted the attention of Dr.
Herbert Marsh. The point of view of the work, as already described, almost
entirely precludes the author from entering upon the analysis of the
causes, either emotional or intellectual, which have produced unbelief.
Its value accordingly is chiefly in the literary materials collected in
the notes; in which respect it bears marks of careful study. Though mostly
drawn from second-hand sources, it exhibits wide reading and thoughtful

A portion of the Bampton Lectures for 1852, by the Rev. J. C. Riddle, was
devoted to the subject of infidelity. The author’s object, as the
title(22) implies, was to give the natural history of unbelief, to the
neglect of the literary. Psychological rather than historical analysis was
used by him for the investigation; and his examination of the moral causes
of doubt is better than of the intellectual. The notes contain a
collection of valuable quotations, which supplement those of Van Mildert,
but are unfortunately given, for the most part, without references.

This completes(23) the enumeration of the histories professedly devoted to
infidelity, with the exception of a small but very creditable production
published since several of these lectures were written, _Defence of the
Faith; Part I. Forms of Unbelief_, by the Rev. S. Robins, forming the
first part of a work, of which the second is to treat the evidences; the
third to draw the moral. It does not profess to be a very deep work;(24)
but it is interesting; drawn generally from the best sources, and written
in an eloquent style and devout spirit.

2. The transition is natural from these works, which treat of the history
of unbelief or give lists of the works of unbelievers, to the notices of
sceptical writers contained in general histories of the church or of

In this, as in the former case, it is only in modern times that important
notices occur concerning forms of unbelief. The circumstance that in the
early ages unbelief took the form of opposition or persecution on the part
of heathens, and that in the middle ages it was so rare, caused the
ancient church historians and mediæval church chroniclers to record little
respecting actual unbelief, though they give information about heresy.
Even in modern times, it is not till the early part of the eighteenth
century that any attention is bestowed on the subject. The earlier
historians, both Protestant, such as the Magdeburg Centuriators, and
Catholic, like Baronius, wrote the history of the past for a controversial
purpose in relation to the contests of their own times: and in the next
period, in the one church, Arnold confined himself to the history of
heresy rather than unbelief; and in the other, Fleury and Tillemont wrote
the history of deeds rather than of ideas, and afford no information,
except in a few allusions of the latter writer to the early intellectual
opposition of the heathens.

But about the middle of the eighteenth century, in the period of cold
orthodoxy and solid learning which immediately preceded the rise of
rationalism, as well as in that of incipient free thought, we meet not
only with the historians of theological literature already named above,
but with historians of thought like Brucker, and of the church like
Mosheim, possessed of large taste for inquiry, and wide literary
sympathies, who contribute information on the subject: and towards the
close of the century we find Schröckh, who, in his lengthy and careful
history of the church since the Reformation,(25) has taken so extensive a
view of the nature of church history, that he has included in it an
account of the struggle with freethinkers. Among the same class, with the
exception that he differs in being marked by rationalist sympathies, must
be ranked Henke.(26)

In the present century the spread of the scientific spirit, which counts
no facts unworthy of notice, together with the attention bestowed on the
history of doctrine, and the special interest in understanding the
fortunes of free thought, which sympathy in danger created during the
rationalist movement, prevented the historians from passing lightly over
so important a series of facts. It may be sufficient to instance, in
proof, the notices of unbelief which occur in Neander’s _Church History_.
General histories also of literature, like Schlosser’s _History of
Literature in the Eighteenth Century_, or the more theological one of
Hagenbach (_Geschichte des 18__n__ Jahrhunderts_) incidentally afford

The various works just named are the chief of this class which furnish

3. After a general preliminary idea of the history has been obtained from
these sources, in order to prevent being confused with details; it is
necessary to resort next to the original sources of information, without
careful study of which the history must lack a real basis.

In reference to the early unbelievers, the direct materials are lost; but
the contemporary replies to these writings remain. In the case of later
unbelievers, both the works and the answers to them exist. It will be
presumed that in so large a subject the writer cannot have read all the
sceptical works which have been written, and are here named. With the
exception however of Averroes and of the Paduan school,(27) in which cases
he has chiefly adopted second-hand information, and merely himself
consulted a few passages of the original writers, he has in all other
instances read the chief works of the sceptical writers, sufficiently at
least to make himself acquainted with their doubts, and in many cases has
even made an analysis of their works. The reader will perceive by the
foot-notes the instances in which this applies.

It may be due to some of the historians who have made a special study of
particular periods from original sources, to state, that so far as his
limited experience extends he can bear witness to their exactness.
Leehler’s work on English deism, for example,(28) is a singular example of
truthful narrative; and Leland’s,(29) though controversial, is worthy of
nearly the same praise.

4. There remains a fourth source of materials in the separate monographs
on particular men, opinions, or schools of thought. We shall enumerate
these according to the order of the lectures; dwelling briefly on the
majority of them, as being described elsewhere; and describing at greater
length those only which relate to the history of the theological movements
in Germany described in Lectures VI. and VII.; inasmuch as references are
there frequently made to these works without a specific description of
their respective characters.

In relation to the early struggle of Paganism against Christianity,(30)
the work of Lardner, _Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies
to the Truth of the Christian Religion_ (1764-7) (Works, vols. vii.-ix.),
is well known for carefulness of treatment and the value of its
references. Portions also of the works of J. A. Fabricius, especially his
_Bibliotheca Græca_ and _Lux Evangelii_ (1732) are useful in reference to
the lost works, and for bibliographical knowledge: also a monograph by
Kortholt, _Paganus Obtrectator_ (1703), on the objections made by
Christians in the early ages, gathered from the Apologies.

Among recent works it is only necessary to specify one, viz. the second
series of the _Histoire de l’Eglise Chrétienne_, by E. de Pressensé
(1861), containing _La Grande Lutte du Christianisme contre le Paganisme_,
the account of the struggle both of deeds and ideas on the part of the
heathens against Christianity, and of the apology of the Christians in
reply. The sketches of the arguments used both by the heathens, as
recovered from fragments, and by the Christian apologists, are most ably
executed. The frequent references to it in the foot-notes will show the
importance which the writer attaches to this work.(31)

The long period of the middle ages, together with early modern(32)
history, so far as the latter bears upon the present subject, is spanned
by the aid of four works; Cousin’s Memoir on Abelard (1836); the _La
Reforme_ of Laurent (1861), a professor at Ghent; the _Averroes_ of E.
Renan (1851), one of the ablest among the younger writers of France; and
the _Essais de Philosophie Religieuse_ of E. Saisset (1859). All these
works are full of learning; some of them are works of mind as well as of
erudition. Cousin’s treatise is well known,(33) and may be said to have
reopened the study of medieval philosophy. The contents of Laurent’s work
are specified elsewhere.(34) That of Renan, besides containing a sketch of
the life and philosophy of Averroes, studies his influence in the three
great spheres where it was felt,—the Spanish Jews, the Scholastic
philosophers, and the Peripatetics of Padua. The work of Saisset is a most
instructive critical sketch on religious philosophy.

The period of English Deism(35) is treated in two works; the well-known
work of Leland above cited, and the one also named above by Lechler, now
general superintendent at Leipsic; a work full of information, and
exceedingly complete; one of the carefully executed monographs with which
many of the younger German scholars first bring their names into notice.
Though the interest of the subject is limited, it well merits a

There is a deficiency of any similar work on the history of infidelity in
France,(37) treating it separately and exhaustively. The work which most
nearly deserves the description is vol. vi. of Henke’s
_Kirchengeschichte_.(38) This want however is the less felt, because
almost every portion of the period has been treated in detail by French
critics of various schools; among which some of the sketches of
Bartholmess, _Histoire Critique des Doctrines Religieuses de la
Philosophie Moderne_, 1855; and of Damiron, _Mémoires pour servir à
l’Histoire de Philosophie au 18__e__ siècle_;(39) are perhaps the most
useful for our purpose. One portion of Mr. Buckle’s _History of
Civilisation_, the best written part of his first volume, also affords
much information, in the main trustworthy, in reference to the
intellectual condition of France of the same period.(40)

A description of the events of a period so complex as that of the German
theological movement of the last hundred years(41) would have been an
object too ambitious to attempt, especially when it must necessarily, from
the size of the subject, be grounded on an acquaintance with single
writers of a school, or single works of an author used as samples of the
remainder; if it were not that abundant guidance is supplied in the
memoirs by German theologians of all shades of opinion, who have studied
the history of their country, and not only narrated facts, but
investigated causes. A few narratives of it also exist by scholars of
other countries; but these are founded on the former. We shall in the main
preserve the order of their publication in enumerating these various

The materials for the condition of Germany at the beginning of the last
century, antecedently to the introduction of the new influences which
created rationalism,(42) are conveyed in Weismann, _Introductio in
Memorabilia Eccl. Hist._ (1718), and in Schröckh, _Christliche
Kirchengeschichte_ (1768-1812). The first distinct examination however of
the peculiar character of the movement which ensued, called Rationalism,
occurred in the discussion as to its meaning and province; in which
Tittmann, Röhr, Staüdlin, Bretschneider, Hahn, &c., were engaged; an
account of which, with a list of their works,(43) is given under the
explanation of the word “Rationalism” in Note 21, p. 416. The chief value
of these works at present is, partly to enable us to understand how
contemporaries viewed the movement while in progress; partly to reproduce
the state of belief which existed in the older school of rationalists, and
its opponents, before the reaction toward orthodoxy had fully altered
theological thought.

Whilst the dispute between rationalism and supernaturalism was still going
on, and the latter was gradually gaining the victory, through the reaction
under Schleiermacher just alluded to, an English writer, Mr. Hugh James
Rose,(44) published some sermons preached at Cambridge in 1825, which were
the means of directing attention to the subject both at home and abroad,
and stimulating investigation into the history. As this work, and
especially the reply of one writer to it, are often here quoted, it may be
well to narrate the interesting literary controversy, now forgotten, which
ensued upon its publication.

Mr. Rose described the havoc made by the rationalist speculations, alike
in dogma, in interpretation, and in church history, and attributed the
evil chiefly to the absence of an efficient system of internal church
government which would have suppressed such a movement. He was answered
(1828) by Mr. (now Dr.) Pusey, then a junior Fellow of Oriel, who, having
visited Germany, and become acquainted with the forms of German thought,
and the circumstances which had marked its development, conceived justly
that the reasons of a moral phenomenon like the overthrow of religious
faith in Germany must be sought in intrinsic causes, and not merely in an
extrinsic cause, such as the absence of efficient means of ecclesiastical
repression. In this work,(45) marked by great knowledge of the subject,
and characterized by just and philosophical reflections, the author
pointed out an internal law of development in the events of the history,
and traced the ultimate cause of the movement to the divorce between dogma
and piety which had characterized the age preceding the rise of
rationalism. His motive for entering the contest was, not the wish to
defend the movement, for his own position was fixed upon the faith of the
creeds; but seems to have been partly a love of truth, which did not like
to see an imperfect view of a great question set forth; and partly the
wish to prevent attention being diverted by Mr. Rose’s explanation, from
perceiving the extreme resemblance of the contemporary time in England to
that of the age which preceded rationalism.

To this work Mr. Rose replied in a Letter to the Bishop of London,
misunderstanding Mr. Pusey’s object, and conveying the impression that he
had made himself responsible for the rationalism which it had been the
object of the sermons to condemn. He felt himself however compelled, in a
second edition of the sermons,(46) to enter more largely into proofs from
German literature of the position which he had assumed; and produced a
collection of literary facts, of value in reference to the movement.

Mr. Pusey replied (1830) with a triumphant vindication alike of his own
meaning, and the truth of his own position.(47) The work is necessarily
less interesting than the former, as it turns more upon personal
questions, and is more polemical; but the literary information conveyed is
equally valuable.

If we may be permitted to form an opinion concerning the controversy, it
may perhaps be true to say, that Mr. Rose’s fault (if indeed we may say so
of one who so worthily received honour in his generation) was, that he
approached the subject from the polemic and practical instead of the
historic side. His work is like the description of a battle-field, which
gives an idea of the mangled remains that strew the field, but does not
recount the causes of contest, nor the progress of the action. The work of
his opponent describes the mustering of the forces preparatory to the
action, and the causes which led to the struggle. Perhaps, in a few
matters of detail, the former writer has taken a truer, though a less
hopeful, view than his opponent, of certain classes of opinions, or of
certain men; but the latter has better preserved the historical
perspective. The former saw mainly the old forms of rationalism, the
latter descried the partial return toward the faith which had already
begun, and has since gone forward so energetically.(48)

These works must always afford much information on the topics which they
embrace. It is proper however to add, that Dr. Pusey, some years ago,
recalled the remaining copies of the edition of his work. On this account
the writer of these lectures, when he has had occasion to give references
to it, has taken care not to quote it for opinions, but only for

The attack of Mr. Rose on German theology caused replies abroad as well as
at home. Several German theologians were led to a more careful study of
their own history and position, to which references will be found in Mr.
Rose’s replies.(50)

Previously to the publication of Dr. Pusey’s treatises, a work had been
written with a purpose less directly controversial, by Tholuck: _Abriss
Einer Geschichte der umwälzung, welche seit 1750, auf dem Gebiete der
Theologie in Deutschland statt gefunden_, now contained in his _Vermischte
Schriften_, 1839, vol. 2.(51) It is valuable for the earlier history of
Rationalism. The spirit of it is very similar to that of Dr. Pusey’s work.
Indeed the latter author, though not aware of the publication of Tholuck’s
work, was cognisant of his views on these questions, through lectures
heard from him abroad.

These works however were all previous to the great agitation in German
theology, which ensued in consequence of Strauss’s _Leben Jesu_, in 1835.
After the first excitement of that event had passed, we meet with three
works, two French and one German, in which the history is brought down to
a later period. The French ones were, the _Histoire Critique du
Rationalisme_, 1841, of Amand Saintes, translated 1849; and the _Etudes
Critiques sur le Rationalisme Contemporain_, of the Abbé H. de Valroger,
1846; the latter of which works the writer of these lectures has been
unable to see. The German one was, _Der Deutsche Protestantismus_,
1847,(52) and is attributed to Hundeshagen, professor at Heidelberg.

The _Critical History_ of Amand Saintes, though thought by the Germans(53)
to be defective, in consequence of want of sufficiently separating between
the various forms of rationalism, is more replete than any other book with
stores of information, and extracts arranged in a very clear form.(54) It
is very useful, if the reader first possesses a better scheme into which
to arrange the materials. It is written also in a truly evangelical

The work of Hundeshagen had a political object as well as a religious. It
was composed just before the revolution of 1848, when Germany was panting
for freedom; and its object was to defend the position of the
constitutional party in church and state; and with a view to establish the
importance of their moral and doctrinal position, he surveyed the recent
history of his country.

Hagenbach’s _Dogmengeschichte_ (translated), which was published nearly
about the same time, also contains a very interesting sketch, with
valuable notes, of the chief writers and works in the movement of German

The view of the history given in Tholuck and Hundeshagen is that which is
taken by the school called the “Mediation school” in German theology.(55)
The general cause assigned by them for scepticism was the separation of
dogma and piety; the recovery from the rationalistic state being due to
the reunion of these elements, which Hundeshagen shows to have been also
the great feature of the German reformation.

After an interval of about ten years, when the tendencies created by
Strauss’s movement had become definitely manifest, the history was again
surveyed in two works, the one, _Geschichte des Deutschen
Protestantismus_, by Kahnis (translated 1856), who belongs to the Lutheran
reactionary party; the other, _Geschichte der neuesten Theologie_, 1856,
by C. Schwarz, whose work is so candid and free from party bias, that it
is unimportant to remark the party to which he belongs.(56)

The narrative of Kahnis, originally a series of papers in a magazine, is
very full of facts, and generally fair; but it wants form. The author’s
view is, that the sceptical movement arose from abandoning the dogmatic
expression of revealed truth, contained in the old Confessions of the
Lutheran church; and he considers the reaction of the Mediation school in
favour of orthodoxy to be imperfect; the true restoration being only found
by returning to the Confessions.

The work of Schwarz is restricted to the latest forms of German theology,
and goes back no farther than the circumstances which led to the work of
Strauss. It is unequalled in clearness; bearing the mark of German
exactness and fulness, and rivalling French histories in didactic power.
These two works differ from most of those previously named, in being
histories of modern German theology generally, and not merely of the
rationalist forms of it.

Such are the chief sources in which a student may learn the view taken by
the German critics of different schools, concerning the recent church
history of their country at various moments of its progress. The fulness
of this account will be excused, if it provide information concerning
works to which reference is made in the foot-notes of those lectures which
treat of this period.

In describing the doubts of the present century in France,(57)
considerable help has been found in the _Hist. de la Littérature_, &c.
written by Nettement,(58) and in the _Essais_ of Damiron,(59) as well as
in criticisms by recent French writers; which are cited in the foot-notes
to the lecture which treats of the period.

The subject of the contemporary doubt in England(60) has been felt to be a
delicate one. It has however been thought better to carry the history down
to the present time, and to deal frankly in expressing the writer’s own
opinion. Delicacy forbade the introduction of the names(61) of writers
into the text of this part of the Sermons, but they have been inserted in
the foot-notes.

The mention of one additional source of information will complete the
examination which was proposed.

It will be observed, that references have been very frequently given in
the notes, to the Reviews, English and French, and occasionally German,
for papers which treat on the subjects embraced in the history. When the
writer studied the subject for publication, he took care to consult these,
as affording a kind of commentary by contemporaries on the different
portions of the history. It is hoped that the references to those written
in the two former languages will be found to be tolerably complete. The
enormous number of those which exist in German, together with the absence
for the most part of indexes to them, renders it probable that many
separate papers of great value, the special studies by different scholars
of passages in the literary history of their own nation, have been left
unenumerated. The German literary periodicals are indeed the solitary
source of information which the writer considers has not been fully worked
for these lectures.(62)

Among the articles in English Reviews, many bear marks of careful study;
and it is a pleasure to have the opportunity of rescuing them from the
neglect which is likely to occur to papers written without name, and in
periodicals. The freethinking Reviews have discussed the opinions of the
friends of free thought more frequently than the others; but those here
cited are of all shades of opinion; and the writer has found many to be of
great use, even when differing widely from the conclusions drawn. He is
glad indeed to take this opportunity of expressing his thanks to the
unknown authors of these various productions, which have afforded him so
much instruction, and often so much help. He trusts that he has in all
cases candidly and fully acknowledged his obligations when he has borrowed
their materials, or condensed their thoughts. If he has in any case,
through inadvertence, failed to do so, he hopes that this acknowledgment
will be allowed to compensate for the unintentional omission.


The reader being now in possession both of the purpose designed in the
lectures, and of the sources of the information used in their composition,
it only remains to add a few miscellaneous remarks.

In the delivery of the lectures, several portions were omitted, on account
of the excessive length to which they would have run. It has not been
thought necessary to indicate these passages by brackets; but, as those
who heard them may perhaps wish to have an enumeration, a list is here

The notes, it will be perceived, are placed, some at the foot of the text,
others at the end. Those are put as foot-notes which either were very
brief, or which supplied information that the reader might be supposed to
desire in connection with the text. Most of those which are appended are
of the same character as the foot-notes; i.e. sources of information in
reference to the subjects discussed in the text. A few however supply
information on collateral subjects. The Notes 4, 5, and 49, will be found
to contain a history of Apologetic Literature parallel with the history of
Free Thought; and Note 21 discusses the history of some technical terms
commonly employed in the history of doubt.

The size of the subject has precluded the possibility of giving many
extracts from other works; but it may be permitted to remark, that the
literary references given are designed to supply sources of real and
valuable information on the various points in relation to which they are
cited. It can hardly be necessary to state, that the writer must not in
any way be held responsible for the sentiments expressed in the works to
which he may have given references. In a subject such as that which is
here treated, many of the works cited are neutral in character, and many
are objectionable. But it is right to supply complete literary materials,
as well as references to works which state both sides of the questions

The index appended is brief, and devoted chiefly to Proper Names; the
fulness of the Table of Contents seeming to render a longer one
unnecessary, which should contain references to subjects.

The writer wishes to express his acknowledgments to the chief Librarian of
the Bodleian, the Rev. H. O. Coxe, for his kindness in procuring for his
use a few foreign works which were necessary. He avails himself also of
this opportunity of expressing publicly his thanks to the same individual,
for the perseverance with which he has accomplished the scheme of
providing a reading-room in connection with the Bodleian Library, open to
students in an evening. Those whose time and strength are spent in college
or private tuition during the mornings, are thus enabled to avail
themselves of the treasures of a library, which until this recent
alteration was in a great degree useless to many of the most active minds
and diligent students in the university.

Thanks are also due to a few other persons for their advice and courtesy
in the loan of scarce books; also, in some instances, for assistance in
the verification of a reference;(64) and in one case, to a distinguished
scholar, for his kindness in revising one of the Notes.

The spirit in which the writer has composed the history has been stated
elsewhere.(65) His work now goes forth with no extraneous claims on public
attention. If it be, by the Divine blessing, the means of affording
instruction, guidance, or comfort, to a single mind, the writer’s labour
will be amply recompensed.


Lecture I.

_On the subject, method, and purpose of the course of Lectures._

The subject stated to be the struggle of the human mind against the
Christian revelation, in whole or in part. (p. 1.) Explanation of the
points which form the occasion of the conflict. (pp. 1-3.)

The mode of treatment, being that of a critical history, includes (p. 3)
the discovery of (1) the facts, (2) the causes, and (3) the moral.

The main part of this first lecture is occupied in explaining the second
of these divisions.

Importance, if the investigation were to be fully conducted, of carrying
out a comparative study of religions and of the attitude of the mind in
reference to all doctrine that rests on authority. (pp. 4-6.)

The idea of causes implies,

I. The law of the operation of the causes.

II. The enumeration of the causes which act according to this assumed law.

The empirical law, or formula descriptive of the action of reason on
religion, is explained to be one form of the principle of progress by
antagonism, the conservation or discovery of truth by means of inquiry and
controversy; a merciful Providence leaving men responsible for their
errors, but ultimately overruling evil for good. (p. 7.)

This great fact illustrated in the four Crises of the Christian faith in
Europe, viz. In the struggle

(1) With heathen philosophy, about A.D. 160-360. (p. 8.)

(2) With sceptical tendencies in Scholasticism, in the middle ages
(1100-1400). (p. 8.)

(3) With literature, at the Renaissance, in Italy (1400-1625). (p. 9.)

(4) With modern philosophy in three forms (p. 11): viz. English Deism in
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (p. 11); French Infidelity in the
eighteenth century; German Rationalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth.

Proposal to study the natural as well as literary history of these forms
of doubt.—The investigation separated from inquiries into heresy as
distinct from scepticism. (p. 13.)

The causes, seen to act according to the law just described, which make
free thought develope into unbelief, stated to be twofold. (p. 13.)

1. Emotional causes.—Necessity for showing the relation of the
intellectual causes to the emotional, both per se, and because the idea of
a history of thought, together with the comparative rarity of the process
here undertaken, implies the restriction of the attention mainly to the
intellectual. (p. 13.)

Influence of the emotional causes shown, both from psychology and from the
analysis of the nature of the evidence offered in religion (pp. 14,
15).—Historical illustrations of their influence. (pp. 15-17.)

Other instances where the doubt is in origin purely intellectual (p. 17),
but where nevertheless opportunity is seen for the latent operation of the
emotional. (p. 18.)

Explanation how far religious doubt is sin. (pp. 19, 20.)

2. Intellectual causes, which are the chief subject of these lectures; the
conjoint influence however of the emotional being always presupposed.

The intellectual causes shown to be (p. 20):

(α) the new material of knowledge which arises from the advance of the
various sciences; viz. Criticism; Physical, Moral, and Ontological
science. (p. 21.)

(β) the various metaphysical tests of truth or grounds of certitude
employed. (p. 22.)

An illustration of the meaning (pp. 22, 23), drawn from literature, in a
brief comparison of the types of thought shown in Milton, Pope, and

Statement of the exact position of this inquiry in the subdivisions of
metaphysical science (pp. 24, 25), and detailed explanation of the
advantages and disadvantages of applying to religion the tests of Sense,
subjective Forms of Thought, Intuition, and Feeling, respectively; as the
standard of appeal. (pp. 25-32.)

Advantage of a biographic mode of treatment in the investigation of the
operation of these causes in the history of doubt. (pp. 32-34.)

Statement of the utility of the inquiry:

(1) Intellectually, (α) in a didactic and polemical point of view, in that
it refers the origin of the intellectual elements in error to false
philosophy and faulty modes of judging, and thus refutes error by
analysing it into the causes which produce it; and also (β) in an indirect
contribution to the Christian evidences by the historic study of former
contests. (p. 36.)

(2) Morally, in creating deep pity for the sinner, united with hatred for
the sin. (p. 36.)

Concluding remarks on the spirit which has influenced the writer in these
lectures. (pp. 37, 38.)

Lecture II.

_The literary opposition of Heathens against Christianity in the early

_The first of the four crises of the faith._ (pp. 39-74.) Agreement and
difference of this crisis with the modern. (p. 40.) Sources for
ascertaining its nature, the original writings of unbelievers being lost.
(pp. 41, 42.)

Preliminary explanation of four states of belief among the heathens in
reference to religion, from which opposition to Christianity would arise:
(pp. 43-118) viz.

(1) the tendency to absolute disbelief of religion, as seen in Lucian and
the Epicurean school. (p. 43.) (2) a reactionary attachment to the
national creed,—the effect of prejudice in the lower orders, and of policy
in the educated. (pp. 45, 46.) (3) the philosophical tendency, in the
Stoics, (p. 44) and Neo-Platonists. (pp. 45, 46.) (4) the mystic
inclination for magic rites. (p. 47.)

Detailed critical history of the successive literary attacks on
Christianity. (p. 48 seq.)

1. that of Lucian, about A.D. 170, in the _Peregrinus Proteus_. (pp.
48-50.) 2. that of Celsus, about the same date. (pp. 50-55.) 3. that of
Porphyry, about 270. (pp. 56-61.) 4. that of Hierocles about 303, founded
on the earlier work of Philostratus respecting the life of Apollonius of
Tyana. (pp. 62-64.) 5. that of Julian, A.D. 363; an example of the
struggle in deeds as well as in ideas. (pp. 65-68.)

(Account of the _Philopatris_ of the Pseudo-Lucian. (p. 67.))

Conclusion; showing the relation of these attacks to the intellectual
tendencies before mentioned (p. 69), and to the general intellectual
causes sketched in Lect. I. (p. 69.)—Insufficiency of these causes to
explain the whole phenomenon of unbelief, unless the conjoint action of
emotional causes be supposed. (pp. 71, 72.)

Analogy of this early conflict to the modern. Lessons from consideration
of the means by which the early Church repelled it. (pp. 72-74.)

Lecture III.

_Free Thought during the middle ages, and at the Renaissance; together
with its rise in modern times._

This period embraces the second and third of the four epochs of doubt, and
the commencement of the fourth. Brief outline of the events which it
includes. (pp. 75, 76.)

_Second crisis_, from A.D. 1100-1400. (pp. 76-92.) It is a struggle
political as well as intellectual, Ghibellinism as well as scepticism. (p.

The intellectual tendencies in this period are four:

1. The scepticism developed in the scholastic philosophy, as seen in the
Nominalism of Abélard in the twelfth century. Account of the scholastic
philosophy, pp. 77-80; and of Abélard as a sceptic in his treatise _Sic et
Non._ (pp. 81-85.) 2. The _mot_ of progress in religion in the Franciscan
book called _The Everlasting Gospel_ in the thirteenth century. (pp. 86,
87.) 3. The idea of the comparative study of religion, as seen in the
legend of the book _De Tribus Impostoribus_ in the thirteenth century; and
in the poetry of the period. (pp. 88, 89.) 4. The influence of the
Mahometan philosophy of Averroes in creating a pantheistic disbelief of
immortality. (pp. 90, 91.)

Remarks on the mode used to oppose these movements; and critical estimate
of the period. (pp. 91, 92.)

_Third crisis_, from 1400-1625. (pp. 93-105.) Peculiarity of this period
as the era of the Renaissance and of “Humanism,” and as the transition
from mediæval society to modern. (p. 93.)

Two chief sceptical tendencies in it:

(1) The literary tendency in Tuscany and Rome in the fifteenth century;
the dissolution of faith being indicated by (a) the poetry of the romantic
epic. (p. 94.) (b) the revival of heathen tastes. (p. 95.)

Estimate of the political and social causes likely to generate doubt,
which were then acting. (pp. 97, 98.) the unbelief was confined to
Italy.—Reasons why so vast a movement as the Reformation passed without
fostering unbelief. (p. 99.)

2. The philosophical tendency in the university of Padua in the sixteenth
century. (p. 99 seq.) The spirit of it, pantheism (p. 100), in two forms;
one arising from the doctrines of Averroes; the other seen in Pomponatius,
from Alexander of Aphrodisias. (p. 101.) The relation of other
philosophers, such as Bruno and Vanini, to this twofold tendency. (pp.

Remarks on the mode used to oppose doubt (p. 104); and estimate of the
crisis. (p. 105.)

_Fourth crisis_; (pp. 105-339) commencing in the seventeenth century,
through the effects of the philosophy of Bacon and Descartes. (p. 106.)

The remainder of the lecture is occupied with the treatment of the
influence of Cartesianism, as seen in Spinoza.

Examination of Spinoza’s philosophy (pp. 106-110); of his criticism in the
_Theologico-Politicus_ (pp. 109-113); and of his indirect influence. (p.
113, 114.)

Concluding remarks on the government of Providence, as witnessed in the
history of large periods of time, such as that comprised in this lecture.
(p. 115.)

Lecture IV.

_Deism in England previous to A.D. 1760._

This lecture contains the first of the three forms which doubt has taken
in the fourth crisis. (p. 116.)—Sketch of the chief events, political and
intellectual, which influenced the mind of England during the seventeenth
century (p. 117); especial mention of the systems of Bacon and Descartes,
as exhibiting the peculiarity that they were philosophies of method. (pp.
117, 118.)

The history of Deism studied:

I. Its rise traced, 1640-1700. (pp. 119-125.) In this period the religious
inquiry has a political aspect, as seen (1) in Lord Herbert of Cherbury
(_De Veritate_ and _Religio Laici_) in the reign of Charles I. (pp. 119,
120.) (2) In Hobbes’s _Leviathan_. (pp. 121, 122.) (3) In Blount (_Oracles
of Reason_, and _Life of Apollonius_), in the reign of Charles II., in
whom a deeper political antipathy to religion is seen. (pp. 123, 124.)

II. The maturity of Deism (1700-1740), pp. 125-144. This period includes
(p. 127):

1. The examination of the first principles of religion, on its doctrinal
side, in Toland’s _Christianity not Mysterious_, &c. (pp. 126-130.) 2.
Ditto, on its ethical side, in Lord Shaftesbury. (pp. 130, 131.) 3. An
attack on the external evidences, viz. On prophecy, by Collins, _Scheme of
Literal Prophecy_, &c. (pp. 132-136). On Miracles, by Woolston,
_Discourses on Miracles_. (pp. 136-138); and by Arnobius. (p. 143.) 4. The
substitution of natural religion for revealed, in Tindal, _Christianity as
old as the Creation_. (pp. 138-140.), in Morgan, _Moral Philosopher_. (pp.
140, 141.), and in Chubb, Miscellaneous Works. (pp. 142, 143.)

III. The decline of Deism, 1740-1760. (pp. 144-153): 1. in Bolingbroke, a
combined view of deist objections. (pp. 143-147.) 2. in Hume, an assault
on the evidence of testimony, which substantiates miracles. (pp. 147-153.)

Remarks on the peculiarities of Deism, the intellectual causes which
contributed to produce it (pp. 154, 155); and a comparison of it with the
unbelief of other periods. (p. 156.)

Estimate of the whole period; and consideration of the intellectual and
spiritual means used for repelling unbelief in it (pp. 157-161); the
former in the school of evidences, of which Butler is the type, the
mention of whom leads to remarks on his _Analogy_ (pp. 157-159); and the
latter in spiritual labours like those of Wesley. (pp. 160, 161.)

Lecture V.

_Infidelity in France in the eighteenth century; and unbelief in England
subsequent to 1760._

INFIDELITY IN FRANCE (pp. 163-194).—This is the second phase of unbelief
in the fourth crisis of faith.

Sketch of the state of France, ecclesiastical, political (pp. 164, 165,)
and intellectual (partly through the philosophy of Condillac, pp. 166,
167), which created such a mental and moral condition as to allow unbelief
to gain a power there unknown elsewhere.—The unbelief stated to be caused
chiefly by the influence of English Deism, transplanted into the soil thus
prepared. (p. 203.)

The history studied (1) in its assault on the Church; as seen in Voltaire;
the analysis of whose character is necessary, because his influence was
mainly due to the teacher, not the doctrine taught. (pp. 169-176.) (2) in
the transition to an assault on the State, in Diderot, (pp. 179, 180); the
philosophy of the Encyclopædists (p. 177); Helvetius (p. 180); and
D’Holbach. (p. 181.) (3) in the attack on the State, in Rousseau (pp.
183-187).—Analysis of the _Emile_ for his views on religion, (p. 185), and
comparison with Voltaire. (p. 188.) (4) in the Revolution, both the
political movement and blasphemous irreligion (pp. 188, 189); and the
intellectual movement in Volney (Analysis of the _Ruines_, pp. 191, 192).

Estimate of the period (pp. 193, 194).

UNBELIEF IN ENGLAND, from 1760 to a date a little later than the end of
the century (pp. 194-209), continued from Lecture IV.

These later forms of it stated to differ slightly from the former, by
being partially influenced by French thought. (p. 195.)

The following instances of it examined:

(1) Gibbon viewed as a writer and a critic on religion (pp. 196-199). (2)
T. Paine: account of his _Age of Reason_ (pp. 199-201). (3) The socialist
philosophy of R. Owen (p. 202). (4) The scepticism in the poetry of Byron
and Shelley (pp. 203-207).

The last two forms of unbelief, though occurring in the present century,
really embody the spirit of the last.

Statement of the mode used to meet the doubt in England during this
period. Office of the Evidences (pp. 207-209).

Lecture VI.

_Free Thought in the Theology of Germany, from 1750-1835._

This is the third phase of free thought in that which was called the
fourth crisis of faith.—Importance of the movement, which is called
“rationalism,” as the theological phase of the literary movement of
Germany (p. 210).—Deviation from the plan previously adopted, in that a
sketch is here given of German theological inquiry generally, and not
merely of unbelief (p. 211).

Brief preliminary sketch of German theology since the Reformation. Two
great tendencies shown in it during the seventeenth century (p. 211).

(1) The dogmatic and scholastic, science without earnestness (p. 212). (2)
The pietistic, earnestness without science (p. 213).

In the first half of the eighteenth century, three new influences are
introduced (pp. 213, 214), which are the means of creating rationalism in
the latter half: viz.

(α) The philosophy of Wolff, explained to be a formal expression of
Leibnitz’s principles; and the evil effect of it, accidental and indirect
(pp. 214-216). (β) The works of the English deists (p. 216). (γ) The
influence of the colony of French infidels at the court of Frederick II.
of Prussia (p. 217).

The subsequent history is studied in three periods (p. 218); viz.

PERIOD I. (1750-1810).—Destructive in character, inaugurated by Semler
(pp. 218-234). PERIOD II. (1810-1835).—Reconstructive in character,
inaugurated by Schleiermacher (pp. 239-261). PERIOD III. (1835 to present
time)—Exhibiting definite and final tendencies, inaugurated by Strauss
(Lect. VII).

PERIOD I. (1750-1810), is studied under two Sub-periods:

Sub-period I. (1750-1790, pp. 219-228), which includes three movements;
(1) Within the church (p. 219 seq.); dogmatic; literary in Michaelis and
Ernesti; and freethinking in Semler (pp. 221-224), the author of the
historic method of interpretation. (2) External to the church (pp.
224-226); literary deism in Lessing, and in the Wolfenbüttel fragments of
Reimarus (p. 225). (3) External to the church; practical deism, in the
educational institutions of Basedow (p. 227).

Sub-period II. (1790-1810, pp. 227-234); the difference caused by the
introduction of two new influences; viz,

(α) The literary, of the court of Weimar and of the great men gathered
there (p. 228). (β) The philosophy of Kant, (the effect of which is
explained, pp. 229, 230); the home of both of which was at Jena.

As the result of these new influences, three movements are visible in the
Church (p. 230); viz,

(1) The critical “rationalism” of Eichhorn and Paulus, the intellectual
successors of Semler (pp. 231, 232). (2) The dogmatic, more or less
varying from orthodoxy, seen towards the end of this period in
Bretschneider, Röhr, and Wegscheider (pp. 233, 234). (3) The
supernaturalism of Reinhardt and Storr (p. 231).

PERIOD II. (1810-1835.)—Introduction of four new influences (p. 235),
which completely altered the theological tone; viz. (α) New systems of
speculative philosophy; of Jacobi, who followed out the _material_ element
of Kant’s philosophy (p. 235); and of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, who
followed out the _formal_ (p. 238). (β) The “romantic” school of poetry
(p. 239). (γ) The moral tone, generated by the liberation wars of 1813.
(p. 240.) (δ) The excitement caused by the theses of Harms at the
tercentenary of the Reformation in 1817. (pp. 240, 241.)

The result of these is seen (p. 241) in

(1) An improved doctrinal school under Schleiermacher (pp. 241-250),
(description of his _Glaubenslehre_, p. 245 seq.); and under his
successors, Neander, &c. (pp. 250-252.) (2) An improved critical tone (p.
252 seq.) as seen in De Wette and Ewald, which is illustrated by an
explanation of the Pentateuch controversy (pp. 254-258).

Concluding notice of two other movements to be treated in the next lecture
(p. 259); viz.

(1) an attempt, different from that of Schleiermacher, in the school of
Hegel, to find a new philosophical basis for Christianity; and (2) the
return to the biblical orthodoxy of the Lutheran church.

Remarks on the benevolence of Providence in overruling free inquiry to the
discovery of truth. (pp. 259-261).

Lecture VII.

_Free Thought in Germany subsequently to 1835; and in France during the
present century._

FREE THOUGHT IN GERMANY (continued).—History of the transition from Period
II. named in the last lecture, to Period III. (pp. 262-274.)

Explanation of the attempt, noticed pp. 242, 259, of the Hegelian school
to find a philosophy of Christianity. Critical remarks on Hegel’s system,
(pp. 263-267-267); its tendency to create an “ideological” spirit in
religion (p. 264):—the school which it at first formed is seen best in
Marheinecke. (p. 265.)

The circumstance which created an epoch in German theology was the
publication of Strauss’s _Leben Jesu_ in 1835 (p. 266). Description of it
(α) in its critical aspect (pp. 267, 270), which leads to an explanation
of the previous discussions in Germany concerning the origin and
credibility of the Gospels (pp. 268, 269); and (β) in its philosophical,
as related to Hegel (p. 270); together with an analysis of the work (p.
271). Statement of the effects produced by it on the various theological
parties. (pp. 272, 273.)

PERIOD III. As the result of the agitation caused by Strauss’s work, four
theological tendencies are seen; viz.

(1) One external to the church, thoroughly antichristian, as in Bruno
Bauer, Feuerbach, and Stirner. (pp. 274-276.) (2) The historico-critical
school of Tübingen, founded by Chr. Bauer. (pp. 277-279.) (3) The
“mediation” school, seen in Dorner and Rothe, (pp. 279-282.) (4) A return
to the Lutheran orthodoxy, (pp. 282-285,) at first partly created by an
attempt to unite the Lutheran and Reformed churches, (p. 282); seen in the
“Neo-Lutheranism” of Hengstenberg and Hävernick, (p. 282), and the
“Hyper-Lutheranism” of Stahl and the younger members of the school. (pp.
283, 285.)

Mention of the contemporaneous increase of spiritual life in Germany. (p.

Concluding estimate of the whole movement, (pp. 286, 287); and lessons for
students in reference to it. (pp. 288, 289.)

FREE THOUGHT IN FRANCE during the present century (pp. 290-305),
(continued from Lect. IV. p. 194.)

In its tone it is constructive of belief, if compared with that of the
eighteenth century.

From 1800-1852.

The speculative thought has exhibited four distinct forms. (p. 290.)

(1) The ideology of De Tracy, in the early part of the century. (2) The
theological school of De Maistre, &c. to re-establish the dogmatic
authority of the Romish church. (3) Socialist philosophy, St. Simon,
Fourier, Comte. (4) The Eclectic school (Cousin, &c.)

Remarks on the first school.—The recovery of French philosophy and thought
from the ideas of this school, partly due to the literary tone of
Chateaubriand. (pp. 290, 291.)

Influence of the Revolution of 1830 in giving a stimulus to thought. (p.

Remarks on the third school.—Explanation of socialism as taught by St.
Simon (pp. 292, 293); as taught by Fourier (pp. 293, 294); and difference
from English socialism. (p. 294.)

Positivism, both as an offshoot of the last school, and in itself as a
religion and a philosophy. (pp. 295, 296.)

Remarks on the fourth school.—Eclecticism as taught by Cousin, viewed as a
philosophy and a religion. (pp. 297-299.)

Remarks on the second school; viewed as an attempt to refute the preceding
schools. (p. 300.)

From 1852-1862.

New form of eclecticism under the empire (p. 302), viz. the historic
method, based on Hegel, as Cousin’s was based on Schelling.—E. Renan the
type. (pp. 302-304.)

Free thought in the Protestant church (pp. 304, 305) regarded as an
attempt to meet by concession doubts of contemporaries.

Lecture VIII.

_Free Thought in England in the present century: Summary of the Course of
Lectures: and Inferences in reference to present dangers and duties._

MODERN UNBELIEF IN ENGLAND (continued from Lect V.):—Introductory remarks
on the alteration of its tone. (pp. 306, 307.)—The cause of which is
stated to be a general one, the subjective tone created (p. 308) by such
influences as, (1) the modern poetry (p. 309), and (2) the two great
attempts by Bentham and Coleridge to reconstruct philosophy. (pp. 309,

The doubt and unbelief treated in the following order (p. 311):

(1) That which appeals to Sensational experience and to Physical science
as the test of truth; viz. (α) Positivism among the educated (p. 312). (β)
Secularism or Naturalism among the masses (p. 313); and in a minor degree,
(γ) The doubts created by Physical science (p. 314). (2) That which
appeals to the faculty of Intuition (p. 315);—expressed in literature, by
Carlyle, (pp. 316, 317); and by the American, Emerson. (p. 317.) Influence
also of the modern literature of romance, (p. 318.) (3) Direct attacks on
Christianity, critical rather than philosophical: viz. (α) The examination
of the historic problem of the development of religious ideas among the
Hebrews, by R. W. Mackay (pp. 319, 320). (β) A summary of objections to
revelation, by Mr. Greg, _The Creed of Christendom_ (p. 321). (γ) The
examination of the psychical origin of religion and Christianity, by Miss
S. Hennell, _Thoughts in aid of Faith_, (p. 323.) (4) The deism, and
appeal to the Intuitional consciousness, expressed by Mr. Theodore Parker
(pp. 325, 326), and Mr. F. Newman (pp. 326-329). (5) The traces of free
thought within the Christian church (p. 330); viz.: (α) The philosophical
tendency which originates with Coleridge. (pp. 330-333.) (β) The critical
tendency, investigating the facts of revelation. (pp. 334-336.) (γ) The
critical tendency, the literature which contains it. (pp. 336, 337.)

This completes the history of the fourth crisis of faith (p. 339), the
history of which began near the end of Lect. III. at p. 105.

SUMMARY of the course of lectures. (pp. 339-41.)—Recapitulation of the
original purpose, which is stated to have been, while assuming the potency
of the moral, to analyse the intellectual causes of doubt, which have been
generally left uninvestigated.

Refutation of objections which might be made; such as

(1) One directed against the utility of the inquiry. (p. 342.) (2) One
directed against its uncontroversial character.

A critical history shown to be useful in the present age, (1) in an
educational point of view for those who are to be clergymen, and to
encounter current forms of doubt by word or by writing (pp. 342-345); and
(2) in a controversial point of view, by resolving the intellectual
element in many cases of unbelief into incorrect metaphysical philosophy;
the value of which inquiry is real, even if such intellectual causes be
regarded only as the conditions, and not the causes, of unbelief. (p.


Further objections anticipated and refuted in reference (3) to the candour
of the mode of inquiry, and the absence of vituperation which is stated
not to be due to indifference to Christian truth, but wholly to the
demands of a scientific mode of treatment (p. 346); (4) to the absence of
an eager advocacy of any particular metaphysical theory; which is due to
the circumstance that the purpose was to exhibit errors as logical
corollaries from certain theories, without assuming the necessary
existence of these corollaries in actual life (p. 347); (5) to the
insufficiency of the causes enumerated to produce doubt without taking
account of the moral causes; which objection is not only admitted, but
shown to be at once the peculiar property which belongs to the analysis of
intellectual phenomena, and also a witness to the instinctive conviction
that the ultimate cause of belief and unbelief is moral, not intellectual;
which had been constantly assumed. (p. 347.)


THE LESSONS derived from the whole historical survey. (p. 348 seq.)

I. What has been the office of doubt in history? (p. 348.)

Opposite opinions on this subject stated. (p. 348.) Examination of the
ordinary Christian opinion on the one hand, which regards it as a mischief
(p. 348), and of Mr. Buckle’s on the other, which regards it as a good.
(p. 349.)

1. The office is shown to be, to bring all truths to the test. (p. 349.)
Historical instances of its value in destroying the Roman catholic errors.
(p. 350.)

2. Free inquiry also shown in some cases to be forced on man by the
presentation of new knowledge, which demands consideration. (p. 350.)
Denial of the statement that the doubts thus created are an entire
imitation of older doubt. (p. 352.)

3. The office of it in the hands of Providence to elicit truth by the very
controversies which it creates (p. 352); the responsibility of the
inquirer not being destroyed, but the overruling providence of God made
visible. (p. 353.)

II. What does the history teach, as to the doubts most likely to present
themselves at this time, and the best modes of meeting them? (p. 353.)

The materials shown to be presented for a final answer to these questions.
(p. 354.)

The probability shown from consideration of the state of the various
sciences, mechanical, physiological (p. 355), and mental (p. 355), that no
new difficulties can be suggested hereafter, distinct in _kind_ from the
present; nor any unknown kinds of evidence presented on behalf of

Analogy of the present age as a whole, in disintegration of belief, to the
declining age of Roman civilization. (p. 356.)

The doubts which beset us in the present age stated to be chiefly three
(p. 357), viz.:

1. The relation of the natural to the supernatural. This doubt is
sometimes expressed in a spirit of utter unbelief; sometimes in a tone of
sadness (p. 358), arising from mental struggles, of which some are
enumerated (p. 358). The intellectual and moral means of meeting these
doubts. (p. 359.)

2. The relation of the atoning work of Christ to the human race. (p. 360.)
Explanation of the defective view which would regard it only as
reconciling man to God, and would destroy the priestly work of Christ; and
statement of the modes in which its advocates reconcile it with
Christianity. (p. 361.)

The importance that such doubts be answered by reason, not merely silenced
by force. (p. 362.)

An answer sought by studying the various modes used in other ages of the
church (p. 362); especially by those who have had to encounter the like
difficulties, e.g. the Alexandrian fathers in the third century, and the
faithful in Germany in the present. (p. 363.)

This method shown to have been to present the philosophical prior to the
historical evidence, in order to create the sense of religious want,
before exhibiting Christianity as the divine supply for it. (p. 364.)

In regard to the historic evidence, three misgivings of the doubter
require to be met for his full satisfaction (p. 366); viz.

(α) The literary question of the trustworthiness of the books of the New

The mode of meeting this explained, with the possibility of establishing
Christian dogmas, even if the most extravagant rationalism were for
argument’s sake conceded. (p. 367.)

(β) The doubt whether the Christian dogmas, and especially the atonement,
are really taught in the New Testament. The value of the fathers, and the
progress of the doctrine in church history, shown in reference to this
question. (p. 368.)

(γ) The final difficulty which the doubter may put, whether even apostolic
and miraculous teaching is to overrule the moral sense. (p. 369.)

The possibility shown of independent corroboration of the apostolic
teaching, in the testimony of the living church, and the experience of
religious men. (p. 371.)

The utter improbability of error in this part of scriptural teaching, even
if the existence of error elsewhere were for argument’s sake conceded. (p.

Difference of this appeal from that of Schleiermacher to the Christian

3. The relation of the Bible to the church, whether it is a record or an
authority. (p. 372.)

Statement of the modes of viewing the question in different ages. (p.

The Bible an authority; but the importance shown of using wisdom in not
pressing the difficulties of scripture on an inquirer, so as to quench
incipient faith. (p. 374.)

The mention of the emotional causes of doubt conjoined with the
intellectual, a warning that, in addition to all arguments, the help of
the divine Spirit to hallow the emotions must be sought and expected. (p.

Final lesson to Christian students, that in all ages of peril, earnest men
have found the truth by the method of study united to prayer. (pp.


    LUKE vii. 51.

    _Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you,
    nay; but rather division._

The present course of lectures relates to one of the conflicts exhibited
in the history of the Church; viz. the struggle of the human spirit to
free itself from the authority of the Christian faith.

Christianity offers occasion for opposition by its inherent claims,
independently of accidental causes. For it asserts authority over
religious belief in virtue of being a supernatural communication from God,
and claims the right to control human thought in virtue of possessing
sacred books which are at once the record and the instrument of this
communication, written by men endowed with supernatural inspiration. The
inspiration of the writers is transferred to the books, the matter of
which, so far as it forms the subject of the revelation, is received as
true because divine, not merely regarded as divine because perceived to be
true. The religion, together with the series of revelations of which it is
the consummation, differs in kind from ethnic religions, and from human
philosophy; and the sacred literature differs in kind from other books.
Each is unique, a solitary miracle of its class in human history.

The contents also of the sacred books bring them into contact with the
efforts of speculative thought. Though at first glance they might seem to
belong to a different sphere, that of the soul rather than the intellect,
and to possess a different function, explaining duties rather than
discovering truth; yet in deep problems of physical or moral history, such
as Providence, Sin, Reconciliation, they supply materials for limiting
belief in the very class of subjects which is embraced in the compass of
human philosophy.

A conflict accordingly might naturally be anticipated, between the
reasoning faculties of man and a religion which claims the right on
superhuman authority to impose limits on the field or manner of their
exercise; the intensity of which at various epochs would depend, partly
upon the amount of critical activity, and partly on the presence of causes
which might create a divergence between the current ideas and those
supplied by the sacred literature.

The materials are wanting for detecting traces of this struggle in other
parts of the world than Europe; but the progress of it may be fully
observed in European history, altering concomitantly with changes in the
condition of knowledge, or in the methods of seeking it; at first as an
open conflict, philosophical or critical, with the literary pagans,
subsiding as Christianity succeeded in introducing its own conceptions
into every region of thought; afterwards reviving in the middle ages, and
gradually growing more intense in modern times as material has been
offered for it through the increase of knowledge or the activity of
speculation; varying in name, in form, in degree, but referable to similar
causes, and teaching similar lessons.

It is the chief of these movements of free thought in Europe which it is
my purpose to describe, in their historic succession and their connection
with intellectual causes.

We must ascertain the facts; discover the causes; and read the moral.
These three inquiries, though distinct in idea, cannot be disjoined in a
critical history. The facts must first be presented in place and time: the
history is thus far a mere chronicle. They must next be combined with a
view to interpretation. Yet in making this first combination, taste guides
more than hypothesis. The classification is artistic rather than logical,
and merely presents the facts with as much individual vividness as is
compatible with the preservation of the perspective requisite in the
general historic picture. At this point the artistic sphere of history
ceases, and the scientific commences as soon as the mind searches for any
regularity or periodicity in the occurrence of the facts, such as may be
the effect of fixed causes. If an empirical law be by this means
ascertained to exist, an explanation of it must then be sought in the
higher science which investigates mind. Analysis traces out the ultimate
typical forms of thought which are manifested in it; and if it does not
aspire to arbitrate on their truth, it explains how they have become
grounds on which particular views have been assumed to be true. The
intellect is then satisfied, and the science of history ends. But the
heart still craves a further investigation. It demands to view the moral
and theological aspects of the subject, to harmonize faith and discovery,
or at least to introduce the question of human responsibility, and
reverently to search for the final cause which the events subserve in the
moral purposes of providence. The drama of history must not develope
itself without the chorus to interpret its purpose. The artistic,—the
scientific,—the ethical,—these are the three phases of history. (1)

The chief portion of the present lecture will be devoted to explain the
mode of applying the plan just indicated; more especially to develop the
second of these three branches, by stating the law which has marked the
struggle of free thought with Christianity, and illustrating the
intellectual causes which have been manifested in it.

In searching for such a law, or such causes, we ought not to forget that,
if we wished to lay a sound basis for generalization, it would be
necessary not to restrict our attention to the history of Christianity,
but to institute a comparative study of religions, ethnic or revealed, in
order to trace the action of reason in the collective religious history of
the race. Whether the religions of nature be regarded as the distortion of
primitive traditions, or as the spontaneous creation of the religious
faculties, the agreement or contrast suggested by a comparison of them
with the Hebrew and Christian religions, which are preternaturally
revealed, is most important as a means of discovering the universal laws
of the human mind; the exceptional character which belongs to the latter
member of the comparison increasing rather than diminishing the value of
the study. All alike are adjusted, the one class naturally and
accidentally, the other designedly and supernaturally, to the religious
elements of human nature. All have a subjective existence as aspirations
of the heart, an objective as institutions, and a history which is
connected with the revolutions of literature and society. (2)

Comparative observation of this kind gives some approach to the exactness
of experiment; for we watch providence as it were executing an experiment
for our information, which exhibits the operations of the same law under
altered circumstances. If, for example, we should find that Christianity
was the only religion, the history of which presented a struggle of reason
against authority, we should pronounce that there must be peculiar
elements in it which arouse the special opposition; or if the phenomenon
be seen to be common to all creeds, but to vary in intensity with the
activity of thought and progress of knowledge, this discovery would
suggest to us the existence of a law of the human mind.

Such a study would also furnish valuable data for determining precisely
the variation of form which alteration of conditions causes in the
development of such a struggle. In the East, the history of religion, for
which material is supplied by the study of the Zend and Sanskrit
literature, (3) would furnish examples of attempts made by philosophers to
find a rational solution of the problems of the universe, and to adjust
the theories of speculative thought to the national creed deposited in
supposed sacred books. And though, in a western nation such as Greece, the
separation of religion from philosophy was too wide to admit of much
parallel in the speculative aspect of free thought, yet in reference to
the critical, many instances of the application of an analogous process to
a national creed may be seen in the examination made of the early
mythology, the attempt to rationalize it by searching for historical data
in it, or to moralize it by allegory.(66) Again, within the sphere of the
Hebrew religion which, though supernaturally suggested, developed in
connexion with human events so as to admit the possibility of the rise of
mental difficulties in the progress of its history, how much hallowed
truth, both theoretical and practical, might be learned from the divine
breathings of pious inquirers, such as the sacred authors of the
seventy-third Psalm, or of the books of Job and Ecclesiastes, which give
expression to painful doubts about Providence, not fully solved by
religion, but which nevertheless faith was willing to leave
unexplained.(67) If in the Oriental systems free thought is seen to
operate on a national creed by adjusting it to new ideas through
philosophical dogmatism; if in the Greek by explaining it away through
scepticism; in the Hebrew it is hushed by the holier logic of the
feelings. The two former illustrate steps in the intellectual progress of
free thought; the last exhibits the moral lesson of resignation and
submission in the soul of the inquirer.

Nor ought this method of comparison to be laid aside even at this point.
It would be requisite, for a full discovery of the intellectual causes
that the generalization should be carried further, and the operations of
free thought watched in reference to other subjects than religion.(68)
Reason in its action, first on Christianity both in Europe and elsewhere,
secondly on Jewish and heathen religions, lastly on any body of truth
which rests on traditional authority,—these would be the scientific steps
necessary for eliminating accidental phenomena, and discovering the real
laws which have operated in this branch of intellectual history. The
suggestion of such a plan of study, though obviously too large to be here
pursued, may offer matter of thought to reflective minds, and may at least
help to raise the subject out of the narrow sphere to which it is usually
supposed to belong. The result of the survey would confirm the view of the
struggle now about to be given which is suggested by European history.

When any new material of thought, such as a new religion which interferes
with the previous standard of belief, is presented to the human mind; or
when conversely any alteration in the state of knowledge on which the
human mind forms its judgment, imparts to an old established religion an
aspect of opposition which was before unperceived; the religion is
subjected to the ordeal of an investigation. Science examines the
doctrines taught by it, criticism the evidence on which they profess to
rest, and the literature which is their expression. And if such an
investigation fail to establish the harmony of the old and the new, the
result takes two forms: either the total rejection of the particular
religion, and sometimes even of the supernatural generally, or else an
eclecticism which seeks by means of philosophy to discover and appropriate
the hidden truth to which the religion was an attempt to give expression.

The attack however calls forth the defence. Accordingly the result of this
action and reaction is to produce scientific precision, either apologetic
or dogmatic, within the religious system, and scepticism outside of it;
both reconstructive in purpose, but the former defensive in its method,
the latter destructive. The elements of truth which exist on both sides
are brought to light by the controversy, and after the struggle has passed
become the permanent property of the world.

These statements, which convey a general expression for the influence of
free thought in relation to religion, are verified in the history of

There are four epochs at which the struggle of reason against the
authority of the Christian religion has been especially manifest, each
characterized by energy and intensity of speculative thought, and
exhibiting on the one hand partial or entire unbelief, or on the other a
more systematic expression of Christian doctrine; epochs in fact of
temporary peril, of permanent gain.(69)

In the first of these periods, extending from the second to the fourth
century, Christianity is seen in antagonism with forms of Greek or Eastern
philosophy, and the existence is apparent of different forms of scepticism
or reason used in attack. The very attempt of the Alexandrian school of
theology to adjust the mysteries of Christianity and of the Bible to
speculative thought, by a well meant but extravagant use of allegorical
interpretation, is itself a witness of the presence or pressure of free
thought. The less violent of the two forms of unbelief is seen in the
Gnostics, the rationalists of the early Church, who summoned Christianity
to the bar of philosophy, and desired to appropriate the portion of its
teachings which approved itself to their eclectic tastes; the more violent
kind in the rejection of Christianity as an imposture, or in the attempts
made to refer its origin to psychological causes, on the part of the early
enemies of Christianity, Celsus and Julian, prototypes of the positive
unbelievers of later times. The Greek theology, which embodied the
dogmatic statements in which the Christian Church under the action of
controversy gave explicit expression to its implicit belief, is the
example of the stimulus which the pressure of free thought gave to the use
of reason in defence.

As we pass down the course of European history, the Pagan literature which
had suggested the first attack disappears: but as soon as the elements of
civilization, which survived the deluge that overwhelmed the Roman empire,
had been sufficiently consolidated to allow of the renewal of speculation,
a repetition of the contest may be observed.

The revived study of the Greek philosophers, and of their Arabic
commentators introduced from the Moorish universities of Spain, with the
consequent rise of the scholastic philosophy in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, furnished material for a renewal of the struggle of reason
against authority, a second crisis in the history of the Church. The
history of it becomes complicated by the circumstance that free thought,
in the process of disintegrating the body of authoritative teaching, now
began to assume on several occasions a new shape, a kind of incipient
Protestantism. Doubting neither Christianity nor the Bible, it is seen to
challenge merely that part of the actual religion which, as it conceived,
had insinuated itself from human sources in the lapse of ages.
Accordingly, the critical independence of Nominalism, in a mind like that
of Abélard, represents the destructive action of free thought, partly as
early Protestantism, partly as scepticism; while the series of noted
Realists, of which Aquinas is an example, that tried anew to adjust faith
to science, and thus created the Latin theology, represents the defensive
action of reason. The imparting scientific definition to the immemorial
doctrines of the Church constituted the defence.

In the later middle ages, however, philosophy gradually succeeded in
emancipating itself so entirely from theology, that when the Renaissance
came, and a large body of heathen thought was introduced into the current
of European life by means of ancient literature, a third crisis occurred.
The independence passed into open revolt, and, fostered by political
confusion and material luxury, expressed itself in a literature of

The mental awakening which had commenced in art and extended to literature
paved the way for a spiritual awakening. The Reformation itself, though
the product of a deep consciousness of spiritual need, an emancipation of
soul as well as mind, is nevertheless a special instance of the same
dissolution of mediæval life, and must therefore be regarded as belonging
to the same general movement of free thought, though not to that sceptical
form of it which comes within the field of our investigation. For
Protestantism, though it be scepticism in respect of the authority of the
traditional teaching of the Church, yet reposes implicitly on an outward
authority revealed in the sacred books of holy Scripture, and restricts
the exercise of freedom within the limits prescribed by this authority;
whereas scepticism proper is an insurrection against the outward authority
or truth of the inspired books, and reposes on the unrevealed, either on
consciousness or on science. The one is analogous to a school of art which
desires to reform itself by the use of ancient models; the other to one
which professes to return to an unassisted study of nature. The spiritual
earnestness which characterized the Reformation prevented the changes in
religious belief from developing into scepticism proper; and the theology
of the Reformation is accordingly an example of defence and reconstruction
as well as of revulsion.

During the century which followed, mental activity found employment in
other channels in connexion with the political struggles which resulted
from the religious changes. But the seventeenth age was another of those
epochs which form crises in the history of the human mind. The
reconstruction at that time of the methods on which science depends, by
Bacon from the empirical side, by Descartes from the intellectual, created
as great a revolution in knowledge as the Renaissance had produced in
literature or the Reformation in religion; and a body of materials was
presented from which philosophers ventured to criticise the Bible and the
dogmatic teaching of the Church. This fourth great period of free thought,
which extends to the present time, has been marked by more striking events
than former ones.(70) Though the movement relates to a similar sphere, the
history is rendered more complex by union with literature, and connexion
as cause or effect with social changes, as well as by the reciprocal
operation of its influence in different countries. Language, which is
always a record of opinion, popular or scientific,(71) classifies the
forms of this last great movement of free thought under three names, viz.
Deism in England in the early part of the eighteenth century; Infidelity
in France in the latter part of it; and Rationalism in Germany in the
nineteenth; movements which exhibit characteristics respectively of the
three nations, and of their intellectual and general history. English
Deism, the product of the reasoning spirit which was stimulated by
political events, directed itself against the special revelation of
Christianity from the stand-point of the religion of natural reason, and
ran a course parallel with the gradual emancipation of the individual from
the power of the state. French infidelity, breathing the spirit of
materialist philosophy, halted not till it brought its devotees even to
atheism, and mingled itself with the great movements of political
revolution, which ultimately reconstituted French society. German
Rationalism, empirical or spiritual,(72) in two parallel developments, the
philosophical and the literary, neither coldly denied Christianity with
the practical doubts of the English deists, nor flippantly denounced it as
imposture with the trenchant and undiscriminating logic of the French
infidels; but appreciating its beauty with the freshness of a poetical
genius, and regarding it as one phase of the religious consciousness,
endeavoured, by means of the methods employed in secular learning, to
collect the precious ideas of eternal truth to which Christianity seemed
to it to give expression, and by means of speculative criticism to exhibit
the literary and psychological causes which it supposed had overlaid them
with error.

Nor has the activity of reason used in defence been less manifest in these
later movements. The great works on the Christian evidences are the
witness to its presence; and the deeper and truer appreciation of
Christianity now shown in every country, and the increasing interest felt
in religion, are the indirect effect, under the guidance of divine
Providence, of the stirring of the religious apprehension by

We have thus at once exhibited the province which will be hereafter
investigated in detail, and stated the general law observable in the
conflict between free thought and Christianity. The type reappears,
perpetuated by the fixity of mind, though the form varies under the force
of circumstances. Christianity being stationary and authoritative, thought
progressive and independent, the causes which stimulate the restlessness
of the latter interrupt the harmony which ordinarily exists between belief
and knowledge, and produce crises during which religion is re-examined.
Disorganization is the temporary result; theological advance the
subsequent. Whatever is evil is eliminated in the conflict; whatever is
good is retained. Under the overruling of a beneficent Providence,
antagonism is made the law of human progress.

The restriction of our inquiry to the consideration of the free action of
reason will cause our attention to be almost entirely confined to the
operation of reason in its attack on Christianity, to the neglect of the
evidences which the other office of it has presented in defence; and will
also exclude altogether the study of struggles, where the opposition to
Christianity has rested on an appeal to the authority of rival sacred
books; such for example as the conflict with rival religions like the
Jewish (4) or Mahometan (5); as well as of heresies which, like the
Socinian (6), claim, however unjustly, to rest on the authority of the
Christian revelation.

The law thus sketched of this struggle needs fuller explanation. We must
employ a more exact analysis to gain a conception of the causes which have
operated at different periods to make free thought develop into unbelief.

It will be obvious that the causes must depend, either upon the nature of
the Christian religion, which is the subject, or of the mind of man, which
is the agent of attack. The former were touched upon in the opening
remarks of this lecture, and may be reconsidered hereafter;(74) but it is
necessary to gain a general view of the latter before treating them in
their application in future lectures.

These causes, so far as they are spiritual and disconnected from admixture
with political circumstances, may be stated to be of two kinds, viz.
intellectual and moral; the intellectual explaining the types of thought,
the moral the motives which have from time to time existed.(75) The
actions, and generally the opinions of a human being, are the complex
result arising from the union of both. Yet the two elements, though
closely intertwined in a concrete instance, can be apprehended separately
as objects of abstract thought; and the forms of manifestation and mode of
operation peculiar to each can be separately traced.

In a history of thought, the antagonism created by the intellect rather
than by the heart seems the more appropriate subject of study, and will be
almost exclusively considered in these lectures. Nevertheless a brief
analysis must be here given of the mode in which the moral is united with
the intellectual in the formation of opinions. This is the more necessary,
lest we should seem to commit the mistake of ignoring the existence or
importance of the emotional element, if the restriction of our point of
view to the intellectual should hereafter prevent frequent references to

The influence of the moral causes in generating doubt, though sometimes
exaggerated, is nevertheless real. Psychological analysis shows that the
emotions operate immediately on the will, and the will on the intellect.
Consequently the emotion of dislike is able through the will to prejudice
the judgment, and cause disbelief of a doctrine against which it is
directed.(76) Nor can we doubt that experience confirms the fact. Though
we must not rashly judge our neighbour, nor attempt to measure in any
particular mind the precise amount of doubt which is due to moral causes,
yet it is evident that where a freethinker is a man of immoral or
unspiritual life, whose interests incline him to disbelieve in the reality
of Christianity, his arguments may reasonably be suspected to be suggested
by sins of character, and by dislike to the moral standard of the
Christian religion, and, though not on this account necessarily
undeserving of attention, must be watched at every point with caution, in
order that the emotional may be eliminated from the intellectual causes.

It is also a peculiarity belonging to the kind of evidence on which
religion rests for proof, that it offers an opportunity for the subtle
influence of moral causes, where at first sight intellectual might seem
alone to act. For the evidence of religion is probable, not demonstrative;
and it is the property of probable evidence that the character and
experience determine the comparative weight which the mind assigns in it
to the premises.(77) In demonstrative evidence there is no opportunity for
the intrusion of emotion; but in probable reasoning the judgment
ultimately formed by the mind depends often as much upon the antecedent
presumptions brought to the investigation of the subject, as upon the
actual proofs presented; the state of feeling causing a variation in the
force with which a proposition commends itself to the mind at different
times. The very subtlety of this influence, which requires careful
analysis for its detection, causes it to be overlooked. Accordingly, in a
subject like religion, the emotions may secretly insinuate themselves in
the preliminary step of determining the weight due to the premises, even
where the final process of inference is purely intellectual.

We can select illustrations of this view of the subtlety of the operation
of prejudice from instances of a kind unlike the one previously named; in
which it will be seen that the disinclination of the inquirer to accept
Christianity has not arisen primarily from the obstacle caused by the
enmity of his own carnal heart, but from antipathy toward the moral
character of those who have professed the Christian faith.

Who can doubt, that the corrupt lives of Christians in the later centuries
of the middle ages, the avarice of the Avignon popes, the selfishness
shown in the great schism, the simony and nepotism of the Roman court of
the fifteenth century, excited disgust and hatred toward Christianity in
the hearts of the literary men of the Renaissance, which disqualified them
for the reception of the Christian evidences; or that the social
disaffection in the last century in France incensed the mind against the
Church that supported alleged public abuses,(78) until it blinded a
Voltaire from seeing any goodness in Christianity; or that the religious
intolerance shown within the present century by the ecclesiastical power
in Italy drove a Leopardi(79) and a Bini(80) into doubt; or that the sense
of supposed personal wrong and social isolation deepened the unbelief of
Shelley(81) and of Heinrich Heine?(82) Whatever other motives may have
operated in these respective cases, the prejudices which arose from the
causes just named, doubtless created an antecedent impression against
religion, which impeded the lending an unbiassed ear to its evidence.

The subtlety of the influence in these instances makes them the more
instructive. If, as we contemplate them, our sympathies are so far
enlisted on the side of the doubters that it becomes necessary to check
ourselves in exculpating them, by the consideration that they were
responsible for failing to separate the essential truth of Christianity
from the accidental abuse of it shown in the lives of its professors, we
can imagine so much the more clearly, how great was the danger to these
doubters themselves of omitting the introspection of their own characters
necessary for detecting the prejudice which actually seemed to have
conscience on its side; and can realize more vividly from these instances
the secrecy and intense subtlety of the influence of the feelings in the
formation of doubt, and infer the necessity of most careful attention for
its discovery in others, and watchfulness in detecting it in our own

There are other cases of doubt, however, where the influence of the
emotional element, if it operates at all, is reduced to a minimum, and the
cause accordingly seems wholly intellectual. This may happen when the
previous convictions of the mind are shaken by the knowledge of some fact
newly brought before its notice; such as the apparent conflict between the
Hebrew record of a universal deluge(83) and the negative evidence of
geology as to its non-occurrence; or the historical discrepancies between
the books of Kings and Chronicles,(84) or the varying accounts of the
genealogy and resurrection of Christ. A doubt purely intellectual in its
origin might also arise, as we know was the case with the pious
Bengel,(85) in consequence of perceiving the variety of readings in the
sacred text; or, as in many of the German critics, from the difficulty
created by the long habit of examining the classical legends and myths, in
satisfying themselves about the reasons why similar criticism should not
be extended to the early national literature of the Hebrews. Causes of
doubt like these, which spring from the advance of knowledge, necessarily
belong primarily to the intellectual region. The intellect is the cause
and not merely the condition of them. But there is room even here for an
emotional element; and the state of heart may be tested by noticing
whether the mind gladly and proudly grasps at them or thoughtfully weighs
them with serious effort to discover the truth. The moral causes may
reinforce or may check the intellectual: but the distinctness of the two
classes is apparent. Though co-existing and interlocked, they may be made
subjects of independent study.

The preceding analysis of the relations of the moral and intellectual
facilities in the formation of religious opinions might enable us to
criticise the ethical inferences drawn in reference to man’s
responsibility for his belief. Those who think that our characters, moral
and intellectual, are formed for us by circumstances, are consistent in
denying or depreciating responsibility.(86) There is a danger however
among Christian writers of falling into the opposite error, of dwelling so
entirely on the moral causes, in forgetfulness of the intellectual, as to
teach not only that unbelief of the Christian religion is sin, (which few
would dispute,) but that even transient doubt of it is sinful; and thus to
repel unbelievers by imputing to them motives of which their consciences
acquit them.

A truth however is contained in this opinion, though obscured by being
stated with exaggeration, inasmuch as the fact is overlooked that doubts
may be of many different kinds. Sinfulness cannot, for example, be imputed
to the mere scepticism of inquiry, the healthy critical investigation of
methods or results; nor to the scepticism of despair, which, hopeless of
finding truth, takes up a reactionary and mystical attitude;(87) nor to
the cases (if such can ever be,) of painful doubt, perhaps occasionally
even of partial unbelief, which are produced exclusively by intellectual
causes, without admixture of moral ones. This variety of form should
create caution in measuring the degree of sinfulness involved in
individual cases of doubt. Yet the inclination to condemn in such
instances contains the fundamental truth that the moral causes are
generally so intertwined with the intellectual in the assumption of data,
if not in the process of inference, that there is a ground for fearing
that the fault may be one of will, not of intellect, even though
undetected by the sceptic himself. And a conscientious mind will learn the
practical lesson of exercising the most careful self-examination in
reference to its doubts, and especially will use the utmost caution not to
communicate them needlessly to others. The Hebrew Psalmist, instead of
telling his painful misgivings, harboured them in God’s presence until he
found the solution.(88) The delicacy exhibited in forbearing unnecessarily
to shake the faith of others is a measure of the disinterestedness of the
doubter. “If I say, I will speak thus; behold I should offend against the
generation of thy children.”

These remarks will enable us to estimate the manner and degree in which
the emotions may, consciously or unconsciously, influence the operations
of the intellect in reference to religion; and will clear the way for the
statement of that which is to form the special subject of study in these
lectures, the nature and mode of operation of the intellectual causes, and
the forms of free thought in religion to which they may give rise. This
branch is frequently neglected, because satisfying the intellect rather
than the heart, indicating tendencies rather than affording means to
pronounce judgment on individuals; yet it admits of greater certainty, and
will perhaps in some respects be found to be not less full of instruction,
than the other.

We must distinctly apprehend what is here intended by the term
“intellectual cause,” when applied to a series of phenomena like sceptical
opinions. It does not merely denote the antecedent ideas which form
previous links in the same chain of thought: these are sufficiently
revealed by the chronicle which records the series. Nor does it mean the
uniformity of method according to which the mind is observed to act at
successive intervals: this is the law or formula, the existence of which
has been already indicated.(89) But we intend by “cause” two things;
either the sources of knowledge which have from age to age thrown their
materials into the stream of thought, and compelled reason to
re-investigate religion and try to harmonize the new knowledge with the
old beliefs; or else the ultimate intellectual grounds or tests of truth
on which the decision in such cases has been based, the most general types
of thought into which the forms of doubt can be analysed. The problem is
this:—Given, these two terms: on the one hand the series of opinions known
as the history of free thought in religion; on the other the uniformity of
mode in which reason has operated. Interpolate two steps to connect them
together, which will show respectively the materials of knowledge which
reason at successive moments brought to bear on religion, and the ultimate
standards of truth which it adopted in applying this material to it. It is
the attempt to supply the answer to this problem that will give organic
unity to these lectures.

A few words will suffice in reference to the former of these two subjects,
inasmuch as it has already been described to some extent,(90) and will be
made clear in the course of the history. The branches of knowledge with
which the movements of free thought in religion are connected, are chiefly
literary criticism and science. The one addresses itself to the record of
the revelation; the other to the matter contained in the record.
Criticism, when it gains canons of evidence for examining secular
literature, applies them to the sacred books; directing itself in its
lower(91) form to the variations in their text; in its higher(92) to their
genuineness and authenticity. Science, physical or metaphysical, addresses
itself to the question of the credibility of their contents. In its
physical form, when it has reduced the world to its true position in the
universe of space, human history in the cycles of time, and the human race
in the world of organic life, it compares these discoveries with the view
of the universe and of the physical history of the planet contained in the
sacred literature; or it examines the Christian doctrine of miraculous
interposition and special providence by the light of its gradually
increasing conviction of the uniformity of nature. In its moral and
metaphysical forms, science examines such subjects as the moral history of
the Hebrew theocracy; or ponders reverently over the mystery of the divine
scheme of redemption, and the teaching which scripture supplies on the
deepest problems of speculation, the relations of Deity to the universe,
the act of creation, the nature of evil, and the administration of moral

There is another mode, however, in which speculative philosophy has
operated, which needs fuller explanation. It has not merely, like the
other sciences, suggested results which have seemed to clash with
Christianity, but has supplied the ultimate grounds of proof to which
appeal has consciously been made, or which have been unconsciously
assumed:—the ultimate types of thought which have manifested themselves in
the struggle.(93)

It will be useful, before exhibiting this kind of influence in reference
to religion, to illustrate its character by selecting an instance from
some region of thought where its effects would be least suspected. The
example shall be taken from the history of literature.

If we compare three poets selected from the last three centuries, the
contrast will exhibit at once the change which has taken place in the
literary spirit and standard of judgment, and the correspondence of the
change with fluctuations in the predominant philosophy of the time.—If we
commence with the author of the Paradise Lost, we listen to the last echo
of the poetry which had belonged to the great outburst of mind of the
earlier part of the seventeenth century, and of the faith in the
supernatural which had characterized Puritanism. His philosophy is Hebrew:
he hesitates not to interpret the divine counsels; but it is by the
supposed light of revelation. Doubt is unknown to him. The anthropomorphic
conception of Deity prevails. Material nature is the instrument of God’s
personal providence for the objects of His care.—But if we pass to the
author of the Essay on Man, the revolution which has given artistic
precision to the form is not more observable than the indications of a
philosophy which has chilled the spiritual faculties. The supernatural is
gone. Nature is a vast machine which moves by fixed laws impressed upon it
by a Creator. The soul feels chilled with the desolation of a universe
wherein it cannot reach forth by prayer to a loving Father. Scripture is
displaced by science. Doubt has passed into unbelief. The universe is
viewed by the cold materialism which arraigns spiritual subjects at the
bar of sense.—If now we turn to the work consecrated by the great living
poet to the memory of his early friend, we find ourselves in contact with
a meditative soul, separated from the age just named by a complete
intellectual chasm; whose spiritual perceptions reflect a philosophy which
expresses the sorrows and doubts of a cultivated mind of the present day,
“perplext in faith but not in deeds.”(94) The material has become
transfigured into the spiritual. The objective has been replaced by the
subjective. Nature is studied, as in Pope, without the assumption of a
revelation; but it is no longer regarded as a machine conducted by
material laws: it is a motive soul which embodies God’s presence; a
mystery to be felt, not understood. God is not afar off, so that we cannot
reach Him: He is so nigh, that His omnipresence seems to obscure His

These instances will illustrate the difference which philosophy produces
in the classes of ideas in which the mind of an age is formed. In Milton,
the appeal is made to the revelation of God in the Book; in Pope, to the
revelation in Nature; in the living poet, to the revelation in man’s soul,
the type of the infinite Spirit and interpreter of God’s universe and
God’s book.(95)

It is an analysis of a similar kind which we must conduct in reference to
sceptical opinions. The influence of the first of the two classes of
intellectual causes above named,(96) viz. the various forms of knowledge
there described, could not exist unobserved, for they are present from
time to time as rival doctrines in contest with Christianity; but the kind
of influence of which we now treat, which relates to the grounds of belief
on which a judgment is consciously or unconsciously formed, is more
subtle, and requires analysis for its detection.

We must briefly explain its nature, and illustrate its influence on

Metaphysical science is usually divided into two branches; of which one
examines the objects known, the other the human mind, that is the organ of
knowledge. (7) When Psychology has finished its study of the structure and
functions of the mind, it supplies the means for drawing inferences in
reply to a question which admits of a twofold aspect, viz. which of the
mental faculties,—sense, reason, feeling, furnishes the origin of
knowledge; and which is the supreme test of truth? These two questions
form the subjective or Psychological branch of Metaphysics. According to
the answer thus obtained we deduce a corollary in reference to the
objective side. We ask what information is afforded by these mental
faculties in respect to the nature or attributes of the objects
known,—matter, mind, God, duty. The answer to this question is the branch
commonly called the Ontological. The one inquiry treats of the tests of
knowledge, the other of the nature of being. The combination of the two
furnishes the answer on its two sides, internally and externally, to the
question, What is truth?

The right application of them to the subject of religion would give a
philosophy of religion; either objectively by the process of constructing
a _theodicée_ or theory to reconcile reason and faith; or subjectively, by
separating their provinces by means of such an inquiry into the functions
of the religious faculty, and the nature of the truths apprehended by it,
as might furnish criteria to determine the amount that is to be
appropriated respectively from our own consciousness and from external

The influence of the Ontological branch of the inquiry in producing a
struggle with Christianity, has been already included under the
difficulties previously named, which are created by the growth of the
various sciences.(97) It is the influence of the Psychological branch that
we are now illustrating, by showing that the various theories in respect
of it give their type to various forms of belief and doubt.

The well-known threefold distribution of the faculties that form the
ultimate grounds of conviction will suffice for our purpose: viz.,
sensational consciousness revealing to us the world of matter; intuitive
reason that of mind; and feeling that of emotion.(98) These are the forms
of consciousness which supply the material from which the reflective
powers draw inferences and construct systems.

It is easy to exhibit the mental character which each would have a
tendency to generate when applied to a special subject like religion,
natural or revealed.

If the eye of sense be the sole guide in looking around on nature, we
discover only a universe of brute matter, phenomena linked together in
uniform succession of antecedents and consequents. Mind becomes only a
higher form of matter. Sin loses its poignancy. Immortality disappears.
God exists not, except as a personification of the Cosmos. Materialism,
atheism, fatalism, are the ultimate results which are proved by logic and
history(99) to follow from this extreme view. The idea of spirit cannot be
reached by it. For if some other form of experience than the sensitive be
regarded as the origin of knowledge; if a nobler view be forced on us by
the very inability even to express nature’s phenomena without superadding
spiritual qualities; if regularity of succession(100) suggest the idea of
order and purpose and mind; if adaptation suggest the idea of morality; if
movement suggest the idea of form and will; if will suggest the idea of
personality; if the idea of the Cosmos suggest unity, and thus we mount
up, step by step, to the conception of a God, possessing unity,
intelligence, will, character, we really transfer into the sphere of
nature ideas taken from another region of being, viz., from our
consciousness of ourselves, our consciousness of spirit. It is mental
association that links these ideas to those of sense, and gives to a
sensational philosophy properties not its own. If however sensational
experience can by any means arrive at the notion of natural religion; yet
it will find a difficulty, created by its belief of the uniformity of
nature, in taking the further step of admitting the miraculous
interference which gives birth to revealed: and even if this difficulty
should be surmounted, the disinclination to the supernatural would
nevertheless have a tendency to obliterate mystery by empirical
rationalism, and to reduce piety to morality, morality to expedience,(101)
the church to a political institution, religion to a ritual system, and
its evidence to external historic testimony.

The rival system of proof founded in intuitive consciousness is however
not free from danger. A difference occurs, according as this endowment is
regarded as merely revealing the facts of our own inner experience, or on
the other hand as possessing a power to apprehend God positively, and
spirit to spirit.(102) The result of the former belief would be indeed an
ethical religion, compared with the political one just described. If it
did not rise from the law to the law-giver, it would at least present
morality as a law obligatory on man by his mental structure, independently
of the consideration of reward and punishment. The ideas of God, duty,
immortality, would be established as a necessity of thought, if not as
matters of objective fact. Yet religion would be rather rational than
supernatural; obedience to duty instead of communion with Deity; and
unless the mind can find ground for a belief in God and the divine
attributes through some other faculty, the idealism must destroy the
evidence of revealed religion. Or at least, if the mind admit its truth,
it must renounce the right to criticise the material of that which it
confesses to be beyond the limits of its own consciousness; and thus, by
abdicating its natural powers, blindly submit to external authority, and
accept belief as the refuge from its own Pyrrhonism.

If, on the other hand, instead of regarding all attempts to pass beyond
logical forms of thought to be mental impotence, the mind follows its own
instincts, and, relying upon the same natural realism which justifies its
belief in the immediate character of its sensitive perceptions, ventures
to depend with equal firmness on the reality of its intuitional
consciousness, religion, natural or revealed, wears another aspect; and
both the advantages and the dangers of such a view are widely
different.(103) The soul no longer regards the landscape to be a scene
painted on the windows of its prison-house, a subjective limit to its
perceptions, but not speculatively true; but it wanders forth from its
cell unfettered into the universe around. God is no longer an inference
from final causes, nor a principle of thought. He is the living God, a
real personal spirit with whom the soul is permitted to hold direct
communion. Providence becomes the act of a personal agent. Religion is the
worship in spirit. Sin is seen in its heinousness. Prayer is justified as
a reality, as the breathing of the human soul for communion with its
infinite Parent (8). And by the light of this intuition, God, nature, and
man, look changed. Nature is no longer a physical engine; man no longer a
moral machine. Material nature becomes the regular expression of a
personal fixed will; Miracle the direct interposition of a personal free
will. Revelation is probable, as the voice of God’s mercy to the child of
His love. Inspiration becomes possible, for the intuitional consciousness
seems adapted to be used by divine Providence as its instrument.(104)

But the type of mind created by the use of intuition as a test of truth is
rarely alone. It is cognate to, if it is not connected with, that produced
by the third of the above-named tests, feeling. The emotions, according to
a law of spiritual supply and demand, suggest the reality of the objects
toward which they are aspirations. The longing for help, the feeling of
dependence, is the justification of prayer; the sense of remorse is the
witness to divine judgment; the consciousness of penitence is the ground
for hope in God’s merciful interference; the ineradicable sense of guilt
is the eternal witness to the need of atonement; the instinct for
immortality is the pledge of a future life.

Yet the use of these tests of intuition and feeling in religion, though
possessing these advantages, has dangers. If the feelings, instead of
being used to reinforce or check the other faculties, be relied upon as
sole arbiters; especially if they be linked with the imagination instead
of the intuition; they may conduct to mysticism and superstition by the
very vividness of their perception of the supernatural.(105) Likewise the
intuitive faculty, if it be regarded as giving a noble grasp over the fact
of God as an infinite Spirit, may cause the mind to relax its hold on the
idea of the Divine Personality, and fall into Pantheism, and identify God
with the universe, not by degrading spirit to matter, but by elevating
matter to spirit.(106) Or, instead of allowing experience and revelation
to develop into conceptions of the fundamental truth whose existence it
perceives, it may attempt to develop a religion wholly _à priori_,(107)
and assert its right to create as well as to verify. Also, when applying
itself to revealed religion, this type of thought necessarily makes its
last appeal to inward insight. It cannot, like sensationalism, or
subjective idealism, admit its own impotence, and receive on authority a
revelation, the contents of which it ventures not to criticise. It must
always appropriate that which it is to believe. Accordingly it will have a
tendency to render religion subjective in its character, uncertain in its
doctrines, individual in its constitution.

These general remarks, every one of which admits of historic
exemplification,(108) will suffice to illustrate the kind of influence
exercised by these respective tests of truth in forming the judgment or
moulding the character in relation to the belief or disbelief of natural
and revealed religion. These effects are not adduced as the necessary
results but as the ordinary tendencies of these respective theories. The
mind frequently stops short of the conclusions logically deducible from
its own principles. To measure precisely the effect of each view would be
impossible. In mental science analysis must be qualitative, not

It will hardly be expected that we should arbitrate among these theories,
inasmuch as our purpose is not to test the comparative truthfulness of
metaphysical opinions, but to refer sceptical opinions in religion to
their true scientific and metaphysical parentage. Truth is probably to be
found in a selection from all; and historical investigation is the chief
means of discovering the mode of conducting the process. It is at least
certain, that if history be the form which science necessarily takes in
the study of that which is subject to laws of life and organic growth, it
must be the preliminary inquiry in any investigation in reference to
mental phenomena. The history of philosophy must be the approach to
philosophy.(109) The great problem of philosophy is method; and if there
be a hope that the true method can ever be found it must be by uniting the
historical analysis of the development of the universal mind with the
psychological analysis of the individual. The history of thought indicates
not only fact but truth; not only shows what has been, but, by exhibiting
the proportions which different faculties contribute toward the
construction of truth, and indicating tendencies as well as results,
prepares materials to be collated with the decision previously made by
mental and moral science concerning the question of what ought to be (9).

A definite conviction on this metaphysical inquiry seems perhaps to be
involved in the very idea of criticism, and necessary for drawing the
moral from the history; yet the independence of our historical inquiry
ought to be sacrificed as little as possible to illustrate a foregone
conclusion. It will be more satisfactory to present the evidence for a
verdict without undue advocacy of a side in the metaphysical

The execution of this design of analysing the intellectual causes of
unbelief will necessarily involve to some extent a biographical treatment
of the subject, both for theoretical and practical reasons, to discover
truth and to derive instruction. This is so evident in the history of
action, that there is a danger at the present time lest history should
lose the general in the individual, and descend from the rank of science
to mere biography.(111) The deeper insight which is gradually obtained
into the complexity of nature, together with the fuller conviction of
human freedom, is causing artistic portraiture and ethical analysis to be
substituted for historical generalization. The same method however applies
to the region of thought as well as will.

Thought, as an intellectual product, can indeed be studied apart from the
mind that creates it, and can be treated by history as a material fact
subject to the fixed succession of natural laws. But the exclusive use of
such a method, at least in any other subject of study than that of the
results of physical discovery, must be defective, even independently of
the question of the action of free will, unless the thoughts which are the
object of study be also connected with the personality of the thinker who
produces them. His external biography is generally unimportant, save when
the individual character may have impressed itself upon public events; but
the internal portraiture, the growth of soul as known by psychological
analysis, is the very instrument for understanding the expression of it in
life or in literature.(112) It is requisite to know the mental bias of a
writer, whether it be practical, imaginative or reflective; to see the
_idola specus_ which influenced him, the action of circumstances upon his
character, and the reaction of his character upon circumstances; before we
can gain the clue to the interpretation of his works. But if we wish
further to derive moral instruction from him, the biographical mode of
study becomes even more necessary. For the notion of freedom as the ground
of responsibility is now superadded; and the story of his life is the sole
means for such an apprehension of the causes of his heart-struggles as
shall enable us to take the gauge of his moral character, and appropriate
the lessons derivable from the study of it.

Indeed biographical notices, if they could be extended compatibly with the
compass of the subject, would be the most instructive and vivid mode of
presenting alike the facts relating to scepticism and their
interpretation. Such memoirs are not wanting, and are among the most
touching in literature. The sketch which Strauss has given of his early
friend and fellow student Maerklin,(113) gradually surrendering one
cherished truth after another, until he doubted all but the law of
conscience; then devoting himself in the strength of it with unflinching
industry to education; until at last he died in the dark, without belief
in God or hope, cheered only by the consciousness of having tried to find
truth and do his duty:—the sad tale, told by two remarkable biographers,
of Sterling,(114) doubting, renouncing the ministry, yet thirsting for
truth, and at last solacing himself in death by the hopes offered by the
Bible, to the eternal truths of which his doubting heart had always
clung:—the memoir of the adopted son of our own university, Blanco
White,(115) a mind in which faith and doubt were perpetually waging war,
till the grave closed over his truth-searching and care-worn spirit:—the
confessions of one of our own sons of the successive “phases of
faith”(116) through which his soul passed from evangelical Christianity to
a spiritual Deism, a record of heart-struggles which takes its place among
the pathetic works of autobiography, where individuals have unveiled their
inner life for the instruction of their fellow-men:—all these are
instances where the great moral and spiritual problems that belong to the
condition of our race may be seen embodied in the sorrowful experience of
individuals. They are instances of rare value for psychological study in
reference to the history of doubt; sad beacons of warning and of guidance.
Accordingly, in the history of free thought we must not altogether neglect
the spiritual biography of the doubter, though only able to indicate it by
a few touches; by an etching, not a photograph.

We have now added to the explanation before given of the province of our
inquiry, and of the law of the action of free thought on religion, an
account of the moral and intellectual causes which operate in the history
of unbelief, and have sufficiently explained the mode in which the subject
will be treated.

The use of the inquiry will, it is hoped, be apparent both in its
theoretical and practical relations. It is designed to have an
intellectual value not only as instruction but as argument. The tendency
of it will be in some degree polemical as well as didactic, refuting error
by analysing it into its causes, repelling present attacks by studying the
history of former ones.

It is one peculiar advantage belonging to the philosophical investigation
of the history of thought, that even the odious becomes valuable as an
object of study, the pathology of the soul as well as its normal action.
Philosophy takes cognisance of error as well as of truth, inasmuch as it
derives materials from both for discovering a theory of the grounds of
belief and disbelief. Hence it follows that the study of the natural
history of doubt combined with the literary, if it be the means of
affording an explanation of a large class of facts relating to the
religious history of man and the sphere of the remedial operations of
Christ’s church, will have a practical value as well as speculative.

Such an inquiry, if it be directed, as in the present lectures, to the
analysis of the intellectual rather than the emotional element of
unbelief, as being that which has been less generally and less fully
explored, will require to be supplemented by a constant reference to the
intermixture of the other element, and the consequent necessity of taking
account of the latter in estimating the whole phenomenon of doubt. But
within its own sphere it will have a practical and polemical value, if the
course of the investigation shall show that the various forms of unbelief,
when studied from the intellectual side, are corollaries from certain
metaphysical or critical systems. The analysis itself will have indirectly
the force of an argument. The discovery of the causes of a disease
contains the germ of the cure. Error is refuted when it is referred to the
causes which produce it.

Nor will the practical value of the inquiry be restricted to its use as a
page in the spiritual history of the human mind, but will belong to it
also as a chapter in the history of the church. For even if in the study
of the contest our attention be almost wholly restricted to the movements
of one of the two belligerents, and only occasionally directed to the
evidences on which the faith of the church in various crises reposed, and
by which it tried to repel the invader, yet the knowledge of the scheme of
attack cannot fail to be a valuable accompaniment to the study of the

Thus the natural history of doubt, viewed as a chapter of human history,
like the chapter of physiology which studies a disease, will point
indirectly to the cure, or at least to the mode of avoiding the causes
which induce the disease; while the literary history of it, viewed as a
chapter of church history, will contribute the results of experience to
train the Christian combatant.

The subject will however not only have an intellectual value in being at
once didactic and polemical, offering an explanation of the causes of
unbelief and furnishing hints for their removal; but it cannot fail also
to possess a moral value in reference to the conscience and heart of the
disputant, in teaching the lesson of mercy towards the unbeliever, and
deep pity for the heart wounded with doubts. An intelligent acquaintance
with the many phases of history operates like foreign travel in widening
the sympathies; and increase of knowledge creates the moderation which
gains the victory through attracting an enemy instead of repelling him.
Bigotry is founded on ignorance and fear. True learning is temperate,
because discriminating; forbearing, because courageous. If we place
ourselves in the position of an opponent, and try candidly to understand
the process by which he was led to form his opinions, indignation will
subside into pity, and enmity into grief: the hatred will be reserved for
the sin, not for the sinner; and the servant of Jesus Christ will thus
catch in some humble measure the forbearing love which his divine Master
showed to the first doubting disciple.(118) As the sight of suffering in
an enemy changes the feeling of anger into pity, so the study of a series
of spiritual struggles makes us see in an opponent, not an enemy to be
crushed, but a brother to be won. The utility of a historic treatment of
doubt is suggested by moral as well as intellectual grounds.

I hope therefore that if I follow the example of some of my
predecessors,(119) in giving a course of lectures historical rather than
polemical, evincing the critic rather than the advocate, seeking for truth
rather than victory, analysing processes of evidence rather than refuting
results, my humble contribution toward the knowledge of the argument of
the Christian evidences will be considered to come fairly within the
design intended by the founder of the lecture.

It may well be believed that in the execution of so large a scheme I have
felt almost overwhelmed under a painful sense of its difficulty. If even I
may venture to hope that a conscientious study in most cases of the
original sources of information may save me from literary mistakes, yet
there is a danger lest the size of the subject should preclude the
possibility of constant clearness; or lest the very analysis of the errors
of the systems named, may produce a painful, if not an injurious,
impression. In an age too of controversy, those who speak on difficult
questions incur a new danger, of being misunderstood from the
sensitiveness with which earnest men not unreasonably watch them. The
attitude of suspicion may cause impartiality to be regarded as
indifference to truth, fairness as sympathy with error. I am not ashamed
therefore to confess, that under the oppressive sense of these various
feelings I have been wont to go for help to the only source where the
burdened heart can find consolation; and have sought, in the communion
with the Father of spirits which prayer opens to the humblest, a temper of
candour, of reverence, and of the love of truth. In this spirit I have
made my studies; and what I have thus learned I shall teach.


    1 COR. i. 22-24.

    _The Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified;
    unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called,
    Christ the wisdom of God._

It has been already stated(120), that in the first great struggle of the
human mind against the Christian religion the action of reason in
criticising its claims assumed two forms, Gnosticism or rationalism within
the church, and unbelief without.

The origin and history of the former of these two lines of thought were
once discussed in an elaborate course of Bampton Lectures;(121) and though
subsequent investigation has added new sources of information,(122) and it
would be consonant to our general object to trace briefly the speculations
of the various schools of Gnostics,—Greek, Oriental, or Egyptian,—the want
of space necessitates the omission of these topics. In the present lecture
we shall accordingly restrict ourselves to the history of the other line
of thought, and trace the grounds alleged by the intelligent heathens who
examined Christianity, for declining to admit its claims, from the time of
its rise to the final downfall of heathenism.

The truest modern resemblance to this struggle is obviously to be found in
the disbelief shown by educated heathens in pagan countries to whom
Christianity is proclaimed in the present day. It was not until the
establishment of Christianity as the state religion by Constantine had
given it political and moral victory, that it was possible for unbelief to
assume its modern aspect, of being the attempt of reason to break away
from a creed which is an acknowledged part of the national life. The first
opponents accordingly whose views we shall study, Lucian, Celsus,
Porphyry, Hierocles, are heathen unbelievers. Julian is the earliest that
we encounter who rejected Christianity after having been educated in it.

The resemblance however to this struggle is not wholly restricted to
heathen lands. There have been moments in the history of nations, or of
individuals, when a Christian standard of feeling or of thought has been
so far obliterated that a state of public disbelief and philosophical
attack similar to the ancient heathen has reappeared, and the tone of the
early unbelievers, and sometimes even their specific doubts, have been
either borrowed or reproduced.(123)

In this portion of the history we encounter a difficulty peculiar to it,
in being compelled to form an estimate of the opinions described, from
indirect information. The treatises of the more noted writers that opposed
Christianity have perished; some through natural causes, but those of
Porphyry and Julian through the special order of a Christian emperor,
Theodosius II., in A.D. 435.

In the absence accordingly of the original writings, we must discover the
grounds for the rejection of Christianity by the aid of the particular
treatises of evidence written by Christian fathers expressly in refutation
of them, which occasionally contain quotations of the lost works; and also
by means of the general apologies written on behalf of the Christian
religion, together with slight notices of it occurring in heathen
literature. The latter will inform us concerning the miscellaneous
objections current, the former concerning the definite arguments of the
writers who expressly gave reasons for disbelieving Christianity.(124)

We possess a large treatise of Origen against Celsus; passages, directed
against Porphyry, of Eusebius, Jerome, and Augustin; a tract of Eusebius
against Hierocles; and a work of Cyril of Alexandria against Julian. Yet
it is never perfectly satisfactory to be obliged to read an opinion
through the statement of an opponent of it. The history of philosophical
controversy shows that intellectual causes, such as the natural tendency
to answer an argument on principles that its author would not concede, to
reply to conclusions instead of premises, or to impute the corollaries
which are supposed to be deducible from an opinion, may lead to
unintentional misrepresentation of a doctrine refuted, even where no moral
causes such as bias or sarcasm contribute to the result. Aristotle’s
well-known criticism of Plato’s theory of archetypes is a pertinent

The slight difficulty thus encountered, in extracting the real opinions of
the early unbelievers out of the replies of their Christian opponents, may
for the most part be avoided by first realising the state of belief which
existed in reference to the heathen religion, which for our present
purpose may be treated as homogeneous throughout the whole Roman world. We
shall thus be enabled as it were to foresee the line of opinion which
would be likely to be adopted in reference to a new religion coming with
the claims and character of Christianity. This prefatory inquiry will also
coincide with our general purpose of analysing the influence of
intellectual causes in the production of unbelief.

Four separate tendencies may be distinguished among heathens in the early
centuries in reference to religion:(126) viz. the tendency, (1) to
absolute unbelief, (2) to a bigoted attachment to a national creed, (3) to
a philosophical, and (4) a mystical theory of religion.

The tendency to total disbelief of the supernatural prevailed in the
Epicurean school. A type of the more earnest spirits of this class is seen
at a period a little earlier than the Christian era in Lucretius, living
mournfully in the moral desert which his doubts had scorched into
barrenness.(127) The world is to him a scene unguided by a Providence:
death is uncheered by the hope of a future life. An example of the
flippant sceptic is found in Lucian in the second century, A.D. The great
knowledge of life which travel had afforded him created a universal
ridicule for religion; but his unbelief evinced no seriousness, no
sadness. His humour itself is a type of the man. Lacking the bitter
earnestness which gave sting to the wit of Aristophanes, and the courteous
playfulness exhibited in the many-sided genius of Plato, he was a
caricaturist rather than a painter: his dialogues are farces of life
rather than satires. It has been well remarked, that human society has no
worse foe than a universal scoffer. Lacking aspirations sufficiently lofty
to appreciate religion, and wisdom to understand the great crises that
give birth to it, such a man destroys not superstition only but the very
faculty of belief.(128) It is easy to perceive that to such minds
Christianity would be a mark for the same jests as other creeds.

A second tendency, most widely opposed in appearance to the sceptical, but
which was too often its natural product, showed itself in a bigoted
attachment to the national religion.(129) Among the masses such faith was
real though unintelligent, but in educated men it had become artificial.
When an ethnic religion is young, faith is fresh and gives inspiration to
its art and its poetry. In a more critical age, the historic spirit
rationalizes the legends, while the philosophic allegorizes the myths; and
thoughtful men attempt to rise to a spiritual worship of which rites are
symbols.(130) But in the decay of a religion, the supernatural loses its
hold of the class of educated minds, and is regarded as imposture, and the
support which they lend to worship is political. They fall back on
tradition to escape their doubts, or they think it politically expedient
to enforce on the masses a creed which they contemn in heart. Such a
ground of attachment to paganism is described in the dialogue of the
Christian apologist, Minucius Felix.(131) It would not only coincide with
the first-named tendency in denying the importance of Christianity, but
would join in active opposition. In truth, it marks the commencement of
the strong reaction which took place in favour of heathenism at the close
of the second century,—twofold in its nature; a popular reaction of
prejudice or of mysticism on the part of the lower classes, and a
political or philosophical one of the educated.(132) Both were in a great
degree produced by Eastern influences. The substitution which was
gradually taking place of naturalism for humanism, the adoration of
cosmical and mystical powers instead of the human attributes of the
deities of the older creed, was the means of re-awakening popular
superstition, while at the same time the Alexandrian speculations of
Neo-Platonism gave a religious aspect to philosophy.

Accordingly the third, or philosophical tendency in reference to religion,
distinct from the two already named, of positive unbelief in the
supernatural on the one hand, and devotion sincere or artificial to
heathen worship on the other, comprises, in addition to the older schools
of Stoics and Platonists, the new eclectic school just spoken of. The
three schools agreed in extracting a philosophy out of the popular
religion, by searching for historic or moral truth veiled in its symbols.
The Stoic, as being the least speculative, employed itself less with
religion than the others. Its doctrine, ethical rather than metaphysical,
concerned with the will rather than the intellect, juridical and formal
rather than speculative, seemed especially to give expression to the Roman
character, as the Platonic to the Greek, or as the eclectic to the hybrid,
half Oriental half European, which marked Alexandria. In the writings of
M. Aurelius, one of the emperors most noted for the persecution of the
church, it manifests itself rather as a rule of life than a subject for
belief, as morality rather than religion.(133) The Stoic opposition to
Christianity was the contempt of the Gaul or Roman for what was foreign,
or of ethical philosophy for religion.

The Platonic doctrine, so far as it is represented in an impure form in
the early centuries, sought, as of old, to explore the connexion between
the visible and invisible worlds, and to rise above the phenomenon into
the spiritual. Hence in its view of heathen religion it strove to rescue
the ideal religion from the actual, and to discover the one revelation of
the Divine ideal amid the great variety of religious traditions and modes
of worship. But its invincible dualism, separating by an impassable chasm
God from the world, and mind from matter, identifying goodness with the
one, evil with the other, prevented belief in a religion like
Christianity, which was penetrated by the Hebrew conceptions of the
universe, so alien both to dualism and pantheism.

The line is not very marked which separates this philosophy from the
professed revival of Plato’s teaching, which received the name of
Neo-Platonism, which was the philosophy with which Christianity came most
frequently into conflict or contact during the third and two following
centuries (10). Fastening on the more mystical parts of Plato, to the
neglect of the more practical, it probably borrowed something also from
Eastern mysticism. The object of the school was to find an explanation of
the problem of existence, by tracing the evolution of the absolute cause
in the universe through a trinal manifestation, as being, thought, and
action. The agency by which the human mind apprehended this process lay in
the attainment of a kind of insight wherein the organ of knowledge is one
with the object known, a state of mind and feeling whereby the mind gazes
on a sphere of being which is closed to the ordinary faculties.
Schelling’s theory of “intellectual intuition” is the modern parallel to
this Neo-Platonic State of ἔκστασις or ἐνθουσιασμός. This philosophy,
though frequently described in modern times as bearing a resemblance to
Christianity in method, as being the knowledge of the one absolute Being
by means of faith, is really most widely opposed in its interior spirit.
It is essentially pantheism. Its monotheistic aspect, caught by contact
with Semitic thought, is exterior only. Its deity, which seems personal,
is really only the personification of an abstraction, a mere instance of
mental realism. Man’s personality, which Christianity states clearly, was
lost in the universe; religious facts in metaphysical ideas.(134) Religion
accordingly would be exclusive, confined to an aristocracy of education;
and the existing national cultus would be appropriated as a sensuous
religion suited for the masses, a visible type of the invisible. The
analogy which this philosophy bore to Christianity in aim and office, as
well as the rivalry of other schools which is implied in its eclectic
aspect, caused it to take up an attitude of opposition to the Christian
system to which it claimed to bear affinity.

The mystical element in this philosophy enabled some minds to find a home
for the theurgy which had been increased by the importation of eastern
ideas.(135) They form as it were the connecting link with the fourth
religious tendency, which manifested itself in the craving for a
communication from the world invisible, which found its satisfaction in
magic and in a spirit of fanaticism. Some of these fanatics were doubtless
also impostors;(136) but some were high-minded men struggling after truth,
of whom possibly an example is seen at an early period in Apollonius of
Tyana; deceived rather than deceivers. This tendency operated in some
minds to cause them to reduce Christianity to ordinary magic and
prodigies; while among a few it created yearnings for a nobler
satisfaction, which drew them toward Christianity, as in the case of the
Clemens, whose autobiography professes to be given in the well-known work
of the early ages, the Clementines. (11)

Such seem to have been the chief forms of religious thought existing among
the heathen to whom Christianity presented itself, on which were founded
the preparation of heart which led to the acceptance of its message, or
the prejudices which rejected its claims;—viz. among the masses, a
sensuous unintelligent belief in polytheism;—among the educated,
disorganization of belief; either materialism, the total rejection of the
supernatural, and a political attachment on the principle of expedience to
existing creeds; or philosophy, ethical, dualistic, pantheistic, despising
religions as mere organic products of national thought, and trying to
seize the central truths of which they were the expression; or a mystical
craving after the supernatural, degrading its victims into fanatics. The
further analysis of these tendencies would show their connexion with the
threefold classification before given of the tests of truth into sense,
reason, and feeling.

We have thus prepared the way for interpreting the lines of argument used
in opposition to Christianity, and shall now proceed to sketch in
chronological succession the history of the chief intellectual attacks
made by unbelievers.

It is not until the middle of the second century that we find Christianity
becoming the subject of literary investigation. Incidental expressions
either of scorn or of misapprehension form the sole allusions in the
heathen writers of earlier date (12); but in the reigns of the Antonines,
the Christians began to attract notice and to meet with criticism. We read
of a work written against Christianity by a Cynic, Crescens, in the reign
of Antoninus Pius;(137) and of another by the tutor of Marcus Aurelius,
Fronto of Cirta,(138) in which probably the imperial persecution was

It is at this time too that we meet with an attempt to hold the Christians
up to ridicule in a satire of Lucian,(139) which well exemplifies the
views belonging to the sceptical of the four classes into which we have
divided the religious opinions of the heathens. His tract, the Peregrinus
Proteus, it can hardly be doubted, is intended as a satire on Christian
martyrdom (13). Peregrinus(140) is a Cynic philosopher, who after a life
of early villainy is made by Lucian to play the hypocrite at Antioch and
join himself to the Christians, “miserable men” (as he calls them), “who,
hoping for immortality in soul and body, had a foolish contempt of death,
and suffered themselves to be persuaded that they were brethren, because,
having abandoned the Greek gods, they worshipped the crucified sophist,
living according to his laws.”(141) Peregrinus, when a Christian, soon
rises to the dignity of bishop, and is worshipped as a god; and when
imprisoned for his religion is visited by Christians from all quarters.
Afterwards, expelled the church, he travels over the world; and at last
for the sake of glory burns himself publicly at Olympia about A.D. 165.
His end is described in a tragico-comic manner, and a legend is recounted
that at his death he was seen in white, and that a hawk ascended from his

Lucian has here used a real name to describe a class, not a person. He has
given a caricature painting from historic elements. There seems internal
evidence to show that he was slightly acquainted with the books of the
early Christians.(142) It has even been conjectured that he might have
read and designed to parody the epistles of Ignatius.(143) With more
probability we may believe that he had heard of and misunderstood the
heroic bearing of the Christian martyrs in the moment of their last
suffering. Pope Alexander VII. in 1664 placed this tract in the index of
prohibited books: yet even beneath the satire we rather hail Lucian as an
unconscious witness to several beautiful features in the character of the
Christians of his time:(144) viz. their worship of “the crucified
sophist,” who was their adorable Lord; their guilelessness; their
brotherly love; their strict discipline; their common meals; their union;
their benevolence; their joy in death. The points which he depicts in his
satire are, their credulity in giving way to Peregrinus; their
unintelligent belief in Christ and in immortality; their factiousness in
aiding Peregrinus when in prison; their pompous vanity in martyrdom, and
possibly their tendency to believe legends respecting a martyr’s death.
His satire is contempt, not anger, nor dread. It is the humour of a
thorough sceptic, which discharged itself on all religions alike; and
indicates one type of opposition to Christianity; viz. the contempt of
those who thought it folly.

Very unlike to him was his well-known contemporary Celsus. If the one
represents the scoffer, the other represents the philosopher. Not
despising Christianity with scorn like Tacitus, nor jeering at it with
humour like Lucian, Celsus had the wisdom to apprehend danger to
heathenism, measuring Christianity in its mental and not its material
relations; and about the reign of Marcus Aurelius wrote against it a work
entitled Λόγος ἀληθής, which was considered of such importance, that
Origen towards the close of his own life(145) wrote a large and elaborate
reply to it.

We know nothing of Celsus’s life.(146) There is even an uncertainty as to
the school of philosophy to which he belonged. External evidence seems to
testify that he was an Epicurean; but internal would lead us to classify
him with the Platonic. Unscrupulous in argument, confounding canonical
gospels with apocryphal, and Christians with heretical sects, delighting
in searching for contradictions, incapable of understanding the deeper
aspects of Christianity, he has united in his attack all known objections,
making use of minute criticism, philosophical theory, piquant sarcasm, and
eloquent invective, as the vehicle of his passionate assault.

It is impossible to recover a continuous account of the work of Celsus
from the treatise of his respondent; but a careful study of the fragments
embedded in the text of Origen will perhaps restore the framework of the
original sufficiently to enable us to perceive the points of his
opposition to Christianity, and the manner in which his philosophy stood
in the way of the reception of it. (14)

Celsus commences by introducing a Jewish rabbi to attack Christianity from
the monotheistic stand-point of the earlier faith.(147) The Jew is first
made to direct his criticism against the documents of Christianity, and
then the facts narrated.(148) He points out inconsistencies in the gospel
narratives of the genealogy of Christ;(149) utters the most blasphemous
calumnies concerning the incarnation;(150) turns the narrative of the
infancy into ridicule;(151) imputes our Saviour’s miracles to magic;(152)
attacks his divinity;(153) and concentrates the bitterest raillery on the
affecting narrative of our blessed Lord’s most holy passion. Each fact of
deepening sorrow in that divine tragedy, the betrayal,(154) the mental
anguish, the sacred agony,(155) is made the subject of remarks
characterized no less by coarseness of taste and unfairness, than to the
Christian mind by irreverence. Instead of his heart being touched by the
majesty of our Saviour’s sorrow, Celsus only finds an argument against the
divine character of the adorable sufferer.(156) The wonders accompanying
Christ’s death are treated as legends;(157) the resurrection regarded as
an invention or an optical delusion.(158)

After Celsus has thus made the Jew the means of a ruthless attack on
Christianity, he himself directs a similar one against the Jewish religion
itself.(159) He goes to the origin of their history; describes the Jews as
having left Egypt in a sedition;(160) as being true types of the
Christians in their ancient factiousness;(161) considers Moses to be only
on a level with the early Greek legislators;(162) regards Jewish rites
like circumcision to be borrowed from Egypt; charges anthropomorphism on
Jewish theology,(163) and declines allowing the allegorical interpretation
in explanation of it;(164) examines Jewish prophecy, parallels it with
heathen oracles,(165) and claims that the goodness not the truth of a
prophecy ought to be considered;(166) points to the ancient idolatry of
the Jews as proof that they were not better than other nations;(167) and
to the destruction of Jerusalem as proof that they were not special
favourites of heaven. At last he arrives at their idea of creation,(168)
and here reveals the real ground of his antipathy. While he objects to
details in the narrative, such as the mention of days before the existence
of the sun,(169) his real hatred is against the idea of the unity of God,
and the freedom of Deity in the act of creation. It is the struggle of
pantheism against theism.

When Celsus has thus made use of the Jew to refute Christianity from the
Jewish stand-point, and afterwards refuted the Jew from his own, he
proceeds to make his own attack on Christianity; in doing which, he first
examines the lives of Christians,(170) and afterwards the Christian
doctrine;(171) thus skilfully prejudicing the mind of his readers against
the persons before attacking the doctrines. He alludes to the
quarrelsomeness shown in the various sects of Christians,(172) and repeats
the calumnious suspicion of disloyalty,(173) want of patriotism,(174) and
political uselessness;(175) and hence defends the public persecution of
them.(176) Filled with the esoteric pride of ancient philosophy, he
reproaches the Christians with their carefulness to proselytize the
poor,(177) and to convert the vicious;(178) thus unconsciously giving a
noble testimony to one of the most divine features in our religion, and
testifying to the preaching of the doctrine of a Saviour for sinners.

Having thus defamed the Christians, he passes to the examination of the
Christian doctrine, in its form, its method, and its substance. His
æsthetic sense, ruined with the idolatry of form, and unable to appreciate
the thought, regards the Gospels as defective and rude through
simplicity.(179) The method of Christian teaching also seems to him to be
defective, as lacking philosophy and dialectic, and as denouncing the use
of reason.(180) Lastly, he turns to the substance of the dogmas
themselves. He distinguishes two elements in them, the one of which, as
bearing resemblance to philosophy or to heathen religion, he regards as
incontestably true, but denies its originality, and endeavours to derive
it from Persia or from Platonism;(181) resolving, for example, the worship
of a human being into the ordinary phenomenon of apotheosis.(182) The
other class of doctrines which he attacks as false, consists of those
which relate to creation,(183) the incarnation,(184) the fall,(185)
redemption,(186) man’s place in creation,(187) moral conversions,(188) and
the resurrection of the dead.(189) His point of view for criticising them
is derived from the fundamental dualism of the Platonic system; the
eternal severance of matter and mind, of God and the world; and the
reference of good to the region of mind, evil to that of matter. Thus, not
content with his former attack on the idea of creation in discussion with
the Jew, he returns to the discussion from the philosophical side. His
Platonism will not allow him to admit that the absolute God, the first
Cause, can have any contact with matter. It leads him also to give
importance to the idea of δαίμονες, or divine mediators, by which the
chasm is filled between the ideal god and the world;(190) not being able
otherwise to imagine the action of the pure ἰδέα of God on a world of
matter. Hence he blames Christians for attributing an evil nature to
demons, and finds a reasonable interpretation of the heathen worship.(191)
The same dualist theory extinguishes the idea of the incarnation, as a
degradation of God; and also the doctrine of the fall, inasmuch as
psychological deterioration is impossible if the soul be pure, and if evil
be a necessary attribute of matter.(192) With the fall, redemption also
disappears, because the perfect cannot admit of change; Christ’s coming
could only be to correct what God already knew, or rectify what ought to
have been corrected before.(193) Further, Celsus argues, if Divinity did
descend, that it would not assume so lowly a form as Jesus. The same
rigorous logic charges on Christianity the undue elevation of man, as well
as the abasement of God. Celsus can neither admit man more than the brutes
to be the final cause of the universe; nor allow the possibility of man’s
nearness to God.(194) His pantheism, destroying the barrier which
separates the material from the moral, obliterates the perception of the
fact that a single free responsible being may be of more dignity than the

Such is the type of a philosophical objector against Christianity, a
little later than the middle of the second century. We meet here for the
first time a remarkable effort of pagan thought, endeavouring to
extinguish the new religion; the definite statements of a mind that
investigated its claims and rejected it. Most of the objections of Celsus
are sophistical; a few are admitted difficulties; but the philosophical
class of them will be seen to be the corollary from his general principle
before explained.

A century intervenes before we meet with the next literary assailant,
Porphyry. In the interval the new reactionary philosophy has fully taken
root, and the fresh attack accordingly bears the impress of the new

The chief objections made in the intervening period, as we collect them
from the apologies, were such as belongs fitly to a transitional time,
when Christianity was exciting attention but was not understood;(195) and
are chiefly the result of the second of the tendencies before named, viz.,
either of popular prejudice, or of the political alarm in reference to the
social disorganization likely to arise out of a large defection from the
religion of the empire, which expressed itself in overt acts of
persecution on the part of the state. (15) Both equally lie beyond our
field of investigation; the one because it does not belong to the
examination of Christianity made by intelligent thought; the other because
it is the struggle of deeds, not of ideas, which only have an interest for
us, if, as in Julian’s case hereafter, the acts were dictated by the
deliberate advice of persons who had attentively examined Christianity.

The apprehensions of prejudice gradually subsided, and objections began to
be based on grounds less absurd in character. The political opposition
also was henceforth founded on a more subtle policy, and on an
appreciation of the nature of Christianity. Soon after the middle of the
third century we meet with the next attack of a purely literary kind,
viz., by Porphyry, the most distinguished opponent that Christianity has
yet encountered.(196) The pupil of Longinus, perhaps of Origen,(197) and
the biographer and interpreter of Plotinus, he is best known for his
logical writings, and for the development of the theory of predication in
his introduction to the Categories, which formed the text on which hung
the mediæval speculations of scholasticism.(198) His Syrian origin and
oriental culture perhaps prepared him for a fusion of East and West, and
for admitting a deeper admixture of mysticism into the Neo-Platonic
philosophy, of which he was a disciple. The points of his approximation to
Christianity are the result of those elements in which heathen philosophy
most nearly approached to Christian truth, the development of which was
stimulated in minds essentially anti-christian by the effort to find a
rival to it. Admirably prepared by his serious and spiritual tone to
embrace Christianity, he nevertheless lived a disciple of paganism. His
feelings rather than his reason led him to defend national creeds. His
philosophy and the Christian, which seemed to be aspirations after the
same end, being designed to elevate the spirit above the world of sense,
were really radically opposed. Understanding therefore the power of the
Christian religion, he felt the necessity for supplanting it; and hoped to
do so by spiritualizing the old creeds, which he harmonized with
philosophy by means of regarding them as symbolic.(199)

His opposition to Christianity was not however based wholly on a prejudice
of feeling. He was a man cultivated in all the learning of his age, and of
a more generous temper than Celsus, and seems to have exercised much
critical sagacity in the investigation of the claims of Christianity.
About the year 270, while in retirement in Sicily, he wrote a book against
the Christians.(200) This work having been destroyed, we are left to
gather its contents and the opinions of its authors from a few criticisms
in Eusebius and Jerome. The entire work consisted of fifteen books; and
concerning only five of these is information afforded by them. Their
remarks lead us to conjecture that it was an assault on Christianity in
many relations. The books however of which we know the purpose, seem to
have been critical rather than philosophical, directed against the grounds
of the religion rather than its character; being in fact an assault on the
Bible. The existence of such a line of argument, of which a trace was
already observable in Celsus, is explained by the circumstance that the
faith of Christendom was already fixed on the authority of the sacred
books. The church had always acknowledged the authority of the Jewish
scriptures; and by the middle or close of the second century at the
latest, it had come to acknowledge explicitly the co-ordinate authority of
a body of Christian literature, historic, and epistolary.(201) Hence, when
once the idea of a rule of faith had grown common, the investigation of
the contents of the scriptures became necessary on the part of heathen
opponents. The growingly critical character of Porphyry’s statements,
though partly attributable to the literary culture of his mind, is a
slight undesigned evidence corroborative of the authoritative nature
already attributed to the scriptures in doctrine and truthfulness.
Porphyry seems accordingly to have directed his critical powers to show
such traces of mistakes and incorrectness as might invalidate the idea of
a supernatural origin for the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and shake
confidence in their truth as an authority.

The first book of his work(202) dragged to light some of the
discrepancies, real or supposed, in scripture; and the examination of the
dispute between St. Peter and St. Paul was quoted as an instance of the
admixture of human ingredients in the body of apostolic teaching. His
third book(203) was directed to the subject of scripture interpretation,
especially, with some inconsistency, against the allegorical or mystical
tendency which at that time marked the whole church, and especially the
Alexandrian fathers. The allegorical method coincided with, if it did not
arise from, the oriental instinct of symbolism, the natural poetry of the
human mind. But in the minds of Jews and Christians it had been sanctified
by its use in the Hebrew religion, and had become associated with the
apocryphal literature of the Jewish church. It is traceable to a more
limited extent in the inspired writers of the New Testament, and in most
of the fathers; but in the school of Alexandria(204) it was adopted as a
formal system of interpretation. It is this allegorical system which
Porphyry attacked. He assaulted the writings of those who had fancifully
allegorised the Old Testament in the pious desire of finding Christianity
in every part of it, in spite of historic conditions; and he hastily drew
the inference, with something like the feeling of doubt which rash
interpretations of prophecy are in danger of producing at this day, that
no consistent sense can be put upon the Old Testament. His fourth
book(205) was a criticism on the Mosaic history, and on Jewish
antiquities. But the most important books in his work were the
twelfth(206) and thirteenth,(207) which were devoted to an examination of
the prophecies of Daniel, in which he detected some of those peculiarities
on which modern criticism has employed itself, and arrived at the
conclusions in reference to its date, revived by the English deist Collins
in the last century, and by many German critics in the present.

It is well known that half of the book of Daniel(208) is historic, half
prophetic. Each of these parts is distinguished from similar portions of
the Old Testament by some peculiarities. Porphyry is not recorded as
noticing any of those which belong to the historic part, unless we may
conjecture, from his theory of the book being originally written in Greek,
that he detected the presence of those Greek words in Nebuchadnezzar’s
edicts, which many modern critics have contended could not be introduced
into Chaldæa antecedently to the Macedonian conquest.(209) The peculiarity
alleged to belong to the prophetical part is its apocalyptic tone. It
looks, it has been said, historical rather than prophetical. Definite
events, and a chain of definite events, are predicted with the precision
of historical narrative;(210) whereas most prophecy is a moral sermon, in
which general moral predictions are given, with specific historic ones
interspersed. Nor is this, which is shared in a less degree by occasional
prophecies elsewhere, the only peculiarity alleged, but it is affirmed
also that the definite character ceases at a particular period of the
reign of Antiochus Epiphanes,(211) down to which the very campaigns of the
Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties are noted, but subsequently to which the
prophetic tone becomes more vague and indefinite. Hence the conjecture has
been hazarded that it was written in the reign of Antiochus by a
Palestinian Jew, who gathered up the traditions of Daniel’s life, and
wrote the recent history of his country in eloquent language, in an
apocalyptic form; which, after the literary fashion of his age, he imputed
to an ancient seer, Daniel; definite up to the period at which he composed
it, indefinite as he gazed on the future. (16) It was this peculiarity,
the supposed ceasing of the prophecies in the book of Daniel at a definite
date, which was noticed by Porphyry, and led him to suggest the theory of
its authorship just named.(212) These remarks will give an idea of the
critical acuteness of Porphyry. His objections are not, it will be
observed, founded on quibbles like those of Celsus, but on instructive
literary characteristics, many of which are greatly exaggerated or grossly
misinterpreted, but still are real, and suggest difficulties or inquiries
which the best modern theological critics have honourably felt to demand
candid examination and explanation.(213)

A period of about thirty years brings us to the date of the Diocletian
persecution, A.D. 303; during the progress of which another noted attack
was made. It was by Hierocles, then president of Bithynia, and afterwards
præfect of Alexandria, himself one of the instigators of the persecution
and an agent in effecting it.(214) His line of argument was more specific
than those previously named, being directed against the evidence which was
derived by Christians for the truth of their religion from the character
and miraculous works of Christ; and his aim accordingly was to develope
the character of Apollonius of Tyana,(215) as a rival to our Saviour in
piety and miraculous power.

Apollonius was a Pythagorean philosopher, born in Cappadocia about four
years before the Christian era. After being early educated in the circle
of philosophy, and in the practice of the ascetic discipline of his
predecessor Pythagoras, he imitated that philosopher in spending the next
portion of his life in travel. Attracted by his mysticism to the farthest
East as the source of knowledge, he set out for Persia and India; and in
Nineveh on his route met Damis, the future chronicler of his actions.
Returning from the East instructed in Brahminic lore, he travelled over
the Roman world. The remainder of his days was spent in Asia Minor.
Statues and temples were erected to his honour. He obtained vast
influence, and died with the reputation of sanctity late in the century.
Such is the outline of his life, if we omit the numerous legends and
prodigies which attach themselves to his name. He was partly a
philosopher, partly a magician; half mystic, half impostor.(216) At the
distance of a century and a quarter from his death, in the reign of
Septimius Severus, at the request of the wife of that emperor, the second
of the three Philostrati dressed up Damis’s narrative of his life, in a
work still remaining, and paved a way for the general reception of the
story among the cultivated classes of Rome and Greece.(217) It has been
thought that Philostratus had a polemical aim against the Christian
faith,(218) as the memoir of Apollonius is in so many points a parody on
the life of Christ. The annunciation of his birth to his mother, the
chorus of swans which sang for joy on occasion of it, the casting out
devils, the raising the dead, the healing the sick, the sudden
disappearance and reappearance of Apollonius, the sacred voice which
called him at his death, and his claim to be a teacher with authority to
reform the world, form some of the points of similarity.

If such was the intention of Philostratus, he was really a
controversialist under the form of a writer of romance; employed by those
who at that time were labouring (as already named) to introduce an
eclecticism largely borrowed from the East into the region both of
philosophy and religion. Without settling this question, it is at least
certain that about the beginning of the next century the heathen writers
adopted this line of argument, and sought to exhibit a rival ideal.(219)
One instance is the life of Pythagoras by Iamblichus; another that which
Hierocles wrote, in part of which he used Philostratus’s untrustworthy
memoir for the purpose of instituting a comparison between Apollonius and
Christ. The sceptic who referred religious phenomena to fanaticism would
hence avail himself of the comparison as a satisfactory account of the
origin of Christianity; while others would adopt the same view as
Hierocles, and deprive the Christian miracles of the force of evidence,—a
line of argument which was reproduced by an English deist(220) who
translated the work of Philostratus at the end of the seventeenth century.
The work of Hierocles is lost, but an outline of its argument, with
extracts, remains in a reply which Eusebius wrote to a portion of it (17).
Though couched in a seeming spirit of fairness, the tone was such as would
be expected from one who ungenerously availed himself of the very moment
of a cruel persecution as the occasion of this literary attack.

But the time of the church’s sorrow was nearly past. The hour of
deliverance was at hand. The emperor Constantine proclaimed
toleration,(221) and subsequently established Christianity as the
state-religion. Only one moment more of peril was permitted to befall it.

After an interval in which Christian emperors reigned, Julian ascended the
throne, and employed his short reign of two years(222) in trying to
restore heathenism; and during the last winter of his life, while halting
at Antioch in the course of his Eastern war, wrote an elaborate work
against Christianity.(223) The book itself has been destroyed, but the
reply remains which Cyril of Alexandria thought it necessary to write more
than half a century afterwards; and by this means we can gather Julian’s
opinions, just as from his own letters and the contemporary history we can
gather his plans. The material struggle of deeds belongs in this instance
to our subject, inasmuch as it is the overt expression of the struggle of

Julian, as already observed, differed from previous opponents of
Christianity, in having been educated a Christian.(224) Associating when a
student at the schools of Athens with Gregory of Nazianzum and Basil, he
had every opportunity for understanding the Christian religion and
measuring its claims. The first cause of his apostasy from it remains
uncertain. One tradition states that the shock to his creed arose from
some early injury received through the fraud of a professing Christian.
Something is probably due to exasperation at the severity endured from
Constantius; and perhaps still more is due to the natural peculiarity of
his character. He was swayed by the imagination rather than the reason,
and was kindled with an enthusiastic admiration of the old heathen
literature and the historic glories of the heathen world. His very style
exhibits traces of imitation of the old models after which he formed
himself.(225) With a spirit which the Italian writers of the Renaissance
enable us to understand, his sympathies clung round heathens until they
entwined in their embrace heathenism itself. To a mind of this natural
bias sufficient grounds unhappily would easily be found to produce
aversion to Christianity, in the quarrels among sections of the church,
and in the ambition and inconsistency of the numbers of nominal converts
who embraced the religion when its public establishment had rendered it
their interest to do so; and prejudice would add arguments for rejecting

Accordingly he devoted his short reign to restore the ancient heathenism.
Like Constantine, having arrived at the throne through a troublous war, he
found the religion of the state opposed to his own convictions, and
determined to substitute that which he himself professed. The difference
however was great. The religion of Constantine was young and progressive;
that of Julian was effete. It is in this respect that Julian has been
compared,(226) in his character and acts, to those who in modern times,
both in literature and in politics, have devoted their lives to roll back
the progress of public opinion, and reproduce the spirit of the past by
giving new life to the relics of bygone ages. If Julian had succeeded in
his attempt, the victory could not have been permanent.

The steps by which he strove to carry out his views were not unlike those
of Constantine.(227) He first proclaimed the establishment of the
emperor’s religion as the religion of the state, permitting toleration for
all others. He next transferred the Christian endowments to heathens,
acting on the principle previously established by Constantine. But beyond
this point he proceeded to measures which had the nature of persecution.
He declared the Christian laity disqualified for office in the state,—a
measure which could only be sophistically maintained on the plea of
self-defence; and, afraid of the engine of education, forbade Christian
professors to lecture in the public schools of science and literature: and
probably he at last imposed a tax on those who did not perform sacrifice.
At the same time he saw the necessity of a total reformation in paganism,
if it was to revive as the rival of Christianity; and planned, as Pontifex
Maximus, a scheme for effecting it, which involved the concealment of the
absurdity of its origin by allegorical interpretation, together with the
establishment of a discipline and organisation similar to the Christian,
and special attention on the part of the priesthood to morality and to
public works of mercy.(228) His bitter contempt for Christianity
manifested itself in a public edict, which commanded that Christians
should be denominated by the opprobrious epithet “Galilæans;” and in some
of his extant letters(229) he evinces a bitterness against it which finds
its parallel in Voltaire and Shelley.

A work remains, the Philopatris, (18) usually falsely assigned to Lucian,
but which internal evidence proves to belong to the reign of Julian, in
which the unknown author, imitating the manner but wanting the power of
Lucian, holds up to ridicule the sermons and teaching of some Christian
preachers. This work probably conveys the creed of the imperial party,
which is simply Deism. This however is not the only source for
ascertaining the creed of Julian, and the nature of his objections to
Christianity. In his letters, and in the reply of Cyril to his now lost
work, we possess more exact means for determining his position and
sentiments. (19)

He omitted, as we might expect, the grosser and more frivolous charges
against Christianity which had been formerly expressed by those who were
ignorant of its real character. Indeed he seems to have been willing to
recognise it as one form of religion, but declined to admit its monopoly
of claim to be regarded as the only true form. Though himself a
Theist,(230)—his view of Deity being more simply monotheistic than that of
his predecessors, derived furtively from the Hebrew idea transmitted
through Christianity; he nevertheless considered that discrepancy of
national character required corresponding differences in religion.(231) In
his work he seems to have repeated some of the objections of the older
assailants, Celsus and Porphyry; attacking the credibility of scripture
and of the Christian scheme in its doctrines and evidences. He offered in
it a criticism on primæval and Hebrew history;(232) attacking the
probability of many portions of the book of Genesis;(233) objecting to the
Hebrew view of Deity as too appropriating in its character, and as making
the divine Being appear cruel.(234) He denied the originality of the
Hebrew moral law,(235) and pointed out the supposed defectiveness of the
Hebrew polity; comparing unfavourably the type of the Hebrew lawgiver as
seen in Moses, and of the king as seen in David, with the great heroes of
Greek history.(236) The Hebrew prophecy he tried to weaken by putting it
in comparison with oracles. In estimating the character of Christ, he
depreciated the importance of his miracles;(237) and noticing the
different tone of the fourth Gospel from those of the Synoptists, he
asserted that it was St. John who first taught Christ’s divinity.(238) He
regarded Christianity as composed of borrowed ingredients; considered it
to have assumed its shape gradually; and regarded its progress to have
been unforeseen by its founder and by St. Paul;(239) attacked its relation
to Judaism in superseding it while depending on it;(240) regarded
proselytism as absurd; and directed some few charges, which may have been
more deserved, against practices of his day, such as Staurolatry(241) and

With the death of Julian the hopes of heathenism departed; and two
eloquent orations of Gregory Nazianzen(243) still convey to us the
Christian words of triumph. Christianity progressed, protected by the
favour of the sovereigns. Heathenism no longer expressed itself in free
examination of Christianity, and lingered only in the prejudices of the
people. In the West it is merely seen as it pleads for toleration,(244) or
makes itself heard in the murmurs which attributed the woes of the
Teutonic invasions to the displeasure of the heathen gods at the neglect
of their worship.(245) In the East it disappears altogether. Doubt there
expires, because speculation ceases and Christian thought becomes fixed;
nor will it be necessary in future to recur to the history of the eastern

In this survey we have tried to understand the objections alleged by
unbelievers during the first four centuries, successively changing in
character, from the calumnies of ignorance in the second century, to the
statements of intelligent disbelief in the third and fourth, until they
finally subside in the fifth into the murmuring of popular superstition;
and have endeavoured to give their natural as well as literary history, by
exhibiting them as corollaries from the various views concerning religion
enumerated at the commencement of the lecture. The blind prejudices of the
uneducated populace, and the attachment, merely political, to heathen
creeds, manifested themselves in deeds rather than words; but each of the
other lines of thought there indicated gave expression in literature to
its opinion concerning Christianity; the flippant impiety of Epicureanism
in Lucian, the debased form then prevalent of Platonism in Celsus, the
subtle and mystic philosophy of the neo-Platonists in Porphyry, the
oriental Theosophy in Hierocles, the romantic attachment to the old pagan
literature in Julian.

If these causes be still further classified for comparison with the
enumeration of intellectual causes stated in the previous lecture, we find
only the adumbration of some of the forms there named. The attack from
physical science, so prevalent since the era of modern discovery, is
barely discernible in the passing remarks on the Mosaic cosmogony in
Celsus and Julian.(246) The attack from criticism is seen in a trifling
form in Celsus; in a superior manner in the perception which Porphyry
exhibits of the literary characteristics of the Old Testament, and Julian
of the New. The chief ground of the attack was derived from metaphysical
science, which acted not so much in its modern form of a subjective
inquiry into the tests of truth, as in the shape of rival doctrines
concerning the highest problems of life and being, which preoccupied the
mind against Christianity. If the eclectic attempts to adjust such
speculations to Christianity which marked the progress of Gnosticism could
have been embraced in our inquiry, the force of this class of causes would
have been made still more apparent.

The obvious insufficiency however of this analysis to afford an entire
explanation of the prejudices of these early unbelievers points to the
close union before noticed(247)of the emotional with the intellectual
causes. While asserting the possibility of the independent action of the
intellectual element under peculiar circumstances as a cause of doubt, and
while thus vindicating the importance of investigating the history of free
thought from the intellectual side, we admitted the necessity of taking
the probability of the action of the moral element into account when we
pass from the abstract study of tendencies to form a judgment on concrete
instances. Here accordingly, in the mental history of these early
unbelievers, we already encounter cases where philosophy as well as piety
requires that a very large share in the final product be referred to the
influence of emotional causes. Christianity addresses itself to the
compound human nature, to the intellect and heart conjoined. Accordingly
the excitement of certain forms of moral sensibility is as much
presupposed in religion as the sense of colour in beholding a landscape.
The means fail for estimating with historic certainty the particular
emotional causes which operated in the instances now under consideration.
The moral chasm which separates us from heathens is so great that we can
hardly realize their feelings.

If however we cannot pronounce on the positive presence of moral causes
which produced their disbelief, we may conjecture negatively the nature of
those, the absence of which precluded the possibility of faith.
Christianity demands a belief in the supernatural, and a serious spirit in
the investigation of religion, both of which were wholly lacking in
Lucian. It requires a deep consciousness of guilt and of the personality
of God, which were wanting in Celsus. It exacts a more delicate moral
taste to appreciate the divine ideal of Christ’s character than Hierocles
manifested. Porphyry and Julian are more difficult cases for moral
analysis. Porphyry is so earnest a character, so spiritual in his
tastes,(248) that we wonder why he was not a Christian; and except by the
reference of his conduct to general causes, such as philosophical pride,
we cannot understand his motives without a more intimate knowledge than is
now obtainable of his personal history. The difficulty of understanding
Julian’s character arises from its very complexity. Who can divine the
many motives which must have combined with intellectual causes at
successive moments of his life, to change the Christian student, into the
apostate, to convert disbelief into hatred, and to degrade the philosopher
into the persecutor? History happily offers so few parallels to enable us
to form a conjecture on the answer, that we may be content to leave the
problem unsolved.

We have now summed up the causes which operated in the first great
intellectual struggle in which Christianity was engaged. No means exist
for estimating the amount of harm done by the writings of unbelievers. The
retributive destruction of some of them and the indignant alarm of the
Christian apologists indicate the probability that these works had excited
attention. But under a merciful Providence truth has in the end gained
rather than lost by this first conflict of reason against Christianity.
The church encountered the unbelievers by apologetic treatises, and met
the Gnostics by dogmatic decisions. The truths brought out by the action
and reaction, and embodied in the literature stimulated by Gnosticism, in
the apologies created by unbelief, and in the creeds suggested as a
protest against heresy, are the permanent result which the struggle has
contributed to the world.

The contest however is not quite obsolete, and has a practical as well as
antiquarian interest. Though the analogy to the attacks of ancient
unbelievers must be sought in pagan countries in the objections of modern
heathens, yet some resemblance to them may be found in the unbelief of
Christian lands. Such parallels are frequently hasty generalizations
founded on a superficial perception of agreement, without due recognition
of the differences which more exact observation would bring to view; for
identity of cause as well as result is necessary in order to establish
philosophical affinity. In the present cases however the agreement is
moral if not intellectual, in spirit if not in form, generally also in
condition if not in cause. The flippant wit of Lucian, which attributes
religion to imposture and craft, is repeated in the French criticism of
the last century. Some of the doubts of Celsus reappear in the English
deists. The delicate criticism of Porphyry is reproduced in the modern
exegesis. The disposition to explain Christianity as a psychological
phenomenon, as merely one form of the religious consciousness, an organic
product of human thought, unsuited for men of superior knowledge, who can
attain to the philosophical truth which underlies it, is the modern
parallel to Julian.

Accordingly the conduct of the early church during this struggle has a
living lesson of instruction for the church in Christian lands, as well as
in its missionary operations to the heathen. The victory of the early
church was not due wholly to intellectual remedies, such as the answers of
apologists, but mainly to moral; to the inward perception generated of the
adaptation of Christianity to supply the spiritual wants of human
nature.(249) As the heathen realized the sense of sin, they felt
intuitively the suitability of salvation through Christ; as they witnessed
the transforming power of belief in Him, they felt the inward testimony to
the truth of Christianity. The external evidence of religion had its
office in the early church, though the belief(250) in magic and in oracles
probably prevented the full perception of the demonstrative force due to
the two forms of external evidence, miracles and prophecy. But the
internal evidences,—Christ, Christianity, Christendom, were the most
potent proofs offered,—the doctrine of an atoning Messiah filling the
heart’s deepest longings, and the lives of Christians embodying heavenly

The modern church may therefore take comfort, and may hope for victory.
The weak things of the world confounded the strong, not only because the
Holy Spirit granted the dew of his blessing, but because the scheme and
message of reconciliation which the church was commissioned to announce,
were of divine construction. Each Christian who tries, however humbly, to
spread the knowledge of Christ by word or by example is helping forward
the Redeemer’s kingdom. Let each one in Christ’s strength do his duty, and
he will leave the world better than he found it; and in the present age,
as in the times of old, Gnosticism and heathenism will retire before
Christianity; the false will be dissipated, the good be absorbed, by the
beams of the Sun of righteousness.


    LUKE xxi. 33.

    _Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass

We have studied the history of unbelief down to the fall of heathenism. A
period of more than seven hundred years elapses before a second crisis of
doubt occurs in church history. The interval was a time of social
dissolution and reconstruction; and when the traces of the free criticism
of religion reappear, the world in which they manifest themselves is new.
Fresh races have been introduced, institutions unknown to the ancient
civilization have been mingled with or have replaced the old; and the
ancient language of the Roman empire has dissolved into the Romance
tongues. But Christianity has lived through the deluge, and been the ark
of refuge in the storm; and its claims are now tested by the young world
which emerged into being when the waters of confusion had retired. The
silence of reason in this interval was not the result of the abundance of
piety, but of the prevalence of ignorance; a sign of the absence of
inquiry, not of the presence of moral and mental satisfaction.(251) Even
when speculation revived, and reason re-examined religion, the literary
monuments in which expression is given to doubt are so few, that it will
be possible in the present lecture not only to include the account of the
second and third crises which mark the course of free thought in church
history, but even to pass beyond them, and watch the dawn of unbelieving
criticism caused by the rise of the modern philosophy which ushers in the
fourth of the great crises named in a previous lecture.(252)

The former of these periods which we shall now examine, the second in the
general scheme, may be considered to extend from A.D. 1100 to 1400. Its
commencement is fixed by the date at which the scholastic philosophy began
to influence religion, its close by the revival of classical learning. The
history of free thought in it is complicated, by being to some extent the
struggle of deeds as well as of ideas, a social as well as a religious
struggle. It was the period which witnessed both the dissolution of
feudalism and the theocratic centralization in the popedom; and while
reason struggled on the one side against the dogmatic system, it struggled
on the other to assert the rights of the state against the church, and to
put restraints upon the privileges, dominion, and wealth, of the pope and
clergy. The social struggle, to vindicate the liberty of the state against
the undue power of the church, so far as it is the effect of free thought,
appertains to our subject, in the same manner as was the case with the
early attempts of a converse character of the Roman emperors to deny due
liberty to the church, whenever, as in the case of Julian, they were the
result of a deliberate examination of religion. Free thought in the middle
ages is at once Protestantism, Scepticism, and Ghibellinism.(253)

The intellectual action in this crisis is marked by four forms;—(1) the
criticism created by the scholastic philosophy, which has been thought to
mark in Abélard the commencement of doubt; (2) the introduction of the
idea of progress in religion, in the sense that Christianity is to be
replaced by a better religion; (3) the idea of the comparison of
Christianity with other religions, so as to obliterate its exceptional
character; (4) the traces of disbelief in the doctrine of immortality. The
two former are free thought as doubt, the two latter as disbelief.

It will be necessary, for illustrating the first of those forms, to
explain the nature of the scholastic philosophy, so far as to show how it
might become the means of producing heresy or scepticism, when applied to

Scholasticism is the vague name which describes the system of inquiry
common in the middle ages.(254) In truth it marks a period rather than a
system; a method rather than a philosophy. In spite of difference of form,
it links itself with the speculations of other ages in community of aim,
in that it strove to gain a general philosophy of the universe, to reach
some few principles which might offer an interpretation of all

In the present age the science which attempts this grand problem is
denominated Logic, or Metaphysics, according to the different sphere which
it covers.(255) But in the middle ages these two fields were not clearly
distinguished; in the same manner as in the Διαλεκτικὴ of Plato, method
and the realities attained by method were not separated.(256) Yet it was
mainly in reference to the former that scholasticism wears the aspect of a
method, and to the latter the aspect of a philosophy. Adopting deduction
as the type of a perfect science, it assumed its data partly on the ground
of innate ideas, partly from the truths of revelation, partly from the
metaphysical dicta of Aristotle; and from these principles attempted to
work out deductively a solution of universal nature. It was the Σοφία of
Aristotle executed from a Christian point of view. In respect to the
logical method there was a general agreement of opinion, but difference of
system arose in the metaphysical. The form that the problem of science
then assumed was peculiar. Instead of examining the data from which
deduction starts, with a view of finding their subjective certainty as
thoughts, the inquirers strove to settle the problem of their objective
nature as things. The question asked was this: Are the genera and species
which the mind contemplates, in its attempts to classify and interpret
phenomena, real in nature, or produced only by human thought and speech? A
comparison with the modern mode of investigation will explain the
importance which the question possessed, and the reason why it monopolized
the entire field of inquiry.

The progress of discovery has forced upon us a subdivision of the sciences
into two classes, unknown in the middle ages; in one of which we discover
causes; in the other, in which we are unable to find causes, we rest
content with classification by species and genera. In the former we
discover antecedents, in the latter types.(257) But in mediæval science,
as in Greek, the latter class was regarded as the sole form of all perfect
science. Hence the reason will appear why the question as to the true
nature of genera and species had a monopoly of the field of inquiry; and
also why the theory of predication was exalted into the most important
part of logic.(258) Those who thought that genera had a real existence as
essences apart from man’s mind and from nature, were denominated Realists:
those who denied to them any real existence, and considered them to be a
common quality labelled by a common name, were Nominalists: those who held
the intermediate view, and assumed them to exist, not only as artificial
names but also as general classes in the human mind, were Conceptualists.
With the realist, classification was not arbitrary, but true and
determined for man. With the nominalist and conceptualist it was created
by man, and amenable to correction.

The question, though now relegated from metaphysical to physical science,
has still sufficient importance to enable us to perceive likewise the
reason why these different theories could be the means of dividing men
into parties. The bitterness with which a zoological inquiry of analogous
character into the perpetuity of natural species(259) has been lately
assailed may enable us to realize the earnestness shown on this point in
the middle ages. The question, as viewed by the schoolmen, was really the
fundamental one as respects knowledge; and the opinions on it are the
counterpart to those which relate to the tests of truth and the nature of
being in modern metaphysics. The spirit of realism was essentially the
spirit of dogmatism, the disposition to pronounce that truth was already
known.(260) Nominalism was essentially the spirit of progress, of inquiry,
of criticism. Realism was in spirit deductive, starting from accepted
dogmas: Nominalism was in spirit, though not in form, inductive. It tested
classifications, and admitted opportunities for the existence of doubt.
“Believe that you may know,” was the expression of the former: “Know that
you may believe,” that of the latter.(261)

The two theories were of universal application to every subject of
thought. An illustration will explain their relation to theology. In the
foolish and almost irreverent attempts to explain by philosophy the nature
of the triune existence of the divine Being, the realist assuming the
reality of the one genus Deity, was prepared to allow identity of essence
in the three species, the three members of the Divine Trinity. The
nominalist, allowing only concrete existence, was obliged either to accept
unity, only in a verbal sense, and be charged with tritheism, as Roscelin;
or diversity only in a verbal sense, and incur the charge of Sabellianism,
as Abélard.

Such was Scholasticism, and such its relation to philosophy and
theology.(262) Existing for several centuries as an instinct, it became
about the end of the eleventh century an intelligent movement.(263) At
this period the problem was consciously proposed, and each of the three
centuries which are comprised in our present period exhibits a different
phase of the controversy. At first the movement was in favour of the
nominalism in Roscelin and Abélard, and reason assumed an attitude of
alleged scepticism: in the thirteenth century the victory was in the hands
of intelligent realists like Aquinas, who used reason in favour of
orthodoxy. In the fourteenth, nominalism revived in Occam; the provinces
of faith and philosophy were severed, and the final victory on the
metaphysical question remained in the hands of the nominalists.

The scientific position of Abélard will thus be clear. We must now study
his intellectual character, as embodying the sceptical aspect which
belonged to nominalism.

Abélard’s character is in many respects one of the most curious in
history.(264) The record of his trials, bodily and mental,(265) enlists
the romantic sympathy of the sentimentalist, and commands the serious
attention of the philosopher. His wonderful reputation at Paris as a
public lecturer connects him with the university life of the middle ages,
and presents him as the type of the class of great professors created by
the absence of books and consequent prevalence of oral instruction. It was
his vast influence which made his opinions of importance, and aroused the
opposition of St. Bernard. It seems to have been the application of the
nominalist philosophy to the doctrine of the Trinity, contained in
Abélard’s works on dogmatic theology,(266) which excited alarm. The
council called at Sens(267) was a theological duel, wherein those two
distinguished characters were matched, the most eloquent theologian and
preacher against the most influential professor and philosopher; the saint
against the critic. Bernard was right in his Theology; Abélard perhaps
right in his philosophy.(268) This event however presents the effects of
scholasticism in producing heresy rather than scepticism.

The great work which has laid Abélard open to the latter charge merits a
brief notice. It was entitled the _Sic et Non_, and remained unpublished
in the public documents of France till recent years.(269) It is a
collection of alleged contradictions, which exist on a series of topics,
which range over the deepest problems of theology, and descend to the
confines of casuistry in ethics.(270) In the discussion of them Abélard
collects passages from the scriptures and from the fathers in favour of
two distinctly opposite solutions. He has however prefixed a prologue to
the work, which ought to be taken as the explanation of his object.(271)
He insists in it on the difficulty of rightly understanding the scriptures
or the fathers, and refers it to eight different causes;(272) advising
that when these considerations fail to explain the apparent contradictions
of scripture, we should abandon the manuscripts as inaccurate, rather than
believe in the existence of real discrepancies. He draws also a broad
distinction between canonical scripture and other literature, strongly
affirming the authority of the former.

Is this work sceptical? Is it designed under a fair show to serve the
purpose of unbelief? Or is it merely an instance of the awakening of the
spirit of inquiry, the free criticism exercised by nominalism, the desire
to prove all dogmas by reason? In other words, was the freethinking of
Abélard rationalism, or was it merely Protestantism and theological

These questions have met with different answers. The Benedictine editors,
viewing his condemnation by St. Bernard as parallel to that of the
biblical critic R. Simon(273) by Bossuet, declined to publish the
manuscript of his work.(274) More recent inquirers, especially the
philosophical critic Cousin, have regarded Abélard with a favourable eye.
They consider his treatises merely to be a provisional scepticism,
fortifying the mind against premature solutions. Some would even claim him
as an early protestant, as the first of the line of men whose spirits,
while fretting under the dogmatic teaching or the political centralization
of the Western church, have unhesitatingly bowed before the authority of
scripture.(275) Possibly these several views contain elements of truth.
Abélard’s character was complex, and the purpose of his book equally so.
He embodied a movement, and experience had not yet taught men to
distinguish in it the boundaries which separated the provinces of free
thought. The argument in favour of scepticism drawn from the form of his
work seems unfair. The statement of a series of paradoxes is lawful, if a
solution of them be offered, or an explanation of the reason why a
solution is impossible. The disputative, dialectical tone which assists in
the work was the ordinary mode of instruction in the mediæval
universities, and finds a parallel in the method of thought observable in
other ages. Abélard’s statement of paradoxes, of an unsolved mass of
contradictions, recalls, for example, the early paradoxes on motion which
Zeno presented for the purpose of compelling acquiescence in the Eleatic
teaching,(276) or the series of antinomies which Kant has given, as
problems insoluble theoretically, but capable of harmony when viewed on
the moral side.(277) In truth it is the mark, either, as in one of these
cases, of the first awakening of the mind to curiosity; or, as in the
other, of the last limit at which curiosity is compelled to pause.
Abélard’s method is like that which is observable in Socrates, and in
those early dialogues of his disciple Plato, in which the pupil is working
in his master’s manner, wherein difficulties are propounded without being
solved. The hearer is cross-questioned, with the view of being made to
feel the necessity of possessing knowledge; and a method is offered to him
by which he is to find the solution of problems for himself.(278) In this
view Abélard’s doubt is really the inquiry which is the first step to
faith; the criticism which precedes the constructive process, the negation
before affirmation.

While its form may be regarded as an embodiment of the scholastic method,
the manner of handling marks the commencement of modern biblical
criticism. The suggestions which he offers(279) in reference to false
readings of manuscripts, the spuriousness of books, and the temporary
character of the author’s sentiments, as elements in determining the
reality of a contradiction, or the necessary rejection of a passage on
grounds of dogmatic improbability, mark a sagacity which has been
perfected into a science by the growth of modern criticism. Thus far we
have only the elements of inquiry and criticism which enter into doubt;
yet it would be unfair to deny that something of unbelief may have been
found in a restless care-worn spirit like that of Abélard; and if any one
thinks that he intended in his work to leave the reader with the
impression that the solution is impossible, or that the doubter’s side is
the stronger, then we may consider him to have been an unbeliever, and
regard his teaching as an example, often witnessed in later times, of a
concealed irony, which, while pretending to accept revelation, has
represented its evidence as insufficient, and its doctrines as unprovable.
If however he be taken to be a sceptic, it is only the infancy of doubt.
It is unlike the bitter disbelief shown by the early antichristian
writers, or by the doubters of modern times. Whatever was valuable in the
free thought of Abélard outlived his time. The spirit of inquiry which
spoke through him, continued to operate in his successors.(280) His method
was even adopted by his opponents. His follower, Arnold of Brescia,
carried free thought from ideas into acts, and suffered martyrdom in a
premature struggle against the papal church.(281) Being dead, Abélard yet
spoke, both politically and philosophically; and his character remains as
a type of the spirit of mingled doubt and hope and inquiry which is
exhibited in the free thought of any of those great epochs, when knowledge
is increased, and when earnest minds are standing in doubt whether the new
wine can be placed in the old bottles.

The movement, which was beginning to be felt in every branch of life and
thought in the twelfth century, was still more manifest in the course of
the thirteenth, an age, which, whether viewed in its great men or great
deeds, its movements political, ecclesiastical, or intellectual, is the
most remarkable of the middle ages, and one of the most memorable in
history.(282) The activity of speculation is evidenced by the increasing
alarm which alleged heresy like the Albigensian was causing, and by the
establishment of the system of ecclesiastical police(283) which developed
into the inquisition. About the middle of the century, the influence of
free thought in religion is supposed to have made its appearance, in a
work which originated with one of the newly created mendicant orders. A
book which had appeared at the beginning of the century, entitled “the
Everlasting Gospel,” was now edited with an introduction by some person of
influence in the Franciscan order.(284) The idea conveyed was, that, as
there are three Persons in the Godhead, so there must be three
dispensations; that of the Father which ended at the coming of Christ,
that of the Son which was then about to conclude, and that of the Spirit,
of which the religious ideal of the Franciscans was the embodiment.

The work caused immense alarm, and was condemned by the council of
Arles,(285) on the ground that it assumed that Christianity was imperfect,
and was to be replaced by a superior revelation developing from natural
causes. It is doubtful whether the book was really intended to be
sceptical. More probably it was mystical. Claiming to be founded on an
apocalyptic idea,(286) it was a revival of the Chiliasm which haunted the
Christians of Asia Minor in the early centuries; perhaps also it was the
utterance of the spiritual yearning which marked the rise of the
Franciscan order, and a protest against the worldliness of the times. It
was connected too with the longings for political deliverance from the
temporal dominion of the Popedom which were now beginning to be felt. In
these latter aspects the idea, so far from being false, was an advance.
Christianity from time to time admits a progress, but from within rather
than from without; a deeper spiritual appreciation of old truths rather
than a reception of new ones. The demand for progress becomes a ground for
alarm only when it implies that the world has bidden farewell to
Christianity, either through the mystical expectation of a Millennial
reign which is to supersede it, or through the sceptical belief that our
religion has only an historic value, and needs remodelling to meet the
requirements of advancing civilization. If the latter was the meaning of
this utterance of the Franciscan book, the idea was the germ of the modern
conception of the function of Christianity in “the education of the race,”
the first statement of which is usually attributed to Lessing.(287)

The same century which gave birth to this _mot_, expressive of _progress
in religion_, created also another which embodied the idea of the
_comparative study of religions_. This phrase may have different meanings.
It may signify the comparison of Christianity with ethnic creeds in its
external and internal character, without sacrificing the belief that a
divinely revealed element exists in it, which caused it to differ from
them in kind as well as degree. Or it may mean a comparison of
Christianity with other religions, as equally false with them, equally a
deliberate and conscious invention of priestcraft which was the shocking
view adopted by writers like Volney in the last century,(288) or else a
comparison of it as equally true with them, as equally a psychological
development of the religious intelligence, which is the view prevalent in
many noted works on the philosophy of history in the present.(289) It was
the second of these ideas, expressive of actual incredulity, which existed
in the thirteenth century. It is traceable in the imputation made by
Gregory IX(290) against the celebrated emperor Frederick II, that he had
spoken of Moses, Christ, and Mahomet, as the three great impostors who had
respectively deceived the Jews, the Christians, and the Arabs.

The very possibility of the existence of such a comparison presupposes
intercourse with disciples of foreign creeds. The Christians now no longer
possessed a merely vague knowledge of Jews and Mahometans. The crusades
were expiring, the danger which evoked them had subsided, and the enmity
which supported them was decaying. Europe had entered into relations of
commerce, if not of amity, with Mahometan nations; and through contact
with them had come to measure them by an altered standard, and to acquire
the idea of comparing religions. Frederick II, to whom this expression is
imputed, is stated to have manifested admiration of Mahometan literature,
and affection for his Mahometan subjects who afforded him aid in carrying
out the plans of civilization which his powerful mind had formed;(291) and
it was his indifference to a crusade, induced probably by other causes,
which led the Pope to impute to him the blasphemy just quoted. The contact
with the East, half a century later, in like manner afforded the pretext
for fastening a charge of unbelief on the Knights Templars.(292) Contact
with Mahometans had thus, we have reason to believe, created a latitude of
thought in many parts of Christendom.

The same idea of the comparison of Christianity with other creeds
reappears in a tale of Boccaccio,(293) in which the three great religions
are represented under the allegory of three rings which a father gave to
his children, so exactly alike that the judges could not decide which was
the genuine one of the three, and which the copies. It is also illustrated
by the tradition of the existence of a book, entitled “De Tribus
Impostoribus,” which has been attributed almost to every great name in the
middle ages which was conspicuous for opposition to the claims of the
church, or for uneasiness under the pressure of its dogmatic teaching. The
existence of the book is legendary: no one ever saw it: and the two
distinct works which now bear the title can be shown to have been composed
respectively in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: but the legend is
a witness to the fact of the existence of the idea which the book was said
to embody. (20)

It is perhaps in some degree to the influence of the doctrine of
absorption in the Mahometan philosophy of Averroes, a commentator on
Aristotle, who was the contemporary of Abélard, that we may attribute the
disbelief in immortality to which we find a tendency toward the close of
the thirteenth and during the fourteenth century.(294) Though it is
probable that the indirect influence of the Arabic philosophy was felt
earlier, in stimulating a demand for inquiry, a disposition to make dogmas
submit to the test of reason, which has been shown to be the earliest form
of mediæval doubt; yet it was not until the thirteenth century that the
works of Averroes definitely influenced scholasticism, through the
teaching of Michael Scot and Alexander Hales, and by means of the rapidity
of intellectual communication which forms so singular a feature in
mediæval history, spread their influence in Italy as well as in France. It
was at this time that the doctrine of Averroes was attacked by Aquinas;
and though the amount of its influence can hardly be estimated, we have
the means of tracing the growth of dislike to its author in Christian
lands, which is an incidental probability of the increasing danger to
Christianity arising from it. In the middle of the thirteenth century the
Franciscans study him without evincing hatred. About the end of it Dante
describes him still without reproaches, though he places him in the
Inferno along with other heathen philosophers:(295) but half a century
later, in the pictures of the last judgment which exist in several states
of Italy, each a little historic satire with its own peculiarities, we
find Averroes depicted as the type of incredulity and blasphemy. In a
fresco of the Campo Santo of Pisa, executed about 1335, when perhaps the
recent canonization of Aquinas as an opponent of Averroes had directed
attention to the influence of the Arabic philosopher, Orcagna has placed a
separate _bolgia_, the lowest in his hell, for three persons,—Mahomet,
Anti-christ, and Averroes.(296)

The disbelief of immortality was however too obvious a temptation in a
corrupt age, as well as too generally spread, especially in the next
century, to be wholly attributable to the subtle influence of the doctrine
of absorption of the Arabic philosophy. A mediæval English poet(297)
attributes incredulity to the higher classes of his age; and Dante, in
that poem which is a romantic picture of his contemporaries or
predecessors, when devoting one circle of the Inferno to the habitation of
the “more than a thousand” of those “who make the soul die with the body,”
attributes the cause of the sin to Epicureanism, a moral and not an
intellectual cause.(298) It is a sad and humiliating thought to reflect
also that a cause which must have increased incredulity, if it did not
create it, was to be found in the vices of the clergy, especially near the
papal court of Avignon. Most of the distinguished laymen whom history
records as evincing unbelief belonged to the political party, which strove
to repress the political centralization and temporal authority of the
church; and it is to be feared that the causes just named were the means
of repelling more deeply from religion the hearts of such persons whose
interests or whose vices already led them to hate its promoters.(299)

We have thus collected the few traces which mark the history of free
thought in the second great crisis of church history, and incidentally
illustrated its connexion with social movements as well as religious, and
shown its relation to intellectual or moral causes. On the intellectual
side we have witnessed the scholastic philosophy giving activity to the
spirit of change, and contact with Mahometan life and opinion imparting
the latitude to Christian thought which passed into incredulity. On the
moral we have noticed that the effect of social wants or of actual
viciousness gave birth respectively to religious restlessness, or to
actual disbelief of the supernatural. The church of the time was not
unaware of the movement. In part it tried to repress it by persecution and
by the Inquisition; but in part also by the lawful weapon of spiritual
contest. The grand works of defence of the thirteenth century, which
adjusted scholastic philosophy to dogmatic theology, and the spiritual
activity of the mendicant orders, were real and lawful means of victory,
appealing respectively to the intellect and heart.

The moral judgment formed on the movement seen in the whole period must
vary with the phase of it viewed. The attack is not, like those of the
early unbelievers, a struggle with which the sympathies of Christians
cannot be enlisted. The darker aspects of it partake indeed of the same
character; but it embodies a better element, a nobler form of movement,
tainted perhaps with doubt, but not with disbelief; viz. the attempt of
the human mind to assert its rights in philosophy, theology, and politics;
and as the epoch closes, the great truth has made itself felt in the world
as the result of the contest, that Christianity is supreme only within its
own sphere, which it is the problem of religious philosophy to discover;
that freedom of inquiry is to be used outside the boundary, but that
speculation must expire in adoration within it.


A new crisis may be considered to commence in the fifteenth century, in
consequence of the introduction of fresh influences through the classical
revival. Yet as the two periods are connected in time, the transition is
not sudden: the old influences gradually vanish away; the new ones had
been slowly preparing before they became distinctly evident. The
intellectual and social activity of the past period had been the means of
educating the mind of Europe for the reception of the new forces which
were now beginning to operate.(300)

The fifteenth century was a remarkable period for Europe, and preeminently
for Italy. During several ages Italy had grown great by means of commerce
and religion. The crusades, which had impoverished the rest of Europe, had
enriched her; and the subjugation of the nations to the court of Rome had
made her the treasury of Europe. Material wealth permitted the
encouragement of the study of literature, which relations of commerce or
of conquest with the Greek empire had been the means of reviving.
Manuscripts were collected, and the remains of monuments of classic art
were studied. The love of antiquity gave perfection to art, and influenced
literature. The work which centuries had slowly prepared now came to
perfection. The scholastic philosophy declined; the sources of
ecclesiastical education and of the existing religion were weakened; and
by the close of the fifteenth century the tone of the age was in all
respects changed. The devotion which had expressed itself in the great
Gothic works of devotion of early ages was expiring, at least in Italy,
and art itself gradually became secular, and expressed ideas more earthly.

When such a moment of material prosperity, combined with intellectual and
social change, ensues immediately on the movement previously sketched, we
should expect to find religion subjected to re-examination, and placed in
temporary peril. The history confirms the supposition. If we regard this
crisis as embracing about two centuries and a quarter,(301) comprehending
the classical revival, the opening of a new geographical world, and the
great religious changes of the Reformation,—a period commencing with the
Renaissance, and closed by the creation of modern philosophy;—we shall
find two principal movements of unbelief for investigation, the one caused
by literature, a return to a spirit of heathenism analogous to that
already described in Julian; the second caused by philosophy, a revival of
pantheism. The first belonged especially to the close of the fifteenth
century, and had its seat for the most part in Tuscany and Rome; the
second to the sixteenth, and was represented in the university of Padua.
In both these movements, especially in the former, the open expression of
unbelief in literature is rare, though the incidental proofs of its
existence are abundant. It was a time of the dissolution of faith, not of
overt attack. Unbelief was Epicurean indifference, rather than earnestness
in destroying the old creed.

Two of the most obvious proofs that we can select for proving the
existence of a state of unbelief(302) are, the ridicule of religion
expressed in the burlesque poetry of the time, and the antichristian
sympathies of several distinguished men.

It would be incorrect however to attribute the satirical allusions in the
poetry wholly to the influence of the classical revival; for the romantic
epic in which they occur is the offshoot of the old prose romance of
mediæval chivalry, which had in earlier ages amused the courts of princes
by directing its banter against ecclesiastical persons and
institutions.(303) But the tone of the poetry is now changed. The satire
is directed against religion itself, not merely against the abuse of it,
or the eccentricities of its adherents. Free thought is not merely
political dissatisfaction, but religious unbelief. And with the alteration
of the tone agrees also the increasing disposition to carry satire into
the domain of the supernatural; which thus witnesses to the widespread
unbelief in the hearers for whom it was designed. Italian critics have
doubted indeed whether these epics are designed to convey a caricature, or
pass beyond lawful satire:(304) yet even when allowance is made for the
fact that they are an historic reproduction, and for the fund presented
for humour by ecclesiastical peculiarities, it seems impossible to
overlook the covert satire intended on church beliefs.(305) The
intermixture of a comic element would not alone prove this. The miracle
plays of the middle ages admitted comedy without intending
irreverence;(306) and a gentle humour pervades many of the Autos of
Calderon, which were acted on solemn festivals.(307) But there exists in
the manner in which the supernatural element is managed by such poets as
Pulci, Bello, and Ariosto, such evident purpose to bring into ridicule the
existence of belief, that its parallel can only be found in the banter
used by their imitator Byron, in his Vision of Judgment, and implies
indifference both in author and reader; the expression of contempt, not of

The unbelief which existed in the courts for which this poetry was
written, is a specimen of the general incredulity, or indifference to
Christianity, which prevailed among the educated classes, and was fostered
by classical studies and tastes. It seems strange to us, who have been
long accustomed to regard classical culture as the basis of general
education, and who are impressed with the conviction of the great
assistance ministered by it to theological study, to regard it as the
producing cause of unbelief. This result of it however was a transitory
one, originating in the shock which arose from the novel thoughts and
tastes which mingled themselves with the ancient pursuits, and altered the
previous ideal of life. Ever since the earliest times, a chasm had
unavoidably separated heathen literature from Christian; and a dislike to
heathen studies existed, which found its full expression in Gregory the
Great.(309) The result was, that the Christian civilization did not
consciously admit the introduction of heathen thought; and when the mind
awoke suddenly to a perception of its beauty and depth, though deeper
spirits, like Erasmus, regarded it with the enlightened Christian
approbation which Origen had formerly shown, others were led, like Julian
of old, from their admiration of it, to look with indifference or
hostility on Christianity. Some of the brilliant and elevated minds that
adorned the court of the Medicis were suspected of unbelief, or of
preferring Platonism to Christianity;(310) and after the woes of the
French invasion at the end of the century had deepened the corruption of
morals, and stamped out political liberty, the last freshness of artistic
creation, which had linked the public mind to Christianity through the
deep instincts of the taste, disappeared. The art and literature which
succeeded are an index of the tone which prevailed. Gaining perfection in
form by the imitation of classic models, they were cold, sensuous,
unspiritual.(311) Classical mythology was intermixed with gospel
doctrines; and the early years of the sixteenth century represent the
semi-heathen tone of thought which was the transition to the perfect
fusion which afterwards took place of the old learning and the new. It was
an age similar to those of modern times in France and Germany, which have
been called periods of humanism, when hope suggests the inauguration of a
new moral and social era, and the pride of knowledge produces a general
belief in the power of civilization to become the sole remedy for

The social conditions of the age added moral causes to the intellectual,
which tended to increase the unbelief, especially in the literary classes.
One of them is perhaps to be found in the fact that the church prizes were
the only reward for authorship. By the beginning of the sixteenth century
authors became largely appreciated through the press, and received
patronage at the courts of the various Τύραννοι who had established
themselves on the ruins of the old republics. In the absence of any law of
copyright there was no protection for them,(313) and consequently no
reward except church patronage, which was therefore conferred
indiscriminately, and tended to foster disbelief in the very recipients of
it. A merely professional hold of religion is the surest road to absolute
disbelief. It is inconceivable that the ecclesiastical scandals which
history blushes to narrate, could have been perpetrated by believers; and
the unbelief imputed to persons in high station, such as Leo X with other
popes, and cardinals such as Bembo, was doubtless, if true, partly the
result of the degrading effects of professional insincerity.

Such a state of unbelief could not be permanent, whether it was the result
of a decaying system, or of the introduction of new influences. Nor would
we use unnecessarily a polemical tone in speaking of a period where there
is so much cause for Christian humiliation; yet it is worthy of notice
that such facts are a refutation of the attack which has frequently been
made on Protestantism, as the cause of eclecticism and unbelief. The two
great crises in church history, when faith almost entirely died out, and
free thought developed into total disbelief of the supernatural, have been
in Romish countries; viz., in Italy in this period, and in France during
the eighteenth century. In both the experiment of the authoritative system
of the catholic religion had a fair trial, and was found wanting.

Other causes besides the classical revival were operating to stimulate
activity of mind and freedom of inquiry. It was an age in which the great
system of the middle ages was finally dissolving. The discovery of new
worlds seemed at once to call to Europe to break connexion with the old
centre of ecclesiastical centralization; and to invite to that study of
nature which should elevate, and as it were emancipate the mind, by
teaching physical truth and the true method of discovery.(314) Political
circumstances too, contributed toward the creation of ecclesiastical
autonomy. The European nations had gradually grown into united families,
and were now ready for cooperation in a system of balance of power.(315)
The northern nations, long galled under the power of Rome, were panting
for freedom; Germany first reforming her religion, and then throwing off
her subjection; England first throwing off her subjection, and then
compelled to reform herself. The old systems of thought were at an end.
The change, like all social ones, was not abrupt, but it was decisive and
final. It was the earthquake which shattered for ever the crust of error
which had fettered thought.

It is a matter of wonder that the great revolutions just named passed with
so little development of scepticism. In the nations north of the Alps
there is hardly a trace. The charge of deism, directed in the fifteenth
century against Pecock,(316) bishop of Chichester, appears to have been
unfounded. The contest which Ulrich von Hütten carried on against the
monks and schools of Cologne was literary rather than religious;(317)
Hütten being the literary and political reformer rather than the sceptic.
Even the most advanced spirits of the reformers,(318) Servetus and the
Sozini, came forth from Italy, as from the centre of free thought. Nor
were they unbelievers in the reality of a revelation; and they met with no
support from the northern reformers. Servetus was martyred at Geneva, and
the Sozini were banished into Poland. It was the spiritual earnestness
which mingled with the intellectual movement in the Reformation, which
prevented free thought from producing rationalism or unbelief.
Protestantism was a form of free thought; but only in the sense of a
return from human authority to that of scripture. It was equally a
reliance on an historic religion, equally an appeal to the immemorial
doctrine of the church with Roman Catholicism; but it conceived that the
New Testament itself contained a truer source than tradition for
ascertaining the apostolic declaration of it.(319)

But Italy was the witness of another sceptical tendency, besides that
which resulted from the classic Renaissance, in the last remnant of the
influence of mediæval philosophy. Throughout the sixteenth century,
pantheism manifested itself in connexion with the philosophical studies of
the university of Padua. The form in which it made itself felt was the
disbelief of the immortality of the soul on speculative grounds. The cause
of the disbelief was the influence of the philosophy of Averroes before

It will be necessary to explain this system with a little detail. It has
been already stated that Averroes was a noted commentator on Aristotle in
the twelfth century. The two ground principles of his philosophy were, the
eternity of matter and the impersonality of mind. On this high subject
there can be only two theories; the one theistic, which declares that God
is free, a personal first Cause, and the Creator of matter, and that other
minds are free and personal; the other pantheistic, which asserts that
matter is eternal, and that individual minds are only the manifestation of
the impersonal mind, into which the individual is reabsorbed. Averroes
held the latter theory, claiming to derive it from Aristotle. It must be
confessed however that Aristotle’s views are uncertain on this point: he
distinguished between mind, immortal and relative, the latter of which,
being connected with body, ceased at death; the former outlived it. But he
hardly stated the doctrine that all souls are part of the universal soul,
and is silent about their reabsorption into it. These points were added by

The influence of the philosophy of Averroes is observable in three classes
of thinkers; viz., the Spanish Jews of his own century, the scholastic
philosophers of the thirteenth, and the philosophers of the university of
Padua in the fourteenth and succeeding ages. The second of these effects
has been already traced: we must now notice the third.

Padua was the great medical university of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, and was a type of the tendency which at that time manifested
itself in the north-eastern part of Italy toward material and rational
studies, as in Tuscany to ideal and humanistic. It was the medical
philosophy of Averroes which had first attracted attention to him. But the
influence of his teaching was innocuous there until the sixteenth century,
during the whole of which this university became the home of free thought.

Strict accuracy would require the separation of two tendencies in the
Peripatetic school of Padua, each derived from one of Aristotle’s
commentators.(322) The one was the Averroist just named, which consisted
in the disbelief of immortality on the ground of absorption. Man’s soul,
being part of the great soul which animates the universe, both emanates
from it, and is again reabsorbed. The other was the Alexandrist, so called
from following Alexander of Aphrodisias,(323) which consisted in a
tendency to pure materialism, an absolute denial of immortality and of
religion, which almost reaches the incredulity earlier expressed in the
legend of the Three Impostors. Pomponatius is the declared representative
of the latter view soon after the beginning of the century.(324)
Frequently however the unbelief was secret, and a seeming show of
orthodoxy was maintained by drawing a broad distinction between philosophy
and theology; and by teaching that these views, though seen to be true in
the one, were to be accounted false in obedience to the teaching of the

It is customary to class along with the Averroists some philosophers of a
more original turn; some of whom were only indirectly connected with
Padua, but rather were examples of an attempt to substitute a philosophy
in place of that which was expiring. They are said to have manifested the
same kind of pantheism, and to have been led by it to similar disbelief.
Such are Cesalpini, Cardan,(325) Bruno, and Vanini. The charge is perhaps
unfair against the two former, as they seem to have held the separate
immortality of souls, which is more compatible with theism. The two latter
represent the two schools just noticed, about the end of the sixteenth

Bruno(326) belonged mainly to the Averroist school, though his views were
probably formed independently, and certainly extended farther. He not only
held the existence of a soul pervading the universe, which is the form of
Pantheism which has been already considered, but followed the earlier
philosophy of the Neo-Platonists in identifying the soul with the matter
which it animates; regarding the one as an emanation from the other, in
the same manner as an effect is merely cause or force transferred. It is
this belief which occurs in Spinoza, which is properly denominated
Pantheism, where the Creator is forgotten in creation. The former line of
Pantheism noticed in Averroes approaches more nearly to theism. Bruno’s
unbelief was not gay and flippant, but sombre and earnest. With a
fantastical conceit which can hardly be explained, he travelled as the
missionary to propagate his own views like a knight errant tilting at all
opinions, with a soul especially embittered against the Christian
priesthood.(327) On his return to Italy from his travels he fell into the
hands of the church, and suffered death for his opinions.

Vanini(328) similarly led a wandering life, but is a character of less
seriousness: occasionally he manifested the inconsistency of indifference
to his own opinions. Reverencing the memory of Pomponatius, he expressed
the same disbelief of the spiritual and of immortality. He was possibly an
atheist. Certainly his views were tinged with deep bitterness against
religion; and after leading a restless life, he suffered a cruel martyrdom
for his belief.

Bruno and Vanini were the apostles of a doctrine which the world would no
longer hear. The dawn of physical knowledge was turning men to a truer
study of the universe, and caused their labours to be in vain. The age of
indifference was gone. The alarm caused by the Reformation had kindled a
strong ecclesiastical reaction, especially in Italy, and the religious
earnestness and intellectual activity of Germany had awoke an intelligent
reaction on the part of the Catholic church.(329) Hence these two writers
incurred a danger unknown to their predecessors. Martyrs are men who are
before their age or behind it. Their sad fate throws an interest around
their lives. Unbelief must always have its confessors. It is to be hoped
that the inhumanity of Christendom will never again cause it to have its

The survey is now complete of the crisis which occurred in the transition
from the middle ages to modern history, forming the third of those
enumerated in a former lecture, we have witnessed amidst its complexity
the manifestation of the same principles as in former epochs; the
restlessness of the human mind struggling to be free, intellectually,
politically, religiously; and we have endeavoured to trace the operation
of the influence of classical literature and metaphysical philosophy in
inducing the decay of Christian feeling and belief.

The means adopted for counteracting the movement were similar to those
used in former periods, viz. an intellectual argument and a spiritual
awakening. In some instances, indeed, in accordance with the spirit of the
time, or more truly with the spirit of human nature, material force and
cruelty were employed, and the unbeliever was silenced by martyrdom. But
neither material power nor the autocratic unity of the Roman church was
able to repress the growth of the human mind. Conviction must be directed,
not crushed. The revival of books of evidences, as soon as printing became
common, about the close of the fifteenth century, which were designed to
confirm faith, was a more lawful form of warfare.(330) They were
constructed however on a basis unsuited to an age when first principles
were being reconsidered, being an attempt to establish the authority of
the church and the duty of submission to an external form of faith, and
lacked the surer basis adopted in Protestant works of evidence, which is
found in the external divine authority of the Bible rather than the
church. The creation of the order of the Jesuits, though directed more
against Protestantism than against unbelief, was a witness, like the
previous reactionary movement of the scholastic writers in the thirteenth
century, to the wish to wrest the use of learning out of the hands of the
opponents of the church, and to employ the weapons of reason in defence of

The judgment formed on this epoch of free thought, when we have separated
from it the Protestantism which craves other satisfaction for the human
mind than that which is implied in submission to human authority, and the
scepticism which was merely transitional doubt, must be condemnatory. The
unbelief was indeed a phase of the general improvement; but one which is
instructive as a warning rather than as an example, illustrating the abuse
not the use of free thought. The evil nevertheless was temporary, and
belongs to the past; the good was eternal: and the elements of real
intellectual improvement contained in the struggle have been taken up into
the constitution of modern thought and society.


We have now considered three great epochs in the history of free thought,
and watched Christianity in contact or conflict with the old heathen
philosophy, with the thought Scholastic or Mahometan of the middle ages,
and with the revival of classical learning. It remains to enter upon the
consideration of the fourth, and to observe it in relation to modern

The seventeenth century introduced as striking a revolution in philosophy
as the corresponding ones which the two preceding ages had produced in
literature and religion.

Two distinct thinkers, Bacon and Descartes, from different points of view,
perceived the necessity for constructing a new method of inquiry. Their
position was similar to that of Socrates of old. They saw that if
knowledge was to be rendered sound, it must be based on a new method.(331)
They both alike sought it in experience; Bacon in sensational, Descartes
in intellectual, the instinctive utterance of consciousness.(332) The
indirect effects on religion produced by their teaching will be seen more
fully hereafter. Our present object is to sketch the influence exercised
by Descartes on the theological speculations of Spinoza, before passing in
succeeding lectures to the detailed study of those peculiarities which
free thought has presented in the different countries in which it has been

Spinoza’s memory has been branded with the stigma which attached to his
character during life.(334) Born in Holland, of Jewish origin, his early
repudiation of the legends of the Talmud in which he was educated, caused
his excommunication by his own people. Finding himself an outcast, he
sought society among a few sceptical friends, one of whom was a physician
named Van den Ende, whom a sense of injustice united to him by the bond of
common sympathy. His life was passed in retirement, in hard, griping
poverty. Possessing a mind of great originality, and a fondness for
demonstrative reasoning never surpassed, he lived a model of chaste
submissive virtue, searching for speculative truth; branded as an atheist
in philosophy while living, and regarded since his death as the parent of
many of the worst forms of rationalism in religion. Yet his character is
one that cannot fail to excite a certain kind of pity. Unlike the
frivolous selfish atheism, the immoral Epicureanism, of the French
unbelief of the following century, his investigations were grave, his tone
dignified, his temper gentle, his spirit serious. It is to be feared that
he did not worship God; but he at least worshipped, at the cost of social
martyrdom, what he thought to be truth. If he did not believe in revealed
religion, he at least tried to embody what he believed to be its moral
precepts. Though we may shrink with horror from his teaching, we cannot,
when we compare him with other unbelievers, withhold our pity from the

His works are short, but weighty. Of his important treatises, the one, the
_Tractatus Theologico-Politicus_, shows him as the Biblical critic; the
other, the _Ethica_, exhibits his philosophy. In the former, written in
early life, he derives his materials and mode of handling from the Jewish
mediæval theologian Maimonides; in the latter, the product of his riper
years, from Descartes.(335) But he had undoubtedly come under the
influence of Descartes before writing the former work, and it is certain
that the effects of it on his own philosophical scheme are already
discernible in it. We shall therefore commence with the latter, and
attempt to understand his philosophy, and its application to religion,
before studying his special criticism of Revelation.

Descartes had aimed, like the great thinkers of earlier times, to gain a
general view of the universe of being; but had sought it by a different
mode. Caring rather for certitude of method, reality in the highest
principles, than for results attained, he had seen that a knowledge of
being must rest on a knowledge of the consciousness which tells us of
being. His principle, “Cogito, ergo sum,” is the expression of this
conviction. Therefore, carrying analysis into the human mind, he had
grasped those ideas which appeal to us with irresistible clearness, and
commend themselves as axioms requiring no proof; and from these ideas, or
rather from the idea of cause, the primitive of them, regarded by him as
innate, he had demonstrated _à priori_ the being and attributes of God,
and the principles which dominate in the great fields of knowledge.(336)

Spinoza’s object was similar; but he sought to attain it in a different
manner: rejecting, on the one hand, the dualism by which Descartes had
opposed mind and matter, he regarded each as a different mode of the same
primitive substance, and, on the other, the limited idea of the divine
Being, he conceived that the mind of man realizes the notion of Him as
unlimited. There are three different opinions in reference to our capacity
of knowing the infinity of God. Either our knowledge of Him is only
negative and relative; we know only what He is not, and our positive
notions of His nature are drawn from the analogy of human personality; or,
secondly, we have an intuition of His infinity, but so bare of attributes,
that while it guarantees the reality of our apprehensions of Him, we are
dependent on experience for its development into a conception; or,
thirdly, the human mind can apprehend His infinity positively, antecedent
to the application of limitations to it.(337) The last of these three
views belonged to Spinoza, along with the ancient Eleatics, the
Neo-Platonists of the early ages, and the principal schools of modern
German philosophy. Accordingly he tried to work out with mathematical
rigour in geometrical form a philosophy of existence, conceiving that the
mind grasps the idea of God as infinite substance, and understands its
development under two modes; viz. extension and thought: the former the
objective act of Deity, the latter the subjective.(338) The universe
therefore is nothing but the manifestation of God: God is the sum total of
it; the unity in its variety; the infinite comprehending its finity. Cause
and effect are identical; the _natura naturans_, and _natura naturata_.
Causation is change; but it is nothing but substance assuming attributes,
and attributes assuming modes. Phenomena are only the bubbles which arise
on the bosom of the ocean and disappear, absorbed in its vastness. The
universe is bound in one vast chain of fatalism, one grand and perfect
whole. Man’s perfection is to know by contemplation the universe in which
he has his being.

Such a system has been called atheistic, because it is silent about the
presence of a personal first Cause. It might be more truly denominated
Pantheistic, not in the vague sense in which that term is applied to
denote the belief in a Deity as an _anima mundi_, like that explained in
reference to the Averroists,(339) but to imply that the sum total of all
things, the universe, is Deity. Its influence on the question of revealed
religion will be obvious. It admits that the phenomena which we attribute
to miracle in the process of revelation are facts, but it denies their
miraculous character.(340) They are the mere manifestation of some
previously unknown law, turning up accidentally at the particular moment,
some previously unknown mode in which the all-embracing substance
manifests itself. In this view all religions become various expressions of
the great moral and spiritual truths which they embody, and true piety
consists in rising beyond them to the vision of the higher truths which
they typify, and the practice of the principles which they enjoin as
rules. “Dico,” wrote Spinoza, “ad salutem non esse omnino necesse,
Christum secundum carnem noscere; sed de æterno illo filio Dei, hoc est,
Dei æternâ sapientiâ quæ sese in omnibus rebus, et maxime in mente humana
et omnium maxime in Christo Jesu manifestavit, longe aliter

Spinoza, though a Jew, had examined the claims of Christianity. Indeed the
discussions, half political, half religious, of the Dutch theology, would
have compelled the investigation of it, independently of his own largeness
of sympathy with the philosophical history of human religion.(342) His
philosophy of revealed religion is contained in his _Tractatus
Theologico-Politicus_.(343) This work was called forth by the disputes of
the age, and had the political object of defending liberty of thought as
necessary to the safety both of the state and of religion. The question of
predestination had rent the Dutch church shortly before this time; and
when the victory remained with the Calvinistic party, the opinions of the
liberal Remonstrants were treated as crimes. Spinoza proposed in this work
a plan, perhaps suggested by the perusal of Hobbes, for curing these
dissensions. The book is a critical essay, in which he surveys the Jewish
and Christian religions, and ends in the conclusion that certainty on the
subject of a revelation is impossible; accordingly that the remedy for
theological acrimony must be sought in a return to what he regards to be
the simple doctrine which Christ taught, the love of God and one’s
neighbour; that philosophy and theology ought to be severed; the one
aiming at truth and resting on universal ideas, the other at obedience and
piety and resting on historic authority and special revelation. Hence,
while uniformity of religious worship and practice was to be prescribed,
he claimed that unlimited liberty of speculation ought to be

It is in the survey of Judaism and Christianity in the earlier part of
this work that he exhibits the views in which he has anticipated many of
the speculations of rationalism. He examines first into the grounds which
Revelation puts forward for its claim to authority, viz. prophecy, the
Jewish polity, and miracles;(345) next the principles of interpretation,
and the canon of the two Testaments;(346) lastly, the nature of the divine
teaching(347) endeavouring to show that the fundamental articles of faith
are given in natural religion. In this way he exhibits his views on those
branches which are now denominated the evidences, exegesis, and doctrines.
In the discussion of prophecy he analyses the nature of prophetic
foresight into vividness of imagination; and exhibits the human feeling
and sentiment intertwined with it.(348) He regards the Hebrew idea of
election as merely the theocratic mode of representing their own good
success in that region of circumstances which was not in human power.(349)
His explanation of miracles has been already stated: the course of nature
seems to him to be fixed and immutable; and he argues that interference
with its course is not a greater proof of Providence than a perpetual
unchanging administration.(350)

As his philosophy is seen in the treatment of the evidences, so his
criticism appears in the discussion of the canon. He examines the several
books of scripture, and concludes from supposed marks of editorship that
the Pentateuch and historical books were all composed by one historian,
who was, he thinks, probably Ezra, Deuteronomy being the first
composed.(351) The prophetic books he resolves into a collection of
fragments. His opinions on this department would be rejected as immature
by modern rationalist critics; yet they have an historic interest as
marking the rise of the searching investigations into the sources and
construction of the Hebrew sacred literature, which have been pursued in
an instructive manner in modern times. His view respecting the nature of
scriptural doctrines,(352) that they can be reduced to the teaching of
natural reason, is a corollary from his philosophy, which cannot admit
that any religious truth is obligatory which is not self-evident, and is
analogous to the doctrine which a short time previously had been stated by
Lord Herbert of Cherbury.(353)

These remarks will suffice in explanation of the criticism exhibited in
this work. The book marks an epoch, a new era in the critical and
philosophical investigation of religion. Spinoza’s ideas are as it were
the head waters from which flows the current which is afterwards parted
into separate streams. If viewed merely as a specimen of criticism, they
are in many respects very defective. For this branch was new in Spinoza’s
time. Learning had been directed since the Renaissance rather to the
acquisition of stores of information concerning ancient literature than
reflective examination of the authenticity and critical value of the
sources. Yet Spinoza’s sagacity is so great, that the book is suggestive
of information, and fertile in hints of instruction to readers who dissent
most widely from his inferences.(354) In Spinoza’s own times the work met
with unbounded indignation. Indeed hardly any age could have been less
prepared for its reception. So rigorous a theory of verbal inspiration was
then held, that the question of the date of the introduction of the Hebrew
vowel points was discussed under the idea that inspiration would be
overthrown, if the admission was made that they were introduced after the
time of the closing of the canon.(355) The tone of fairness in Spinoza’s
manner, which compels most modern readers to believe in his honesty, and
which presents so striking a contrast to the profaneness of subsequent
scepticism, was then regarded as latent irony. The work on its appearance
was suppressed by public authority; but it was frequently reprinted; and
probably no work of free thought has ever had more influence, both on
friends and foes, except the memorable work of Strauss in the present age.
Not only have freethinkers been moulded by it, but it has produced lasting
effects on those who have loved the faith of Christ. For Spinoza’s work,
if it did not create, gave expression to the tendency of which slight
traces are perceptible elsewhere,(356) to recognize a large class of facts
relating to the personal peculiarities of the inspired writers, and to the
“human element,” as it has been frequently called(357) in scripture, for
which orthodox criticism has always subsequently had to find a place in a
theory of inspiration; facts which first shook the mechanical or verbal
theory, which, however piously intended, really had the effect of
degrading the sacred writers almost into automatons, and regarded them as
the pens instead of the penmen of the inspiring Spirit.(358) Indirectly
the effect of Spinoza’s thought was seen even in the English church. The
difficulties which, through means of the English deists, it brought before
the notice of the great apologetic writers of our own country, created the
free, but perhaps not irreverent theory of revelation manifested in the
churchmen of the last century,(359) which restricted the miraculous
assistance of inspiration to the specific subject of the revealed
communication, the religious element of scripture, and did not regard it
as comprehending also the allusions, scientific or historic, extraneous to

Nor is it merely in respect of criticism that Spinoza’s views have
affected subsequent thought. The central principle of his philosophy, the
pantheistic disbelief of miraculous interposition which has subsequently
entered into so many systems, was first clearly applied to theology by
him. Wherever the disbelief in the supernatural has arisen from _à priori_
considerations, and expressed itself, not with allegations of conscious
fraud against the devotees of religion, nor with attempts to explain it
away as merely mental realism, but with assertions that miracles are
impossible, and nature an unchanging whole; this disbelief, whether
insinuating itself into the defence of Christianity, or marking the attack
on it, has been a reproduction of Spinoza.

In taking a retrospect of the long period over which we have travelled in
this lecture, embracing the twofold crisis of free thought in the middle
ages and the inauguration of the modern era, we cannot fail to be
impressed with the grand idea of the permanent victory of truth, and the
exquisite order according to which the fatherly providence of God makes
all things conduce together for good. When the course of history is viewed
in its true perspective, we perceive that Almighty love ruleth. The period
has comprised most of the great movements, political or intellectual,
which have occurred in European history since the Christian era. The fall
of the Roman empire, the gradual reconstruction of society, the revival of
learning, the invention of printing, the discovery of a new geographical
world, the creation of modern philosophy, embraced in it, include the
mention of almost every great event, with the exception of the French
revolution, which has modified the character of the human mind, or
affected the destiny of Christianity. At times it seemed as if
Christianity was on the point of being extinguished by unbelief; at other
times, the church seemed to lend itself to the extermination of all
freedom of investigation. Yet Christianity has lasted through all these
dangers, throwing off, like a healthy system, the errors which from time
to time insinuated themselves into it, and diffusing its blessings of
eternal truth into every region of life and thought. The past is the
pledge of hope for the future.

          Look forth!—that stream behold,
    That stream upon whose bosom we have passed
    Floating at ease, while nations have effaced
    Nations, and death has gathered to his fold
    Long lines of mighty kings:—look forth, my soul
    (Nor in this vision be thou slow to trust)
    The living waters, less and less by guilt
    Stained and polluted, brighten as they roll,
    Till they have reached the eternal city—built
    For the perfected spirits of the just.(360)


    ISAIAH lix. 19.

    _When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord
    shall lift up a standard against him._

The forms assumed by free thought in the fourth great crisis of the
Christian faith, which commenced with the rise of modern philosophy, and
has continued with slight intervals to the present time, have been already
stated(361) to be chiefly three, corresponding with the three nations in
which they have been manifested.

In this lecture we shall sketch the history of one of these forms—English
Deism—by which name the form of unbelief is denominated which existed
during the close of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth
century. If the dates be marked by corresponding political history, its
rise may be placed as early as the reign of Charles I; its maturity in the
period from the revolution of 1688 to the invasion of the Pretender in
1745; its decay in the close of the reign of George II, and the early part
of that of George III.(362)

This long period was marked by those great events in intellectual and
social history which were calculated to awaken the spirit of free inquiry.
It witnessed the dethronement of constituted authorities—intellectual,
ecclesiastical, and political; the constant struggle of religious
factions; and on two occasions civil war and revolution. It was affected
by the rise of the philosophy of Bacon, and the positive advances of
natural science under Newton and his coadjutors. It comprehended moments
marked by the outburst of native genius, and others influenced by contact
with the continental literature, both with the speculative theology of
Holland and the dramatic and critical literature of France.(363) Above all
it was illumined by the presence of such an array of great minds in all
departments of intellectual activity as can rarely be matched in a single
period. If, when the human mind in the middle ages was warmed into life
after the winter of its long torpor, under the genial influence of the
revival of literature, the renewal of its power was marked by a
disposition to throw off the trammels which had bound it in the night of
its darkness, how much more might such a result be expected when it was
basking under the sunshine of meridian brightness, and exulting in the
consciousness of strength.

A special peculiarity of this period likely to produce effects on religion
has been already mentioned. The philosophy of this age compared with
former ones was essentially a discussion of method. The two rival
philosophies which now arose are generally placed in opposition to each
other, as physical and mental respectively, that of Bacon being conversant
with nature, that of Descartes with man.(364) But in truth in one respect
both were united. Each was analytical; each strove to lay down a general
method for investigating the sphere of inquiry which it selected. Both
were reactions against the dogmatic assumptions of former systems; both
assumed the indispensable necessity of an entire revolution in the method
of attaining knowledge. Accordingly, though differing widely in appealing
to the external senses or the internal intuitions respectively, they both
built philosophy in the criticism of first principles. Hence,
independently of any particular corollaries from special parts of their
systems, the influence of their spirit was to beget a critical,
subjective, and analytical study of any topic. When applied to religion,
this is the feature which subsequently characterizes alike the unbelief
and the discussion of the evidences. Difficulties and the answers to
difficulties are found in an appeal to the functions and capacities of the
interpreting mind. This appeal to reason was denominated rationalism in
the seventeenth century, prior to the present application of the term in a
more limited and obnoxious sense. The specific doctrine arrived at by this
process, which allows the existence of a Deity, and of the religion of the
moral conscience, but denies the specific revelation which Christianity
asserts, was called _theism_ or _deism_. (21)

In the period which we have mentioned as marking the first stage of deism,
extending from its commencement to the close of the seventeenth century,
the peculiarity which characterized the inquiry was the political aspect
which it bore. The relation of religion to political toleration(365) gave
occasion for examining the sphere of truth which may form the subject of
political interference.

Two writers of opposite schools are usually regarded as marking the rise
of deism, both of whom belonged to this phase of it, Lord Herbert of
Cherbury, and Hobbes. Both formed their systems in the reign of Charles
I.(366) The one rejected revelation by making religion a matter of
individual intuition, the other by making it a matter of political

Lord Herbert,(367) the elder brother of the saintly poet, if looked at as
a philosopher, must be classed with Descartes rather than with Bacon,
though chronology forbids the idea that he can have learned anything from
Descartes. It is probable that while on his early embassy in France he
came under the same intellectual influences which suggested to Descartes
his views. Fragments of knowledge and partial solutions derived from older
philosophies exist before a great thinker like Descartes embodies them in
a system. Herbert may have been led by the indirect effect of such
influences to a theory of innate ideas, independently of Descartes; or he
may have arrived at it by reaction against the Pyrrhonism of some of the
French writers of the preceding age, such as Montaigne, with whose
writings he was familiar.

His works furnish his views on knowledge and on religion, both natural,
heathen, and Christian. They include a treatise on truth, which suggested
another on the cause of errors. The views on religion therein named,
further suggested one on the religion which could be expected in a layman,
and this again a critique on heathen creeds, written to show the
universality of the beliefs so described.(368)

In discussing truth(369) he surveys the powers of the human mind, and
places the ultimate test of it in the natural instincts or axiomatic
beliefs. These accordingly become the test of a religion. The true
religion must therefore be a universal one; that is, one of which the
evidence commends itself to the universal mind of man, and finds its
attestation in truth intuitively perceived. Of such truths he enumerates
five:(370)—the existence of one supreme God; the duty of worship; piety
and virtue as the means thereof; the efficacy of repentance; the existence
of rewards and punishments both here and hereafter. These he regards as
the fundamental pillars of universal religion; and distinguishes from
these realities the doctrines of what he calls particular religions, one
of which is Christianity, as being uncertain, because not self-evident;
and accordingly considers that no assent can be expected in a layman, save
to the above-named self-evident truths. His view however of revelation is
not very clear. Sometimes he seems to admit it, sometimes proscribes it as
uncertain. His object seems not to have been primarily destructive, but
merely the result of attempts to discover truth amid the jarring opinions
of the churches of his day.(371)

The ideas which his writings contributed to deist speculation are two;
viz., the examination of the universal principles of religion, and the
appeal to an internal illuminating influence superior to revelation, “the
inward light,” as the test of religious truth. This was a phrase not
uncommon in the seventeenth century. It was used by the Puritans to mark
the appeal to the spiritual instincts, the heaven-taught feelings; and
later by mystics, like the founder of the Quakers, to imply an appeal to
an internal sense.(372) But in Herbert it differs from these in being
universal, not restricted to a few persons, and in being intellectual
rather than emotional or spiritual. It was not analysed so as to separate
intuitional from reflective elements, and seems to have been analogous to
Descartes’ ultimate appeal to the natural reason, the self-evidencing
force of the mental axioms.(373)

If it was the anxiety to find certainty in controversies concerning
theological dogmas, which suggested Herbert’s inquiries, it was the
struggle of ecclesiastical parties in connexion with political movements
which excited those of Hobbes.(374)

In his philosophical views he belonged to an opposite school to Herbert. A
disciple of Bacon, he was the first to apply his master’s method to
morals, and to place the basis of ethical and political obligation in
experience; and in the application of these philosophical principles to
religion, he also represented the contrary tendency to Herbert, state
interference in contradistinction from private liberty, political religion
as opposed to personal. The contest of individualism against multitudinism
is the parallel in politics to that of private judgment against authority
in religion. While some of the Puritans were urging unlimited license in
the matter of religion, Hobbes wrote to prove the necessity of state
control, and the importance of a fulcrum on which individual opinion might
repose, external to itself; and referring the development of society to
the necessity for restraining the natural selfishness of man, and
resolving right into expedience as embodied in the sovereign head, he
ended with crushing the rights of the individual spirit, and defending
absolute government.

The effect of the application of such a sensational and materialist theory
to religion will be anticipated. He traced(375) the genesis of it in the
individual, and its expression in society; finding the origin of it in
selfish fear of the supernatural. The same reason which led him to assign
supremacy to government in other departments induced him to give it
supreme control over religion. Society being the check on man’s
selfishness, and supreme, deciding all questions on grounds of general
expedience; the authority of the commonwealth became the authority of the
church.(376) Though he had occasion to discuss revelation and the
canon(377) as a rule of faith, yet it is hard to fix on any point that was
actual unbelief.

The amount of thought contributed by him to deism was small; for his
influence on his successors was unimportant. The religious instincts of
the heart were too strong to be permanently influenced by the cold
materialist tone which reduced religion to state craft. With the exception
of Coward,(378) a materialist who doubted immortality about the end of the
century, the succeeding deists more generally followed Herbert, in wishing
to elevate religion to a spiritual sphere, than Hobbes, who degraded it to
political expedience. A slight additional interest however belongs to his
speculations, from the circumstance that his ideas, together with those of
Herbert, most probably suggested some parts of the system of Spinoza.(379)

The two writers of whom we have now been treating, lived prior to or
during the Commonwealth. From the date of the Restoration the existence of
doubt may be accepted as an established fact. During the reaction,
political and ecclesiastical, which ensued in the early part of the reign
of Charles II, it is not surprising that doubt concealed itself in
retirement; but the frequent allusions to it under the name of
atheism,(380) in contemporary sermons and theological books, proves its
existence. Indeed the reaction contained the very elements which were
likely to foster unbelief among undiscerning minds. The court set a sad
example of impurity; and the excessive claims of the churchmen, alien to
the spirit of political and religious liberty, were calculated to generate
an antipathy to the clergy and to religion.

Toward the end of Charles’s reign, a feeling of this kind expresses itself
in the writings of Charles Blount,(381) who availed himself of the
temporary interval in which the press became free, owing to the omission
to renew the act which submitted works to the censor,(382) to publish with
notes a translation of Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana, with
the same purpose as Hierocles in the fourth century, to disguise the
peculiar character of Christ’s miracles, and draw an invidious parallel
between the Pythagorean philosopher and the divine founder of
Christianity. Subsequently to Blount’s death, his friend Gildon, who lived
to retract his opinions,(383) published a collection of treatises,
entitled “The Oracles of Reason;” a work which may be considered as
expressing the opinions of a little band of unbelievers, of whom Blount
was one.(384) The mention of two of the papers in it will explain the
views intended. One is on natural religion,(385) in which the ideas of
Herbert are reproduced, and exception is taken to revelation as partial
and not self-evident, and therefore uncertain; and the objections to the
sufficiency and potency of natural religion are refuted. A second is on
the deist’s religion,(386) in which the deist creed is explained to be the
belief in a God who is to be worshipped, not by sacrifice, nor by
mediation, but by piety. Punishment in a future world is denied as
incompatible with Divine benevolence; and the safety of the deist creed is
supported by showing that a moral life is superior to belief in mysteries.
It will be seen from these remarks that Blount hardly makes an advance on
his deist predecessor Herbert, save that his view is more positive, and
his antipathy to Christian worship less concealed.

At the close of the seventeenth century two new influences were in
operation, the one political, the other intellectual; viz., the civil and
religious liberty which ensued on the revolution, generating free
speculation, and compelling each man to form his political creed; and the
reconsideration of the first principles of knowledge(387) implied in the
philosophy of Locke.(388)

The effect of these new influences on religion is very marked.
Controversies no longer turned upon questions in which the appeal lay to
the common ground of scripture, as in the contest which Churchmen had
conducted against Puritans or Romanists, but extended to the examination
of the first principles of ethics or politics; such as the foundation of
government, whether it depends on hereditary right or on compact, as in
the controversy against the nonjurors(389) before the close of the
century; or the spiritual rights of the church, and the right of every man
to religious liberty and private judgment in religion, as in the
Convocation and Bangorian(390) controversy, which marked the early years
of the next century. The very diminution also of quotations of authorities
is a pertinent illustration that the appeal was now being made to deeper

The philosophy of Locke, which attempted to lay a basis for knowledge in
psychology, coincided with, where it did not create, this general attempt
to appeal on every subject to ultimate principles of reason. This tone in
truth marked the age, and acting in every region of thought, affected
alike the orthodox and the unbelieving. Accordingly, as we pass away from
the speculations which mark the early period of deism to those which
belong to its maturity, we find that the attack on Christianity is less
suggested by political considerations, and more entirely depends on an
appeal to reason, intellectual or moral.

The principal phases belonging to this period of the maturity of deism,
which we shall now successively encounter, are four:

(1) An examination of the first principles of religion, on its dogmatic or
theological side, with a view of asserting the supremacy of reason to
interpret all mysteries, and defending absolute toleration of free
thought. This tendency is seen in Toland and Collins,

(2) An examination of religion on the ethical side occurs, with the object
of asserting the supremacy of natural ethics as a rule of conduct, and
denying the motive of reward or punishment implied in dependent morality.
This is seen in Lord Shaftesbury.

After the attack has thus been opened against revealed religion, by
creating prepossessions against mystery in dogma and the existence of
religious motives in morals, there follows a direct approach against the
outworks of it by an attack on the evidences,

(3) In an examination, critical rather than philosophical, of the
prophecies of the Old Testament by Collins, and of the miracles of the New
by Woolston.

The deist next approaches as it were within the fortress, and advances
against the doctrines of revealed religion; and we find accordingly,

(4) A general view of natural religion, in which the various
differences,—speculative, moral, and critical, are combined, as in Tindal;
or with a more especial reference to the Old Testament as in Morgan, and
the New as in Chubb; the aim of each being constructive as well as
destructive; to point out the absolute sufficiency of natural religion and
of the moral sense as religious guides, and the impossibility of accepting
as obligatory that which adds to or contradicts them; and accordingly they
point out the elements in Christianity which they consider can be retained
as absolutely true.

The first two of these attacks occur in the first two decades of the
century: the two latter in the period from 1720 to 1740, when the public
mind not being diverted by foreign war or internal sedition, and other
controversies being closed, the deist controversy was at its height. After
examining these, other tendencies will meet us, when we trace the decline
of deism in Bolingbroke and Hume.

The first of these tendencies just noticed is seen in Toland,(391) who
directed his speculations to the ground principles of revealed
theology,(392) and slightly to the history of the Canon.(393)

Possessing much originality and learning, at an early age, in 1696, just a
year after the censorship had been finally removed and the press of
England made permanently free, he published his noted work, “Christianity
not Mysterious,” to show that “there is nothing in the Gospels contrary to
reason, nor above it; and that no Christian doctrine can properly be
called a mystery.” The speculations of all doubters first originate in
some crisis of personal or mental history. In Toland’s case it was
probably the change of religion from catholic to protestant which first
unsettled his religious faith. The work just named, in which he expressed
the attempt to bring religious truth under the grasp of the intellect, was
one of some merit as a literary production, and written with that
clearness which the influence of the French models studied by Dryden had
introduced into English literature. Yet it is difficult to understand why
a single work of an unknown student should attract so much public notice.
The grand jury of Middlesex was induced at once to present it as a
nuisance, and the example was followed by the grand jury of Dublin.(394)
Two years after its publication the Irish parliament deliberated upon it,
and, refusing to hear Toland in defence, passed sentence that the book
should be burnt, and its author imprisoned—a fate which he escaped only by
flight.(395) And in 1701, no less than five years after the publication of
his work, a vote for its prosecution passed the lower house of the English
convocation, which the legal advisers however denied to be within the
power of that assembly.(396) Toland spent most of the remainder of his
life abroad, and showed in his subsequent works a character growing
gradually worse, lashed into bitterer opposition by the censure which he
had received.

His views, developed in his work, _Christianity not Mysterious_, require
fuller statement. He opens with an explanation of the province of
reason,(397) the means of information, external and internal, which man
possesses; a part of his work which is valuable to the philosopher, who
watches the influence exercised at that time by psychological
speculations; and he proposes to show that the doctrines of the gospel are
neither contrary to reason nor above it. He exhibits the impossibility of
believing statements which positively contradict reason;(398) and contends
that if they do not really contradict it, but are above it, we can form no
intelligible idea of them. He tries further to show that reason is neither
so weak nor so corrupt as to be an unsafe guide,(399) and that scripture
itself only professes to teach what is intelligible.(400) Having shown
that the doctrines of the gospel are not contrary to reason, he next
proceeds to show that they do not profess to be above it; that they lay
claim to no mystery,(401) for that mystery in heathen writers and the New
Testament does not mean something inconceivable, but something
intelligible in itself, which nevertheless was so veiled “that it needed
revealing;”(402) and that the introduction of the popular idea of mystery
was attributable to the analogy of pagan writers, and did not occur till
several centuries after the foundation of Christianity.(403)

It is possible that the book may have been a mere paradox,(404) the effort
of a young mind going through the process through which all young men of
thought pass, and especially in an age like Toland’s, of trying to
understand and explain what they believe. But students who are thus
forming their views ought to pause before they scatter their half-formed
opinions in the world. In Toland’s case public alarm judged the book to
have a most dangerous tendency; and he was an outcast from the sympathy of
pious men for ever. If he was misunderstood, as he contended, his fate is
a warning against the premature publication of a paradox. The question
accordingly which Toland thus suggested for discussion was the prerogative
of reason to pronounce on the contents of a revelation, the problem
whether the mind must comprehend as well as apprehend all that it
believes. The other question which he opened was the validity of the
canon.(405) Here too he claimed that his views were misunderstood. It was
supposed that the mention made by him concerning spurious works attributed
to the apostles, referred to the canonical gospels. Accordingly, if in his
former work he has been considered to have anticipated the older school of
German rationalists, in the present he has been thought to have touched
upon the questions discussed in the modern critical school. The
controversy which ensued was the means of opening up the discussion of the
great question which relates to the New Testament canon, viz., whether our
present New Testament books are a selection made in the second century
from among early Christian writings, or whether the church from the first
regarded them as distinct in kind and not merely in degree from other
literature; whether the early respect shown for scripture was reverence
directed to apostolic men, or to their inspired teaching.

If Toland is the type of free speculation applied to the theoretical side
of religion, lord Shaftesbury(406) is an example of speculations on the
practical side of it, and on the questions which come under the province
of ethics.

The rise of an ethical school parallel with discussions on the philosophy
of religion is one of the most interesting features of that age, whether
it be regarded in a scientific or a religious point of view. The age was
one in which the reflective reason or understanding was busy in exploring
the origin of all knowledge. The department of moral and spiritual truth
could not long remain unexamined. In an earlier age the sources of our
knowledge concerning the divine attributes and human duty had been
supposed to depend upon revelation; but now the disposition to criticise
every subject by the light of common sense claimed that philosophy must
investigate them. Reason was to work out the system of natural theology,
and ethics the problem of the nature and ground of virtue. Hence it will
be obvious how close a relation existed between such speculations and
theology. The Christian apologist availed himself of the new ethical
inquiries as a corroboration of revealed religion; the Deist, as a
substitute for it.

Lord Shaftesbury is usually adduced as a deist of this class. He has not
indeed expressed it definitely in his writings; and an ethical system
which formed the basis of Butler’s sermons,(407) cannot necessarily be
charged with deism. But the charge can be substantiated from his memoirs;
and his writings manifest that hatred of clerical influence, the wish to
subject the church to the state, which will by some persons be regarded as
unbelief, but which was not perhaps altogether surprising in an age when
the clergy were almost universally alien to the revolution, and the
Convocation manifested opposition to political and religious liberty. The
ground on which the charge is generally founded is, that Shaftesbury has
cast reflections on the doctrine of future rewards and punishments.(408)
It is to be feared that sceptical insinuations were intended; yet his
remarks admit of some explanation as a result of his particular point of

The ethical schools of his day were already two; the one advocating
dependent, the other independent morality; the one grounding obligation on
self-love, the other on natural right. Shaftesbury, though a disciple of
Locke, belonged to the latter school. His works mark the moment when this
ethical school was passing from the objective inquiry into the
immutability of right, as seen in Clarke, to the subjective inquiry into
the reflex sense which constitutes our obligation to do what is right, as
seen in Butler. The depreciation accordingly of the motives of reward, as
distinct from the supreme motive of loving duty for duty’s sake, was to be
expected in his system. The motives of reward and punishment which form
the sanctions of religious obligation, would seem to him to be analogous
to the employment of expedience as the foundation of moral. His statements
however appear to be an exaggeration even in an ethical view, as well as
calculated to insinuate erroneous ideas in a theological. It is possible
that his motive was not polemical; but the unchristian character of his
tone renders the hypothesis improbable, and explains the reason why his
essays called the “Characteristics” have been ranked among deist writings.

We have seen, in Toland and Shaftesbury respectively, a discussion on the
metaphysical and ethical basis of religion, together with a few traces of
the rise of criticism in reference to the canon. In their successors the
inquiry becomes less psychological and more critical, and therefore less
elevated by the abstract nature of the speculative above the struggle of
theological polemic.

Two branches of criticism were at this time commencing, which were
destined to suggest difficulties alike to the deist and to the Christian;
the one the discovery of variety of readings in the sacred text, the other
the doubts thrown upon the genuineness and authenticity of the books. It
was the large collection of various readings on the New Testament, first
begun by Mills,(409) which gave the impulse to the former, which has been
called the lower criticism, and which so distressed the mind of Bengel,
that he spent his life in allaying the alarm of those who like himself
felt alarmed at its effect on the question of verbal inspiration. And it
was the disproof of the genuineness of the Epistles of Phalaris by the
learned Bentley,(410) which first threw solid doubts on the value
attaching to traditional titles of books, and showed the irrefragable
character belonging to an appeal to internal evidence; a department which
has been called the higher criticism. This latter branch, so abundantly
developed in German speculation, is only hinted at by the English deists
of the eighteenth age, as by Hobbes and Spinoza earlier; but we shall soon
see the use which Collins and others made of the former inquiry.

The form, though not the spirit, of Toland and Shaftesbury, might by a
latitude of interpretation be made compatible with Christianity; but
Collins and Woolston, of whom we next treat, mark a much further advance
of free thought. They attack what has always been justly considered to be
an integral portion of Christianity, the relation which it bore to Jewish
prophecy, and the miracles which were wrought for its establishment.

Collins(411) must be studied under more than one aspect. He not only wrote
on the logic of religion, the method of inquiry in theology, but also on
the subject of scripture interpretation, and the reality of prophecy.(412)

It was in 1713 that he published “A discourse of free-thinking, occasioned
by the rise and growth of a sect called Free-thinkers.” This is one of the
first times that we find this new name used for Deists; and the object of
his book is to defend the propriety of unlimited liberty of inquiry, a
proposition by which he designed the unrestrained liberty of belief, not
in a political point of view merely, but in a moral. His argument was not
unlike more modern ones,(413) which show that civilization and improvement
have been caused by free-thinking; and he adduces the growing disbelief in
the reality of witchcraft, in proof of the way in which the rejection of
dogma had ameliorated political science, which until recently had visited
the supposed crime with the punishment of death.(414) After thus showing
the duty of free-thinking,(415) he argued that the sphere of it ought to
comprehend points on which the right is usually denied; such as the divine
attributes, the truth of the scriptures, and their meaning;(416)
establishing this by laying a number of charges against priests, to show
that their dogmatic teaching cannot be trusted, unchallenged by free
inquiry, on account of their discrepant(417) opinions, their rendering the
canon and text of scripture uncertain,(418) and their pious frauds;(419)
concluding by refuting objections against freethinking derived from its
supposed want of safety.(420)

The book met with intelligent and able opponents; the critical part,
containing the allegations of uncertainty in the text of scripture, and
the charge of altering it, being effectually refuted by Bentley. The work
is an exaggeration of a great truth. Undoubtedly free inquiry is right in
all departments, but it must be restrained within the proper limits which
the particular subject-matter admits of;—limits which are determined
partly by the nature of the subject studied, partly by the laws of the
thinking mind.

Eleven years afterwards, in 1724, Collins published his “Discourse of the
Grounds and Reasons of the Christian religion.” This work is chiefly
critical. It does not merely contain the incipient doubts on the variety
of readings, and the uncertainty of books, but spreads over several
provinces of theological inquiry. Under the pretence of establishing
Christianity on a more solid foundation, the author argues that our
Saviour and his apostles made the whole proof of Christianity to rest
solely on the prophecies of the Old Testament;(421) that if these proofs
are valid, Christianity is established; if invalid, it is false.(422)
Accordingly he examines several of the prophecies cited from the Old
Testament in the New in favour of the Messiahship of Christ, with a view
of showing that they are only allegorical or fanciful proofs,
accommodations of the meaning of the prophecies; and anticipates the
objections which could be stated to his views.(423) He asserts that the
expectation of a Messiah among(424) the Jews arose only a short time
before Christ’s coming;(425) and that the apostles put a new
interpretation on the Hebrew books, which was contrary to the sense
accepted by the Jewish nation; that Christianity is not revealed in the
Old Testament literally, but mystically and allegorically, and may
therefore be considered as mystical Judaism. His inference is accordingly
stated as an argument in favour of the figurative or mystical
interpretation of scripture; but we can hardly doubt that his real object
was an ironical one, to exhibit Christianity as resting on apostolic
misinterpretations of Jewish prophecy, and thus to create the impression
that it was a mere Jewish sect of men deceived by fanciful

The work produced considerable alarm; more from the solemn interest and
sacredness of the inquiries which it opened, than from any danger arising
from excellence in its form, or ability in the mode of putting. It
anticipated subsequent speculations,(426) by regarding Christianity as
true ideally, not historically, and by insinuating the incorrectness of
the apostolic adoption of the mystical system of interpreting the ancient

A writer came forward as moderator(427) between Collins and his opponents,
who himself afterwards became still more noted, by directing an attack on
miracles, similar to that of Collins on prophecy;—the unhappy
Woolston.(428) A fellow of a college(429) at Cambridge, in holy orders, he
was for many years a diligent student of the fathers, and imbibed from
them an extravagant attachment to the allegorical sense of scripture.
Finding that his views met with no support in that reasoning age, he broke
out into unmeasured insult and contempt against his brother clergy, as
slaves to the letter of scripture.(430) Deprived of his fellowship,(431)
and distracted by penury, he extended his hatred from the ministers to the
religion which they ministered. And when, in reply to Collins’s assertion,
that Christianity reposed solely on prophecy, the Christian apologists
fell back on miracles, he wrote in 1727 and the two following years his
celebrated _Discourses on the Miracles_. (22) They were published as
pamphlets; in each one of which he examined a few of the miracles of
Christ, trying to show such inconsistencies as to make it appear that they
must be regarded as untrustworthy if taken literally; and hence he
advocated a figurative interpretation of them; asserting that the history
of the life of Jesus is an emblematical representation of his spiritual
life in the soul of man.(432) The gospels thus become a system of mystical
theology, instead of a literal history. In defence of this method he
claimed the example of the ancient church,(433) ignoring the fact that the
fathers admitted a literal as well as a figurative meaning. Whether he
really retained towards the close of his life the spiritual
interpretation,(434) or merely used it as an excuse for a more secure
advance to the assault of the historic reality of scripture, is very

The letters were written with a coarseness and irreverence so singular,
even in the attacks of that age, that it were well if they could be
attributed to insanity. They contain the most undisguised abuse which had
been uttered against Christianity since the days of the early heathens.
Occasionally, when wishing to utter grosser blasphemies than were
permissible by law, or compatible with his assumed Christian stand-point,
he introduced a Jewish rabbi, as Celsus had formerly done, and put the
coarser calumnies into his mouth,(435) as difficulties to which no reply
could be furnished except by figurative interpretation. The humour which
marked these pamphlets was so great, that the sale of them was immense.
Voltaire, who was in England at the time, and perhaps imbibed thence part
of his own opinions, states the immediate sale to have exceeded thirty
thousand copies;(436) and Swift describes them as the food of every
politician.(437) The excitement was so great, that Gibson, then bishop of
London, thought it necessary to direct five pastorals to his diocese in
reference to them,(438) and, not content with this, caused Woolston to be
prosecuted; and the unhappy man, not able to pay the fine in which he was
condemned, continued in prison till his death.(439)

In classifying Woolston with later writers against miracles, he may be
compared in some cases, though with striking differences of tone, with
those German rationalists like Paulus who have rationalized the miracles,
but in more cases with those who like Strauss have idealized them. His
method however is an appeal to general probability rather than to literary

The next form that Deism assumed has reference more to the internal than
the external part of Christianity, the doctrines rather than the
evidences. Less critical than the last-named tendency, it differs from the
earlier one of Toland in looking at religion less on the speculative side
as a revelation of dogma, and more on the practical as a revelation of
duties. While it combined into a system the former objections, critical or
philosophical, the great weapon which it uses is the authority of the
moral reason, by which it both tests revelation and suggests a substitute
in natural religion, thus using it both destructively and for

Dr. Tindal,(440) the first writer of this class, had early given offence
to the church by his writings; but it was not till 1730, in his extreme
old age, that he published his celebrated dialogue, “Christianity as old
as the Creation, or, the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of
Nature.” This was not only the most important work that deism had yet
produced, composed with care, and bearing the marks of thoughtful study of
the chief contemporary arguments, Christian as well as Deist, but derives
an interest from the circumstance that it was the book to which more than
to any other single work bishop Butler’s Analogy was designed as the

Tindal’s object is to show that natural religion is absolutely perfect,
and can admit of no increase so as to carry obligation. For this purpose
he tries to establish, first, that revelation is unnecessary,(441) and
secondly, that obligation to it is impossible. His argument in favour of
the first of these two positions is, that if man’s perfection be the
living according to the constitution of human nature,(442) and God’s laws
with the penalties attached be for man’s good,(443) nothing being required
by God for its own sake;(444) then true religion, whether internally or
externally revealed, having the one end, human happiness, must be
identical in its precepts.(445) Having denied the necessity, he then
disputes the possibility, of revelation, on the ground that the
inculcation of positive as distinct from moral duties, is inconsistent
with the good of man, as creating an independent rule.(446) Assuming the
moral faculty to be the foundation of all obligation, he reduces all
religious truth to moral. It is in thus showing the impossibility of any
revelation save the republication of the law of nature that he notices
many of the difficulties in scripture which form the mystery to the
theologian, the ground of doubt to the objector. Some of these are of a
literary character, such as the assertion of the failure of the fulfilment
of prophecies, and of marks of fallibility in the scripture writers, like
the mistake which he alleges in respect to the belief in the immediate
coming of Christ.(447) Others of them are moral difficulties, points where
the revealed system seems to him to contradict our instincts, such as the
destruction of the Canaanites.(448) In reference to this last example,
which may be quoted as a type of his assertions, he argues against the
possibility of a divine commission for the act, on the principle asserted
by Clarke,(449) that a miracle can never prove the divine truth of a
doctrine which contravenes the moral idea of justice; or, in more modern
phrase, that no supposed miracle can be a real one, if it attest a
doctrine which bears this character. In the present work Tindal denied the
necessity and possibility of a new revelation distinct from natural
religion. He did not live to complete the concluding part of his book,
wherein he intended to show that all the truths of Christianity were as
old as the creation; i.e. were a republication of the religion of nature.

Tindal is an instance of those who have unconsciously kindled their torch
at the light of revelation. The religion of nature of which he speaks is a
logical idea, not an historic fact. The creation of it is analogous to the
mention of the idea of compact as the basis of society, a generalization
from its present state, not a fact of its original history. It is the
residuum of Christianity when the mysterious elements have been
subtracted. But in adopting the idea, the Deists were on the same level as
the Christians. Both alike travelled together to the end of natural
religion.(450) Here the Deist halted, willing to accept so much of
Christianity as was a republication of the moral law. The Christian, on
the other hand, found in reason the necessity for revelation, and
proceeded onward to revealed doctrines and positive precepts.

The works of the two writers Morgan and Chubb in part supply the defect
left in Tindal, the omission on the part of deism to show that Christian
truths were a republication of natural religion; the former especially
attacking the claims of the Jewish religion to be divine, the latter the
claims of the Christian.

Morgan’s chief work,(451) the “Moral Philosopher,” was published in 1737.
Starting from the moral point of view, the sole supremacy and sufficiency
of the moral law, the writer exhibits the necessity of applying the moral
test as the only certain criterion on the questions of religion, and
declines admitting the authority of miracles and prophecy to avail against
it,(452) an investigation suggested partly by the questions just named of
the ground of unbelief, and partly by the circumstance that the Christian
writers were beginning to dwell more strongly on the external evidences
when unbelievers professed the internal to be unsatisfactory. The adoption
of this test of truth prevents the admission of an historic revelation
with positive duties. He thinks with Tindal that natural religion is
perfect in itself, but seems to admit that it is so weak as to need
republication,(453) which is a greater admission than Tindal made in his
extant volume. When however he passes from the decision on the general
possibility of revelation to particular historic forms, the Mosaic and
Christian, he discredits both. The infallibility of the moral sense is
still the canon by which his judgment is determined. On this ground he
disbelieves the Jewish religion,(454) selecting successive passages of the
national history, such as the sacrifice of Isaac, the oracle of Urim,(455)
the ceremonial religious system,(456) as the object of his attack. A
degree of interest attaches to his criticism on these points, in that it
was the means of calling forth the celebrated work of Warburton on the
Divine Legation of Moses.

The same principles of criticism mislead him in his examination of
Christianity. The hallowed doctrine of the atonement forms a
stumblingblock to him, on the ground of the transfer of merit by
imputation.(457) He regards Christianity as a Jewish gospel, until it was
altered by the apostles, whose authority he discredits by arguments not
unlike the ancient ones of Celsus. The method of Morgan is more
constructive than that of his predecessors. Not denying the historic
element of Christianity by idealizing it as Collins, he attempts a natural
explanation of the historic facts. The central thought which guides him
throughout is the supreme authority of the moral reason. His works open up
the broad question whether the moral sense is to pronounce on revelation
or to submit to it, and thus form a fresh illustration of the intimate
dependence of particular sceptical opinions and methods upon metaphysical
and ethical theories.

In the period which we are now examining, deism was almost entirely
confined to the upper classes. It was in the latter part of the century
that it spread to the lower, political antipathy against the church giving
point to religious unbelief. Chubb,(458) whom we next consider, is one of
the few exceptions. He was a working man, endowed with strong native
sense; who manifested the same inclination to meddle with the deep subject
of religion which afterwards marked the character of Thomas Paine and
others, who influenced the lower orders later in the century. In his
general view of religion, Chubb denied all particular providence, and by
necessary consequence the utility of prayer, save for its subjective value
as having a reflex benefit on the human heart.(459) He was undecided as to
the fact of the existence of a revelation, but seemed to allow its
possibility.(460) He examined the three great forms of religion which
professed to depend upon a positive revelation, Judaism,(461)
Mahometanism, and Christianity. The claims of the first he wholly
rejected, on grounds similar to those explained by Morgan, as incompatible
with the moral character of God. In reference to the second he anticipated
the modern opinions on Mahometanism, by asserting that its victory was
impossible, if it had not contained truth which the human spirit needed.
In examining the third he attacked, like Morgan, the evidence of
miracles(462) and prophecy,(463) and asserted the necessity of moral right
and wrong as the ground of the interpretation of scripture.

One of his most celebrated works was an explanation of “the true gospel of
Jesus Christ,” which is one of the many instances which his works afford
of the unfairness produced by the want of moral insight into the woes for
which Christianity supplies a remedy, and into the deep adaptation of the
scheme of redemption to effect the object proposed by a merciful
Providence in its communication.(464) It will be perceived that the three
last writers whose systems have been explained, resemble each other so
much as to form a class by themselves. They restrict their attack to the
internal character of revelation, employ the moral rather than the
historical investigation, embody the chief speculations of their
predecessors, and offer, as has been already stated, a constructive as
well as a destructive system; morality or natural religion in place of

An anonymous work was published in 1744, which merits notice as indicating
a slight alteration in the mode of attack on the part of the deists. It
was entitled, _The Resurrection of Jesus considered_, and is attributed to
P. Annet, who died in the wretchedness of poverty.(466) It was designed in
reply to some of the defences of this subject which the writings of
Woolston and others had provoked. Its object was to show that the writings
which record the statement of Christ’s prediction of his own death are a
forgery; that the narrative of the resurrection is incredible on internal
grounds, and the variety in the various accounts of it are evidences of
fraud. It indicates the commencement of the open allegation of literary
imposture as distinct from philosophical error, which subsequently marked
the criticism of the French school of infidelity, and affected the English
unbelievers of the latter half of the century.

Deism had now reached its maximum. The attention of the age was turned
aside from religion to politics by the political dangers incident to the
attempts of the Pretender; and when Hume’s scepticism was promulgated in
1749 it was received without interest, and Bolingbroke’s posthumous
writings published in 1754 fell comparatively dead. These two names mark
the period which we called the decline of deism. Bolingbroke’s views(467)
however depict deistical opinions of the period when it was at its height,
and are a transition into the later form seen in Hume, and therefore
require to be stated first, though posterior in the date of publication.

Bolingbroke’s writings command respect from their mixture of clearness of
exposition with power of argument. They form also the transition to the
literature of the next age, in turning attention to history. Bolingbroke
had great powers of psychological analysis, but he despised the study of
it apart from experience. His philosophy was a philosophy of history. In
his attacks on revelation we have the traces of the older philosophical
school of deists; but in the consciousness that an historical, not a
philosophical, solution must be sought to explain the rise of an
historical phenomenon such as Christianity, he exemplifies the historic
spirit which was rising, and anticipates the theological inquiry found in
Gibbon; and, in his examination of the external historic evidence, both
the documents by which the Christian religion is attested, and the effects
of tradition in weakening historic data, he evinces traces of the
influence of the historical criticism which had arisen in France under his
friend Pouilly.(468)

His theological writings(469) are in the form of letters, or of essays,
the common form of didactic writings in that age. We shall briefly state
his views on deity, futurity, and revelation.

He teaches the existence of a deity, but was led, by the sensational
philosophy which he adopted from Locke, to deny the possibility of an _à
priori_ proof of the divine existence,(470) and contends strongly that the
divine attributes can only be known by observation of nature, and not by
the analogy of man’s constitution. He considers too that the deity whose
existence he has thus allowed, exercises a general but not a special
providence;(471) the world being a machine moving by delegated powers
without the divine interference. The philosophy expressed in Pope’s
didactic poetry gives expression to Bolingbroke’s opinions(472) on

In his views of human duty Bolingbroke refers conduct to self-love as a
cause, and to happiness as an end; and doubts a future state,(473) either
on the ground of materialism, or possibly because his favourite principle,
that “whatever is, is best,” led him to disbelieve the argument for a
future life adduced from the inequality of present rewards. Future
punishment is rejected, on the ground that it can offer no end compatible
with the moral object of punishment, which is correction.

When he passes from natural religion to revealed, he allows the
possibility of divine inspiration, but doubts the fact; rebuking those
however who doubt things merely because they cannot understand them. In
criticising the Jewish revelation,(474) he puts no limits to his words of
severity. He dares to pronounce the Jewish history to be repugnant to the
attributes of a supreme, all-perfect Being. His attack on the records is
partly on account of the materials contained in them, such as the
narrative of the fall, the numerical statistics, the invasion of the
Canaanites, the absence of eternal rewards as sanctions of the Mosaic law;
and partly on the ground of the evidence being, as he alleges, not
narrated by contemporaries. In giving his opinion of Christianity, he
repeats the weak objection already used by Chubb, of a distinction
existing between the gospel of Christ and of Paul;(475) and tries to
explain the origin of Christianity and of its doctrines, suggesting the
derivation of the idea of a Trinity from the triadic notions of other
religions. But he is driven to concede some things denied by former
deists. He grants, for example, that if the miracles really occurred, they
attest the revelation;(476) and he therefore labours to show that they did
not occur, by attacking the New Testament canon(477) as he had before
attacked the Old; attempting to show that the composition of the gospels
was separated by an interval from the alleged occurrence of the events;
applying, in fact, Pouilly’s incipient criticism on history which has been
so freely used in theology by more recent critics.

These remarks will exhibit Bolingbroke’s views, both in their cause and
their relation to those of former deists. It will be observed that they
are for the most part a direct result either of sensational metaphysics or
of the incipient science of historical criticism.

The inquiry was now becoming more historical on the part both of deists
and Christians. Philosophy was still the cause of religious controversy,
but it had changed in character. It was now criticism weighing the
evidence of religion rather than ethics or metaphysics testing the
materials of it. The question formerly debated had been, how much of the
internal characteristics of scripture can be supported by moral
philosophy; and when the conviction at length grew up, that the mysteries
could not be solved by any analogy, but were unique, it became necessary
to rest on the miraculous evidence for the existence of a revelation, and
make the fact guarantee the contents of it. Inasmuch however as the
revelation is contained in a book, it became necessary to substantiate the
historical evidence of its genuineness and authenticity. Bolingbroke’s
attacks are directed against a portion of this literary evidence.

Historical criticism, in its appreciation of literary evidence, may be of
four kinds. It may (1) examine the record from a dogmatic point of view,
pronouncing on it by reference to prepossessions directed against the
facts; or (2) make use of the same method, but direct the attack against
the evidence on which the record rests; or (3) it may examine whether the
record is contemporary with the events narrated; or (4) consider its
internal agreement with itself or with fact.

We have instances of each of these methods in the examination of the
literary evidence on which miracles are believed. The first, the
prepossession concerning the philosophical impossibility of miracles, is
seen in Spinoza; the second, the impossibility of using testimony as a
proof of them, in Hume; the third, the question whether they were attested
by eyewitnesses, is the ground which Bolingbroke touches; the fourth, the
cross-examination of the witnesses, is seen in Woolston. Of these, the
first most nearly resembles the great mass of the deist objections to
revelation, being philosophical rather than critical. The second forms a
transition to the two latter, being philosophy applied to criticism, and
is the form which deism now took. The two latter are those which it
subsequently assumed.(478)

These remarks will explain Hume’s position,(479) and show how he forms the
transition between two modes of inquiry; his point of view being critical,
the cause of it philosophical. His speculations in reference to religion
are chiefly contained in his Essays on the Human Understanding. A brief
explanation is necessary to show the dependence of his theology on his

The speculations of Locke, as we have before had occasion to notice, gave
an impulse to psychological investigations. He clearly saw that knowledge
is limited by the faculties which are its source, which he considered to
be reducible to sensation and reflection; but while denying the existence
of innate ideas, he admitted the existence of innate faculties. Hartley
carried the analysis still farther, by introducing the potent instrument
offered by the doctrine of the association of ideas. Hume, adopting this
principle, applied it, in a manner very like the independent
contemporaneous speculations of Condillac in France, to analyse the
faculties themselves into sensations, and to furnish a more complete
account of the nature of some of our most general ideas, such, for
example, as the notion of cause. The intellectual element implied in
Locke’s account of the process of reflection here drops out. Faculties are
regarded as transformed sensations; the nature of knowledge as coextensive
with sensation. According to such a theory therefore, the idea of physical
cause can mean nothing more than the invariable connexion of antecedent
and consequent. The notion of force or power which we attach to causation
becomes an unreality; being an idea not given in sensation, which can
merely detect sequence.

Such was Hume’s psychology; an attempt to push analysis to its ultimate
limits; valuable in its method, even if defective in its results; a
striking example of the acuteness and subtle penetration of its author.
There is another branch of his philosophy in which he is regarded as a
metaphysical sceptic, in reference to the passage of the mind outwards, by
means of its own sensations and ideas, into the knowledge of real being,
wherein he takes part with Berkeley, extending to the inner world of soul
the scepticism which that philosopher had applied to the outer world of
matter. In the psychological branch Hume is a sensationalist, in the
ontological a sceptic. The latter however has no relation to our present
subject. It is from the former that his views on religion are deduced. In
no writer is the logical dependence of religious opinion on metaphysical
principles visible in a more instructive manner. For we perceive that the
influence adverse to religion in his case was not merely the result of
rival metaphysical dogmas opposed to religion, such as were seen in the
Pantheists of Padua, or in Spinoza; nor even the opposition caused by the
adoption of a different standard of truth for pronouncing on revelation,
as in his fellow English deists; but it sprung from the application of the
subjective psychological inquiry into the limits of religious knowledge,
as a means for criticising not only the logical strength of the evidence
of religion, but specially the historic evidence of testimony. We
consequently see the influence exercised by the subjective branch of
metaphysical inquiries in the discussion not only of the logic of
religion, but also of the logic of the historic aspect of it.

Hume’s religious speculations(480) relate to three points:—to the argument
for the attributes of God, drawn from final causes; to the doctrine of
Providence, and future rewards and punishments; and to the evidence of
testimony as the proof of miracles. Though he does not conduct an open
assault in reference to any of them, but only suggests doubts, yet in each
case his insinuations sap so completely the very proof, that it is clear
that they are intended as grounds not merely for doubt, but for disbelief.
His doctrine of sensation is the clue to his remarks on the two former. He
argues that we can draw no sound inferences on the questions, because the
subjects lie beyond the range of sensational experience. It is however in
consequence of his remarks on the last of the three subjects in his essay
on Miracles that his name has become famous in the history of free

The essay consists of two parts. In the first he shows that miracles are
incapable of proof by testimony. Belief is in proportion to evidence.
Evidence rests on sensational experience. Accordingly the testimony to the
uniformity of nature being universal, and that which exists in favour of
the occurrence of a miracle, or violation of the laws of nature, being
partial, the former must outweigh the latter. In the second he shows, that
if this is true, provided the testimony be of the highest kind, much more
will it be so in actual cases; inasmuch as no miracle is recorded, the
evidence for which reaches to this high standard. He explains the elements
of weakness in the evidence; such as the predisposition of mankind to
believe prodigies, forged miracles, the decrease of miracles with the
progress of civilization, the force of rival testimony in disproof of
them, which he illustrates by historic examples, such as the alleged
miracles of Vespasian, Apollonius, and the Jansenist Abbé Paris.(481) The
conclusion is, that miracles cannot be so shown to occur as to be used as
the basis of proof for a revelation; and that a revelation, if believed,
must rest on other evidence.

The argument accordingly is briefly, that testimony cannot establish a
fact which contradicts a law of nature; the narrower induction cannot
disprove the wider. The reasoning has been used in subsequent
controversy(482) with only a slight increase of force, or alteration of
statement. The great and undeniable discoveries of astronomy had convinced
men in the age of Hume of the existence of an order of nature; and modern
discovery has not increased the proof of this in kind, though it has
heightened it in degree, by showing that as knowledge spreads the range of
the operation of fixed law is seen to extend more widely; and apparent
exceptions are found to be due to our ignorance of the presence of a law,
not to its absence. The statement of the difficulty would accordingly now
be altered by the introduction of a slight modification. Instead of urging
that testimony cannot prove the historic reality of the fact which we call
a miracle, the assertion would be made that it can only attest the
existence of it as a wonder, and is unable to prove that it is anything
but an accidental result of an unknown cause. A miracle differs from a
wonder, in that it is an effect wrought by the direct interposition of the
Creator and Governor of nature, for the purpose of revealing a message or
attesting a revelation. That testimony can substantiate wonders, but not
distinguish the miracle from the wonder, is the modern form of the

The connexion of Hume’s view with his metaphysical principles will be
evident. If nature be known only through the senses, cause is only the
material antecedent visible to the senses. Nature is not seen to be the
sphere of the operation of God’s regular will; and the sole proof of
interference with nature must be a balancing of inductions. It will be
clear also that the true method of replying to Hume has been rightly
perceived by those who consider that the difficulty must be met by
philosophy, and not by history.

Suppose the historic evidence sufficient to attest the wonder, it does not
prove that the wonder is a miracle. The presumption in favour of this may
be indefinitely increased by the peculiarity of the circumstances, which
frequently forbid the idea of a mere marvel; but the real proof must
depend upon the previous conception, which we bring to bear upon the
question, in respect to the being and attributes of God, and His relation
to nature. The antecedent probability converts the wonder into a miracle.
It acts in two ways. It obliterates the cold materialistic view of the
regularity of nature which regards material laws to be unalterable, and
the world to be a machine; and it adds logical force to the weaker
induction, so as to allow it to outweigh the stronger. No testimony can
substantiate the interference with a law of nature, unless we first
believe on independent grounds that there is a God who has the power and
will to interfere.(483) Philosophy must accordingly establish the
antecedent possibility of miracles; the attribute of power in God to
effect the interruption, and of love in God to prompt him to do it. The
condition therefore of attaining this conception must be by holding to a
monotheistic conception of God as a being possessing a personal will, and
regarding mind and will as the rule by which to interpret nature and
law,(484) and not conversely measuring the mental by the material. In this
manner law becomes the operation of God’s personal fixed will, and miracle
the interposition of his personal free will.

It will be perceived that in distinguishing miracle from wonder, we also
take into account the final cause of the alleged interposition as a reason
weighty enough to call forth divine interposition. As soon as we introduce
the idea of a personal intelligent God, we regard Him as acting with a
motive, and measure His purposes, partly by analogy to ourselves, partly
by the moral circumstances which demand the interposition.(485)

These remarks may furnish the solution of the puzzle whether the miracle
proves the doctrine, or the doctrine the miracle.(486) Undoubtedly the
miracle proves the particular doctrine which it claims to attest; but a
doctrine of some kind, though not the special one in point, some moral
conception of the Almighty’s nature and character, must precede, in order
to give the criterion for distinguishing miracle from mere wonder.
Miracles prove the doctrine which they are intended to attest; but
doctrines of a still more general character are required to prove the

This examination of the doctrine of Hume will not only illustrate our main
position, of the influence of intellectual and philosophical causes in
generating doubt, or at least in directing free thought into a sceptical
tendency, but will illustrate the application made of that special
department of metaphysics which relates to the test of truth, to discredit
the literary proof of revelation as an historic system.

We have now sketched the natural history of deism, by showing that in this
as in former periods the forms which free thought assumed were determined
by the philosophy, and, in a slighter degree, by the critical knowledge of
the age.

The inquiry into method in the seventeenth century had led men to break
with authority, and rebuild from its foundations the temple of truth.
Locke, imbibing this spirit, had gauged anew the human understanding, and
had sought a new origin for its knowledge, and given expression to the
appeal to the reasoning powers, which marked the age. Political
circumstances had not only generated free inquiry, but had required each
man to form his political creed. In all departments reason was appealed
to. Even the province of the imagination was invaded by it, and perfection
of form preferred to freshness of conception in art and poetry. The doubt
of the age reflected the same spirit. Whether its advocates belonged to
the school of Descartes or of Locke, both alike examined religion by the
standard of psychology and ethics. That which was to be believed was to be
comprehended as well as apprehended. Yet the appeal was not made to reason
in its highest form; and, with a show of depth, philosophy nevertheless
failed to exhibit the deepest analysis.

We have watched the exhibition of the successive phases of the attack, and
have seen reason, first examining the method of theology, protesting
against mystery in doctrine or morals; next criticising the historic
reality of the evidence offered for its doctrines; then denying the moral
utility of revelation, or attacking the doctrines and internal truths;
lastly denying the validity of testimony for the supernatural.

In the later steps the influence of the French school of speculation is
already observable, mingling itself with English deism. Consequently the
subsequent traces of unbelief in England must be deferred till the nature
of this movement has been explained.

Deism stands contrasted with the unbelief of other times by certain
peculiarities. In its coarse spirit of bitter hostility, and want of real
insight into the excellence of the system which it opposed, it recalls in
some respects the attack of the ancient heathen Celsus; and the
difficulties propounded are frequently not dissimilar to those stated by
him, though resulting from a different philosophical school. The tenacious
grasp which it maintained of the doctrine of the unity of God would cause
it to bear a closer resemblance to the system of Julian, if the deists had
not lacked the literary tastes which strengthened his love for heathenism.
The monotheism constitutes also a line of demarcation between deism and
more modern forms of unbelief. It restrained the deists from falling into
the forms of subtle pantheism previously noticed, and the atheism which
will hereafter meet us. The character of their doubts too, selected from
patent facts of mind and heart, which appealed to common sense, and were
not taken from a minute literary criticism, which removes doubt from the
sphere of the ordinary understanding into the world of literature,
separates them from more modern critical unbelief.

Standing thus apart, characterised by intense attachment to monotheism,
and placing its foundation in the great facts of nature, deism errs by
defect rather than excess; in that which it denies, not in that which it
asserts. It is a system of naturalism or rationalism; the interpretation
which reason, without attaining the deepest analysis, offers of the scheme
of the world, natural and moral. Its only parallel is the particular
species of German thought derived from it which existed at the close of
the last century, and sought like it to reduce revealed religion to

Whether emotional causes, personal moral faults coincided with these
intellectual causes, and were the obstacle which prevented the attainment
of a deeper insight into the mysteries of revelation, and made them to
halt in the mysteries of nature, ought to be taken into account in forming
a judgment on the concrete cases, but does not so properly belong to the
general consideration in which we are now engaged, of tracing the types of
deist thought. Some of the deists were very moral men, a few immoral; but
the truth or untruth of opinions may be studied apart from the character
of the persons who maintain them.

The movement, if viewed as a whole, is obsolete. If the same doubts are
now repeated, they do not recur in the same form, but are connected with
new forms of philosophy, and altered by contact with more recent
criticism. In the present day sceptics would believe less than the deists,
or believe more, both in philosophy and in criticism. In philosophy, the
fact that the same difficulties occur in natural religion as well as in
revealed, would now throw them back from monotheism into atheism or
pantheism; while the mysteries of revelation, which by a rough criticism
were then denied, would be now conceded and explained away as
psychological peculiarities of races or individuals. In criticism, the
delicate examination of the sacred literature would now prevent both the
revival of the cold unimaginative want of appreciation of its extreme
literary beauty, and the hasty imputation of the charge of literary
forgery against the authors of the documents. In the deist controversy the
whole question turned upon the differences and respective degrees of
obligation of natural and revealed religion, moral and positive duties;
the deist conceding the one, denying the other.

The permanent contribution to thought made by the controversy consisted in
turning attention from abstract theology to psychological, from
metaphysical disquisitions on the nature of God to ethical consideration
of the moral scheme of redemption for man. Theology came forth from the
conflict, reconsidered from the psychological point of view, and
readjusted to meet the doubts which the new form of philosophy—psychology
and ethics—might suggest.

The attack of revealed religion by reason awoke the defence; and no period
in church history is so remarkable for works on the Christian
evidences,—grand monuments of mind and industry. The works of defenders
are marked by the adoption of the same basis of reason as their opponents;
and hence the topics which they illustrate have a permanent philosophical
value, though their special utility as arguments be lessened by the
alteration in the point of view now assumed by free thought.

The one writer whose reputation stands out preeminently above the other
apologists is bishop Butler.(488) His praise is in all the churches.
Though the force of a few illustrations in his great work may perhaps have
been slightly weakened by the modern progress of physical science,(489)
and though objections have been taken on the ground that the solutions are
not ultimate,(490) mere _media axiomata_; yet the work, if regarded as
adapted to those who start from a monotheistic position, possesses a
permanent power of attractiveness which can only be explained by its
grandeur as a work of philosophy, as well as its mere potency as an
argument. The width and fulness of knowledge displayed in the former
respect, together with the singular candour and dignified forbearance of
its tone, go far to explain the secret of its mighty influence. When
viewed in reference to the deist writings against which it was designed,
or the works of contemporary apologists, Butler’s carefulness in study is
manifest. Though we conjectured that Tindal’s work(491) was the one to
which he intended chiefly to reply, yet not one difficulty in the
philosophy, hardly one in the critical attacks made by the various deists,
is omitted; and the best arguments of the various apologists are used. But
both the one and the other are so assimilated by his own mind, that the
use of them only proves his learning, without diminishing his originality.
They are so embodied into his system, that it is difficult even for a
student well acquainted with the deist and apologetic literature to point
precisely to the doubt or parallel argument which may have suggested to
him material of thought. And thus, though his work as an argument ought
always to be viewed in relation to his own times, yet the omission of all
temporary means of defence, and the restricting himself to the use of
those permanent facts which indelibly belong to human nature, and to the
scheme of the world, have caused his work to possess an enduring interest,
and to be a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί. The persuasive moderation of its tone also
proves that Butler had really weighed the evidence. In its absence of
arrogant denunciation, and its candid admission that the evidence of
religion is probable, not demonstrative; and in the request that the whole
evidence may be weighed like a body of circumstantial proofs, we can
perceive that Butler had felt the doubts as well as understood them, and
evidently meant his works for the doubter rather than for the Christian;
to convince foes, or support the hesitating, rather than to win applause
from friends.

The real secret of its power however lies not merely in its force as an
argument to refute objections against revelation, but in its positive
effect as a philosophy,(492) opening up a grand view of the divine
government, and giving an explanation of revealed doctrines, by using
analogy as the instrument for adjusting them into the scheme of the
universe.(493) He seems himself to have taken a broad view of God’s
dealings in the moral world, analogous to that which the recent physical
discoveries of his time had exhibited in the natural. In the same manner
as Newton in his Principia had, by an extension of terrestrial mechanics,
explained the movements of the celestial orbs, and united under one grand
generalization the facts of terrestrial and celestial motion; so Butler
aimed at exhibiting as instances of one and the same set of moral laws the
moral government of God, which is visible to natural reason, and the
spiritual government, which is unveiled by revelation.

Probably no book since the beginning of Christianity has ever been so
useful to the church as Butler’s Analogy, in solving the doubts of
believers or causing them to ignore exceptions, as well as in silencing
unbelievers. The office of apologetic is to defend the church, not to
build it up. Argument is not the life of the church. It is therefore a
proof of the philosophical power and truth of Butler’s work that it has
ministered so extensively to the latter purpose, by actually reinforcing
and promoting the faith of professing Christians. It has acted not only as
an argument to the deists, but as a lesson of instruction to the church.

Few efforts of free thought seemed more unpromising in yielding any useful
results than deism; yet by its agitation of deep questions, which are not
the mere phantoms of a morbid mind, but real and solid difficulties and
mysteries in revelation, it was the means of creating Butler’s noble work,
and is a fresh illustration of the beneficent arrangement of the Almighty,
that makes knowledge progress by antagonism, and overrules evil for good.

But there is another weapon for repelling unbelief besides the
intellectual; just as there are two causes for creating it, the one
intellectual, the other emotional. Thus, in the period that we are now
considering, though we may believe that many hearts were cheered and many
doubts hushed by the Christian apologies, yet the revival of religion(494)
which marked the eighteenth century, and which by spreading vital piety
prepared an effectual check against unbelief, when the lower orders were
afterwards invaded by it, was due to the spiritual yearnings created by
the ministrations of men, often rude and unlettered, who told the wondrous
story of Christ crucified, heart speaking to heart, with intuitions
kindled from on high. The sinful began to feel that God was not afar off,
reposing in the solitude of his own blessedness, and abandoning mankind to
the government of conscience and to the operation of general laws, but
nigh at hand, with a heart of fatherly love to pity and an ear of mercy to
listen. The narrative of Christ the Son of God, coming down to seek and to
save that which was lost, awoke an echo in the heart which neutralized the
doubts infused by the deist. And it is a comfort to every Christian
labourer to know that if he cannot wrangle out a controversy with the
doubter, he can speak to the doubter’s heart.

Few would compare the irregular missionaries of spiritual religion in the
last century with the great writers of evidence. The names of the latter
are honoured; those of the former are unknown or too often despised. It
might seem strange, for example, to institute a comparison between the two
contemporaries, bishop Butler and John Wesley. Yet there are points of
contrast which are instructive. Each was one of the most marked
instruments of movement and influence in the respective fields of the
argumentative and the spiritual; the one a philosopher writing for the
educated, the other a missionary preaching to the poor. Butler, educated a
nonconformist, turned to the church, and in an age of unbelief consecrated
his great mental gifts to roll back the flood of infidelity; and died
early, when his unblemished example was so much needed in the noble sphere
of usefulness which Providence had given him, leaving a name to be
honoured in the church for generations. Wesley, nursed in the most
exclusive church principles, kindled the flame of his piety by the devout
reading of mystic books;(495) when our university was marked by the
half-heartedness of the time; and afterwards, when instructed by the
Pietists of Germany,(496) devoted a long life to wander over the country,
despised, ill-treated, but still untired; teaching with indefatigable
energy the faith which he loved, and introducing those irregular agencies
of usefulness which are now so largely adopted even in the church. He too
was an accomplished scholar, and possessed great gifts of administration;
but whatever good he effected, in kindling the spiritual Christianity
which checked the spread of infidelity, was not so much by argument as by
stating the omnipotent doctrine of the Cross, Christ set forth as the
propitiation for sin through faith in his blood. The earnestness of the
missionary may be imitated by those who cannot imitate the philosopher’s
literary labours. Gifts of intellect are not in our own power. But
industry to improve the talents that we possess is our own; and the
spiritual perception of divine truth, and burning love for Christ which
will touch the heart, and before which all unhealthy doubts will melt away
as frost before the sun, will be given from on high by the Holy Ghost
freely to all that ask. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,
saith the Lord.”(497)


    ISAIAH xxvi. 20.

    _Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors
    about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the
    indignation be overpast._

We now approach the study of a period remarkable no less in the history of
the world than in that of religious thought, in which unbelief gained the
victory in the empire of mind, and obtained the opportunity of
reconstructing society and education according to its own views. The
history of infidelity in France in the eighteenth century forms a real
crisis in history, important by its effects as well as its character. For
France has always been the prerogative nation of Europe. When wants
intellectual or political have been felt there, the life of other nations
has beat sympathetic with it as with the heart of the European body. Ideas
have been thrown into form by it for transmission to others. It will be
necessary to depict the free religious thought, both intellectually and in
its political action; to characterise its principal teachers; to show
whence it sprung, and to what result it tended; to point out wherein lay
the elements of its power and its wickedness; to show what it has
contributed to human woe, or perchance indirectly to human improvement.

The source of its influence cannot be understood without recalling some
facts of the history of French politics and philosophical speculation.
What was the cause why English deists wrote and taught their creed in
vain, were despised while living and consigned to oblivion when dead,
refrained almost entirely from political intermeddling, and left the
church in England unhurt by the struggle; while on the other hand deism in
France became omnipotent, absorbed the intellect of the country, swept
away the church, and remodelled the state? The answer to this question
must be sought in the antecedent history. It is a phenomenon political
rather than intellectual. It depended upon the soil in which the seed was
sown, not on the inherent qualities of the seed itself.(498)

The church and state have hardly ever possessed more despotic power in any
country of modern times, or seemed to all appearances to repose on a more
secure foundation, than in France at the time when they were first
assailed by the free criticism of the infidels of the eighteenth century.
Each had escaped the alterations which had been effected in most other
countries. The clergy of France had in the sixteenth century successfully
resisted the Reformation, and gained strength by the issue of the civil
wars which supervened on it. In the seventeenth century, though compelled
to admit toleration of their Protestant adversaries, they had contrived
before the end of it to obtain a revocation of the edict, even though the
act cost France the loss of a million of her industrious population, and
though the enforcing of it had to be effected by the means of the
dragonnades, in which a brutal soldiery was let loose on an innocent
population.(499) Thus the church, united with rather than subjected to the
state, adorned by great names, asserting its national independence in the
pride of conscious strength against the metropolitan see of
Christendom,(500) possessed a power which, while it seemed to promise
perpetuity, stood as an impediment to progress and a bar to intellectual

Nor was the cause of liberty more hopeful in relation to the state than
the church. The crown, in passing through a similar struggle against the
feudal nobility to that of other countries, had succeeded in securing its
victory without yielding those concessions to the demands of the people
which in our own country were extorted from it by the civil war. The
strength gained by the defeat of the nobility in the wars of the Fronde,
offered the opportunity for an able sovereign like Louis XIV to dry up all
sources of independent power, by centralizing all authority in the
monarchy. Proud in the consciousness of internal power and foreign
victory, surrounded by wealth and talent, with a court and literature
which were the glory of the country, he seemed likely to transmit his
power to coming generations. But the inherent weakness of despotism was
soon apparent. Unrestrained authority appertains only to the Divine
government, because power is there synonymous with goodness; but it is
always unsafe in human. The wisdom which partially supplied the place of
goodness in Louis XIV being wanting in his successor, unchecked
selfishness produced the corruption which brought inevitable ruin.

These remarks on the political state of France will sufficiently show why
a free criticism directed against either religion or tyranny should assume
revolutionary tendencies, and should manifest an antipathy to social and
ecclesiastical institutions, as well as to the principles on which they
were supposed to depend.

But the forces operating in the world of mind, as well as in society, must
also be understood, in order to estimate the influence of unbelief in
France. In a previous lecture we have seen that in the middle of the
seventeenth century the philosophy of Descartes had created a complete
revolution in modes of thought. It was only in the philosophy of Spinoza
that it produced theological unbelief; but by its indirect influence it
had led generally to an entire reconsideration of the first data of
reasoning, and the method of establishing truth; and thus had stimulated
the struggle of reason against faith, of inquiry against credulity, of
progress against reaction, and of hopefulness in the future against
reverence for the past. The activity of mind displayed in the literature
of the reign of Louis XIV is its first expression.(501) But thoughts
ferment long in society before they fully express themselves in form: they
first exist as suggestions; then they become doubts; lastly, they pass
into disbelief. It was not until the time of the regency,(502) which
ensued after the death of Louis, that the literature became impressed with
a thoroughly new tone.(503)

Other causes of a more direct kind cooperated. The English philosophy of
Locke, which marked an epoch in speculation, was introduced at that time.
This philosophy however could not have resulted in those speculations
which arose in France, if it had not been carried farther by the analysis
which Condillac employed in that country, analogous to that of Hume in
Scotland. In itself it expressed the reasoning type of mind and thought
which reigned throughout the English literature; but the corollaries from
it which produced harm were no part of the original system.(504)
Condillac, desiring to carry out the analysis of the origin of knowledge,
lost sight of the intellectual element in Locke’s account of the process
of reflection; denied the existence of innate faculties as well as innate
ideas; and attempted to show that man’s mind is so passive, so dependent
on the evidence of the senses for the material of its thoughts, and on
language for the power to combine them, that its very faculties are
transformed sensations.(505) From these premises it was not hard for his
followers to draw the inferences of materialism(506) in philosophy,
selfishness in morals, and an entire denial of those religious truths
which cannot be proved by sensuous evidence. This philosophy began to
leaven the mind of France, and was accepted by nearly the whole of French

Such was the intellectual state of France in reference to the standard of
appeal contemporaneously with the political and ecclesiastical condition
before described. In the state and church all was authority; all was of
the past; in the world of literature and philosophy all was criticism,
activity, hope in the future. Into a soil thus prepared the seeds of
unbelief on the subject of religion were introduced. We cannot deny that
they were imported mainly from England. Doubt had indeed not been wholly
wanting in France. In the preceding centuries Montaigne(507) and
Charron,(508) and, at the commencement of the one of which we speak,
Bayle(509) and Fontenelle,(510) were probably harassed with disbelief, and
their influence was certainly productive of doubt. And free thought, in
the form of literary criticism of the scriptures, had brought down the
denunciation of the French church on Richard Simon.(511) But undoubtedly
the direct parent of the French unbelief was English deism.(512) In no age
of French history has English literature possessed so powerful an
influence.(513) England had recently achieved those liberties of which
France felt the need. It had safely outlived civil war and revolution, and
had established constitutional liberty and religious toleration. In
England the victims of the French oppression found shelter. Being itself
free, it became the refuge for the exile, the shelter for the oppressed.
It thus became the object of study to the politician, and of love to the
philanthropist. Its literature too, in two branches, viz. political
inquiry, and, towards the middle of the century, romance, offered subjects
for imitation. Montesquieu studied the former; Rousseau and Diderot the
latter. But England furnished also a series of fearless inquirers on the
subject of religion, whose works became the subject of study and of
translation.(514) Voltaire spent three years of exile in England,(515) at
the time when the ferment existed concerning Woolston’s attack on
miracles, and both knew Bolingbroke personally, and translated his

Having now explained the sources of doubt in France; we must next direct
our attention to the course of its speculations, and to the chief authors.

If we estimate its course by literary works, or by social and political
movements, we may distribute the history of it into two periods; one
comprising the first half of the century, wherein it attacks the French
church and Christianity; the other, the latter half, wherein it mingles
itself with the demand for political change, and assaults the state,(516)
until its effects are seen in the anarchy of the French revolution. In the
former of these periods the unbelief is tentative and suggestive. About
the time of the transition to the second, in the pride of supposed victory
it becomes dogmatic. Christianity is supposed to be exploded. Philosophy
seeks to occupy its place in the social and intellectual world. The early
doubters and Voltaire mark the former of these epochs. Diderot and the
French encyclopædists, with the ramification of their school at the court
of Frederick II of Prussia, form the point of transition. Rousseau marks
the opening of the second period, when unbelief was attempting to
reconstruct society and remodel education. The selfish philosophy of
Helvetius and his friends then carries on the course of the history of
unbelief, until in the storm of the revolution it shows itself in the
teaching of Volney, and the absurd acts of the theophilanthropists.

The name of Voltaire, which the logical and chronological order introduces
first to our notice, is so preeminent, that his character and teaching may
express the history of the early movement in France.

The story of his life, so far as we require now to be made acquainted with
it, can be briefly told.(517) Born toward the close of the seventeenth
century, he manifested, as a legend assures us, such a doubting spirit,
even in boyhood, that his priestly preceptor predicted that he would prove
a Coryphæus of deism. His rare precocity of intellect early acquired for
him a reputation in the world of letters. Compelled to become an exile in
England,(518) he studied its politics, its science, and its scepticism. On
his return to France, he endeavoured to introduce among his countrymen the
cosmical and mathematical doctrines of Newton; and made himself
conspicuous in history, in poetry, in fiction, and above all, in theology,
by his attacks on revealed religion and the French church. About the
middle of the century, accepting an invitation to the court of Frederick
the Great of Prussia, he aided thence the introduction of infidel
doctrines in Germany. A few years later he withdrew into retirement at
Ferney, but was able from his seclusion to wield an intellectual power
throughout Europe.

It was from this retirement that he denounced the acts of tyranny, or
supposed injustice, inflicted by the French church. His indignant
denunciations in the cases of the Sirven,(519) of La Barre,(520) and above
all of the Calas,(521) gained for him the commendation and sympathy of
Europe, and remain as monuments of the power of the pen.

Such was his life. Let us search in it for the secret of his power, and
inquire what were his views in the department which we are studying.

His character has been analysed by so many critics, especially by one of
our own countrymen in an essay of rare power, now become classical, that
the opportunity of original investigation is impossible, and the attempt

In the opinion of this writer, the secret of Voltaire’s strength was the
tact which he displayed in expressing the wants of his time to his
countrymen in the precise mode most suited to them.(523) He belonged to
the class of those who exercise their influence in their own lifetime—men
of the present, not men of the future; accordingly, whether he be viewed
as a man, in his own personal qualities, in the moral and intellectual
properties which constituted his character, or as an artist, in the manner
in which he conveyed his thoughts to the world, he will be found to be the
loftiest exponent and type of the spirit of his age. It was an age without
originality, without spiritual insight, careful of manners rather than
morals, corrupted by selfishness, led by ambition, dissatisfied with the
present, and anxious for deliverance; but unable to espy the real causes
of the mischief, and to escape confusing principles with men; fond of form
rather than material; classical rather than Gothic; critical rather than
reverent; proud of its own discoveries, without appreciation of the
efforts of the past.—Such are the qualities which characterised the times
of Voltaire,(524) and in their most striking form marked his mind.

To qualities which were thus in some sense formed in him by circumstances,
he added remarkable ones which were Nature’s special gift to him. His
extraordinary tact and good sense, both in dealing personally with
individuals and in literary criticism; his fiery ardour, and vehement
spirit of proselytism; his singular penetration of vision, and power to
arrange in the clearest mode the thoughts which he wished to transmit;
above all, his wit and wonderful power of satire were qualities which,
though in some degree shared by his countrymen, cannot be explained by
mere circumstances, but are natural gifts. These three intellectual
endowments, acuteness, order, and satire,(525) are regarded by the
authority that we are taking for our guide, as the qualities which formed
the secret of his power as a writer, and at the same time as the sources
of intellectual temptation which prevented him from gaining a deeper
insight into truth, and deprived him of influence with posterity. For his
quickness prevented the exercise of the reflection, the patient
meditation, which is the only high road to solve the mysteries of
existence. It has been well said,(526) that Voltaire saw so much more
deeply at a glance than other men, that no second glance was ever given by
him. His power of order assisting his quickness, was a still further
temptation. Though far inferior in erudition to some of his
contemporaries, such as Diderot, and in depth of feeling to Rousseau,
lacking originality, and borrowing most of his philosophical thoughts at
second hand, he yet surpassed them all by a matchless power of
arrangement. The perfection of form diverted attention from the subject
matter. He possessed method rather than genius, intellect rather than
imagination. But above all his other powers, his most singular gift was
his power of satire. When stimulated by a sense of injustice, or of hatred
against men or systems, it made him omnipotent in destruction. This
satirical power contributed to preclude the possession of depth of
reflection. Ridicule has an office in criticism. It is the true punishment
of folly. But it has been well observed,(527) that it is dangerous to him
who employs it, as being directly opposed to humility. The satirist places
himself above that which he ridicules, and makes himself the judge: the
humility of the listener is laid aside; the selfish belief of his own
infallibility is fostered; forbearance and sympathy are laid aside. The
critic argues, the satirist only laughs. Pity may be compatible with
humour, but only contempt with satire. Voltaire was by nature a satirist;
and when his mockery was applied to a subject like Christianity or
religion, his utter want of reverence not only caused him to substitute a
caricature for a picture, but prevented him from exercising discrimination
in distinguishing Christianity from its counterfeit, religion from the
ministers of it. Hence his attacks on Christianity partake of the tone of
blasphemy; and he manifests in reference to religion, which to most
readers was the most sacred of subjects, a tone of indescribable
scurrility, which was not only inexcusable and disgraceful if viewed
merely in a literary point of view, but constituted politically a public
outrage against the dearest feelings of others which no citizen has a
right to perpetrate.(528) This tone too was mainly his own; and is not to
be found, except in rare instances, in the English deists from whom he

We have tried to comprehend the mind of Voltaire, to notice his
peculiarities and faults, before considering his opinions; because his
influence was due to his mental and personal character rather than to the
matter of his writings. It remains to state his views on religion, and the
grounds of his attack on revelation. The chief materials for ascertaining
them are the four volumes in the vast collection of his works, which
contain his philosophical and theological writings.(529) They partake of
every variety of form,—essays, letters, treatises, pamphlets,
translations, commentaries. They include, besides smaller works, a
commentary on the Old Testament; translations of parts of Bolingbroke and
of Toland; an investigation concerning the establishment of Christianity;
deist sermons which he pretends had been delivered; discourses written
under false names;(530) and doubts proposed and solved after the manner of
preceding philosophers. Yet in these numerous treatises there is no claim
to originality. His doubts and his beliefs are taken mainly from the
English deists; and chiefly from Bolingbroke, the most French in mind of
any of the English school.

A few words therefore will suffice to characterise his opinions. It
appears that he believed in a God,(531) but firmly disbelieved the divine
origin of the revealed religion, Jewish and Christian. The main purpose of
his life however was not affirmation, but denial.(532) Accordingly the
sole object of all his efforts was to destroy belief in the plenary
inspiration of the scriptures, and the divine origin of revelation which
is attested by them. There is hardly a book in scripture that he did not
attack. Successively surveying the narrative of Jewish history, the
Gospels, and statements of early church history,(533) he tried to show
absurdities and contradictions in them all; not so much literary
differences in the authors as difficulties of belief in the material
revealed. In his views of Judaism and of Christianity he seems to have
fluctuated between attributing them to the fraud or mistake of their
propagators, and denying their originality. The science of historical
criticism was beginning in his day, and was applied to the legends of
Roman history. Voltaire embodied the spirit of this inquiry. In his
histories he exemplified the cold, worldly, modern mode of looking at
events, as opposed to the providential and theocratic view of them which
had found expression as recently as in the works of Bossuet.(534) And he
transferred this method to the treatment of holy scripture. No new branch
of information was left unused by him for contributing to his impious
purpose. The numerous works of travels which were affording an
acquaintance with the mythology of other nations, were made to furnish him
with the materials for hastily applying one solution to all the early
Jewish histories, which he failed to invalidate by the application of the
historic method just described. By an inversion of the argument of the
early Christian apologists, he pretended that the early history preserved
among the Hebrews was borrowed from the heathens, instead of claiming that
the heathen mythology was a trace of Hebrew tradition; and, with a view to
sustain this opinion, he discredited the integrity of the Hebrew
literature. In nothing is his singular want of poetic taste, and of the
power to appreciate the beauties of the literature of young nations, and
the ethical value of moral institutions, more visible, than in denying the
literary and monumental value of the Bible, and the moral influence of
Christianity.(535) Infidels who have hated revealed religion as bitterly
as Voltaire, have at least not had the meanness or the want of taste to
depreciate the literary and moral interest which attaches to it.

Such was the character of the man, and of the efforts which he directed to
the injury of revelation. It has been said(536) that to obliterate his
influence from the history of the eighteenth century would be to produce a
greater difference than the absence of any other individual in it would
occasion; and would be similar to the omission of Luther from the
sixteenth. The analogy, though startling, is true in the particulars which
it is intended to illustrate. The influence of each was European in his
respective century; and the doctrine acted not only on the world of
thought, but of action.

We have described Voltaire alone; not because he was isolated by any
interval of time from a general movement, but because his attack is more
rudimentary, being directed rather to disintegrate Christianity than
dogmatically to affirm unbelief. He was perhaps rather logically prior to
the others than chronologically; being really connected with two bodies of
men, which formed the centres of two infidel movements, the one in Paris,
the other at the court of Frederick at Berlin.

Frederick the Great surrounded himself with French literary men.(537) They
were mostly persons who were exiles from France to escape persecution for
their opinions, who had first found a refuge in Holland, and thence
endeavoured by means of the Dutch booksellers to introduce their writings
into France. From about 1740-60 several such teachers of infidelity were
invited to the Prussian court, and dispersed their influence in Germany;
the effects of which we shall subsequently find. One of them was the
physician La Mettrie,(538) who wrote works on physiology marked by a low
materialism. Such also was De Prades,(539) and more especially
D’Argens.(540) The latter, struck with the force of “the Persian Letters”
of Montesquieu, threw his doubts into an epistolary form, “the Jewish
Letters;” in which the traditional opinions and ruling systems of the time
were attacked with great freedom. He translated also some ancient works to
serve his purpose, especially the fragments of the abusive work of the
emperor Julian against Christianity, written in favour of the state
religion of the Greeks and Romans.

While this was the character of some of the Frenchmen at the court of
Frederick, whom Voltaire subsequently joined; men who, imbued with the
most extravagant form of the philosophy of sensation, verged upon
materialism; there were coteries of literary persons in Paris, which were
the rallying point of sceptical minds, and centres of irreligious

The existence of them is due in part to the altered position already named
which literature assumed in reference to the court during the regency.
Instead of being fostered, it was discouraged; and Fleury manifested an
almost puritan spirit, and has left on record the expression of his alarm
at the growing sceptical tone of literary works, and the imitation of the
English spirit. Owing accordingly to the absence of patronage, and to the
lavishment of those favours on extravagance which the elder Louis had
bestowed on the fostering of intellect, literature became disjoined from
court influences; and hence there grew up small centres of literary
influence, analogous to those preceding the times of Louis XIV,(541) and
nuclei for intellectual movement, where of old the various bodies had all
moved round one central sun.

It would be irrelevant to enter into the details of these coteries. (23)
Some were simply of fashion and taste; but others were undoubtedly
gatherings of powerful thinkers, imbued with infidel principles, whose
character belongs to French literature and the mental and moral culture of
the time. One of the most remarkable of these coteries included names
noted in French literature, such as Voltaire, Diderot, D’Alembert,(542)
D’Holbach, Marmontel,(543) Helvetius, Grimm,(544) St. Lambert,(545) and
Raynal.(546) We must notice some of them in detail, in order at once to
appreciate the character of their works, and to illustrate the relation of
their unbelief to the philosophy which they adopted.(547)

Diderot,(548) next to Voltaire, was the most able of the infidel writers,
and greatly superior to the other members of the same class. His history
is one of those narratives of struggle and suffering which so often have
been the lot of men of letters. Those who have been the teachers of the
world have too often been also its martyrs. The great peculiarity of
Diderot, as of Johnson, was his encyclopædic knowledge, and his
versatility in comprehending a variety of subjects. Less critical than
Voltaire, and less philosophical than Rousseau, he exceeded both as the
practical teacher. But in unbelief he unhappily advanced farther than
either; his temper lacked moral earnestness; and in later life he was an
atheist. A growth of unbelief may be traced in him: at first he was a
doubter, next he became a deist, lastly an atheist. In the first stage he
only translated English works, and even condemned some of the English
deists. His views seem gradually to have altered, probably under the
influence of Voltaire’s writings, and of the infidel books smuggled into
France; and he thenceforth assumed a tone bolder and marked by positive
disbelief. In 1746 he wrote his _Pensées Philosophiques_, intended to be
placed in opposition to the _Pensées_ of Pascal. Pascal, by a series of
sceptical propositions, had hoped to establish the necessity of
revelation. Diderot tried by the same method to show that this revelation
must be untrue.(549) The first portion of the propositions(550) bore upon
philosophy and natural religion, but at length he came to weaken the
proofs for the truth of Christianity, and controverted miracles, and the
truth of any system which reposes on miracles; yet even in this work he
did not evince the atheism which he subsequently avowed. It was soon after
the imprisonment in which he was involved by this book, that he projected
the plan of the magnificent work, the _Encyclopédie_, or universal
dictionary of human knowledge. Its object however was not only literary,
but also theological; for it was designed to circulate among all classes
new modes of thinking, which should be opposed to all that was
traditionary. Voltaire’s unbelief was merely destructive: this was
reconstructive and systematic. The religion of this great work was deism:
the philosophy of it was sensationalist and almost materialist; seeming
hardly to allow the existence of anything but mechanical beings. Soul was
absorbed in body; the inner world in the outer;—a tendency fostered by
physics. It was the view of things taken by the scientific mind, and lacks
the poetical and feeling elements of nature—a true type of the cold and
mechanical age which produced it. Diderot’s atheism is a still further
development of his unbelief. It is expressed in few of his writings, and
presents no subject of interest to us; save that it seeks to invalidate
the arguments for the being of a God, drawn from final causes. It has been
well observed, that the lesson to be derived from him(551) is, that the
mechanical view of the world is essentially atheistic; that whosoever will
admit no means of discovering God but common logic, cannot find him.
Diderot’s unbelief may be considered to embody that which resulted from
the abuse at once of erudition, physical science, and the sensational
theory in metaphysics.

Among the band of friends who from connexion with the Encyclopædia
acquired the name of Encyclopædists, was also Helvetius.(552) He was the
moralist of the sensational philosophy, one of those who applied the
philosophy of Condillac to morals. Each man’s tastes are so far affected
by circumstances, that it is possible that Helvetius’s exclusive
association with the selfish circles of the French society, which never
lived for the good of others, together with the perception of the
hollowness of the respect which persons paid him for his wealth and
influence, led him to regard self-love as the sole motive of conduct. His
philosophy is expressed in two works;(553) the one on the spirit, the
other on man: the former a theoretical view of human nature, the latter a
practical view of education and society. His primary position is, that man
owes all his superiority over animals to the superior organization of his
body. Starting from this point, he argues that all minds are originally
equal, and owe their variation to circumstances;(554) that all their
faculties and emotions are derivable from sensation; that pleasure is the
only good, and self-interest the true ground of morals and the framework
of individual and political right.(555)

If in Diderot we have met with atheism, and in Helvetius with the selfish
theory of morals; in the author of “the System of Nature” we meet with
utter materialism, and the two former evils as corollaries from it. This
work, which was published about 1774, though bearing a different author’s
name on the title, was probably the work of D’Holbach,(556) aided by
Diderot and Helvetius, and other members of the society which met at
D’Holbach’s house. It is a work of unquestionable talent and eloquence, in
which materialism, fatalism, and atheism, combine to form a view of human
nature which even Voltaire is said to have denounced.

The grand object of this work being to show that there is no God, the
first part is occupied by the most rigorous materialism, and is designed
to prove that there is no such thing as mind, nothing beyond the material
fabric,(557) which is maintained by simple and invariable laws; and that
the soul is a mode of organism,(558) the mere action of the body under
different functions. The freedom of the will(559) and immortality(560) are
accordingly denied. The first part having been directed to disprove the
existence of mind, the second part is designed against religion. The
author attributes the idea which man has formed of a first Cause to
fear,(561) generated through suffering; and attempts to show the
insufficiency of the _à priori_ argument in favour of a God,(562) omitting
the consideration of the arguments derived from final causes. Nature
becomes in his scheme a machine; man an organism; morality self-interest;
deity a fiction.

The work we have just named formed the crowning result of infidelity.(563)
Voltaire showed philosophy shrinking from the hard materialism, morality
from the fatalism, and religion from the atheism, to which they afterwards
attained. In these steps, as witnessed in the circle of intellect just
sketched, we see the ramification of the French sensational philosophy
pushed to its farthest limits.

The writers lately described, though in some degree eminent, do not, like
Voltaire, stand in the first rank of the French literary writers. Amid the
circle of unbelievers, however, another of the highest rank was found,
who, though he must be classed with the others, stood so apart in taste,
in sympathy, in purpose, and in belief, that the study of his life and
character is an interruption to the series of the materialist writers whom
we are describing. Rousseau(564) was not an atheist like Diderot, nor a
materialist like D’Holbach, nor a moralist of the selfish school like
Helvetius, nor a scoffer like Voltaire. We discover in him a spirit
endowed with deep feeling, and trained by much greater experience of life
and of internal sorrow. His writings also mark the period when French
philosophy ceased to attack the church, and found itself strong enough to
act against the state. The greater portion of his works lies out of the
range of our inquiry. Even his political writings, which indirectly
injured religion in the world of action by stimulating the revolutionary
hatred to the church, require notice only so far as they involved
principles fundamentally opposed to the teaching of revealed religion.

It was about the middle of the century(565) that Rousseau commenced the
“Political Essays” which made his name famous, and unhappily afterwards
formed as it were the very bible of the French revolution. Retaining
through life the preference for the simple institutions of the republic in
which he had been born, he saw in French society the abuses which
appertain to civilization; and, with somewhat of the same feeling which
Tacitus exhibits in his portraiture of the Germans, was led to study the
comparative advantages of a primitive and refined age, and to maintain the
paradox that the empire of corruption and inequality was to be regarded as
the artificial creation of civilization. Ignoring the natural sinfulness
and selfishness of the human race, he sought deliverance for mankind in
the return to a primeval state, in which all should be free, equal, and
independent. The inartificial state of society was the beau-ideal. And
from this philosophical origin he traced society in the historical
formation of an actual polity, describing how the social contract, while
subordinating individual liberty to the collective will of a society,
recompensed men by investing them with rights of civilization.

His doctrine was false theologically in its view of human nature; false
philosophically in attempting to investigate an historical question by
means of abstract metaphysical analysis; and false politically in drawing
the attention of men away from practical and possible schemes of reform to
visionary ones. It typified the movement of the French revolution in its
extravagant hopes and its errors, in its destructive, not its remedial

It was a few years later than the publication of these speculations that
Rousseau wrote his celebrated treatise on education, the _Emile_,(567)
which is the chief source for ascertaining his religious opinions. It has
been called the Cyropædia of modern times, an attempt to show the
education which a philosopher would give his pupil, in contradistinction
to the religious and Jesuit training common in Rousseau’s time.

In examining the religious education to be given to the young, he
introduces a Savoyard vicar, the original of which his own early travels
had suggested to him, to narrate the history of his convictions, and
explain the nature of his creed. This creed is deism, and bears a very
striking resemblance to that taught by the English deists. Rejecting
tradition and philosophy,(568) the vicar grounds his creed on reason, the
interior light. Commencing with sensation, he shows how step by step we
arrive at the doctrine of the being and attributes of one God. Though he
does not reject the argument from final causes, he seems to lay more
stress on the metaphysical argument of the necessity of the divine
existence. He first proves the existence of personality and will,(569) and
uses this idea for the purpose of exploring the outer world; arguing that
matter is inert and not self-active, he regards matter in motion as
indicating force, and therefore volition; uniformity in its motion as
proving a law, and therefore an intelligent will,(570) in which wisdom,
power, and goodness combine.(571) This being is God, to whom man is
subject. The universe is universal order. The physical evil therein
originates in our vices, the moral in our free will.(572)

Having established the being of a God, he next proceeds to give reasons
for believing in immortality. He bases it on the fact of the goodness of
God, which leads Him to recompense with happiness the suffering good; and
he disbelieves the eternity of punishment for the bad.(573) Having fixed
the objects of belief, he next lays down the rule of duty in conscience,
which he regards as an innate and infallible guide.(574) After thus
establishing natural religion, he proceeds to criticise revealed, arguing
its want of irrefragable evidence,(575) the discrepant(576) opinions in
reference to it, the improbability of portions of its history;(577)
attacking strongly the external evidence of prophecy and miracles; the
former on the alleged want of proof of agreement between prophecy and its
fulfilment; the latter on the ground of the alleged circle, that miracles
are made to prove doctrine, and doctrine miracles.(578) He accordingly
rejects the idea of Christianity being necessary to salvation; but renders
a tribute of praise to its moral precepts, and regards the gospels, though
partly fictitious, as containing indestructible moral truths; and
concludes with the well-known comparison of Socrates to Christ, showing
the stupendous superiority of the death and example of the latter. “If the
death of Socrates,” he says, “was that of a sage, that of Jesus was that
of a God.”(579)

It would have been thought that such teaching as this would hardly have
excited a legal prosecution, in comparison with the more violent attacks
that were made on religion: but the wide reputation and fascinating style
of the author, the extraordinary ability of the work, above all the fact
that many of the previous infidel doctrines had been published without the
writers’ names, were the means of subjecting him to persecution which they
escaped. Voltaire and the infidel party were indignant at Rousseau’s
partial acceptance of Christianity. The French clergy were angry at his
rejection of the remainder. The parliament ordered the book to be burned,
and the author to be imprisoned. Rousseau had to seek refuge in
Switzerland, and there defended his views of Christianity and miracles in
a series of celebrated letters, which in their political effects have been
compared with the letters of Junius. Driven out from Switzerland, he found
a shelter in England, with Hume; and, until he could safely return to
France, employed his time in writing his _Confessions_;(580)—the
celebrated work, a mixture of romance and fact, which takes its place in
the first rank of autobiographies,—a sad witness to the desperate
wickedness of the human heart, and to the impotence of even a high moral
creed, which we know Rousseau elsewhere expressed,(581) in creating
morality, without Christian motives to give practical efficacy to it.

Such was Rousseau, an enemy of artificial society, of Roman catholic
education, and of supernatural revelation; yet far removed from Voltaire
and the other infidels, both in tone and literary character.(582) While
Voltaire aimed only to destroy, Rousseau sought to reconstruct. Voltaire
was a flippant, hasty reviler of Christianity, without originality in the
material of his works, without depth of soul: Rousseau was serious, fresh,
full of pathos. Voltaire either had no creed, or thought one unimportant,
and was actuated by malignant hatred against Judaism and Christianity:
Rousseau had a firm creed, and spoke with decency of the religion which he
rejected. Voltaire was devoid of taste for ancient literature, witty under
a mask, a selfish sycophant to the ancient political régime: Rousseau
never denied the authorship of his writings, was democratic in tastes, and
was the means of exciting a love for antiquity. Finally rejecting to a
great degree the sensational philosophy; rising above it in heart, if not
in thought, Rousseau taught a spiritual philosophy, destined to bear fruit
when the dreams of the revolution had passed. He stands alone however at
present in this respect, like Montesquieu in politics(583) and Buffon in
science; and the course of our history again brings before us men who must
be classed with the materialists that preceded him.

We have stated that by the middle of the century the infidel writers
turned their attention from the attack on the church to that on the state;
and had already made such impression on the government, that it joined
them in expelling the Jesuits.(584) For more than a quarter of a century
before the revolution the literary writers were infidel. At length the
evils of the state grew incurable, and the storm of the revolution burst.

It is possible in the present age to take a much more dispassionate view
of that vast event than was taken by contemporaries.(585) It can now be
adjusted to its true historic perspective, and its function in the scheme
of history can be clearly perceived. The vastness of the movement
consisted in this, that it was at once political, social, and
religious.(586) It aimed at redressing the grievances under which France
had suffered, and reconstructing society with guarantees for future
liberty. It sought not merely to destroy the feudalism which had outlived
its time, and to equalize the unfair distribution of the public burdens,
as means to accommodate society to modern wants; but it tried to effect
these changes among a people whose minds were fully persuaded both that
the privileges of particular classes and the existence of an established
religion were the chief causes of the public misfortune. When so many
movements combined, the catastrophe was intensified. It is indeed possible
now to see that in the end the solid advantages of the revolution were
reaped, while the mischief was temporary; but the severity of the storm
while it lasted was increased by the infidel views with which society had
become impregnated. For the revolution attempted to embody in its
political aspect those poetical but wild theories of society which
sceptical students had taught; and was founded on the false assumption of
the perfectibility of man, and the perfect goodness of human nature,
except as depraved by human government.

At first, under the National Assembly,(587) the attack was only made on
the property of the church; but on the establishment of the Convention,
when the nation had become frantic at the alarm of foreign invasion, to
which the king and clergy were supposed to be instrumental, the monarchy
was overthrown, and religion also was declared obsolete. The municipality
and many of the bishops abjured Christianity; the churches were stripped;
the images of the Saviour trampled under foot; and a fête was held in
November 1793,(588) in which an opera-dancer, impersonating Reason as a
goddess, was introduced into the Convention, and then led in procession to
the cathedral of Notre Dâme; and there, elevated on the high altar, took
the place of deity, and received adoration from the audience. The services
of religion were abandoned; the churches were closed; the sabbath was
abolished; and the calendar altered. On all the public cemeteries the
inscription was placed, “Death is an eternal sleep.” Robespierre himself
saw the necessity for the public recognition of the being of a God; and
after the fall of the Girondists, obtained an edict for that purpose
shortly before his death, in 1794; which event marks the return of society
from atheism and materialism back to deism.(589) When the horrors of the
dictatorship of Robespierre closed, and a regular government was
established under the Directory, the priests obtained liberty to reopen
the churches provided they maintained them at their own expense.(590) But
the great majority of the people lived wholly without God in the world;
while some sought refuge in the extravagant creed of a deist sect called
the Theophilanthropists.(591) Nor was it till the year 1802 that Napoleon
was able, and even then amid much opposition, to reestablish the
Sunday.(592) Christianity was then reinaugurated by a public ceremony(593)
in the cathedral, polluted eight years before by the blasphemy of the
goddess of Reason. But the total cessation of religious instruction
snapped asunder a chain of faith which had descended unbroken from the
first ages; and to this must be ascribed the irreligious mode of spending
the Sunday in French society.

The reign of atheism in religion was fortified by a philosophy; and the
works of one infidel writer preserve the expression of the view which it
took of Christianity and religion. As soon as the excitement of the
revolution allowed leisure to return to the study of mental facts, there
arose the extreme form of sensationalism, which was called (in a different
meaning from the present popular use of the term) Ideology, (24). Cabanis
and Destutt de Tracy are the best exponents of its physiological and
psychological aspects; and the well-known Volney of its moral and
religious side. Starting from the principles of Condillac and Helvetius,
that the very faculties as well as ideas are derived from sensation, and
moral rules from self-love, it almost reaches the same point as D’Holbach.
Mental science was approached from the physiological side, and so viewed
that mind seemed to be made a property of brain.(594)

The chief work in which Volney expresses his unbelief is entitled the
“Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires.”(595) It is a poem
in prose. Volney imagines himself falling into a meditation, amid the
ruins of Palmyra, on the fall of empires.(596) The phantom of the ruins
appears, and, entering into converse with him, causes him to see the
kingdoms of the world, and guides him in the solution of the mysteries
which puzzle him.(597) It unveils to him the view of nature as a system of
laws, and of man as a being gifted with self-love. It traces the origin of
society in a manner not unlike Rousseau,(598) and refers the source of
evil to self-love; states the cause of ancient prosperity and decline, and
draws the moral lesson from the past.(599) While Volney is despondent at
the prospect of the future, a vision is unveiled to him of a new age. It
is of a nation ridding itself of privileged classes, and arming itself
when its young liberties were threatened by foreign powers.(600) It is an
apocalyptic vision of France in his time. Then suddenly the vision
changes, and an assembly of the nations of the world is gathered as in one
common arena, to ascertain how they may arrive at unity and peace.(601)
Their differences are illustrated by the discrepant opinions which they
utter on religion; and the origin of each religion on the earth is
traced.(602) It is here that Volney makes his speaker convey his own
scepticism. He tracks the origin of the religious ideas(603) through the
worship prompted by fear of the physical elements(604) and the stars(605)
to that of symbols or idols,(606) with its accompanying mysteries and
orders of priests; and then onward through dualism(607) to the belief of
an unseen world;(608) then through mythology(609) and pantheism(610) to
the belief in a Creator;(611) next, to Judaism(612) as the worship of the
soul of the world; and lastly, through the Persian(613) and Hindu(614)
systems to Christianity,(615) which he attempts to show to be the worship
of the sun under the cabalistic names of Christ and Jesus. Availing
himself of some of the fragments of mythology which such writers as
Eusebius have preserved, and with a faint perception of the nature of
mythology, he tries to resolve the narrative of the fall of man into solar
mythology; and, pointing to contact with the Persians at the captivity as
the source from which the Jews borrowed their ideas of a symbolic system,
he regards the incarnation and life of Christ as the mistaken
literalization on the part of contemporaries of their preconceived
opinions. The conclusions to which Volney makes his interlocutor come(616)
is, that nothing can be true, nothing be a ground of peace and union,
which is not visible to the senses. Truth is conformity with sensations.
The book is interesting as a work of art; but its analysis of Christianity
is so shocking, that its absurdity alone prevents its becoming dangerous.
It is the most unblushing attempt to resolve the noblest of effects into
the most absurd of origins; and embodies in the consideration of religion
the school of philosophy which he represented.

We have now completed the history of unbelief in France during the
eighteenth century. We have seen how literature gradually emancipated
itself from the power of the court, and, under the influence of a
sceptical stimulus received from the importation of English free thought,
was changed into political and ecclesiastical antipathy, and acquired a
mastery over the public mind, until it involved the state, the church, and
Christianity, in a common ruin. History offers no parallel instance of the
victory of unbelief, through the power of the pen, nor of the union of the
political with the theological movement, and of the intimate connexion of
both with the current philosophy of the time.

The theological movement has contributed nothing of permanent literary
value. The few apologies written were unimportant; and the thoughts of
those who attacked Christianity were neither new nor characterised by
depth. Their criticism was shallow, and was marked by the feature of which
traces were observed in a few English authors, the disposition to charge
imposture on the writers of the holy scriptures; so that they not only
failed to appreciate the literary excellence of the works, but scarcely
even allowed the possibility of unintentional deception on the part of the
writers. The doubts were chiefly the reproduction of the English point of
view, with the addition of a few physical difficulties;(617) protests of
free thought against dogma in natural science. The view entertained
concerning deity was eventually grovelling; the greatness of nature seemed
to inspire no reverence. Unbelief gradually lost hold of monotheism; and
in doing so never ascended in grandeur to the idea of pantheism, but fell
into blank atheism. The theoretical morality of the English deists, even
when depending on expedience, was noble; but in place of it the French
school presented the lowest form of theory which ethical science has ever
stated, and which finds its refutation with the philosophy that gave it

No age exhibits a body of sceptical writers whose characters are so
unattractive as the French unbelievers; whose coarseness of mind in
failing to appreciate that which is beautiful in Christianity is so
evident, that charity could not forbid us to doubt, even if there were not
independent proof, that faults of character contributed very largely to
the formation of their unbelief. Nevertheless, the political aspect of the
movement carries a solemn warning to the Christian church, not to endanger
the everlasting Gospel of the Son of God by making it the buttress to
support corrupt political and ecclesiastical institutions. It is true that
Christ will not abandon his true church. Whatever is divine and eternally
true will always as in this case survive the catastrophe. But this period
of history shows that Providence will not work a miracle to save religion
from a temporary eclipse, if the church forgets that Christ’s kingdom is
not of this world; and that the mission which he has given it is to
convert souls to him; and that learning and piety are intellectual and
moral means for effecting this object.(618) The political faults or
shortcomings of the church are no apology for the infidelity of France;
but they must be taken into account in explaining its intensity.

A theological movement so vast could not fail to exercise an influence in
other lands. Incidental allusions have already been made to its effects at
the court of Prussia,(619) and to the traces of its tone in some of the
later of the English deists.


The remainder of this lecture will be employed in tracing the history of
free thought in England, from the date at which the narrative was
interrupted to a little later than the end of the century; especially
noticing the mode in which it was influenced by the movement in France.

It will be remembered that we brought down the history of it as far as
Hume.(620) We paused there, because deism then ends as a literary
movement. Politics and new forms of literature absorbed the mind. Free
thought continued to exist; but it was less frequently expressed in
literature, and was considerably modified by foreign influences. In
Gibbon, about 1776, the ancient spirit of deism, the spirit of
Bolingbroke, speaks, but the form is changed. Instead of denying
Christianity on _à priori_ moral considerations, he feels bound to explain
facts. The attack is not so much moral as historic. The inquiry into
historical _origines_ as well as logical causes has commenced. The mode of
attack too has changed, as well as the point from which it is made. The
French influence is visible in the satire and irony prevalent. There is no
longer the bitter moral indignation of the early English deists, but the
sneer that marks the spirit of contempt. Fear and hatred of Christianity
have given way to philosophical contempt. (25)

In Thomas Paine, who wrote in France in the midst of the meeting of the
French Convention, we meet a nearer reproduction of the spirit of early
English deism, but he has even more than Gibbon caught the spirit of the
French movement. Gibbon’s scepticism is that of high life; Paine’s of low.
The one writer sneers, the other hates. The one is a philosopher, the
other a politician. Paine represents the infidel movement of England when
it had spread itself among the lower orders, and mingled itself with the
political dissatisfaction for which unhappily there was supposed to be
some ground. Paine’s spirit is that of English deism animated by the
political exasperation which had characterised the French. His doctrines
come from English deism; his bitterness from Voltaire; his politics from

Within the limits of the present century two other traces are found of the
influence of the French school of infidelity, which therefore ought
logically to be comprised with it. The one is political, the other
literary; viz. the socialist schemes of Owen, which in some respects seem
to be derived by direct lineage from Paine, and the expression of unbelief
in the poetry of Byron and Shelley.

We must briefly notice these writers in succession. The first in the
series is Gibbon.(621) Though he has left an autobiography, he has not
fully unveiled the causes which shook his faith, and made him turn deist.
We can however collect that the reaction from the doubts suggested by the
perusal of Middleton’s work on the subject of the cessation of miracles,
then recently brought into notoriety, (26) turned him to the church of
Rome; and that his residence abroad and familiarity with French literature
caused him to drift afterwards into the opposite extreme of scepticism. He
did not become an atheist, like some of the French writers whom we have
been studying: but he seems to have given up the belief in the divine
origin of Christianity; and he manifested the spirit of dislike and
insinuation common in the unbelief of the time.

He did not write expressly against Christianity; but the subject came
across his path in travelling over the vast space of time which he
embraced in his magnificent History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire. It is a subject of regret to be compelled to direct hostile
remarks against one who has deserved so well of the world. That work,
though in the pageantry of its style(622) it in some sense reflects the
art and taste of the age in which it was written, yet in its love of solid
information and deep research is the noblest work of history in the
English tongue. Grand alike in its subject, its composition, and its
perspective, it has a right to a place among the highest works of human
conception; and sustains the relation to history which the works of
Michael Angelo bear to art. In the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of
this work, Gibbon had occasion to discuss the origin of Christianity, and
assigned five causes for its spread; viz. its internal doctrine, and
organization, miracles, Jewish zeal, and excellence of Christian morals.
The chapters were received with denunciations. Yet those(623) who in later
times have re-examined Gibbon’s statements candidly admit that they can
find hardly any errors of fact or intentional mis-statement of

The great mistake which he commits is obvious, and the cause hardly less
so. The mistake is twofold: first, he attributes to the earliest period of
Christianity that which was only true of a later; and secondly, he
confounds the circumstances of the spread of Christianity with the cause
which gave it force.(624) The powerful influence of the causes which he
specifies cannot be doubted;(625) and we may hold it to be not derogatory
to our religion that it admits of union with every class of efficient
causes; and adapts itself so fully to man’s wants, as to accept the
support of ordinary sources of influence. But the causes which he alleges
operated far less strongly, and some of them not at all, in the primitive
age of Christianity. The discussion of this period lay beyond Gibbon’s
purpose; and as he dwelt wholly on the aspects of a later age, he has left
the impression that the earliest age partook of the same characteristics.
Nor is he correct in regarding the five causes as solely efficient. There
is a subtler force at work, of the operation of which they exhibit only
the conditions. They reveal the mechanism, but do not explain the
principle. Without judging him as a theologian in omitting the theological
cause for an alleged supernatural power, he must be censured as a
historian in failing to appreciate the spiritual movement at work in
Christianity, the deep excitement of the spiritual faculty, the yearning
of the mind after truth and holiness. The same fault is observable in his
appreciation of religion generally, and not merely of Christianity. With
the want of spiritual perception common to his age, he had not the ethical
sensibility to appreciate the internal part of a religious system; and
hence he regards unworldly phenomena in the tone of the political world of
his time.

In pointing out his errors, we have hinted at their causes. The coldness
which scepticism and sensational philosophy(626) had induced in his mind,
which could kindle into warmth in describing the greatness either of men
or of events, but not in depicting the moral excellence of Christianity,
was but the reflection of the cold hatred of religious enthusiasm common
in his day. Nor would the historic views of primitive Christianity
commonly entertained in his time tend to dissipate his error. For it was
usual in that age of evidences to regard the early converts as cold and
cautious inquirers, accustomed to weigh evidences and suggest doubts. In
attempting to discover the doctrines and discipline of the English church
in apostolic times, there was a danger of transferring the notions of
modern decorum to the marvellous outburst of enthusiastic piety and
supernatural mystery which attended the communication of the heaven-sent
message; and therefore it is some palliation for Gibbon that he too failed
to perceive that those were times of excitement, when new ideas fell on
untried minds and yearning hearts. And it is a remarkable proof of the
improved general conception which men now entertain of Christianity, that
no apprehension of danger is now felt from Gibbon’s views. The youngest
student has imbibed a religious spirit so much deeper, that he cannot fail
instinctively to perceive their insufficiency as an explanation of the

One of our great poets has celebrated the two literary exiles of the Leman
lake.(628) But how different are our feelings in respect of them in
relation to this subject! Both were deists; but the one dedicated his life
to a crusade against Christianity, the other only insinuated a few slight
hints: the one derived his faults from himself, the other from his age:
the one, the type of subtlety, acted by his pen on the world political;
the other, the type of industry, sought to instruct the student. The
writings of Voltaire remain as works of power, but not of information:
Gibbon’s history will endure as long as the English tongue.

Paine is a character of a very different kind from the freethinker last
named.(629) Instead of the polished scholar, the polite man of letters,
and the historian, like Gibbon, we see in him an active man of the world,
educated by men rather than books, of low tastes and vulgar tone, the
apostle alike of political revolution and infidelity. Though a native of
England, his earliest life was spent in America at the time of the war of
independence. Returning to England with the strong feelings of liberty and
freedom which had marked the revolt of the colonies, he wrote at the time
of the outbreak of the French revolution a work called the Rights of Man,
in reply to Burke’s criticism on that event. Prosecuted for this work, he
fled to France, and was distinguished by being the only foreigner save
one(630) elected to the French Convention. During its session he composed
the infidel work called the Age of Reason, by which his name has gained an
unenviable notoriety; and after the alteration of political circumstances
in France, he returned to America, and there dragged out a miserable
existence, indebted in his last illness for acts of charity to disciples
of the very religion that he had opposed.

The two works, the Rights of Man, and the Age of Reason, being circulated
widely in England by the democratic societies of that period, contributed
probably more than any other books to stimulate revolutionary feeling in
politics and religion.(631) This popularity is owing partly to the
character of the language and ideas, partly to the state of public
feeling. Manifesting much plebeian simplicity of speech and earnestness of
conviction, they gave expression in coarse Saxon words to thoughts which
were then passing through many hearts. They were like the address of a
mob-orator in writing, and fell upon ground prepared. Political reforms
had been steadily resisted; and accordingly, when the success of foreign
revolution had raised men’s spirits to the highest point of impatience,
the middle classes, which wanted a moderate reform, were unfortunately
thrown on the side of the wild and anarchical spirits that wished for
utter revolution. The church, by holding with the state, was partly
involved in the same obloquy. Paine’s works, resembling Rousseau’s in
purpose, though quite opposite in style, were as much adapted to the lower
classes of England as his to the polished upper classes of France.

The Age of Reason, was a pamphlet admitting of quick perusal. It was
afterwards followed by a second part, in which a defence was offered
against the replies made to the former part. The object of the two is to
state reasons for rejecting the Bible,(632) and to explain the nature of
the religion of deism,(633) which was proposed as a substitute. A portion
is devoted to an attack on the external evidence of revelation, or, as the
author blasphemously calls it,(634) “the three principal means of
imposture,” prophecy, miracles, and mystery; the latter of which he
asserts may exist in the physical, but not by the nature of things in the
moral world. A larger portion is devoted to a collection of the various
internal difficulties of the books of the Old and New Testament, and of
the schemes of religion, Jewish and Christian.(635) The great mass of
these objections are those which had been suggested by English or French
deists, but are stated with extreme bitterness. The most novel part of
this work is the use which Paine makes of the discoveries of
astronomy(636) in revealing the vastness of the universe and a plurality
of globes, to discredit the idea of interference on behalf of this
insignificant planet,—an argument which he wields especially against the
doctrine of incarnation. But no part of his work manifests such
bitterness, and at the same time such a specious mode of argument, as his
attack on the doctrine of redemption and substitutional atonement.(637)
The work, in its satire and its blasphemous ribaldry, is a fit parallel to
those of Voltaire. Every line is fresh from the writer’s mind, and written
with an acrimony which accounts for much of its influence. The religion
which Paine substituted for Christianity was the belief in one God as
revealed by science, in immortality as the continuance of conscious
existence, in the natural equality of man, and in the obligation of
justice and mercy to one’s neighbour.(638)

The influence of the spirit of Paine lingered in some strata of our
population far into the present century: by means of the views of
Owen,(639) the founder of English socialism, which essentially reproduce
the visionary political reforms which belonged to the philosophy and to
the doubt of the last century.

Being desirous to improve the condition of the industrial classes, Owen
speculated on the causes of evil; and, approaching the subject from the
extreme sensational point of view, regarded the power of circumstances to
be so great, that he was led to regard action as the obedience to the
strongest motive. He thus introduced the idea of physical causation into
the human will; and made the rule of right to be each one’s own pleasures
and pains. Founding political inferences on this ethical theory of
circumstantial fatalism, he proposed the system called socialism, which
aimed at modifying temptations and removing two great classes of
temptations, by facilitating divorce, and proposing equality of property.
The system is now obsolete both in idea and in history, yet it has an
interest from the circumstance that until recently it deceived the minds
and corrupted the religious faith of many of the manufacturing population.

The history of the influence of French infidelity on the course of English
thought closes with names of greater note.(640) If Owen, though belonging
to the present century, represents the political tone of the past, we must
also refer to the same period, morally though not chronologically, the
spirit of unbelief which animated literature in the poetry of Byron and

Saddened by blighted hopes, political and personal, Byron affords a type
of the unbelief which is marked by despair.(641) If compared with the two
exiles of the Leman lake, whom the sympathy of a common scepticism and
common exile commended to his meditation, he stands in many respects
widely contrasted with them in tone and spirit. Allied rather to Gibbon in
seriousness, he nevertheless wholly lacked his moral purpose and resolute
spirit of perseverance. More nearly resembling Voltaire in the nature of
his unbelief, he nevertheless differed in the features of gloom by which
his mind was characterized. His unbelief was a remnant of the philosophic
atheism of France; but it received a tinge in passing through the wounded
mind of the poet.

His brother poet, of a still loftier genius, is more widely contrasted
with him in mental qualities, than united by similarity in the character
of his unbelief. Both were weary of the world; but the one was drawn down
by unbelief to earth, the other soared into the ideal: the one was driven
to the gloom of despair, the other was excited by the imagination to the
madness of enthusiasm: the one was made sad by disappointment, the other
was goaded by it into frenzy.

Shelley merits more than a passing notice, both because his poetry is a
proof of our main position concerning the influence of certain forms of
philosophy in producing unbelief, and because his mental history, as
learned by means of his works and memoirs, is a psychological study of the
highest value. The infidelity which shows itself in him is an _idolum
specûs_, as well as an _idolum theatri_.(642)

His life, his natural character, and his philosophy, all contributed to
form his scepticism.(643) His life is a tale of sorrow and ruined hopes,
of genius without wisdom: one of the sad stories which will ever excite
the sympathy of the heart. Early sent to this university, he seems like
Gibbon to have lived alone; and in the solitude of that impulsive and
recluse spirit which formed his life-long peculiarity, to have nursed a
spirit of atheism and wild schemes of reform. Charged by the authorities
of his college with the authorship of an atheistical pamphlet,(644) he was
expelled the university. An outcast from his family, he went forth to
suffer poverty, to gather his livelihood as he could by the wonderful
genius which nature had given him. Wronged as he thought by his university
and his country, his wounded spirit imputed the supposed unkindness which
he received to the religion which his enemies professed. In a foreign
land, brooding over his wrongs, he cherished the bitter antipathy to
priestcraft and to monarchy which finds such terrific expression in his
poems.(645) His end was a fit close of a tragic life. A friendly hand paid
the last office of friendship to his remains; and the urn which contains
the ashes of his pyre rests in the solemn and beautiful cemetery of the
eternal city, which he himself had described so strikingly in his
affecting memorial of his friend, the poet Keats.(646)

His natural character contributed to produce his scepticism not less than
his life to increase it. He has left us a clear delineation of himself in
his writings. If considered on the emotional side, he was a creature of
impulses. His predominant passion was an enthusiastic desire to reform the
world. Filled with the wildest ideas of the French revolution, his
impulsiveness hurried him on to give expression to them. His intellectual
nature was analogous to the moral, and itself received a stimulus from it.
His mental peculiarity was his power of sustained abstraction. His poems
are not lyrics of life, but of an ideal world. His tendency was to
insulate qualities or feelings, and hold them up to the mental vision as
personalities. The words which he has addressed to his own skylark fitly
describe his mind as it soared in the solitude of its abstraction:

    Higher still and higher
      From the earth thou springest,

    And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

It has been well observed, that this tendency of the mind to personify
isolated qualities or impulses, was essentially the mythological
tendency(647) which had created the religion and expressed itself in the
poetry of the Greeks, and possibly contributed to foster Shelley’s
sympathies with heathen religion. His mind was peculiarly Greek, simple
not complex, imaginative rather than fanciful, abstract not concrete,
intellectual not emotional; wanting the many-sidedness of modern taste,
partaking of the unity of science rather than the multiformity of nature,
like sculpture rather than painting. This mental peculiarity contributed
to scepticism by inclining his mind to the pantheistic philosophy, which
can never be held save by those whose minds can give being to an
abstraction, and is revolting to those who are deeply touched with the
Hebrew consciousness of personality and of duty. His philosophy was at
first a form of naturalism, which identified God with nature, and made
body and spirit co-essential. In this stage he oscillated between the
belief of half personified self-moved atoms, or a general pervading spirit
of nature. From this stage he passed into a new one, by contact with the
philosophy of Hume; and, while admitting the diversity of matter and
spirit, yet denied the substantial reality of both. In this state of mind
he studied the philosophy of Plato, which was originally designed for
doubters somewhat analogous to him; and he readily imbibed the theory that
the passing phenomena are types of eternal archetypes, embodiments of
eternal realities. But it was Plato’s view of the universe that he
accepted, not his view of man; his metaphysics, not his ethics. In none of
these three theories is the rule of the universe ascribed to a character,
but in each to animated abstractions. They are a pantheistic or
mythological view of things.(648) Nor was the effect of this philosophy
merely theoretical, for the distorted view of the physical and moral
cosmos led him to believe that both should be regulated by the same
conditions; that men should have the unconstrained liberty which he
thought he saw in material things. Like Rousseau, ascribing moral evil to
the artificial laws of society, Shelley proposed to substitute a new order
of things, in which man should be emancipated from kings and priests. This
philosophy also increased his hatred against the moral order of the world,
and especially against Christianity; and led him to regard it as the
offshoot of superstition and the impediment to progress. Yet even here,
while echoing the irreverent doctrines of the French revolution, he bore
an unconscious witness to the majesty of the Christian virtues, in that he
could find no nobler type with which to invest his ideal race of men.

We have dwelt long on Shelley, as a most instructive example for observing
the various influences, personal and social, intellectual and moral,
philosophical and political, combining to form unbelief. His thoughts are
the last echo of the unbelief of the last century. The great movement of
Germany has completely changed the scepticism of the present. The
instances that we have found of unbelief in England were indications of a
tendency rather than a movement. They were however of sufficient
importance to call forth the voices of the church in reply or in protest.

It has been remarked, that in the former half of the eighteenth century
the attack was chiefly directed against the internal doctrines and
narratives of revelation, on the assumption that they clashed with the
judgment of common sense, or of the moral faculty. And therefore the
writers on the evidences, adapting their defence to the attack, employed
themselves chiefly in establishing the internal evidences, the moral need
of a revelation generally, and the suitability of the Christian in
particular, before producing the divine testimony which authenticates it.
But about the middle of this century the historic spirit arose, and the
point of attack shifted to an assault on the historic value of the
literature which contains the revelation. The question thenceforth became
a literary one, whether there was documentary proof that a revelation had
been given. The defence accordingly ceased to be philosophical, and became

Opinions have changed with regard to the value of evidences in general,
and the historic form of them in particular. When Boyle(650) at the end of
the seventeenth century, and Bampton and Hulse in the latter half of the
eighteenth, established their respective lectures, they looked forward to
the probability of the occurrence of new forms of doubt, and to the
importance of reasoning as the weapon for meeting them. In more recent
times evidences have been undervalued, through the two opposite tendencies
of the present age, the churchly and corporate tendency on the one hand,
which rests on church authority, and the individualising tendency on the
other, which rests on intuitive consciousness.(651) Evidences essentially
belong to a theory, which places the test of truth objectively in a
revealed book, and subjectively in the reason, as the organ for
discovering morality and interpreting the book.(652) While evidences in
general have been undervalued for these reasons, the historic branch of
them has been regarded as obsolete, because having reference only to an
age which doubts the documents and charges the authors with being
deceivers or deceived, and unavailing, like an old fortification, against
a new mode of assault. This latter statement is in substance correct. It
lessens the value of this argument as a practical weapon against the
doubts which now assail us, but does not detract from the literary value
of the works in the special branch to which they apply. If the progress of
knowledge be the exciting cause of free thought, a similar alteration in
the evidences would be expected to occur from causes similar to those
which produce an alteration in the attack, independently of the change
which occurs from the necessity of adjusting the one to the other.

Abstract questions like this concerning the value of evidences find their
solution independently of the human will. The human mind cannot be
chained. New knowledge will suggest new doubts; and if so, spirit must be
combated by spirit. Defences of Christianity, attempts to readjust it to
new discoveries, must therefore continue to the end of time. In reference
to the minor question of the value of the historic evidences, it is
important to remember that these grand works are not simply refutative;
they are indirectly instructive and didactic. Just as miracles are a part
of Christianity, as well as evidences for its truth, so apologetic is a
lesson in Christianity, as well as a reply to doubt.(653) It happens also
that the most modern doubt of Germany has assumed the historic line, has
become critical instead of philosophical; and, though the criticism is
primarily of a different kind, it ultimately becomes capable of refutation
by the very line of argument used in the eighteenth century.(654) We
cherish therefore with devout reverence the memory of those writers who
employed the power of the pen to defend the religion that they loved. They
joined their intellectual labours to the spiritual earnestness which was
the other weapon for opposing unbelief. Providence blessed their work.
They sowed the seed of the intellectual and spiritual harvest which this
century is reaping. “And herein is that saying true, One soweth and
another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour:
other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. And he that
reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both
he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”(655)


    PHIL. iv. 8.

    _Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
    whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
    things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there
    be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things._

We are about to study the history of the movement in German theology,
which is usually described by the vague name of Rationalism,(656)—a
movement which, whether viewed specially in its relation to theology, or
to literature generally, must be regarded as one of the most memorable
efforts of human thought. It was one aspect of the great outburst of
mental activity in Germany, which within the last hundred years has
created a literature, which not only vies with the most renowned of those
which have added to the stock of human knowledge, but holds a foremost
rank among those which are characterised by originality and depth. The
permanent contribution made by it to the thought of the world is the
creation of a science of criticism,—a method of analysis, in which
philosophy and history are jointly employed in the investigation of every
branch of knowledge. If however it be viewed apart from the question of
utility, the works produced during this period, in poetry, speculation,
criticism, and theology, must ever make it memorable for monuments of
mental power, even when they shall have become obsolete as sources of

The theological aspect of this great period of mental activity, which we
are about to sketch, has now probably so far assumed its final shape, and
given indications of the tendencies permanently created by it for good or
for evil, that it admits of being viewed as a whole, and its purpose and
meaning observed.(657)

We shall deviate slightly from the plan hitherto pursued, of selecting
only the sceptical form of free thought, and shall give an outline of
German theology generally; partly because the limits that sever orthodoxy
from heresy are a matter of dispute, partly in order that the movement may
be judged of as a whole. The size of the subject will preclude the
possibility of entering so fully into biographical notices of the writers,
or into the analysis of their writings, as in former lectures. We must
select such typical minds as will enable us to observe the chief
tendencies of thought.

As the stages of history are not arbitrarily severed, but grow out of each
other, we must briefly notice the mental conditions of the period in
Germany which preceded the rise of rationalism; next indicate the new
forces, the introduction of which was the means of generating the
movement; and then explain the movement itself in its chief phases and
present results.

We have previously had occasion to imply, that the Protestant reformation
of the sixteenth century contained both an intellectual and a spiritual
element.(658) The attempt to reconcile these has been the problem of
protestant theology in Germany ever since. The intellectual element, so
far as it was literary, soon passed into the hands of lay scholars:(659)
the spiritual became a life rather than a doctrine, and the polemic or
dogmatic aspect of the intellectual movement alone was left. The time from
the passing of the Formula of Concord and the Synod of Dort(660) to the
beginning of the eighteenth century, a period nearly corresponding with
the seventeenth century, was in Germany an age of dogmatic theology. It
was scholasticism revived, with the difference that the only source for
the data of argument was the Scripture, not philosophy. But there was an
equal absence of inquiry into first principles, an equal appeal to
authority for the grounds of belief, and equal activity within these
prescribed limits. It was marked, as among the contemporary puritans in
England, by the most extreme view of biblical inspiration.(661) Not only
was the distinction of law and gospel overlooked, and the historic and
providential development in revelation forgotten; but Scripture was
supposed to be in all respects a guide for the present, as well as a
record of the past. Infallible inspiration was attributed to the authors
of the sacred books, not merely in reference to the religious instruction
which formed the appropriate matter of the supernatural revelation, but in
reference also to the allusions to collateral subjects, such as natural
science, or politics; and not merely to the matter, but to the smallest
details of the language of the books.

Contemporary with this scholastic spirit was an outburst of the living
spiritual feeling which had formed the other element in the Reformation.
This religious movement is denominated Pietism. (27) Its centre was at
Halle; and the best known name among the band of saints, of whom the world
was not worthy, was Spener. Soon after the time when the miseries of the
thirty years’ war were closing, he established schools for orphans, and a
system of teaching and of religious living which stirred up religious life
in Germany. These two tendencies—the dogmatic and the pietistic—marked the
religious life of Germany at the opening of the eighteenth century. The
inference has been frequently drawn by the German writers, that they
ministered indirectly to the production of scepticism; the dogmatic
strictness stimulating a reaction towards latitude of opinion, and the
unchurchlike and isolating character of pietism fostering individuality of
belief. This inference is however hardly correct. Dogmatic truth in the
corporate church, and piety in the individual members, are ordinarily the
safeguard of Christian faith and life. The danger arose in this case from
the circumstance that the dogmas were emptied of life, and so became
unreal; and that the piety, being separated from theological science,
became insecure.

During the first half of the century, certain new influences were
introduced, which in the latter half caused these tendencies to develope
into rationalism. They may be classed as three;(662)—the spread of the
speculative philosophy of Wolff; the introduction of the works of the
English deists; and the influence of the colony of French infidels
established by Frederick the Great in Prussia. We shall explain these in

The philosophy of Wolff was an offshoot directly from Leibnitz, indirectly
from the Cartesian school. It is hardly necessary to reiterate the remark
that the revolution in thought wrought by Descartes was nothing less than
a protest of the human mind against any external authority for the first
principles of its belief. Two great philosophers followed out his method
in an independent manner; Spinoza, who attempted to exhibit with the
rigour of deduction the necessary development of the idea of substance
into the various modes which it assumes; and Leibnitz,(663) who, with less
attempt at formal precision of method, starting with the idea of power,
endeavoured, by means of the monadic theory, which it is unnecessary here
to explain, to exhibit the nature of the universe in itself, and the
connexion of the world of matter and of spirit. Wolff was a disciple of
Leibnitz; great as a teacher rather than an inventor, who invested the
system of his master slightly modified, with the precision of form which
raised it to rivalry with the perfect symmetry of Spinoza’s system.
Adopting his master’s two great canons of truth, the law of contradiction
as regulative of thoughts, and the law of the sufficient reason as
regulative of things,(664) he attempted in his theoretic philosophy to
work out a regular system on each of the great branches of
metaphysic,—nature, the mind, and God; by deducing them from the abstract
ideas of the human mind.(665) The true method of conducting this inquiry
would be strictly an _à posteriori_ one, an analytical examination of our
own consciousness, to ascertain what data the facts of the thinking mind
furnish with respect to things thought of. But without any such
examination Wolff, assuming in reference to these subjects the abstract
ideas of the human mind as his data, proceeded to reason from them with
the same confidence as the realists of the middle ages, or as
mathematicians when they commence with the real intuitions of magnitude on
which their science is founded. Thus his whole philosophy was form without
matter; a magnificent idea, but not a fact. Yet though really baseless, it
was not necessarily harmful.

This philosophy at first met with much opposition from the pietistic party
of Halle.(666) The opposition was not due to any theological
incorrectness, for Wolff was an orthodox Christian; but arose from the
narrow and unnecessary suspicions which religious men too often have of
philosophy, and the sensibility to any attempt to suggest a
reconsideration of the grounds of belief, even if the conclusion adopted
be the same. But the system soon became universally dominant. Its orderly
method possessed the fascination which belongs to any encyclopædic view of
human knowledge. It coincided too with the tone of the age. Really
opposed, as Cartesianism had been in France, to the scholasticism which
still reigned, its dogmatic form nevertheless bore such external
similarity to it, that it fell in with the old literary tastes. The evil
effects which it subsequently produced in reference to religion were due
only to the point of view which it ultimately induced. Like Locke’s work
on the reasonableness of Christianity, it stimulated intellectual
speculation concerning revelation. By suggesting attempts to deduce _à
priori_ the necessary character of religious truths, it turned men’s
attention more than ever away from spiritual religion to theology. The
attempt to demonstrate everything caused dogmas to be viewed apart from
their practical aspect; and men being compelled to discard the previous
method of drawing philosophy out of scripture, an independent philosophy
was created, and scripture compared with its discoveries.(667) Philosophy
no longer relied on scripture, but scripture rested on philosophy.
Dogmatic theology was made a part of metaphysical philosophy. This was the
mode in which Wolff’s philosophy ministered indirectly to the creation of
the disposition to make scriptural dogmas submit to reason, which was
denominated rationalism. The empire of it was undisputed during the whole
of the middle part of the century, until it was expelled towards the close
by the partial introduction of Locke’s philosophy,(668) and of the system
of Kant, as well as by the growth of classical erudition, and of a native

The second cause which ministered to generate rationalism was English
deism. The connexion of England with Hanover had caused several of the
works of the English deists to be translated in Germany,(669) and the
general doctrines of natural religion, expressed by Herbert and Toland,
were soon reproduced, together with the difficulties put forth by Tindal.
But the direct effect of this cause has probably been exaggerated by the
eagerness of those who, in the wish to identify German rationalism with
English deism, have ignorantly overlooked the wide differences in
premises, if not in results, which separated them, and the regular
internal law of logical development which has presided over the German

A more direct cause was found about the middle of the century in the
influence of the French refugees and others, whom Frederick the Great
invited to his court. Not only were Voltaire and Diderot visitors, but
several writers of worse fame, La Mettrie, D’Argens, Maupertuis,(670) who
possessed their faults without their mental power, were constant
residents. Their philosophy and unbelief were the miniature of that which
we have detailed in France. They created an antichristian atmosphere about
the court, and in the upper classes of Berlin; and even minds that were
attempting to create a native literature, and to improve the critical
standard of literary taste, were partially influenced by means of it.(671)

We have now seen the state of the German mind in reference to theology at
the beginning of the eighteenth century, and the three new influences
which were introduced into it in the interval between 1720 and 1760. The
dogmatic tendency became transformed by the Wolffian philosophy; the
pietistic retired from a public movement into the privacy of life; while
the minds of men were awakened to inquiry by the suggestions of the
English deists, or the restless and hopeful tone of the French mind. It
was a moment of transition; the streaks of twilight before the dawn. Yet
the signs of a change were so slight, that few could as yet discern the
coming of a crisis, none predict its form.

We may now proceed to give the history of the theological movement which
sprang up, commonly called Rationalism. It admits of natural division into
three parts. The first, a period destructive in its tendency, extending to
a little later than the end of the century, exhibits the gradual growth of
the system, and its spread over every department of theology. The second,
reconstructive in character, the re-establishment of harmony between faith
and reason, extends till the publication of Strauss’s celebrated work on
the Life of Christ in 1835; the third, containing the divergent tendencies
which have created permanent schools, reaches to the present time.(672) In
all alike the harmony of faith and reason was sought: but in the first it
was attained by sacrificing faith to reason; in the second and third, by
seeking for their unity, or by separating their spheres. A distinguished
name stands at the commencement of each period, representing the mind
whose speculations were most influential in giving form to the movements.
Semler inaugurated the destructive movement; Schleiermacher, the
constructive; and Strauss precipitated the final forms which theological
parties have assumed. In the present lecture we shall treat only of the
first two of these movements.

The first of these periods, extending; from about 1750 to 1810,(673)
contains two sub-periods. Till about 1790(674) we find the growth of
rationalism. In the last decade of the century we shall meet with its full
development; but at the same time the growth of new causes will be
perceived, which prepared the way for a total alteration after the
commencement of the present century.

The sub-period extending to 1790 is one of transition, in which we can
trace three broadly marked tendencies in religion; one within the church,
two outside of it. Such classes indeed slide away into each other; nature
is more complex than man; but the use of them may be excused as
facilitating instruction.

The movement within the church verged from a literary and dogmatic
orthodoxy, which existed chiefly at the Saxon university of Leipsic,
through the purely literary tendency, of which Michaelis may be taken as a
type in the newly formed university of Göttingen, to the freethinking
method typified by Semler, orthodox in doctrine, but in criticism adopting
free views of inspiration, which mingled itself with the old pietism of
the university of Halle.(675)

The two movements outside the church were, a literary one, indicated by
Lessing, which found its chief utterance in the periodical literature,
then in its infancy;(676) and a thoroughly deist one, connected with the
court of Berlin, embodied in the educational institutions of Basedow.(677)

The movement which we have just named as existing within the church,
differed from the older dogmatic one, in being a tendency toward an
historical and critical study of the scriptures, instead of a
philosophical study of doctrines. It embraced those whose teaching was not
at variance with Christianity, and also those who manifested incipient
scepticism. Two names, Ernesti(678) at Leipsic, and Michaelis(679) at
Göttingen, represent the first class; the former applying criticism
chiefly to the New Testament, the latter to the Old. The endeavour of
both, especially of Ernesti, was to revive the grammatical and literary
mode of interpreting scripture, as opposed to the dogmatic previously in
use. Their spirit was not sceptical, but was that of men who felt the
sceptical opinions round them; ethical and cold, like that of the
Arminians of the preceding century.

Their system developed into rationalism in the hands of two of their
pupils. Eichhorn was the pupil of Michaelis, Semler of Ernesti. The name
of Eichhorn will recur later; Semler(680) must be considered now.

Semler was one of those minds which fall short of the highest order of
originality, but by their erudition and appreciation of the wants of their
time institute a movement by giving form to the current feeling of their
day. Nurtured in pietism, he always retained signs of personal excellence;
and his Christian earnestness is said not to have been destroyed by his
speculations. His autobiography furnishes us with the means for the full
comprehension of his character, and shows him to have been keenly alive to
the difficulties which the English literature had suggested. His labours
related to criticism, to exegesis, and to doctrine. As a critic he did not
restrict himself to the examination of texts, but investigated the
canonicity of the books of Scripture.(681) It is probable that the
criticism commenced by R. Simon and Spinoza furnished hints for his views.
He was one of the first to undervalue external evidence in the formation
of the canon. The determination of the canon, i.e. of the list of books
which are to be considered scripture, is a question of fact. What did the
early church pronounce to be such; and does internal evidence bear out the
idea? Semler undervalued the historical evidence of the church’s judgment,
and replaced it, not by careful study of internal critical evidence, like
later rationalism, but by an _à priori_ subjective decision, that only
such books were to be received as conduced to a religious object. But it
is in exegesis that he enunciated the principles which have left a
permanent effect. He established what is called the historical method of

In the course of Christian history, three great methods for the
interpretation of scripture have been used; the allegorical, the dogmatic,
and the grammatical.(683) In the early church the tendency in the main was
to the allegorical; in the middle-ages to the dogmatic; at the Renaissance
and Reformation to the grammatical, which however in the seventeenth
century was displaced by the allegorical(684) and dogmatic; and it was the
work of Ernesti to restore it. Semler added the historic; by which is
meant the method, which, after discovering the grammatical sense of the
words, rests content exactly with the meaning which the circumstances of
society could permit scripture to have at that age. It declines to search
for mystical senses, or to use dogma as a clue to interpretation. This
principle, so valuable in itself, yet, when abused, so fruitful in
producing rationalism, was the discovery of Semler.

The application of this method of interpretation led him to the theory
generally known by the name of “accommodation.”(685) He felt a strong
reaction against the forgetfulness shown by the old dogmatic orthodoxy,
which had regarded the Bible as one book, instead of a collection or
historic series of books, and had confounded together the Jewish and
Christian dispensations, and taken no cognizance of the development of
religious knowledge in scripture. Accordingly he desired to remove the
deist difficulty by separating the eternal truth in scripture from what he
considered to be local(686) that the Mosaic law of divorce was an
adaptation to the particular needs of the age, seemed to establish the
validity of the principle that revelation was an accommodation to be
judged of by the historic circumstances of the age for which it was
intended. The principle had been applied by English theologians:(687) but
it needed a delicate insight to apply it safely. Semler introduced it
indiscriminately into prophecy, miracle, and doctrine; and stated his
views in a form which, though well meant, is certainly most repulsive. We
may cite an instance in the case of his view of the demoniacal possessions
of the New Testament.(688) Not denying them, Semler probably considered
them to be nothing but the diseases of epilepsy and madness. But he did
not ridicule the narrative as a deist would, nor explain the facts away as
legends or myths, as is the plan of the later schools, nor account for
them by the supposition that the apostles were left in ignorance about
physical science, and inspired only in religious knowledge; but he
regarded the narrative as an intentional accommodation on the part of the
teachers to their hearers, and consequently stated his views in a form
which is the more repulsive as seeming to impute dishonesty.(689) He went
so far as to consider some of the doctrines of the New Testament to be an
accommodation on the part of our Lord to the Jewish notions; and regarded
Christ’s work as the compromise between the Mosaic and philosophical
parties in the Jewish church, which afterwards were represented in the
Christian by St. Peter and St. Paul respectively.(690) Though he himself
held the apostles’ creed, and was shocked at some later developments of
unbelief,(691) yet he seems to have considered practical morality to be at
once the sole aim of Christianity, and the supreme rule of doctrine.(692)
He founded no school; but his influence decidedly initiated the
rationalist movement within the church; one peculiarity of which will be
found to be, that it was professedly designed in defence of the church,
not as an attack upon it.

The tendency which we have just studied was within the church. The two now
about to be named were external to it. The one, earnest and scholarlike,
formed chiefly on the model of English deism, is represented by Lessing.
The other, modelled after Rousseau, was practical rather than
intellectual, and aimed at remodelling education as well as altering

Lessing,(693) a name honoured in the history of literature, is little
known in England, save by his exquisite comparison of art and poetry,
called the Laocoon.(694) He was one of those whose labours remain for the
benefit of other ages, like that of the coral worms, which die, but leave
their work. That a native German literature exists, is the work of Lessing
as pioneer; that it is worth studying, is the result of his criticism and
influence. Finding literature just arising, and the dispute still raging
between the Saxon and Swiss schools, whether it should model itself after
reason and form like the French literature, or after nature and the soul
like the English, (28) he showed the true mode of uniting the two by
turning attention to Greek models; and, in conjunction with Nicholai and
the Jewish philosopher Mendelssohn, established a critical periodical,
which became the agency for a literary reformation. But the point of
interest, in relation to our present subject, is his influence on
religion. Availing himself of the right which his position as librarian of
Wolfenbüttel, a small town near Brunswick, gave him to publish manuscripts
found in the library, he edited, in 1774 and the four following years,
several fragments of a larger work, which he professed to have found. They
are usually called the Wolfenbüttel fragments. (29) Till recently their
authorship remained a secret. They are now known to have been written by
the learned Hamburg philosopher, Reimarus.(695) They treated very nearly
the same subjects, and in much the same tone, but with consummate skill,
as the English deists. Reimarus, as is now known, in the introduction(696)
to the larger unprinted work from which they were extracted, gave his own
intellectual history, his early doubts on the doctrines of the Trinity,
and the destruction of the heathen; and also on the history of the Old and
New Testaments; and ends, like the English deists, with resting in natural

The first two(697) fragments, published by Lessing, touched only upon the
question of tolerating deists, and on the custom of declaiming against
human reason in the pulpits. The third referred to the impossibility that
all men should be brought to believe revelation on rational evidence. The
fourth and fifth attacked the Old Testament history, such as the passage
of the Red Sea. The sixth directed an assault against the New Testament;
pointing out with unsparing severity the discrepancies in the accounts of
the resurrection. The concluding one was on the object of Christianity, in
which our blessed Lord’s life and work were represented as a defeated
political reform.

These views however were not professedly sanctioned by Lessing, for he
added notes in refutation of them, and stated his object to be merely to
stimulate free inquiry.(698) His wish was gratified in the tremendous
effect which the publication produced. In the literary controversy which
ensued, and which embittered his few remaining days,(699) he explained
himself to be a doubter rather than a disbeliever; and defended himself by
urging the distinctness of the religious element in scripture from the
scientific; asserting that, as Christianity existed before the New
Testament, so it could exist after it. The Christian religion is not true,
he said, merely because evangelists and apostles taught it; but they
taught it because it is true. And in order to restore Christianity to its
true place in the estimation of thinking men, he composed or edited a
well-known work(700) on the Education of the World,(701) which became a
fertile source of thought for the philosophy of history, and was designed
to explain the function of the Jewish religion in reference to the
Christian, and to the world. The theology of Lessing’s coadjutors however,
if not also that of Lessing himself, did not rise higher than that of the
more serious among the English deists.(702)

The other tendency, more decidedly sceptical even than that of Lessing,
gave definite form to the extreme sceptical opinions excited by French
philosophy, which had been fermenting in German society, and had earlier
expressed themselves. It is best represented by Edelmann,(703) and by the
unhappy Bahrdt, who passed gradually from Semler’s school into this. Its
religions tenets were simple naturalism, moral as distinct from positive
religion; and it was connected with the attempt by Basedow,(704)
patronised by Frederick, to establish educational institutions on the
model proposed in Rousseau’s Emile. The name which it gave to the movement
was, the Period of Enlightenment (Aufklärung-zeit),(705) which expressed
the consciousness of illumination, and the yearning for deliverance which
was finding its expression in France; and this name therefore has been
usually adopted among foreign writers to describe this period of the

Such are the historical tendencies from about 1750 till about 1790—cold
but learned orthodoxy; the commencement of critical rationalism, and open
deism. About that time new influences came into operation, the effects of
which are at once evident. Without taking account of the excitement caused
by the political events of the French revolution, we may name two such new
causes of movement—the literary influence of the court of Weimar, and the
philosophy of Kant.

The centres of intellectual activity in Germany now changed. We are so apt
to forget that Germany, especially at the end of the last century, formed
a set of independent principalities, which varied in taste, in belief, and
in literary tone, that we fail to realise the individuality of the scenes
of literary activity. At the end of the last century there was one spot
which became the very focus of intellectual life. The court of Karl August
at Weimar, insignificant in political importance, was great in the history
of the human mind.(706) There were gathered there most of the mighty
spirits of the golden ago of German literature,—Herder, Wieland, Goethe,
Schiller, Jean Paul; a constellation of intellect unequalled since the
court of Ferrara in the days of Alphonso.(707) The influence made itself
felt in the adjacent university of Jena; and this little seminary became
from that time for about twenty years,(708) until the foundation of
Berlin, the first university in Germany. In it alone the philosophy of
Kant became naturalized.(709) Some of the ablest men in Germany were its
Professors; and about this time Jena and Weimar became the stronghold of
free thought.

Except in the case of Herder,(710) the literary influence was not directly
influential on theology. But it gave moral support to theological
movement; though ultimately, by introducing a truer and more subjective
appreciation of human nature, it was the means of generating the deep
insight in the critical taste of thinking men which furnished the
death-blow to rationalism. The same remark is true of the effects of the
philosophy of Kant.(711) Its ultimate result was valuable in removing the
eudæmonism common in ethics, and turning men’s attention to the moral law
within. But its immediate effects were to reinforce the appeal to reason,
and to destroy revelation by leaving nothing to be revealed.

The nature of this system, so far as is necessary for our purpose, may be
soon told. Kant, dissatisfied with the distrust in the human faculties
induced by the scepticism of Hume, and the one-sided sensationalism of
Condillac, carried a penetrating analysis into the human faculties;(712)
attempting to perform with more exactness the work of Locke, to measure
the human mind, which is the sounding-line, before fathoming the ocean of
knowledge. Like Copernicus inverting astronomy, he reversed metaphysics,
by referring classes of ideas to inward causes which before had been
referred to outer.

He detected, as he supposed, innate forms of thought(713) in the mental
structure, which form the conditions under which knowledge is possible.
When he applied his system to give a philosophy of ethics and religion, he
asserted nobly the law of duty written in the heart,(714) but identified
it with religion. Religious ideas were regarded as true regulatively, not
speculatively. Revelation was reunited with reason, by being resolved into
the natural religion of the heart. Accordingly, the moral effect of this
philosophy was to expel the French materialism and illuminism,(715) and to
give depth to the moral perceptions: its religious effect was to
strengthen the appeal to reason and the moral judgment as the test of
religious truth; to render miraculous communication of moral instruction
useless, if not absurd; and to reawaken the attempt, which had been laid
aside since the Wolffian philosophy, of endeavouring to find a philosophy
of religion.(716) From this time in German theology we shall find the
existence of the twofold movement; the critical one, the lawful descendant
of Semler, examining the historic revelation; and the philosophical one,
the offshoot of the system of Kant, seeking for a philosophy of religion.

During the next twenty years, from 1790 to 1810, when so many influences
were operating in common, it is not easy to measure the effect of the
speculative philosophy upon particular minds with such exactness as to
ascertain which ought properly to be classed in the destructive tendency,
and which gave signs of the reaction. We must however be careful to
exclude those younger minds(717) that were already appearing on the field,
to become the heroes of the subsequent history, whose tone was so
decidedly affected by new influences as to belong to the age of reaction.

In this sub-period we may name three tendencies: (1) the continuation of
the Exegesis inaugurated in the last epoch by Semler, until about the end
of the century it found its utmost limit in Paulus,(718)—the result of the
age of illumination; (2) a dogmatic tendency, more or less the growth of
new influences introduced by the new philosophy, which attempted to
reconcile reason with the supernatural, and may be represented in its
nearest approach to orthodoxy, at the end of this period, by
Bretschneider;(719) and (3) the awakening of a distinct expression of the
appeal to the supernatural which had never quite died out in the church,
in the Arminianism of Reinhardt in the north, and of Storr in the
south.(720) The last needs no further investigation; but we shall consider
briefly the other two.

The exegetical method which formed the first was that which is now usually
called the old or common-sense rationalism.(721) This form of rationalism
differed from the English deism and French naturalism, in not regarding
the Bible as fabulous in character, and the device of priestcraft;(722)
but only denied the supernatural. By them the apostles had been regarded
as impostors; and scripture was not only not received as divine, but not
even respected as an ordinary historical record; whereas rationalism was
intended as a defence against this view. It denied only the revealed
character of scripture, and treated it as an ordinary history; and,
distinguishing broadly between the fact related and the judgment on the
fact, sought to separate the two, and explained away the supernatural
element, such as miracles, as being orientalisms in the narrative, adapted
to an infant age, which an enlightened age must translate into the
language of ordinary events.

Eichhorn at Göttingen(723) applied this view to the Old Testament. Deeming
miracles impossible, he did not regard them as fraud, but admitted on the
contrary that the agents or narrators honestly believed them. The
supernatural was not imparted to deceive, but was the result of oriental
modes of speech, such as hyperbole, parable, or ellipsis, in which the
steps by which the process was performed were omitted. The smoke of Sinai
was considered a thunderstorm; the shining of Moses’s face a natural

The principles which Eichhorn applied to the Old Testament, Paulus of Jena
extended to the New.(724) The miraculous cures were explained by an
ellipsis in the omission of the natural remedies; the casting out of
devils as the power of a wise man over the insane; the transfiguration as
the confused recollection of sleeping men, who saw Jesus with two unknown
friends, in the beautiful light of the morning among the mountains: nay,
trespassing on still more holy ground, he dared impiously to explain away
the resurrection of our blessed Lord by the hypothesis that his death was
only apparent. These are a specimen of the mode of exegesis adopted in
this school, which is usually specifically called Rationalism. In this
mode Jesus appeared to be merely a wise and virtuous man; and his miracles
were merely acts of skill or accident. Paulus presented this as the
original Christianity. The theory did not last long, save in the mind of
its author, who lived until a recent period, to see the entire change of
critical belief. Attributing the supernatural to ignorance, it did not
even propose, like the later schools, to explain the marvellousness of the
phenomena, objectively by so plausible a theory as legends, nor
subjectively by myths:(725) it was too clumsy, not to say irreverent, an
explanation of the facts to satisfy a people of deep and poetical soul
like the Germans.

While this is a specimen of the critical side of rationalism, its dogmatic
side varied from natural ethics to a kind of Socinianism. But in all
alike, as its name would imply, it not only asserted that there is only
one universal revelation, which takes place through observation of nature
and man’s reason; but that Christianity was not designed to teach any
mysterious truths, but only to confirm the religious teaching of reason;
and that no one ought to recognise as true that which cannot be proved to
him rationally. The doctrine of a Trinity was necessarily disbelieved; the
death of Christ regarded as an historic event, or a symbol that sacrifices
were abolished. Holiness was reduced to morality. Extreme veneration for
the Bible was called Bibliolatry.(726) Religion was represented as acting
by natural motives: the ethical superseded the historic. The early
theologians of this dogmatic branch of the school are now little known;
but we may name Bretschneider(727) as the type of the least heretical
portion of it at the close of this period, who believed Christianity to be
a republication of natural religion, supernatural but reasonable: and, as
the literary tendency of this school continued to exist in Röhr,(728)
after the movement had become extinct in other minds, so Wegscheider,(729)
until a recent period, was the solitary instance of the dogmatic position
slightly modified.

This completes the history of the first of the three movements, the
destructive action of rationalism. The most flourishing period of this
form of it was about the beginning of the present century. We have seen it
originating in the rational tone of Wolff’s philosophy, and the well-meant
but ill-judged exegesis which Semler exhibited under the pressure of
sceptical difficulties. Stimulated by critical investigations, and by the
strong wish which operated on our own theologians, to find the cause of
everything, its adherents were led into a disbelief of the supernatural,
and ended in explaining away the miraculous, and reducing Christianity to
natural religion. The movement, it will be observed, was professedly not
intended to be destructive of Christianity. Instead of being inimical, it
originated with the clergy, and aimed at harmonizing Christianity with
reason. But it contained its own death. The negative criticism is
essentially temporary.

The activity of thought was already producing change. We have previously
stated that even the Kantian philosophy itself, though at first
stimulating the appeal to reason, fostered a deeper perception of duty,
and thus prepared the way for a moral reawakening.(730)

We shall accordingly now proceed to state the causes which introduced new
elements into the current of public thought; and then describe the gradual
progress of the reactionary movement which ensued from them.

Four causes are usually assigned. The first of them was the introduction
of new systems of speculative philosophy.

It is not unusual, in those who have no taste for speculation, and who
understand only the prosaic, though in some respects the truer, philosophy
of Scotland, to despise the great systems of German speculation. Yet, if
the series be measured as an example of the power of the human mind,
whatever may be the opinion formed in respect to its correctness, it
stands among the most interesting efforts of thought. Though the writers
can be matched by isolated examples in former ages, perhaps no series of
writers exists, hardly even the Greek, certainly not the Neo-Platonist nor
the Cartesian, which, in far-reaching penetration, in minuteness of
analysis, in brilliancy of imagination, in loftiness of genius, in poetry
of expression, in grasp of intellect, in influence on every branch of
thought or life, approximates to the series of illustrious thinkers which
commenced with Kant and ended with Hegel.(731) The two philosophers at
this time whose teaching formed a new influence, were Fichte(732) and
Jacobi.(733) Details in reference to their systems must be sought
elsewhere.(734) It is only possible here to indicate their central
thought, in order to notice their effects on theological inquiry.

We have seen that Kant had reconsidered the great problem, commenced by
Descartes and Locke, concerning the ground of certitude, and the nature of
knowledge; and had revolutionised philosophy, by attributing to the
natural structure of the mind many of those ideas which had usually been
supposed to be derived from experience. In his system he had left two
elements, a formal and a material; the formal, or innate forms, through
which the mind gains knowledge, and the material, presented from external
sources. It was the former or ideal element which was examined by Fichte;
the latter by Jacobi.

Fichte began to teach at Jena soon after 1790. Grasping firmly Descartes’
principle, “Cogito, ergo sum,” he conceived that, as we can only know
ourselves, there is no proof that the datum supposed to be external is
anything but a form of our own consciousness; and thus he arrived at a
subjective idealism not unlike that of bishop Berkeley.(735) Under his
view God was only an idea or form of thought; a regulative principle of
human belief, the moral order of which the mind was conscious in the
universe; and, as atheism was suspected to follow as an inference from his
views, he became the subject of persecution. But the instincts of the
heart, as well as the arguments of the understanding, were too potent for
him; and when he had thus as it were shut up man within the circle of his
own finite self, he strove to find a logical passage into a knowledge of
the infinite by a principle analogous to that of Spinoza; viz. by
regarding both self and the outer world, the subjective and objective, to
be identified in some absolute self-existence, of which they were
respectively phases.(736)

This aim was only partially effected by Fichte, and was completed by his
distinguished successor, Schelling.(737) Schelling saw that the subjective
tendency had been pushed too far; and, relying on the spiritual sense
through which men of all ages have conceived that they saw the infinite,
the reality of which accordingly seems to be attested by a universal
induction, he tried to grasp the idea of the self-existent One, who is the
one absolute Reality, the one eternal Being, the eternal Source from which
all other light is derived, and from which all things develope.
“Intellectual intuition” he thought to be the means by which we have this
knowledge of the infinite, and are able to trace the development of it
into its limitations in nature and in the mind. The method is analogous to
that of Spinoza, save that the infinite is studied dynamically instead of
mechanically, as a movement not a substance, in time not in space.

The roll of these great thinkers, whose speculations were suggested by the
formal side of Kant’s philosophy, is not yet full. But the two which have
been named wrote and affected thought, the one before, the other soon
after, the commencement of the present century. Hegel followed in the same
track, but influenced thought at a later period.(738) He too aimed at
solving the same problem as Schelling: he too sought to transcend the
conditions of object and subject which limit thought; but it was by
assuming a representative or mediate faculty that transcends
consciousness, and not, as Schelling, an intuitional or presentative.(739)

Such were the philosophers who aimed at solving the problem of knowledge
and being from the intellectual side. Jacobi on the other hand attempted
it from the emotional. Perceiving the necessity of finding some
justification for the material element which Kant had assumed in his
philosophy, he sought it in faith, in intuition, in the direct inward
revelation of truth to the human mind. He thought that, as sensation gives
us an immediate knowledge of the world, so there is an inward sense by
which we have a direct and immediate revelation of supernatural truth. It
is this inward revelation which gives us access to the material of truth.
His position was analogous to that of Schelling, but he asserted the
element of feeling as well as intuition.

These philosophies, of Fichte, Schelling, and Jacobi, formed one class of
influences, which were operating about the beginning of the century, and
were the means of redeeming alike German literature and theology. Their
first effect was to produce examination of the primary principles of
belief, to excite inquiry; and, though at first only reinforcing the idea
of morality, they ultimately drew men out of themselves into aspirations
after the infinite spirit, and developed the sense of dependence, of
humility, of unselfishness, of spirituality. They produced indeed evil
effects in pantheism and ideology;(740) but the results were partial, the
good was general. The problem, What is truth?—was through their means
remitted to men for reconsideration; and the answers to it elicited, from
the one school,—It is that which I can know:—from the other,—It is that
which I can intuitively feel:—threw men upon those unalterable and
infallible instincts which God has set in the human breast as the
everlasting landmarks of truth, the study of which lifts men ultimately
out of error.

These systems had even a still more direct effect on the public mind. They
were the means of creating a literature, which insinuated itself into
public thought, and familiarised society with spiritual apprehensions long
obliterated. The school of literature commonly called the Romantic,(741)
commencing with such writers as Schlegel and Novalis, fanciful as it may
in some respects seem to be, created the same change in the belief and
tastes of the German mind as the contemporary school of Lake Poets in
England. The German literature bore the marks either of the old
scholasticism, or of the materialism introduced from France, or of the
classic culture introduced by Lessing and his coadjutors. The element now
revived was the mediæval element of chivalry, the high and lofty courage,
the delicate æsthetic taste, which had marked the middle ages.
Herder,(742) to whom Germany owes much, disgusted with the stoical and
analytic spirit of the Kantian philosophy, had already attempted, and not
in vain, to throw the mind back to an appreciation of old history, and
especially had manifested an enthusiastic admiration of Hebrew literature;
but now, as if by one general movement, the public taste was turned to an
appreciation of the freshness of feeling, and fine elements of character,
which existed in the Christianity of the middle ages.(743)

This literary movement prepared the way for and accompanied another,
which, though occurring a little later, may be reckoned as the third
influence which caused a religious reaction. Indeed it is the one to which
the Germans attribute the chief effect. It is found in the outburst of
national patriotism which took place in the liberation wars of 1813;(744)
the spontaneous chivalry which made the heart of Germany beat as the heart
of one man, to endeavour to hurl back Napoleon beyond the limits of the
common fatherland. In that moment of deep public suffering, the poetry and
piety of the human heart brought back the idea of God, and a spirit of
moral earnestness. The national patriotism,(745) which still lives in the
poetry of the time, expelled selfishness: sorrow impressed men with a
sense of the vanity of material things, and made their hearts yearn after
the immaterial, the spiritual, the immortal: the sense of terror threw
them upon the God of battles. It was the age of Marathon and Salamis
revived; and the effect was not less wonderful.(746)

A fourth influence remains to be noticed, which was in its nature more
strictly theological, and limited to the church. When after the return of
peace the tercentenary of the Reformation was celebrated in 1817, an
obscure theologian at Kiel, named Harms,(747) published a set of theses as
supplements to the celebrated theses of Luther, which, by the excitement
and controversy unexpectedly occasioned by them, turned attention anew to
the study of the reformational and biblical theology, and created a
revival of the spiritual element which was too much forgotten.

Such were the four influences—the philosophical, the literary, the
political, the spiritual,—which entered into German life, and produced or
increased the reaction that took place in German theology in the period
which we are about to sketch.

We placed the limits of this second period from about 1810 till the
literary revolution caused by alarm at Strauss’s work in 1835.(748) It was
in 1810, in the depth of Prussian humiliation, when Halle had passed into
one of the kingdoms dependent on France, that the university of Berlin was
founded. Schleiermacher, Neander, and De Wette, were its teachers. The
first was the soul of its theological teaching; and through his agency it
became the great source of a religious reaction. It is around these names
that our studies most centre. The signs indeed of some other movements are
traceable. The deistic rationalism is not dead, but it is dying: it is a
thing of the past: a return to strict dogmatic orthodoxy is also visible
in the Lutheran clergy rather than in the university; but it is as yet in
its infancy: and a new form of gnosticism is observable in the philosophy
of Hegel, but the full development of it belongs to the next period. The
field is now occupied by the partial reaction to orthodoxy, which aimed at
a reconciliation of science and piety, of criticism and faith.(749)
Schleiermacher, with is follower Neander, will typify the philosophical
and more orthodox side of it; perhaps De Wette, and at the end of the
period Ewald, the critical.

Schleiermacher(750) was by education and sympathy eminently fitted to
attempt the harmony of science and faith, to which he devoted his life.
Gifted with an acute and penetrating intellect, capable of grappling with
the highest problems of philosophy and the minutest details of criticism,
he could sympathise with the intellectual movement of the old rationalism;
while his fine moral sensibility, the depth and passionateness of his
sympathy, the exquisite delicacy of his taste and brilliancy of
imagination, were in perfect harmony with the literary and æsthetic
revival which was commencing. German to the very soul, he possessed an
enthusiastic sympathy with the great literary movements of his age,
philosophical, classical, or romantic. The diligent student and translator
of Plato,(751) his soul was enchanted with the mixture at once of genius,
poetry, feeling, and dialectic, which marks that prince of thinkers, and
he was prepared by it for understanding the speculations of his time. The
dialectical process through which Plato’s mind had passed (30) represents
not improbably, in some degree, the history of Schleiermacher’s own mental
development as traceable in his works. The conviction derived from Plato’s
early dialogues, that the mind, in travelling outward to study the
objective, could not prove the highest realities, but must have faith in
its own faculties, prepared him for imbibing the philosophy of Jacobi. The
looking inward to the deep utterances of the soul, the interpretation of
the objective world by means of the internal, prepared him for Fichte. The
mystical attempt to understand the ideas themselves, to use the archetype
for creating an ontology from the objective side, observable in Plato’s
latest works, found its parallel in Schelling. Schleiermacher had large
sympathies with these three processes, but mainly with the first; which
was to be expected from his purpose. Aiming at gaining spiritual certitude
rather than speculating for intellectual gratification, Jacobi’s
philosophy appeared to combine the excellences of the other two systems,
the subjective character of the one, and the intuitional of the other;
with the additional advantage of seeming to give expression to the
instincts of the heart, as well as the intuitions of the mind. Beyond all
these qualities, Schleiermacher inherited from his Moravian education the
spirit of pietism, which, almost extinguished by the recent activity of
mind, had retired to the quiet sphere where a Stilling(752) or an
Oberlin(753) communed with God and laboured for man.

Possessing therefore the two great elements which had been united in the
Reformation,—endowed on the one hand with the largest sympathy with every
department of the intellectual movement, and the mastery of its ripest
erudition, and at the same time with a soul kindled with a hearty love for
Christianity,—he was fitted to become the Coryphæus of a new reformation,
to attempt again a final reconciliation of knowledge and faith. Whether we
view him in his own natural gifts and susceptibilities; in the aim of his
life; in his mixture of reason and love, of philosophy and criticism, of
enthusiasm and wisdom, of orthodoxy and heresy; or regard the transitory
character of his work, the permanence of his influence; church history
offers no parallel to him since the days of Origen.(754)

His early education was received in the university of Halle; an
institution which had long been the home of pietism, and has continued
with but few intervals(755) to evince much of the same Christian spirit.
He became professor there early in the century,(756) until the town
passed, as already stated, into the power of the French. He removed to
Berlin when that university was founded,(757) and continued to exercise
his influence there, from the pulpit and the professor’s chair, for a
quarter of a century, until his death.(758)

Before the conclusion of the last century, while still the literary
influence of Weimar was at its height, he wrote Discourses on
Religion,(759) to arouse the German mind to self-consciousness; which
produced as stirring an effect in religion(760) as Fichte’s patriotic
addresses to the German nation subsequently in politics; and from them may
be dated the first movement of spiritual renovation, as from the latter
the first of German liberation from foreign control. In successive works
his views on ethics and religion were gradually developed, until, in his
_Glaubenslehre_ (31) he produced one of the most important theological
systems ever conceived. We can give no idea of the compass exhibited in
that work, nor spare time to trace the growth in Schleiermacher’s own mind
as new influences like that of Harms, which he rejected, indirectly
influenced him; but we must be content to define his general position in
its destructive and constructive aspects.

The fundamental principles(761) were, that truth in theology was not to be
attained by reason, but by an insight, which he called the Christian
consciousness,(762) which we should call Christian experience; and that
piety consists in spiritual feeling, not in morality. Both were
corollaries from his philosophical principles.

There are two parts, both in the intellectual and emotional branches of
our nature;—in the emotional, a feeling of dependence in the presence of
the Infinite, which is the seat of religion; and a consciousness of power,
which is the source of action and seat of morality;—and in the
intellectual, a faith or intuition which apprehends God and truth; and
critical faculties, which act upon the matter presented and form
science.(763) In making these distinctions, Schleiermacher struck a blow
at the old rationalism, which had identified on the one hand religion and
morality, and on the other intuition and reason. Hence from this point of
view he was led to explain Christianity, when contrasted with other
religions, subjectively on the emotional side, as the most perfect state
of the feeling of dependence; and on the intellectual, as the intuition of
Christianity and Christ’s work: and the organ for truth in Christianity
was regarded to be the special form of insight which apprehends Christ,
just as natural intuition apprehends God; which insight was called the
Christian consciousness.(764) Thus far many will agree with him. Perhaps
no nobler analysis of the religious faculties has ever been given.
Religion was placed on a new basis: a home was found for it in the human
mind distinct from reason. The old rationalism was shown to be untrue in
its psychology. The distinctness of religion was asserted; and the
necessity of spiritual insight and of sympathy with Christian life
asserted to be as necessary for appreciating Christianity, as æsthetic
insight for art.

In its reconstruction of Christian truth, however, fewer will coincide.
Following out the same principles; in the same manner as he regarded the
intuitions of human nature to be the last appeal of truth in art or
morals, so he made the collective Christian consciousness the last
standard of appeal in Christianity. The dependence therefore on apostolic
teaching was not the appeal to an external authority, but merely to that
which was the best exponent of the early religious consciousness of
Christendom in its purest age.(765) The Christian church existed before
the Christian scriptures. The New Testament was written for believers,
appealing to their religious consciousness, not dictating to it.
Inspiration is not indeed thus reduced to genius, but to the religious
consciousness, and is different only in degree, and not in kind, from the
pious intuitions of saintly men. The Bible becomes the record of religious
truth, not its vehicle; a witness to the Christian consciousness of
apostolic times, not an external standard for all time. In this respect
Schleiermacher was not repeating the teaching of the reformation of the
sixteenth age, but was passing beyond it, and abandoning its reverence for

From this point we may see how his views of doctrine as well as his
criticism of scripture were affected by this theory. For in his view of
fundamental doctrines, such as sin, and the redeeming work of Christ,
inasmuch as his appeal was made to the collective consciousness, those
aspects of doctrine only were regarded as important, or even real, which
were appropriated by the consciousness, or understood by it.(766) Sin was
accordingly presented rather as unholiness than as guilt before God;(767)
redemption, rather as sanctification than as justification; Christ’s death
as a mere subordinate act in his life of self-sacrifice, not the one
oblation for the world’s sin;(768) atonement regarded to be the setting
forth of the union of God with man; and the mode of arriving at a state of
salvation,(769) to be a realisation of the union of man with God, through
a kind of mystical conception of the brotherhood of Christ.(770)

Hence, as might be expected, the dogmatic reality of such doctrines as the
Trinity was weakened.(771) The deity of the Son, as distinct from his
superhuman character, became unimportant, save as the historical
embodiment of the ideal union of God with humanity.(772) The Spirit was
viewed, not as a personal agent, but as a living activity, having its seat
in the Christian consciousness of the church.(773) The objective in each
case was absorbed in the spiritual, as formerly in the old rationalism it
had been degraded into the natural. It followed also that the Christian
consciousness, thus able to find as it were a philosophy of religion, and
of the material apprehended by the consciousness of inspired men,
possessed an instinct to distinguish the unimportant from the important in
scripture, and valued more highly the eternal ideas intended than the
historic garb under which they were presented.

The ideological tendency, as it is now called,(774) the natural longing of
the philosophical mind that tries to rise beyond facts into their causes,
to penetrate behind phenomena into ideas, grows up in a country, as is
seen by the example of ancient Greece, when the popular creed and the
scientific have become discordant. Suggested in Germany by the old
rationalism, it had been especially stimulated by the subjective
philosophy of Kant and Fichte. Historic facts were the expression of
subjective forms of thought. The Non-ego was a form, in which the Ego was
expressing itself. This theory, suggested to Schleiermacher from without,
fell in with his own views as above developed, and affected his critical
inquiries. When he involved himself in the great questions of the higher
criticism, which have been already treated in connexion with Semler,
subjective criticism(775) was used in an exaggerated manner, not merely to
suggest hypotheses, or to check deductions by Christian appreciation, but
as a substitute _à priori_ for historic investigation. In the controversy
as to the composition of the Gospels, which will be hereafter explained,
he was led, by his ideological theory and his instinctive perception of
the relative importance of doctrines in theological perspective, to
abandon the historical importance of miracles as compared with doctrine,
and also the verity of the early history of Christ’s life, considered to
have been communicated by tradition; while he held fast to the moral and
historical reality of the latter.(776)

These remarks must suffice to point out the position of Schleiermacher. We
have seen how completely he caught the influences of his time, absorbed
them, and transmitted them. If his teaching was defective in its
constructive side; if he did not attain the firm grasp of objective verity
which is implied in perfect doctrinal, not to say critical, orthodoxy; he
at least gave the death-blow to the old rationalism, which, either from an
empirical or a rational point of view, proposed to gain such a philosophy
of religion as reduced it to morality. He rekindled spiritual
apprehensions; he above all drew attention to the peculiar character of
Christianity, as something more than the republication of natural
religion, in the same manner that the Christian consciousness offered
something more than merely moral experience. He set forth, however
imperfectly, the idea of redemption, and the personality of the Redeemer;
and awakened religious aspirations, which led his successors to a deeper
appreciation of the truth as it is in Jesus. Much of his theology, and
some part of his philosophy, had only a temporary interest relatively to
his times; but his influence was perpetual. The faults were those of his
age; the excellencies were his own. Men caught his deep love to a personal
Christ, without imbibing his doctrinal opinions. His own views became more
evangelical as his life went on, and the views of his disciples more
deeply scriptural than those of their master. Thus the light kindled by
him waxed purer and purer. The mantle remained after the prophet’s spirit
had ascended to the God that gave it.

In strict truth he did not found a school. Though his mind was
dialectical, he had too much poetry to do this. Genius, as has been often
observed, does not create a school, but kindles an influence. The
university of Berlin, the very centre of intellectual greatness in every
department from its foundation, was the first seat of Schleiermacher’s
influence; and the political importance of the capital added impulse to
the movement. The reaction extended to other universities,(777) and not
only marked the chief theologians of an orthodox tendency which are
commonly known to us,(778)—Tholuck, Twesten, Nitzch, Julius Müller,
Olshausen,—but even modified the extreme rationalist party, and diffused
its influence among theologians of the church of Rome.(779)

It is impossible to specify the views of those who were the chief
representatives of the effects of Schleiermacher’s teaching. One however,
his friend and colleague, deserves mention, the well-known church
historian Neander.(780) Brought up a Jew, he passed into Christianity,
like some of the early fathers, through the gate of Platonism; and,
knowing by experience that free inquiry had been the means of his own
conversion, he ever stood forth with a noble courage as the advocate of
full and fair investigation, feeling confidence that Christianity could
endure the test. More meditative and less dialectical than Schleiermacher,
and too original to be an imitator, he surpassed him in the deeper
appreciation of sin and of redemption; placing sin rather in alienation of
will than in the sense of discordance, and holding more firmly the
existence of some objective reality in the anthropopathic expression of
the wrath of God removed by Christ’s death.(781) His great employment in
life was history; not, like his master, philosophy and criticism. Viewing
human nature from the subjective stand-point, the central thought of his
historical works was, that Christianity is a life resting on a person,
rather than a system resting on a dogma. Hence he was able to find the
harmony of reason and faith from the human side instead of the divine, by
noticing the adaptation of the divine work to human wants. The inspiration
of the scriptural writers was viewed as dynamical not mechanical,
spiritual not literal;(782) and Christianity as the great element of human
progress, being the divine life on earth which God had kindled through the
gift of his Son.(783) The great aim accordingly of Neander in his
historical sketches was to exhibit the Christian church as the philosophy
of history, and God’s work in Christ, realised in the piety of the
faithful, as the philosophy of the Christian church. The history of the
church in his view is the record of the Christian consciousness in the
world. The subjective and mystical spirit engendered by such a conception,
was in danger of converting history into a series of biographies; but the
deep influence which it possessed in contributing to foster the reaction
against the old rationalism will be obvious. It becomes us to speak with
reverence of the writings of a man whose labours have been the means of
turning many to Christ. Though lacking form as works of art, yet, if they
be compared with works of grander type, where church history has been
treated as an epic, we cannot help feeling that the depth of spiritual
perception and of psychological analysis compensates for the artistic
defects. We are conducted by them from the outside to the inside; from
things to thoughts; from institutions to doctrines; from the accidents of
Christianity to the essence.

Neander’s teaching, while an offshoot from Schleiermacher, marks the
highest point to which the principles of the master could be carried. It
advances farther in the hearty love for Christ and for revelation, and
bears fewer traces of the ancient spirit of rationalism; being allied to
it in few respects, save in the wish constantly exhibited to appropriate
that which is believed; but the wants of the heart, not the conceptions of
the understanding, are made the gauge of divine truth, and the interpreter
of the divine volume.

We pointed out that the great reaction in the present century was marked
not only by the philosophical and doctrinal school just described, but by
a contemporaneous one, which employed itself on literary and critical
inquiries in reference to the Bible, and was the continuation of the
earlier rationalist criticism on improved principles. The most important
name representing this critical movement in the beginning of the period
was De Wette. (32) Perhaps too we may without injustice mention, as a type
of it at the close of the period, a theologian who is almost too original
to admit of being classified—the learned Ewald.

De Wette was nurtured amid the old rationalism of Jena, at the time of its
greatest power, about the beginning of the present century; and imbibed
the peculiar modification of the doctrines of Kant and Jacobi which was
presented in the philosophy of Fries.(784) It was the appeal to subjective
feeling thence derived which preserved him from the coldness of older
critics, and caused his labours to contribute to the reaction. His works
were very various; but the earlier of them were especially devoted to the
examination of the Old Testament, and the later to the New.

The peculiarity of this school generally may be said to be, a disposition
to investigate both Testaments for their own sake as literature, not for
the further purpose of discovering doctrine. These writers are primarily
literary critics, not dogmatic theologians. Like the older rationalists,
they are occupied largely with biblical interpretation; but, perceiving
the hollowness of their attempt to explain away moral and spiritual
mysteries by reference to material events, they transfer to the Bible the
theories used in the contemporary investigations in classical history, and
explain the Biblical wonders by the hypothesis of legends or of myths.
Though they ignore the miraculous and supernatural equally with the older
rationalists, they allow the spiritual in addition to the moral and
natural, and thus take a more scholarlike and elevated view of the Hebrew
history and literature. The system of interpretation adopted is the
transition from the previous one, which admitted the facts but explained
them away, to the succeeding one of Strauss, which denies the facts, and
accounts for the belief in them by psychological causes.

The wish to give a possible basis for the existence of legend, by
interposing a chasm between the events and the record of them, stimulated
the pursuit of the branch of criticism slightly touched on by their
predecessors, which investigates the origin and date of scripture books.
They transferred to the Hebrew literature the critical method by which
Wolf had destroyed the unity of Homer, and Niebuhr the credibility of
Livy. Not a single book,—history, poetry, or prophecy,—was left
unexamined. The inquiries of this kind, instituted with reference to the
book of Daniel, were alluded to in a former lecture;(785) and those which
relate to the Gospels will occur hereafter.(786) At present it will only
be possible to specify a single instance in illustration of these
inquiries—the celebrated one which relates to the authorship and
composition of the Pentateuch. It is the one to which most labour has been
devoted, and is an excellent instance for exhibiting the slow but
progressive improvement and growing caution shown in the mode of
exercising them.(787)

As early as the time of Hobbes and Spinoza it was perceived that the
Pentateuch contains a few allusions which seem to have been inserted after
the time of Moses; a circumstance which they, as well as R. Simon,
explained, by referring them to the sacred editor Ezra, who is thought to
have arranged the canon: but about the middle of the last century a French
physician, Astruc,(788) pointed out a circumstance which has introduced an
entirely new element into the discussion of the question; viz. the
distinction in the use of the two Hebrew names for God,—Elohim and
Jehovah. It will be necessary to offer a brief explanation of this
distinction, in order that we may be able to perceive the line at which
fact ends and hypothesis commences, and understand the character of the
criticism which we are describing.

It is now generally admitted that the word _Elohim_ is the name for Deity,
as worshipped by the Hebrew patriarchs; _Jehovah_, the conception of Deity
which is at the root of the Mosaic theocracy.(789) El, or the plural
Elohim, means literally “the powers,” (the plural form being either, as
some unreasonably think, a trace of early polytheism, or more probably
merely emphatic,(790)) and is connected with the name for God commonly
used in the Semitic nations. Jehovah(791) means “self-existent,” and is
the name specially communicated to the Israelites. The idea of power or
superiority in the object of worship was conveyed by Elohim; that of
self-existence, spirituality, by Jehovah. Elohim was generic, and could be
applied to the gods of the heathen; Jehovah was specific, the covenant God
of Moses. (33)

In this age, when words are separated from things, we are apt to lose
sight of the importance of the difference of names in an early age of the
world. The modern investigations however of comparative mythology enable
us to realize the fact, that in the childhood of the world words implied
real differences in things; not merely in our conceptions, but in the
thing conceived.(792) But the explanations above offered will show that,
independently of the general law of mind just noticed, a really different
moral conception was offered by Providence to the Hebrew mind through the
employment of these two words.

Nor was the difference unknown or forgotten in later ages of Jewish
history. The fifty-third Psalm, for example, is a repetition of the
fourteenth with the name Elohim altered into Jehovah. In the two first of
the five books into which the Psalms are divided, the arrangement has been
thought to be not unconnected with the distinction of these names.(793) In
the book of Job also the name Jehovah is used in the headings of the
speeches of the dialogues; but in the speeches of Job’s friends, as not
being Israelites, the name Elohim is used.(794) In the book of Nehemiah
the name Elohim is almost always used, and in Ezra, Jehovah; and in the
composition of proper names, which in ancient times were not merely, as
now, symbolical, the names El and Jah respectively are employed in all
ages of the Hebrew nation: and, though no exact law can be detected, it
seems probable that in the great regal and prophetic age the name Jehovah
was especially used. (34)

These remarks will both explain the difference of conception existing in
the Hebrew names of Deity, and show that the Jews were aware of the
distinction to a late period. When we advance farther, we pass from the
region of fact into conjecture.

The distinctness of conception implied in the two names has been made the
basis of an hypothesis, in which they are used for discovering different
elements in the Pentateuch. Throughout the book of Genesis especially, and
slightly elsewhere,(795) the critics that we are describing have supposed
that they detect at least two distinct narratives, with peculiarities of
style, and differences or repetitions of statement; which they have
therefore regarded as proofs of the existence of different documents in
the composition of the Pentateuch; an Elohistic, in which the name Elohim,
and a Jehovistic, in which the name Jehovah was used; upon the respective
dates of which they have formed conjectures.

Though we may object to these hazardous speculations, we shall perceive
the alteration and increasing caution displayed in the criticism, if we
trace briefly the successive opinions held on this particular subject.

Astruc, who first dwelt on the distinction, regarded the separate works to
be anterior to Moses, and to have been used by him in the construction of
the Pentateuch.(796) Eichhorn took the same view, but advanced the inquiry
by a careful discrimination of the peculiarities which he thought to
belong to each. Vater followed, and allowed the possibility of one
collector of the narratives, but denied that it could be Moses. Thus far
was the work of the older critical school of rationalists. It was purely
anatomical and negative. It is at this point that we perceive the
alteration effected by the school which we are now contemplating.

De Wette strove to penetrate more deeply into the question of the origin,
and to attain a positive result. His discussion was marked by minute
study; and he changed the test for distinguishing the documents from the
simple use of the names to more uncertain characteristics, which depended
upon internal peculiarities of style and manner. The conclusion to which
he came was, that the mass of the Pentateuch is based on the Elohistic
document, with passages supplemented from the Jehovistic; and he referred
the age of both to a rather late part of the regal period. Ewald, with
great learning and delicacy of handling, has reconsidered the
question(797) and, though arriving at a most extraordinary theory as to
the manifold documents which have supplied the materials for the work, has
thrown to a much earlier period the authorship of the main portion; and
the views of later critics are gradually tending in the same direction.
Both study the Pentateuch as uninspired literature; but De Wette absurdly
regarded it as an epic created by the priests, in the same manner as the
Homeric epic by the rhapsodes: Ewald on the contrary considers it to be
largely historic.(798)

This statement of mere results, too brief to exhibit the critical acumen
shown at different points of the inquiry even where it is most full of
peril, will show the increasing learning displayed, and the appreciation
of valuable literary characteristics. It will be perceived that
prepossessions still predominate over this criticism; but they are of a
different kind from those which existed earlier. They are not the result
of moral objections to the narratives, but of the contemporary critical
spirit in secular literature. The discrepancy of result obtained by the
process is a fair practical argument which proves its uncertainty; but its
adherents allow that both in art and literature internal evidence admits
of few canons, and consequently that the result of criticism could only
admit of probability.

The general summary of the movement shows a steady advance in criticism,
as was before shown in doctrine, toward a higher and more spiritual
standard. It is not the recognition of the inspired authority of
scripture, but it is some approach to it. Instead of the hasty
denunciation of narratives or of books as imposture, seen in the
Wolfenbüttel Fragments, or the merely rationalist view of Eichhorn and
Paulus, we perceive the recognition of spiritual and psychological
mysteries as subjects of examination; and even when the result established
is altogether unsatisfactory, valuable materials have been collected for
future students. If we were to abandon our position of traditional
orthodoxy, and accept that of Schleiermacher in doctrine, or of De Wette
in criticism, it would be a retrogression; but for the Germans of their
time it was a progress from doubt towards faith. It was not orthodoxy, but
it was the first approach to it.

This double aspect, philosophical and critical, of the reaction, brings us
to the end of the second period in the history of German theological

It has already been stated that the elements of other movements existed,
which were hereafter to develope; and that one of these was an attempt,
originating in the philosophy of Hegel, to reconstruct the harmony of
reason and faith from the intellectual, as distinct from the emotional
side. It bore some analogy to the gnosticism of the early church; and the
critical side of it gave birth to Strauss.

We have traced the antecedent causes which produced rationalism, and two
out of the three periods into which we divided the history of it. We are
halting before reaching the final act of the drama; but we already begin
to see the direction in which the plot is developing.

It is when a great movement of mind or of society can be thus viewed as a
whole, in its antecedents and its consequents, that we can form a judgment
on its real nature, and estimate its purpose and use. As in viewing works
of art, so in order to observe correctly the great works of God’s natural
providence, we must reduce them to their true perspective. It is the
peculiarity of great movements of mind, that when so viewed they do not
appear to be all shadow and formless, nor acts of meaningless impiety.
They are products of intellectual antecedents, and perform their function
in history. In nothing is the Divine image stamped on humanity, or the
moral providence of God in the world, more visible, than in the
circumstance, of which we have already had frequent proofs, that thought
and honest inquiry, if allowed to act freely, without being repressed by
material or political interference, but checked only by spiritual and
moral influences, gradually attain to truth, appropriating goodness, and
rejecting evil. Thought seems to run on unrestrained, stimulated by human
caprice, sometimes by sinful wilfulness; yet it is seen really to be
restrained by limits that are not of its own creation. In the world of
conscious mind, as in unconscious matter, God hath set a law that shall
not be broken. Reason, which creates the doubts, also allays them. It
rebukes the unbelief of impiety, making the wrath of man to praise God;
and guides the honest inquirer to truth.

A period of doubt is always sad; but it would be an unmixed woe for an
individual or a nation, if it were not made, in the order of a merciful
Providence, the transition to a more deeply-seated faith. It is a means,
not an end.

    You tell me, doubt is devil-born.

    I know not; one indeed I knew
      In many a subtle question versed,
      Who touch’d jarring lyre at first,
    But ever strove to make it true:

    Perplext in faith, but not in deeds,
      At last he beat his music out.
      There lives more faith in honest doubt,
    Believe me, than in half the creeds.

    He fought his doubts, and gathered strength,
      He would not make his judgment blind,
      He faced the spectres of the mind
    And laid them: thus he came at length

    To find a stronger faith his own.(799)

Religious truth is open to those who will seek it with humility and

In addition to the natural action of reason, the fatherly pity of God is
nigh, to give help to all that ask it, and that endeavour to sanctify
their studies to His honour. Even though the search be long, and a large
portion of life be spent in the agony of baffled effort, the mind reaps
improvement from its heart-sorrows, and at last receives the reward of its
patient faith. “Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after
righteousness, for they shall be filled.”(800) If we are thankful to be
spared the sorrows of the doubter, let us admire the wisdom and mercy
shown in the process by which Providence rescues men or nations from the
state of doubt. “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth;”(801) and He shall
reign for ever and ever.


    MATT. xiii. 52.

    _Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is
    like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out
    of his treasure things new and old._

The last lecture was brought to a close before we reached the final forms
assumed by German theology. In the present one we must complete the
narrative; and afterwards carry on the history of free thought in France,
as affected by the influence of German literature, from the period at
which the narrative was previously interrupted to the present time.

We have noticed the traces of the reaction in favour of orthodoxy, which
was produced in Germany by the influence of Schleiermacher. We treated the
philosophical side of the movement, the vindication of the distinctness of
religion and ethics; and also witnessed the improved tone in the critical,
tending, if not to the recognition of a supernatural character in the holy
scriptures, yet to a more spiritual appreciation of their literary
characteristics, and of the psychological peculiarity of the facts
recorded. We adverted also, in conclusion, to a rival philosophical
influence, springing from the teaching of Hegel, which assisted the
reaction by seeking a philosophical reconstruction of religion, though
from a different point of view from Schleiermacher.

It was this school which gave origin to the subsequent movements in
Germany. The sudden alteration in German thought induced by Strauss, which
ushers in the modern period, arose from the union of the philosophical
principles of this school with the criticism of that of De Wette. We must
therefore endeavour to understand this movement, which forms the turning
point between the reaction before described, which is the second of the
three general divisions made of this portion of history,(802) and the
forms which succeed constituting the third division. Hegel,(803) a name
almost as important in its influence on the German mind as that of Goethe,
has been already mentioned(804) as the last of that band of philosophers
which strove to develop the mental as distinct from the material
principle, presented in Kant’s philosophy. Kant had completed the process
of turning man’s search inward, which Descartes had begun. Philosophy
became psychology; the discovery of the limits of knowledge, rather than
of the nature of the thing known. We have seen that Fichte and Schelling,
not content with this result, had sought, though by opposite processes, to
escape from this limited knowledge; to attain an ontology as well as a
psychology. All philosophy aims at attaining a knowledge of reality,
either _à posteriori_ by means of generalisation, or _à priori_ from the
data of mind. These two philosophers strove to attain it by the latter
mode; but their method either lacked system, or failed in its results:
their philosophy was poetry rather than logic. Hegel followed in their
steps, but adopted a basis which admitted of being developed in a formal
system. The logical rigour of his method, and the encyclopædic grasp which
it gave over knowledge, partly accounted, as in the case of Spinoza or of
Wolff, for its popularity. The universe was to be interpreted from the
mind; the laws of thought were the laws of things. The microcosm and the
macrocosm were one; thought, and the mind that thinks; or, more truly,
both were phases of the universal mind which was unfolding. The mind of
man could transcend the limits of the finite and phenomenal; and, being
able to apprehend the idea, the νοούμενον, absolutely, without condition,
thus possessed the solution of any branch of universal knowledge by an _à
priori_ process. The problem of philosophy was, to find the laws of this
evolution in thought, to catch the ideal when it strives to become
immanent and to manifest itself in the actual.

Without attempting here to explain the kind of threefold process, (35)
according to which this evolution takes place, it is better, as in the
case of the former philosophies named, to exhibit the influence of the
general method rather than the effects of particular theories inculcated
by it.

The method had many advantages, in displacing a low materialism, in
stimulating loftiness of conception, and generating an historic study of
every subject, by its view of the universe as a development; and also
created a largeness of sympathy with differing views, by regarding all
things as in transition, relative, true only in reference to their
contradictory; and by considering all hypotheses to contain a germ of
right, and to be the result of partial views of truth; but it will also be
obvious, that the method had its evil effects. For, when applied to any
department, it produced a disposition to seize the principle, the idea, of
which the concrete is the embodiment; to descend from the type upon the
individual. Its method was deductive and idealistic; giving being to
abstractions, like the realism of the middle ages. It lost the fact in the
principle; it personified the genus. Philosophy became a vast mythology.

When applied to Christianity, for example, it did not attempt to find a
philosophic ground for it psychologically in the human aspirations, as
Schleiermacher had done,(805) but objectively in the dogma. It discovered
the ideal truth in religion, and regarded Christianity and Christ as being
the manifestation of the effort of the great Spirit of the universe to
convert the idea into act; the symbol which expressed the speculative
truth of the essential unity of the ideal and the real, of the divine and
the human. Like the ancient Gnosticism, it believed in dogmatic
Christianity, because it descended upon it from an _á priori_ principle,
in which it found the explanation of it. Religion and philosophy were
reconciled, because religion was made a phase of philosophy.

This system was taught by its founder at Berlin from about 1820 to 1830,
contemporary with that of Schleiermacher; and the learned theologian
Marheinecke(806) is the name best known of those who applied it to
theology. It was regarded at that time as an instrument of orthodoxy.(807)
It had the advantage over the old rationalism, in that while using
similarity of method in seeking to explain mysteries, it did not pare them
down, but absorbed them in principles of philosophy; and over the school
of Schleiermacher, in that it was less subjective, less a matter of
feeling, supplying a doctrine and not merely a spirit; and therefore it
satisfied the longing of the mind for dogmatic truth, and at the same time
more readily linked itself, ecclesiastically with churchlike and corporate
tendencies, and politically with conservative and autocratic ones. Yet it
is easy to see that its spirit was really far less Christian than
Schleiermacher’s. For it not only confused again philosophy and religion,
which his system had severed, but it proudly claimed to explain doctrines
rationally where his had only sought to appropriate them intuitionally. It
verged towards pantheism. It was in danger of losing the historic fact in
the idea; of encouraging, as it is now sometimes called, the “ideological
tendency;”(808) whereas with Schleiermacher, the historic belief had only
been regarded as less important than the emotional apprehension. Its _à
priori_ spirit created also a depreciation of the investigations which had
been pursued by the critical school. It gave encouragement to the study of
history; but it was to the history of philosophy, not to the
investigations conducted by historical criticism.

Such was the system which, along with those described in the last lecture,
was regarded as contributing to favour orthodox reaction, and was
disputing theological preeminence with that of Schleiermacher, when a work
was published by one of its disciples, which was the means, through the
ferment produced, of altering completely the whole tone and course of
German thought. It was the celebrated _Life of Jesus_ by Strauss,(809) a
criticism on the four biographies given in the gospels; a work in which
the whole destructive movement was concentrated, with such singular
ability and clearness, that hardly any work of theology has subsequently
been written without some notice of the propositions there maintained.

It presented a double aspect: it was both philosophical and critical.
Strauss added to a general admission of the Hegelian point of view a love
for the critical studies so much neglected by that party. Brought up in
the moderate orthodoxy of Tübingen, he had studied at Berlin under
Schleiermacher, but caught the critical rather than the philosophical side
of that master’s teaching, and especially interested himself in the
solution of the question relating to the origin and credibility of the
Gospels, already partially considered in the critical inquiries of the old
rationalism, and of the school of De Wette. It was an investigation which
in its nature, in the spirit in which it was decided, and in its
similarity to the contemporaneous discussions of classical criticism, bore
a close resemblance to that before described in reference to the
Pentateuch. A few words of explanation concerning it are necessary,
previous to the statement of the nature of Strauss’s work.(810)

As early as the last century the resemblance between the three
“synoptical” Evangelists had excited attention; and examination was
directed to discover the cause. Some, as Wetstein,(811) supposed that one
or two of the Gospels were borrowed from the third; others, as
Michaelis(812) and Eichhorn, that the three were all derived from one
common original, now lost; others, as Schleiermacher, that they were
composed from many detached written narratives; others, as Herder, and
subsequently Gieseler, that they were the committal to writing of the oral
tradition common in the church. Thus, whether the Gospels were regarded as
copies, or as being composed from earlier documents, or from primitive
tradition, the effect was, that they were reduced to the level of natural
testimony, and instead of being three witnesses they became one. The
fourth Gospel also was involved in uncertainty. Bretschneider added the
full examination of it, and provoked a discussion concerning the alleged
disagreement of its tone and statements with those of the synoptists.(813)
Thus a chasm was introduced between the events and the record of them; and
the testimony was reduced to traditional evidence.

This alteration in the critical attempt to shake the evidence of
independent authorship had been accompanied by a corresponding change in
the interpretation, as seen in the assaults made on the credibility of the
facts narrated. In the hands of the English deists and of Reimarus this
attack had been an allegation against the moral character of the writer.
In Eichhorn and Paulus the imputation of collusion had been superseded by
the rationalistic interpretation, which, without denying the historical
recital, denied the supernatural, and explained it away by reference to
the peculiarities of time at which the events were described. The next
step was to transfer the doubt to the recital itself, and to find, in the
absence of contemporary evidence for the events, the possibility for
legend, and, in the antecedent expectation of them, the possibility for

This was the state of the critical question with regard to the Gospels
when the work of Strauss appeared. The Hegelian philosophy gave him the
constructive side of his work, and criticism the destructive. Setting out
with the preconception which had lain at the basis of German philosophy
and theology since Kant, that the idea was more important than the
fact,(814) the mythical interpretation of history furnished to him the
medium for applying this conception as an engine of criticism.

The mythical system of interpretation, though slightly suggested by his
predecessors in criticism, was Strauss’s great work. The difference
between allegory, legend, and myth, is well known. Our blessed Lord’s
miracles would be allegories, if they were, as Woolston claimed, parables
intentionally invented for purposes of moral instruction, or facts which
had a mystical as well as literal meaning: they would be legends if, while
containing a basis of fact, they were exaggerated by tradition: they would
be myths if, without really occurring, they were the result of a general
preconception that the Messiah ought to do mighty works, which thus
gradually became translated into fact. A legend is a group of ideas round
a nucleus of fact: a myth is an idea translated by mental realism into
fact. A legend proceeds upwards into the past; a myth downwards into the
future.(815) Strauss’s peculiarity consisted in trying to show that if a
small basis of fact, heightened by legend, be allowed in the gospel
history, the influence of myth is a psychological cause sufficient to
explain the remainder. The idea is regarded as prior to the fact: the need
of a deliverer, he pretends, created the idea of a saviour: the
misinterpretation of old prophecy presented conditions which in the
popular mind must be fulfilled by the Messiah. The gospel history is
regarded as the attempt of the idea to realise itself in fact.

The fundamental fallacy of the inquiry is apparent from one consideration.
Legends are possible in any age; myths, strictly so called, only in the
earliest ages of a nation. Comparative philology has lately shown that
mythology is connected with the formation of language, and restricted to
an early period of the world’s history.(816) But the encouragement offered
to the mythic interpretation by Hegel’s philosophy will be apparent. The
mythus embodying itself in the facts of the gospel was the miniature of
the process of universal nature. Everywhere the idea strives for

The scheme of Strauss formed the link between philosophy and criticism.
Philosophy had explained the doctrines of Christianity, but not the facts
of Christian history. Criticism had explained the facts by historical
examination, but not by philosophy. Strauss attempted, for the first time,
to present the philosophical explanation of facts as well as doctrines. He
explained them, neither by charge of fraud, nor by historical causes, but
by reference to the operation of a psychological law, the same which the
Hegelian philosophy regarded as exemplified universally. Early Christian
fiction was resolved into a psychological law, regulated by a definite law
of suggestion, of which plausible instances were traced. The gospel
history was regarded to be partly a creation out of nothing, partly an
adaptation of real facts to preconceived ideas. This same philosophy,
which thus contributed to the critical or destructive side of the theory,
also furnished the reconstructive. The facts in Christianity were
temporary, the ideas eternal. Christ was the type of humanity. (36) His
life and death and resurrection were the symbol of the life, death, and
resurrection, of humanity. The former were unimportant, the latter
eternal. An exoteric religion for the people might exhibit the one: the
esoteric for the philosopher might retain the other.(817)

This is Strauss’s system and position. The book itself comprises three
parts;—first, an historic introduction, in which the history of previous
criticism and of Hermeneutics, and of the formation of the mythical theory
is most ably presented:(818)—secondly, the main body of the work, which
consists of a critical examination of the life of Christ,(819) subdivided
into three parts; viz. an examination of the birth and childhood of
Jesus,(820) of his public life,(821) and of his death;(822) the object of
which is to point out in the narrative the historic or mythic
elements:—and thirdly, a philosophical conclusion,(823) in which the
doctrinal significance of the life is given. As a specimen of didactic and
critical writing it is perhaps unrivalled in the German literature. The
second part is the embodiment of all the difficulties which destructive
criticism had presented. If the historic sketches captivate by their
clearness, the critical do so by their surprising acuteness and
dialectical power; and the philosophical by the appreciation of the ideal
beauty of the very doctrines, the historic embodiment of which is denied.
It is the work of a mind endowed with remarkable analytical power; in
which the force of reflective theory has overwhelmed the intuitional
perception of the personality and originality of the sacred character
which is the subject of his study.(824)

The effect of the publication of the work was astonishing. It produced a
religious panic unequalled since the Wolfenbüttel fragments. The first
impulse of the Prussian government was to prevent the introduction of the
book into the Prussian kingdom; but Neander stood up to resist the
proposal, with a courage which showed his firm confidence in the permanent
victory of truth; saying that it must be answered by argument, not
suppressed by force; and forthwith wrote his own beautiful work on the
life of Christ in reply to it. Yet neither the peculiarity of Strauss’s
theory nor the nature of the work gave ground for the panic. For the book
was in truth not a novelty, but merely a fuller development of principles
already existing in Germany; and Schleiermacher, before his death, when
contemplating the tendency of religious criticism, had predicted(825) the
probability of such an attempt being made. Nor was the work irreligious
and blasphemous in its spirit, like the attacks of the last century. It
professed to be executed solely in the interests of science; and, though
subversive of historic religion, to be conservative of ideal. The critical
part was only a means to an end; its real basis was speculative. But the
literary aspect of the question was lost sight of in the religious. The
heart spoke forth its terror at the idea of losing its most sacred hope,
the object of its deepest trust, an historic Saviour. The alarm had not
been anticipated by the author of the attack. He is described by a hostile
critic(826) as a “young man full of candour, of sweetness, and modesty, of
a spirit almost mystical, and as it were saddened by the disturbance which
had been occasioned.” But he became a martyr for his act, and an outcast
from the sympathy of religious men. Unable to exercise his singular gifts
of teaching in any professorship, he has continued to write from time to
time literary monographs of more defiant tone; proofs of his ability, but
vehicles for the expression of his opinions. (37)

The effect on the different theological critics throughout Germany, both
friendly and hostile, was so remarkable, that the year 1835, in which the
book was published, is as memorable in theology as the year 1848 in
politics. The work carried criticism and philosophy to its farthest
limits, and demanded from theologians of all classes a thorough
reconsideration of the subject of the _origines_ of Christianity.(827) The
ablest theologians either wrote in refutation of it, or reconsidered their
own opinions by the light of its criticisms. (38) The alarm at the loss of
the historic basis of Christianity created a strong reaction in favour of
the Lutheran orthodoxy, the commencement of which has already been
named;(828) and gave the death-blow, not only to the Hegelian school, but
almost to the passion for ontological speculation in Germany. While some
thus assumed a churchly and conservative aspect, others outstripped
Strauss, and, uniting with French positivism, advanced into utter
pantheism and materialism.

The Hegelian party, to which Strauss belonged, and which would fain have
been excused from this _reductio ad absurdum_ of its principles,(829)
became split into sections through the various attempts made to parry the
blow, and reconstruct their system on the philosophical side. The critical
tendency had now too found a home, by means of Strauss’s work, among the
Hegelians; and this led to the creation of a new school of historical
criticism to be hereafter described, which arose in Strauss’s own
university of Tübingen.(830)

We have now explained the circumstances attending the change which closed
the second and introduced the third period in German theology.

In this third period, which is that of contemporary thought, we may
distinguish four broadly marked tendencies; three within the church, and
one directly infidel in character outside of it.(831)

The last named, which we shall describe first, started from Strauss’s
position, and advanced still farther. It sprang from the destructive side
of the Hegelian philosophy, and has sometimes been named the young
Hegelian school. From the first it lacked the air of respect toward
religion which Strauss did not throw aside in his work; and it also
extended itself from theology to politics.

Bruno Bauer,(832) a Professor at Berlin, by turning suddenly round from
the most orthodox to the most heterodox position in his school, may be
classed with Strauss in his method, though not in his spirit. He carried
out Strauss’s critical examination of the Gospels with a coarse ridicule;
and extended it by denying the historic basis of fact, and imputing the
myth to the personal creation of the individual writer. But his successors
advanced even farther. As Bauer developed the critical side of Strauss,
Feuerbach(833) and Ruge(834) developed the philosophical, and destroyed
the very idea of religion itself, by showing that the idea of God or of
religion is of human construction, the giving objective existence to an
idea. The aspiration, instead of guaranteeing the existence of an object
toward which it is directed, is represented as creating it. This was the
final result of the subjective point of view of the Kantian philosophy,
and of the idealism of Hegel. Reason must, it was pretended, be followed,
to whatever extent it contradicts the feelings. Theology becomes
anthropology; religion, mythology; pantheism, atheism; man, collective
humanity, becomes the sole object of the belief and respect which had been
previously given to Deity; religion vanishes in morality. The love of man
becomes the substitute for the love of God. This was a position analogous
to that which positivism reached in France, but from a mental instead of a
physical point of view. This form of thought found expression in
literature through the poetry of Heine,(835) and linked itself with
political theories of communism more extreme than the contemporary ones in

Still the lowest point was not reached: religion was treated as a
psychological peculiarity, and the virtue of benevolence recognised. But
when religion was felt to be only an idea, and the belief of the
supernatural to be the great obstacle to political reform, an intense
feeling of antipathy was aroused; and Schmidt,(836) under the pseudonym of
Stirner, reached the naturalistic point of view held by Volney, the
worship of self-love. This new school, which had arisen in the few years
subsequent to Strauss’s work, mingled itself with the revolutionary
movements of Germany in 1848, and was the means of exciting the alarm
which caused the suppression of them. Since that date the school has been
extinct as a literary movement.

The tendency just described was entirely destructive. The three others,
which remain for consideration, exist within the church, and are in their
nature reconstructive, and aim at repelling the attacks of Strauss and of
other previous critics. The one that we shall describe first is that which
is most rationalistic, and approaches most nearly to Strauss’s views; and
is frequently called, from the Swabian university which has been its
stronghold, the Tübingen school.(837) It is a lineal offshoot in some
slight degree from the school of Hegel, and more decidedly from the
critical school of De Wette, before named. But it stands contrasted with
the latter by caution, as marked as that which separates recent
critics(838) of Roman history from earlier ones, like Niebuhr. Like
Strauss, it restricts its attention to the New Testament; but it is a
direct reaction against his inclination to undervalue the historical
element. The great problem presented to it is, to reconstruct the history
of early Christianity, to reinvestigate the genesis of the gospel
biographies and doctrine. Declining to approach the books of the New
Testament with dogmatic preconceptions, it breaks with the past, and
interprets them by the historic method; proposing for its fundamental
principle to interpret scripture exactly like any other literary work.
Pretending that after the ravages of criticism, the Gospels cannot be
regarded as true history, but only as miscellaneous materials for true
history, it takes its stand on four of the Epistles of St. Paul, the
genuineness of which it cannot doubt, and finds in the struggle of Jew and
Gentile its theory of Christianity.(839) Christianity is not regarded as
miraculous, but as an offshoot of Judaism, which received its final form
by the contest of the Petrine or Judæo-Christian party, and the Pauline or
Gentile; which contest is considered by it not to have been decided till
late in the second century. By the aid of this theory, constructed from
the few books which it admits to be of undoubted genuineness, it guides
itself in the examination of the remainder, tracing them to party
interests which determined their aim, pronouncing on their object and date
by reference to it.(840) In this way it arrives at most extraordinary
conclusions in reference to some of them. Not one single book, except four
of St. Paul’s Epistles, is regarded to be authentic. The Gospel called
that of St. John is considered as a treatise of Alexandrian philosophy,
written late in the second century to support the theory of the Λόγος. It
will thus be perceived that the inquiry, though it professes to be
objective, yet has a subjective cast.

The leader of this school was Christian Baur, (39) lately deceased; a man
of large erudition; a wonder of acuteness even in Germany; distinguished
for the extraordinary ability displayed in his reply to the attacks made
on Protestantism by the celebrated Roman catholic theologian Moehler: and
though the doctrinal result of the school is ethics or pure Socinianism
and naturalism, and the critical opinions obviously are most extravagant,
the sagacity and learning shown in the monographs published by it make
them some of the most instructive, as sources of information, in modern
theology, to those who know how to use them aright. From an orthodox point
of view the effect of the school is most destructive; but, if viewed in
reference to the preceding schools, it manifests a tenacious hold over the
historic side of Christianity, and has affected in a literary way the
schools formerly described, which claim lineage from the older critics.

As the tendency just described is the modern representative of the older
critical schools; so the next holds a similar position to the

The school is frequently on this account described by the same name, of
“Mediation theology,”(841) originally applied to Schleiermacher, because
it attempts to unite science with faith, a true use of reason with a
belief in scripture. It comprises the chief theological names of Germany,
some of whom were disciples of Schleiermacher, others of the orthodox
portion of the Hegelian party. Their object is not simply, like the
revivers of Lutheran orthodoxy, to surrender the judgment to an external
authority in the church, nor to give unbounded liberty to it like the
critical school: not going back like the one to the ancient faith of the
church, nor progressing like the other to new discoveries in religion,
they seek to understand that which they believe, to find a philosophy for
religion and Christianity.

Two theologians stand out above the others, as evincing vitality of
thought, and boldly attempting to grapple with the philosophical
problems;—Dorner(842) and Rothe,(843) both very original, but bearing
traces of the influence of their predecessors. The former, moulded by the
Hegelian school, investigates the Christological problem which lies at the
basis of Christianity; the latter, moulded rather by the school of
Schleiermacher, has attempted the cosmological, which lies at the basis of
religion and providence.

The work of Dorner on “the Person of Christ” formed an epoch in German
theology, by its fulness of learning, its orthodoxy of tone, and its union
of speculative powers with historic erudition. The Christian doctrine of
the incarnation is, that God and man have been united in an historic
person as the essential condition for effecting human salvation. If the
doctrine be viewed on the speculative side, the problem is to show _à
priori_ that this historic union ought to exist; if viewed on the
historic, to prove that it has existed as a fact. The great aim of the
Christology of the Hegelian system was to effect the former; the aim of
Strauss was to destroy the latter. Dorner strove to reconstruct the
doctrine, by making the historical study of its progress the means of
supplying the elements of information for doing so. He commences by an
examination of other religions,(844) in order at once to show the
existence in them of blind attempts to realise that truth which the
incarnation supplied, and to prove the impossibility that the Christian
doctrine can have been borrowed from human sources, as the critical and
mythical interpreters would assume. He discovers in all religions the
desire to unite man to God; but shows(845) that the Christian doctrine
cannot have been derived from the oriental, which humanised God; nor from
the Greek, which deified man; nor from the Hebrew in its Palestinian form,
which degraded the idea of the incarnate God into a temporal Messiah; nor
in its Alexandrian form, which never reached, in its theory of the Λόγος,
the idea of the distinction of person of the Son from the Father. Thus
establishing the originality of the idea in Christianity, and exhibiting
it as the fulfilment of the world’s yearnings, he traces it in the
teaching of the apostles, and of the apostolic age,(846) next as marking
the different heretical sects,(847) which respectively lost sight of one
of the two elements, till he finds the church’s explicit statement of the
doctrine in its fulness;(848) and then pursues it onwards through the
course of history to the present time.(849) Though the work is to an
English mind difficult, through the air of speculation which pervades it,
and perhaps open to exception in some of its positions; yet, viewed as a
whole, it is a magnificent argument in favour of Christianity; exhibiting
the incarnation as the satisfaction for the world’s wants, as the original
and independent treasure in Christianity; and showing the process through
which Providence in history has caused the doctrine to be evolved and

The other great problem, the origin of things, and the relation of God to
the world, which is at the basis of religion, as the incarnation is at the
basis of Christianity, has been less frequently handled. Originally
discussed, like the latter, in controversy with the early unbelievers, it
had been touched upon in the speculations of Averroes and Spinoza, in the
materialism of French infidelity, and in the earlier systems of
speculative philosophy in Germany itself. It was this problem which was
attempted by Rothe. (40) Advancing beyond this first question, he has
considered the scheme of Providence in the development of religion, and
the theory of the Christian church in relation to political society. It is
unnecessary here to explain his system: his mind is too original to admit
of comparison without injustice; yet the speculations of our own
Coleridge, who on philosophical principles makes the state to be the
realisation of the church, will perhaps give some imperfect conception of
the character of his attempts.

This second school that we have been considering, though approximating
extremely nearly to orthodoxy, and furnishing the works of most value in
the modern theology, yet seeks to approach religion from the psychological
or philosophical side. It speculates freely, and believes revelation
because it finds it to coincide with the discoveries of free thought. But
there is a third tendency, which believes revelation without professing to
understand it; which rests on the revelation in scripture as an objective
verity, and believes the Bible on the ground of evidence, without
questioning its material.(850)

The first germ of this reaction in favour of rigid orthodoxy was
observable in the feeling aroused by the theses of Harms, in 1817, already
named, on occasion of the celebration of the tricentenary of the
Reformation; but it was quickened by the attempts, initiated by the
Prussian king, between the years 1821 and 1830, to unite the Lutheran and
Calvinistic branches of the Protestant church.(851)

The time seemed then to thoughtful men a fitting one, when doctrines were
either regarded as unimportant or superseded by the religious
consciousness, to unite these two churches under the bond of a common
nationality, and the practice of a common liturgy. But the old Lutheran
spirit, which still survived in the retirement of country parishes, was
aroused, and some pastors underwent deprivation and persecution rather
than submit to the union.(852) This new movement at first caught the
spirit of pietism, just as had been the case with that of Schleiermacher;
but gradually abandoned it for a dogmatic and churchlike aspect, as he for
a scientific expression. Its aim was to return to the Lutheranism of the
sixteenth century, and to rally round the confessions of faith of that
period. Hengstenberg(853) at Berlin, and Hävernick,(854) are the names
best known as representing this party at the period of which we speak.
Their efforts were directed to criticism rather than to doctrine, to
reconstruct the basis for Christianity in Judaism by defending the
authenticity and credibility of the ancient scriptures. In doctrine and
the canon, they reverted to the position of the Reformation. But the alarm
ensuing upon the work of Strauss, in 1835, invested this movement with a
more reactionary character; and the journal(855) which gave expression to
Hengstenberg’s views, gradually assumed the character of an ecclesiastical
censorship, frequently marked by defiance and severity, like the tone of
Luther of old.

The panic caused by the revolutions of 1848 gave increased stimulus, by
adding a political reaction to the religious. The extreme rationalist
party had favoured the Revolution, and the school of Schleiermacher had
supported the schemes for constitutional government. In the suppression of
liberty which ensued for about ten years, the orthodox movement in
theology united itself with the reaction in political. Absolute government
was not merely a fact, but a doctrine. The theological reaction was no
longer the spiritual aspiration of Germany seeking repose after doubt, but
a political movement veiled under an ecclesiastical colour. The result has
been, the creation of a Lutheran party far more extreme in its opinions
than the one just described;—the political leader of which in the Prussian
parliament was the jurist Stahl;(856)—intolerant towards other churches,
suspicious of any independent associations for religious usefulness in its
own, disowning pietism because of its unchurchlike character, and in its
principles going back beyond the Reformation, discarding the subjective
inward principle, and reposing on the objective authority of the church.
Taking a political view of religion, it does not so much ask what is
truth, but what the church asserts to be true. Though not offending
popular prejudices by the introduction of Romish doctrines or rites, it
really reposes on the Romish principle of a visible authoritative church
with mystical powers, upholding a rigid sacramental theory and the
doctrine of consubstantiation. Extending the sacramental efficacy to the
ministerial office, and denying communion between God and the individual
soul independently of the church as the element of communication.(857) Yet
it contains many honoured names, and has produced many instructive works.
The movement in English theology, which originated a generation ago in the
panic caused by the liberal acts of the government which was introduced by
the reform act,(858) offers a parallel; with the exception that the
ecclesiastical principles then advocated had always had supporters in the
English church, whereas they were nearly new in the Lutheran. The Lutheran
movement too, only proposes to go back to the Reformation, the English
ecclesiastical movement professed to go back to the early fathers. (41)

While the church has thus attempted a renovation of itself in doctrine,
the value of which some will dispute, all will allow thankfully that there
has been a deep increase of spiritual life throughout the German churches.
Religion indeed had never died out; but in the retirement of country
districts(859) the flame of divine love still burned with unextinguished
glory. This spiritual fire has now spread, and expressed itself in acts of
earnest life. Foreign missions have been promoted;(860) an inner or home
mission established for schools, and other religious agency;(861) and an
annual ecclesiastical diet(862) constituted, for promoting co-operation
and ecclesiastical improvement.(863)

These three separate movements of the present age, even when incorrect,
have contributed something to form a perfect theology. In the orthodox
school we see the attempt to return to the Bible, as interpreted by the
Reformation; in the mediation school, as interpreted by the religious
consciousness; in the critical school, as interpreted by historic and
critical methods.

We have now completed the history of the great movement in German
theology, in its two elements, doctrinal and critical. Commencing in the
first period,—in doctrine, with the disbelief of positive religion,
replacing dogma by ethics; and in criticism, supplying a rationalistic
interpretation: in the second, it was improved on the doctrinal side by
the separation of religion and ethics; and on the critical by a spiritual
acknowledgment of the literary characteristics and psychological
peculiarities of revelation: in the third, by a total reconstruction of
both inquiries, in a more historic and orthodox spirit; and by the
creation of a traditionalist position in reference to each. The solution
of the problem how to reconcile faith and reason, was attempted in the
first by obliterating faith; in the second by uniting them; in the third
by separating them. The whole movement stands remarkable, not only as
being the most singular instance in history, where the action of free
thought can be watched in its intellectual stages, disconnected in a great
degree from emotional causes, and where the effort was exercised by the
friends of religion, not by foes; but also in the circumstance that though
referable to the influence of similar intellectual causes as former epochs
of free thought, it is characterised by wholly different forms of them.

We have found, on nearer inspection, as might be anticipated in any great
movement of mind, that instead of being without purpose, and a mere heap
of ruins, there was a plan and method in it. It is a history which offers
much cause for sorrow and much for joy. Though, as has been before
remarked, a period of harrowing doubt in the life of an individual or a
nation is a melancholy subject for consideration, yet when it is not
induced by immorality, but produced, as in this instance, by the operation
of regular causes, and is the result of the attractiveness of new modes of
inquiry which invited application to the criticism of old truths, to be
accepted or rejected after being fully tested; there is something to
relieve the dreariness of the prospect. And when we look to the result,
there is abundant cause for thankfulness. The agitation of free thought
has produced permanent contributions to theology. Extravagant and shocking
as some of the inquiries have been, and injurious in a pastoral point of
view, being the utterance of men who had made shipwreck of faith; yet in a
scientific, hardly one has been wholly lost, and few could be spared in
building up the temple of truth. In criticism, in exegesis, in doctrine,
in history alike, how much more is known than before the movement
commenced: and what light has been thrown on that which is the very
foundation problem, the just limits of inquiry in religion. Each earnest
writer has contributed some fragment of information. At each point error
was met by an apologetic literature, rivalling it in learning and depth;
reason was conquered by reason; and though we cannot help rejoicing that
we are able to reap the results of the experience, without undergoing the
peril of acquiring it, yet we must acknowledge that the free and full
discussion has in the end resulted in truth: the very error has stimulated
discovery. So far from being a warning against having confidence in the
exercise of inquiry, it is an unanswerable ground for reposing confidence
in it.

Christianity is not a religion that need shrink from investigation.
Christians need not tremble at every onset. Our religion is vital, because
true; and we may place trust in the providence of God in history, which
overrules human errors and struggles for the permanent good of men; and,
extricating the human race from the follies of particular individuals,
makes the antagonism of free discussion the means to conserve or to
promote intellectual truth.

In concluding this sketch however it is proper to make a few remarks, as
hints to theological students, in reference to the study of works of
German theology. Many such works are translated, and many more exist in
the original, which are of the highest value,(864) and are likely to be
read, and indeed may justly be read, by all students of large cultivation.
The works of Schleiermacher or Dorner in doctrine, of De Wette or Ewald in
criticism, of Neander or Baur in history, are works of power as well as
erudition, and contain a treasure-house of information and suggestion for
those who know how to use them wisely, and separate the precious from the
untrue. While I have endeavoured to present a fair history of the whole
movement, I should feel inexpressible pain if these remarks were the means
of leading unwary students to plunge unguardedly into the study of many
parts of it. Its original connexion with the deist and ethical points of
view, and the constant sense of living in an atmosphere of controversy,
have impressed even some of the more orthodox writers with a few
peculiarities, of which a student ought to be made aware:—for example,
with a slight tendency to a kind of Christian pantheism; a disposition to
reduce miracle to a minimum; and in the department of Christian doctrine
to consider Christ’s life as more important than his death, and to regard
the atonement as an effect of the incarnation, instead of the incarnation
being the means to the atonement.

If then a young student would avoid a chaos of belief, and pursue a
healthy study of the German writers, there are two conditions which he
ought to observe. First, care should be taken to understand the precise
school of thought which his author represents, in order to be able to
allow for the possibility of prepossession in him;—a remark true in
reference to all literature, but especially important in that which marks
a particular phase of controversy. Secondly, a student’s duty to English
society, and to the church of which he is a member—as also, I humbly
venture to think, to his own soul—requires that he shall first listen
thoughtfully to the vernacular theology of England. Let him learn the
chief affirmative verities of the Christian faith before meddling with the
negative side. Let him master the grand thoughts or solid erudition of
Hooker and Pearson; of Bull, and Bingham, and Waterland; of Butler and
Paley;—the seven most valuable writers probably in the English church;—and
then reconsider his opinions by the light of foreign literature. Each one
of us is on his intellectual as well as moral trial. None whom duty calls
need be afraid to encounter it in God’s strength, and with prayer to
Christ for light and truth and love.


It remains to mark the influence produced by German theology on free
thought in other countries. (43)

In the remainder of this lecture we shall carry on the history of free
thought in France, from the point at which we left it(865) down to the
present time. We shall find that the open attacks on Christianity of
former times have ceased. There, as elsewhere, the present century has
been constructive of belief in spiritual realities, not destructive; but
the reconstruction has in some cases been so connected with an abnegation
of revelation, that it merits some notice in a history of free thought.

The speculative thought in France during the present century has
manifested itself chiefly under four forms:(866) (1) a sensational school,
called in the early part of the century Ideology, in the latter
Positivism: (2) a theological school, which has attempted to re-establish
a ground for reposing on dogmatic authority: (3) a social philosophy,
which has directed itself to the study of society and labour: and (4) the
eclectic philosophy, created by German thought, which has sought to
reconstruct truth on the basis of psychology. The chronological sequence
of these schools connects itself with the political sequence of events,
and has altered with their change. We must trace them briefly in
succession, in order to understand their religious influence and
tendencies. The first has tended directly to atheism, the second to
superstition, the two last indirectly to pantheism.

When treating of Volney in a former lecture, we noticed the philosophy
which took its rise amid the ruins caused by the revolution. Christianity
was replaced by materialism, theism by atheism, ethics by selfishness. The
philosophy of Cabanis, of Volney, and of De Tracy,(867) was founded so
entirely on a physical view of human nature, that it could hardly aid in
any way in instilling nobler conceptions. Society grew up without the
belief of God or immortality; but in this very poverty the system met its
downfall. The deep yearnings of the human heart craved satisfaction. The
inextinguishable poetry of the soul yearned for the spiritual; the
devotional instincts of human nature caught the first notes of that
heavenly melody to which they were naturally fitted to be attuned.

Literature rather than religion was the source from which the mind of
France began to imbibe the deep and spiritual conceptions which
obliterated the materialism of the revolution. The spiritual tone of such
a writer as Chateaubriand,(868) similar to that of the Romantic literature
of Germany, awakened in France early in the century the conceptions of a
world of spirit, of chivalrous honour, of immortal hope, of divine
Providence; and led mankind to feel that there was something in them
nobler than mere material organism; even a spirit that yearned for the
world invisible. Chateaubriand showed,(869) in answer to the school of
Voltaire, that Christianity was not merely suited to a rude age, but was
the friend of art, of intellect, of improvement. The church as yet
possessed only little influence. Beginning to revive under the fostering
influence of Napoleon, who saw clearly the necessity of cultivating
religion, its moral usefulness was lessened by falling under the suspicion
of opposing the public liberty, when patronised by the government after
the re-establishment of the monarchy.

The nobler conceptions just described, whether they arose from literature
or from religion, gradually penetrated into the minds of thoughtful men;
and, the ground being thus prepared, several rival systems of thought
gradually sprang up in the fifteen years (1815-1830) of the restoration of
the Bourbon dynasty. Accordingly, when the revolution of 1830 gave freedom
to France, there was a universal activity of mind, and free thought
assumed a bolder attitude; sceptical, if compared with the Christian
standard, but embodying deep moral convictions, if compared with the
unbelief of the last century. Among the definite schemes of philosophy,
theoretical or practical, which were proposed for acceptance, the first
which we shall notice was Socialism.(870)

It originated with St. Simon.(871) The stirring events of the great
revolutionary era, together with the social philosophy of Rousseau which
preceded it, had directed attention to the philosophy of social life. St.
Simon had lived through this period, and early in the present century
devoted himself to the study of schemes of social reform; and shortly
before his death in 1825, announced his ideas as a new religion, a new
Christianity. In the ferment which followed the revolution of 1830, the
opinions of this dreamer became suddenly popular, and, enlisting around
them some distinguished minds, forced themselves on the attention of the
public during the two following years; and as the political schemes which
resulted from them have left their mark on the theological literature of
the time, they merit some attention.

St. Simonism offered itself as a system of religion, of philosophy, and of
government, which should be the perfect cure of all the evils which
existed. The source of these evils St. Simon conceived to be the want of
social unity; individualism, selfishness, to be the cause of virtual
anarchy. He considered that philosophy and religion had striven in vain to
remedy the evil, because they had not made the spiritual to bear upon the
material interests of mankind. This, which was the true remedy, he
proposed to discover historically.

Borrowing the thought of the German philosophers, he sought it in the
elements which are to operate on human nature in the progress of its
development. The mode of development by which society advances to
perfection he found in a supposed law, that society shows two great
epochs, which in long cycles alternate,—the organic and the critical; the
former, where the individual is obedient to the purpose of the society;
the second, where the individual rises against it. He found two instances
of them in the ancient and modern world respectively, viz. in the ancient
pagan period and its disruption; and again in the Catholic centralization
of the middle ages, and the disorganization which succeeded from the time
of the Reformation to the French revolution. He considered himself to be
raised up to announce the dawn of the third organic period, the world’s
millennium, a new epoch, and a new religion. It was to be the realisation
of the fraternity, which the great moral teachers of the world had
promised and prepared. This religion consisted in raising the industrial
classes, by a scheme which it is irrelevant to our purpose to explain.

Contemporaneously with this socialist system was that of Fourier,(872)
which, though presented more as a scheme of social amelioration, and less
as a religion, implied the same abnegation of Christianity. Starting from
an avowedly pantheistic view of philosophy, the author of it gradually
passed through the sciences, until he arrived at man, and reached the
study of human history and constitutions. Exaggerating the good elements
of human nature, and ignoring the necessity for any other than a social
power to amend the heart, he traced the source of evil to social
competition, and proposed to rearrange society on the principle of
substituting co-partnership for competition.(873) The two ideas
accordingly which these speculations introduced were;—first, that European
society was approaching a crisis, the peculiarity of which, as distinct
from former ones, would be, that it would be an industrial revolution; and
the industrial mind would obtain the mastery of the administration; and,
secondly, that the accompaniment would be a new organization of industry
on the principle of co-operation. We cannot track these schools into their
ramifications(874) and their indirect expression in lighter
literature,(875) nor notice the levelling system of communism or
co-operative socialism which completed the cycle;(876) but it will be
remembered, that when the revolution of 1848 ensued, the schemes for
organization of labour were one of its peculiarities; the social republic
of those who regarded the democracy as a means, mixed with the political
republicans, who thought it to be an end.

It will be noticed that the schemes of these socialist philosophers,
though analogous as political theories, in proposing organization of
labour and consequent monopoly, to the English socialism of Owen before
named, are unlike it in philosophical origin and religious tendency. In
philosophical origin his system rests on sensation, theirs on feeling; his
degrades human nature, theirs elevates it. His denounces priestcraft as
imposture, and religion as obsolete; theirs, though identifying religion
and industry, regards religion as the highest expression of humanity, the
great goal to which nature is developing: his leads to deism or atheism,
theirs to pantheism. Yet theirs is not less hurtful, for they reject with
contempt the dogmatic teaching of revelation, though they appropriate the
Christian virtues; like the German philosophy they resolve the Deity into
a law, according to which the universe evolves.

One of the minds however which was trained in the school of St. Simon,
viz. Comte,(877) has developed a system known by the name of Positivism,
which in its effects is not merely thus negative, but amounts to positive
and dogmatic unbelief. He showed traces of the school from which he
sprang, both in considering politics to be the highest science, in
regarding humanity as a progress, and in adducing individualism as the
sole cause of social evil and anarchy. He commenced similarly by taking an
estimate of the present state of knowledge, and seizing the law which
presides over the progress of knowledge.(878) This law he stated as
consisting of three stages, through which each science passes as it grows
to perfection; the first, the theological or imaginative stage, wherein
the mind inquires into final causes, and refers phenomena to special
providence; the second, the metaphysical, wherein the idea of supernatural
or personal causes being discarded, it seeks for abstract essences; the
third, the positive, wherein it rests content with generalized facts, and
does not ask for causes.(879) The first in its religious phase is
theistic; the second pantheistic; the third atheistic. The perfection of
science consists in reaching the third stage, wherein the knowledge is
strictly generalized from sensation. Having thus seized the law which
presides over intellectual development, and settled the limits of the
human reason to be confined to phenomena, agreeing in this respect with
the ideologists, and opposed to Cousin, he next offered a classification
of the sciences, commencing with the simplest, and showing that, as the
mind passes from the simple to the complex, the methods of investigation
multiply; accompanying his account by a delineation of the steps in each
case by which science attains perfection; and thus gradually ascending to
the science of man(880) and society, to which the preliminary
investigation had been the preface, designed to prepare the way for
showing how the science of society may be similarly brought into the
positive stage.

Such is the scheme of Comte. The very breadth of it possesses an
attraction; and if viewed merely as a logic of the sciences, it may justly
command attention. Many of the analyses which he supplies of the methods
and history of science are masterly; and his generalisations, even when
hasty, are fertile in suggestion. He was a most original and powerful
thinker; scientific rather than artistic. But his philosophy, viewed as a
whole, is a grand system of materialism which is silent about God, spirit,
personal immortality; diametrically opposed to Christianity, in that it
makes man’s social duty higher than his individual, science the only
revelation, demonstration the only authority, nature’s laws the only
providence, and obedience to them the only piety; and destroys
Christianity by destroying the possibility of its proof. In later life
this distinguished man, feeling the unutterable yearnings of the religious
sentiment, and the necessity that his philosophy should afford
satisfaction to them, invented the system of religion developed in his
catechism;(881) in which, in a manner analogous to that employed by
Feuerbach or St. Simon, he regarded the collective humanity as the true
God, the proper object of worship and reverence; and marked out a church
and a cult, the caricature of the Catholic church, in which the world’s
heroes should receive canonization. The probability of mental derangement
palliates the absurdity of this system in the originator, but throws the
burden of responsibility from the master upon those who are insane enough
to adopt it.

We have traced two of the schools which flourished in the second quarter
of this century. Another remains, which has incurred from opponents the
charge of pantheism, viz. the idealist school, commonly called the
Eclectic; (44) which was especially dominant in France, and in the
university of Paris, during the rule of the Orleans dynasty. Viewed as a
philosophy it is a very noble one. Implying, as its name denotes, an
attempt to reap the harvest of the industry of all preceding schools of
philosophy, it was the chief means of restoring intellectual and spiritual
belief to France, and of creating the great movement of historical study
which marks that period of French literature. Commencing with a reaction
against the materialist and sensationalist school, it sought, by imitating
the mode by which Reid had refuted the philosophical scepticism of Hume,
to find a method for restoring belief in spiritual realities; and
afterwards, when its chief leader Cousin(882) had been exiled to Germany,
he brought back an acquaintance with the successive speculative schools
which existed there.

The results of the preceding efforts are expressed in him. His system
consisted in a psychological analysis of the human consciousness, which
led him to believe, that spiritual truth is revealed to the reason, or
intuitional and impersonal power, apart from the limitations of sense, or
of the ordinary critical faculties; that the true, the beautiful, and the
good, are perceived by it in their absolute, unlimited essence; and that
the revelation of the infinite is the basis of all intellectual truth, of
all moral obligation, and offers the clue to the criticism of religion,
the solution of the problems of history, and the construction of a
philosophy of the universe. Its chief effect on literature, the permanent
contribution which it has made to human improvement, is to encourage the
historic study of every branch of phenomena, and especially to exemplify
it in the history of thought. Asserting that human society is a gradual
progress of development and of improvement, it regards every age as
manifesting some phase of truth, or of error, and contributing its portion
of knowledge to the student. Humanity is regarded as a divine revelation:
its social and intellectual changes as manifestations of the Eternal.

From this account, brief though it be, the relation will be evident which
such a philosophy and the historic method of eclectic discovery would have
towards religion.

As a system of psychology it is potent, as a means of reasserting the
dignity of human nature against the material and selfish ethics of a
preceding age, and of reconstructing the basis of ethics and natural
religion: but as an ontology, it is in danger of unconscious pantheism; of
identifying God with the universe, and regarding Him merely as a name to
describe a process, instead of a person. As a philosophy of humanity, it
identifies the natural revelation in history with the supernatural; finds
in the psychological faculty of intuition, not merely the basis for, but
the explanation of, the phenomenon of inspiration;(883) and in its view of
religion is essentially antidogmatic, regarding religion as imperfect and
progressive; the idea universal, the symbol transient; and allows the
psychological truthfulness of all creeds; and regards Christianity as only
the most refined species of them, as one of the transient forms that the
religious sentiment has adopted, and as destined to give place to
philosophy; beneficial to humanity, but not constituting it.

This philosophy therefore, though containing so many noble elements, ended
in the view which we have already seen to exist in the Gnostic and German
rationalism, that Christianity was not to be final, the one solitary and
final religious utterance of God to man.(884)

The three schools illustrate the principal tendencies in which unbelief
manifested itself in France previous to the establishment of the
empire;(885) and show clearly the intimate relation of particular kinds of
sceptical views to particular systems of metaphysical philosophy.(886)

In the latter years of Napoleon I. the struggle first commenced between
the Voltairian party and the church; a middle course being taken by the
eclectics. The constitutional tendency of this last school gave them the
moral victory during the restoration, over the democratic tendency of the
one and the reactionist of the other. After the revolution of 1830, the
socialist struggle was superadded; which, when mixed with the old
ideology, produced Positivism.

The catholic church had sought to restore faith in Christianity, partly by
the establishment of _Conférences_,(887) lectures to reply to the systems
now described; and partly by trying to satisfy the reason by establishing
a rival philosophy, and stating philosophically the grounds of faith. (45)
This philosophy, though noble in its aim, and taught by many pious minds,
is visionary. It was based on the principle first evolved by Huet; the
weakness of human reason, and the supposed necessity of submission to
authority. In De Maistre, its founder, who carried out in philosophy what
Chateaubriand did in literature, it was the suggestion of an abject
submission to the papacy, as the living authority on earth; accompanied by
a sceptical disbelief of the value of inductive science. It has expressed
itself in different forms; but in all it has been an attempt to find a
solution for difficulties by means of religion instead of philosophy; an
attempt analogous to that in other lands, not merely to restrain the human
reason in matters of religion, but to inculcate distrust of it; falling
into the very error which Plato made his master describe, of those who,
baffled in the search for truth, blame not their own unskilfulness, but
reason itself; and pass the rest of their lives in contempt of it; and
thus are deprived of the knowledge that they seek.

The history of thought in France, thus studied, exhibits a general
resemblance to that of Germany in its forms and tendency. In both alike
there has been a contest, between the school which seeks to absorb
Christianity in philosophy, and that which extinguishes philosophy by
Christianity. There is an absence indeed in France of the spiritual return
to a living Christian faith, the union of science and piety, which is
observable in the latter country. But within the sphere of natural
religion, in reference to the belief in a spiritual world, an advance is
perceptible, if the present condition of France be measured against that
which was observable at the period when the philosophic unbelief of the
last century predominated.

Since the re-establishment of the empire, some of the forms of philosophy
which have been described have almost disappeared. The socialist
philosophy has become extinct as a direct movement; the eclectic school
has gradually passed from philosophy to literature; and the chief
tendencies, so far as mere materialism does not, as in most reactions,
extinguish thought, are toward a modification of eclecticism on the one
hand, and to ultramontism on the other.(888)

The difference of this new eclecticism from the former kind seen in
Cousin, lies in the fact that while that was chiefly derived from
Schelling’s philosophy, this is an offshoot from Hegel. The one considered
that the mind, by its intuitions, can find absolute truth, and by the
light of these absolute ideas can criticise history, and prejudge the end
toward which society is moving. This denies the possibility of attaining
absolute truth. All being is a state of flux: all knowledge is relative to
its age. Philosophy expires in historical criticism; in the history of the
soul of man under its various manifestations. It rests in what is; it
judges only from fact. The absolute is displaced by the relative; being by
becoming.(889) Though not positivism in its aspects, this system is so in
its scientific results.(890)

The unbelief is critical, not aggressive. The grand idea of an historical
progress, of tracing especially the historic growth of ideas, of culture,
of the great unfolding of humanity, presides over religious speculations,
and lends its fascinating power and its danger. The necessity is
recognised for solving the nature of the religious consciousness, and
satisfying its wants; but the remedy is sought in other means than in
Christianity. While this is the condition of the philosophy just
described, positivism, so far as it prevails, is wholly antichristian, and
regards religion as the product of an unscientific age, for which a belief
in nature’s laws and science is a sufficient substitute. Christianity,
though the ripest of religious forms, is only symbolical of a higher truth
towards which humanity is tending.

We may select the name of a writer who stands pre-eminent in critical
investigations connected with religion, as the best representative of the
tone assumed in reference to the Christian faith by the most highly
educated younger spirits of the French nation, of whose literature he is
one of the brightest living ornaments,—Ernest Renan.(891) Exhibiting a
mind of the rarest delicacy, and bearing traces of the collective
cultivation which arises from detailed acquaintance with most varied
branches of human culture, he has brought his vast acquaintance with the
Semitic tongues to bear on the historical criticism of portions of the
Hebrew literature; and has sketched with the hand of a master the great
passages in the history of religion,—the symbolism of mythology; the
monotheistic systems, Jewish, Christian, and Mahometan; the four chief
phases of Christianity, the Catholic, the Protestant, the Socinian, the
rationalist;(892) and has speculated on the future religious tendencies of
the age, in essays, which those who feel most deeply pained with the views
presented must acknowledge to be marked by rare power and freshness.
Possessing a delicate appreciation of the past, and a cheerful confidence
in the future; loving the advance of the knowledge of physical nature, yet
protesting against the tendency to materialism; dreading the democracy of
opinion, which threatens to suppress independence of inquiry by a power
analogous to centralization in the state; the artist no less than the
critic, imaginative as well as reflective, he may be studied as in all
respects the contrast to the French philosopher of the last century, and
as the type of the cultivated minds on whom Christianity has made its
impression. His view of philosophy is the one recently explained: his view
of religion and of Christianity, so far as we can gather it indirectly
from his criticisms, seems to mark a belief in the religious sentiment as
a subjective feeling, rather than in the reality of its external object of
worship. Its objective side seems to him to be a symbolism, and Christian
dogma to be an obsolete form of religious philosophy; inspiration a form
of natural consciousness; and even its highest expression to be but the
poetry, the art, of the imaginative faculties. There is audible at times
an undertone of despondency, as the sigh of one who has searched for truth
and not found it;(893) and who, in despair of discovering it on the
intellectual side, has taken refuge in the moral. Religion, vain
speculatively, is resolved by him into ethics. Faith expires in
conscience; dogma in morality. And this interesting writer closes his
speculations with the regret, that he feels himself isolated from those
Christian saints whose characters he regards as the purest in the
world.(894) Such may probably be regarded as the type of thought of the
most educated thinkers of France; a feeling of partial belief, partial
doubt; a keen appreciation of the beauty of the character of the great
Founder of Christianity, and of the type of Christian morality, yet mixed
with an entire distrust in the reality of all doctrines respecting the
object of faith, from belief in which alone, as we contend, this morality
is the product.

Doubts always suggest replies; and there are not wanting minds in the
Protestant church of France (46) that fully appreciate the doubts of
educated minds such as these, and try to meet them by a more persuasive
method than that by which the Catholic school sought to meet the doubters
of the earlier part of the century. By the improper concessions however
which they have made to save the vital part of religion, they have
themselves incurred the charge of sharing the rationalism of the country
with whose literature they are acquainted. Assuming a position somewhat
like Schleiermacher’s, they are careful to distinguish between critical
theology and doctrinal, and endeavour to propagate the latter rather than
the former. Yet in the branch of doctrinal theology, it must be feared
that they have either conceded some of the mysteries of Christianity as
obsolete, or at least have improperly concealed them as likely to repel
doubters. Though we must indeed be careful wisely to divide the word of
life, and not to quench the quivering flame of faith by creating an
unnecessary repugnance; yet, if Christianity be a supernatural revelation
from God, our plain course is to present the truth as it is in Jesus,
unmutilated in the mystery of its difficulties, and leave the result with

There is one feature however, in which these writers are a pattern worthy
of imitation by all Christian apologists. They preach to doubters not
Christian dogmas, but Christ. If the doubters can be brought to appreciate
Christ; to meditate on his life; to think of him as one who tasted of
human suffering, and knew the poignancy of human temptation; and whose
heart of tender pity was ever open to the petition of the needy; they will
first admire, then believe, then trust: and when they have learned to love
him as a Man of pity, it is to be hoped that they may be brought, by the
drawings of the Holy Spirit, to worship and adore him as a God of love.
Beginning, not with history, but with feeling; starting with a religion
based on the intuitive consciousness of needing Divine help; we may hope
to prepare them for receiving the historic testimony which tells of the
Divine plan for human redemption: leading them from the sense of sin to
Him who saves from sin; from the inward to the outward; from Christ to
Christianity; from Christian doctrine to the perfectness of Christian


    ECCLES. xii, 13.

    _Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and
    keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man._

In the last lecture we brought the history of unbelief on the continent
down to the present time. In this, the concluding one of the series, we
shall complete the history of it in our own country or language during
this century; and afterwards deduce the moral of our whole historical
sketch, and suggest practical inferences.

In the account of unbelief in England, given in a previous lecture,(895)
we hardly entered upon the present century, except so far as to observe
the influence of the philosophy of the last on works of literature, such
as those of Shelley; or on political speculations, such as those of Owen.
Yet even here we were already made to feel the presence of the new
influences, which have completely altered the tone of unbelief. Even
Shelley’s later works, though marked by the outbursts of bitter passion
against religion, contain more of the spiritual perception which is the
characteristic of present thought:(896) and the oblivion into which Owen’s
system soon fell, save as it has been resuscitated in moments of political
disaffection, together with its failure to leave a permanent impression,
like the socialist systems of France, arose from the circumstance that the
one-sided survey of man’s nature, on which it was based, could not deceive
an age which was characterised by an increasing depth in its moral

The unbelief of the present day differs from that of the last century in
tone and character; and in many respects shares the traits already noticed
in the modern intellectualism of Germany, and the eclecticism of France.
It is not disgraced by ribaldry; hardly at all by political agitation
against the religion which it disbelieves: it is marked by a show of
fairness, and professes a wish not to ignore facts, nor to leave them
unexplained. Conceding the existence of spiritual and religious elements
in human nature, it admits that their subjective existence as facts of
consciousness, no less than their objective expression in the history of
religion, demands explanation, and cannot be hastily set aside, as was
thought in the last century in France, by the vulgar theory that the one
is factitious, and the other the result of priestly contrivance. The
writers are men whose characters and lives forbid the idea that their
unbelief is intended as an excuse for licentiousness. Denying revealed
religion, they cling the more tenaciously to the moral instincts: their
tone is one of earnestness; their inquiries are marked by a profound
conviction of the possibility of finding truth: not content with
destroying, their aim is to reconstruct. Their opinions are variously
manifested. Some of them appear in treatises of philosophy; others
insinuate themselves indirectly in literature: some of them relate to
Christian doctrines; others to the criticism of scripture documents: but
in all cases their authors either leave a residuum which they profess will
satisfy the longings of human nature, or confess with deep pain that their
conclusions are in direct conflict with human aspirations; and, instead of
revelling in the ruin which they have made, deplore with a tone of sadness
the impossibility of solving the great enigma.

It is clear that writers like these offer a wholly different appearance
from those of the last century. The deeper appreciation manifested by them
of the systems which they disbelieve, and the more delicate learning of
which they are able to avail themselves, constitute features formerly
lacking in the works of even the most serious-minded deists,(897) and
require a difference in the spirit, if not in the mode, in which
Christians must seek to refute them.

The solution of this remarkable phenomenon is to be found in the universal
change which has passed over every department of mental activity in
England in the present century. The peculiar feature of it may be
described by the word _spirituality_, if that word be used to imply, in
contrast to the utilitarian and materialist tendencies of the last
century, the consciousness in ourselves, and appreciation in others, of
the operation of the human spirit, its rights, its powers, and its
effects. This conviction stimulates in one the vivid consciousness of duty
and moral earnestness; in another it hallows human labour, and throws a
blessedness around the struggles of industry; in another it kindles the
inspiration of art, breaking up conventionalities of style, or expresses
itself in poetry, in soliloquies on the inner feelings or in meditations
on life, as a set of problems to be explained by the heart. Elsewhere it
lifts the man of science above the grovelling idea that discoveries must
be sought solely for the purpose of utility. Again, transferring its
perception of the operation of spirit to the world of nature, it not
unfrequently attributes a soul thereto, and induces a subtle pantheism.
Sometimes too by a singular reaction it has a tendency, by the moral
earnestness which it stimulates, to depress intellectual speculation, and
to wear the appearance of fostering the utilitarianism which it combats.

Such is the central principle which characterises our literature, and
which, through the diffusion of reading, has moulded the public judgment,
and, operating in every department of educated thought, has even altered
the form in which unbelief expresses itself.

Probably the successive steps of the growth of this subjective tendency in
literature might admit of easy statement. The meditative school of poetry,
which flourished early in the century(898) among a few refined minds at
the English lakes; which loved to ponder mystically on nature or on the
spiritual world, or to catch the thought excited in the mind by nature,
and follow the series of thoughts which the law of mental association
suggested,(899) was one means of creating a subjective and spiritual taste
among the youth of the generation which succeeded.

Another cause was found in the philosophy which arose. The years following
the general declaration of peace, while the public attention was directed
to the political reforms which were consummated in the Reform act, were
marked by the thorough investigation of the first principles of every
branch of knowledge. Two minds of that period have, more than any other,
affected the succeeding generation; the one a utilitarian philosopher, the
other an intuitional.

Both alike carried out the system which Descartes and Bacon had
inaugurated, of finding the standard of truth in the analysis of the
powers of the human understanding. But Bentham criticised to destroy the
past; Coleridge to rebuild it. The one asked, Is a doctrine true? The
other asked, what men had meant by it who had thought it so?(900) The one
overlooked the truth previously known; the other too boldly strove to
rebuild it from his own consciousness, after surrendering the old proofs
of it. The one, with the practical spirit of the Englishman, looked upon
an opposing opinion only as an object suited for attack; the other, with a
spirit caught from Germany, felt that there was some truth everywhere
latent. But both were reformers; both stimulated the revolt against the
cold spirit of the last century; both contributed to create, the one
indirectly, the other intentionally, a subjective spirit by their
psychological analysis.

Even movements which at first sight seem most alien to this spirit in
character, have really been affected unconsciously by it.(901) The
ecclesiastical reaction which sprang up about a quarter of a century ago,
though seemingly most objective in its nature, witnessed not less than the
very opposite, or rationalistic tendency, to the presence of this
influence. For both alike were founded on the idea that religion lacked a
philosophical groundwork: both sought a new ground of faith different from
that of the last century; the one in those utterances of consciousness
which created a reverence for historic tradition; the other in those
intuitions which were supposed to rise above scripture and tradition, and
to form the basis and measure of both.

The causes just named in literature and philosophy respectively, are some
of those which have contributed to create or to foster the change in the
character of the literature, and in the spirit of the age, which has
produced the alteration of tone which exists in the modern sceptical

In passing from these remarks on the peculiarly subjective tone of modern
unbelief, and the literary influences which have produced the general
change in the public taste, of which it is only one example, to an
enumeration of the authors who have given expression to doubt, and of the
specific forms of doubt now existing, we encounter a difficulty of

The most obvious arrangement would be to place the writers in groups,
according as they manifest a tendency toward atheism, pantheism, deism, or
rationalism,(902) respectively; but the mode which more nearly accords
with our general purpose would be to adopt a philosophical rather than a
theological classification, and arrange them according to the variety in
the tests of truth employed by them, and the sources from which their
arguments start, rather than the conclusions at which they arrive. Perhaps
the advantage of both plans will be in a great degree combined, if we
classify them according to the branch of science, physical, mental, or
critical, from which the doubts take their rise.

We shall commence with those writers who make sensation to be the last
appeal in belief, or whose doubts arise either from the methods or the
results of physical science. This class of opinions varies from positive
disbelief of the supernatural, generated by the fixed belief in the
stability of nature and disbelief of miraculous interference, to merely
isolated objections suggested by the conflict between the discoveries of
natural science and the statements of holy scripture.

The name which most fitly describes the extreme form of unbelief is
Positivism.(903) This system of philosophy, already stated to have been
invented by Comte, is silent about the existence of a Deity. It inculcates
the belief in general laws, and acknowledges the order in Nature, which we
are accustomed to regard as the result of mind; but declines to argue to
the existence of a designing mind, where the evidence cannot be verified
by proof referable to sensation. Nature’s laws are in its view the only
Providence; obedience to them the only piety. A few minds may be found,
which not only accept the positive philosophy, but even receive the
religion taught in the positivist catechism.(904) Unable to satisfy the
longings of their heart by this system of Cosmism, they receive the
extravagant idea of the worship of humanity, which Comte invented in his
later days.

Such a creed cannot hold the masses. But Positivism in another shape,
called Secularism,(905) is actively propagated among the lower orders.
Replacing the sensuous philosophy and political antipathies of Owen, it is
taught, unconnected with the political agitation which marked his views,
as a philosophy of life, and a substitute for religion. It asserts three
great principles:—first, that nature is the only subject of knowledge; the
existence of a personal God being regarded as uncertain: secondly, that
science is the only Providence: and thirdly, that the great business of
man is, as the name, secularism, implies, to attend to the affairs of the
present world, which is certain, rather than of a future, which is
uncertain. Not content however with this negative position, the writers of
this class, as was to be expected, have directed positive attacks against
the special doctrines of Christianity, and regard the Bible to be the
enemy of progress.(906)

It is impossible to estimate the extent to which these views are diffused.
The statistics of the sale of secularist tracts would doubtless give an
exaggerated idea of it. The high standard of morality advocated in them,
so likely to attract rather than repel, the clear writing, and the
agreement of the views with the experience afforded by the daily life of
working men, give them power among the lower orders. The absorbing
character of labour has a tendency, especially in an advanced state of
civilization, to depress the sense of the supernatural in man, and fix his
thoughts on the present world: and it is generally the sense of trouble
alone which can lift men out of themselves, and recall to their
remembrance the presence of a God on whom the sorrowing heart may lean for

Opinions derived from positivism, or at least from physical science, enter
into other spheres of thought than those just named; and both affect
writers who hardly touch upon the subject of religion; and create
difficulties in the minds of Christians themselves, either in reference to
prime doctrines of religion, or the particular teaching on physical
questions implied in the sacred books.

The diffusion of the fundamental conception of the perpetuity of nature’s
laws, has a tendency to create in literature a mode of viewing the world
alien to the providential view of the divine government implied in
religion. The application of statistics in social philosophy for the
discovery of the general laws which regulate society and create
civilization, not unfrequently leaves an impression that man as well as
matter depends upon fixed laws; which is irreconcileable with belief in
human freedom or in divine interference, and sometimes causes religion to
be regarded as a conservative force, which in its nature is alien to

Nor is the danger confined to the various branches of secular literature:
the views of even religious men are not unfrequently modified by it, or
painful doubts are created where the head contradicts the heart. In
proportion as phenomena are shown not to depend on chance, the misgiving
is felt as to the reality of special providence and the value of prayer,
in reference to temporal affairs. The sphere for confiding petitions is
felt to be narrowed; and miracles, instead of becoming an evidence for
religion, become a difficulty. Even where fundamental difficulties, such
as these, do not sap the religious life, the belief that the inspiration
of the sacred books guarantees the truth of the views of physical science,
the cosmogony, physiology, ethnology, and chronology, contained therein,
creates a further body of difficulties,(908) less fundamental but more
painful, because founded on the apparent want of harmony of scripture with
the progressive discoveries of natural science.

While these are the species of temptations to unbelief which appertain to
one source of opinions, viz. that which relies upon sensation as the
ultimate test of truth; doubts similar in character, though different in
cause, manifest themselves in that portion of our literature which appeals
for its proof to the faculty of insight, and which believes in mental
sources of information which are independent of sensation. If the one
tends towards atheism, or to a deism in which the world is viewed as a
machine; the other tends towards pantheism or to naturalism, wherein no
opportunity for interposition by miraculous revelation is retained, but
the inner consciousness of man is regarded as able to create a religion.
The former class of views belongs to minds accustomed to experimental
science; this to those which are conversant with spiritual or æsthetic
subjects: the former expresses itself in the region of science, and tempts
men of thought; the latter expresses itself rather in the region of
literature, and tempts men of sentiment.

One writer, a prince in the region of letters,(909) may be adduced, many
of whose works imply, directly or indirectly, a mode of viewing the world
and society contrary to that which is taught in Christianity. He is the
highest type of the antagonist position which literature now assumes in
reference to the Christian faith, and which finds some parallel in the
contest which occurred in Julian’s time, and at the Renaissance.

Though possessing too much originality to borrow consciously from the
literature of Germany, yet it is easy to discover that the fire of his
imagination has been kindled in contact with the marvellous insight of
Goethe, the pathos of Jean Paul, and the faith in eternal truth which
marked Jacobi. Their rival rather than disciple, he hails the philosophy
of his own country as a first approximation to truth; but regards the
German mind as having seen more deeply than any other of modern times into
the mysteries of existence. Though not formal enough to throw his
philosophy into a system, he has left an impress on the English literature
of this century. In every branch of literature which he has surveyed, he
has made it his mission to expose the hollow formalism, the cold
materialism, which he considers that utilitarian philosophy had produced.
“Self in the sense of selfishness, and God as the artificial property of a
party;” these have been said to be the two faults which he sees in
politics, in science, in law, in literature, in religion: and, to oppose
this inrush of objective knowledge; to call man to a recognition of his
better self, to the unaltering spiritual laws stamped in the structure of
the human consciousness, and to God as the eternal, infinite Divinity,
whose presence fills creation; this is the mission which he has striven to

Yet can there be no doubt that the victory of this great truth is won at
the sacrifice of others; and that in the general tone of his writings, and
above all in his memoir of the doubter Sterling,(910) he occupies a
position opposed to the particular forms of religious truth taught by
Christianity, and one which a philosopher of tastes cognate to his own,
Coleridge, forming himself under the psychological rather than the
literary influence of German thought, strove to retain. In elevating the
doctrine of the revelation in the soul, he regards as unnecessary the
revelation in the book:(911) his teaching tends to inculcate a worship of
earnestness, and to ignore all consideration of the object toward which
the earnestness is directed. In asserting the reality of spiritual laws in
the soul, he has implied the veracity of all religions, caring only for
the subjective zeal of the believer, not for the objects of his
belief.(912) In opposing the mechanical view of the universe, he is so
overwhelmed with the mystery which belongs to it, that the soul recoils in
the hopelessness of speculation, to rest content with work rather than
belief. And his readers, attracted by his power of satire and depth of
insight, expressed in a style full of force by reason of its peculiarity,
return to their daily life after imbibing his teaching, excited to greater
earnestness and faithfulness, but filled, it is to be feared, with a
contempt for objective systems, for dogmatic truth, and for the Christian

In the master the strong and deep sense of personality and of freedom
obliterates the tendency to absorb human individuality in the overpowering
mystery of the universe; but this tendency is developed in the early works
of an American writer,(914) who has drawn from some of the same sources as
the author just described, but who also owes much directly to him. In him
philosophy seems to degenerate into pantheism. Nature is a vast whole, in
which we are parts, vibrations of a chord, radiations of the eternal
light.(915) Starting from a unitarian point of view, Christianity appears
to be resolved into natural religion; and the historic view of
Christianity, and the habit of considering the revelation as something
long ago given, are regarded as being at the bottom of the decay of
religion. In his admiration of genius, he seems to imply an idolatry of
mere intellect; and developes that tendency which has been always
observable in pantheism to unite the worlds of good and evil, and teach
that evil is “good in the making.” The universe is God; evil and good are
equally essential parts of it.

This peculiar tendency to narrow the barrier between the two worlds is
observable, not merely in direct admissions of writers like the one just
adduced, but lurks as a peculiar danger in the modern literature of
fiction. The danger in fiction, as in all art, can arise only from the
character of the subject portrayed, or the manner employed in producing
the copy. In the present day the evil arises specially from the latter
cause. The subjective spirit, causing a perception of the duty of
exactness, has contributed to foster a realistic taste in art, which
requires such minuteness of treatment, that a work of fiction so
constructed, while preserving the freshness of nature, may violate moral
perspective, and leave the impression that good and evil are inseparably
intermixed in each character or in nature itself. The very photographic
exactness of the modern novel copies the features without selection or
discrimination, and presents each moral character as a mixed one, and
makes evil pass into good, and good into evil. Though it is quite true
that no character is unmixed, yet it ought not to be forgotten that the
evil is present as a disease, the good as the normal state. If approached
from the philosophical side, the presence of evil as well as its origin is
inexplicable, save by the pantheistic hypothesis; if approached however
from the moral, our own instincts tell us that it is diametrically opposed
to good; and it is important to be on our guard against the influence of
modern literature, which in any way implies the contrary.

We have hitherto exhibited the systems in the present day, which by their
influence, direct or indirect, assume a position antagonistic to
Christianity. Commencing with positivism, we explained the doubts which,
being built on a sensationalist basis, reject the possibility of
revelation; or, on an ideal, reject its necessity. We now proceed to
describe the works written as direct attacks upon Christianity, founded
indeed on an idealist basis, but in which the philosophy is in the main
subordinate to the critical investigation. Marked by the improved tone
which was before described, and enriched with the fruits of the researches
of German theologians, they form at once the books which are likely to
meet us in daily life; and equal those of past generations in subtlety and
danger. We shall commence with those which are most openly infidel, and
gradually pass onward to those which shade off almost into unitarianism,
until we reach the critical difficulties which in the writings of avowedly
Christian professors have given ground for the charge of rationalism.

The first writer to be named(916) is one who in two works, the one “a
Comparison of the Intellectual Progress of Hebrews and Greeks in their
religious development,” the other on “the Origin of Christianity,” has
made a daring attempt, not to refute Christianity directly, but to grapple
with the historic problem of the origin of revealed religions; and
endeavoured to explain them by regular historic and psychical
considerations. In making this attempt he has availed himself of the
modern investigations into mythology, and the relation which it bears at
once to the soul, to philosophy, and to religion. In the last century
mythology was either derided in a Lucian-like spirit, or else regarded as
the relic of primitive traditions. In the present these views have mostly
disappeared; and the theories which exist in reference to it are chiefly
two, in the one of which myths are explained by nature-worship, and sacred
mysteries, and are regarded as parables descriptive of natural processes;
in the other they are regarded as being connected with the origin of
language, and the transfer of names from one object to another. (47) It is
the former view which this writer has employed. Commencing with the Hebrew
Cosmogony,(917) he traces the origin of the metaphysical notion of
God(918) through personification and polytheism, up to theism; and next
the origin of the moral notion of God,(919) regarding the notion of a fall
to be a hypothesis to account for sin; and explains away the idea of
mediation by the absurd theory of supposing it to be made up of the two
notions, of emanation, and of a waning deity derived from the
personification of natural processes.(920) Having thus used mythology, in
the manner of Volney, to illustrate the rise of these conceptions among
the Greeks and Hebrews respectively, he enters(921) upon the religious
history of the Hebrew people, and attempts to show that the idea of the
theocracy with temporary rewards suggested the two correlative ideas of
temporary reverse, and eventual restoration; and thus, by the
personification of the people’s suffering, led to the idea of a suffering
Messiah.(922) Discussing the complex Messianic conception, he tries to
explain its origin by natural causes, by resolving it(923) into a
combination of the different types of thought, presented in the earlier
history. Approaching the subject of Christianity, he considers it to be
one of the Jewish sects, a lawful continuation of the prophetic
reforms;(924) therein anticipating the idea which he has developed in the
second work above named, concerning the rise and progress of Christianity;
in which he has adopted the views of the historical criticism of the
school of Tübingen. Regarding Christianity to be a reform of Judaism mixed
with Greek dogmas,(925) he attributes to St. Paul, in contrast to the
Jewish apostles, the idea of giving it universality; and to the early
Roman church the idea of giving it unity;(926) illustrating by natural
causes the gradual origin of the church,(927) and the pretended concretion
of dogmas(928) by mixture with Alexandrian philosophy.

These works, too recondite to be popular, and too unsatisfactory to be
dangerous, do not appear likely to affect largely the English inquirer;
but the case is different with the work which next meets us by another
author, “the Creed of Christendom,”(929) which, on account of its
clearness of statement and variety of material, is the most dangerous work
of unbelief of this age.

In the first part of the work the writer attacks the idea of
inspiration,(930) with all modifications of the notion, as a gratuitous
assumption; and tries to disprove it by recapitulating the controversy
respecting the authorship of the Pentateuch, and the authority of the Old
Testament canon,(931) as well as by the pretended non-fulfilment of the
prophetic writings,(932) and the gradually progressive development of the
Theism of the Jews.(933) Applying a similar process to the Gospels, he
states the difficulties which attend the literary question of their
origin(934) and fidelity of the narrative;(935) trying to show that the
apostles differed from each other, and held views differing from those
taught by the Saviour, as recorded in the first three Gospels.(936)
Approaching the subject of the use of miracles as an evidence, he contends
that they cannot prove a doctrine, and that their existence cannot be
proved by documents.(937) In the examination of Christianity he holds only
the humanity of Christ,(938) and regards Christianity not to be
superhuman, but an eclecticism from the Jewish religion; a conception, not
a revelation.(939) Successively attacking(940) the most sacred doctrines
of our faith,—prayer, pardon, sin,—he is at last landed in the doubt of a
future life, save so far as the intuitions seem to suggest it;(941) and in
conclusion he contents himself with the religion which consists in
obedience to the physical, moral, intellectual, and social laws;
confessing however that the heart dictates to prayer and religion, but
maintaining that the idea of general laws forbids the possibility of their

The next writer whom we must name,(943) has not rested content with a
literary examination of existing religious forms, but has shown the
consummation to which the modern criticism of religion leads. The work,
“Thoughts in aid of Faith,” that is, hints to advise those who have given
up all other faith, is too characteristic of a certain type of thought to
be omitted. It is an instance where the final result, to which
philosophical investigation has conducted, bears a resemblance to that
reached by Feuerbach in Germany.(944) In the treatment of the subject, the
tenderness of human character has not disappeared; and belief in the
teaching of religion is surrendered with painful sadness. Starting at
first from the unitarian point of view, this writer has gradually
advanced, by the aid of the modern philosophy, to the very pantheism at
which philosophy stood in the early ages of oriental speculation. In a
review of the historical and psychical(945) origin of religion and
Christianity, the idea of a divine Being is regarded as merely the giving
existence to an abstraction, the objectifying of the subjective; and
Christianity, as the form in which the notion of a personal God
necessarily clothes itself: so that the idea of God becomes a fiction
created by the mind; Christianity a fiction created by the heart. Though
an appreciation is shown of ancient forms of religion,(946) all are
regarded as visionary; and, in looking forward to the future, philosophy
affords no cheering hope: nothing remains, save the annihilation taught by
the ancient Buddhists.(947)

The course of the history now brings before us two writers, who stand
distinguished from the last group by their firm theism, and strong protest
against pantheism in every form. One of them was an American;(948) the
other an alumnus of this university.(949)

The life and work of the former, so far as they relate to our inquiries,
may soon be told.(950) In early life a unitarian minister, he caught the
spirit of intellectual inquiry and reconsideration which Channing had
excited; and devoted himself with indefatigable industry to study the
modern philosophy and criticism of Germany, until he became one of the
most learned men of the American continent. In his own country his
fearless and uncompromising denunciation of slavery, as well as of
political and commercial hollowness, caused him to be viewed as a social
reformer rather than a theological teacher. In ours he is viewed as a
teacher of deism. The cause of his power is obvious. Feeling that his
mission was not merely to pull down, but to build up, he spoke with the
vigour of a dogmatist, not with the coldness of a critic. To a burning
eloquence and native wit he united the picturesque power of the novelist
or the artist. But his vigour of style was deformed by a power of sarcasm
which often invested the most sacred subjects with caricature and
vulgarity; a boundless malignity against supposed errors. How different is
the tone of his satire from the delicate touches of the modern French
critic(951) who was named in the last lecture! and yet, on the other hand,
how changed from that of the infidel writers of the last century. Though
he equals Paine in vulgarity, and Voltaire in sarcasm, his spirit and
moral tone are higher. They wrote, actuated by a bitter spirit against the
Christian religion, without earnestness, without religious aspirations,
with the coldness of unbelievers: he, with the earnestness of a preacher
touched with the deepest feelings; and though the Christian writer will
shudder at his remarks as much as at theirs, yet he sees them modified by
passages of pathetic sentiment, in which, in words unrivalled in sceptical
literature, admiration is expressed of Christ, of Christianity, and of

Such was the man as a teacher. What was his doctrine? He sought and found
in the human faculties the test of truth, not dwelling, like Strauss, on
their tendency to deceive; but, like Schelling, on their certitude. He
placed the ground of religion on the emotional side of the soul, in the
feeling of dependence;(953) and correctively, on the intellectual side, in
the intuitions of God, the moral law, and immortal life.

Assuming, on the principle of spiritual supply and demand, that capacity
proves object, (the natural realism which we attribute to the senses being
thus applied to the intellectual instincts,) he regarded the intuitions to
be real, and traced the mode in which reasoning and experience develope
them into conceptions.(954) But, afraid of giving too anthropomorphic a
form to his conception of deity, he fell almost into the abstract
conception of the English deists; and in the notion of God’s general
providence, lost the fatherlike conception of the divine Being with which
the human analogy invests Him. Few nobler attacks however on atheism,(955)
or defences of the benevolent character of the divine Being,(956) exist,
than those which he has supplied. But at this point the Christian must
altogether part company with him; for he next proceeded to argue against
the possibility of miracle or special providence; identifying
inspiration(957) with the utterance of human genius, and regarding
Christianity merely as the best exponent of man’s moral nature; as one
form of religion, but not the final one. The Bible, which as a collection
of literary works, the religious literature of a Semitic people, he
appreciated with enthusiastic admiration,(958) was degraded from its
position of a final authoritative utterance of religious truth, and was
regarded as the embodiment of the thoughts of spiritual men of old time
who were striving after truth, and spoke according to the light which they
possessed. The religion which he taught was called by him “the absolute
religion.” It was merely deism, built on a sounder basis, and
spiritualized by contact with a truer philosophy.

The other writer(959) to whom allusion has been made, though superior to
the one just described in refinement and acuteness, resembles him in
possessing deep aspirations and serious research, and in standing apart
from the unbelief of the last century, which manifested no loftiness of
aim, nor earnest conviction. He stands forth too in a more interesting
position, from the circumstance that his starting-point was not
unitarianism, but the creed of our own church; and that he has given a
psychological autobiography, a painful and thrilling
self-portraiture;(960) in which he traces step by step his surrender of
his early opinions, from the time of his first doubts, when he was a
student in this university, to his fully developed deism.

The destructive side of his teaching is conveyed in the narrative of the
“Phases” of his faith. Educated in the tenets of the more spiritual
section of the church, he gradually began, as he has stated, to reconsider
his opinions as his mind was awakened by study. The moral identity of
Sabbath and Sunday; the practice of infant baptism; the connexion of a
spiritual effect with what he considered to be a material cause implied in
baptismal regeneration; the reasons for the superior efficacy of Christ’s
sacrifice over the Mosaic; the discovery of gradual development in
scripture; these were the first thoughts that agitated him.(961) Unable to
solve them to his satisfaction, he hesitated not to abandon, with noble
and manly self-sacrifice, the friends that he held dear; and to wander
forth from the established church, to seek a primitive Christianity
elsewhere. Puzzled by the difficulty of the supposed mistake of the
apostolic church, in expecting the sudden return of Christianity, he
adopted the chiliastic hypothesis; and, unable to join in ministerial work
in England, went as a missionary into the East.(962) On his return,
alienated from the friends of his youth and from the new instructors with
whom he had consorted, he sought truth in the solitude of his own heart;
and was led to throw off Calvinism and adopt Unitarianism.(963) His fourth
phase of faith led him, while clinging to Christianity, to renounce the
religion of the Book. It consisted in an examination of many of the
difficulties which criticism has discovered; from which he was unhappily
led to conclude that the Bible was not free from error, nor above moral
criticism;(964) believing nevertheless that the Bible was made for man,
though not man for the Bible. The two concluding phases of his faith(965)
consisted in appreciating the great law of progress which he considers to
mark religion; and discovering that faith at second hand is vain, and that
the historical truthfulness of Christianity is unimportant, the ideas
embodied in it constituting its truth.(966)

In reading this painful record, we feel ourselves in contact with a mind
cultivated in miscellaneous science and in the Semitic languages,
disciplined as well as informed; which lays bare with transparent
sincerity the history of the stages through which he has successively
passed. Hitherto we have seen only the destructive side of his teaching;
but he also strove to attain a definite dogma: his truth-searching spirit,
touched by deep longings for the presence of God, could not rest in the
blank of unbelief. The nature of this attempt is developed in a work on
“the Soul,”(967) in which the author lays bare at once his psychology, his
ethics, and his religion; which in substance are not unlike those of the
writer last named. He lays the foundation of religion in the spiritual
faculty, the sense of the infinite personality; showing the generation of
the various complex feelings which make up religion—awe, wonder,
admiration, reverence—as the attributes of this divine Personality
successively discover themselves.(968) Holding strongly the doctrine of
human freedom and the natural existence of a moral sense, he allows fully
the existence of the consciousness of sin,(969) and the necessity of
spiritual regeneration; asserting the belief in God’s sympathy and
communion with the soul, the efficacy of prayer, and the duty of
encouraging holy aspirations.(970)

Few more suggestive, and in many respects few truer, specimens exist of
the analysis of those facts of human nature which concern the basis of
natural religion and of the spiritual life,(971) than that which he has
offered in order to find a psychological basis for religion. The deep
spiritual longing for communion with God, the belief in prayer and in
moral renewal, are evidences of a creed which separate him utterly from
the naturalism and pantheism before described, and place him almost on the
frontier line between Christianity and deism.(972) And we may be permitted
to express the belief, that philosophy could not have raised him to his
present moral standard. His spirituality is due to the fragments of
Christianity which he has retained in his system. It has been truly said,
that the defenders of natural religion furtively kindle their torches by
the light of revealed.

In the course of this sketch of contemporary unbelief, we have gradually
advanced from the forms most alien to faith, till we have reached the
threshold of the Christian church. The necessity for making the narrative
complete compels us to pass within its limits, and to indicate, though it
be by a brief notice and with a delicate hand, the forms of the movement
of free thought therein which have given rise to the charge of
rationalism. This movement of thought is separated from those just
described, in that it loyally holds that God has revealed His will to man;
but it varies from the general view of the church of Christ in reference
to the extent and manner in which He has been pleased to reveal Himself;
and, under the pressure of the difficulties, doctrinal or literary, which
the progress of knowledge or of speculation has suggested, proposes to
separate in the holy scripture, or in the immemorial teaching of the
church, that which it regards to be the eternal element of revealed truth
from that which it ventures to conceive to be temporary; the heavenly
treasure from the earthen vessels in which it is contained. The literary
parallel to this tendency is not to be found in the deism of the last
century, but in some of the schools of free thought in Germany and France
in the present. Like them it professes to be conservative of revelation,
desiring to surrender a part in order to save the remainder.(973)

The movement is characterised by two forms; the one philosophical, the
other critical. We shall indicate their general character, without
specifying individual writings.(974)

It is perhaps to the influence of Coleridge, more than to that of any
other single person, that the origin of this philosophical movement can be
traced.(975) We have already(976) had occasion to mention the general
design of his philosophy. At a time when the world was wishing to break
with the past, in politics, in literature, and in religion, his spirit was
conservative of older truth, while sympathetic with that which was new. In
looking backwards, he sought to discover what mankind had meant by their
beliefs; in looking around, he asked what were the elements which the
present generation disapproved: and, wishing to eliminate the error of the
past and appropriate the truth of the present, he looked inwards into the
human heart, and thought that he perceived a faculty there which unveiled
to man the eternal, absolute truth,—the true, the beautiful, and the good;
which had been the object of search in all systems, the end for which all
earnest spirits had ever yearned. This faculty, “the reason” or intuition,
thus became the guide, by the light of which he was able to thread his way
through the manifold systems of thought of past times.(977) Not content
with applying it to other subjects, he carried it also into the domain of
revealed religion. It was the engine by which he hoped to get a view of
the truth which the ancient writers of holy scripture intended to convey.
It would become the means of interpreting their thoughts, by raising the
student to a perception of the same objects, similar in kind to that which
they possessed. Their inspiration was regarded as only an elevated form of
this faculty. When accordingly this method was applied by him to the study
of Christianity, it did not lead him to pare down the supernatural by the
cold interpretation of the older rationalism, but gave the explanation of
the mysteries by raising men to a state where mysteries ceased to be such
any longer. It did not pull down revelation to the level of the mind, but
strove vainly(978) to raise the mind to a level with revelation.

If viewed in reference to cognate schools of Christian philosophy, it
bears similitude in many respects to some of the schools of Germany. In
the analysis offered of the human faculties, it has much akin to Kant: in
the deep conviction that the highest truth is revealed to a faculty of
faith, and in the undoubting belief in our own intuitions and the
conviction of their reality, it resembles Jacobi and Schelling: in
regarding the human reason to be the impersonal reason, the divinity in
man, it resembles Schelling or Cousin. But it also has an element akin to
the ancient Neo-Platonic philosophy of Alexandria.(979) This is seen both
in the view taken of the organ of knowledge, and in the scheme of
philosophy evolved by it. The intuitive reason, the divine faculty above
described, which reveals eternal truth, is viewed as the divine Λόγος in
man, as was taught by the Neo-Platonists.(980) Inspiration is the action
of the same Λόγος. This branch of human intellect is absorbed in divinity:
a divine teacher is considered to exist in the human mind.(981) And as the
view of the faculty is parallel with the teaching of this ancient school,
so the explanations suggested of divine mysteries(982) like the Trinity or
Redemption are similar. These explanations are the mystical expressions of
the thoughts apprehended by this faculty, when it strives to raise itself
to oneness with the infinite object which it contemplates.

These remarks will explain the philosophical system taught by Coleridge,
and will furnish the clue to interpret the form of theological thought
which has originated from him. The parallel between his system and those
with which it has now been compared, will be no less obvious in noticing
the results of it. The system of Schleiermacher was the theological
corollary from the theories of German philosophy above named; and the
school of the Alexandrian fathers was the corresponding one which resulted
from the Neo-Platonic.(983) We should therefore expect that, if the
philosophy of Coleridge was a mixture of the two schools above described,
the teaching of his disciples would combine the two theological schools
which flowed from those systems. Attentive consideration of the
philosophical side of the modern movement of free thought in English
theology will confirm this anticipation, and show that its chief elements
are a union of these two theological schools. The tendency to require that
the human soul shall apprehend divine mysteries intellectually, as well as
feel their saving power emotionally; the reduction of inspiration
theologically, as well as psychologically, to an elevated but natural
state(984) of the human consciousness; the inclination to regard the work
of Christ as the office of the divine teacher to humanity, and human
history as the longing for such a divine voice; the description of the
work of Christ as a divine manifestation of a reconciliation which
previously existed, instead of being the mode of effecting it; the
tendency to view the death of Christ by the light of the incarnation,
instead of regarding the incarnation by the light of the atonement, the
death of Christ as the solution of the enigma of God becoming flesh;—these
seem all to be corollaries from the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists, and
find their parallel in the school of the Alexandrian fathers: they express
too, though with some differences, which will be apparent by recalling the
remarks in a preceding lecture,(985) the fundamental religious conceptions
of Schleiermacher, to which we before had occasion to object as inverting
the gospel scheme, and falling short of the dogmatic teaching of the
revelation of God.

The causes and character of the philosophical movement of free thought in
the church will now be clear. We stated that there had been also a
critical tendency. A stricter analysis would probably subdivide the
critical movement into two; viz. a philosophical form of it which examines
facts,(986) and a literary one which examines documents.

This philosophical movement differs from the former, in that it neither
approaches the subject of inquiry from a lofty speculative point of view,
which is intended to furnish a solution of the mysteries of nature and
revelation; nor seeks by means of the intuitive reason to penetrate
beneath the doctrines of ancient teachers, and discover the absolute truth
after which they were striving. It rather disbelieves in the possibility
of the attainment of absolute truth by the human mind, and regards all
truth to be relative to the age in which it was expressed.(987) Like the
former movement it possesses a method; but one which is tentative and
critical, not speculative; empirical, not _à priori_; founding its
knowledge on history, not on philosophy. The mode of investigation is
probably indirectly a result of the teaching of Hegel, as that which was
before described was the result of the rival schools contemporary with
him; but it is the adoption of Hegel’s method, and not of his philosophy.
In this respect it may be regarded as a critical tendency rather than a
philosophical; but one which is critical of the truths and religious facts
of revelation, and of its doctrinal teaching, and not merely of the
documents which record it.

Hence, when applied to revealed religion, in examining the teaching of the
scripture writers, it does not attempt, as the former school, to raise the
mind to a level with that of the writers, in order to apprehend the
eternal truth which was revealed alike to their intuition and to ours; but
it throws itself into the circumstances of their age, so as to understand
their meaning; and tests it by the altered conceptions which the progress
of ages has given to the world. Thus the inquirer not only asks what the
writers meant, but views the truth which they taught as relative to their
own age; and regards the office of criticism to be, to discriminate in it
that which is conceived to have been temporary and local, and that which
applies to all time. This school thus resembles the last, in asking what
the scripture writers meant in their own time, and what their meaning is
to us; but it seeks the answer, by using the same methods for the
investigation which would be applied in ordinary literature; not by
abstract speculation, apart from literary study of actual documents. It
makes the conceptions which civilization and history have created, to be
the test for comparison, not the eternal truths of reason which are
supposed to exist irrespective of civilization and history.

We may select one illustration. In surveying the doctrine of the atoning
work of Christ, the former school seeks to apprehend the absolute meaning
of the atonement as the manifestation of an act previously wrought out;
and, starting with the notion of the divine teacher of humanity, the Λόγος
of God in Christ teaching the world, and the Λόγος in the soul of man
apprehending this teaching, it construes the atoning work of Christ from
its didactic side, as teaching man concerning God’s love by means of a
majestic example of self-sacrifice. The second school treats the doctrine
historically; and, when it has separated the apostolic teaching from all
subsequent additions, compares this doctrine with the age in which it was
expressed, in order to separate what it conceives to be the permanent from
the temporary; and hence comes to view the atonement, apart from all the
hallowed associations of propitiatory sacrifice which in the minds of the
early converts were inseparably united with it. These ideas, which the
doctrine of the church regards as integral portions of revealed verity, it
considers to be the peculiarity of the age in which the revelation was
communicated. The revealed doctrines are handled in the same manner as
corresponding doctrines of philosophy.

The minuteness of this method, its disposition to seek for truth in the
investigation of details rather than by approaching a subject from some
general principle, connects it with the other form of the critical
tendency above named, which employs itself in the literary criticism of
the sacred records. The main object of this movement consists in examining
the questions, first, of the origin of the canon, its grounds and
contents; next, the authenticity and genuineness of the books; lastly, the
credibility of their contents. It is plain that, however objectionable may
be the conclusions arrived at on questions such as these, they are too
recondite and literary in character to possess the same doctrinal and
pastoral importance as those of the former kind; though the alarm which
they may cause will often be greater, because the variation from ordinary
belief is more easily apprehended by the mind, and, being a variation in
fact, and not only in idea, cannot be concealed by any ambiguity in the
use of theological terms, as may be the case in the former instances. Yet
in the third of these three questions, this species of criticism may have
a very intimate relation to practice; for it may so affect the rule of
faith as to overthrow the standard on which we repose for the proof of
revealed doctrines. In truth, in this branch it becomes identical with the
critical method before described, save so far as that examined the
credibility of doctrines, this of facts. But in spirit they are identical.
It proceeds upon the assumption, that the same critical process is
applicable in the investigation of the sacred history, as the former
assumed in the investigation of the sacred philosophy. The attitude of
both is independent: both teach that the sacred books are not to be
approached with a preconceived definition of their character or meaning:
prepossessions are not to bar the way to the exercise of criticism. The
difference from the first method above described will be equally obvious.
We may adopt the doctrine of inspiration as an illustration. The first
view would approach the contents of scripture with a psychological theory
of inspiration, as being a form of the intuition, which may furnish an
instrument for eclecticism: the second and third would investigate the
question empirically, and, declining on the one hand to accept the
psychological definition just described, and on the other to approach
Scripture with the preconceived notion of the nature of inspiration, as
held by the Church, would seek to determine the notion of inspiration from
the contents of scripture.(988)

The relation to holy scripture of the critical modes of inquiry will
obviously be as intimate in reference to the standard of faith, as that of
the philosophical in reference to doctrine. If the first of the three
methods which we enumerated(989) overlays doctrine with philosophy; the
second is in danger of subtracting from it integral elements of its
system; and the third of disintegrating it by criticism, and introducing
uncertainty with regard to the sacred books, which are the basis of
doctrine. In questions relating to literary criticism, like those which
are made the subject of investigation in the last-named method, it is
impossible to lay down, so absolutely as in the two former cases, the
tests to distinguish truth from error. The creeds are a practical gauge in
the former instances which is partly wanting in the latter. The greater
difficulty however which thus appertains to the latter, of placing the
limits to which reverent criticism may extend without endangering faith,
ought to generate the more solemn caution in its application.

We have dwelt long upon the modern forms of free thought which exist
within the church of Christ, because they have a living interest for us.
They meet us in life as well as in literature; and we must daily form our
judgment upon their truth and falsehood. They are not indeed peculiar to
one church, nor to one country;(990) but form the theological question
which is presented to the Christian church in this age.

The result of our inquiries in reference to the free thought of the
present time has been especially to exhibit three main tendencies; one,
arising from Positivism, a tendency to deny the possibility of
revelation;(991) a second, from an opposite philosophy, to deny its
necessity;(992) and a third, to accept it only in part.(993) These are the
three tendencies by which the world and church of the coming generation
are likely to be influenced. Our path in life will be in a world where
they are operating; and we shall have need to be armed with the whole
armour of God. If we have in our personal history so investigated the
evidences of our faith, as to feel that we have a well-grounded hope,
unassailable by these doubts, we may be thankful: if we have gone safely
through the perilous test of a careful examination of them, sometimes
staggering perhaps in our faith, yet struggling after truth in prayerful
trust that the Lord would himself be our teacher, until we now are able to
feel that we have our faith grounded on a Rock,—a faith which is the
result of inquiry, not of ignorance,—let us be still more thankful, and
exemplify our thankfulness by trying to assist the doubter with our tender
sympathy, and to aid him in finding the truth and peace which Christ has
given to us. Our attitude in moments of peril must be that of solemn
reliance on God’s help; and our behaviour towards others ought to exhibit
Christian firmness, mingled with candour and tenderness; evincing the
moderation of true learning, joined to the uncompromising adherence to the
Christian faith.

The history now given, of the doubt which is expressed at present through
the English language, completes the account of the fourth great crisis of
belief in church history;(994) and with it we bring to an end our long
survey of the history of free thought.


Since the commencement of the second lecture, we have been so involved in
the details of the investigation, that, to those who have lost sight of
the plan proposed in the commencement, the lectures may have appeared
historical rather than controversial, and hardly compatible with the
purpose of the founder of the Lecture. We have been like travellers moving
in a tangled plain, where the path at times seems lost. Before entering
upon it, we took our stand, as it were, on an eminence; and indicated the
plan of the route; pointed to the kind of territory through which it would
conduct us, and the direction to which it would tend. Now, that we have at
last extricated ourselves from its windings, and rest after our journey,
let us cast a glance backward over its course, and see how far the result
has verified our anticipations. Let us reconsider the purpose designed by
this course of inquiry; notice how far the promises in respect to it have
been fulfilled; show its relation to controversial purpose; and collect
the moral lessons which are derivable.

It will be remembered that we stated(995) the topic to be, a critical
history of free thought in Europe in relation to the Christian religion.
Our criticism started from a Christian point of view, and assumed alike
the miraculous character of Christianity, the exceptional character of the
religious inspiration of the first teachers of it, and the reality of its
chief doctrines. From this point of view we proposed to consider the
attempts of the human mind to get free from the authority of the Christian
religion, either by rejecting it in whole or in part.(996) Four great
crises of faith were enumerated in church history;(997) the first, the
struggle, literary and philosophical, of early heathenism against
Christianity;(998) the second, the reawakening of free thought in the
middle ages;(999) the third, that which appertained to the revival of
classical literature;(1000) the fourth, to the growth of modern
philosophy;(1001)—a series of epochs which exhibit the struggle of
Christianity in the great centres of thought and civilization, ancient or
modern; and it was proposed that our investigation should not only contain
a chronicle of the facts, but explain the causes, and teach the
moral.(1002) We considered that the causes which make thought develope
into unbelief are chiefly two,—the emotional and the intellectual;(1003)
and, while vindicating distinctness of operation for the intellectual
under certain circumstances,(1004) yet we allowed the union of them with
the moral to be so intimate,(1005) that not only must account always be
taken of the latter in estimating the unbelief of individuals, but the
exclusive study of the former, without allowing for the existence of the
latter, must be regarded as likely to lead to an imperfect and injurious
idea of unbelief.

The intellectual causes were however selected as the special subject of
our study;(1006) partly because they have been much neglected by Christian
writers, partly because they are the forms which for the most part create
the doubts which Christians encounter in the present age. The principal
intellectual causes were considered(1007) to be, either the new material
of knowledge, such as the physical or metaphysical sciences, which may
present truth antagonistic to the teaching of the sacred literature; or
new methods of criticism, the application of which creates opinions
differing from those of the traditionary belief; and, above all, the
effects of the application of particular tests of truth,—sense, reason,
intuition, feeling,—to the doctrines of revealed religion.

This was our plan; and we have been employed in tracing the influence of
these causes in generating doubt in the four great crises, with a
minuteness which may almost have been tedious; endeavouring to supply the
natural as well as the literary history; analysing each successive step of
thought into the causes which produced it; searching for them when
necessary in the intellectual biography of individuals; and, if not
refuting results, at least laying bare by criticism the processes through
which they were attained. At the same time we have attempted to show the
grounds on which the faith of the church has reposed in the various ages
of history. A defence, itself also twofold in its character—emotional and
intellectual—has been generated by the attack in each of the crises, and
an example thus furnished of the law which governs human society,—progress
by antagonism. Permanent gain to truth was seen to be the result of the
various controversies; quiet and refreshment after the discharge of the
storm had cleared the atmosphere from the intellectual and moral ills with
which it was charged.

The utility of the inquiry will now, it is hoped, be apparent. Though
these lectures must be regarded as instructive for the believer, rather
than polemic against the unbeliever, yet they are intended to serve also a
controversial purpose.

There are times indeed when the mere instructiveness of a history,
independently of practical use, is a sufficient justification for writing
it;—times when it is important to take the gauge of past knowledge as the
condition of a step forward in the future. Those who are accustomed to
meditate on the present age, on the multifarious elements which in a time
of great peace are quietly laying the basis of great changes, and on the
unity of intellectual condition which the international intercourse is
creating in the world of letters, as really as in that of industry, will
perhaps think that the present is such a period, when the knowledge of the
history of the former perils of the Christian faith, the nature of the
attack and of the defence, is itself of value in regard to the prospects
of the future.(1008) Those again also, who are accustomed to look at the
contemporary works of evidence in our own country, will deplore the fact
that in many cases, however well meant in spirit, they are essentially
deficient in a due appreciation of the precise origin and character of
present forms of doubt, and the natural and literary history of doubt in
general;(1009) reproducing arguments unanswerable against older kinds of
doubt, but unavailing against the modern, like wooden walls against modern
weapons of war. We stand in the presence of forms of doubt, which press us
more nearly than those of former times, because they do not supersede
Christianity by disbelief, but disintegrate it by eclecticism; which come
in the guise of erudition, unknown in former times, appealing to new
canons of truth, reposing on new methods, invested with a new air. In such
a moment a reconsideration of the struggles of past ages becomes
indirectly a contribution to the evidences, by supplying the knowledge of
similarity and contrast, which is necessary, as a preliminary, before
entering on a new conflict.

The dangers to faith in the present day are sometimes exaggerated; but
there cannot be a doubt that we live in a time when old creeds are in
peril; when the doubt is the result not of ignorance, but of knowledge,
and acts in the minds that are pre-eminent for intellectual influence, and
advances with a firmness that is not to be repelled by force but by
argument. It is not the duty of Christians to shut their eyes to the
danger, like the ostrich, which supposes by burying her eyes in the sand
to avoid the huntsman’s arrow. There seems accordingly special reason why
in such an age an acquaintance with the forms of doubt is requisite on the
part of those who have to minister the religion which is the subject of

If accordingly a clergy is to be trained up likely to supply the
intellectual cravings of the present day, they must be placed on a level
with its ripest knowledge, and be acquainted with the nature and origin of
the forms of doubt which they will encounter. The church has indeed a
large field, where work and not thought is to be the engine which the
clergy must use in their labours; truly a home mission, where men and
women for whom Christ died, require to be lifted out of their mere
animalism, and taught the simplest truths of Christ, and prayer, and
immortality: and noble are the efforts that Christians have made, and are
making, for an object so religious and philanthropic; but there is a
danger lest this very energy of work, which accords so naturally with the
utilitarianism of the English character, should lead us to forget that
there is an opposite stratum of society, to which also Christianity has
its message, which is only to be reached by the delicate gifts of
intellect and by the ripest learning.

If Christianity is to be presented to this class, adapted to the demands
of the age so far as they are reasonable, but unmutilated and unaltered in
its body of revealed doctrine, preserving in its integrity the faith
delivered to the saints; so that apostles might recognize it as being that
which they themselves taught, and for which they laid down their lives; it
is necessary that Christian students should be trained specially for the
work, by a learned and intelligent appreciation of truth, such as will
create orthodoxy without bigotry, and charity without latitude. If we have
to dread their going forth with hesitating opinions, teaching, through
their very silence concerning the mysterious realities which constitute
the very essence of Christianity, another gospel than that which was once
for all miraculously revealed; there is almost equal ground for alarm if
they go forth, able only to repeat the shibboleths of a professional
creed, and unable to give a reason of the glorious hope that is in them.
In the former case they will fail to teach historic and dogmatic
Christianity, because they do not believe it; in the latter because they
do not understand its meaning and evidence. If they need piety as the
first requisite, they need knowledge as the second. In certain conditions
of the church, study is second only to prayer itself as an instrument for
the Christian evangelist.

It is hoped, therefore, that a sketch of a department not previously
treated as a whole, may indirectly be an aid to the Christian faith, if it
shall perform the humble office of supplying some elements of instruction
to the Christian student.

Such a purpose however would hardly have justified the introduction of the
subject here. The motive which dictated its consideration was much more
practical. It was hoped that the answer to many species of doubt would be
found by referring them to the forms of thought or of philosophy from
which they had sprung; that it would be possible to perceive how they
might be refuted, by understanding why and how men have come to believe
them.(1010) This is a study of mental pathology seldom undertaken. The
practical aim of Christian writers has generally suggested to them a
readier mode of treating the history of unbelief, by referring its origin
to intellectual pride; and, if any margin remained unaccounted for by this
explanation, to refer it to an invisible agent, the direct operation of
Satan.(1011) Such a method, however true, commits the error, against which
Bacon utters a warning, of ascending at once to the most general causes
without interpolating the intermediate. It ignores the intellectual class
of causes, and omits to trace the subtlety of their mode of
manifestation;—a problem equally interesting, whether they be regarded as
original causes of doubt, or only as secondary instruments obeying the
impulse of the emotional causes. It would have been possible to
investigate the subject, by selecting a few leading instances to
illustrate the natural history of doubt; but the most likely mode for
exhausting the subject, as well as for presenting it in a manner which
would fall in with the historic tastes of the age, seemed to be, to treat
it by means of a critical history, presenting the antidote by a running
criticism; and to ask, frankly and fully, what have been the grounds on
which Christianity has been doubted; and what have been those on which the
faith of Christians in their hour of peril has reposed; and then finally
to gather up the lessons which the history itself teaches.

The inquiry has been analogous to the study of the history of a disease;
and scientific rigour required that it should be conducted with a similar
spirit of fairness towards those that manifest its symptoms. As the
physiologist, who wishes to learn the laws of a disease, watches patiently
the symptoms in the subject of it, not reproaching the sufferer, even if
the malady be self-caused; so in moral diagnosis, the student of mental
and religious error must carry out his inquiries in the spirit of cold
analysis, if he would arrive at the real character of the intricate facts
which he studies. The candour of our examination has not been prompted by
any spirit of indifference to truth, nor by sympathy with error; but
partly by the demands of historical accuracy, partly by deep pity for
those who are the subject of spiritual doubts, even when the doubts are of
their own fault.

This view of the inquiry, as an analysis of the intellectual causes of
doubt, will also explain one or two peculiarities in it, which, if left
unnoticed, might leave an impression of its inutility.

It will be seen, for example, that in the investigation of the natural
history of doubt, and in the explanation of the antecedent metaphysical or
critical questions which have produced it, we have indicated the schools
of thought which have created it, but have abstained from insisting on the
inherent necessity of the relation which subsists between the metaphysical
tests of truth and the religious conclusions discussed. The reason is,
that it seemed unfit to assume a side eagerly in the metaphysical
controversy; and therefore, while showing that the use of certain grounds
of belief and methods of inquiry has produced, both as a matter of history
and logic, certain species of doubt or disbelief; we have not attempted to
condemn the particular metaphysical theories on the ground of the logical
consequences which are supposed to flow from them, nor to deny that they
could be so amended, as either to avoid the sceptical conclusions to which
our objections are taken, or be rendered innocuous by the co-existence of
other causes. Science only shows the general tendency or law of logical
connection between intellectual causes and effects. The production of the
results in particular cases is subject to exception from the introduction
of interfering causes.(1012)

Another peculiarity which appertains to the analysis of the intellectual
sources of doubt, besides the seeming absence of invariable necessity in
their operation, might be thought to destroy the practical value of the
inquiry; viz. the feeling of disappointment excited when it is perceived
that they do not wholly explain the phenomenon, and are merely antecedents
or elements, not causes. This arises from the very nature of mental
analysis. Being in nature like chemical, it aims only at the detection of
the elements that make up the compound, and furnishes the material or
formal causes, not the efficient. This longing of the mind to find causes,
and to discover the original motive power, is however a witness to the
ineffaceable connection of the idea of power with that of will. And while
it does not destroy the completeness of the analysis, as the solution of
the intellectual problem proposed, it nevertheless points to the
instinctive wish of the heart to resolve the causes of doubt into some
ultimate source in the will; and is thus a witness to the truth of the
position which we have always asserted,(1013) that the intellectual causes
selected for our special study are only one branch, and must be united to
the emotional in order to attain a full explanation of the phenomenon of

Thus the analysis offered will have, it is hoped, a utility in the limited
sphere which was claimed for it, in supplying the account of the tangled
and subtle processes through which doubt has insinuated itself.


What then are the lessons which the whole history teaches? To discover
these was part of our original purpose,(1014) as well as to learn the
facts and find the causes; to satisfy the longings of the heart, no less
than the curiosity of the understanding.

First, What has been the office of doubt in history? Has it been wholly an
injury, a chronic disease? or simply a gain? or has it operated in both
ways? Let us find the answer, by testing each of these theories of its
office by means of the facts.

The first of the three is that which has generally been held within the
Christian church. It dates from the first ages of the church, and
witnesses to a valuable truth. The sacred care with which the Christians
treasured the doctrine, and spurned the attempts of heretics to explain it
away, proves the strength of the conviction that they possessed a definite
treasure of divine truth, introduced at a definite period. Their very want
of toleration,(1015) the tenacity of their attachment to the faith, is a
proof of their undoubting conviction concerning the historic verity of the
facts connected with redemption, and the definite character of the dogmas
which interpreted the facts. In later ages however, the same idea of
sacredness has been extended by the Romish church to the mass of error
which Christianity has taken up into itself in the progress of ages; and
in Protestant countries has led to the attempt to restrain the thoughts of
men even on the secular subjects most remote from religion, where the
ancient sacred literature seemed to suggest any indirect information. The
doubt on the part of religious men, of any progress being made by free
thought, has often expressed itself too in the affirmation, that the
history of unbelief shows an exact recurrence of the same doubts, without
progress from age to age, and an intimation that new suggestions of doubt
are only old foes under new faces.

While Christians have thus generally regarded free inquiry in religion as
wholly a loss; freethinkers have taken the very opposite view, and
regarded it as an unmixed gain. The distinguished writer(1016) of our own
time on the history of civilisation, whose premature death will prevent
the fulfilment of his large design, has illustrated, with the clearness
and grasp over facts which constitute some of his excellences, the office
of scepticism, in securing for the human mind the political liberty and
toleration which he prized so dearly. His central thought was, that
civilisation depended upon the progress of intellect,(1017) the
emancipation of the human mind from all authority save that of inductive
science: he pointed out with triumphant enthusiasm, the services which he
conceived that unbelief had performed, in rescuing Europe from degrading
beliefs like witchcraft, and from the introduction of supernatural causes
for natural events, and in securing in France, in the eighteenth century,
the political rights of the lower orders against the claims of the church.
Accordingly in his opinion scepticism was an almost unmixed boon.

Those who recall the outline of the history will probably think that each
of these views, taken alone, is one-sided, and contains a partial truth.
The review of facts shows that free thought has had an office in the
world; and, like most human agencies permitted under the administration of
a benevolent Providence, its influence has neither been unmixed evil nor
unmixed good. It has been an evil, so far as in the conflict of opinions
it has invaded the body of essential truth which forms the treasure given
to the world, in the miraculous revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; but
it has been a good, so far as it has contributed, either directly to
further human progress intellectually and socially, or indirectly to bring
out into higher relief these very truths by the progress of discussion.

When, for example, Christian doctrine has been overlaid from age to age by
concretions which had gathered round it, as was the case previously to the
Reformation,(1018) it has been free thought which has attacked the system,
and, piercing the error, has removed those elements which had been
superadded. Or, when the church has attempted to fetter human thought in
other departments than its own proper domain of religion, as when the
ecclesiastical authorities disgraced themselves by vetoing the discoveries
of Galileo,(1019) it has been to free thought that we owe the emancipation
of the human mind. Or, when the church linked itself in alliance with a
decaying political system, as in the last century in France, it was free
thought that recalled to it the lesson to render to Cæsar the things that
were Cæsar’s, and to God the things that were God’s. It is instances like
these, where free thought has been the means of making undoubted
contributions to human improvement, or of asserting toleration, which have
led writers to describe it as almost innocuous, and hastily to regard the
ratio of the emancipation of the human mind from the teaching of the
priesthood to be the sole measure of human improvement.

In many instances also, free thought has indirectly contributed to
intellectual good, in points where it has ran a greater risk, than in
those just cited, of trespassing upon the sacred truths of religion;
instances, in fact, where the benefit resulting has been owing to the
overruling Providence which brings good out of evil, rather than to any
direct intention on the part of those who have exercised it. Examples are
to be found in those epochs, when some sudden outburst of knowledge
compelled a reconsideration of old truths by the light of new discoveries.
The awakening of the mind in the middle age, the Renaissance, the advance
of modern science, the birth of literary criticism, are instances of such
moments, wherein free inquiry has been a necessity forced on the mind by
outward circumstances, not self-prompted. This attitude of inquiry, this
exercise of a provisional doubt, was not, like that described, called
forth merely by the circumstance that religion had received additions from
error, but must have arisen even if the faith once delivered had been
preserved uncorrupted. For religion being a fixed truth, while truth in
other departments is progressive, it would have been impossible to avoid
the necessity of comparison of it with them from time to time, in those
spheres where it intersected the field occupied by them.

Such examples, indeed, are not restricted to Christian history, but are
general facts of the history of the human mind. The fifth century B.C. was
such an epoch in Greece;(1020) when various causes, social and
intellectual, created a sudden awakening of the human mind to reconsider
its old beliefs, and find a home for the new views of nature and of the
world which were opening. The free thought of the Sophists was the
scepticism of doubt, of distrust; the proposal to surrender, to destroy
the old: the free thought of Socrates was the scepticism of inquiry, the
attempt to reconsider first principles, to rebuild truth anew. In all such
moments, investigation is indirectly the means of stimulating knowledge.
The history of the progress of it, in reference to the difficulties which
have beset the Christian church, shows us that the epochs of doubt have
not generally been produced by unbelief taking the initiative in attacking
old truths without some fresh stimulus, and repeating old objections so as
to exhibit perpetually recurring cycles of unbelief. We have rather seen
that doubt is reawakened by the introduction of new forms of knowledge;
and though old doubts recur, yet that they come arrayed in a new garb,
suggested by different motives, deduced from fresh premises, and
accompanied by doubts of a new kind before unknown. In a practical point
of view, frequently they may be thought not to differ widely in appearance
from old ones, and to present similar effects as well as forms; but in a
scientific one, they ought not to be confounded, inasmuch as they do not
present identity of cause. There has been a slow but real progress in
knowledge, and a slow but real change in the modes of applying it to
Christian religion. The effect of the defence offered for Christianity is
equally powerful in leaving its impress on subsequent doubt, as the
progress of knowledge is in suggesting novelty of form. The sphere is
narrowed, or the direction changed. If thought seems to have come round in
its revolution to the same spot in its orbit, it will be found to be
moving not on a circle, but on a spiral; slowly but surely approaching a
little nearer to the great central truth, toward which it is unconsciously

The value of the free inquiry in this latter class of cases is not in the
process, but in the results; in producing the branch of theology which
sets forth the evidences of revealed truth. We have previously had
occasion to imply that the Christian evidences are too often regarded as
mere weapons of defence; like the battle-fields of history, monuments of
the struggle of evil. Being a form of truth which would never have been
called forth if the church had not been attacked, the apologetic
literature is usually regarded, either as obsolete because controversial,
or as useless for believers. Yet truths brought to light by it, though
dearly purchased, are a real contribution to Christian knowledge. As
miracles are a part of Christianity as well as an evidence, so apologetic
literature, while useful in argument, serves the purpose of instruction as
well as of defence.(1021) The controversy with heresy or unbelief has
caused truths to be perceived explicitly, which otherwise would have been
only implicit; and has illustrated features of the Christian doctrine
which might otherwise have remained hidden. Though these good results have
not been designed by unbelievers, and cannot therefore warrant the claim
asserted for scepticism, that it is always innocuous, nor be set down to
the credit of free thought as a spirit; yet they evidence the value of it
as a method; the free thought, that is, which is inquiry and
consideration, not that which is disbelief.

While therefore fully appreciating the reverent wish of Christian men to
defend the truth with sacred tenacity, which leads them to regard all
doubt with alarm; we can frankly allow the function and use of the
phenomenon of doubt in history, when viewed as an intellectual fact. The
use of it is to test all beliefs, with the view of bringing out their
truth and error. But the good result has often, we perceive, been
undesigned. It has frequently too been dearly bought, attained at an
incalculable spiritual loss to the souls of those who have doubted. The
result accordingly leaves untouched the responsibility of the doubter, and
only shows the use which an allwise Providence makes free thought subserve
in the general progress of the world.

But the heart asks a further moral. Though it derives satisfaction from
perceiving that even features of history which seem the darkest, and
moments the most perilous, bear witness to the presence of a benevolent
Creator, who overrules all for the improvement of man and the progress of
the church; it still claims to know what those limits are, where doubt
must expire in awe, and speculation in adoration. It longs to exercise
inquiry, and yet retain the Christian faith. It asks earnestly what does
the history teach us concerning the doubts that are most likely to meet us
in our lifetime, and what lessons are supplied by it in reference to the
best mode at once of maintaining our own faith, and of leading those who
doubt to the faith which we receive. The materials are supplied for an
answer to these questions; probably even the materials for the final
answer which the church can give to them.

We venture not to utter predictions in reference to the future; but the
thought is interesting and solemn, that there seems some reason to believe
that the weapons which doubt on the one hand, and religion on the other,
must use in the final adjudication of their claims, at least in reference
to all fundamental questions, are already in men’s hands. Though our
express denial that doubt perpetually recurs in cycles might cause it to
be supposed that we should be inclined to anticipate the existence of
future crises of faith; yet we have remarked that such crises are always
produced by the opening of some unexplored field of knowledge, the
introduction of a collection of new ideas or of a new spirit excited by
new ideas, on subjects traversed either by the Christian religion, or by
the Christian inspired books. A survey of the present state of knowledge
would probably lead us to think that no field lies unexamined from which
such new material can hereafter come. The physical sciences which, by the
discovery of an order of nature and general laws of causation, have
heretofore suggested difficulties in reference to miraculous
interposition, and, by means of the discoveries in astronomy and geology,
have come into conflict with the ancient Hebrew cosmogony, are not likely
to suggest fresh ones distinct in kind from the past. If there be not
ground for discouragement in science, nor for doubting that the present
state of it, which seems to offer employment for originality of mind
rather in tracking old principles into details than in ascending to new
ones,(1022) is merely a temporary one, destined to pass away when some
happy guess shall reveal the highest laws which now baffle inquiry; yet it
is not probable that such an advance will traverse the province of
religion. The survey of those regions where discovery seems most hopeful,
will explain the reason of this assumption.

If the present examination of some of the subtler forms of matter or of
force,(1023) and of their existence in other globes of the solar system
than our own, should hereafter lead to a generalization which shall extend
natural philosophy as widely beyond its present limits as the discovery
made by Newton beyond those of his predecessors, yet these discoveries can
have no bearing, favourable or unfavourable to religion, distinct in kind
from that of present ones. If even a still mightier stride should be
taken, and physiology be able to lay bare the subtle processes through
which mind acts on body;(1024) yet the difficulty would only be an
enhanced form of that which is already used to discredit the spirituality
and immortality of the soul.

If we pass from the physical to the moral or metaphysical sciences, there
is still less ground for expecting progress. True so far as they go, they
offer no opportunity for enlargement, unless perhaps a more careful
analysis, by means of the fertile principle of mental association,(1025)
should cast light on the sensational source of ideas and the physiological
side of mind; and even this would leave the independent evidence of the
mental data, moral and intellectual, of religion, on the same basis as at
present. Critical science again has attained such perfection, that there
is no possibility of an entirely new range of critical thought springing
up in reference to religion, such as arose when the German mind was
creating the science of historical criticism.

Thus, though each branch of science,—physical, metaphysical, and
critical,—offers grounds of hope to the labourer, there is no reason to
fear that sceptical difficulties will be generated by any of them,
distinct in kind from those which now exist. And a similar line of
argument will suggest, that there is little reason to hope, on the other
hand, for enlargement of the grounds of the evidence of natural and
revealed religion. If this be the case, the materials are accordingly
supplied, from which thoughtful students must make up their minds finally
on the questions at issue. Indeed the survey of modern thought which we
have already made, will have shown that men are already taking their place
in hostile array; and will have revealed differences so fundamental in
reference to religion, on subjects where no further evidence can be
offered, that there can be little reason to hope for the alteration of the
state of parties to the end of time. Never was there an age wherein
Christianity had so real, so potent an effect as the present; yet never
was there one which, while so largely moulded by it, was so really hostile
to it.(1026) It is the hostility, not of opposition which regards
Christianity as false, but of the criticism which views it as obsolete,
and considers it to be one phase of the world’s religious thought, the
eternal truths of which may be assimilated without the historic and
dogmatic basis under which its originators conceived it. Though the
special forms of doubt that now exist derive their lineage, philosophical
and historical, from the modern German and French sources, which we have
studied in the last two lectures; yet it is in an older age of European
history that the nearest general parallel to the present state of feeling
may perhaps be found; and there is a deep truth in the analogy which the
learned and excellent critic,(1027) who has recently made a special study
of the struggle of classical heathenism against Christianity, has pointed
out, between the feeling of philosophers in the second and third centuries
of the Christian era and in the present time.

Amid very wide differences in tone and learning, there is this fundamental
agreement between the age which was enriched with the accumulated learning
of the old civilization, and the present, enriched with that of the new.
There is the same spirit of naturalism; the same indisposition to rise to
the belief of the interference of Deity; the same feeling of contempt for
positive religions; the same sensation of heart-weariness,—the utterance
as it were of the desponding feeling, “Who will show us any good?” the
same lofty theory of stoic morality, and disposition to find perfection in
obedience to nature’s laws, physical and moral; the same approximation to
the Christian ideal of perfection, while destroying the very proof of the
means by which it is to be acquired. And if it be true that the state of
intellectual men presents so marked a parallel, so in like manner the
study of the arguments by which the early fathers in their apologetic
treatises met the doubts of such minds, becomes a question of great
practical as well as literary interest.(1028)

What then are the doubts which are most likely to meet us, either
insinuating themselves into our own minds, or offering their difficulty to
those who intend to become ministers of Christ? and what are the means by
which they may be most effectually repelled?

The main difficulties may be summed up as three:—

(1) The question of the relation of religion, and more particularly of
Christianity, to the human soul; whether religion is anything but
morality, and Christianity its highest type.

(2) The question of the relation of the work of Christ to the human race,
whether it involves a secret mystery of redemption known only to God, and
hidden from the ken of man, except so far as revealed; or whether it is to
be measured by the human mind, and reduced to the proportions which can be
appropriated or understood by man.

(3) The question of the relation of the Bible to the human mind, whether
it is to be that of a friend or a master; and its religious teaching to be
a record or an oracular authority.

The history of recent doubt has brought before us some whose minds doubt
wholly of the supernatural. In the case of a few of these, but only of a
few, the doubt has passed into positive unbelief; their convictions have
become so fixed that they manifest a fierce spirit of proselytism, and can
dare to point the finger of scorn at those who still believe in the unseen
and supernatural relations of God to the human soul. Between these and
religious men the struggle is internecine. We can have no sympathy with
them: we can rejoice that they retain a moral standard, where they have
rejected many of the most potent motives which support it; but must
tremble lest their unbelief end in thorough animalism; lest Epicureanism
be their final philosophy. But there are many more whose tone is that of
sadness, not of scorn; the temper of Heracleitus, not Democritus; whose
souls feel the longing want which nothing but communion with a Father in
heaven can supply, but who are so clouded with doubt, and retain so faint
a hold on the thought of God’s interference, and on the reality of the
supernatural, that they are unable to soar on the wings of faith beyond
the natural, either material or spiritual, up to the throne of God.

The history of such men generally tells of some mighty mental convulsion,
which has driven them from their anchor-ground of belief. Sometimes the
study of science, as it is seen gradually to absorb successive ranges of
phenomena into the regular operation of universal law, until it removes
God far away, and creation seems to move on without His interference, has
been the cause:—in other cases philanthropic pity, musing on the sad
catastrophes which daily occur, when the happiness and lives of innocent
human beings are for ever destroyed by the stem unyielding action of
nature’s laws, leading the heart to doubt God’s nearness, and the fact of
a special Providence:—in other cases again, the study of the human mind in
history, and the perception of the manner in which the gradual growth of
knowledge seems to lessen the region of the supernatural, until the mind
doubts whether the supernatural itself is not the mere _idolum tribûs_, a
mere giving objective being to a subjective idea, a truth relative merely
to a particular stage of civilization. Such causes as these, producing a
convulsion of feeling, may form the sad occasion from which the soul dates
its loss of the grasp which it has heretofore had over the belief of God’s
nearness, and of religion; and mark the moment from which it has gradually
doubted whether anything exists save eternal law; or whether a personal
Deity, if he exist, really communes with man; whether, in short, religion
be anything but duty, and Christianity anything but the noble type of it
to which one branch of the Semitic people was happy enough to attain.

Doubts like these, where they exist in a high-principled and delicate
mind, are the saddest sight in nature. The spirit that feels them does not
try to proselytise; they are his sorrow: he wishes not others to taste
their bitterness. Any one of us who may have ever felt chilled, as the
thought insinuated itself, of the remote possibility of the perception of
the machine-like sweep of universal law removing our belief of the
guardian care of Him to whom alone we can fly for refuge when heart or
flesh faileth, as to a Father as infinite in tenderness as in
condescension, the friend of the friendless:—whoever has known the
bitterness of the thought of a universe unguided by a God of justice, and
without an eternity wherein the cry of an afflicted creation shall no
longer remain unavenged, has known the first taste of the cup of sorrow
which is mournfully drunk by spirits such as we are describing. And who
that has known it would grudge the labour of a life, if by example, by
exhortation, by prayer, he might be the means of rescuing one such soul?

Yet no task is so hard; argument well nigh fails, because the doubts refer
to those very ultimate facts which are usually required as data for
argument. If intellectual means are sought for remedy, it is philosophy to
which we must look to supply it;—the philosophy which recalls man to the
natural realism of the heart, to the simple unsophisticated trust in the
reality of the spiritual intuitions, not as derived from sense only, nor
merely as necessary forms of thought, but as the vision of a personal God
by the human soul.

If however there is any field which requires the presence of moral means,
it is this: and we who believe in a God who careth so much for man that He
spared not His own Son for our sakes, may well look upwards for help in
such instances; in hope that the infinite Father, whose love overlooks not
one single solitary case of sorrowing doubt, will condescend to reveal
himself to all such hearts which are groping after Him, if haply they may
find Him. The soul of such doubters is like the clouded sky: the warming
beams of the Sun of righteousness can alone absorb the mist, and restore
the unclouded brightness of a believing heart.

The instances however are rare, where we meet with a chaos of faith, half
pantheism, half atheism, such as that which we have just described. The
great majority of doubters are persons who not only retain a tenacious
grasp over monotheism, but even possess a love for Christianity. Their
love is however for a modified form of it, different from that which the
apostles taught. They cordially believe that God cares for man, and that
He has spoken to man through His Son. They accept the superhuman, perhaps
the divine, character of Christ; but they consider his life to be a mere
example of unrivalled teaching, and of marvellous self-sacrifice; his
death the mere martyrdom that formed the crowning act of majestic
self-devotion. God’s gift of His son is accordingly, in their view, to
reconcile man to God; to remove the obstacle of distrust which prevented
man from coming to God, by showing forth the love which God already bore
to the world; not to remove obstacles, known or unknown, which prevented
God from showing mercy to man. Christ is accepted as a teacher, and as a
king, but not as a priest. His work is viewed as having for its purpose,
to inculcate and embody a higher type of morality, not to work out a
scheme of redemption. The ethical element of Christianity becomes elevated
above the dogmatic. The sermon on the mount is regarded as the very soul
of Christ’s teaching. And in looking forward to the future of
Christianity, the Christian religion is considered likely to become the
religion of the world, merely because it will have ceased to be the
religion of form and dogma, and become the highest type of ethics.

Views like these are common, and their compatibility with Christianity is
defended in different ways:—sometimes by the bold attempt, as in the
speculations of the Tübingen school, to prove that primitive Christianity
was such a religion as that just described; that the dogmatic Christianity
of the early fathers was the addition made by philosophy to the first
doctrine, the _idola theatri_, which haunted the minds of the early
teachers; and that the books of the New Testament, to which we appeal to
prove the contrary, belong to a later date than that usually
assigned:—sometimes, with less consistency, admitting the antiquity of the
dogmas, by representing that we can penetrate into the philosophy of the
apostolic doctrine, and express in modern phrase, more clearly than in the
ancient, the meaning which was intended to be conveyed:—at other times, by
regarding all truth as relative to its age, and supposing that Christ’s
work was seen by the light of the sacrificial and Messianic ideas common
in the apostolic times.

Connected with this fundamental disagreement with the ordinary teaching of
the Christian church, on the central question of Christ’s work and the
nature of Christianity, is the cognate question concerning the relation of
the Bible as a rule of faith. Its superiority to ordinary books is
admitted, as cordially as the superiority of Christ’s work to that of
ordinary beings; but the religious contents of it, not to speak of the
literary, are criticised, not indeed in a polemical, but in an independent
spirit; and are measured in the manner just described, and approved or
rejected in accordance with it.

Thus these two questions,—the atoning work of Christ, and the authority of
the scriptures,—are the two forms of doubt which are most likely to meet
us in the present age.

The expression of them in the clergy of any particular church may of
course, if it be deemed necessary, be prevented by political means. A
church, if regarded merely in a worldly point of view, is a political as
well as a spiritual institution, where the members cede somewhat of
individual freedom for the good of the whole; a compact where certain
privileges and remunerations are granted, in return for the communication
of certain kinds of instruction, and the performance of certain offices:
and no one can object that the terms of a treaty be maintained; but the
prevention of the expression of doubt is not the extinction of the
feeling. And such acts of repression cannot reach the laity of the church,
even if they touch the clergy. The inquiry accordingly here intended, as
to the means for repressing such doubts, does not descend to the political
question, but is a spiritual one; viz. if these doctrines are contrary to
Christ, how can such thinkers be directed by moral means to the truth
which we believe? or what reason can we give for the hope that is in us,
which leads us to decline yielding up one iota of dogmatic Christianity to

The history of evidences offers a series of experiments, in which we may
find an answer to these questions, by studying the different methods
adopted in various centuries for spreading Christianity.

In the earliest age of the church, previous to the establishment of
Christianity as the state religion, we observe the unaided appeal to
argument, and especially the abundant use made of the internal evidence,
or philosophical argument concerning the excellence of Christianity, as a
means for arresting attention, preparatory to the presentation of the
external and historic proof.(1029) In the long interval of the middle
ages, the church was able to supplement or supersede argument by force;
yet it must be admitted that the political and intellectual condition of
the European mind was then, to a large extent, such as to receive benefit
from the imposition of an external rule of religious authority and
doctrine, in the same manner that individuals, when in a state of
childhood, need a rule, not a principle; a law, not a reason.(1030) This
method however was unsuited when the mind of Europe awoke, and when free
thought could no longer be suppressed by force.

The history of evidences since the spread of modern unbelief exhibits not
only the return to the ancient Christian weapon of argument instead of
force; but not unfrequently to the ancient mode of presenting the
philosophical proof prior to the historical.

An attempt of this kind was intermingled with the English school of
evidences of the last century; and the argument of analogy used by Butler,
if viewed as constructive, and not refutative, may be considered to have
for its object to prepare the mind for accepting revealed religion, by
first showing the probability of it on the ground of its similarity to
nature. (48) And in the German movement, where the doubt thrown by
criticism over the historical evidences even still more compelled the
resort to the philosophical argument on the part of those who strove to
defend the faith, we have seen various attempts to reconstruct
Christianity from the philosophical side.(1031) Both methods, the
philosophical and the historical, have had their place; but their use has
varied with the wants of the age. In proportion as the pressure of doubt
left less opportunity for the constraining force of the latter, the
persuasiveness of the _à priori_ moral argument has been used.

The history of the means which have been successful in removing doubts
lends little support to the opinion which would save the faith by the
sacrifice of the reason, or would imperil the truth of religion by
throwing discredit on the immutability of moral distinctions, perceived by
the conscience which Providence has placed in the human mind; to which the
great writers on evidence have been wont to make their appeal; and which
they have justly perceived must lie at the basis of the evidences
themselves. “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that

The two periods in church history among those here named, which offer most
instruction to us in consequence of affording examples of the same class
of difficulties as those which we encounter, are, the struggle in the
early centuries, and that in Germany during the present. The line of
argument which was used in the former of these crises is seen in the
Alexandrian school of the fathers in the third century, and that used in
the latter, in the school of Schleiermacher. The study of the life and
mental development of Schleiermacher’s disciple, Neander, would be in this
view one of the most valuable in history.(1032) He was himself led by the
mercy and providence of God to the knowledge of Christ; his own spirit was
rescued from doubts such as we describe; his life was spent in trying to
save others from the like difficulties, and to plant their feet upon the
rock upon which he himself stood: and it is only the secrets of the great
day that will declare the number of the souls that were led by his
teaching to find Christ and salvation.

In both these periods the method adopted for recommending Christianity
was, to carry out the plan used by St. Paul at Athens,(1033) to lay a
basis for the proof of it by developing the moral and philosophical

In the Alexandrian period the method used was, to show that all former
religions, all former philosophies, were not unmixed error, but contained
the germ of truth, which Christianity gathered into itself; to exhibit
Christianity as the fulfilment in the field of history of the world’s
yearnings, and thus to awaken the response of the heart to the narrative
of its message.(1034) Reasons, to which allusion has before been
made,(1035) may have lessened the utility at that period of the positive
evidence, which proves the fact that a Redeemer had been given; but we
cannot doubt that, independently of this circumstance, a deep
philosophical reason suggested the stress which was laid on the moral
argument, on account of its suitability for convincing the opponent;—a
reason indeed to which the history of some of the fathers gave a personal
force in the fact that it was by this manner that they had themselves been
led to accept of Christianity.(1036)

In the German period the same method has been adopted, with the
corresponding alterations suggested by modern philosophy. Not to mention
the instructive attempts of the school of Kant to find a philosophy from
the subjective side of religion, in the denial of its possibility if
attempted on the objective, and to exhibit the limitations of the human
mind in speculating on the subject of religious method; nor again to
mention the bold attempt of Hegel, to which we have previously taken
exception as opposing the simplicity that is in Christ, to work out this
forbidden problem, and find a philosophy for Christianity on the objective
side: we allude to that which has marked the disciples of Schleiermacher
to find it on the subjective as a life, and fact, and doctrine, which
fulfils the yearnings of the individual heart.

In pursuing a method of this kind, the appeal must be made to the
inextinguishable feeling of guilt; to our personal consciousness of a
personal judge; our terror at the sense of justice; our penitence for our
own ill deserts; the deep consciousness of the load of sin as an
insupportable burden from which we cannot rescue ourselves; and to the
guilt of it which separates between us and God, as a bitter memory that we
are powerless to wipe away.(1037) When these facts are not only
established as psychological realities, but appropriated as personal
convictions, then the way is prepared for the reception of Christianity.
The heart, by realising the personality of God, is at once elevated above
naturalism or pantheism. It feels that in Christ’s incarnation it finds
God near, the infinite become finite, God linked to the heart of a man;
and in his atonement it finds God merciful. Its deep instinct leads it to
reject the theories which would pare down the marvel of that mystery. Its
consciousness of guilt tells it of an obstacle which it cannot believe to
lie merely in itself, but attributes to the mind of the infinite Spirit
which it wants a method for removing. No mere example of majestic
self-sacrifice proclaiming God’s love to man suffices to solace its
sorrows. Some mighty process, wrought out between the Son and the almighty
Father, is instinctively felt to be necessary, as the means by which God
can be just and yet the justifier of the sinful. And when philosophy has
thus prepared the heart by its appeal to the yearnings of the soul, and
brought it to long for the very remedy which Christianity supplies; then
the historic argument can be properly introduced, to afford the solid
comforting assurance that the remedy wanted has really been given; that
miracles and prophecy are divine evidences, attesting the truth of the
claim that certain teachers at a particular period received superhuman aid
to reveal certain religious truths. (49)

The work of persuasion however is not yet completed; for, ere the heart
can fully trust with adoring thankfulness, there are no less than three
questions which must still be answered, if the object be to direct doubt
instead of suppressing it, and to lead a sinner to Christ by the bands of

The first will be the literary one, as to the trustworthiness of the books
of the New Testament, which are the record of this teaching.

The second, the inquiry into the fact whether the books teach, and whether
the early church taught, dogmatic Christianity as the church now presents

The third, though of such a nature as in a great degree to be suppressed
by the claim of authority already conceded to the apostolic teachers, may
still rise up to harass the mind if a further answer be not supplied: it
refers to the reason that we possess for believing, that if these teachers
asserted such truths as dogmatic Christianity, and especially vicarious
atonement, these doctrines were a real verity, and not merely a passing
form under which the truth presented itself to their minds, to be
explained away by after ages into less mysterious and more self-evident

The first of these questions, which concerns the trustworthiness of the
books, has been most thoroughly tested by the historical criticism of
Germany. The data are thus presented for forming a final decision, which
in the opinion of most persons will probably be widely different from that
which has been arrived at by critics in that country. Yet, supposing we
should meet with a doubter who accepted all the views of the Tübingen
school,(1038) there are nevertheless four books of the New Testament, the
genuineness of which the most extravagant criticism fully admits; viz. the
Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans, to the Galatians, and the two to the
Corinthians. These four would be sufficient to establish the main articles
of dogmatic teaching as presented in the creeds of the Christian church,
and the main outline of Gospel and Jewish history as facts on the reality
of which St. Paul and his converts relied, and for which he was staking
his life. Suppose the Gospels and the Acts(1039) involved in the historic
uncertainty which these critics have attributed to them; yet we possess in
the Galatians the outline of the life of Paul, the statement of the reason
why Paul accepted a religion which he detested. The incomparable argument
of Lyttleton(1040) irrefragably proves his honesty. He cannot have been a
deceiver. Let the reader of the Galatians say if he was deceived. The two
Epistles to Corinth attest the history of the early church; the Epistle to
the Romans its dogmatic beliefs. If there is a doubting heart, thoroughly
imbued with the most destructive criticism, unable to find historical
standing-ground in scripture, he may surely find it in the study of these
four works of St. Paul.

The second question, whether the great features of the dogmatic teaching
which we receive, and especially the doctrine of vicarious atonement, are
taught in the New Testament, admits of satisfactory settlement. The
negative of this position has been asserted, in consequence of the alleged
fact that this particular doctrine is rather expressed implicitly than
explicitly in the earliest fathers; which is to be accounted for by the
tendency, while contending against Jewish monotheism, or heathen theism,
to put forward the messiahship and incarnation of Christ, in comparison
with other religions, rather than his atoning work.(1041) Careful study
will soon decide a question of this kind, if directed first to the text of
scripture; and secondly, as is most important in all questions of the
history of doctrine, to the fathers, as the historic witnesses at once to
the teaching of their day, and to the traditions of the teaching of an
older age than their own.(1042)

Supposing however that the authenticity of the books be granted, and the
existence in them of dogmatic teaching, as we now hold it, be conceded;
how are we to answer the final misgiving which might arise, that a
doctrine like the atonement was not merely truth relatively to the age in
which it was taught, to be surrendered if it conflict with the moral
sense? If indeed miraculous attestation, the authority of supernatural
assistance, be conceded, this doubt will be extinguished in most minds by
such an admission; but how is it to be fully met, consistently with our
object to point out how a doubter may be directed, who desires not to have
the natural revelation in his heart crushed, and yet who does not claim,
like the deists, that he must comprehend that which he believes, but only
that at least he must apprehend it?(1043)

We concede the authority of the moral sense to check all dogmas that are
not shown to be part of the teaching of men supernaturally inspired; and
we should feel surprised if there were a direct conflict between God’s
voice through the apostles and God’s voice through the human conscience.
Probably it could be shown that no such conflict exists; but if it did, we
should be inclined to ask whether the moral sense, infallible in what it
forbids, is equally so in what it asserts:(1044) whether it cannot
possibly admit of such improvement as would cause the difficulty not to be
felt; or, if felt, to be cancelled by one of those mental
antinomies,(1045) the existence of which is undeniable: or whether there
is not still independent and contemporary evidence, to which appeal can be
made, to corroborate the apostles’ teaching.

Let us, for example, suppose that we have come to the conclusion, that the
apostles taught the doctrine of the atonement; and that our moral sense is
puzzled with the justice of the system, of the transfer of merit implied
in those analogies under which the mysterious verity is unveiled to us,
and with its apparent incompatibility with a corrective theory of
punishment: the thought of error, or of merely relative truth, in the
apostles’ teaching in such a matter, is forbidden to the mind of any one
who admits the least divine inspiration in them, from the fact that this
is the innermost and most sacred truth of their creed. We could imagine
the early teachers left unaided in all matters irrelevant to religion;
nay, by a stretch of supposition, possibly even in some unimportant things
appertaining to religion itself: but a mistake on the work and office of
Christ,—the very point which, of all others, they were commissioned to
teach;—an ingredient of error insinuating itself here, is utterly
improbable. If even the inspired authority were denied, the improbability
would be hardly less apparent. For this was not a doctrine of the head,
but of the feelings; not a fact coldly believed, but appropriated; the
voice of the inmost consciousness. If the story of the apostles be true,
that the belief of this doctrine, and the prayers founded upon it, had
made them changed men; if too their history testifies to the reality of
their professions of extraordinary holiness; we could not, even if we did
not know from their writings that they were men who were accustomed to the
careful analysis of their own feelings, conceive a fatal falsehood to lurk
here, in a point where the mixture of inference with consciousness must
have been reduced to a minimum.

In this particular case of the atonement, there is however an independent
proof of the correctness of the apostles’ teaching, through the
corroboration of it which is offered by the Christian consciousness of the
church. We have before had occasion(1046) to explain the introduction of
this idea in the teaching of Schleiermacher, and to protest against the
use which he proposed to make of it as a source of truth, independently of
the Christian consciousness of the apostles and first teachers; as the
gradual source of doctrinal progress, the oracular utterance to this age,
as the apostolic consciousness was to the first age.

But there is a deep truth in it, if we use the Christian consciousness,
not to supersede scripture, but as the living corroboration and
interpreter of it. The Spirit of God still works on the hearts of men
morally, as upon the apostles of old; not by conferring the intellectual
gift of inspiration, but in the moral gifts of penitence, of conversion,
of pardon, of holiness. Holy men now feel the Spirit of God striving with
them as the apostles did, and appropriate the excellence of Christianity,
and feel its renovating power now as then. Therefore the attestation of
these men, such as is collected by an induction founded on their
biographies, to the fact that when they analyse their secret feelings with
the most exact care, they recognise that the pardon which they receive is
through the mercy of Christ; that their moments of most hallowed communion
with the Father-spirit are when they approach the throne of mercy through
the mediation and intercession of another, Christ Jesus; that the victory
vouchsafed to them over temptation, is by His merits; that their heart
finds no Father for one moment except through him;—this evidence, if it
can be accepted, is an independent corroboration of dogmatic truth. It may
be explained away, by denying the truth of their analysis, or by referring
their feeling to mental association; but it cannot fail to have a
persuasive force for those who have faith in the instinctive utterances of
the human soul: and the reliance upon it is not more extraordinary than
that on which we depend in cognate subjects like æsthetics, where the
taste of practical skill is trusted. Christian consciousness thus becomes
a new source of facts in theological study; the living voice of the church
for illustrating and confirming in some degree the utterance of men of
old, who spake that which was revealed to their souls by the inspiring

Such are the chief steps which the history of evidences, in the contest
with early heathenism, as well as in the recent struggle in Germany, seems
to point out as the most likely to lead a doubter to Christ; and such the
order in which the philosophical and historical evidences ought to be
respectively presented, if our object be to give due heed to the desire
which an inquirer evinces to appropriate the truth which he believes. Such
too, if the opinion already advanced concerning the future of modern doubt
be correct, seems to be the final answer which the church can give.
Without undue compromise, commencing with the internal evidence, we thus
lead men to the external, and make philosophy as it were the schoolmaster
to lead to Christ.

The third question of those which we enumerated as likely to press upon
us, viz. that which refers to the inspiration of the scriptures, requires
only a few words; inasmuch as the treatment of it has already, to some
extent, been implied.

This question has been elevated, since the Reformation, to an importance
which it hardly possessed before. Since the authority of the Bible has
been substituted for the authority of the church, it has been usual to
regard the scriptures as the mode of leading men to Christ, instead of
considering the knowledge of Christ received through the ministrations of
the church as the clue to interpret scripture. Logically, the scripture is
the rule of faith, the ground of the church’s teaching; but
chronologically, the teaching of the church is the means of our knowing
the scripture.(1047)

A caution hence arises, that we should not be willing to allow preliminary
difficulties, which a doubter may have in reference to the scriptures, to
deter us from leading him straight to Christ, and then allowing him by the
light of this teaching to reconsider the question of the scripture. The
difficulties will generally be found to have reference to the historical
and literary portions, rather than the doctrinal, or those portions of the
literature which contain the doctrinal. If indeed they refer to the
doctrinal, they must be answered at the outset in the manner already
shown. If however to the literary, they will be viewed in a different
light, if the doubter has been brought to appreciate the central truths of
Christianity, from that which they will bear if wrangled out on the
threshold of his approach. In the last century indeed, the comparative
importance of the doctrinal parts of scripture over the literary was so
perceived, when doubts were pressed on the attention of the clergy by the
pertinacity of the deist controversialists, that many of the eminent
writers restricted the plenary inspiration of the scripture writers to the
appropriate matter of the revelation, the supernatural communication of
the miraculous system of redemption; and conceived that it was no
derogation from the supreme religious authority of the sacred writers, but
rather compatible with the loftiest idea of the providential adaptation of
means to ends, to suppose them unassisted in literary matters, such as the
transcription of genealogies, the reference to natural phenomena, or the
literal exactitude of quotations. The jewel of divine truth did not, in
their opinion, sparkle less brilliantly because it was handed down in a
frame of antique setting. (50) In the present day there is a strong
reaction in religious minds in favour of the opposite view, identical with
the one held in the seventeenth century by the Puritans. The reaction is
only a special instance of the general movement in favour of authority,
political and ecclesiastical, which has taken a sudden advance throughout
the religious part of Europe, in opposition to the subjective tendency
already noticed in secular literature.(1048) This special view however is
dictated by a noble motive, a watchful fear lest the loss of a single atom
may weaken the whole structure. Whether it be true or not is not at
present under consideration, but merely the caution which ought to be used
in pressing it upon doubters at the outset of an approach to the subject
of religion. If the object be really to draw them to Christ, we must
become all things to all men; and, while not mutilating the heavenly
message, take heed not to repel the weak believer from coming to the
Saviour, by interposing unnecessary literary obstacles.

It is very common to hear or to read the dilemma put before the doubter,
that he must accept everything or nothing in Christianity and the
Bible.(1049) Such an alternative, though dictated by a commendable motive,
is likely to prove ineffectual. The Dilemma is a form of reasoning which
rarely persuades. Its object is rather to silence than to convince. It is
more a trick of rhetoric than an argument of logic. It may make a person
pause by showing him his apparent position; but the heart, if not the
head, can always find means to escape from an alternative which it
dislikes. And in this particular case the use of it involves the risk of
overlooking the different degrees of importance which belong to different
portions of religion, and the very different degrees or evidence on which
different portions of it rest. Though the smallest circumstances in
reference to it are of importance, yet it were less vital to doubt the
miraculous inspiration of a genealogy than the authoritative teaching of
an epistle; or to doubt the date of a book than its contents. No doubt is
unimportant; but it were merely repeating the sophistry of the Stoics, in
making all sins equal, to deny gradations of importance in doubts;
gradations which however are not here put forward to defend eclecticism,
but to enforce the lesson, that, in dealing with a doubter, the
consideration of this fact must guide us in the order in which we present
the evidence of different parts to his mind. It not unfrequently happens
that the perusal of the holy scripture is the means of drawing a soul to
Christ; the volume in its solitary majesty telling its own tale: or, to
speak more reverently, applied to the heart by the Spirit of God: but
generally, if a doubter’s heart be filled with historical and critical
doubts, he must be led through Christ to the Bible, rather than
conversely, and through the New Testament to the Old. If once he can be
brought to the perception of a Saviour for sinful man, his doubts will
assume a new aspect, and will adjust themselves into their true place, or
perhaps find their own solution.

Yet, when we have used all methods of argument which the survey of the
history has given us reason to believe may prove useful, it were
affectation to conceal our belief in the perpetual operation, secret and
unobserved, of an invisible monitor and persuader, the blessed Spirit of
God. Though we may look to philosophy to prepare the way, by exciting an
appreciation of the wants which Christianity supplies, and an apprehension
of the suitability of Christianity as the perfection of our spiritual
nature; we must confess that it is to the unseen leadings of the Spirit of
God that we trust, to make the heart feel the truth as well as perceive
it, and love as well as appreciate it. If we accept the fact of God’s
interference to effect man’s salvation, and regard it as His special will
to bring men to the knowledge of Christ, and trust His promise of
assistance to the church,(1050) it is not enthusiasm, but the most
rational faith, to expect divine assistance to attend constantly on the
efforts made to spread the truth which He has been pleased to reveal; not
to interfere indeed with the fixed laws of the rational faculties, but to
remove prejudices of the heart which might blind the apprehension, and to
hallow the soul into a temple for the enshrinement of His truth.

More especially if it be true, as we have perpetually insisted, that there
is a large region for the influence of emotional causes of doubt, in
addition to the intellectual, which have been the subject of our special
study, we may well believe that here is a field where the Holy Spirit
alone can enter, and in which He only has the power to operate. Evidence,
as evidence, is apprehended and tested by the intellectual faculties; but
whatever is the subtle influence, consciously or unconsciously exercised
by the emotions, in a matter where the evidence is probable, not
demonstrative, this offers a sphere where the help of an all-loving God
may be hoped for to dissipate the alienation of prejudice or indifference.
Paul may plant, and Apollos may water; but it is God that giveth the

We have now considered the lessons taught by the history, both as to the
moral function of free thought, the forms of it which are most likely to
meet Christians in the present day, and the means which seem most useful
for guiding a doubter into truth.


The history may teach a final lesson to us as Christian students, not so
much in reference to leading others to truth, as in relation to the means
by which we can attain it ourselves.

In all the days of peril through which the church has passed, the means
used by those who have striven to find the truth, and become a blessing to
the world, have been,—study and prayer. In the solitude of their own
hearts, by quiet meditation, they have sought to understand the utterance
of the inspired volume; and to secure by prayer the illuminating influence
of the divine Spirit, to cause them to behold wondrous things in God’s
law.(1051) And thus in an age of coldness they have kept the flame of
divine love burning with unextinguished glory on the altar of their
hearts; and in an age of questioning have been able to burst forth from
their prison-house of doubt, and gaze with the clearness of unclouded
faith on the truth once for all delivered to the saints. If, in the dark
night of doubt or sin which has spread its veil over the world, there have
been stars that have shown to the pilgrim steadier and clearer light than
the other luminaries of the heavens, the cause has been that they have
reflected some rays of the Divine glory, which had been concentrated in
the sunlike brightness of the apostolic inspiration.

If we have found that the present age offers its peculiar intellectual
trials; and if we feel ourselves set in the midst of so many and great
dangers; let us not be paralysed by the consciousness of them, so as to
deem the search for truth unimportant, or anticipate that it will be
unsuccessful; but rather be led to increased energy in striving to follow
the example of those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by
the word of their testimony.(1052) Let us realise the solemnity of our
position as responsible and immortal beings. We are creatures of a day,
soon to pass into eternity; placed here to prepare ourselves for that
unknown world into which we shall carry the moral character that has been
stamped upon us here; and capable, whilst we are here, of doing untold
good by a godly example, or of contributing to the ruin of the souls of
our fellow men. How important, both for ourselves and others, that we
should learn and appropriate that truth which is to be the means of our
salvation! how important for ourselves, lest we be castaway! how important
for others, lest we help them to build a structure of wood, hay,
stubble,(1053) which shall be consumed in the day of the Lord!

Let us strive to use the two methods of finding truth,—study and prayer.
Let us gain more knowledge, and consecrate it to the investigation of the
highest problems of life and of religion; especially applying ourselves,
by the help of the ripest aid which miscellaneous literature or church
history can afford us, to the study of the sacred scriptures. But above
all these intellectual instruments, let us add the further one of prayer.
For prayer not only has a reflex value on ourselves, purifying our hearts,
dispersing our prejudices, hushing our troubled spirits into peace; but it
acts really, though mysteriously, on God. It ascends far away from earth
to the spot where He has His dwelling-place. The infinite God condescends
to enter into communion with our spirits, as really as a man that talketh
with a friend. The Saviour of pity will Himself look down upon us, and
condescend to become our teacher, and give us the purity of heart which
will lead us into truth. Our own trials, our own struggles for truth and
holiness, the desire to know Christ and to be known by Him, will excite
our deep pity for those who endure the like temptations, and prepare us
for effectually ministering to the good of others. And if the struggle in
our own hearts be long, and there be moments when we seem to have our
Gethsemane; let us cleave the closer, with the more simple trust, to our
heavenly Father; still imploring Him to grant us in this world knowledge
of his truth, and in the world to come life everlasting; assured that the
clouds shall one day disperse, and the vision of truth be unveiled to us
in the bright light of the eternal morning.

I shall be well content that all that I have said to you be forgotten; and
when these lectures take their humble place in the series of which they
form a part, deriving an honour, not their own, from the great names with
which they are associated, I shall be willing that they be consigned to
neglect; if I can only hope that this final exhortation to prayerful study
may remain fixed in the memory of any one of those that now hear these
words, or may impress the mind of any chance student who, in traversing
the same ground, may hereafter have occasion to peruse them, at a time
perhaps when the voice that now speaks shall be hushed in the tomb, and
the spirit shall have gone to its account.


The lectures are now ended. May God forgive the errors, and sanctify any
truth that has been uttered to His honour! The faults are mine: the truth
is His, not mine. To Him be the glory.


Lecture I.

Note 1. p. 3. Subdivisions Of Historical Inquiry.

A few words may explain the distinctions intended in the text.

History has been properly distinguished by Macaulay into two branches, the
artistic or descriptive, and the scientific or analytic. (_Essays_, vol.
i. 2, on Hallam.) If viewed in the former aspect, history aims as far as
possible to reproduce what has been, to recover a picture of the past.
Hence it is obedient to the two conditions which rule all art,—precise
outline in details, and preservation of perspective in the combination. In
the latter, theory in some slight degree steps in, but theory dictated by
the instinct of taste rather than by reflection. It is in this branch, in
which the historian is the critic, that the border line lies between art
and science. For it is hard to measure the precise amount which is due in
the appreciation of facts respectively to artistic intuition and to
reflective analysis.(1054)

Supposing the facts to be thus given, it is the province of the science of
history to ascertain their causes. Two living writers, Mr. Mill (_System
of Logic_), and Dr. Whewell (_Philosophy of Inductive Sciences_), have
given an account of the logic of science. That of the latter is more
suitable to the conception which we are here forming of history; for
history is exactly one of the class of sciences which he calls
“Palætiological.” (vol. i. b. x.) It requires first, that we recover the
record of the successive stages of facts, the narrative of the past,
before searching for the causes. The causes are then to be sought by
transferring backward for the explanation of the past those which are at
present operating. The search will probably exhibit three successive
stages in the process of examination. First, causes will be found which
are the mere antecedents of the events, the mere links which connect the
phenomena. Next, a cyclical law of the recurrence of the facts is
perceived, such e.g. as Vico’s well-known law concerning the development
of political society. Such a law as this, supposing it to hold good
without exception within the limits of experience, is what Mr. Mill calls
an “empirical law.” (_Logic_, vol. ii. b. iii. ch. xvi.) Next, this law
must be analysed into its causes. Mr. Mill gives three forms which this
third stage of analysis may assume in science. (_Id._ vol. i. b. iii. ch.
xii.) Probably in history it will generally assume the one of the three in
which the complex result is analysed into its simpler component elements.
(_Id._ § 2.)

This inquiry would complete the study of history as a science. But when we
deal with moral as distinct from material relations, we feel that there is
a question of philosophy as well as science, one of ethics and
metaphysics, which rises above all lower ones. We instinctively wish to
measure the responsibility of the moral agents who have contributed to
work out the results which have been studied. We turn to the personal and
biographical question for the purpose of the ethical lesson. The theist
also asks another question. Believing that nature and man are the work,
direct or indirect, of a personal Creator and Governor, of infinite power
and goodness, he strives to search out the purposes of Providence, hoping
to find in the drama of universal history the solution of the plot which
he could not expect to attain by the study of a portion of it.

Such are the ideas which are intended in the text.

Note 2. p. 4. The Comparative Study Of Religions.

The comparison of Christianity with other religions was necessarily forced
upon the Christian church by contact with the heathen world.

We meet in the early fathers with two distinct opinions; the one held in
the Alexandrian school, that the heathen religions were imperfect but had
a germ of truth, and that philosophy was a schoolmaster to bring men to
Christ; the other chiefly in the African school, that they were entire
errors, and an obstacle to the conversion of mankind.

In the middle ages, contact with Mahometan life (see Lect. III. p. 88)
created a sceptical mode of comparing Christianity with other creeds;
circumstances compelling toleration, and toleration passing into
indifference. A similar spirit is also seen in the hasty attempt of the
French philosophers of the last century to resolve all religion into

It is only in still more recent times that the first scientific conception
of a comparative study of religion arose. Even in Herder the comparison is
æsthetical more than scientific, and relates to the comparison of
literatures more than of religious ideas. Benjamin Constant (_De la
Religion Considérée dans sa source, ses formes et ses développements_,
1824) seems to have been the first who really suggested a serious
psychological examination; and hence there soon arose the idea of
comparative theology analogous to comparative anatomy. His spirit has
pervaded French literature subsequently. The religious speculations of the
eclectic school give expression to it; e.g. Quinet (_Le Génie des
Religions_, vol. i.); and the mode of contemplating religion in Renan
(_Etudes de l’Histoire Religieuse_) is based upon it. Caution in using the
method is necessary on the part of those who believe in the unique and
miraculous character of the Jewish and Christian revelations. In Lect.
III. (p. 87) we have given an enumeration of three modes; the one true,
the others false; in which Christianity may be put into comparison with
other creeds.

Mr. Maurice’s _Boyle Lectures on the Religions of the World_ refer to this
subject; and some useful remarks exist in Morell’s _Philosophy of
Religion_,(c. iii. and iv.) But the book most full of information is the
interesting _Christian Advocate’s Publication_, of the late archdeacon
Hardwick, _Christ and other Masters_; a work full of learning and piety,
unfortunately left unfinished by the tragedy of his premature death in
August 1859. In the parts published he has compared Christianity with the
Egyptian and Persian religions (part iv.), with the Hindoo (part ii.), and
the Chinese (part iii.); and he was preparing materials for its comparison
with the Teutonic, and with those of the classic nations.

Note 3. p. 4. Zend And Sanskrit Literature.

The purpose of this note is to indicate the sources of information in
reference to (1) the Zend and (2) the Sanskrit literature, for
illustrating the comparative history of religion.

1. It was about the middle of the last century (1762) that Anquetil du
Perron brought manuscripts to Europe from Guzerat, written in the Zend or
ancient Persian tongue. For some time the relation of the language to the
Sanskrit was not understood. The great scholar to whom are due both the
study of the tongue and the editing of the _Yaçna_, was Eugene Burnouf.
The work just named is the first of the three works which make up the
_Vendidad Sadé_; parts of which possibly go back to a period almost coeval
with Zoroaster, i.e. perhaps the sixth century B.C. Two other works exist
for the study of the Persian theology, though much more modern in
date,—the _Desatir_ of the ninth century A.D., and the _Dabistan_ of the
seventeenth,—which both contain fragments of ancient traditions embedded
in their texts. The _Avesta_, of which the _Vendidad_ is one of the oldest
parts, has been edited by Spiegel. References to the older literature
concerning it may be found in Heeren’s _History of the Asiatic Nations_,
vol. i. ch. ii.

An account of the present results of comparative philology in reference to
Persian is given by professor Max Müller in Bunsen’s _Philosophy of
History_, vol. i. p. 110. E. T. The Persian theology brought to light by
these investigations is discussed by A. Franck, in a paper, _Les Doctrines
Religieuses et Philosophiques de la Perse_, in his _Etudes Orientales_,
1861; also in Dr. John Wilson’s _Parsi Religion_, 1843; Martin Haug’s
_Essays on the Parsis_, 1861, founded on Burnouf’s researches; and in
archdeacon Hardwick’s _Christ and other Masters_, part iv. ch. iii.
(Hyde’s _Hist. Relig. Vet. Pers._ 1700, is obsolete.)

2. The Sanskrit literature has been the subject of still more careful
study by a series of learned men. See Donaldson’s _Cratylus_, b. i. ch.
ii. § 36. 3d ed. Nearly the whole of the literature indirectly offers
materials for a history of the alteration and deterioration of religious
and ethical ideas, and of the relation of schools of philosophy to a
national creed preserved by the priesthood and deposited in books esteemed
sacred. The literary works can be placed in their relative order, though
the absence of all chronological dates from the time of the contact of the
Indians with the Greeks (third century B.C.), down to the visits of the
Chinese Buddhist pilgrims in the fourth and seventh centuries A.D., whose
works have been translated into French by A. Remusat and Stanislas
Julien,(1055) and the Mahometan histories, renders the determination of
absolute dates impossible. The following are the dates approximately given
for the chief works of Sanskrit literature. The _Vedas_, especially the
oldest, date from B.C. 1200 to 600. The _Epic Poems_, the _Rámáyana_ and
_Mahábhárata_, are perhaps of the third century B.C.; the laws of _Manu_,
or more truly of the family which claimed descent from the mythical
_Manu_, contain materials dating from several centuries B.C., but were put
into their present form probably several centuries A.D.; the _Bhagavat
Gitá_, an episode in the _Mahábhárata_ bearing traces of a Christian
influence, dates some centuries A.D. The Hindu drama is perhaps subsequent
to 500 A.D. The _Puránas_ carry on the literature to mediæval times.
Several of the systems of philosophy were probably constructed anterior to
the Christian era; but the date at which they were put into their present
form is undetermined.

The earlier literature is regarded as the most valuable for the study of
the growth of religious ideas and institutions. The development or
deterioration may be traced from the simple nature-worship of the _Vedas_,
to the accumulation of legends which disgrace the modern creed. The causes
which gave birth to mythology are no longer a matter of conjecture; the
study of the Sanskrit language and literature having exhibited an
historical instance of it. In this way the early Sanskrit literature
becomes one of the most precious treasures to the mental philosopher who
approaches his subject from the historical side.

The earliest _Veda_ is in course of publication by professor Max Müller.
It has been partly translated by the late professor H. H. Wilson, and
wholly by Langlois. Mr. M. Müller has given the results of his studies of
this early literature in his admirable work, the _History of Ancient
Sanskrit Literature_, 1859; which is full of instruction for the
philosopher who is inquiring concerning intellectual and religious
history. Most of the other works named above have also been translated
into European languages, viz. the _Epic Poems_,—the _Rámáyana_, in Italian
by Gorresio, and in French by H. Fauche, 1854; and _Episodes_ from the
_Mahábhárata_ by P. E. Foucaux, 1862;—also the _Laws of Manu_,(1056) in
English by Sir W. Jones, and in French by A. Loiseleur Des-Lonchamps; the
_Bhagavat Gitá_ by Wilkins, 1809, the text of which was edited by
Schlegel, 1823; the 2d ed. by C. Lassen, 1846. One of the _Puránas_ (the
_Vishnu_) has been translated by Wilson; and part of the _Bhagavat_ by
Burnouf, who has also edited the text.

Concerning the systems of Hindu philosophy; see Ritter’s _History of
Philosophy_, E. T. vol. iv. b. xii. ch. v; Archer Butler’s _Lectures on
Philosophy_, vol. i. p. 243 seq.; Colebrooke’s _Essays on the Philosophy
of the Hindus_, 1837; _Aphorisms of Hindu Philosophy_, printed under the
care of Dr. Ballantyne for the Benares government college; and Dr. R.
Williams’s _Christianity and Hinduism_, 1856. The work of the late
archdeacon Hardwick, _Christ and other Masters_, also contains a brief
account of three of the systems of philosophy, the _Vedánta_, founded on
the sacred books, the _Sánkhya_ or atheistic, and the _Yoga_ or mystic,
together with a comparison of them with Christianity (part ii.). An
explanation of a part of the _Nyáya_ or Logical Philosophy, is given by
Max Müller in the Appendix to Dr. Thomson’s _Outlines of the Laws of
Thought_, 3d ed.

On the system of thought in Buddhism, on which the study of the Páli has
thrown light, consult E. Burnouf’s _Introduction à l’Histoire du Buddhisme
Indien_; and Spence Hardy’s _Manual of Budhism_, 1853. Also archdeacon
Hardwick’s work above named. The Hindu history, exhibiting its double
movement, of philosophy on the one hand and of the Buddhist reformation on
the other, has been thought to offer a distant analogy to the mental
history of Europe in the double movement of the scholastic philosophy and
the reformation.

The celebrated works of C. Lassen, _Indische Alterthumskunde_, 1844-47,
and A. Weber, _Indische Studien_, 1850, are well known as sources of
information in reference to the general subject. Also Dr. J. Muir has
lately published (1858) _Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and Progress of the
Religion and Institutions of India_. Several articles in reviews have
appeared which contain much popular information; e.g. in the _North
British Review_, Nov. 1858; _Westminster Review_, April 1860; _Edinburgh
Review_, Oct. 1860. On the general subject of this note compare also
Quinet, _Œuvres_, t. i. 1. 2, 3.

Note 4. p. 12. The Controversy Between Christians And Jews.

The history of the controversy of Christianity with Judaism is so
connected in the writings of the early apologists with the contemporaneous
one directed against Paganism, and in recent times so related in one of
its aspects to rationalism, that these reasons seem sufficient,
independently of the literary interest, to justify the insertion of a
brief notice of it, and of the sources of information with respect to it.

The controversy with the Jew varies in different ages. We can distinguish
three separate phases; (1) that which is seen in the early centuries, (2)
in the middle ages, and early modern times, (3) the position which is
taken up by the educated Jew at the present day. The sources for
understanding the contest are, partly the Jewish writings, and partly
those of Christians who have written against them.

1. In the early ages the controversy merely turned upon the question
whether Jesus was the Christ. The Jews did not deny the fact of the
Christian miracles, but explained them away; and the controversy
accordingly turned on the interpretation of Jewish prophecy. This phase of
the contest is seen in the New Testament, in the Apology of Justin Martyr
against Trypho, to which a new kind of objection expressive of prejudice
is added in the discourse which Celsus, as preserved in Origen (_Contr.
Cels._ b. i. and ii.), puts into the mouth of the Jew whom he introduces.
In reference to it, the commentators on these fathers, and especially
Semisch’s work on Justin Martyr (translated), and the works on the Jewish
Talmudic literature and philosophy, may be consulted. The contest is
continued at intervals in treatises by inferior writers; an account of
which may be found in the sources of information hereafter given, and in
_Hagenbach’s Dogmengesch._ § 144.

2. The second phase of the contest is seen in the middle ages, and in
modern times till about 1700 A.D. It is marked by two lines of thought on
the part of the Jewish writers; a system of defence of their own tenets by
a method of scriptural interpretation; and the attack of calumny or of
argument against Christianity. The former existed especially in Moorish
Spain about the twelfth century, the golden age of Jewish literature. For
a brief account of the theological literature of the Jewish nation at that
time, and in the period which had intervened since the early ages, the
writer may be permitted to refer to one of his own Sermons, and the
references there given (_Science in Theology_, 1859, Sermon IV.); to which
references add Beugnot’s _Les Juifs d’Occident_, 1820, and the new work of
De Los Rios on _Spanish Literature_. The movement included both a
philosophical side in Maimonides, and a critical in Jarchi, Aben Ezra,
Kimchi, &c.

The other movement, which was hostile to Christianity, was marked by a
series of works, written by Jews for their own nation, and carefully
hidden from the sight of Christians, probably for fear of persecution and
suffering; which were given to the world by the learning of the foreign
Hebrew scholars of the seventeenth century. The chief of these works are,
the _Nizzachon Vetus_ of the twelfth century, first published in
Wagenseil’s _Tela Ignea Satanæ_, 1681. In the thirteenth, the _Disputatio
Jechielis cum Nicholao_, _Disputatio Nachmanidis cum fratre Paolo_, and
the celebrated _Toldos Jeschu_ or Jewish view of Christ’s life. About 1399
the Rabbin Lipmann wrote the second book _Nizzachon_, which was published
by Hackspan, 1644; and also the _Carmen Memoriale_; and about 1580(1057)
the Rabbin Isaac wrote the noted _Chissuk Emuna_, or _Munimen Fidei_. All
these (with the exception of the second _Nizzachon_) are contained in
Wagenseil. During the period one important defence of Christianity against
the Jews appeared, the _Pugio Fidei_ by Raymund Martin, in Arragon, about
1278, which has been edited with an introduction by De Voisin 1651, and by
Carpzov. Another defence was by Alphonso de Spina. _Fortalitium Fidei
contra Judæos, Saracenos_, 1487. In Eichhorn’s _Geschichte __ der
Literatur_, vol. vi. 26, another treatise is named by a writer called
Hieronymus, 1552.

During the period just considered the contest with the Jews was carried on
chiefly in Spain, or the few Jewish settlements of Lithuania. Henceforth
it is chiefly seen in Germany and Holland, where the learned Dutch and
German theologians of the seventeenth century were brought into contact
with them, or were attracted to the study of the controversy by an
interest in the newly awakened taste for Hebrew learning. This age
supplies works of great value in gaining a knowledge of Jewish literature,
some of which will be named below, and a few treatises, such as, one by
Micrælius (_De Messiâ_, 1647); a brief notice by Hoornbeek, _Summa
Controv._ 1653 (p. 65); an unfinished treatise by Hulsius, _Theologia
Judaica_, 1653; and one by Cocceius, _Jud. Respons. Consid._ 1662. The
activity of the Jews is seen in the fact that an unfair attack by Bentz,
1614, was answered in the _Theriaca Judaica_ of the Jew Salomo Zebi,
Hanover 1615, which again met with a Christian respondent in Wulferus,
1681. Also Limborch had a dispute with a Jew in his _Amica Collatio cum
Erudito Judæo_ (Dr. Orobius), 1687. The controversy continued through the
eighteenth century, probably outlasting its cause; for defences on the
side of the Jews ceased. We meet with two works by Difenbach, _Judæus
Convertendus_, 1696, and _Judæus Conversus_, 1709; Calvoer’s _Gloria
Christi_, 1710; Mornæus’ _De Verit. Relig. Christianæ_, 1707; and, in
England, Bp. Kidder’s and Dr. Stanhope’s _Boyle Lectures_, the former of
which was the basis of the treatise, _The Demonstration of the Messias_,
1700; and C. Leslie’s _Short Method with the Jews_. Catalogues of the
writings, of which the above are the best known, may be found in J. A.
Fabricius’s _Biblioth. Græc._ (ed. 1715), vii. 125; and _De Verit. Relig.
Christianæ_, 1725, ch. xxxi; and _Blasphemia Judæorum_, Id. ch. xxxvii;
Walch’s _Biblioth. Theol. Selecta_, vol. i. c. v. sect. 8. (1757); also in
Bartollocci’s _Dictionary of Jewish Authors_, 1678, and Imbonati’s
_Dictionary of Christian Writers_ concerning the Jews, 1694; and
especially in Wolff’s _Biblioth. Hebr._, 1715, and De Rossi’s _Dizionario
degli Autori Ebrei_, 1802. For information concerning sources of Jewish
theology and literature, it is enough to cite Hottinger’s _Historia
Orientalis_, Carpzov’s _Introductio_, and Owen’s _Prelim. Exercitationes_.

3. In the third phase of the controversy, viz. that which exists with the
modern Jew, the controversy is a little changed. The old prejudices
against Christianity are in a great degree made obsolete by the freedom of
commercial intercourse, and the enjoyment of protection and civil liberty;
and hence the contest takes two forms; either the continuation of the
argument concerning the meaning of Jewish prophecy, or a discussion on the
function of the Jewish religion in history. Sources for the former are
found in the older books of evidence. A digest of the arguments concerning
it is given in J. Fabricius (not the celebrated Fabricius), _Consideratio
Variarum Controversiarum_, 1704, p. 41, and in Stapfer’s _Institut.
Theolog. Polemic_, vol. iii. 1-288, 1752; or in the modern works, Greville
Ewing’s _Essays addressed to the Jews_, and Dr. McCaul’s _Old Paths_,
1837, and his _Warburton Lectures_, 1846. The condition of Jewish life and
thought may he seen in Allen’s _Modern Judaism_. The system of
interpretation on which the controversy is conducted is either the ancient
Messianic and allegorical of the Targums and Talmud, or the literal and
grammatical introduced by the Spanish mediæval commentators.(1058)

The other form of Jewish argument which Christians have to encounter is
more novel, and, being confined to educated Jews, its influence is less
wide, and does not actuate the stratum of Jewish life with which
missionaries generally come into contact. It is based on modern
rationalist speculations, and is seen in a work of Dr. Philippsohn, late
rabbin at Magdeburg, _Development of the Religious Idea in Judaism,
Christianity, and Mahometanism_, (translated both into English 1855, and
also into French,) and in the writings of Salvador. Dr. Philippsohn
regards the mission of Judaism to be, from first to last, to teach to the
world the lesson of monotheism. He traces the struggle in the Jewish
church between priestism and prophetism; and regards Christianity as an
abnormal form of the latter, which has led the world away to Tritheism:
and, so far from regarding the office of Judaism to be extinct, he
considers that its mission is still to restore monotheism to the world. A
comparison with the statement of the views of the Tübingen school in Lect.
VII. or the speculations of Mr. Mackay in Lect. VIII. will show how
completely this argument is borrowed from the later forms of German
historical criticism.

The views of Salvador in France (see p. 299) are too original to be
regarded as typical of the views of a party. They reproduce the critical
difficulties of Maimonides and Spinoza, which seem never to have found
favour with the Jews; but the general similarity of the doctrinal part of
Salvador’s system to that just described is very observable.

Note 5. p. 12. The Contest Of Christianity With Mahometanism.

The contest of Christianity with Mahometanism, so far as it has been a
struggle of argument and not of the sword, offers few remarkable points.
In the first sweep of the Mahometan conquest, when the Christian nations
succumbed both in the east and west, there was no field for a question of
truth. It was only in Christian nations which were removed from peril, and
yet sufficiently in contact to entertain the question of the claims of the
Mahometan religion, that a consideration of its nature, regarded as a
system of doctrine, could arise. Accordingly it is in Constantinople, or
in Spain and the other parts of western Europe which came into connexion
with the Moors, that works of this character appear.

The history may be conveniently arranged in three periods, each of which
is marked by works of defence, some called forth by danger, a real demand,
but subsiding into or connected with inquiries prompted only by literary
tastes. The first is from the twelfth to the middle of the sixteenth
century; the second during the seventeenth and eighteenth; the third
during the present century.

1. A notice of the Mahometan religion exists in a work of J. Damascenus,
in the eighth century; and Euthymius Zigabenus, a Byzantine writer of the
twelfth: but the first important treatise written directly against it was
in 1210, _Richardi Confutatio_, edited in 1543 by Bibliander from a Greek
copy. The refutation of Averroes by Aquinas, about 1250, can hardly be
quoted as an instance of a work against the Mahometan religion, being
rather against its philosophy. A treatise exists by John Cantacuzene,
written a little after 1350; which is to be explained probably by the
circumstance that the danger from Mahometan powers in the east directed
the attention of a literary man to the religion and institutions which
they professed. Thus far the works were called forth by a real demand.

A series of treatises however commences about the time of the expulsion of
the Moors from Spain, the cause of the existence of which is not so easy
of explanation. Such are those in Spain by Alphonso de Spina, 1487, and by
Turrecremata (see Eichhorn’s _Gesch. der Lit._ vi.); by Nicholas de Cuza,
published in 1543; in Italy about 1500 by Ludovicus Vives, and
Volterranus; one by Philip Melancthon in reference to the reading of the
Koran; and a collection of treatises, including those of Richardus,
Cantacuzene, Vives, and Melancthon, published by Bibliander in 1543.
Probably the first two of this list may have been the relic of the crusade
of Christianity against the Moorish religion; the next two possibly were
called forth by the interest excited in reference to Mahometans by reason
of their conquests, or less probably by the influence of their philosophy
at Padua (see Lect. III. p. 100 seq.). The two last are hardly to be
explained, except by supposing them to be an offshoot of the Renaissance,
and called forth by the largeness of literary taste and inquiry excited by
that event.

2. When we pass into the seventeenth century, we find a series of
treatises on the same subject, which must be explained by the cause just
named, the newly acquired interest in Arabic and other eastern tongues. We
meet however with others, called forth by the missionary exertions which
had brought the Christians into contact with Mahometans in the east.

The treatise by Bleda, _Defensio Fidei Christianæ_, 1610, stands alone,
unconnected with any cause. It was partly a defence of the conduct of
Christians towards the Mahometans. A real interest however belongs to the
work of Guadagnoli in 1631. A catholic missionary, Hieronymo Xavier, had
composed in 1596 a treatise in Persian against Mahometanism, in which the
general principle of theism was laid down as opposed to the Mahometan
doctrine of absorption; next the peculiar doctrines of Christianity
stated; and lastly, a contrast drawn between the two religions. See Lee’s
_Tracts on Christianity and Mahometanism_ (below, _pref._ p. 5 seq.).

This work was answered in 1621 by a Persian nobleman named Ahmed Ibn Zain
Elébidín. The line adopted by him was, (1) to show that the coming of
Mahomet was predicted in the Old Testament (Hab. iii. 3); (2) to argue
that Mahomet’s teaching was not more opposed to Christ’s than his was to
that of Moses, and that therefore both ought to be admitted, or both
rejected; (3) to point out critically the discrepancies in the Gospels;
(4) to attack the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ’s deity. (Lee,
_pref._ 41 seq.)

This work was answered (1631) by a treatise in Latin by P. Guadagnoli,
dedicated to Pope Urban VIII. It is divided into four parts; (1)
respecting the objections about the Trinity; (2) the Incarnation; (3) the
authority of Scripture; (4) the claims of the Koran and of Mahomet. (Lee,
_pref._ 108 seq. who also gives references (p. 113) to a few other
writers, chiefly in the seventeenth century.)

The further works of defence produced in this century arose as it were
accidentally. The lengthy summary of the Mahometan controversy in
Hoornbeek’s _Summa Controversiarum_, 1653, p. 75 seq. was either
introduced merely to give completeness to the work as a treatise on
polemic, or was called forth by considerations connected with missions, as
is made probable by his work _De Conversione Gentilium et Indorum_. Le
Moyne’s publication on the subject in the _Varia Sacra_, vol. i. 1685,
arose from the accidental discovery of an old treatise, _Bartholomæi
Edess. Confutatio Hagareni_. A third work of this kind, Maracci’s
_Criticism on the Koran_, 1698, arose from the circumstance that the pope
would not allow the publication of an edition of the Koran, without an
accompanying refutation of each part of it. The work of Hottinger (_Hist.
Orient._ b. i.), Pfeiffer’s _Theol. Judaica et Mahom._ and Kortholt’s _De
Relig. Mahom._ 1663, form the transition into an independent literary
investigation; which is seen in the literary inquiries concerning the life
of Mahomet, as well as his doctrine, in Pocock, Prideaux 1697, Reland
1707, Boulainvilliers 1730, and the translation of the Koran by Sale 1734.
A slightly controversial tone pervades some of them. The materials
collected by them were occasionally used by deist and infidel writers
(e.g. by Chubb), for instituting an unfavourable comparison between Christ
and Mahomet.

The great literary historians of that period give lists of the previous
writers connected with the investigation. See J. A. Fabricius, _Biblioth.
Græc._ ed. 1715, vol. vii. p. 136; Walch, _Biblioth. Theol. Sel._ vol. i.
chap. v. sect. 9. A summary of the arguments used in the controversy is
given in J. Fabricius, _Delectus Argumentorum_, p. 41, &c. and Stapfer’s
_Inst. Theol. Polem._ iii. p. 289, &c.

3. In the present century the literature in reference to Mahometanism is,
as in the former instances, twofold in kind. Part of it has been called
forth by missionary contests in the east; part by literary or historic
tastes, and the modern love of carrying the comparative method of study
into every branch of history.

The first class is illustrated by the discussions at Shiraz in 1811,
between the saintly Henry Martyn and some Persian Moollas. The controversy
was opened by a tract, sophistical but acute, written by Mirza Ibrahim;
(Lee, pp. 1-39); the object of which was to show the superiority of the
standing miracle seen in the excellence of the Koran, over the ancient
miracles of Christianity. Martyn replied to this in a series of tracts
(Lee, p. 80 seq.), and was again met by Mohammed Ruza of Hamadan, in a
much more elaborate work, in which, among other arguments, the writer
attempts to show predictions of Mahomet in the Old Testament, and in the
New applying to him the promise of the Paraclete (Lee, pp. 161-450). These
tracts were translated in 1824, with an elaborate preface containing an
account of the preceding controversy of Guadagnoli, by Professor S. Lee of
Cambridge, _Controversial Tracts on Christianity and Mahometanism_, which
is the work so frequently cited above. To complete the history it is
necessary to add, that a discussion was held a few years ago between an
accomplished Mahometan and Mr. French, a learned missionary at Agra.

The literary aspect of the subject, not however wholly free from
controversy, was opened by White, in the _Bampton Lectures_ for 1784; and
abundant sources have lately been furnished. Among them are, Sprenger’s
_Life of Mahomet_, 1851, and Muir’s, 1858. Also a new translation of the
Koran by the Rev. J. M. Rodwell, where the Suras are arranged
chronologically. The following ought also to be added, Dr. Macbride’s
_Mahometan Religion Explained_, 1857; Arnold on Mahometanism, 1859;
Tholuck’s _Vermischte Schriften_, i. (1-27); _Die Wunder Mohammed’s und
der Character des Religionstifters_; Dr. Stanley’s _Lectures on the
History of the Eastern Church_, lect. viii. and the references there
given; Maurice’s _Religions of the World_; and Renan’s _Etudes d’Histoire
Religieuse_. (Ess. iv.) The modern study has been directed more especially
to attain a greater knowledge of Mahomet’s life, character, and writings;
the antecedent religious condition of Arabia;(1059) and the
characteristics of Mahometanism, when put into comparison with other
creeds, and when viewed psychologically in relation to the human mind.

The materials also for a study of the Mahometan form of philosophy, both
in itself and in its relation to the religion, have been furnished by Aug.
Schmoelders, _Essai sur les Ecoles Philosophiques chez les Arabes_, 1842.
See also Ritter’s _Chr. Phil._ iii. 665 seq.; iv. 1-181.

Note 6. p. 12. Unitarianism.

It may be useful to indicate the chief stages of the history of
Unitarianism, and the sources of information with regard to it, as it
bears a close analogy to some forms of free thought, such as deism,(1060)
and connects itself more or less nearly with forms of rationalism which
occur in the course of the history.

The first instance of it is in the early ages, either as a Jewish Gnostic
sect, Ebionitism, or in some of the other forms of Gnosticism; passing in
the east into Arianism, which lowered God, and in the west into
Pelagianism, which elevated man. For this period see F. Lange, _Geschichte
und Lehrbegriff d. Unitarier vor d. Nicaenischen Synode_, 1831;
Hagenbach’s _Dogmengeschichte_, § 23; and the church histories which treat
of this period.

In the middle ages the tendency may be considered to be mainly represented
by Mahometanism, and hardly exists at all in the Christian church.

Its modern form arises at the time of the Reformation.

1. Originating in Italy, it exists as a doctrine in Switzerland and
Germany from 1525-1560. See F. Trechsel’s _Die Protest. Antitrinitarier
vor Faustus Socinus_, 1844. The best known names are Servetus, Lelio
Sozini, and Ochino.

2. It exists as a church at Racow in Poland, where the exiles found a
refuge. Here Faustus Sozinus (1539-1603), nephew of Lelio, and J.
Crellius, are the best known names. In 1609 Schmelz drew up the Socinian
Formula, the Racovian Catechism. It was also here that the collection of
Socinian writers, the _Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum_, 1626, was
published. The history of the sect up to this point may be found in the
Introduction to _Rees’s Translation of the Racovian Catechism_, 1818. Also
see Hallam’s _History of Literature_, i. 554. ii. 335; Mosheim’s _Church
History_, sixteenth century, §2. P. ii. ch. iv; Hase’s _Church History_
(Engl. Transl.), § 371, 2. The Socinians were driven out of Poland in
1658, by the influence of the Jesuits; and, passing into Holland, became
absorbed in the church of the Remonstrants or Arminians.

3. The next stage of Socinianism is, as a doctrine, in England in the
seventeenth century. In 1611 two persons, Hammont and Lewis, suffered
martyrdom for it; and it spread widely during the Long Parliament. (See
Dr. Owen’s _Vind. Evangel._ pref.) The chief teacher was J. Biddle
(1615-1662). The interest of it arises from its supposed parallelism to
the Arminianism of Hales in the time of Charles I, and to the
latitudinarian party of Whichcote and More in that of Charles II. But the
parallel is not quite correct. The study of Arminius’s writings (see J.
Nicholls’s translation, 1825,) shows that he was not a Pelagian,(1061) if
even his successors were. But even Episcopius and Limborch hardly reached
this point. Hales resembled Episcopius. Nor is the parallel much nearer
with “the latitude men;” for Socinianism lacked their Platonizing
tendency. The Arian tendency, which commenced at the end of the century,
both in the church, in such writers as Whiston and Clarke, and among the
presbyterians, offers a nearer parallel, in being, like Socinianism,
Unitarian in tendency. On this period see Hagenbach’s _Dogmengesch_.
(Notes to § 234.)

4. Its next form, was as a set of congregations in England in the
eighteenth century, chiefly arising out of the presbyterians; marked by
great names, such as Lardner, Lowman, Priestley.(1062) Shortly before the
close of the century, it was introduced into America.

5. Its last form is a modification of the old Socinian view, formed under
the pressure of evangelical religion on the one side and rationalist
criticism on the other. The accomplished writers, Channing in America and
Mr. J. Martineau in England, are the best types of this form. Priestley,
Channing, and Martineau, are the examples of the successive phases of
modern Unitarianism: Priestley, of the old Socinianism building itself
upon a sensational philosophy; Channing, of the attempt to gain a larger
development of the spiritual element; Martineau, of the elevation of view
induced by the philosophy of Cousin, and the introduction of the idea of
historical progress in religious ideas. In reference to this part of the
history see E. Renan’s Essay on Channing, _Etudes de l’Hist. Relig._ p.
357; E. Ellis’s _Half Century of Unitarian Controversy_ (in America),
1858; J. J. Taylor’s _Retrospect of Religious Life in England_, 1845; Dr.
Beard’s _Unitarianism in its Actual State_; and other references given in
the notes to H. B. Smith’s translation of Hagenbach’s _Dogmengesch_. New
York, 1862. ii. p. 441.

In addition to the above references, materials for the history will be
found in Sandius, _Biblioth. Antitrin._ 1684; Bock’s _Hist. Antitrin._
1774; Otto Foch’s _Der Socinianismus_, &c. 1847; and an article in the
_North British Review_, No. 60, for May 1859. The history of the
controversial literature on the subject is given in Pfaff’s _Introd. in
Hist. Theol. Lit._ vol. ii. p. 320 seq.; and more fully in Walch’s
_Biblioth. Theol. Select._ vol. i. p. 902 seq. For a digest of the
arguments used in the controversy, see Hoornbeek’s _Summa Controv._ 1653,
p. 440; J. Fabricius, _Consid. Var. Controv._ pp. 99-208; and Stapfer’s
_Inst. Theol. Polem._ vol. iii. c. 12.

Note 7. p. 24. Classification Of Metaphysical Inquiries.

(_a_) This first subdivision of Metaphysics into Psychology and Ontology
is very neatly stated by Professor Mansel (art. _Metaphysics in Encycl.
Britann._ 8th ed. p. 555, and p. 23 in the reprint of the article, 1860);
Cfr. also Archer Butler’s _Lect. on Phil._ vol. i. lect. i-iii.

(_b_) It must be understood, that when we pass here from a division of the
inquiries concerning the mind to a supposed division of the mind itself,
we imply only a division of states of consciousness or mental functions,
not an absolute and real division of the mind itself. Distinctness of
structure is only the inference; distinctness of function is a fact, given
in the act of consciousness.

(_c_) The distinctness of the Will, as a faculty, from the emotions will
be disputed by many. It is maintained by Maine de Biran, and the Eclectic
school of France. Mr. Mill, _Logic_, vol. ii. b. vi. ch. ii, implies the
contrary, and regards Will to be a particular state of feeling.

(_d_) The difference of the presentative from the representative
consciousness is now generally understood, since the arguments of Sir W.
Hamilton have been commonly known. See his edition of Reid, note B. p.
804; _Discussions_, Ess. ii. and _Lect. on Metaphysics_; Mansel’s work
above cited, p. 560, 584; Morell’s _Phil. of Relig._ ch. ii.

(_e_) The separation of Intuition from Perception is a point much
disputed. It is maintained by Schelling and by Cousin, and made familiar
by Coleridge, _Aids to Reflection_, i. p. 168 seq. See also Morell’s
_Philos. of Relig._ ch. ii; _Hist. of Phil._ ii. p. 487 seq. Among English
psychologists however, intuition is identified with perception; or if
slightly distinguished, as by Mr. Mansel, it is made synonymous with every
“presentative” act of consciousness, and thus includes the consciousness
of our own minds, as well as the sensational consciousness usually denoted
by the word “perception.” With reference to the view intended on this
subject in these lectures, see a note on p. 28.

(_f_) With reference to these schools, see Morell’s _Hist. of Philosophy_
(vol. i. Introduction); and Cousin’s _Cours de la Philosophie_ du 18me

(_g_) This subdivision of the subject matter of Ontology is well stated by
Mansel in the _Encyc. Britann._ above cited, 603, 613 seq. This work of
Mr. Mansel is on the whole the clearest exposition of Psychology, studied
from the side of consciousness, which has appeared. Mr. Morell’s recent
work on Psychology presents a view different from his former ones, and
unites the physiological treatment of the inquiry; being borrowed partly
from the recent speculations which the teaching of Herbert has induced in
Germany. See Note 41.

Note 8. p. 28. Quotation From Guizot On Prayer.

The following eloquent remarks seem worth quoting, as illustrative of the
instinct in the soul of man to perform the act of prayer; the natural
outgoing of the human soul after the infinite Being. They are taken from
Guizot, _L’Eglise et la Société Chrétienne_, 1861.

“Seul entre tous les étres ici-bas l’homme prie. Parmi ses instincts
moraux, il n’y en a point de plus naturel, de plus universel, de plus
invincible que la prière. L’enfant s’y porte avec une docilité empressée.
Le vieillard s’y replie comme dans un refuge contre la décadence et
l’isolement. La prière monte d’elle-même sur les jeunes lèvres qui
balbutient à peine le nom de Dieu et sur les lèvres mourantes qui n’ont
plus la force de le prononcer. Chez tous les peuples, célèbres ou obscurs,
civilisés ou barbares, on rencontre à chaque pas des actes et des formules
d’invocation. Partout où vivent des hommes, dans certaines circonstances,
à certaines heures, sous l’empire de certaines impressions de l’âme, les
yeux s’élèvent, les mains se joignent, les genoux fléchissent, pour
implorer ou pour rendre grâces, pour adorer ou pour apaiser. Avec
transport ou avec tremblement, publiquement ou dans le secret de son cœur,
c’est à la prière que l’homme s’adresse, en dernier recours, pour combler
les vides de son âme ou porter les fardeaux de sa destinée; c’est dans la
prière qu’il cherche, quand tout lui manque, de l’appui pour sa faiblesse,
de la consolation dans ses douleurs, de l’espérance pour sa vertu.” (p.

“Il y a, dans l’acte naturel et universel de la prière, une foi naturelle
et universelle dans cette action permanente, et toujours libre, de Dieu
sur l’homme et sur sa destinée.” (p. 24.)

“ ‘Les voies de Dieu ne sont pas nos voies:’ nous y marchons sans les
connaître; croire sans voir et prier sans prévoir, c’est la condition que
Dieu a faite à l’homme en ce monde, pour tout ce qui en dépasse les
limites.” (p. 25.)

Note 9. p. 31. On The Modern View Of The Historical Method In Philosophy.

It has been implied in the text, at this place, and also in the preface,
that the “historic method of study” is the great feature of this century.
The term is ambiguous. The meaning of it however is, that each problem
ought to be approached from the historic side. Whether the problem be a
fact of society, or of thought, or of morals, in each case the questions
are asked—What are its antecedents? how did it happen? How came it that
men accepted it?—This is a method exactly the reverse of that which was
common in the last century. The question then was, Is a thing true? The
question now is a preliminary one, How came it that it was thought to be
true? It is probable that in many minds there is a slight tendency to
pantheism in this method of study. The universe is looked at as ever in
course of development; evil as “good in the making;” no fact as wholly
bad; no thought as wholly false. But, without involving such a tendency,
whatever is true in the method may be appropriated. It starts only with
the assumption that the human race is in a state of movement; and that
Providence has lessons to teach us if we watch this movement. It is the
method of learning by experience of the past, a lesson for conduct in the

The method thus explained, however, is used for two different purposes.
Either it is intended to be the preliminary process preparatory to
discovery, or it is designed to take the place of discovery. In the former
case, we ask why men have thought a thing true, for the purpose of
afterwards discovering, by the use of other methods, what is true; in the
latter we rest content with the historical investigation, and consider the
attempt to discover absolute truth to be impossible; and regard the
problem of philosophy to be, to gather up the elements of truth in the
past. In the former case truth is absolute, though particular ages may
have blindly groped after it; in the latter it is relative. In the former,
the history of philosophy is the preliminary to philosophy; in the latter
it is philosophy. In the former, philosophy is a science; in the latter it
is a form of criticism. The former view is held by the school of Schelling
and Cousin; the latter is an offshoot of that of Hegel. The former marked
French literature until recent years; the latter is expressed in it at the
present time; and is stated by no one so clearly as by Renan and Soberer.
Most English writers will justly prefer the former view; but the
explanation of the latter, given in the two passages which follow, is
expressed with such clearness, and will be of so much use in explaining
subsequent allusions in these lectures (especially Lect. VII. and VIII.),
that it is desirable to print it here.

“Le trait caractéristique du 19e siècle est d’avoir substitué la méthode
historique à la méthode dogmatique, dans toutes les études relatives à
l’esprit humain. La critique littéraire n’est plus que l’exposé des formes
diverses de la beauté, c’est à dire des manières dont les différentes
familles et les différentes âges de l’humanité ont résolu le problème
esthétique. La philosophie n’est que le tableau des solutions proposées
pour résoudre le problème philosophique. La théologie ne doit plus être
que l’histoire des efforts spontanés tentés pour résoudre le problème
divin. L’histoire, en effet, est la forme nécessaire de la science de tout
ce qui est soumis aux lois de la vie changeante et successive. La science
des langues, c’est l’histoire des langues; la science des littératures et
des philosophies, c’est l’histoire des littératures et des philosophies;
la science de l’esprit humain c’est, de même, l’histoire de l’esprit
humain, et non pas seulement l’analyse des rouages de l’âme individuelle.
La psychologie n’envisage que l’individu, et elle l’envisage d’une manière
abstraite, absolue, comme un sujet permanent et toujours identique à
lui-même; aux yeux de la critique la conscience se fait dans l’humanité
comme l’individu; elle a son histoire. Le grand progrès de la critique a
été de substituer la catégorie du _devenir_ â la catégorie de _l’être_, la
conception du relatif à la conception de l’absolu, le mouvement à
l’immobilité. Autrefois, tout était considéré comme étant; on parlait de
philosophie, de droit, de politique, d’art, de poésie, d’une manière
absolue; maintenant tout est considéré comme en voie de se faire....... A
ce point de vue de la science critique, ce qu’on recherche dans l’histoire
de la philosophie, c’est beaucoup moins de la philosophie proprement dite
que de l’histoire.”—(E. Renan, Pref. to _Averroes_, p. vi.)

“Tout n’est que relatif, disions-nous tout à l’heure; il faut ajouter
maintenant: tout n’est que relation. Vérité importune pour l’homme qui,
dans le fatal courant où il est plongé, voudrait trouver un point fixé
s’arrêter un instant, se faire illusion sur la vanité des choses! Vérité
féconde pour la science qui lui doit une intelligence nouvelle de la
réalité, une intuition infiniment plus pénétrante du jeu des forces qui
composent le monde. C’est ce principe qui a fait de l’histoire une science
et de toutes les sciences une histoire. C’est en vertu de ce principe
qu’il n’y a plus de philosophie mais des philosophies qui se succèdent,
qui se complétent en se succèdant, et dont chacune représenté avec un
élément du vrai, une phase du développement de la pensée universelle.
Ainsi la science s’organise elle-même et porte en soi sa critique. La
classification rationnelle des systèmes est leur succession, et le seul
jugement équitable et utile qu’on puisse passer sur eux est celui qu’ils
passent sur eux-mêmes en se transformant. Le vrai n’est plus vrai en soi.
Ce n’est plus une quantité fixe qu’il s’agit de dégager, un objet rond ou
carré qu’on puisse tenir dans la main. Le vrai, le beau, le juste même se
font perpétuellement; ils sont à jamais en train de se constituer, parce
qu’ils ne sont autre chose que l’esprit humain, qui, en se déployant, se
retrouve et se reconnait.”—E. Scherer, (article on Hegel in _Revue des
Deux Mondes_, Feb. 15, 1861.)

Lecture II.

Note 10. p. 46. Neo-Platonism.

On the nature and history of Neo-Platonism, see Ritter’s _History of
Philosophy_, E. T. vol. iv. b. xiii; Creuzer’s _Prolegomena to Plotinus_;
Tennemann’s _Manual of Philosophy_, § 200-222; Hase’s _Church History_, §
50, with the references which the two latter supply; Jules Simon’s and
Vacherot’s works on the _Ecole d’Alexandrie_; B. Constant’s _Du
Polytheisme_, b. xv. Among English works, see Archer Butler’s _Lectures on
Philosophy_, vol. ii. 348 seq.; Lewes’ _History of Philosophy_; Maurice’s
_History of Philosophy_ (part ii.); Donaldson’s _History of Greek
Literature_, ch. 53 and 57; and an essay in R. A. Vaughan’s _Essays and
Remains_, 1858.

The mystic and oriental tendency which Neo-Platonism embodied is seen as
early as Philo in the middle of the first century; but it was Ammonius
Saccus (A.D. 163-243) who developed the new system about A.D. 200. The
chief teachers of it were Plotinus (born 203), who introduced it at Rome;
Porphyry (233-305), who however manifested more of the mystic Pythagorean
spirit and less of the dialectical Platonic; Iamblichus, a generation
later, who also inclined to theurgy; and in the fifth century Hypatia,
killed 415; and Proclus (412-485), who taught at Athens. A growth of
thought is perceptible in the successive members of the school. The
sketches of several of the above-named writers in Smith’s _Biographical
Dictionary_ are full of information, and furnished with useful references.

Note 11. p. 47. The Pseudo-Clementine Literature.

The Pseudo-Clementine literature consists of Homilies and Recognitions;
the latter being in a Latin translation by Rufinus. It is published in
Cotelerius’s _Sancti Patres_, 1698, vol i.

A noble Roman, harassed by his doubts and eager for truth, travels to the
east, and there learns Christian truth, which makes him happy. It is the
former part of the narrative, viz. the doubts of Clemens before becoming a
Christian, which is alluded to in the text, and is adduced by Neander,
_Kirchengeschichte_, i. pp. 54-56, as an instance of the preparation for
the reception of Christianity made by a sense of want in many hearts. But
it is the latter part which is valuable in a literary point of view, on
account of the light which the exposition of Christian doctrine contained
in it throws upon the Judaizing Gnostics, being an attempt to reconcile
Ebionitism with the teaching of St. Paul. Its interest in this point of
view has caused it to be made the subject of several monographs by German
theologians. A list of them, with an account of the phases of doctrine
described, is given in Kurtz’s _Church History_, E. T. § 48, and in Hase’s
_Church History_, § 35, 75, and 80. One of the most important of them is
Schliemann’s _Die Clemetinen_, 1844.

Note 12. p. 48. The Absence Of References To Christianity In Heathen
Writers Of The Second Century.

Tzchirner has investigated this subject in an interesting dissertation,
_Græci et Romani Scriptores cur rerum Christianarum raro meminerint_;
Opusc. Acad. p. 283. Lips. 1829, (translated in the _Journal of Sacred
Literature_, Jan. 1853;) and has discussed the passages where mention is
made of Christianity. The following is the substance of his inquiries.

Though the notices concerning Christianity in heathen writers are scanty,
the silence of Eusebius gives good ground for inferring, that not many
further notices existed concerning it in the works which are lost, than
have been preserved to us. Perhaps a few passages may have been erased in
which Christianity was blasphemed, even in that which is preserved.

The silence concerning Christianity during the first century is not
surprising; because the Christians, if known at all, would be regarded as
a Jewish sect, as in Acts xviii. 15; xxiii. 29; xxv. 19. In the third
century they are both noticed and attacked. The inquiry therefore with
regard to the silence about them, refers only to the period from about
A.D. 80-180.

During this period, among the Greek writers who omit all mention of
Christianity, are Dio Chrysostom; Plutarch (for the passage, _Quæst._ iv,
4. § 3, about happiness consisting in hope, probably does not refer to
them); Œnomaus, who wrote expressly to ridicule religion; Maximus Tyrius;
and Pausanias: and among Latin ones, Juvenal, who several times mentions
the Jews, but only indirectly refers to the Christians (_Sat._ i. 185-7),
Aulus Gellius, and Apuleius; (for the opinion of Warburton, _Div. Leg._ b.
ii. § 4, that an allusion is intended, is now rejected,(1063) unless one
perhaps exists in _Met._ ix. ed. Panck. ii. 195.)

Among those who name Christians we find,—

In Trajan’s reign, Tacitus, who describes their persecution by Nero
(_Ann._ xv. 44); Suetonius, who names them, _Vit. Neron_. ch. 16, and
describes them as seditious, _Vit. Claud._ 25, if indeed the word
_Chresto_ in the paragraph is intended for _Christo_; and Pliny the
younger, in the well-known letter to Trajan (_Ep._ x. 96).

In the reign of Hadrian we find, in a fragment of Hadrian’s works in
Vopiscus’s Life of Saturninus (ch. viii.) a mention of them, comparing
them with Serapid worshippers; and one quoted by Eusebius, _Eccl. Hist._
iv. 9, addressed to a proconsul of Asia. Also Arrian names them in two
passages, in one describing them as obstinate, _Diss. Epictet._ b. iv. ch.
vii. and in the other speaking either of them or of the Jews as βαπτισταί
(b. ii. ch. ii.)

In the reign of the Antonines we find Galen stigmatising them for
obstinacy (_De Pulsuum Diff._ b. iii. ch. iii.), and for believing without
proof (b. ii. ch. iv.); and Marcus Aurelius himself inquires (_Comment._
b. xi. ch. iii), what can be the cause of their inflexibility. His two
epistles which contain allusions to Christianity, one of them attributing
his victory over the Marcomanni to the thundering legion, and the other
stating that it is the business of the gods and not men to punish, are
rejected as spurious.

In the same reign we find Crescens and Fronto, who are treated of
elsewhere, Lect. II. p. 48; and Lucian (p. 49). Tzchirner denies the
allusions supposed to lurk in many passages of Lucian examined by Krebsius
and Eichstadt; but, independently of those in the Peregrinus, ch. xi-xiv,
on which see Lect. II and Note 13, there remains one where Alexander the
magician is said to exclude Christians and Epicureans from his magical
rites. In the same reign we meet with Celsus; after which time the notices
of Christianity are frequent; the account of which will be found in
Lardner’s Works, vol. viii.

If now we pass from the facts to the cause, and ask why the notices are so
few, Tzchirner very properly answers, that the silence in the first
century is explained, partly by the general poverty and retirement of the
Christians, and partly by the circumstance named above, that they were
included among Jews. But in the second century, when Christianity was so
far known that several learned men abandoned heathenism for it, such as
Quadratus, Melito, Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Minucius
Felix; Tzchirner refers the silence chiefly to the fact that the opinions
and position of the Christians prevented them from being considered worthy
of attention by members of any of those schools of philosophy whose
probable opinions in reference to it have been already explained in Lect.
II. Celsus alone had the far-sightedness to apprehend danger from them,
both philosophically and politically.

Note 13. p. 49. The Peregrinus Proteus Of Lucian.

The question of Lucian’s intention to injure Christianity has been
discussed and maintained by Krebsius in a Dissertation, _De Malitioso
Luciani Consilio Religionem Christianam scurrili dicacitate vanam et
ridiculam reddendi_, Opusc. Acad. p. 308 seq. The contrary view is
maintained by Eichstadt in a dissertation, _Lucianus num scriptis suis
adjuvare voluerit Religionem Christianam_, Jena, 1822. Krebsius is
extravagant in interpreting many unimportant references in Lucian as
relating to Christianity. See Tzchirner, _Opusc. Acad._ p. 290. Neander
also states his opinion on the question, _Kirchengesch._ i. 269 seq.

The same subject has been discussed with great care and learning by Adolph
Planck, dean of Heidenheim in Würtemburg, _Lucian und Christenthum_, a
contribution to the church history of the second century; originally
published in the _Studien und Kritiken_, 1851, and translated in the
American _Bibliotheca Sacra_, April and July, 1853. He there studies
Lucian’s tract, _the Peregrinus_, (1) in the character which it offers of
Peregrinus as a Cynic, for the purpose of examining the probability of his
death being a parody on Christian martyrdom; (2) in his character as a
Christian, in order to exhibit Lucian’s opinion of Christianity and of the
traits of Christian life brought out; (3) with a view to ascertain the
sources and amount of Lucian’s knowledge of Christianity; discussing
fully, by means of quotations, the evidence of Lucian’s acquaintance with
the early Christian literature.

The analysis of the Peregrinus Proteus is as follows: It professes to be a
letter from Lucian to Cromius narrating Peregrinus’s death. Peregrinus had
gone to Olympia, with the pompous design of displaying his death before
the assembly at the games. Lucian lets us hear the speeches, descriptive
of Peregrinus’s life, delivered before the decisive act. A certain
Theagenes, an admirer of Peregrinus, delivers a bombastic eulogy, § 3-7,
repelling the charge of vanity imputed to him, and comparing his proposed
death with that of Hercules, &c. Lucian opposes to this some invectives
delivered by another, whose name he professes to have forgotten, which
refer, § 7-30, to the history of Peregrinus to which Theagenes had
alluded; tracing his crimes, his journeys from land to land, his turning
Christian in Syria, his expulsion for disobedience, his subsequent
wanderings and crimes, and the universal contempt which he had brought
upon himself. Theagenes replies to this speech; but Lucian preferred to go
to see the wrestling-match. Afterwards however he heard Peregrinus
pronounce his own eulogy, and boast of his sufferings on behalf of
philosophy. Then, after most of the guests had left Elis, § 35, &c.
Peregrinus proceeded to erect his own funeral pile, and consumed himself
on it. Lucian after seeing the end went away, and added a legend about the
appearance of a hawk; which story he soon afterwards found had already
gained credence. The moral which he draws is, that Cromius ought to
despise such people, and impute their conduct to love of fame.

The passages of the work which have specific reference to Christianity
are, § 11-13, which describe Peregrinus’s intercourse with the Christians;
and § 35-41, which describe his martyrdom. The references are to Dindorf’s
ed. Paris 1840.

Note 14. p. 51. The Work Of Celsus.

It is difficult to obtain an exact conception of the work of Celsus. This
is due partly perhaps to its original form; for Origen himself complains
(Cont. Cels. i. 40) of the want of order in Celsus; and partly to the fact
that a mind like that of Origen did not follow his opponent step by step,
but frequently grasped a general principle which enabled him to meet a
group of objections dispersed through different parts of Celsus’s work.

As it was desirable for the object of the lecture to present Celsus’s
views rather than analyse Origen’s treatise, the writer endeavoured, when
preparing it, to select materials from Origen for drawing out a sketch in
systematic form, somewhat in the manner of Neander’s remarks (_Church
History_, i. 274), of Celsus’s views, concerning (1) God and creation; (2)
man’s moral state; (3) the Hebrew and Christian religions in their sacred
books and doctrines. But on the publication of Pressensé’s work (_Hist. de
l’Eglise_, 2e série, ii. pp. 104-142), he perceived the plan of
arrangement there suggested to possess so much more life, that he adopted
it in the text. Pressensé considers that, by a careful study of the
fragments of Celsus quoted by Origen, he is able to reproduce a picture of
the whole work, as well as to gather his opinions. Such an arrangement
must necessarily be hypothetical, like Niebuhr’s treatment of Roman
history, though extremely probable. It will be observed however, by
noticing the references to Origen’s work in the foot-notes of Pressensé’s
text, and of Lecture II. in this volume, that the arrangement suggested
for Celsus’s treatise does not always coincide with the order in which
Origen has quoted the parts of it. Also the references to the later books
of Origen will be seen to be fewer than to the earlier; a circumstance
which arises from the quotations from Celsus’s work being fewer in those
books, and from the thoughts of Origen in them being a continuation of
those presented earlier. Pressensé’s arrangement has the disadvantage too
of leaving out many of the critical difficulties which Celsus alleges in
the scriptures; but he rightly points out that they are all corollaries
from a philosophical principle. The reader may accordingly consult Neander
for a systematic view of Celsus’s opinions, and Pressensé for a theory of
the arrangement of his work.

It may be useful to give a brief statement of the order in which Celsus’s
objections occur in Origen’s treatise, so as to show the manner in which
the subject is there developed.

The first half of book i. is prefatory (ch. i-xl.); the second half,
together with b. ii. contains the attack by the Jew on Christianity given
in Lect. II. The early part of b. iii. (1-9) contains Origen’s refutation
of the Jew. The subsequent parts and remaining books give Origen’s
refutation of Celsus’s own attack on Christianity. First, Celsus attacks
the character of Christians in the remainder of b. iii. In b. iv. he
returns to his attack on Judaism, and on the scriptures of the Old
Testament, especially on many of the narratives; either regarding them as
false, or as borrowed; and objecting to their anthropomorphic character;
also objecting to the account of man’s place in creation, and of divine
interference. In b. v. he continues his attack on the doctrines of both
religions, chiefly so far as he considers them to be untrue; and in b. vi.
so far as he considers them to be borrowed, dragging to light the
difference which existed between Judaism and Christianity. In b. vii. the
subject of prophecy and some other doctrines, as well as the ethics of
Christianity, are examined; and in b. viii, when the attack on
Christianity is mainly over, a defence of paganism is offered by Celsus.

A detailed analysis of Origen’s treatise, which is intricate, will be
found in Schramm’s _Analysis Patrum_, vol. iv. 1782. Pressensé’s view of
Origen’s arguments is given, _Hist._ vol. 2e Serie, t. ii. pp. 281-361.
See also Lardner’s Works, viii. 19. Hase (_Church History_, § 51) refers
to several German works which relate to Celsus.

Note 15. p. 56. The Charges Against Christians, And Causes Of Persecution,
In The Second Century.

The learned Kortholt, Professor at Kiel, in his work, the _Paganus
Obtrectator, sive Liber de Calumniis Gentilium in Veteres Christianos_
(1703), has carefully collected references to the objections raised by the
Pagans against Christianity. He has arranged them according to the
subjects, irrespective of the chronological order in which they were
respectively suggested; viz. (1) those which relate to the origin and
nature of Christianity, such as its novelty, its alleged want of
originality, &c.; (2) false charges about public worship; (3) false
charges about life and morals. If we exclude on the one hand those charges
which are gathered out of Celsus (in Origen), and on the other those from
apologists later than the date of Porphyry, the charges between these
limits, which are learned from the apologists Minucius Felix, Theophilus
(ad Autolycum), and Tertullian, exhibit the objections which were
encountered in Rome, Syria, and North Africa, respectively. They chiefly
belong to the prejudices adduced in the second and third of the classes
made by Kortholt. Among the more intelligible objections which belong to
his first class, are found the charges of the novelty of Christianity (ch.
i. in his book), the superstitious character of it (ix. and x.), and the
want of cultivation in its supporters (xi.). Among the prejudices about
public worship (class 2) in his work, we meet with the charge of
ass-worship (in Tertullian and Minucius Felix, ch. xi.); sky and sun
worship (ii. and iii.); priest and cross worship (iv, and vi.); and secret
sacred rites (ix.). Among the false charges about life and morals (which
form class 3), we meet with that of private and nocturnal meetings
forbidden by law, and the Agapæ (v.); Thyestean banquets (Theoph. and
Tertull. ix.); secret insignia (xvi.); treason (vii.); and hatred of
humanity (viii.).

All these charges will be seen to be such as mark the transition from a
state of indifference to Christianity to that more distinct comprehension
of its nature which afterwards existed. Their character indicates a moment
when the new religion was forcing itself on public attention as a secret
organization ramifying through the Roman world. In the main they resolved
themselves into two heads; (1) the vulgar prejudices arising from
ignorance; and (2) the alarm at the political danger arising from a vast
secret society. The latter charges reappear in the works of later
apologists; but the former are peculiar to this special period, between
the time of Celsus and of Porphyry.

Among the vulgar prejudices thus named, the only two that need further
mention are the charges of priest-worship and ass-worship. The former
charge, named by Minucius Felix, ch. ix, and thus described here by a
euphemism, may be seen in Kortholt, b. ii. ch. iv. p. 319; it probably
arose from the homage paid to the bishop on bended knee at ordination. The
latter, taken out of Minucius Felix (ch. ii.), and Tertullian (Apol. 16),
is more singular and puzzling even after the discussions by older authors
which Kortholt cites, b. ii. ch. i. p. 256, &c. But the fact of the charge
has been corroborated by the recent discovery in excavations made in some
substructions on the Palatine hill, of a _graffito_ or pencil-scratching,
in which a person is worshipping toward a cross, on which hangs suspended
a human figure with the head of a horse, or perhaps wild ass, and
underneath is the inscription “Alexamenus is worshipping God,” Αλεξαμενος
σεβετε [sic for σεβεται] Θεον. It can hardly be doubted that it is a pagan
caricature of Christian worship, embodying the absurd prejudice which
Minucius names. A brief account of it may be seen in the _Edinburgh
Review_, No. 224, for October, 1859, p. 436, and more fully in _Un
Graffito Blasfemo nel Palazzo dei Cesari (Civiltà Cattolica_, serie iii.
vol. iv. Roma, 1856). The difficulty that the inscription is in Greek,
will be explained by the fact that the church of Rome was Greek as late as
the time of the writings of the so-called Hippolytus.

The other great class of objections to Christianity, which consisted in
imputing the charge of treason, expressed itself in deeds as well as
words, and was made the ground of the public persecution of them.

We cannot wonder that the profession of Christianity exposed persons to
the suspicion of treason. When we add the fact that Christians declined
obstinately to conform to the practice which had grown up, of performing
sacrifice to the honour of the reigning emperors as the impersonation of
the dignity of the state; and when we consider the organization among
Christians, the league of purpose which was evident among them, we can
understand how fully they laid themselves open to the charge of treason,
the “crimen læsæ majestatis.” Perhaps too at particular moments they were
in danger of giving real ground for suspicion in reference to this point.
The warnings of St. Paul and St. Peter give ground for inferring that
there was danger of this even in their times. (Rom. xiii. 1 seq.; 1 Pet.
ii. 13 seq.)

A greater difficulty than discovering plausible grounds which may have
created the suspicion of treason is, to find the causes why a people so
tolerant as the Romans should exhibit so persecuting a spirit against
Christianity; but we must remember, first, that the idea as distinct from
the practice of toleration was unknown; and secondly, that the practice of
toleration was only supposed to be obligatory when the particular religion
had been licensed.

The idea of man’s universal rights, of universal religious freedom and
liberty of conscience, was alien to the views of the whole ancient world.
Indeed it is of quite modern introduction. It was not known even in
Christendom, not even in the protestant part of it, till the seventeenth
century. It was Milton who first enunciated the principle in its breadth.
The idea of individualism, though long in spreading, was created in germ
by two causes; viz.. the free spirit of independence introduced by the
Teutonic system; and the idea of the sacredness of the individual soul
introduced through Christianity. If the highest end of man be to live for
eternity, not to live for society, the individual is invested with a new
dignity; and we feel the impropriety of trespassing upon the sphere for
which each man is personally responsible. In the ancient world however,
where this idea was unknown, all the elements of life, religion, and
morals, were made subordinate to the political. The state was supreme.
Looked at accordingly from the ancient point of view, a defection from the
religion of the state could not appear otherwise than as a crime against
the state. The Romans did certainly exercise religious toleration to the
religions of nations which they conquered; and in this way the religion of
the Jews was a tolerated creed, a _religio licita_; but it was such for
the Jews alone; and deviation from the state religion was, as we know from
the great lawyers, unlawful. Though doubtless from the abundance of
foreigners who crowded to Rome, many foreign religious practices became
common, yet a special decree of the senate was necessary before any Roman
citizen could be allowed to join in the observance of any such foreign
rites. When we consider the free use made by the Christians, for the
purposes of worship and burial, of the catacombs, by which the plain in
the neighbourhood of Rome is honeycombed, we may conjecture that the
vigilance of the imperial police cannot have been strictly exercised; yet
occasionally severe laws were passed to repress the evil of the
introduction of foreign sacred rites. We may thus accordingly understand
the causes of the persecution of Christians, as we before understood the
grounds of the prejudice against them.

Note 16. p. 61. Modern Criticism On The Book Of Daniel.

Some account of the modern criticism on the book of Daniel has been
introduced into the text of Lect. II. (see pp. 60, 61,) and the chief
recent writers on it have been enumerated (p. 60, note). Also the
refutation of one argument used against the authenticity of the book, viz.
that drawn from the occurrence of Greek words in it, was given in a note
on p. 60.

The other arguments which have been advanced against it, in addition to
those there named, are, (1) that the angelology and ascetic doctrines are
too recent to be of the time of Daniel; (2) that the miracles are of a
“grotesque” character, like those which belong to the apocryphal books;
(3) that the measure of the golden statue of Dura, sixty cubits by six, is
irreconcileable with any theory of proportion suited to the human figure,
and still more so with the canon of Assyrian art, as seen in their
sculpture, and can apply only to an obelisk; (4) that Daniel has made
honourable mention of himself; (5) that the position of the book in the
third part of the Jewish canon, the Cethubim or Hagiographa, shows that it
was written later than the captivity.

The replies made to these objections are as follows: In reference to No.
(1), it is denied that the angelology and asceticism necessarily prove a
late period, by referring to traces of them in earlier Hebrew literature:
No. (2) that the difficulty which has reference to the character of the
miracles is only one of degree; and that the greatness of a miracle is no
absolute ground for disbelief if miracles be once admitted: (3) the
inferences about the statue are conceded, but reconciled with the text. As
the word עלם (iii. 1) does not necessarily mean a statue (see Buxtorf’s
_Lexicon, sub voc._), it is possible to conceive it to apply to an
obelisk, the existence of which in Assyria is confirmed by recent
excavations. (4) Daniel’s honourable mention of himself is not improper
when taken in its connexion. (5) The argument which relates to the third
division of the canon is a difficulty common to several other books, and
depends on the theory that the principle of arrangement of the three parts
of the canon was founded on the date of composition, and not on the
subject matter, which is disputed.

In reference to the definite character of the predictions in the book of
Daniel, the difficulty stated in the text (p. 61), reply is easy. If the
miraculous character of prophecy be admitted, the definite character,
though a peculiarity, cannot be a difficulty. The definiteness too in this
instance does not differ in kind, hardly even in degree, from the case of
other prophecies, but must be admitted to be paralleled elsewhere, if the
objector does not assail those equally by the same process. The pretence
that the definite character ends at the reign of Antiochus is shown to be
incorrect, by proving (1) that the prophecy about the Messiah (ix. 24-26)
cannot refer to the Maccabean deliverers; and (2) that the fourth empire
predicted is the Roman, which thus would be equally future even to a
writer of the Maccabean era.

The further argument used in defence of the book, that the New Testament
authenticates the authorship of Daniel, is necessarily only of value to
those who admit, first, the authority of the New Testament, and who,
secondly, allow that the New Testament writers never accommodate
themselves on questions of criticism to the mental state of their hearers.
The opponents of this view on the contrary assert, that the quotations in
the New Testament only affirm the predicate, not the subject; the truth of
the theological sentiment quoted, not the literary question of the
authorship of the book from which it is quoted.

An instructive paper on the book of Daniel by Mr. Westcott appeared in
Smith’s _Biblical Dictionary_, from which a few of the references to
authors on Daniel (p. 60, note) were taken; and another in Kitto’s
_Biblical Encyclopædia_ by the lamented Hävernick.

Note 17. p. 64. The Reply Of Eusebius To Hierocles.

In his book against Hierocles, Eusebius states (b. i.), that he refutes
only that portion of the work which related to Apollonius of Tyana;
referring to Origen’s answer to Celsus for a reply to the remainder of it;
and discusses only the parallel of Apollonius and Jesus Christ. In b. i.
he gives an outline of the argument of his opponent, with quotations, and
states his own opinion about Apollonius; throwing discredit on the
veracity of the sources of the memoirs; and proceeds to criticise the
prodigies attributed to him, arguing that the statements are incredible,
or borrowed, or materially contradictory. Discussing each book in
succession, he replies in b. i. to the statements respecting the early
part of Apollonius’s life; in b. ii. to that which concerned the journey
into India; in b. iii. to that which related to his intercourse with the
Brahmins; in b. iv. to his journey in Greece; in b. v. to his introduction
to Vespasian in Egypt; in b. vi. and vii. to his miracles; and in b. viii.
to his pretence to foreknowledge. He adds remarks on his death, and on the
necessity of faith; and repeats his opinion respecting the character of

Note 18. p. 67. The Philopatris Of The Pseudo-Lucian.

This dialogue was held to be genuine by Fabricius; but Gesner disproved
it, _De Philopatride Lucianeo Dialogo Dissertatio_, 1730. See also
Neander’s _Church History_, E. T. (Bohn) iii. 127, note.

The work hardly merits an analysis. Critias, looking ill, is met by
Triepho. After a little banter, in which Triepho makes fun of the gods by
whom Critias swears, and of their history (§ 2-18), Critias confesses that
the cause that has made him pale is the hearing bad news at an assembly of
Christians. Having first heard two Christian sermons, the one by a
coughing preacher, who was proclaiming release from debt, the other by a
threadbare mountaineer preaching a golden age, he had afterwards been
persuaded to go to a private Christian meeting; and it was the prediction
which he there heard of woes to the state which had so much frightened
him, § 20-27. Triepho has not patience to hear him narrate the
particulars. Another person enters, and the curtain falls.

The theology of the dialogue is, if viewed on its negative side, the
ridicule of heathen mythology and of Christian doctrines and habits; and
on its positive, the proclamation of one God as the object of worship. The
work exhibits internal evidence of a knowledge of Christian practices, §
20, &c., and Christian doctrines, such as the Trinity, § 12; uses
Christian phraseology, § 18; and calls Christians by the name given by
Julian, Galilæan, § 12.

Note 19. p. 87. The Work Of Julian Against Christianity.

It has been already stated that our knowledge of the contents of Julian’s
lost book is obtained from Cyril’s reply to it; the text of which is
accordingly given in Spanheim’s edition of Julian. It is supposed to have
consisted of seven books; but Cyril replies only to three.

In the brief account given in the text of Lect. II. no attempt was made to
form a hypothetical restoration of Julian’s work from the fragments, such
as that which Pressensé has attempted with regard to Celsus; but only a
few of Julian’s principles were presented concerning the following
subjects: (1) on God; (2) on the Hebrew, and (3) the Christian religion. A
few hints however toward such a scheme, may not be uninteresting. If, as
seems probable, Cyril took the statements of Julian in the order in which
they stood in the now lost work, the plan of Julian’s work may have been
somewhat as follows.

He proposed to institute a comparison between the Hebrew and Christian
religions and literature on the one hand, and the Greek on the other. If
we may judge from the purport of b. i. of Cyril’s work, Julian laid
himself open to an attack by maintaining the superior antiquity of
heathenism, forgetting that the Hebrew system was older than the Greek. At
least Cyril establishes this elaborately, and argues the direct derivation
of many parts of the heathen system from the Jews. The argument on
Julian’s part seems to have been conducted by an examination of successive
points in the Hebrew history and system. In the beginning the Hebrew
cosmogony suggested an argument for the superiority of the Platonic theory
over the Mosaic. (_Cyril._ b. ii.) Next he successively attacked the
account of Paradise as a fable; entering upon both the probability of the
story (_Id._ b. iii.) and the moral features of the Deity brought out in
the narrative. He seems also to have passed from the idea of creation to
that of providence, and to have dwelt on the inferiority of the Hebrew
scheme as a theory of providence, in having an absence of inferior deities
beneath the supreme one; and resists the idea of the obligation of all men
to embrace one creed, inasmuch as they do not possess one character.
(_Id._ b. iv.) Next, turning to the Mosaic moral law, he argued against
its originality, except in relation to the sabbath; and passing through
several of the narratives of Jewish history, he pointed out
characteristics of anger in the Jewish conception of Deity; and compared
by instances the Greek legislators and kings with Jewish. (_Id._ b. v.)
Next he seems to have passed from Judaism to Christianity, and attacked
the miracles, and the Christian morals and practices; challenged the
reasons for prophecy; and rallied the Christians on accepting a religion
derived from so insignificant a nation as the Jews. (_Id._ b. vi.) He
seems next to have returned to the comparison of Greek and Hebrew
warriors, and of Greek and Jewish science, and the educational value of
the two literatures; and reverted to the subject of Christianity, by
representing it as a deviation from the very religion on which it
depended. (_Id._ b. vii.) He continued this argument by the special
example of prophecy, examining several instances wherein he contended that
Christians had abandoned the Jewish sense of them. (_Id._ b. viii.) Next
he seems to have continued a similar argument with regard to the Jewish
typical system, and the utter dissimilarity of the Christian ideas from
its purpose (_Id._ b. ix.); next to have assailed Christianity, by trying
to show that there had been a similar development in Christianity itself,
and a departure from its primitive form analogous to that which
Christianity bore to Judaism, alleging, incorrectly, that St. John was the
first to teach the divinity of Christ; and instanced examples,
objectionable in practice, such as the worship of martyrs’ tombs; and
alleged against Christianity an eclectic spirit which had appropriated
parts of the Jewish system but not the whole. (_Id._ b. x.)

The reader must however be apprised that the above scheme is entirely
hypothetical. The objections of Julian are facts; the _lacunæ_ are filled
up by conjecture.

The general spirit of Cyril’s answer is the _argumentum ad hominem_;
showing that the same faults, even if true, are equally true of the Greek
scheme of religion.

Lecture III.

Note 20. p. 89. On The Legendary Work, Entitled “De Tribus Impostoribus.”

Full particulars concerning the chapter in literary history which relates
to this work, will be found in Prosper Marchand’s _Dictionnaire
Historique_, 1758 (vol. i. pp. 312-319), and more briefly in F. W.
Genthe’s _De Imposturis Religionum breve Compendium_, 1833. Both give
lists of the earlier writers who have treated of the subject; among which
the most useful will be found to be B. G. Struve, _Dissertatio de Doctis
Impostoribus_, 1703 (§ 9-23); De La Monnaie, _Lettre sur le Prétendu
Livre_; and Calmet, _Dictionnaire_, article _Imposteur_.

The rumours concerning the existence of a book with the title “De Tribus
Impostoribus” commence in the thirteenth century. About the sixteenth,
more definite but still unsatisfactory statements appear respecting its
existence. Its authorship has been attributed to above twenty
distinguished persons; such as Frederick II, Boccaccio, Pomponatius,
Bruno, Vanini, &c.; the reasons for which in each case are explained in
Marchand. De La Monnaie however wrote, questioning the existence of the
book. A reply to his letter respecting it was published in French at the
Hague in 1716, which pretended to offer an analysis of the ancient work;
the falsehood of which however is shown by the Spinozist philosophy
contained in it. Genthe in his tract, besides a literary introduction in
German, republishes the French tract just named; and also a second tract
in Latin, equally a fabrication, bearing a slightly different title, _De
Imposturis Religionum_, Lucianlike in its tone, which, by an allusion to
Loyola (§ 20), cannot be older than the sixteenth century, and is probably
of German origin. Both writers conclude that the existence of the book in
the middle ages was legendary. Renan (_Averroes_, pp. 280, and 272-300),
and Laurent (_La Reforme_, pp. 345-8), coincide in this conclusion. The
title was a _mot_, not a fact.

It is hardly necessary to state that the numerous writers who, like
Kortholt, have adopted the title “De Tribus Impostoribus” for their books,
have merely used the name in irony, and do not profess to give transcripts
of the old work.

Lecture IV.

Note 21. p. 118. On Some Technical Terms In The History Of Unbelief.

There are a few terms, which are frequently used in reference to unbelief,
of which it would be interesting to trace the meaning and history. A few
notes in reference to this subject may both prevent ambiguity and throw
some light on a chapter in the history of language. The words alluded to
are the following: 1. INFIDEL; 2. ATHEIST; 3. PANTHEIST; 4. DEIST; 5.

1. INFIDEL.—This word began to be restricted as a technical term, about
the time of the Crusades and throughout the middle ages, to denote
Mahometan; as being _par excellence_ the kind of unbelievers with which
Christians were brought into contact. Perhaps the first instance of its
use in the more modern sense, of disbeliever generally, is in the Collect
for Good Friday, “all Jews, Turks, _infidels_, heretics;” which words were
apparently inserted by the Reformers in the first Prayer Book (1547); the
rest of the prayer, except these words, existing in the Latin Collect of
the ancient Service-book from which it is translated. Ordinarily however,
during the sixteenth century, it is found in the popular sense of
_unfaithful_; a meaning which the increasing prevalence of Latin words was
likely to bring into use. In writers of the seventeenth, the use of it in
the sense of _unbeliever_ becomes more common: an instance from Milton is
cited in Richardson’s Dictionary. In the beginning of the eighteenth
century it becomes quite common in theological writers in its modern
sense; and toward the end of the century was frequently appropriated to
express the form of unbelief which existed in France; a use which probably
arose from the circumstance that the French unbelievers did not adopt a
special name for their tenets, as the English did, who had a positive
creed, (Deism,) and not merely, like the French, a disintegration of

2. ATHEIST.—This word needs little discussion. In modern times it is first
applied by the theological writers of the sixteenth century, to describe
the unbelief of such persons as Pomponatius; and in the seventeenth it is
used, by Bacon (Essay on Atheism), Milton, (Paradise lost, b. vi.), and
Bunyan (Pilgrim), to imply general unbelief, of which the disbelief in a
Deity is the principal sign. Toward the end of the same century it is not
unfrequently found, e.g. in Kortholt’s _De Tribus Impostoribus_, 1680, to
include Deism such as that of Hobbes, as well as blank Pantheism like
Spinoza’s, which more justly deserves the name. The same use is seen in
Colerus’s work against Spinoza, _Arcana Atheismi Revelata_. Tillotson
(serm. i. on Atheism); and Bentley (Boyle Lectures) use the word more
exactly; and the invention of the term Deism induced, in the writers of
the eighteenth century, a more limited and exact use of the former term.
But in Germany, Reimannus (_Historia Univ. Atheismi_, 1725, p. 437 seq.)
and Buddeus (_De Atheismo et Superstitione_, 1723, ch. iii. § 2), use it
most widely, and especially make it include disbelief of immortality. Also
Walch, _Bibliotheca Theol. Selecta_, 1757, uses it to include the
Pantheism of Spinoza, (vol. i. p. 676, &c.) This transference of the term
to embrace all kinds of unbelief has been well compared with the extension
of the term βάρβαρος by the Greeks.(1064) The wide use of the term is
partly to be attributed to the doubt which Christian men had whether any
one could really disbelieve the being of a God,—an opinion increased by
the Cartesian notions then common concerning innate ideas; and whether
accordingly the term Atheist could mean anything different from Deist.
Compare Buddeus’s _Isagoge_, p. 1203, and the chapter “An dentur Athei” in
his work _De Atheismo_. (ch. i.) By the time of Stapfer’s work, _Instit.
Theol. Polem._ 1744, the two terms were distinguished; see vol. ii. ch.
vi. and vii. and cfr. p. 587.

The term was subsequently applied to describe the views of the French
writers, such as D’Holbach, who did not see the necessity for believing in
a personal first Cause. In more modern times it is frequently applied to
such writers as Comte; whose view is indeed atheism, but differs from that
of former times, in that it is the refusal to entertain the question of a
Deity as not being discoverable by the evidence of sense and science,
rather than the absolute denial of his existence. The Comtists also hold
firmly the marks of order, law, mind, in nature, and not the fortuitous
concurrence of atoms, as was the case with the atheists of France.

3. PANTHEIST.—One of the first uses of this word is by Toland in the
_Pantheisticon_, 1720, where however it has its ancient polytheistic
sense. It is a little later that it passes from the idea of the worship of
the whole of the gods to the worship of the entire universe looked at as

This exacter application of it is more modern. It is now used to denote
the disbelief of a personal first Cause: but a distinction ought to be
made between the Pantheism like that of Averroes, which regards the world
as an emanation, and sustained by an _anima mundi_; and that which, like
the view of Spinoza, regards the sum total of all things to be Deity. This
distinction was noticed and illustrated in p. 107. The account of the word
in Krug’s _Philosoph. Lexicon_ is worth consulting.

4. DEIST.—One of the first instances of the use of this word occurs in
Viret, _Epistr. Dedicat. du 2. vol de l’Instruction Chrétienne_, 1563,
quoted by Bayle, _Dictionnaire_, (note under the word Viret.) It is
appropriated in the middle of the seventeenth century by Herbert to his
scheme, and afterwards by Blount (_Oracles of Reason_, p. 99), to
distinguish themselves from Atheists. In strict truth, Herbert calls
himself a _Theist_; which slightly differs from the subsequent term
_Deist_, in so far as it is intended to convey the idea of that which he
thought to be the true worship of God. It is theism as opposed to error,
rather than natural religion as opposed to revealed: whereas deism always
implies a position antagonistic to revealed religion. But the distinction
is soon lost sight of; and Nichols (1696) entitles his work against the
deists, _Conference with a Theist_. Towards the close of the seventeenth
century, and in the beginning of the eighteenth, the Christian writers
sometimes even use Deist as interchangeable with Atheist, as shown above.
It is also used as synonymous with one of the senses of the word
_Naturalist_. See below, under the latter word; and cfr. Stapfer, _Inst.
Polem._ vol. ii. p. 742, with p. 883.

5. NATURALIST.—This word is used in two senses; an objective and a
subjective. Naturalism, in the former, is the belief which identifies God
with nature; in the latter, the belief in the sufficiency of natural as
distinct from revealed religion. The former is Pantheism, the latter
Deism. In the former sense it is applied to Spinoza and others; e.g. in
Walch’s _Biblioth. Theol. Select._ i. 745 seq. In the latter sense it
occurs as early as 1588 in France, in the writings of J. Bodin (_Colloq.
Heptapl._ 31. Rem. 2); and towards the end of the seventeenth century both
in Germany and England, e.g. in Kortholt’s _De Trib. Impost._ 1680; and
the Quaker, Barclay’s _Apologia_, 1679, p. 28. At the end of the
seventeenth century, and in the eighteenth, the name was applied in
England to deists, (e.g. in Nichols’s _Conference with a Theist_, pref. §
15); and in Germany it became a commonly known word, owing to the spread
of the Wolffian philosophy. Stapfer (_Instit. Theol. Polem._ 1744, vol.
ii. p. 881), using Wolffian phraseology, divides this latter kind of
naturalism into two kinds, viz. philosophical and theological. The
philosophical kind maintains the sufficiency of natural religion, and
disbelieves revealed; the theological kind holds the truth of revelation,
but regards it as unnecessary, as being only a republication of natural
religion. The adherent of the former is the “Naturalist” of Kant; the
latter his “pure Rationalist” (_Verg. Religion Innerhalb, &c._); the
former the Deist, the latter the Rationalist, of a school like that of
Wegscheider, &c. (See Lect. VI.)

Cfr. Bretschneider’s _Handbuch der Dogmatik_; i. 72. note. Hahn, _De
Rationalismi Indole_ (quoted by Rose on Rationalism, 2d ed. Introd. p. 20)
names writers who make a third kind of naturalism, viz. Pelagianism; but
this is rare.

6. FREETHINKER.—This term first appears toward the close of the
seventeenth century. It is used of Toland, “a candid Freethinker,” by
Molyneux, in a letter to Locke 1697 (_Locke’s Works_, fol. ed. iii. 624);
and Shaftesbury in 1709 speaks of “our modern free-writers,” _Works_, vol.
i. p. 65. But it was Collins in 1713, in his _Discourse of Freethinking_,
who first appropriated the name to express the independence of inquiry
which was claimed by the deists. The use of the word expressed the spirit
of a nation like the English, in which, subsequently to the change of
dynasty, freedom to think and speak was held to be every man’s charter.
Lechler has remarked the absence of a parallel word in other languages.
The French expression _Esprit fort_, the title of a work of La Bruyère,
does not convey quite the same idea as _Freethinker_. _Esprit_ expresses
the French liveliness, not the reflective self-consciousness of the
English mind of the eighteenth century: the _fort_ is a relic of the pride
of feudalism; whilst the _free_ of the English Freethinker implies the
reaction against it. The English term smacks of democracy; the French
carries with it the notion of aristocracy. (Lechler, _Gesch. des Engl.
Deismus_, p. 458.) There is no word to express the English idea in foreign
languages, except the literal translation of the English term. Even then,
in French the expression _la libre pensée_ has changed its meaning; since
it is now frequently used to describe the struggle, good as well as evil,
of the human mind against authority. It thus loses the unfavourable sense
which originally belonged to the corresponding English expression.

7. RATIONALIST.—The history of the term is hard to trace. The first
technical use of the adjective _rational_ seems to have been about the
seventeenth century, to express a school of philosophy. It had probably
passed out of the old sense of _dialectical_ (cfr. Brucker’s _Hist. Phil._
iii. 60.), into the use just named; which we find in Bacon, to express
rational philosophy, as opposed to empirical, (see a quotation from
Bacon’s _Apophthegms_ in Richardson’s _Dictionary_, _sub voc._); or, as in
North’s _Plutarch_, 1657, p. 984, for intellectual philosophy as opposed
to mathematical and moral. The word Rationalist occurs in Clarendon, 1646
(_State Papers_, vol. ii. p. 40), to describe a party of presbyterians who
appealed only to “what their reason dictates them in church and state.”
Hahn (_De Rationalismi Indole_) states that Amos Comenius similarly used
the term in 1661 in a depreciatory sense. The treatise of Locke on the
_Reasonableness of Christianity_ caused Christians and Deists to
appropriate the term, and to restrict it to religion. Thus, by Waterland’s
time, it had got the meaning of false reasoning on religion. (_Works_,
viii. 67.) And, passing into Germany, it appears to have become the common
name to express philosophical views of religion, as opposed to
supernatural. In this sense it occurs as early as 1708 in Sucro, quoted by
Tholuck, _Vermischt. Schriften_, ii. pp. 25, 26, and in Buddeus,
_Isagoge_, 1730, pp. 213 and 1151. It is also used often as equivalent to
naturalism, or adherence to natural religion; with the slight difference
that it rather points to mental than physical truth.

The name has often been appropriated to the Kantian or critical
philosophy, in which rationalism was distinguished from naturalism in the
mode explained under the latter word. (See Kant’s _Religion Innerhalb der
Grenzen der Blossen Vernunft_, pp. 216, 17.) During the period when
Rationalism was predominant as a method in German theology, the meaning
and limits of the term were freely discussed. The period referred to is
that which we have called in Lect. VI. p. 230 the second subdivision of
the first of the three periods, into which the history of German theology
is there divided; viz. from 1790-1810; occupying the interval when the
Wolffian philosophy had given place to the Kantian, and the philosophy of
Fichte and Jacobi had not yet produced the revival under Schleiermacher.
This form of rationalism also continued to exist during the lifetime of
its adherents, contemporaneously with the new influence created by
Schleiermacher. (See Lect. VI.) The discussion was not a verbal one only,
but was intimately connected with facts. The rationalist theologians
wished to define clearly their own position, as opposed on the one hand to
deists and naturalists, and on the other to supernaturalists. The result
of the discussion seemed to show the following parties: (1) two kinds of
Supernaturalists, (α) the Biblical, such as Reinhardt, resembling the
English divines of the eighteenth century;(1065) (β) the Philosophical,
sometimes called Rational Supernaturalists, as the Kantian theologian
Staüdlin: (2) two kinds of Rationalists, (α) the Supernatural
Rationalists, like Bretschneider, who held on the evidence of reason the
necessity of a revelation, but required its accordance with reason, when
communicated; (β) the pure Rationalists, like Wegscheider, Röhr, and
Paulus, who held the sufficiency of reason; and, while admitting
revelation as a fact, regarded it as the republication of the religion of
nature. It is this last kind which answers to the “theological
naturalist,” named above, under the word _Naturalist_. It is also the form
which is called _Rationalismus vulgaris_ (as being opposed to the later
_scientific_), though the term is not admitted by its adherents. This
rationalism stands distinguished from naturalism, i.e. from “philosophical
naturalism” or deism, by having reference to the Christian religion and
church; but it differs from supernaturalism, in that reason, not
scripture, is its formal principle, or test of truth: and virtue, instead
of “faith working by love,” is its material principle, or fundamental
doctrine. A further subdivision might be made of this last into the
dogmatic (Wegscheider), and the critical (Paulus). Cfr. Bretschneider’s
_Dogmatik_, i. 81, and see Lect. VI. Also consult on the above account
Kahnis, p. 168, and Lechler’s _Deismus_, p. 193, note; Hagenbach’s
_Dogmengesch_. § 279, note.

This account of the term being the result of the controversy as to the
meaning of the words, it only remains to name some of the works which
treated of it.

The dispute on the word _Rationalism_ is especially seen at two periods,
(1) about the close of the last century, when the supernaturalists, such
as Reinhardt and Storr, were maintaining their position against
rationalism. One treatise, which may perhaps be considered to belong to
this earlier period, is J. A. H. Tittmann’s _Ueber Supernaturalismus,
Rationalismus, und Atheismus_, 1816; (2) in the disputes against the
school of Schleiermacher, when supernaturalism was no longer thrown on the
defensive. This was marked by several treatises on the subject, such as
Staüdlin’s _Geschichte des Rationalismus und Supernaturalismus_ 1826, (see
the definitions given in it, pp. 3 and 4;) Bretschneider’s remarks in his
_Dogmatik_ (i. pp. 14, 71, 80 ed. 1838); and _Historische Bemerkungen
Ueber den Gebrauch der Ausdrücke Rational. und Supernat._
(_Oppositions-Schrift._ 1829. 7. 1); A. Hahn, _De Rationalismi qui dicitur
Verâ Indole_, 1827, in which he reviews the attempts of Bretschneider and
Staüdlin to give the historic use of the word; Röhr’s _Briefe Ueber
Rationalismus_, pp. 14-16; Paulus’s _Resultate aus den Neuesten Versuch
des Supernat. Gegen den Rationalismus_, 1830; Wegscheider’s _Inst. Theol.
Christianæ Dogmaticæ_ (7th ed. 1833. §§ 11, 12, pp. 49-67), which is full
of references to the literature of the subject. The controversy was
aggravated and in part was due to the translation of Mr. H. J. Rose’s
_Sermons on Rationalism_. He was answered by Bretschneider in a tract, in
which that theologian entered upon the defence of the rationalist
position. Mr. Rose (_Introd._ to 2d ed. 1829, p. 17) enters briefly upon
the history of the name. Krug (_Philos. Lexicon_) also gives many
instances of its use in German theology.

To complete the account it is only necessary to add, that it is made clear
by Lectures VI. and VII. that if subsequent theological thought in Germany
to the schools now described, be called Rationalism for convenience by
English writers, the term is then used in a different sense from that in
which it is applied in speaking of the older forms.

8. SCEPTIC.—This term was first applied specifically to one school of
Greek philosophers, about B.C. 300, followers of Pyrrho of Elis (see
Ritter’s _Hist. of Phil._ E. T. iii. 372-398; Staüdlin’s _Geschichte des
Scepticismus_, vol. i; Tafel’s _Geschichte und Kritik des Skepticismus_,
1836; Donaldson’s _Greek Lit._ ch. xlvii. § 5); and also to a revival of
this school about A.D. 200. (See Ritter. Id. iii. 258-357; Donaldson, ch.
lvi. § 3.) The tenet was a general disbelief of the possibility of knowing
realities as distinct from appearances. The term thus introduced,
gradually became used in the specific sense of theological as distinct
from philosophical scepticism, often with an indirect implication that the
two are united. Walch restricts the name Sceptic to the latter kind.
Writing about those who are called Indifferentists (_Bibl. Theol. Select._
i. 976), he subdivides them into two classes; viz. those who are
indifferent through liberality, and those who are so through unbelief. The
former are the “Latitudinarians,” the latter the Sceptics above named.
Cfr. also Buddeus, _Isagoge_, pp. 1208-10. In more recent times the term
has gained a still more generic sense in theology, to express all kinds of
religious doubt. But its use to express philosophical scepticism as
distinct from religious has not died out. In this sense Montaigne, Bayle
(cfr. Staüdlin’s _Gesch. des Scept._ p. 204), Huet, Berkeley, Hume, and De
Maistre, were Sceptics; i.e. sceptical of the certitude of one or more
branches of the human faculties. Sometimes also it is used to express
systems of philosophy which teach disbelief in the reality of metaphysical
science; e.g. the positive school of Comte; but this is an ambiguous use
of the term. For philosophical scepticism may be of two kinds; viz. the
disbelief in the possibility of the attainment of truth by means of the
natural faculties of man; and the disbelief of the possibility of its
attainment by means of metaphysical, as distinct from physical, methods.
The former is properly called Philosophical Scepticism, the latter not so.
Pyrrho in ancient times, and Hume in modern, represent the former; the
Positivists of modern times, and perhaps the Sophists of the fifth century
B.C., represent the latter. It is hardly necessary to repeat that the
philosophical scepticism proper of Berkeley and Hume must not be
confounded with religious. They may be connected, as in Hume, or
disconnected, as in Berkeley or De Maistre. See on this subject Morell’s
_Hist. of Philos._ i. p. 68, ii. ch. vi.

On the subject of the words explained in this note see, besides the works
referred to, Walch’s _Bibl. Theol. Select._ i. ch. v. sect. 5, 6, 7, 11,
and iii. ch. vii. sect. 10. § 4. 1757: Pfaff’s _Introd. in Hist. Theol._
lib. ii. b. iii. § 2. 1725: Stapfer’s _Inst. Theol. Polem._ ii. ch. vi,
vii, x; iv. ch. xiii. 1744: Reimannus’ _Hist. Univ. Ath._ sectio i. 1725:
J. F. Buddeus’s _De Atheismo_, 1737, ch. i. and ii: J. F. Buddeus’s
_Isagoge_, 1730, pp. 1203-1211: Lechler’s _Gesch. des Deismus_, 1841;
_Schlussbemerkungen_, p. 453 seq.: J. Fabricius, 1704, _Consid. Var.
Controv._ p. 1: Staüdlin’s _Gesch. des Skepticismus vorzüglich in
Rücksicht auf. Moral. und Religion_. 1794: J. F. Tafel’s _Gesch. und
Kritik des Skepticismus und Irrationalismus_, with reference to
Philosophy, 1834.

Note 22. p. 136. Woolston’s Discourses On Miracles.

In addition to the notice of these Discourses given in the text, it may be
well to give a brief account of their contents.

In Discourse I. Woolston aims at showing (α) that healing is not a proper
miracle for a Messiah to perform, and that the fathers of the church
understood the miracles allegorically: (β) that a literal interpretation
of miracles involves incredibility, as shown in the miracle of the
expulsion of the buyers and sellers from the temple, the casting out
devils from the possessed man of the tombs, the transfiguration, the
marriage of Cana, the feeding the multitudes: (γ) the meaning of Jesus
when he appeals to miracles. In Discourse II. he selects for examination
the miracle of the woman with the issue of blood, and also her with the
spirit of infirmity; also the narrative of the Samaritan woman, the
triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the temptation, the appearance of the
spirits of the dead at the resurrection. In Discourse III. he selects the
cursing of the fig-tree, and the miracle of the pool of Bethesda. It may
be allowable to give one illustration of the coarse humour with which he
rationalizes the sacred narrative in his explanation of this last miracle.
He says of the healed man, “The man’s infirmity was more laziness than
lameness; and Jesus only shamed him out of his pretended idleness by
bidding him to take up his stool and walk off, and not lie any longer like
a lubbard and dissemble among the diseased.” It will be perceived, that if
the coarseness be omitted, the system of interpretation is the naturalist
system afterwards adopted by the old rationalism (_rationalismus
vulgaris_). In Discourse IV. he selects the healing with eye-salve of the
blind man, the water made into wine at Cana; where he introduces a Jewish
rabbi to utter blasphemy, after the manner of Celsus; and the healing of
the paralytic who was let down through the roof, which, as being one of
the most characteristic passages of Woolston, Dean Trench has selected for
analysis. (_Notes on Miracles_, Introduction, p. 81.) In Discourse V. he
discusses the three miracles of the raising of the dead; and in Discourse
VI. the miracle of Christ’s own resurrection.

His conclusion (in Disc. I.) is, that “the history of Jesus, as recorded
in the evangelists, is an emblematical representation of his spiritual
life in the soul of man; and his miracles figurative of his mysterious
operations;” that the four Gospels are in no part a literal story, but a
system of mystical philosophy or theology.

Lecture V.

Note 23. p. 178. The Literary Coteries Of Paris In The Eighteenth Century.

An account of these coteries may be seen in Schlosser’s _Hist. of
Eighteenth Century_, (E. T.) vol. i. ch. ii. § 4; the particulars of which
chapter he has gathered largely from the Autobiography of Marmontel, and
from Grimm’s Correspondence. See also Sainte-Beuve’s Papers (_Portraits_,
vol. ii.) on Espinasse and Geoffrin. These coteries were specially four:
viz. (1) that of Madame De Tencin, mother of D’Alembert, which included
Fontenelle, Montesquieu, Mairan, Helvetius, Marivaux, and Astruc; (2) of
Madame Geoffrin, who took the place of De Tencin. It included, besides
some of the above, Poniatowsky, Frederick the Great when in France, the
Swedish Creutz, and Kaunitz, the whole of the Voltaire school, and at
first Rousseau; (3) of Madame Du Deffant, contemporary with Geoffrin. This
was less a coterie of fashion, and more entirely of intellect; and
included Voltaire, D’Alembert, Hénault, and Horace Walpole when in Paris.
Later Mlle. Espinasse took the place of Deffant, and this became the
union-point for all the philosophical reformers, D’Alembert, Diderot,
Turgot, and the Encyclopædists; (4) of D’Holbach, consisting of the most
advanced infidels.

Note 24. p. 198. The Term Ideology.

As the term _Ideology_ has lately been employed in a novel theological
sense, (e.g. _Essays and Reviews_, Ess. iv.), and as it is employed in
these lectures in its ordinary sense, as known in metaphysical science, it
may prevent ambiguity to state briefly the history of the term.

The word _Ideology_, as denoting the term to express metaphysical science,
seems to have arisen in the French school of De Tracy at the close of the
last century. Cfr. Krug’s _Philos. Lexicon_, sub voc.

As early as Plato’s time metaphysics was the science of ἰδέαι, i.e. of
_forms_; but the word ἰδέα implied the objective form in the thing, not
the subjective conception in the mind. It was Descartes who first
appropriated the word Idea in the subjective sense of _notion_. This arose
from the circumstance that in his philosophy he sought for the idea in the
mind, instead of the essence in the thing contemplated, as had been the
case in mediæval philosophy. In the following century Locke’s inquiries,
together with Berkeley’s speculations, caused metaphysics to become _the
science of ideas_. The representative theory of perception which was held,
increased, if it did not cause, the confusion: all knowledge was
restricted to ideas. The subsequent attempts of Condillac and others to
carry forward the analysis of the formation of our ideas still farther,
caused metaphysics to be restricted to them alone. This apparently was the
reason why De Tracy gave the name of Ideology to the science of
metaphysics in the _Elémens d’Idéologie_.(1066)

It was the sceptical notion of the unreality of the objects as distinct
from the ideas, partly the offshoot of a sensational philosophy, like that
of De Tracy, partly of the spiritual philosophy of Germany, which farther
caused the term Ideological to slide into the sense of _ideal_; a meaning
of the term which the employment of it in English in recent theological
controversy seems likely to make common.

Note 25. p. 195. The Works Of Dr. Geddes.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, free thought began to manifest
itself in England under a rationalistic form, in a Roman catholic, Dr.
Geddes, who lived 1737-1802. (See Life by Mason Good, 1804.) Vol. i. of
his _Translation_ of the Bible appeared in 1792; vol. ii. in 1797; and his
_Critical Remarks_ (vol. i.) in 1800. His free criticism is seen in
discussing the character of Moses (pref. to vol. i. of _Transl._); the
slaughter of the Canaanites (pref. to vol. ii.); Paradise (_Crit. Rem._ p.
35); the remarks on Genesis xlix. (Id. p. 142); on the Egyptian plagues
(p. 182); on the passage of the Red sea (p. 200). As soon as the first
volume was published the Catholic bishops silenced him. Geddes was a
believer in Christianity; but felt so strongly the deist difficulties,
that he sought to defend revelation by explaining away the supernatural
from the Jewish history, and inspiration from the Jewish literature. His
views, so far as they were not original, were probably derived from the
incipient rationalistic speculations of Germany, though he quoted almost
none of the German except Michaelis and Herder. His position in the
history of doubt is with the early rationalists, not with the deists. A
writer of somewhat similar character, Mr. Evanson, a unitarian, wrote a
critical attack on the Gospels, _The Dissonance of the Four generally
received Evangelists_, in 1805.

Note 26. p. 196. The Works Of Conyers Middleton.

Dr. Conyers Middleton lived from 1683 to 1750. In 1749 he published _A
Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Early Church_; “by which it
is shown that we have no sufficient reason to believe, upon the authority
of the primitive fathers, that any such powers were continued to the
church after the days of the apostles.” He was attacked by Dodwell,
Church, and Chapman, who described the work as discrediting miracles. The
object of it was to place the church in the predicament of denying
altogether the authority of the fathers, or else of admitting the truth of
the Romish doctrine of miracles. Gibbon, when young, chose the latter horn
of the dilemma. A list of Middleton’s works in chronological order will be
found in vol. i. of his _Miscellaneous Works_ (1752). The one which
created disputes in theology besides the above was, _An Anonymous Letter
to Waterland_, 1731, in reference to his reply to Tindal’s work; which was
answered by Bishop Pearce. His posthumous work on _The Variations or
Inconsistencies which are found among the Four Evangelists_, (Works, vol.
ii. p. 22); his essay on _The Allegorical Interpretation of the Creation
and Fall_ (ii. 122); and his criticism in 1750 on bishop Sherlock’s
_Discourses on Prophecy_, may cause Middleton to be regarded as a
rationalist. See his Works, ii. 24, 131, and iii. 183.

Lecture VI.

Note 27. p. 213. On Pietism In Germany In The Seventeenth Century.

The person who commenced the religious movement afterwards called Pietism,
was John Arndt (1555-1621), who wrote _The True Christian_, a work as
useful religiously, as Bunyan’s _Pilgrim’s Progress_, or Doddridge’s
_Religion in the Soul_.

Spener followed (1635-1705). The private religious meetings which he
established about 1675, _Collegia Pietatis_, were the origin of the
application of the name Pietism to the movement. One of his pupils was the
saintly A. H. Francke, whose memoir was translated 1837. Paul Gerhardt,
the well known author of the German hymns, also belonged to the same
party. The university of Halle became the home of Pietism; and the
orphan-house established in that town was renowned over Europe. The
opposition of the old Lutheran party of other parts of Germany produced
controversies which continued till about 1720; for an account of which,
see Weismann, _Mem. Eccl. Hist. Sacr._ 1745, p. 1018 seq.

Pietism propagated its influence by means of Bengel in Würtemburg and the
university of Tübingen, and in Moravia through Zinzendorf. Arnold and
Thomasius belonged to this party at the beginning of the eighteenth
century. Œtinger at Tübingen, Crusius at Leipsic, and, to a certain
extent, Buddeus also, partook of the spirit of Pietism. It manifested a
tendency to religious isolation; and in its nature combined the analogous
movements subsequently carried out in England by Wesley and by Simeon

A brief account of it is given in Hase’s _Church History_, § 409: and for
a fuller account, see Schröckh, _Chr. Kirchengesch._ vol. viii. pp.
255-91; Pusey on _German Theology_, part i. (67-113); part. ii. ch. x;
Amand Saintes, _Crit. Hist. of Rationalism_, E. T. ch. vii. Spener’s
character and life may be seen in Canstein’s memoir of him; and in
Weismann, pp. 966-72. A philosophical view of Pietism, as a necessary
stage in the development of German religious life, is given by Dorner in
the _Studien und Kritiken_, 1840, part ii. 137, _Ueber den Pietismus_.
Kahnis, who himself quotes it, (_Hist. of Germ. Prot._) E. T. p. 102,
regards Pietism as ministering indirectly to rationalism; much in the same
way as bishop Fitzgerald criticised the similar evangelical movement of
England, _Aids to Faith_, p. 49, &c.

Note 28. p. 224. Classification Of Schools Of Poetry In Germany.

The materials for understanding the awakening of literary tastes in the
last century in Germany, through Lessing’s influence, are furnished by
Schlosser, _History of the Eighteenth Century_. See vol. i. ch. iii. E. T.
for the period from the Pietists to Lessing; and ch. v. in reference to
the Deutsche Bibliothek, and also vol. ii. ch. ii. § 3. See also Vilmar’s
_History of German Literature_ (translated and abridged by Metcalfe).

It may facilitate clearness to name the classification of schools of
German poetry and taste, which is given in the last-named work. They are
divided into five classes: viz. I. that which was antecedent to Lessing,
which is subdivided into (1) the Saxon school of Gottsched; and (2) the
Swiss school of Bodmer, and of Wieland in his early manner; which was
connected with the Gottingen school of Haller, Hagedorn, and Klopstock,
together with the Stolbergs and Voss. II. Lessing, and writers influenced
by him, such as (1) Kleist and the Prussian group; (2) Wieland in his
second manner, and J. Paul Richter; (3) Kotzebue, who was a mixture of
Wieland and Lessing. In these two periods Klopstock, Wieland, and Lessing,
were the intellectual triumvirs. III. The “Sturm und Drang” period; the
Weimar school with its second literary triumvirate, Herder, Goethe,
Schiller. IV. The later schools: (1) the romantic, viz. the two Schlegels,
Novalis, Tieck, Uhland, Fouqué; (2) the patriotic of the liberation wars,
Arndt and Koerner. V. The modern school of disappointment and uneasy
reaction against the absolute government, H. Heine and Grün.

It is an interesting psychological problem to trace the close analogy
between the schools of poetical taste and the corresponding character in
the contemporary criticism of ancient literature, the speculative
philosophy, and the theology.

Note 29. p. 225. The Wolfenbüttel Fragments.

It has been stated in the text that these were Fragments, which Lessing
published in 1774 and the following years, of a larger work which he
professed to have found in the library of Wolfenbüttel, where he was
librarian. They were published in the third of the series of works,
_Beiträge zur Geschichte und Literatur aus den Schätzen der Herzoglichen
Bibliothekzu Wolfenbüttel_, under the title, _Fragmente Eines Ungenannten
Herausgegeben von G. E. Lessing_.

After Lessing’s death, C. A. E. Schmidt published further Fragments, under
the title _Uebrige noch Ungedruckte Werke des Wolfenbüttelschen
Fragmentisten. Ein Nachlass von G. E. Lessing_.

The authorship of the Fragments was suspected at the time by Hamann; but
it remained generally unknown, and became as great a secret as the
authorship of the Letters of Junius, until 1827, when the question was
discussed by Gurlitt in the _Leipziger Literatur-Zeitung_, No. 55, and
proof was offered that the author was Reimarus of Hamburg.

The result of this and subsequent investigations is as follows. The
original work of Reimarus, from which the Fragments were taken, remains in
MS. in the public library of Hamburg. It was entitled _Apologie oder
Schutz-Schrift für die vernünftigen Verehrer Gottes_. When written, it was
shown only to intimate friends. Lessing was allowed to take a copy, and
showed the MS. to Mendelssohn in 1771. Lessing wished to publish it
entire; but the censorship would not give the imprimatur. Consequently it
came out in fragments among the series of contributions from the
Wolfenbüttel library, which were free from the censorship. The pretended
discovery of them in the library was a mere excuse; and there is proof in
Lessing’s remains that he admitted the fact. See the statement of these
facts in _Lessing’s Leben_, by Guhrauer, (of which, vol. i. is by Danzel;
vol. ii. by Guhrauer,) vol. ii. b. iii. ch. iv. p. 133, note 3, and b. iv.
p. 141.(1067)

Several writers, subsequently to Gurlitt’s examination of the question of
authorship, have written, either on the question of the authorship of the
Fragments, or on the contents of the larger work from which they are
selections. In the _Zeitschrift für die Historische Theologie for 1839_,
part iv. is an article composed from W. Körte’s life of Thaer, in
reference to the former question. Also Dr. W. Klose examined the original
MS. in the Hamburg library, and published an account of it, with
considerable extracts, in several of the numbers of the same journal,
Niedner’s _Zeitschrift_, 1850, (part iv; 1851, part iv; 1852, part iii.)
It is in the preface (_Vorbericht_) to the first of these parts that the
account of Reimarus’s own mental history is given, to which allusion was
made in the text of Lecture VI. (p. 225.)

During the last year the question has been made the subject of a monograph
by the celebrated Strauss. He had heard of the existence of a copy of the
original MS. in private hands at Hamburg, and proceeded to collate it with
the view of publication. He found it to differ in some respects from the
Fragments published by Lessing and Schmidt. He did not consider the
hitherto unpublished parts of the work sufficiently important, either in a
literary or historical point of view, to merit publication _in extenso_;
but contented himself with stating the results of his study of it in a
small work, _H. S. Reimarus und seine Schutz-Schrift, &c._ 1861. It
contains a brief account of the literary question of the Fragments, and of
Reimarus’s life and stand-point; also an analysis of the unpublished parts
of the work, written with the clearness which characterises all Strauss’s
didactic works. It would appear from the analysis that the pieces printed
by Lessing were not only some of the ablest, but some of the least
offensive of the whole work. The concluding pages contain some very
interesting remarks, in which Strauss contrasts the criticism of the
eighteenth century with that of the present day; the characteristics of
the former being, that it charges imposture on the scripture writers; that
of the latter, that it admits their honesty, but explains away their
statements and opinions by reference to psychological and historical

In addition to the sources given above, information is contained in the
following works: Schröckh’s _Christ Kirchengesch._ vi. 275; Schlosser’s
_History of the Eighteenth Century_, E. T. vol. ii. 266 seq.; Hagenbach’s
_Dogmengeschichte_, § 275 _notes_, (where reference is made to Guhrauer’s
_Bodin’s Heptaplomeres_, 1841, p. 257 seq.); _Conversations-Lexicon_, art.
_Reimarus_; Amand Saintes’ _History of Rationalism_, E. T. p. 84; Kahnis,
_Id._ p. 145 seq.; K. Schwarz, _Lessing als Theolog_, of which ch. iv. is
on the _Fragmenten-streit_; Strauss’s _Kleine Schriften_, 1861; Lessing’s
_Werke_, xii. 508. (ed. Lachmann.)

Note 30. p. 242. Schleiermacher’s Early Studies.

It may be interesting to trace more fully the parallel noticed in the text
between the development of Plato’s thoughts and Schleiermacher’s early

Though it is impossible to arrange the dialogues of Plato in the
chronological order in which they were composed, so as to be able to study
the master in his successive styles, yet several systems of arrangement,
founded on different principles, seem to coincide so far as to render it
probable that Plato’s great theory of ideas or forms grew upon him through
these stages: viz. (1) it was viewed as a fact of mind, an innate
conception of forms (e.g. in Meno); (2) as useful in guiding perplexed
minds to truth, and sifting philosophical doctrines by means of the
dialectical process, e.g. in the Theætetus and Parmenides; (3) as
representing an objective reality, a true cause in nature external to the
mind, as well as an hypothesis in science (e.g. in the Republic); (4) as
having a mystical connexion with divinity, and furnishing a cosmogony,
Whether this passage, from the subjective conception to the objective
reality, be really or only logically the order of development in Plato’s
ideal theory, it is clear that the growth of Schleiermacher’s mind admits
of comparison with this supposed order of development in Plato; though
there is a slight variation in the steps of the process. Schleiermacher
went through three stages, (1) the philosophy of Jacobi, (2) of Fichte,
and probably (3) of Schelling; from which he learned respectively, (1) to
have faith in our intuitions, (2) to construe the outward by the inward,
(3) to believe in the power of the mind to pass beyond the inward, and
apprehend absolute truth. If the resemblance to the above account of Plato
were exactly perfect, the love of a philosophy like Fichte’s ought to have
preceded that of Jacobi. Schelling’s influence, it ought to be noted, is
very slight on Schleiermacher, compared with that of the others. The
traces of it which appear are perhaps resolvable into a similarity to
Jacobi’s system.

Note 31. p. 244. Schleiermacher’s Theological Works.

The theological works of Schleiermacher are doctrinal, critical, and
pastoral. The latter consist chiefly of the sermons which he delivered in
Berlin. The critical works are mentioned in a footnote to p. 248; but it
may be useful to give a brief notice of his doctrinal works, of which some
are referred to in the text.

The earliest was the _Reden über die Religion an die Gebildeten unter
ihren Verächtern_, 1799, (Discourses on Religion addressed to the educated
among its despisers,) which ought not to be read in earlier editions than
the fourth (1829), the notes of which contain explanations. The object of
these discourses was to direct attention away from the study of religion
in its outward manifestations, to its inward essence; which he showed to
lie neither in knowledge nor in action, but in feeling. See especially
Discourse II. _Uber das Wesen der Religion_. For the effect which the
discourses created, see Neanders testimony, quoted by Kahnis, _Hist. of
Prot._ E. T. p. 208.

The works which succeeded the _Reden_ were the following: in 1800, the
_Monologen_ (Soliloquies); in 1803, _Grundlinien einer Kritik der
bisherigen Sittenlehre_ (Critique on previous Ethical teaching); in 1806,
_Die Weinachtsfeier_ (Christmas Eve); in 1811, the _Kurze Darstellung des
Theologischen Studiums_ (Plan of Theological Study;—lately translated),
which gave rise to the branch now common in German universities, called
_Theologische Encyclopädie_;(1068) in 1821, _Der Christliche Glaube nach
den Grundsätzen der Evangelischen Kirche_ (the Christian Faith on the
principles of the Evangelical Church), which was improved in the
subsequent editions.

As the _Reden_ breathed the spirit of Jacobi, the _Monologen_ breathed
that of Fichte. They study the ethical, as the former the religious side
of man; the action of the personal will as distinct from the feelings of
dependence. The dialogue of the _Weihnachtsfeier_ showed Christ as the
means of effecting that oneness with the absolute which the two former
works had shown to be necessary.

In the _Glaubens-lehre_, Schleiermacher gives a general view of dogmatic
theology, viewed from the psychological side, i.e. its appropriation by
the Christian consciousness. He studies (1) man’s consciousness of God,
prior to experience of the opposition of sin and grace; next, after being
aware of such an opposition, as (2) the subject of sin, and (3) the
subject of grace; or, in theological language, the states of innocence, of
sin, and of grace. Each of these is subdivided in spirit, even when not in
form, in a threefold manner; describing respectively the condition of man,
the attributes of God, and the constitution of the world, as they relate
to the above three named states. The subjective and psychological
character of the inquiry is seen in the fact, that when treating the
second of these subdivisions,—the Divine attributes,—he does not study
them as peculiarities of God’s nature, but as modifications of the mode in
which we refer to God our own feeling of dependence. This subjective
tendency illustrates the influence of Fichte and Jacobi on Schleiemiacher.

The contrast is an interesting one between a dogmatic treatise of the
schoolmen, of the reformers, and of Schleiermacher. The first commences
with the Deity and his attributes, and passes to man: the second generally
begins with the rule of faith, the Bible; and then, passing to the Deity,
proceeds mainly after the scholastic fashion: the third begins and ends
with the human consciousness, and its contents.

Note 32. p. 252. On Some German Critical Theologians. (de Wette, Ewald,

Some of the theologians of the critical school which is described in the
text, deserve a more full notice than was possible in the foot-notes to
the Lecture.

De Wette (1780-1849) was educated at Jena, under Griesbach. He was made
Professor at Berlin in 1810, but was deprived in 1819, in consequence of
the Prussian government having opened a letter of condolence written by
him to the mother of Sand, the assassin of the dramatist Kotzebue. (For
the history of the excited state of the German students at this time, see
K. Raumer’s _Pädagogik_, vol. iv. translated.) In 1826 he was made
Professor at Basle. An interesting life of him is given in the
_Bibliotheca Sacra_ for 1850. His most important works are, his
_Einleitung ins Alt. und Neu. Test.; Lehrbuch der Dogmatik_, 1819; his New
Translation of the Bible (1839); and Commentaries on several parts of
Scripture. On his doctrinal views see Kahnis, p. 231 seq. He is said to
have been a man of sweet and amiable character; and indeed he appears to
be so in his writings. It has been remarked, as a proof of his singular
fairness, that he not only candidly states the opinions of an opponent,
but even sometimes confesses his inability fully to refute them.

Along with De Wette ought to be classed a great number of distinguished
men, most of whom wrote parts of the Commentary which he designed under
the name of _Exegetisches Handbuch_. They were mostly critics rather than
writers on doctrine, and represent the modified state of thought of his
later life; but still maintain, for the most part, his critical
stand-point in reference to the scriptures; and therefore, though
contemporary with the new Tübingen and other schools described in Lecture
VII, which have arisen since Strauss’s criticism, in that which we called
the third period of our sketch, they really belong to the school of
critics of the older or second period. Such are, or were, Gesenius,
Knobel, Hirzel, Hitzig, Credner, Tuch, E. Meier, Hupfeld, and Stühelin.
See Am. Saintes, part ii. ch. xi.

H. Ewald, born 1803, became Professor at Göttingen 1831. In 1837 he was
one of the seven professors who sacrificed their position when the new
king of Hanover, Ernest, interfered with the constitution. From 1838 to
1848 he was professor at Tübingen: since 1848 at Göttingen. His works are
partly on the oriental languages, and partly on theology. Among the latter
the chief are, _Die Poetischen Bücher des Alten Test._, 1835; _Die
Propheten des Alten Bundes_, 1840; and the _Geschichte des Volkes Israel_,
1842-50; a work which, whatever may be thought of the theological aspects
of it, if regarded in respect of scholarship, poetic appreciation, and
grandeur of generalization, is one of the most remarkable books ever
produced even in Germany. (Renan has based upon it the most brilliant of
his essays, ess. ii. in the _Etudes d’Hist. Religieuse_.) His works on the
New Testament are partly directed against the views of the new Tübingen
school. He differs from the older critical school of De Wette, in applying
himself more exclusively to the Semitic literature; and cannot be classed
with them in any other way than that he represents the effort of
independent criticism, linguistic and historic; removed from the dogmatic
school, and also from the later forms of critical.

Note 33. p. 255. The Name Jehovah.

The name יהוה is written _Jehovah_, by transferring to it the vowel points
of the word _Adonai_, אדני, which the pious scruples of the Jews led them
to substitute for it. It was probably read _Yahveh_. In reference to the
meaning of _El_, and _Jehovah_, see Gesenius’s _Lexicon_ on the words אל
(p. 45. Engl. Transl.), and יהוה (p. 337); also the word _hajah_, היה, (p.
221.) See likewise Hengstenberg’s _Authentie. des Pentateuches_, i. 222
seq.; especially p. 230, where he shows that _jahveh_, יהוה, is derived by
regular analogy from the future of the verb _hajah_, היה ( = _havah_,
היה). See also M. Nicholas’s _Etudes Crit. sur la Bible_, pp. 115, 163;
and the article _Jehovah_ in Smith’s _Biblical Dictionary_.

Note 34. p. 256. The Use Of The Names Of Deity In The Composition Of
Hebrew Proper Names.

A curious list of these is given by Dr. Donaldson. (_Christian Orthodoxy_,
pp. 235, 6.)

Examples of names before the age of Saul, compounded with _El_, are seen
in _El_-kanah, _El_-i, Samu-_el_, Abi-_el_. When Saul reigns we find the
name Jah or Jehovah appear, in _Jeho_-nathan, Ahi-_jah_, Jedid-_iah_; and
during the regal period in the list of kings, Jos-_iah_, _Jeho_-abaz,
_Jeho_-i-akim, Zedek-_iah_; and among the prophets, Isa-_iah_,
Jerem-_iah_, Mica-_iah_, _Jeho_-sheah. After the fall of Judah we find the
name El reappear; e.g. Ezeki-_el_ ( = Hezek-_iah_), Dani-_el_, Micha-_el_,
Gabri-_el_, _El_-iashib, Shealti-_el_. After the captivity the name Jah
recurs; e.g. Nehem-_iah_, Zephan-_iah_, Zechar-_iah_, Malach-_iah_. The
name _El_-i-_jah_ ( = my God is Jah) is an instance of a word compounded
with both names.

Donaldson tries to generalize from the above to the effect, that,
previously to the age of the early kings, proper names compounded with
_El_ were prevalent; and in the regal and prophetic age, those compounded
with _Jah_; again, after the fall of Judah, and in the captivity, those
with _El_; and after the captivity, with _Jah_. But the selection is too
limited to admit of such a generalization being satisfactory. It does
however prove the knowledge of the twofold conception implied by the use
of the names.

Lecture VII.

Note 35. p. 264. The Hegelian Philosophy.

The purpose of this note is to supply references to sources for the study
of Hegel’s philosophy; and also to point out the parallel and contrast in
the central thought and tendency of the philosophies of Schelling and

The most intelligible account of Hegel’s system is given by Morell,
_History of Philosophy_, ii. 161-196; and the best general view of its
tendencies, especially in reference to theology, is contained in an
instructive article by E. Scherer, in the _Rev. des Deux Mondes_ for Feb.
15, 1861, from which assistance has been derived in this lecture. The
student will also find great help in Chalybaüs’s _Hist. of Spec. Philos._
ch. xi-xvii (translated 1854); and A. Véra’s _Introduction à la Phil. de
Hegel_, 1855; together with his French translation of Hegel’s _Logic_.
(Véra is one of the few Italians who understand Hegel.) The _Philosophie
der Geschichte_, and _Geschichte der Philosophie_ are the two most
intelligible of Hegel’s works; the former of which is translated into
English; but the study of his _Logic_ is indispensable, for seeing the
applications of his method, as well as for appreciating his metaphysical
ability and real position.

Schelling and Hegel both seek to solve the problems of philosophy, by
starting _à priori_ with the idea of the absolute; but in Schelling’s case
it is perceived by a _presentative_ power (intellectual intuition), and in
Hegel’s by a _representative_. The former faculty perceives the absolute
object; the latter the absolute relation, if such a term be not a
contradiction. In each case the percipient power is supposed to be “above
consciousness;” i.e. not trammelled by those limitations of object and
subject which are the conditions of ordinary consciousness. In both
systems a kind of threefold process is depicted, as the law or movement
according to which the absolute manifests itself.(1069) Sir W. Hamilton
has shown the inconsistencies of Schelling’s system, in criticising that
of Cousin, who was his great exponent; see _Dissertations_, ess. i.
(reprinted from the _Edinburgh Review_, 1829); and Mr. Mansel has extended
a similar analysis to Fichte and Hegel. (_Bampton Lectures_, ii. and iii;
and article _Metaphysic_ in _Encyclop. Britann._ 10th ed. p. 607, &c. See
also Rémusat _De la Philosophie Allemande_, Introduction.) Yet a grand
thought, even though, psychologically speaking, it be an unreal one, lies
beneath the awkward terminology of the systems of Schelling and Hegel; and
their _method_ has influenced many who do not consciously embrace their
philosophy. The effect produced by Schelling is the desire to seize the
prime idea, the _beau idéal_ of any subject, and trace its manifestations
in the field of history; a method which is seen in the French historic and
critical literature of the followers of Cousin in the reign of Louis
Philippe. (See Note 9, and the references given in Note 44.) The spirit
produced by Hegel, is the desire to realise the truth contained in
opposite views of the same subject; to view each as a half truth, and
error itself as a part of the struggle toward truth. This spirit and
method are seen in such a writer as Renan, and is clearly described in the
passages quoted from Scherer and others in Note 9.

Note 36. p. 271. The Christology Of Strauss.

The following extract from Strauss’s work conveys his Christology.

    “This is the key to the whole of Christology, that, as subject of
    the predicate which the church assigns to Christ, we place instead
    of an individual, an idea; but an idea which has an existence in
    reality, not in the mind only, like that of Kant. In an
    individual, a God-man, the properties and functions which the
    church ascribes to Christ contradict themselves; in the idea of
    the race they perfectly agree. Humanity is the union of the two
    natures;—God become man; the infinite manifesting itself in the
    finite, and the finite spirit remembering its infinitude: it is
    the child of the visible mother and the invisible father, Nature
    and Spirit: it is the worker of miracles, in so far as in the
    course of human history the spirit more and more completely
    subjugates nature, both within and around man, until it lies
    before him as the inert matter on which he exercises his active
    power: it is the sinless existence, for the course of its
    development is a blameless one, pollution cleaves to the
    individual only, and does not touch the race or its history. It is
    Humanity that dies, rises, and ascends to heaven; for, from the
    negation of its phenomenal life, there ever proceeds a higher
    spiritual life; from the suppression of its mortality as a
    personal, rational, and terrestrial spirit, arises its union with
    the infinite spirit of the heavens. By faith in this Christ,
    especially in his death and resurrection, man is justified before
    God; that is, by the kindling within him of the idea of humanity,
    the individual man participates in the divinely human life of the
    species. Now the main element of that idea is, that the negation
    of the merely natural and sensual life, which is itself the
    negation of the spirit, is the sole way to true spiritual life.
    This alone is the absolute sense of Christology. That it is
    annexed to the person and history of one individual is a necessary
    result of the historical form which Christology has taken.” _Leben
    Jesu_, vol. ii. § 151. (pp. 709, 10. 4th ed. 1840); in the English
    translation, vol. iii. p. 433.

Note 37. p. 278. Strauss.

A few facts concerning the life and writings of Strauss may be

He was born in 1808, and was educated at Tübingen and Berlin. He was
_Repetiteur_ at Tübingen in 1835, when he published his _Leben Jesu_,
described in the text of Lect. VII. In 1837 he published his
_Streit-schriften_, or replies to his critics. In 1839 he was elected
Professor of theology at Zurich, an appointment which produced such
popular indignation that it was cancelled, and a change of government was
caused by it. In 1840 he published _Die Christliche Glaubenslehre im
Kampfe mil der modernen Wissenschaft dargestellt_; in which, after an
introduction concerning the history of opinions on the relation of the
two, he discussed the principles of Christian doctrine, such as the Bible,
Canon, Evidences, &c. and next the doctrines themselves; viz. (part i.) on
the divine Being and His attributes, as an abstract conception; (part ii.)
on the same, as the object of empirical conceptions in its manifestation
in creation, &c. See _Foreign Quart. Rev._ No. 54. 1841; and C. Schwarz’s
_Gesch. der n. Theol._ b. ii. ch. i. He published also _Monologen in dem
Freihafen_, translated 1848; _Soliloquies on the Christian Religion, its
Errors, and Everlasting Truth_.

In 1848, the revolutionary year, he was elected to the Wurtemburg
Parliament; and took the conservative side, to the surprise of his
constituents. He has subsequently lived chiefly at Heilbronn, engaged in
literary labours; mostly writing the lives of sceptics, or persons
connected with free thought whose fate has been like his own. Among these
have been, a sketch of Julian, 1847, intended probably as a satire on the
romantic reaction conducted by the late king of Prussia; a Life of
Schubart, 1849, a Swabian poet of the last century; one of Maerklin 1851,
his own early friend; one of N. Frischlin, 1856, a learned German of the
sixteenth century; a life of Ulric von Hütten, 1858; and _Gespräche von
Hütten_, 1861; also _Kleine Schriften_, 1861; and a work on _Reimarus_,
1862, concerning which see Note 29. Some of these works are reviewed in
the _Nat. Rev._ Nos. 7 and 12.

Note 38. p. 273. The Replies To Strauss.

Schwarz gives an interesting account of the various replies to Strauss,
and of the works written by various theologians to support their own point
of view against his criticisms. _Gesch. der n. Theol._ p. 113 seq.

The work was criticised,—

I. From the old school of orthodoxy, (α) by Steudel, Strauss’s own
teacher, in a work called _Vorlaüfig zu Beherzigenden zur Beruhigung der
Gemüthen_. (β) From the new orthodoxy, by Hengstenberg, in the
_Evangelische Kirchenzeitung_. (γ) From the school which formed the
transition between this and that of Schleiermacher by Tholuck;, in
_Glaubwürdigkeit der Evangelischen Geschichte_, 1837.

II. From the school of Schleiermacher, (α) in Neander’s _Leben Jesu_, (β)
in Ullmann’s _Studien und Kritiken_, 1836. part iii. Reprinted as
_Historisch oder Mythisch_.

III. By the Hegelians; 1. from the “right” of the party (using the
illustration drawn from the distribution of political parties in the
foreign parliaments), (α) by Göschel in the work _Von Gott, dem Menschen
und dem GottesMenschen_, 1838; (β) by Dorner in the _Geschichte der Person
Christi_, 1839. (γ) by Gabler and Bruno Bauer, who at that time was on the
side of orthodoxy: 2. from the Hegelian “centre” in Schaller’s _Der
Historischer Christus und die Philosophie_, 1838; 3. from the “left,” (α)
by Weisse, _Die Evangelische Geschichte kritisch und philosophisch
bearbeitet_, 1838: (β) by Wilke, _Der Ur-evangelist_; both of whom regard
St. Mark’s as the primitive evangile; and (γ) by Bruno Bauer, _Kritik der
Synoptiker_, 1842, when he had changed to the opposite side of the
Hegelian school: (δ) by Luetzelberger; (ε) by A. Schweizer; both of whom
wrote on St. John’s Gospel. Several of the latter were not intended to be
replies to Strauss, but attempts to reconsider their own position in
relation to him. This was particularly the case in reference to the works
which were written by the Tübingen school, (see next note,) of which
Schwarz gives a description, p. 153 seq.

Note 39. p. 278. The Tubingen School.

The leader of the historico-critical school which bears this name, was C.
Baur (1792-1860), author of various works on the history of doctrine, and
on church history both doctrinal and critical. His work against the Roman
catholic theologian Moehler, which first made him noted, was _Gegensatz
des Protestantismus und Katholicismus nach den principien und Haupt-dogmen
der beiden Lehrbegriffe_, 1833. An account of his works is given in C.
Schwarz’s _Gesch. der neuest. Theol._ p. 165. The following may be here
specified: his work on the history of the doctrine of the atonement, _Die
Lehre von der Versöhnung_, 1838; also _Lehrbuch der Christlichen
Dogmengeschichte_, 1845, and _Die Christliche Kirche der drei ersten
Jahrhunderte_, 1853; the last part of which has been published since his
death. Some interesting remarks, comparing him with Strauss and
Schleiermacher, (though hardly fair to the last,) appeared in the
_National Rev._ Jan, 1861. See also the sketch by Nefftzer in the _Revue
Germanique_, vol. xiii. parts 1 and 2.

The other members of the school besides Baur have been Schwegler, the
commentator on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and author of a Roman History
(died 1857); Zeller, also a writer on Greek philosophy, now Professor of
philosophy at Marburg; whose appointment to Berne in 1847 has been
elsewhere stated to have caused a similar excitement to that of Strauss to
Zurich; Koestlin, Professor of aesthetics at Tübingen; and Hilgenfeld,
Professor of theology at Jena, who is the best living representative of
the modified form which the school has now assumed. Respecting these
theologians, see the notes which Stap has affixed, in the _Revue
Germanique_, vol. ix. p. 560, &c. to a French translation of a part of
Schwarz’s _Geschichte_.

Concerning this school see Baur’s _Die Tübinger Schule_, 1859. The organ
of it from 1842-57 was the _Theologische Jahrbücher_, edited by Baur.
Since it ceased to be published, Hilgenfeld has created a new journal, the
_Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftliche Theologie_, which receives the support
of critics not directly of the Tübingen school, such as Hitzig and Knobel.
Perhaps Schneckenbürger ought to be ranked with the same school; and
Gfrörer also, author of a work on Philo, 1831; but he differed in holding
the authenticity of St. John’s Gospel; and in 1846 became a Roman
catholic, and Professor at Freiberg. See also a paper in Von Sybel’s
_Hist. Zeitschr._ for 1860, part iv. translated in _Biblioth. Sacr._, Jan.
1862. The Tübingen school has met with able opponents, e.g. Thiersch,
Dorner, Ewald, Bleek, Reuss, and Hase.

Note 40. p. 281. The German Theologian Rothe.

Concerning this theologian, now Professor at Heidelberg, see C. Schwarz’s
_Geschichte der neuesten Theologie_, p. 279 seq. The cause why the remarks
in the text are so brief in regard to Rothe is, that the writer has not
been able to see his more important works, which are out of print; and
accordingly he derives his knowledge of him at second hand.

Rothe’s two most important works are, _Die Anfänge der Christlichen
Kirche_, 1837, and _Theologische Ethic_, 1845. An account of the former is
given in the often-quoted article by Scherer (_Rev. des Deux Mondes_, Feb.
15, 1861), pp. 848-860. It appears to view the Christian church from its
ideal side, to absorb the individual in the constitution, to show that
Christendom is the object of Christianity, an institution the great means
of embodying the doctrines; but that, as society becomes fermented by its
spirit, the office of Christianity is fulfilled by the state, and the beau
ideal would be a society where the church is the state. It is a view
similar to that of Coleridge in his _Church and State_, or of Dr. Arnold
in his work on _the Church_. Mr. F. C. Cook, in _Aids to Faith_ (p. 159),
has given some interesting illustrations of this point.

The second of Rothe’s works, the _Ethic_, is briefly described in a
previously-cited article in the _Westminster Review_ for April, 1857. Like
the former it starts with the idea of the identity of ethics and religion.
Regarding personality or the moral relations as the central fact of
existence, it surveys material creation under this aspect. Next it
discusses the moral and religious history of man, as means of enabling the
personal being to subordinate to himself all the forces without or within
him. The object apparently is to show, that the spiritual element is not
an intrusion, but the normal development of nature or providence; and the
moral society, the State, the normal development of the religions society,
the Church. Rothe’s later views have hardly been developed in system.
According to him theology is theosophy; philosophy can work out a theology
from the consciousness.

It is probable that the writer of these lines is unintentionally doing
injustice, through having to trust to secondhand information, to one who
is regarded in Germany as belonging to the highest order of scientific
theologians; though perhaps the interesting account of C. Schwarz leaves
little to be desired.

Rothe, in accordance with his wish to strengthen orthodox theology by an
independent philosophy, and not to support it by material agency, has
lately taken part politically on the liberal side, in some questions
connected with the church constitution of Baden. (See Colani’s _Nouvelle
Revue de la Theologie_, Aug. 1862.)

Note 41. p. 285. The Most Modern Schools Of Philosophy And Theology In

The object of this note is to carry on the history of philosophy and
theology to a more recent date than was necessary in the text.

The idealist school of philosophy reached its highest point with Hegel;
and subsequently there has been as great a reaction against this mode of
speculation, as the contemporaneous theological one in religion.

The philosopher who was directly or indirectly the cause of the realist
tendency was Herbart (1776-1841), who succeeded Kant at Königsberg, and
afterwards was Professor at Göttingen. Concerning his system, see Morell’s
_History of Philosophy_, ii. 206, &c. Chalybaüs, ch. iv. and v. He
followed out the _material_, as distinct from the _formal_, system of the
Kantian philosophy, and strove to develop it.

The schools of modern Germany may be reckoned as four:—

(1). The young Hegelian school; e.g. of the younger Fichte, which, though
professedly idealistic, and adopting Hegel’s method, is really affected
largely by realistic tendencies, and seeks for a philosophy of matter as
well as form. See Taillandier in _Revue des Deux Mondes_ for 1853, vol.
iii. p. 633; and also Oct. 1858; Morell’s _History of Philosophy_, ii.
216, &c. Kahnis, p. 252. This school manifests decidedly realistic
tendencies in Kuno Fischer, Weisse, and Branis.

(2.) That which shows a tendency to approach the subject of mental
phenomena from the physiological side, in Drobisch, Waitz, and Volkmann,
somewhat in the manner of the English writer Herbert Spencer.

(3.) A school decidedly materialist, e.g. Vogt, Moleschott, and Büchner.
See Taillandier, _Rev. des Deux Mondes_, Oct. 1858.

These three tendencies form a gradation from the ideal, and approach the
real, until at last the ideal itself is destroyed. The other tendency, if
such it may be called, stands apart, and is akin to the older ideal ones.
It is (4.) that of Schopenhauer (1788-1860), and tries to solve the
problem of existence from the side of the will, instead of the intellect,
and bears a remote resemblance to that of Maine de Biran. His system has
long been before the public, but since his death has been much discussed.
It has been explained by Frauenstädt. It is also well described in the
_Westminster Review_, April, 1853.

We now pass from the schools of philosophy to theology.

We have implied that there are three great schools of it in Germany; the
Neo-Lutheran, the Mediation school, and the Tübingen; and have seen that
they are each in course of transition into slightly new forms in younger
hands. The “Neo-Lutheranism” has assumed a more ecclesiastical position,
which has been called “Hyper-Lutheranism.” The “Mediation” school of
Schleiermacher is replaced by a newer form, modified by Hegelianism in
Dorner. It remains to add, that the Tübingen school is giving place to
another, of which C. Schwarz himself is a representative—a kind of
derivation from the Tübingen school and that of De Wette. Its organ is the
_Protestantische Kirchenzeitung_; and to it are said(1070) to belong Dr.
Dittenberger, court preacher at Weimar, C. Schwarz, who holds the same
position at Gotha; Ellester of Potsdam, Sydow of Berlin, and Schweizer of
Zurich. Their position seems to be more ethical and less evangelical than
the members of the party of free thought in the protestant church of

Note 43. p. 289. The Modern Theology Of Switzerland And Holland.

It will be observed, that no notice has been taken in the text, of the
modern theology of Switzerland and Holland. It may be desirable therefore
to suggest an outline here.

THE THEOLOGY OF SWITZERLAND.—The materials for the account of it are
scanty and disjointed. Since the reform of the Swiss universities during
the present century, theological thought has chiefly taken the colour of
the adjacent countries, Germany or France, in the respective universities
where those languages are spoken. In the church of Geneva, about a quarter
of a century ago, there seem to have been two parties, similar to those in
the French protestant church: one professing the old Calvinistic
orthodoxy, which had degenerated into semi-Socinianism; the other, the
result of a revival of biblical truth and spiritual religion, under such
pastors as D’Aubigné, the historian of the Reformation, and recently
Gaussen, the writer on _Théopneustie_. A movement was commenced under
Vinet of Lausanne, which may be considered to be the only native school
which Switzerland has produced. It was a mixture of science and
earnestness, founded chiefly on a combination of Pascal and
Schleiermacher. Concerning Vinet, see a very just article in the _North
British Review_, No. 42, August 1854; and see below, Note 46. Scherer was
a friend of Vinet, but has since changed his views, or, as some would
think, developed logically their results, and has long left his
professorship at Geneva, and acts with the new liberal school in the
French protestant church. See Note 46.

German Switzerland has been connected with Germany rather than France. The
teaching at the university of Basle was moulded by De Wette, who was made
professor there in 1826, a few years after his removal from Berlin. Its
character, however, expressed the more orthodox and moderate views of his
later years. The instructive writer Hagenbach, professor there, belongs to
the “mediation school” of theology, and is a worthy representative of its
learned and devout spirit. Zurich possessed a teacher, Usteri, belonging
to the school of Schleiermacher; and others, whose tone rather resembled
that of the critical school of De Wette, or of the Tübingen school. The
well-known critics Hitzig and Knobel, were formerly its professors; and at
present Schweizer is there, concerning whom see Note 41. A few years after
Strauss had published his noted work, he was elected, as stated before,
theological professor at Zurich, but the appointment was cancelled by a
revolution of the people. See the Address of Orelli (translated 1844). The
appointment of Zeller of the Tübingen school to Berne, created a similar
excitement. In the proceedings of the Evangelical Alliance at Geneva,
1861, professor Riggenbach, of Basle, stated that some of the journals of
eastern Switzerland adopt sceptical principles. (_News of the Churches_,
Oct. 1861.) He named the _Zeit-stimmen aus der Reformirten Kirche der
Schweiz_, which is edited at Winterthur by Lang, a pupil of Baur. In
German Switzerland, however, as well as French, there exists a biblical
school of theology; of which professor Riggenbach of Basle is an example.

THE THEOLOGY OF HOLLAND.—The sources were given above (p. 110.) for the
study of Arminianism and Calvinism in the seventeenth century. The
subsequent history is soon told. We omit, of course, the history of the
Romish church in Holland, and of the Jansenist secession from it, which
took place in 1705.

The Protestant church continued to exist in two branches; viz. the
Calvinists, or established church, who professed the creed of the synod of
Dort; and the Remonstrants, who professed the moderate Arminianism of
Episcopius; similar to that which was taught by our own Hales and
Chillingworth. The studies in the established church were specially
devoted to exegesis, in reference to which the name of Schultens of
Leyden, in the last century, is well known; manifesting a slight
inclination to free inquiry in Van der Palm (1763-1838).

About 1830, the condition of the church was a cold orthodoxy, much like
that of the “moderate” party in the church of Scotland before the rupture
of 1843. The stronghold of this party was the university of Utrecht.
Living isolated, and resembling the English in not easily admitting
foreign influences, the Dutch read little of German literature. A
periodical existed, the _Theological Contributions_, which used to bestow
praises on the school of Bretschneider.

A little before 1830, a movement of evangelical piety had been kindled in
the church, through the influence of the poet Bilderdyk (who died 1831),
and of his two disciples, the Portuguese Jew of Amsterdam, Da Costa (who
died in 1860), and Cappadose. Their position however was, a return to the
rigid decrees of the synod of Dort and the theology of Calvin. They
resembled very nearly the party in the church of Scotland which formed the
free church. They acquainted themselves with German theology for the
purpose of refuting it; and Da Costa wrote a work, _The Four Witnesses_,
on the four Evangelists, in reply to Strauss; which has been translated.
In 1834 they separated from the national church under two pastors, De Cock
and Scholte, and endured much persecution. The _Voices of the Netherlands_
was the periodical which expressed their views. Van Oosterze, pastor at
Rotterdam, belonged to them. This party has been represented in the Dutch
parliament by Groen van Printsterer. It has lost its political influence
in some degree in recent years, by opposing political reforms.

Almost simultaneously with this Calvinistic revival, a school arose in the
university of Groningen, a “mediation” school, modelled upon
Schleiermacher, under the influence of the Platonist Van Heusde
(1778-1839), led by Hofstede de Groot, Pareau, and Muurling. Its organ was
_Truth in Charity_. The views held were a spiritual Arianism. They may be
seen in a novel published recently (1861) at Cape Town, for the Dutch
colonists, entitled, _The Pastor of Vliethuizen, or Conversations about
the Groningen School_, translated by Dr. Lorgian.

These three parties were the chief in Holland, until about 1850. Since
then a more decided movement of free thought has begun in the university
of Leyden. Up to that time the venerable Van Hengel remained there, the
example of the old philological orthodoxy of Holland. Two professors have
now created an independent movement, more nearly resembling that of the
Tübingen school; J. H. Scholten, in dogma; and, with rather more advanced
views, the orientalist H. Kuenen in philology. (A list of some of
Scholten’s publications may be seen in the _Westminster Review_ for July,
1862, page 43, note. His _Hist. comparée de la Philos. et de la Relig._
was translated by Reville, in the _Nouvelle Rev. de la Theologie_, April
18.) Busker Huet has asserted still more advanced views than these,
apparently simple naturalism. The Positivist philosophy has found an
advocate in Opzoomer, one of the professors at Utrecht.

The sources of this account are chiefly found in Ullmann’s paper in the
_Studien und Kritiken_, 1840, part iii. translated by professor Edwards,
with additions, in the American _Bibliotheca Sacra_ for 1845; and in an
interesting article by A. Reville of Rotterdam, himself one of the liberal
school of the French protestant church, in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ for
June 15, 1860. Chautepie de la Saussure, pastor of the Walloon church at
Leyden, formerly of the Groningen school, has also written in French, _La
Crise Religieuse en Hollande_, 1859; but it is chiefly devoted to personal
questions. A sketch of the Dutch universities and their intellectual
characteristics was given by Esquiros in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_,
1856, vol. iii.

Note 44. p. 297. The Eclectic School Of France.

The Eclectic School is sketched in Morell’s _History of Philosophy_, vol.
ii. c. viii; Damiron’s _Essai sur l’Histoire de la Philosophie en France
au 19ème siècle_, 1828, pp. 280-385: Nettement’s _Histoire de la Litt.
Franc. sous la Restoration_, 1853, vol. i. b. ii. p. 127 seq.; vol. ii. b.
viii. p. 290 seq.; and _Hist. de la Litt. Franç. sous le Gouvernement de
Juillet_, vol. i. b. vi: also in Taine’s _Philosophie Française du 19ème
siècle_. The last writer is wholly unfavourable to the school, on the
ground of the uselessness of metaphysical philosophy.

The eclectic school was the means of uniting together the philosophy of
Scotland and Germany, which had previously been running in separate
streams. The leading minds of the school have been four,—Royer Collard,
Maine de Biran, Cousin, and Jouffroy.

The founder of it, R. Collard (1763-1845), was a disciple of the Scotch
school, who about 1812 commenced an attack on the philosophy of Condillac,
very similar to that of Reid on Hume. He devoted himself to the analysis
of the intellectual and moral parts of men, in order to assert the
existence of a world within, independent of sensational impressions. The
next writer, Maine de Biran (1766-1824), devoted himself especially to the
examination of the will and the notion of cause, and reproduced the ideas
of Leibnitz. The third, Cousin (born 1792), succeeded Collard in 1815 as
professor at Paris; and in his early lectures followed the Scotch school.
When the conservative reaction occurred in 1822, consequent on the
assassination of the duke de Berri, the constitutional party was thrown
into disgrace; and Cousin therefore retired into Germany, and there
imbibed the spirit of the great schools of philosophy, especially of
Schelling and Jacobi. He has given, his own history in the preface to
_Fragments Philosophiques_, vol. ii. Lastly came Jouffroy, the translator
of Dugald Stewart, who improved upon the Scotch school. See Sainte-Beuve’s
criticism on Jouffroy. (_Crit. Litt._ vol. i.)

Damiron was an admirable exponent of the eclectic school; Benjamin
Constant, Degerando, and Lerminier, partially belonged to the same school.
Its effects are ably stated in Morell. The delicate hand of E. Renan also
has sketched the influence of _Cousin et L’école Spiritualiste_, in the
_Revue des Deux Monds_, April. 1858; reprinted in his _Essais de Morale et
de Critique_.

Note 45. p. 300. The Catholic Reactionary School Of France.

Concerning this school, see Morell’s _History of Philosophy_, vol. ii. pp.
274-318; Damiron (as in the last note), pp. 105-197; Nettement (second
work), vol. i. b. v.

The members of this school all agree in reposing upon the principle of
_authority_; but differ in the source in which they place it. Their
philosophy accordingly does not aim at discovering truth, but only the
authority on which we may rely as the oracle of truth.

The founder of the movement was De Maistre (1753-1821), the bitter
opponent of the Baconian philosophy, whose doctrine, about the time of his
death, was absolute submission to the catholic church. See concerning him
C. Rémusat in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, May 1857; and E. Scherer’s
_Mélanges de la Critique Religieuse_. Lamennais belonged to the same
movement. In his early manner, as expressed in his _Essai sur
l’Indifference_, 1821, he found the test of truth in primitive revelations
transmitted by testimony; in his later, he abandoned this school, and
strove to work out philosophy, in part independently of authority. The
next writer, De Bonald, sought for truth in the same source, viz.
fragments of divinely communicated knowledge, transmitted in the languages
of mankind. On Bonald see C. Rémusat (_Revue_, as quoted above). The Abbé
Bautain improved upon this system by placing the ground of certitude in
the authority of Revelation, and considered the office of philosophy to
end when it has shown the necessity of a revelation. Next to him came
D’Eckstein, who sought the test of truth in authority based on researches
into the catholic beliefs of mankind. The two latter views, it will be
perceived, are far nobler than the former. Maret, whose writings have been
before cited, also belongs to this reactionary school.

Note 46. p. 304. The Modern School Of Free Thought In The Protestant
Church Of France.

The object of this note is to enumerate some of the chief of those
theologians to whom allusion is made in the text, and to exhibit their
relations to each other.

One of the best known is Colani, a pastor at Strasburg, the able editor of
the _Nouvelle Revue de la Theologie_, and author of several volumes of
sermons: also A. Reville, pastor of the Walloon church at Rotterdam, a
frequent writer in the same Review, and in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_;
Reuss, a professor at Strasburg, author of a history of the early church,
in French, and _Beiträge zu den Theologischen Wissenschaften_, in German;
Scherer, the friend of Vinet, once professor at Geneva, author of
_Mélanges de Critique Religieuse_, reprinted mostly from Colani’s Review,
of which the first four papers give his theological views on Inspiration,
the Bible, and Sin.(1071)

The able critic, Michel Nicholas, professor at Montauban, author of
_Etudes Critiques sur la Bible_, and _Des Doctrines Religieuses des Juifs
pendant les deux siècles antérieurs à l’ère Chrétienne_, probably may be
classed with the same; but he has not written on doctrine. A. Cocquerel
_fils_, pastor at Paris, also is connected with Colani’s Review, and is
considered to possess the same sympathies.

The difference of the point of view of these writers from that of the
Eclectic school would be, that while the latter would regard the human
race as able to pass beyond Christianity, the former would only wish to
get rid of the dogmas which they think have been superadded in the course
of ages, and to return to the simple teaching of the sermon on the mount.

One writer more has been reckoned with the same party by the English
public, E. De Pressensé, a pastor in the free Protestant church at Paris,
author of the Church History so often referred to in this volume, and of
sermons on the _Sauveur_, and editor of the _Revue Chrétienne_; but he
appears to possess an evangelical and more orthodox tone than some of the

In truth there are two distinct parties in the movement which we are
describing, each of which stands in a different relation to the older
parties of the protestant church. At the beginning of the century the
French protestant church held an unpietistic kind of supernaturalism, not
very unlike that of Reinhard in Germany, of which the best living type is
the eloquent and learned A. Cocquerel _pére_. About 1820 an awakening of
the spiritual life of the church took place, under the action of the
Spirit of God primarily, and through the agency of such ministrations as
those of Adolphe Monod instrumentally. From the former school has arisen
the movement seen in Colani and Reville; from the latter, that seen in
Vinet and Pressensé. The former is a change which has passed over the old
Latitudinarian school, much like those which in Germany have taken the
place of the teaching of such men as Reinhard and Bretschneider. Of the
pastors named above, who belong to this class, A. Cocquerel _fils_ is the
least removed from the ordinary creed. His stand-point may be compared to
that of Schleiermacher, or of the school of Groningen. (See Note 41.)
Reville and Colani advance very much farther. The other movement, of which
Vinet of Lausanne was the cause, has sprung from the application of
science to the newly-spreading views of evangelical religion. Vinet tried
to harmonize religion and knowledge, by presenting Christianity on the
ground of its internal rather than its external evidence, and proclaimed
it as ethics built on doctrine; which doctrine he held to be built on
historic fact. His position may be best compared with Neander’s in
Germany, or perhaps in some respects with that of Tholuck. Nearly the same
position is assumed by Pressensé at Paris, and Astié at Lausanne.
Pressensé rests upon the Bible as the “formal principle” of theology, and
the work of Christ as the “material.”


The writer feels much hesitation in venturing to classify these authors,
which nevertheless seemed desirable on account of the spread of their
writings in England. The above description, founded on personal study of
their works, is confirmed by two criticisms on them; one by C. Rémusat, in
the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, Jan. 1862; the other in the _British
Quarterly Review_, Oct. 1862. But care ought to be used in describing the
actors in a movement which is not complete; and in making the attempt, to
distinguish especially those who are conceived to deviate from vital truth
in doctrine, from those who may differ in questions of literature or
criticism. It is due to these writers to express admiration for their
genuine love of intellectual and political liberty, much as we may be
compelled to differ from their theological opinions.

Lecture VIII.

Note 47. p. 320. Modern Opinions With Respect To Mythology.

In the last century the opinions on the nature of mythology were two. That
which taught that myths are distortions of traditions derived from the
early Hebrew literature, was put forward in the seventeenth century, as
early as philosophy was applied to the subject, by Huet and Bossuet, and
retained its hold throughout the last century, and is advocated in the
present by Mr. Gladstone (Work on Homer, vol. ii. ch. ii). The opposite
theory interpreted myths by an Euhemeristic process, or allegorized them
by regarding them as originally descriptions of the physical processes of
nature. In the present century Creuzer (_Symbolik_, 1810) applied the
method of comparison, and, studying Greek mythology in correlation with
that of other countries, taught in a Neo-Platonic sense that myths are a
second language, the echo of nature in the consciousness. Creuzers system
was opposed by Lobeck about 1824, Voss, and G. Hermann, who objected to
the excess of symbolism and the sacerdotal ideas implied in it; and by
Ottfried Müller, and Welcker, on the narrower ground of asserting the
independence of Greek mythology from foreign influence. More recently the
careful study of the Sanskrit language and early literature by Max Müller,
Kuhn, &c. has thrown new light upon the subject; and the solution of the
problem is now approached from the side of language, and not merely from
that of tradition or monuments. The distinction of myth and legend is now
clear; the family relationship between the myths of different nations is
made apparent; the date in human history of their creation; and the cause
of them is sought in the attempt to express abstract ideas by means of the
extension of concrete terms. See the Essay on _Comparative Mythology_ by
Max Müller, in the Oxford Essays for 1856. See also the Journal for Comp.
Phil. of Kuhn and Aufrecht. And for a criticism on Creuzer, see E. Renan’s
_Etudes d’Histoire Religieuse_ (Ess. i).

Note 48. p. 363. The External And Internal Branches Of Evidence.

It may be almost superfluous to name that the evidences are usually
divided into 1. external, and 2. internal. Each of these requires a
subdivision into (α) the divine, and (β) the human.

The _external divine_ are miracles and prophecy; the _external human_ are
the historical proof as to the authenticity and genuineness of the
literature which contains the narrative of the miracles and the prophecy.
The _internal divine_ are sought in the accordance of the materials of the
Revelation, the character of Christ, the scheme of Redemption, &c. with
the moral sense of man, and with the expectations which we should form
antecedently of the contents of a revelation; the _internal human_, in the
critical evidence of undesigned coincidence. Looked at logically, the
second is like the corroboration of the testimony of a witness; the
fourth, like cross-examining him. The first two may amount almost to
demonstration, being what Aristotle (_Rhet._ i. 2.) would call τεκμήρια:
the two latter have only the force of probability; the third being
antecedent probability, εἰκός; the fourth, the ἀνώνυμον σμηεῖον, or
circumstantial evidence. The argument of analogy used by Butler, which may
be regarded as almost(1072) one form of Aristotle’s παράδειγμα (_Rhet._
ii. 20), (if looked at on its positive side, and not merely its negative,
as disproof of objections,) comes under the third, inasmuch as it offers a
series of principles obtained by generalization from the natural and moral
world, which furnish an antecedent presumption of the character of any
revealed scheme. The remarks in the text relate to tho comparative weight
to be given to the first and third of the four classes named above. The
advantage of Butler’s argument over the other cases of internal _à priori_
evidence is, that it is founded on previous careful induction; the other
kinds of anticipations are founded only on hasty empirical
generalizations. For this view of the evidences, see Hampden’s
_Introduction to the Philosophical Evidences of Christianity_; Davidson’s
_Lectures on Prophecy_ (Introductory Lecture); and W. D. Conybeare’s
_Lectures on Theology_, ch. i.

Note 49. p. 366. The History Of The Christian Evidences.

As frequent references have been made to the subject of apologetic in
connexion with the history of free thought, it seems desirable to give a
brief literary history of the Evidences, and to indicate the works where
further information may be obtained with regard to them.

There are two methods of studying the subject; either to classify the
Evidences in the manner of the last Note,(1073) and proceed to notice the
ages in which, and the authors by whom, each portion of them has been
developed, together with the causes which have called them forth; or else,
to adopt the historic plan, and trace their gradual growth through the
course of ages. By the latter method (if we exclude all that strictly
belongs to the province of polemic as distinct from apologetic), we find
the following controversies:—in the early centuries, the double contest
against the Jews and against the Pagans; in the early middle ages, against
the Mahometans without, and Freethinkers within, the limits of
Christendom; at the Renaissance, against unbelief within the church: in
more modern times, whilst the argument against the Jew has been called
forth by contact with the Jewish denizens scattered through Europe, and
the Mahometan has been occasionally excited by missionary labours; there
has been the contemporaneous struggle within the church, against deism,
atheism, and rationalism.

This history, it will be observed, is so complex, that it would be
necessary to study each branch of the contest separately. Accordingly, we
have treated in distinct notes the contests with the Jew (Note 4), and the
Mahometan (Note 5); and there remain for study those which existed with
the Pagan in the early ages, and with the various forms of scepticism in
the later.

It will be convenient to classify the inquiry, under the four epochs
according to which we have studied the history of unbelief in the
preceding lectures; viz. (1) the contest of Christianity with Paganism;
(2) with the incipient free thought of the middle ages; (8) with the
unbelief of the Renaissance; and (4) with the subsequent forms of
unbelief, which it may be useful to classify according to the countries
where they have respectively appeared,—England, France, and Germany.

1. The apology or defence of Christianity against Pagans commences with
the apostolic age.(1074) Its first form is seen in the missionary speech
of St. Paul at Athens. The first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans also
may be regarded as expressing the same ideas. The defence consisted in an
appeal to the heart as well as to fact; to show the heathen the need of
Christianity before presenting the statement of its nature, and the
evidence of its divine character. In the second century, when it became
gradually understood that Christianity was not a mere Jewish sect; and
when the attack consisted in calumnies and persecutions, as stated in
Lect. II. pp. 48, 54, the apologies especially were directed to repel the
charges, or to demand toleration: (see Note 15.) In the third and fourth
centuries the attack was more intelligent, and the statement of objections
more definite; and the character of the apologies altered correspondingly.

There is some difficulty in arranging the early Apologies. A recent
writer, Pressensé, who has made a special study of them, has used, as his
fundamental principle of classification, the view which the authors took
of the relation of the soul of man to Christianity; according to which he
makes three classes; the first, comprising those who thought that the soul
of man was fitted for truth, and acknowledged the heathen religions as a
preparation for Christianity; the second, those who, taking the same view
of human nature, regarded the heathen religions as corruptions, and wholly
injurious; and the third, those who took such a desponding view of human
nature as to regard it as possessing no truth without revelation (_Hist._
vol. ii. ser. ii. p. 164-5.) As examples of the first class, he cites
Origen and most of the earlier fathers; of the second, Tertullian; of the
third, Arnobius. He thinks, but perhaps hardly rightly, that the
chronological order in which the three views occurred, coincides also with
this mode of arrangement. It will be evident that the first two classes
show an attempt to approach Christianity _à priori_, by arousing the sense
of want; the last by “crushing the human soul” by authority: the first of
the three trying to open the way for the reception of Christianity, by
describing it as the highest philosophy and religion; the second as the
substitute for both; but both schools agreeing in describing it as the
satisfaction of the world’s yearnings. It will be also apparent why the
presentation of the _à priori_ internal Evidences should precede the
external. When the world had been impressed with the necessity of a new
religion, then the opportunity came for employing the cogent power of the
external and historic evidence which authenticates Christianity.

A less artificial manner however of studying the Apologies would be to
view them in time, and in space; i.e. according to their date, and the
churches from which they emanate, whether Syrian, Alexandrian, Roman, or
African; with the view of witnessing at once the alteration in the attack
and the character of the apology which existed in different countries at
one and the same time.

It appears worthy of notice however, that the attempt to find difference
of treatment according to difference of country almost entirely fails. If
applied as a principle of classifying manuscripts, or modes of exegesis,
or liturgical uses, sufficient variety is exhibited to prove that the
Christian church was a collection of provincial churches, each possessing
its national peculiarity, each contributing to swell the general harmony
by uttering its own appropriate note; but, when applied to the subject of
apologetic, the method fails to show a difference in the method of defence
which was simultaneously used in the great Christian army; which forms a
proof of the facility of intercourse between different churches, and of
the uniformity in the character of the attack directed simultaneously on
the church in different lands. The change in the character of the
Evidences with the growth of time, according to the alteration of attack
described above, is apparent, but not the variation at the same date in
different parts of the world. We shall therefore merely present a list, in
which the apologists are arranged according to place and date, without
attempting to draw inferences which cannot be supported.

The recent publication of Pressensé’s work, where the spirit of the
apologies is given, together with an analysis of their contents, renders
it unnecessary to offer here a full analysis of them, as had been
intended. Other works indeed partially supplied the need previous to his.
Such, for example, were Houtteville’s Introduction to _La Religion
Chrétienne prourée par des Faits_, containing an account of the authors
for and against Christianity (translated 1739); Schramm’s _Analysis
Patrum_, 1780; Scultetus’s _Medullœ. Patr. Syntagma_, 1631; and for the
Apostolic Fathers, the Introduction to Mr. Woodham’s edition of
Tertullian’s _Apology_.

It will be sufficient accordingly to give a list of the writers, with a
very brief mention of the object of their treatises,(1075) and to
enumerate the literary sources from which further information may be
obtained in respect to them.

_Table of the Early Apologists, according to Date and Place._

A.D.   Rome and     Africa.         Athens.          Alexandria.   Syria.
150                                 [Aristides
200                 _Tertullian_;                    Clement 190   _Theophilus_
                    _Minucius                                      180
       Cyprian;                     Origen 240
300                 _Arnobius_                                     [Methodius];
                    _Lactantius_                                   _Eusebius_
       Jul.                                          Athanasius    Chrysostom
400    Orosius;     _Augustin_                       _Cyril_       Jerome?
       Salvian                                                     Theodoret

N. B. The names in brackets are of authors whose apologies are almost
wholly lost; those in italics are the ones which alone are usually
mentioned in a list of apologists. To the above ought perhaps to have been
added for completeness, Maternus, A.D. 350; Ephraim the Syrian; and
Apollinaris of Asia Minor, who replied to Julian. The names marked with a
note of interrogation denote those in reference to which the reader may
demur to the classification. Justin Martyr wrote at Rome; but he wrote in
Greek, and was a Greek philosopher in spirit. Of Hermias little is known.
Jerome lived much in Syria, and leaned to the Syrian school of exegesis,
so that he has been classed with the Syrian church, though his intimacy
with Augustin and his writing in Latin might rather have caused him to be
classed with the western. Also Minucius Felix ought perhaps rather to be
classed with the Roman than the African church.


We shall next state the purpose of the treatises of those Apologists,
whose names are printed in italics in the table.

The first group consists of Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Hermias, and
Theophilus; the first three of whom may be considered to express the
defence of Christian philosophers, who were striving to explain the nature
of Christianity, partly with a view to plead for toleration, partly to
make converts.

Justin has left two apologies; one against the Jews, the other against the
heathens; (a second against the heathens is a fragment.) In both he
adopted the same plan, of first repelling prejudices, and then assaulting
his opponent. That which is directed against the Jews is analysed in
Kaye’s _Justin_, c. xi. In that which was directed against the heathens,
he first repelled the charges made against Christians, such as atheism,
Thyestean banquets, and treason against the state; and next, those made
against Christianity, especially those which related to its late
introduction, the person of Christ, and the doctrine of the resurrection.
In proceeding to assault heathenism, he endeavoured to show that it did
not possess religious truth, and claimed that the points of agreement with
Christian truth were borrowed; and after having thus shown the superiority
of Christianity to heathenism, he endeavoured to show its divinity, by the
internal evidence of its doctrines and effects, and by the external
evidence of miracles and prophecies.

Tatian’s treatise in substance was an invective against the pagans, on the
absurdity and iniquity of the pagan theology and its recent origin, with a
running comparison between it and Christianity.

The object of Athenagoras was to plead for toleration; and consequently he
employed himself in vindicating the Christians from various charges, such
as incest, Thyestean banquets; and retaliated the charges on the heathen.

The little work of Hermias, the date of which is uncertain, (see Lardner,
_Cred._ ch. xxv. and Cave, _Hist. Lit._ lxxxi. is a kind of sermon on St.
Paul’s words, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” In an
amusing manner, not unlike Lucian, he criticised the heathen philosophy,
arguing its falsehood from the contradictory opinions held in it.

The form of Theophilus’s work _Ad Autolycum_ is not unlike some of those
which have preceded. Indeed the form was suggested by circumstances; being
a defence of Christianity against particular charges, and the retaliation
of similar ones on the heathens. He drew out the attributes of the true
God, b. i; and afterwards exhibited the falsehood of the heathen religion
and history, b. ii; defending Christians from the absurd charges made
against them; and attempting to show the originality and antiquity of the
Hebrew history and chronology, b. iii.


The next group of Apologists, which comprises the writers of the African
church, Tertullian and Minucius Felix, differs from the last in spirit,
though resembling them in purpose. It is the defence made by rhetoricians
instead of philosophers. The purpose too, like that of the preceding
Apologists, is partly to effect conviction, partly to obtain toleration;
but there is a consciousness of the presence of danger, hardly perceivable
in the former writers. We feel, as we read these early African writers,
that they write like men who felt themselves in the presence of
persecution, and who were brought more nearly than the former writers into
the face of their foe.

Tertullian’s Tract, which is analysed both by Mr. Woodham in his edition
of it, and by Mr. T. Chevallier in his translation of it, is chiefly
defensive. He claims toleration, ch. i-vii; refutes the miscellaneous
charges against Christianity, ch. x-xxvii; and the charge of treason
(xxviii-xxxvii); explains the nature of Christianity (xvii-xxiii); and
compares it with philosophy, ch. xlv-xlvii.

The work of Minucius Felix is a dialogue between a heathen, Cæcilius, and
a Christian, Octavius. The heathen opens by denying a Providence; next
inveighs against the Christians, by a series of charges such as were named
in Note 15; and then attacks the Christian doctrines and condition. The
Christian Octavius is made to answer each point successively.


In passing now from the African school of Apologists to the Alexandrian,
we leave the rhetoricians, and meet with the philosophers, Clement and
Origen. Clement precedes Tertullian by a few years; Origen succeeds
Minucius Felix.

Clement, in part of his _Stromata_, and in his _Cohortatio_, has expressed
the spirit of his apologetic; which resembles those of the first group, in
admitting the value of heathen philosophy as a preparation for
Christianity, and claims that the Hebrews are the source of philosophy,
and that Christianity is the full satisfaction for those who sought

The spirit and details of Origen’s defence have been so fully given in
Lecture II. and Note 14, that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon the
subject. His apology marks a further step. Tertullian replied to the
prejudices of the vulgar, and M. Felix to the scepticism of the educated,
which formed two elements in the heathen reaction of the second century.
Origen furnished the reply to the attack made by the heathen philosophy.
It is in reply to Celsus, who possessed a competent knowledge of
Christianity; and who, though writing earlier than the time when the
charges which Tertullian afterwards refuted were common, was too well
informed to have believed them, and opposed Christianity on deeper
grounds. Celsus stands later logically, though not chronologically, than
the authors of those frivolous charges, and midway between them and the
educated assailants of Christianity of the third century, such as
Porphyry. Origen’s defence too marks a similar advance, and, by exhibiting
sympathy with the very philosophy which Porphyry and others adopted, shows
the kind of defence which was thought likely to attract philosophic minds.


The chronology compels us to return to the African church, and introduces
us to two Apologists;—Arnobius and Lactantius; one of whom seems to have
written a little before Christianity had become a tolerated religion; the
latter a little afterwards.

The work of Arnobius is taken up, partly in repelling charges made against
the Christians, such as that the Christians do not worship, which are no
longer charges of the absurd kind made a century before, partly in
comparing Christianity and heathenism; and partly in offering the evidence
for Christianity. It is in this point that we find the peculiarity which
belongs to Arnobius. He is the first writer who lays firm stress on the
demonstrative character of the evidence of fact. In previous writers
Christianity had been proved by probability: he makes it to rest on the
evidence of certainty; and considers the fact of the revelation to
guarantee the contents of it.

The large work of Lactantius, the _Institutiones Divinæ_, is a work of
ethics as well as of defence. Christians have obtained protection, and
defence is becoming didactic: apology is expiring in instruction: all that
is now needed for the spread of Christianity is, that its nature should be
understood. The work is partly a work of religion, partly of philosophy,
partly of ethics; the object in each case being to show that Christianity
supplies the only true form in each department of thought.


The remaining Apologists may be grouped together, though they have no
point of union, except that their arguments are directed to the special
condition of heathenism; when, being no longer triumphant, it was standing
on the defensive, and, at the time of the two latter of the group, was
fast declining. They are, Eusebius, Cyril of Alexandria, and Augustin.

If Origen is the metaphysical philosopher of the early Apologists; if
Augustin is the political; Eusebius is the man of erudition. He has left,
besides the small work against Hierocles (see Note 17), two works of
defence; the first the _Evangelica Præparatio_, against the Gentiles; the
second the _Evangelica Demonstratio_, more suited for the Jews. The former
work is to show that Christianity has not been accepted without just
cause; which he attempts to prove by a very elaborate discussion (valuable
to us in a literary point of view, on account of the quotations which he
has preserved) of the various religions, Egyptian, Phœnician, Greek, and
of the various types of Greek thought and belief; and, by a comparison of
them with the Hebrew, he shows the superiority of the last. The other
work, the _Evangelica Demonstratio_, is designed to prove that Christ and
Christianity fulfil the ancient prophecies. His apology marks the
transitionary time when Christianity was becoming the religion of the
Roman world, and men hesitated as to its truth, looking back with regret
to the past, with uneasiness to the future.

The other two Apologists are nearly a century later; when Christianity had
been long established.

Cyril has already come before us as the respondent to Julian. It is enough
to refer to Lecture II. and Note 19, in relation to him. It is worthy of
observation, that the circumstance that he should consider it necessary to
reply to Julian’s work, at so long a period after the death of the author,
and the frustration of his schemes, seems to show the continued existence
of a wavering in the faith of Christians, of which we seldom have the
opportunity of finding the traces at so late a period.

If Cyril marks the apology of the Alexandrian church at the commencement
of the fifth century, Augustin similarly exhibits that of the African in
presence of the new woes which were bursting upon the world. Christianity
had long lived down the charges made against it by prejudice, and shown
itself to be the philosophy which the educated craved. The charges of
treason too had ceased, for it had become the established religion; but
one prejudice still remained. Victorious with man; triumphant over the
prejudices of the vulgar, the opinions of the philosophers, and the power
of the state; it still was not, it seemed, victorious in heaven; and at
last the heathen gods were arousing themselves to take vengeance on the
earth for the overthrow of their worship, by a series of terrible
calamities. Apprehensions like these haunted the imagination; and it was
the object of Augustin, in his work, _De Civitate Dei_, to remove them.
That work was a philosophy of society; it was the history of the church
and of the world, viewed in presence of the dissolution, social and
political, which seemed impending.

These brief remarks will suffice to give a faint idea of the line of
argument adopted by the early Apologists. Further information in regard to
them may be found in the following sources:—

In a history of this period written by Tzchirner, _Geschichte der
Apologetik_, 1805; also another by Van Senden, 1831, translated into
German from the Dutch, 1841; Clausen, _Apologetæ Ecc. Chr.
ante-Theodosiani_, 1817; and a brief account in Stein, _Die Apologetik des
Christenthum_, § 6. p. 13. Other references may be found in Hase’s _Church
History_, E. T. § 52; Hagenbach’s _Dogmengeschichte_, § 29, 117; and in J.
A. Fabricius, _Delectus Argument_, ch. i. In the same work (ch. ii-v.) is
an account of the chief Apologists, and of the fragments of their lost
writings. In reference to the character of the apologetic works of the
early fathers, information may also be obtained in Walch’s _Biblioth.
Patristic._ (ed. Danz. 1834.) § 97-100. ch. x; and concerning some of them
in P. G. Lumper’s _Hist. Theol.-Crit. de Sanct. Patr._ 1785; Moehler’s
_Patrologie_, 1840; Ritter’s _Chr. Phil._ i and ii; Neander’s
_Kirchengeschichte_, i. 242 seq.; ii. 411 seq.; Kaye’a works on Justin,
Clement, and Tertullian; and Dr. A. Clarke’s _Succession of Ecclesiastical
Literature_, 1832.

On a review of these early apologies, some peculiarities are observable.

First, with the exception of Origen’s treatise, and some parts of
Eusebius, they are inferior as works of mind to many of modern
times.(1076) This was to be expected from the character of the age; the
literature of that period being poor in tone, compared with the earlier
and with the modern. In works of encyclopædic history and geography, and
in a reconsideration of philosophy by the light of the past, it had indeed
some excellences; but the literature as a whole, not only the Latin, but
even the Greek, was debased by the substitution of rhetoric for the
healthy freshness of thought and poetry of older times: and the apologetic
literature partakes of the tone of its age. The Christian writers, when
looked at in a literary point of view, must be compared with authors of
their own times. The Alexandrian apologies rise sometimes to philosophy;
but those of the Greek nation sink to rhetoric. In later times, men who
were giants in mind and learning have written on behalf of Christianity;
and it would be unfair to the apologetic fathers to compare them with

Secondly, we cannot fail to remark the abundant use of what is now called
the philosophical argument for Christianity, the conviction that prejudice
must be removed, and antecedent probabilities be suggested, before the
hearer could be expected to submit to Christianity. The just inference
from this is not that which some would draw, the depreciation of the
argument from external evidence, but rather a corroboration of the
importance of the emotional element, as an ingredient in the judgment
formed on religion. The only practical inference that can be drawn in
reference to ourselves is, that if it be true that our age resembles
theirs, as has been suggested by Pressensé (see Lecture VIII. p. 356), we
must adopt the same plan; not because we admit that the external evidence
is uncertain or unreal, but because the other kind of evidence is best
adapted, from philosophical reasons, to such a state of society as ours.

Several centuries pass before we again meet with works of evidence. In the
dark ages, the public mind and thought were nominally Christian; and at
least were not sufficiently educated to admit of the generation of doubts
which might create a demand for apologetic works. Accordingly we pass over
this interval, and proceed at once to the middle ages.

II. The scepticism of the second period of free thought possessed so
largely the character of a tendency rather than an attitude of fixed
antagonism, that it gave no opportunity for direct works of refutation.
But the spirit of apologetic is seen in two respects; in the special
refutation of particular points of teaching, as in Bernard’s controversy
with Abélard, and more especially in the works of the scholastic theology.

This theology, especially as seen in the works of the great realist
Aquinas, and of others who took their method from him, was essentially, as
has been before said (pp. 11 and 92), a work of defence. In the two
centuries before his time we already find the spirit of reverent inquiry
working. Anselm’s two celebrated works, the _Monologium_ and _Proslogium_,
a kind of soliloquy on the Trinity, and the _Cur Deus Homo_, or theory of
the Atonement, are the work of a mind that was reconsidering its own
beliefs, and restating the grounds of the immemorial doctrines of the
church. (See J. A. Hasse, _Anselm_, 1843, 52.) In the following century
(viz. the twelfth), the work of Peter Lombard, called the _Sententiæ_,
marks an age when inquiry was active; and the material was supplied for
its satisfaction by means of searching amid the opinions of the past for
the witness of authority. But in the thirteenth century, the grand advance
made by Aquinas in his _Summa_, is no less than the result of the
conviction that religion admitted of a philosophy; that theological truth
was a science; and so, commencing with the plan of first discussing God;
then man; then redemption; then ethics; he created a method, which had
been indeed suggested by his predecessors, but was more fully displayed by
him, for arranging the truths of theology in a systematic form, in which
their reasonableness might appear, and through which they might commend
themselves to the judgment of a philosophical age.

The most successful mode of replying to objections is not to refute the
error contained in them, but to grasp the truth and build it into a
system, where the doubter finds his mind and heart satisfied with the
possession of that for which he was craving. If the twelfth century had
not had its Abélards, its spirit of inquiry, of analysis, and of doubt;
the church would never have had its champion philosopher Aquinas: but if
it had not had its Aquinas, the succeeding ages would probably have
produced many more Abélards. The scholastic theology accordingly must be
regarded as the true rationalism, the true use of reason in defence. Like
as the mind goes through the process of perceiving facts, then of
classifying and generalizing, next of defining and tracing principles to
practical results; so the church, in forming its theology, receives its
facts as they were once for all apprehended by inspired men of old, and
are corroborated by the experience of the Christian consciousness from age
to age: but, after so receiving them, it exercises its office in creating
a theology, by classifying and arranging them, and generalizing from them;
and when new doubts or objections arise, it recompares its teaching with
the faith once delivered to the saints; defines and prescribes the limits
of truth and error; and thus absorbs into its own system whatever is true
in the newly-presented doubts or objections. This is really the action of
the church in moments of peril; and is that which was effected by the
scholastic theologians,—Anselm, the two Victors, Aquinas, Bonaventura, and
others. It is sufficient to refer to Ritter’s _Christliche Philosophie_,
iii. 502 seq.; iv. 257 seq.; Neander’s _Kirchengeschichte_, vol. viii;
Stein’s _Die Apologetic_, § 7 and 8; Hagenbach’s _Dogmengesch._ § 150; and
Hase’s _Church History_, § 218, 277, 278; for information concerning these
writers and their position.

III. At the time of the Renaissance, in the fifteenth century, which was
the third period at which the Christian faith was in peril from doubt, we
begin to meet with works of evidence of a more directly controversial
kind. Defence is no longer a spirit, but a fact. Apologetic theology is
severed from Dogmatic.

One work remains, written in the fourteenth century by Petrarch (_Opp. de
Otio Religiosor_), which defends the truth of Christianity against
Philosophers, Mahometans, and Jews: partly on the evidence of miracles,
but mainly on the internal evidence of the purity and godliness of
Christianity. In the early part of the fifteenth century, Raimond de
Sebonde, professor of medicine at Barcelona, wrote his _Theologia
Naturalis_, which was afterwards translated into French by Montaigne. It
was charged with deism, but really was in spirit, as previously observed
(p. 104), only like Locke’s _Reasonableness of Christianity_. See Hallam’s
_History of Literature_, i. 138; Ritter’s _Christliche Philosophie_, iv.
658 seq. Another exists by Æneas Sylvius; another by Ficinus, 1450, _De
Relig. Christianâ_, in which the evidence of prophecy and miracles is
adduced; the arguments from the moral character of the apostles and
martyrs, the wonderful spread of Christianity, and the wisdom of the
Bible, are used; and a comparison is drawn between Christianity and other

In the close of the same century, as soon as printing became common,
several similar treatises occur. One exists by Alphonso de Spina,
_Fortalitium Fidei contra Judæos, &c._ 1487; also by Savonarola,
_Triumphus Crucis, sive de Vera Fide_, 1497; also by Pico di Mirandola;
and by Ludovicus Vives, _De Veritate Christianâ_, 1551. A carefully
written account of all these is given by Staüdlin, in Eichhorn’s
_Geschichte der Literatur_, vol. vi. p. 24 seq. See also Fabricius,
_Delect. Argument_, ch. xxx.

The preceding works were mostly directed against the first of the two
species of unbelief which belonged to this period, viz. the literary
tendency (see Lecture III. p. 93, 94). A few however exist which were
directed against the second species, which was connected with the
philosophy of Padua. They are not so much general treatises, as works
written against particular opinions, of Pomponatius, Bruno, or Vanini. An
account of them may be found in the memoirs respectively published
concerning these writers; the references to which are given in the notes
to Lecture III. (See pp. 101-103.) The work of Mornæus, _De Veritate
Religionis Christianæ adv. Atheistas, Epicureos, &c._ 1580, was probably
suggested by this species of philosophy.

IV. The fourth great period, marked by the unbelief connected with the
activity of modern speculation and the influence of modern discovery,
commenced in the sixteenth century. The works of defence are so numerous
that we can only give a brief notice of the principal writers and
writings. A list may be collected, down to the respective dates of their
publication, from J. A. Fabricius’s _De Veritate Rel. Christ._ c. 30;
Pfaff’s _Hist. Litt. Theol._ ii. § 2; Buddeus’s _Isagoge_, pp. 856-1237;
Walch’s _Biblioth. Theol. Select._ vol. i. ch. v. § 5-7: and the principal
arguments are summed up in Stapfer’s _Instit. Theol. Polem._ 1744, vol. i.
ch. iii. and vol. ii. Tholuck also has written a history of modern
apologetic, _Ueber Apologetik und ihre Litteratur_ (Vermischte Schriften,
i. pp. 150-376), and the Abbe Migne has published a most important
collection of the principal treatises on apologetic in all ages, arranged
in chronological order. It is contained in twenty vols. 4to. 1843. The
title of the work is given below.(1077)

The work of Grotius, _De Veritate Religionis Christianæ_, is the one which
opens the period of evidences which we are now considering; of which a
notice may be found in Hallam’s _History of Literature_, ii. 364, and in
Tholuck, _Verm. Schr._ i. 158; but no very definite cause can be pointed
out why it was written. It was merely indeed one of the class of treatises
already described (Notes 4 and 5), which devoted a portion of space to the
controversy with the Jews and Mahometans. It is when a new standpoint had
been assumed by scepticism, and the causes, intellectual or moral, which
have been pointed out in these lectures, had begun to create a real peril,
that writings on the evidences begin to derive a new value and assume a
new form.

We shall give an account of them according to countries. THE ENGLISH WORKS
OF EVIDENCE.—Those which were called forth in England by Deism were of
several kinds. Perhaps they may be arranged under four heads.

The first class consists of specific answers to certain books, published
from time to time; of which kind are most of those which are named in the
foot-notes to Lecture IV. Waterland’s reply to Tindal is a type of this
class. Occupied with tracking the opponent from point to point of his
work, such replies, though important while the sceptical book is operating
for evil, become obsolete along with the war of which they are a part, and
henceforth are only valuable in literary history, unless, as in the
special instance of Bentley’s _Phileleutherus Lipsiensis_ in reply to
Collins, they are such marvellous instances of dialectical ability and
literary acuteness that they possess a philosophical value as works of
power, when their instructiveness has ceased.

A second kind consisted of homilies rather than arguments; sermons to
Christian people, warning them against forms of unbelief, and regarding
unbelief from a practical point of view rather than a speculative; and
discussing, as would appropriately belong to such an object, the moral to
the exclusion of the intellectual causes of doubt. Some of Tillotson’s
sermons are an example of the highest of this kind of works. The value of
this class is twofold: in a purely pastoral point of view, the suggestions
which they contain concerning the moral causes of doubt being founded on
the real facts of the human heart, and on the declarations of scripture,
have a lasting value; and in a literary point of view, these works
contribute to the knowledge of the state of public feeling of the time.
This is seen in this instance. Until about the end of the seventeenth
century, there is no clear perception, except among the very highest of
this class of writers, of the particular character of the forms of doubt
against which their remarks are directed. The general name, _Atheism_, is
used vaguely, to describe every form of unbelief. This fact tells its
tale. It witnesses to the consciousness that they lived in an age of
restlessness, when change of creed was going on, and doubt was prevalent;
but when unbelief had not shaped itself into form, and found as yet few
organs of expression. We are reminded of the works before named of the
fifteenth century (p. 93 seq. 104.) At that time doubt and restlessness
prevailed, as we learn from the frequent references to it; yet the works
which transmit the knowledge of it to us are few, and the allusions to it
vague: while the works of evidence then written are directed against
antiquated forms of it,—Mahometan, Jewish, or philosophical. In like
manner, in the seventeenth age, we see, as we look back, that the
Christian sermons were mostly directed against older forms of
unbelief,—the atheism of the ancients, or of the Paduan school; and that
the contemporary unbelief had not become definite enough to enable the
Christian writers to apprehend its nature. This fact too explains another
circumstance. The preachers evince a bitterness, which is not merely the
rudeness common in that age on all subjects, nor the indignation which
arises from solicitude for souls, common in all ages on a subject so
momentous as salvation; but it is the bitterness of alarm. There is a
margin in their expression of vituperation, which is only to be explained
by the fact, that the absence of a clear statement of the grounds of
doubt, such as was subsequently given in the eighteenth century, deprived
the preachers of the means of understanding the alleged excuse for the
prevailing doubt. They appear not to be conscious of the causes which
could create in the minds of others a restlessness which they did not feel
themselves. They seem like persons living in a state of political society,
who are conscious of a vast amount of general dissatisfaction, and a
suspicion of a plot against society, the authors of which are unknown, as
well as the causes of their supposed grievances; and where the danger is
necessarily heightened from the very absence of knowledge as to its
precise amount.

A third class of the English apologies consists of works which have
neither the speciality of the first class, nor the vagueness of the
second. They were directed against special writers and particular books;
but instead of being adapted as a detailed reply, chapter by chapter, to
the special work, the authors of them seized hold of the central errors of
the unbeliever, or the central truths by which he was to be refuted. The
works of the two Chandlers against Collins, and Leland’s work on the
deists, rise into this tone at times. Bishop Gibson’s later Pastorals
against Woolston are a good type of it; and still better, many of the
courses of Boyle Lectures; and above all, Warburton’s _Divine Legation of

There is a fourth class of works, of a grander type, which resemble the
one just named, in discussing subjects rather than books: but differ in
that they are not directed against particular books or men, but take the
largest and loftiest view of the evidences of Christianity. The first of
this class, though a small one, is Locke’s _Reasonableness of
Christianity_. The best examples are, _Things Divine and Human conceived
of by Analogy_, by Dr. Peter Browne, 1733; and the _Analogy_ of Bishop
Butler, in reference to the Philosophical Evidence of Christianity; with
the works of Lardner and Paley in reference to the Historical. Books of
this class are elevated above what is local or national, and are in some
sense a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί.

After this description of the different classes of works of evidence, it
remains to give a brief notice of a few of the more important writers,
especially of the two latter classes, in chronological order.

Omitting the repetition of those books named in the foot-notes of Lect.
IV. which were directed against Herbert, Hobbes, and Blount, and which, as
already remarked, belonged to the first of the four classes just named,
and also the enumeration of the various sermons which belong to the
second, we meet with the following writers:—Robert Boyle (1626-1691), an
intelligent philosopher and devout Christian, who wrote works to reconcile
reason and religion, suggested by the growth of new sciences; and with
Ray, who first supplied materials for the argument for natural religion,
drawn from final causes, 1691; and Stillingfleet, who investigated
religion from the literary side, as the two just named from the
scientific. Boyle not only wrote himself on the Evidences, but founded the
Boyle Lectures,(1078) a series which was mainly composed of works written
by men of real ability, and contains several treatises of value, as works
of mind, as well as instruction. Among the series may be named those of
Bentley (1692); Kidder, 1694; Bp. Williams, 1695; Gastrell, 1697; Dean
Stanhope, 1701; Dr. Clarke, 1704, 5; Derham, 1711; Ibbot, 1713; Gurdon,
1721; Berriman, 1730; Worthington, 1766; Owen, 1769: all of which belong
to the third of the classes named above, while one or two approach to the
grandeur of the fourth.

Among separate treatises, the popular ones by the Non-juror Charles Leslie
([+]1722), _Short Method with the Deists_; Jenkins’s _Reasonableness of
Christianity_, 1721; Foster’s _Usefulness and Truth of Christianity_,
against Tindal; and Bp. Sherlock’s _Trial of the Witnesses_, against
Woolston; Lyttelton on _St. Paul’s Conversion_; Conybeare’s _Defence of
Revelation_, 1732; Warburton’s _Divine Legation of Moses_; are the best
known. A complete list of the respective replies to deist writers may be
found under the criticism of each writer, in Leland’s _Deists_, and
Lechler’s _Gesch. des Engl. Deismus_. The great work of Bishop Butler,
which appeared in 1736, has been sufficiently discussed in Lect. IV. p.
157 seq. It was the recapitulation and condensation of all the arguments
that had been previously used; but possessed the largeness of treatment
and originality of combination of a mind which had not so much borrowed
the thoughts of others as been educated by them. Balguy’s works also,
though brief, are scarcely inferior. (See his _Discourse on Reason and
Faith_, vol. i. serm. i-vii; vol. ii. serm. ii, iii, iv; vol. iv. serm.
ii. and iii.)

We have already pointed out (p. 207), that in the latter half of the
century, the historical rather than the moral evidences were developed.
The philosophical argument preceded in time, as in logic. First, the
religion of nature was proved: at this point the deist halted; the
Christian advanced farther. The chasm between it and revealed religion was
bridged at first by probability; next by Butler’s argument from analogy,
put as a dilemma to silence those who objected to revelation, but capable,
as shown in Lect. IV. of being used as a direct argument to lead the mind
to revelation; thirdly, by the historic method, which asserted that
miracles attested a revelation, even without other evidence. The argument
in all cases however, whether philosophical or historical, was an appeal
to reason; either evidence of probability or of fact; and was in no case
an appeal to the authority of the church.

Accordingly, the probability of revelation having been shown, and the
attacks on its moral character parried, the question became in a great
degree historical, and resolved itself into an examination either of the
external evidence arising from early testimonies, which could be gathered,
to corroborate the facts, and to vindicate the honesty of the writers, or
of the internal critical evidence of undesigned coincidences in their
writings. (See Note 48.) The first of these occupied the attention of
Lardner (1684-1768). His _Credibility_ was published 1727-57. The
_Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies_ (1764-7.) The
second and third branches occupied the attention of Paley; the one in the
Evidences, the other in the Horæ Paulinæ.(1079)

Before the close of the century the real danger from deism had passed, and
the natural demand for evidences had therefore in a great degree ceased.
Consequently the works which appeared were generally a recapitulation or
summary of the whole arguments, often neat and judicious, (as is seen at a
later time in Van Mildert’s _Boyle Lectures_, vol. ii. 1805; and in a
grander manner in Chalmers’s works, vol. i-iv.); or in developments of
particular subjects, as in Bishop Watson’s replies to Gibbon and to Paine;
(See p. 198, 199, note); or in Dean Graves’s work on the Pentateuch, 1807.

It is only in recent years that a new phase of unbelief, a species of
eclecticism rather than positive unbelief, has arisen in England, which is
not the legitimate successor of the old deism, but of the speculative
thought of the Continent; and only within recent years that writers on
evidences have directed their attention to it. In the line of the Bampton
Lectures, for example, which, as one of the classes of annually recurring
volumes of evidences, is supposed to keep pace with contemporary forms of
doubt, and may therefore be taken as one means of measuring dates in the
corresponding history of unbelief; it is not until about 1852 that the
writers showed an acquaintance with these forms of doubt derived from
foreign literature. The first course(1080) which touched upon them was
that of Mr. Riddle, 1852, on the _Natural History of Infidelity_; and the
first especially directed to them was that in 1858 by Dr. Thomson, on the
_Atoning Work of Christ_; since which time only two courses, those of Mr.
Mansel, 1858, on _The Limits of Religious Thought_; and of Mr. Rawlinson,
in 1859,(1081) on _The Historical Evidences of the Truth of Scripture_,
have been directed to the subject, the one to the philosophy of religion
studied on its psychological side, the other to the historical evidences.

Among isolated works on evidences not forming parts of a general series,
it is hard to make a selection without unfairness. We can only cite a few,
premising that silence in reference to the rest is not to be considered to
be censure, nor to mark the want of a cordial and grateful acknowledgment
of the utility of many smaller works of evidences in the present day,
dictated by deep love for Christ; whose authors, though omitted in this
humble record, have their reward in being instruments of religious
usefulness by means of their works, and are doubtless not unnoticed by a
merciful Saviour, who looks down with love on all who strive to spread his

The following seem to merit notice. First, the arguments in favour of
natural religion, drawn from physical science, stated in the Bridgewater
Treatises, analogous to the earlier works of Derham and Paley; the
connection of science with revelation, in Cardinal Wiseman’s Lectures
delivered in Rome, 2d ed. 1842, (which are a little obsolete, but very
masterly;) several works by Dr. M’Cosh, _Divine Government,—Typical
Forms_, &c. in which the author takes a large view of the world, and of
the province of revealed religion in the scheme of general truth, founded
mainly on Butler; also a work of Dr. Buchanan, _Modern Atheism_, valuable
for its literary materials as much as for its argument; and of T. Erskine
on the Internal Evidences, 1821. The Bampton Lectures of Mr. Miller in
1817 also deserve to be singled out as a thoughtful and original
exhibition of the argument in one branch of the internal evidence; _The
Divine Authority of Scripture asserted from its adaptation to the real
state of human nature_; also Mr. Davison’s _Warburton Lectures on
Prophecy_, 1825. Among works directed to special subjects, we ought to
specify, _The Restoration of Belief_, by Mr. Isaac Taylor, intended
indirectly against speculations such as those of the Tübingen school; and
an able and thoughtful work on the subject of the superhuman character of
Christ, _The Christ of History_, by Mr. Young; also E. Miall’s _Bases of
Belief_; with the two Burnett Prize Essays by Thompson and Tullock; and a
reply to Mr. Newman’s Phases of Faith, viz. _The Eclipse of Faith_, and
_Letters of E. H. Greyson_, by H. Rogers, constructed however partly on
the argument of the dilemma.(1082) The replies written to _Essays and
Reviews_, especially _Aids to Faith_, ought to be added.

We have reserved for separate mention one work, which ascends to the
philosophy of the religious question, Mr. Mansel’s Bampton Lectures, 1858,
_The Limits of Religious Thought_, because it is a work which is valuable
for its method, even if the reader differs (as the author of these
lectures does in some respects) from the philosophical principles
maintained, or occasionally even from the results attained.(1083) It is an
attempt to reconstruct the argument of Butler from the subjective side. As
Butler showed that the difficulties which are in revealed religion are
equally applicable to natural; so Mr. Mansel wishes to show that the
difficulties which the mind feels in reference to religion are parallel to
those which are felt by it in reference to philosophy. Since the time of
Kant a subjective tone has passed over philosophy. The phenomena are now
studied in the mind, not in nature; in our mode of viewing, not in the
object viewed. And hence Butler’s argument needed reconstructing on its
psychological side. Mr. Mansel has attempted to effect this; and the book
must always in this respect have a value, even to the minds of those who
are diametrically opposed to its principles and results. Even if the
details were wrong, the method would be correct, of studying psychology
before ontology; of finding the philosophy of religion, not, as Leibnitz
attempted, objectively in a theodicée, but subjectively, by the analysis
of the religious faculties; learning the length of the sounding-line
before attempting to fathom the ocean.

These remarks must suffice in reference to the history of Evidences in
England. We shall now give an account of those which existed in France;
which will be still more brief, because the works are considered to be of
small general value, at least they have not a general reputation.

2. THE FRENCH WORKS OF EVIDENCE.—In the middle of the seventeenth century
we meet with Pascal and Huet; both of them, metaphysically speaking,
sceptics, who disbelieved in the possibility of finding truth apart from
revelation;(1084) and with whom therefore the object of evidences was to
silence doubt rather than to remove it. (On Pascal, see Rogers’s _Essays_,
Essay reprinted from the _Edinburgh Review_, January 1847; and on Huet, an
article in the _Quarterly Review_, No. 194, September 1855, and the
reference given p. 19. Also see Houtteville, introduction to _La Religion
Chrétienne prouvée par des Faits_, 1722.)

Among the Roman catholics, at the close of the same century, were the
following: Le Vassor([+]1718); the two Lamy [+] 1710 and 15, and Denyse;
and in the eighteenth century, Houtteville, whose preface to his own work,
an historical view of evidences and attacks to his own time, has been just
named; Bonnet; D’Aguesseau, [+] 1751; and Bergier [+] 1790: and among the
Protestants,—Abbadie, [+] 1727; and Jacquelot, [+] 1708; nearly all of
whom are treated of by Tholuck (_Verm. Schr._ i. p. 28) and Walch (_Bibl.
Theol. Sel._ ch. v. sect. 6). Several more will be found in the
_Demonstrations Evangeliques_; among which are Choiseul du Plessis,
Praslin, Polignac, De Bernis, Buffier, Tournemine, and Gerdil; the Lives
of several of whom are in the _Biographie Universelle_.

Though some of these were men whose works were of ordinary respectability,
they were by no means a match in greatness for the intellectual giants who
prostituted their powers on behalf of unbelief; and on one occasion, when
a prize essay had been offered for a work in behalf of Christianity, no
work was deemed worthy of it. (Alison, _History of Europe_, i. 180.) Since
the beginning of the present century, however, there has been a change.
Whatever may be thought of the line of argument adopted, the skill with
which it has been put forward, and the ability of the minds that have
given expression to it, is undoubted. Chateaubriand may be considered as
the first who, with a full appreciation of the tastes and wants of modern
society, tried to show not only the compatibility of Christianity with
them, but that the perfection of society was only realized in it. The work
of the Christian labourers who had to bring back France to Christianity
was hard. It was not the apologist, acting, as in England, from the
vantage ground of a powerful church against the Deist, who was making an
attack on it; but it was a weak and feeble minority acting against a
powerful mass of educated intellect. The apologists were indirectly aided
by philosophy. The philosophers did not aim primarily at religious truth,
and we have had reason to take exception to many of their views; yet they
rekindled in France the elements of natural religion, on which the
Christians then proceeded to base revealed. The works of Jules Simon are
the highest expression of it. (See Note 44.)

The school of evidences that has existed, has been the church school of De
Maistre, already described. (See Note 45, and the references given there.)
With somewhat of the spirit of the writers of the fifteenth age, they have
directed their efforts to reestablish the catholic church as the condition
of re-establishing the Christian religion. To this we have already taken
exception, Lecture VII. p. 300; and the remarks there given may suffice in
reference to the movement. Yet the literary appreciation of the line of
argument used by the older apologists, is perceptible in the large
publication of Migne, already named.

The other attempt in France to re-establish Christianity by Protestant
apologists, noticed in Lecture VII. p. 304, of which the ablest was Vinet,
is rather directed against rationalism than against full unbelief; and
aims to turn the flank of the rationalist argument, and, while accepting
its premises, deny its conclusions. (On Vinet, see Note 46.) The problem
which is now before the apologists is, not to show that Christianity is
not imposture, but rather that it is not merely philosophy. (Compare the
remarks of Strauss, at the close of his work on Reimarus, alluded to in
Note 29. p. 427).

There now only remains the history of Apologetic in Germany.

3. THE GERMAN WORKS OF EVIDENCE.—As early as the end of the seventeenth
century, we find the attention of Kortholt directed to Spinoza; and in the
early part of the eighteenth we see, in the grand attempt of Leibnitz to
find a philosophy of religion; in Haller, 1705-77; in Euler, 1747, (for
which see Tholuck, _V. Schr._ ii. 311-362, together with a list of others
there given,) a proof of the attention which the Evidences received. The
existence of works like J. A. Fabricius’s _Delectus Argumentorum_, 1725;
Reimannus, _Historia Atheismi_, 1725; Buddeus, _De Atheismo_, 1737;
Stapfer, _Inst. Theol. Polem._ 1752; as well as the attention shown by the
bibliographers, Pfaff, Walch, Fabricius, to the literature of Evidences,
is a proof of the same fact.

The replies were still directed against Deism, as in England or France. It
is not till later in the century that rationalism appears. When however it
arose, writers were not wanting who opposed it. The history of the German
theology has been treated so largely in Lectures VI. and VII. that it is
only necessary to indicate the steps. The early deistic rationalism of
Reimarus and Lessing met its opponents in contemporary writers named in
the notes to Lecture VI. The critical rationalism of Eichhorn and Paulus
was really answered by the later critics, as was shown when we noticed
that criticism gradually abandoned their view, and rescued itself from
their extravagant opinions (p. 257 seq.), while the dogmatic rationalism
which was connected with it was dispersed by the discussion on the
province of the supernatural already described (p. 418). In the present
century the aspect of the attack and of the defence has changed. The
question had been as to the existence of the supernatural.

In the present the question has been, If the supernatural be admitted,
what is the capacity of man to discover it by the light of feeling or
reason respectively, without revelation? Therefore, while in the last
century it was important to show that the supernatural exists, and that
the religion that taught it was not deception; in the present the
endeavour has been, to bring men from the supernatural to the biblical,
and to make them feel that the Christian religion is not a mere mistake.
Thus they have been led from the natural to the supernatural; from the
supernatural to the revealed; from the ideal to the historic.(1085) The
steps of this process in the present century have been twofold:—the
philosophical Christianity of Schleiermacher, and the revival of biblical
religion. Neander has been already adduced (p. 364) as the type of the
Christian movement which sought to unite the two: wishing to appropriate
that which he believed, he strove to present Christianity as the highest
form of the religious life; as a life based on a doctrine; the doctrine
itself being based on a revealed history. It must suffice thus to have
indicated, without tracing into detail, the apologetic literature which
has been partly named in the Notes of the lectures, and may be found by
consulting the references there given.


In all ages the purpose of Evidences has been conviction; to offer the
means of proof either by philosophy or by fact. In arguing with the
heathen in the first age, the former plan was adopted; the school of
Alexandria trying to lead men to Christianity as the highest philosophy:
in the middle ages the same method was adopted under the garb of
philosophy, but with the alteration that the philosophy was one of form,
not matter. In the later middle ages the appeal was to the Church: in the
early contests with the Deists to the authority of reason, and to the
Bible reached by means of this process; in the later, to the Bible reached
through history and fact: in opposing the French infidelity the appeal was
chiefly to authority; in the early German the appeal was the same as in
England; in the later German it has been a return in spirit to that of the
early fathers, or of the English apologists of the eighteenth century, but
based on a deeper philosophy; an appeal to feeling or intuition, and not
to reflective reason; and through these ultimately to the Bible.

Note 50. p. 373. On The History Of The Doctrine Of Inspiration.

The subject of the history of inspiration has been named both in Lect.
III. and VIII. It may be useful therefore to point out the sources for the
study of it.

The history of it is briefly sketched in Hagenbach’s _Dogmengeschichte_, §
32, 121, 161, 243, 292. A valuable catena of passages relative to the
primitive doctrine of inspiration is given in Mr. Westcott’s _Introduction
to the Gospels_, Appendix B. second edition, 1860; and a continuation of
the history to more recent periods in Dr. Lee’s important work on
Inspiration, especially in Appendices C and G; and in Tholuck’s Doctrine
of Inspiration, translated in the _Journal of Sacred Literature_, July

It appears that the theories held respecting inspiration in different ages
may be arranged under three classes:

1. The belief in a full inspiration was held from the earliest times, with
the few exceptions observable in occasional remarks of Origen, Jerome,
Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Euthymius Zigabenus (in the twelfth century).

2. Traces after a time begin to appear of a disposition, (α) to admit that
the inspiration ought to be regarded as appertaining to the proper
material of the revelation, viz. religion; but at the same time to
maintain firmly the full inspiration of the religious elements of
scripture. This view occurs in the allusions of the writers just named,
and existed in the seventeenth century in the Helmstadt school of Calixt
in Germany, and the Saumur school of Amyrault, Cameron, and Placæus, in
France; and is stated decidedly by a series of writers in the English
church. Some of the latter go so far as to avow, (β) that the value of the
religious element in the revelation would not be lessened if errors were
admitted in the scientific and miscellaneous matter which accompanies it.
This admission increased after the speculations of Spinoza and the
pressure of the Deist objections.

3. A third theory was suggested by Maimonides, which was revived by
Spinoza, and has been held among many of the rationalists in Germany, and
has lately appeared in English literature: this theory is, that the book
does not, even in its religious element, differ in kind from other books,
but only in degree. It will be observed that a wide chasm separates this
view from either of those named under the second head; the only point in
common being, that in all alike the writers agree that the nature of
inspiration must be learned from experience, and not be determined
antecedently by our own notions of optimism, without examining the real
contents of revelation. Coleridge would by many be considered to give
expression to this third theory in his _Confessions of an Inquiring
Spirit_. Perhaps however he hovered between it and the one previously
named; being anxious rather to identify inspiration psychologically with
one form of the Νοῦς or “Reason,” than theologically to confound the
material of revelation with truth acquired by natural means.

It is not the purpose of this note to discuss the true view of
inspiration; but merely to state the historic facts. The writer may
however be allowed to repeat what has been already implied in the preface,
that he dissents entirely from the third of these views. To him there
seems evidence for believing that the dogmatic teaching implied on
religious subjects in holy scripture is a communication of supernatural
truth, miraculously revealed from the world invisible. Cfr. p. 29.

On the subject of inspiration, in addition to the works above named,
instruction will be derived from the sources indicated in the Essay on
Inspiration in Bp. Watson’s Tracts, 1785, vol. iv. pp. 5 and 469; and from
Dean Harvey Goodwin’s Hulsean Lectures, first course, lectures vii. and
viii. The first of the above-named views is stated in Gaussen’s work on
_Theopneustie_, and on the Canon; the third in Morell’s [_Philosophy of
Religion_], c. iv; and in the first three essays of Scherer’s _Mélanges de
Crit. Religieuse_.

A list of those theologians who have held the second class of views above
named, together with the extracts from their writings, is given by Dr. S.
Davidson in his _Facts, Statements, &c. concerning_ vol. ii. of ed. x. _of
Horne’s Introduction_, 1857; and Mr. Stephen, in his defence of Dr. R.
Williams, 1862, has quoted some of the same passages, and added a few more
(_Def._ pp. 127-160.(1086)) As the reader was referred hither from Lecture
III. p. 114. for the proof of the assertion there made, that this theory
had been largely held in the last century in England, it seems fair here
to add the references. At the same time this list is not given with the
view of endorsing the views of these writers, but merely to prove the
accuracy of the assertion in the text of Lectures III. and VIII.

Among English divines, those who have asserted the form of the theory
named above as No. 2 _a_, are, Howe (_Div. Author. of Scripture_, lecture
viii. and ix.); Bishop Williams (_Boyle Lect._ serm. iv. pp. 133, 4);
Burnet (Article vi. p. 157. Oxford ed. 1814); Lowth (_Vind. of Dir. Auth.
and Inspir. of Old and New Testament_, p. 45 seq.); Hey (_Theol. Lect._ i.
90); Watson (_Tracts_, iv. 446); Bishop Law (_Theory of Religion_);
Tomline (_Theology_, i. 21); Dr. J. Barrow (_Dissertations_, 1819, fourth
Diss.); Dean Conybeare (_Theolog. Lect._ p. 186); Bishop Hinds (_Inspir.
of Script._ pp. 151, 2); Bishop Daniel Wilson (lect. xiii. on _Evidences_,
i. 509); Parry (_Inq. into Nat. of Insp. of Apost._ pp. 26, 27); Bishop
Blomfield (_Lect. on Acts_ v. 88-90).

Among those who have gone so far as to hold the form of the theory above
given as No. 2 b, are, Baxter (_Method. Theol. Chr._ part iii. ch. xii. 9.
4.); Tillotson (_Works_, fol. iii. p. 449. serm. 168); Doddridge (_on
Inspir._); Warburton (_Doctr. of Grace_, book i. ch. vii); Bishop Horsley
(serm. 39 on Ecc. xii. 7. vol. iii. p. 175); Bishop Randolph (_Rem. on
Michaelis Introd._ pp. 15, 16); Paley (_Evidences of Christianity_, part
iii. ch. ii); Whately (_Ess. on Diff. in St. Paul_, Ess. i. and ix;
Sermons on Festivals, p. 90; _Pecul. of Christianity_, p. 233); Hampden
(_Bampton Lect._ pp. 301, 2); Thirlwall (Schleiermacher’s _Luke_, Introd.
p. 15); Bishop Heber (_Bampt. Lect._ viii. p. 577); Thomas Scott (_Essay
on Inspir._ p. 3); Dr. Pye Smith (_Script. and Geol._ 276, 237. third
ed.); Dean Alford (_Proleg. to Gosp._ ed. 1859) vol. i. ch. i. § 22.(1087)

It will be observed however, that both these classes of writers are
separated by a chasm from those which belong to the third class above
named; inasmuch as they hold inspiration to be not only miraculous in
origin, but different in kind from even the highest forms of unassisted
human intelligence.


_The figures refer to the pages, without distinction of text from

Abbé Paris, miracles of, 150.

Abélard; a nominalist, 9;
  character of, 81;
  works of, 81;
  _Sic et Non_, 82-84;
  different opinions concerning his scepticism, 84;
  a Biblical critic, 85.

Accommodation, principle of, 222;
  used by English divines, 223.

Acts, book of, controversy in Germany concerning, 367.

Ahmed Ibn Zain Elebedin, a Mahometan writer against Christianity, 389.

Alexander Hales (Alesius), a scholastic, 90.

Alexander of Aphrodisias, Pantheism at Padua derived from, 101.

Alexander of Pontus, named by Lucian, 47, 51.

Alexander VII. pope, prohibits Lucian’s Peregrinus, 50.

Alexandrian school of Fathers, 59;
  opinions held concerning the relation of Christianity to other
              religions, 386.

Allegory, distinguished from myth and parable, 269.

Allen’s _Modern Judaism_, 387.

Alphonso de Spina, treatise against Mahometans, 388.

_Amyntor_ of Toland, 129.

Angelo Mai, edition by, of Fronto, 48;
  of Porphyry’s letter to Marcella, 71.

Annet Paul, a Deist writer, 143.

Anselm, view of the Atonement, 69;
  works of, 461.

Apollinaris, 455, 456.

Apollonius of Tyana, 47, 62 seq. 408.

Apologetic, office of, 159.

Apologetic Lectures. See _Lectures_.

Apologies of early fathers, 453;
  Pressensé’s mode of classifying, 453;
  sources for studying, 454, 460;
  table of, 455;
  African school of, 457;
  Alexandrian school of, 457;
  peculiarity of and inferiority to modern, 460.

_Apprehend_, how distinguished from _comprehend_, 369.

Aquinas, his dogmatic position defensive, 9, 462.

Argens. See _D’Argens_.

Arian tendency in English church, 392.

Ariosto, sceptical jests in, 95.

Aristotle, criticism on Plato by, 42.

Arminius, 392; Arminians, Ib.

Arndt, J. a Pietist, 424.

Arnobius’s Apology, 458.

Arnold of Brescia, 85.

Arnold, German church historian, pref. xvii.

Ass, worship of, imputed to Christians, 405.

Association mental, works on, 355.

Astroc, first to distinguish documents in Genesis, 254.

Atheism, causes of in modern times, 358;
  history of the uses of the term, 413.

Athenagoras, apology of, 456.

Atonement, 335, 360, 366, 369, 386;
  literary history of, 368.

_Aufklürung-zeit_, 227.

Augustin on Porphyry, 62;
  _De Civ. Dei_, 459;
  comparison with Aquinas, 460.

Aurellus, Marcus, views of, 45.

Averroes, influence of, 90;
  altered tone of Christians towards, ib.;
  pantheism derived from, 100;
  threefold influence of, 101.

Avesta Zend, 382.

Bacon, influence of, 10;
  works respecting, 105;
  his philosophy of method, 117.

Bahrdt, disciple of Semler, 227.

Balguy, Dr. works on the Christian evidences, 467.

Bampton, John, 207.

Bampton Lectures, 37, 39, 366, 368, 385, 469.

Bangorian Controversy, 125.

Baronius, the church historian, pref. xvi.

Barre. See _La Barre_.

Bartholmess, _le Scept. Theol._ 19;
  _Hist. Crit._ 25.

Bartollocci, _Lexicon_, 386.

Basedow, institutions of, 219, 227.

Basle, theology of the university of, 444.

Bauer, Bruno, 275.

Bauer, L. 441.

Baumgarten-Crusius, 41, 442.

Baur, Chr. of Tübingen, work on Gnosis, 39;
  on Celsus, 50;
  on Apollonius, 62;
  theological position, 278;
  life and works, 436.

Bautain, abbé, 448.

Bayle, 168.

Bazard, the Simonian, 294.

Beard’s _Voices of the Church_, 273.

Beaufort, critic of Roman history, 144.

Bello, Italian poet, 95.

Bembo, cardinal, 96.

Benedictines on Abélard’s _Sic et Non_, 83.

Bengel, 17, 132.

Bentham, Jeremy, remarks on by J. S. Mill, 310.

Bentley, _Phalaris_, 132;
  _Phileleutherus Lipsiensis_, 464.

Berkeley, Bp. 149, 236.

Berlin, university of, 218, 241, 244.

Bernard, St. contest of with Abélard, 81, 82.

Berry Street Lecture, 466.

Beugnot, _Les Juiss_, 385.

Bhagavat Gitá, 382.

Bible, statement of modern difficulty on, 372.

_Biblia Pauperum_, 222.

Bibliander, collection of works against Mahometanism, 388.

Bibliolatry, origin of the term, 233.

_Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum_, 391.

Bibliotheca Sacra, 45, 250, 279, 436, 439, pref. xvii.

Biddle, J. the English unitarian, 392.

Bilderdyk, Dutch poet, 446.

Bini Carlo, Italian poet, 16.

Biographical treatment of doubt, use of, 32 seq.

Biran. See _De Biran_.

Blackball, against Toland, 129.

Blackwood’s Magazine on Renan, 302.

Bleda’s _Defensio Fidei_, 388.

Blount, C. the deist, 64, 123, 124.

Blount, Prof. works of, 369, 466.

Boccaccio, _Le Tre Aunella_, 89.

Boethius quotes Porphyry on predication, 56, 79.

Bolingbroke, works and opinions, 144 seq.

Bolton, Hulsean Prize Essay, 73, 451.

Bonald, 448.

Boone, Shergold, argument on divine attributes, 26.

Boulmier, Life of Bayle, 168.

Boyle, Robert, 207, 466.

Boyle Lectures, 466; list of several, 467.

Bretschneider, German Theologian, 231, 234, 268.

Bridgewater Treatises, 469.

British Quarterly Review, on Italian Renaissance, 94;
  on Spinoza, 106;
  on German theology, 232;
  on Schleiermacher, 241;
  on modern German theology, 284;
  on Comte, 295.

Browne, Dr. Peter, 466.

Brucker on Scholastic philosophy, 77.

Bruno Giordano, 102.

Buchanan on Atheism, 469.

Buckle, on the state of France in the eighteenth century, 164;
  on office of free thought, 349.

Buddeus, 419.

Buddhism, 46, 383, 385.

Buddhist pilgrims, 382.

Bunsen, Chevalier, 250.

Burgh, reputed a deist, 202.

Burnouf, Eugene on Zend, 381.

Burton, Dr. on Gnostics, 39, 40.

Butler, Bp. relation to Shaftesbury, 131;
  account of his works, 157 seq.;
  points in his _Analogy_ weakened, 157;
  attacks on the _Analogy_, 158;
  his originality, 158;
  his position, 362;
  Whewell on his Ethics, 369;
  value of, 451, 466, 467.

Butler, Charles, works of, 110, 164, 165.

Buxtorf, on Hebrew vowel points, 113.

Byron, Vision of Judgment, 95;
  his scepticism, 203.

Cabanis, 191, 290.

Cabbala, Franck on, 39.

Calas, the family of, 171.

Calderon, 95.

Campanella, 102.

Canon, date when fixed, 58;
  works on, 58;
  Toland on, 129.

Cantacuzene, 388.

Canz of Tübingen, 216.

Capellus, on Hebrew vowel points, 113.

Cappadose, 445.

Cardan, 102.

Carlisle, an unbeliever in the present century, 202.

Carlyle, T. his works and influence, 315 seq.

_Carmen Memoriale_, 385.

Causes in Christianity for a struggle with free thought, 1, 2;
  in the nature of man for ditto, 13-32;
  moral causes of doubt, pref. vii.; 13, 14-18, 348, 464;
  intellectual of ditto, 30;
  instances of, 17;
  why selected for study, pref., 345;
  peculiarity of analysis of them, 346;
  of unbelief in old heathens, 71;
  of ditto in the present age, 358;
  why the work is written, pref. xii.

Celsus, named, S; character and life, 50, 76;
  work of analysed, 50 seq.;
  discussed, 403;
  Pressensè on, 403.

Century, nineteenth, comparison of with third century A.D. 356, 357.

Chaldee letters, when introduced into Judæa, 385.

Chalmers’s works, 468.

Chandlers, the, against Collins, 466.

Change of tone in modern doubt, 308.

Channing, 392.

Charron, 168.

Chateaubriand, 291.

_Chissuk Emuna_, 386.

_Christianity not Mysterious_, of Toland, 127;
  _ditto as old as Creation_, of Tindal, 138.

Christianity, peculiarities in it which are the ground of attack by free
            thought, 1, 2.
  See _Cause_.

_Christian Remembrancer_, on French preachers, 300.

Christology of Strauss, 433.

Chronicles, Books of, works on, 17.

Chrysostom, compared to Bernard, 460.

Chubb, T. the deist, 142.

Church, see _History_, _English_, _French_.

Classification of German theologians, 439.

Claudius, 243.

Clement, the apology of, 457.

Clementines, the, 47, 400.

Clergy, education of in reference to doubt, 344.

Cocceius, allegorical interpretation of, 222.

Cocquerel, the two, 449.

Colani, 305, 448.

Coleridge, 25, 316;
  Mill on, 310;
  his system described, 330 seq.;
  literature concerning, 331;
  on inspiration, 474.

Collard, Royer, 447.

Collins, the Deist, on Daniel, 60;
  views of explained, 133 seq.

Combe, 312.

Communism, French, 292, 294.

Comparative study of religions, see _Religion_.

Comte, 32; system explained, 295 seq. 312.

Condillac, 148, 167.

_Conferences_ in Paris, history of, 300.

Congregational Lectures, 466.

Consciousness, the Christian, 246, 372.

Constant, Benjamin, _Polytheisme_, 44, 88;
  _De la Religion_, 387, 447.

Convocation, proceedings of against Toland, 128.

Cosmas Indicopleustes, 70.

Costa, see _Da Costa_.

Coteries in Paris in eighteenth century, 178, 421.

Courcelles, disturbs readings of the Text, 132.

Cousin, 22, 26, 27;
  on Spinoza, 107;
  system explained, 296 seq. 396, 447.

Coward, a materialist, 122.

Coward Lecture, 466.

Crescens, attack of on Christianity, 48.

Creuzer, on mythology, 450.

Criticism, two kinds of, pref. ix.;
  standard for in this work, pref. xi.;
  science of created by the Germans, 210.

Cyril, work of against Julian, 410, 459.

Da Costa, converted Jew at Amsterdam, 445.

Daillé, on Ignatian Epistles, 132.

D’Alembert, 178.

Damascenus, J. 388.

Damiron, pref. xx.; 191.

Daniel, Book of, Porphyry’s attack on, 60 seq.;
  commentators on, ib.;
  Greek words in, ib.;
  peculiarities of, ib.;
  difficulties concerning it stated, 407.

Dante on Averroes, 90.

D’Argens, work on Julian, 65, 177.

Darwin’s theory of species, 79.

Daub, German theologian, 265.

D’Aubigné of Geneva, 444.

Davidson, Dr. S. on Job, 5; on Inspiration, 474.

De Biran, 394, 447.

De Bonald, 448.

D’Eckstein, 448.

Deism, in England, 11;
  division of, 116, 126, 144;
  name explained, 118;
  peculiarities of English, 154;
  introduced into Germany, 214, 216, 217, 338, 415;
  compared with unitarianism, 328.

De la Monnaie, on the _De Tribus Impostoribus_, 412.

Deluge, difficulties on, 18.

De Maistre, 19, 300, 447.

Demoniacs, Semler on, 223.

_Dèmonstrations Evangeliques_, a collection of works on Evidences, 464.

De Prades, 177.

De Pressensé, see _Pressensé_.

Descartes, 10;
  works on, 106;
  method of, 117.

De Tracy, 191.

Dewar on German theology, pref. xxiv.

De Wette, 18, 252, 429.

D’Holbach, 181 seq.

Διαλεκτική of Plato, 78.

Diderot, life and works, 179 seq.

Difenbach’s _Jud. Convert._ and _Jud. Convers._ 386.

Difficulties, chief in the present day, 357, 366 seq.

Disputatio Jechielis, 385.

Dodwell, a deistical pamphlet of, 143.

Dogmatic theology in Germany in seventeenth century, 212.

Dolet, 168.

Döllinger’s Judenthum, 42.

Donnellan Lecture, 466.

Dorner’s _Person Christi_, 280; pref.

Dort, synod of, 212.

Doubt, causes of, see _Cause_, _Biographic_, _Change_, _Utility_.

Douglas, Bp. J. _Criterion_, 151.

Dragonnades, 165.

Dura, image of, 407.

Ecclesiastes, book of, 5.

Eclectic school in France, 297, 446;
  new school of, 301.

_Ecrasez l’infame_, explained, 175.

Edelmann, 227.

Edinburgh Review on Correlation of Force, 354;
  on mental association, 355.

Education of the clergy at the present time, 344.

_Education of the World_, Lessing not the real author of, 87.

Eichhorn, rationalism of, 232.

El, in composition of proper names, 431.

Eleatic schools, 84.

Ellis on _Divine Things_, 470.

Elohim, 255.

Emerson, remarks on, 317.

Encyclopædists in France, 180.

Enfantin, the St. Simonian, 294.

England, unbelief in, Lect. IV. and V.;
  modern forms of, Lect. VIII. and 329 seq.;
  books of, 338.

English church, subdivisions of the history of, 467.

English divines, seven chief, 289.

English, works of Evidences in, 465 seq.
  works on Inspiration, 475.

Epicureans, opinions of on religion, 42, 43.

Episcopius, 392.

Ernesti, 220.

Erskine’s Evidences, 469.

_Esprit fort,_ compared with _freethinker_, 416.

Essays and Reviews, 330, 336.

Este, Alphonso de, 228.

Ethical school, rise of in England, 146.

Eusebius on Porphyry, 56 seq.;
  reply to Hierocles, 408, 459, 460.

Euthymius Zigabenus, 388.

Evanson on the Gospels, 422.

_Everlasting Gospel_, Franciscan book so called, 86 seq.

Evidences, history of, 362;
  in early church, 453, 455;
  in the Alexandrian school, 364;
  alteration in, according to time and place, 41, 460;
  in the middle age, 461;
  at the Renaissance, 462;
  in France in eighteenth century, 194, 207, 470;
  in Germany, 365, 472;
  in England, 464;
  Butler, 157;
  modern books on, 343, 433;
  subdivision of history of, 452;
  two modes of studying, 451;
  external, 73, 451, 453;
  why less used in early church, 73, 453;
  internal, 444;
  value of in eighteenth century, 370;
  instances of value, 362, 364;
  logical force of, 15, 451;
  opposition to, whence, 208.

Ewald, 252, 258, 430.

Ewing, Greville, on Jews, 387.

Fabricius, J. A. 13;
  works on Jewish controversy, 386.

Fabricius, _J. Consid. Var. Controv._ 387.

Fairness necessary in the inquiry, 346.

Farmer on Demons, 202.

Fathers of the fourth century, 460.

Feeling used as a test of truth, 29, 30.

Félix, Père, 300.

Ferrara, court of, 228.

Feuerbach, 275.

Fichte, 236.

Ficinus, _De Rel. Christ._ 462.

Fiction modern, pantheistic character of, 318.

Fleury, the historian, pref. xvii.

Fleury, opinion on English literature, 169.

Fontenelle, 168, 193, 201.

Foreign Quarterly Review on Tholuck, 285.

Formula Concordiæ, 212.

Formula Consensus, 113.

Foscolo on Romantic epic, 94.

Foster, 467.

Fourier, 293.

Fox, W. J. _Religious Ideas_, 338.

Foxton, _Popular Christianity_, 338.

France, state of when infidelity arose in eighteenth century, 164;
  sources of freethinking in, 178;
  school at beginning of century, 290;
  evidences in, 470.

Franck on Cabbala, 89, 382;
  on Salvador, 299.

Francke, A. H. the Pietist, 424.

Fraser’s Magazine, on utilitarianism, 27;
  on pantheism in the university of Paris, 299;
  on Renan, 302.

Frederick II, blasphemy concerning three impostors, 88.

Frederick II, of Prussia, 176, 217.

Freethinker explained, 416.

Freethought, critical history of, pref. ix.;
  three kinds of, pref. v.;
  law expressing the mode of its operation, 6-11;
  four epochs of its action, 7-11;
  office of in history, 348, 352;
  political character of in middle ages, 76, 91;
  change in modern forms of it, 307, 352;
  use of inquiry into, 35 seq. 342;
  causes which made it turn into unbelief, 13 seq.

French church under Bourbons, 301.

French protestant church. See _Protestant_.

French revolution, religious aspects of, 188.

Fries, German philosopher, 252.

Fronto’s attack on Christianity, 48.

Galen, speaks of Christianity, 401.

Galileo, 350.

Gallican liberties, 165.

Gaussen, writer on _Theopneustie_, 444, 474.

Geddes, Dr. works of, 422.

Gellius Aulus, remark on Peregrinus, 49.

Genesis, De Wette on, 256.

Genthe, F. W. _De Impost. Relig._ 412.

Geology, difficulties arising from, 315.

Gerard on evidences, 55, 452.

Gerhardt, German hymn-writer, 424.

Germany; works of evidence in, 472;
  literature of, 210;
  patriotism in liberative war, 240;
  philosophy of, 235 seq.;
  theology of, subdivision of, 211;
  three periods in its history, 218;
  sources of, 439;
  classification of, 440.

Gfrörer, 436.

Gibbon, works criticised, 196 seq.

Gibson, Bp. Pastorals of against Woolston, 137, 466.

Gildon’s _Oracles of Reason_, 124.

Gnostics 8, 40.

Godwin, _Political Justice_, 200.

Goerres, German mystical philosopher, 241.

Göttingen, university of, 219.

Göze, opponent of Reimarus, 226.

Gospels, controversy on explained, 267, 268.

_Graffito blasfemo_, 405.

Grant, Sir A. on stoics, 45, 351.

Graves, on Pentateuch, 468.

Greece, state of in fifth century B.C. 351.

Greek words in the book of Daniel, 60.

Greg, W. R. _Creed of Christendom_ of, 321.

Gregory IX. pope, remark on Frederick II. 88.

Grimm, baron, 178.

Groen Van Printsterer. See _Printsterer_.

Gröningen party in Dutch church, 445.

Grote on Greek mythology, 5;
  on sophists, 42;
  on state of Greece in fifth century B.C. 351.

Grotius, _De Ver. Chr. Relig._ 464.

Grove on correlation of force, 354.

Guadagnoli, a writer against Mahometanism, 355.

Guhrauer, on Lessing, 426.

Guizot on Prayer, 395.

Gurlitt on Wolfenbüttel Fragments, 426.

Gustavus Adolphus association, 286.

Gutskow, 276.

Hadrian, mention of Christianity, 401.

Hävernick, 283.

Hagenbach, pref. xxiv.

Hallam, subdivision of historical inquiry by, 379.

Halle, pietistic oppostion to Wolff at, 215;
  university of, 219, 244;
  orphan-house at, 424.

Hamilton, sir W. criticism on Cousin, 28, 433.

Hampden, Bp. _Philosophical Evidences of Christianity_ on Butler, 157.

Hardwick, _Christ and other Masters_, 381, 382.

Harms’s Theses, 201.

Hartley, 148.

Hauréau on scholasticism, 80.

Heathens, ancient, opposition to Christianity, Lect. II,;
  religious tendencies among, 42 seq.;
  reaction in favour of, 44;
  parallel to the struggle with, 40, 73;
  few references to Christianity among, 400.

Hebrew monarchy, F. Newman on, 326;
  people, Ewald’s history of, 430.

Hegel, 237, 268;
  compared with Heraclitus, 433.

Hegelian philosophy, 263;
  contrasted with that of Schleiermacher, 265.

Hegelian school, subdivided, 266;
  young school of, 438.

Heine, H. the poet, 16, 276.

Helvetius, works, 181 seq.

Hengstenberg, 283;
  on Job, 5;
  on Pentateuch, 254.

Henke, pref. xvii.; 233.

Hennell, S., 198, 322, 323.

Herbart, German philosopher, creator of a realistic tendency, 438.

Herbert of Cherbury, works. 118 seq.

Herder, 228, 239.

Hermes, professor at Bonn, 240.

Hermias, apology of, 457.

Herzog’s _Real-Encycl._ 17, 228, 241.

Hey, professor at Cambridge, 392.

Hierocles. 62;
  Eusebius’s work against, 408.

Hieronymus, see _Jerome_.

Hieronymus Xavier, see _Xavier_.

Hilgenfeld, professor at Jena, 436.

Hindu, literature, 382;
  philosophy, 383.

Historic evidences of Christianity, 147.

Historic method of study in philosophy, 31, 379, 380, 396;
  the peculiarity of this age, pref. xiii.

History, threefold phase of, 2, 3, 379.

History of church, writers on, pref. xvii.

Hobbes, works, 121 seq.

Holland, sir H. on force, 354.

Holland, modern theology of, 445;
  remonstrants, 110.

Holsten, _Vita Porphyrii_, 56.

Holyoake, G. J. 312.

Hoornbeek, _Summa Controv._ 296, 382, 386, 393.

Hottinger, _Historia Orientalis_, 386, 389.

Houtteville, pref. xv.; 41, 62, 470.

Huet, 19, 59, 450, 470.

Hütten, Ulric von, 99

Hulse, founder of the Lecture, 207, 466.

Hulsius, 386.

Hume, 148 seq.;
  Essay on miracles, 150.

Hundeshagen, 10; pref. xxiv.

Hyper-Lutheranism, 284.

Iamblichus, life of Pythagoras by, 64.

Idea, first used in a subjective sense by Descartes, 422.

Idealism, difficulties arising from school of, 312.

Ideology explained, 185, 421.

Ignatian epistle, 49.

Illgen’s Zeitschrift, 87;
  on Reimarus, 426.

Illuminism, name explained, 227.

Imbonati, 386.

_Impostoribus, De Tribus_, legendary book so called, 89, 412.

Infidel, word discussed, 413.

Infidelity in France, 11;
  division of, 169;
  summary of, 193 seq.;
  in England after the French revolution, 200.

Infinity, different theories on our knowledge of, 108.

Inspiration, psychological analysis of, 29;
  view of in Germany in the seventeenth century, 113, 212, 333, 337, 373;
  history of, 473;
  opinions of English divines concerning, 475;
  literature of, 475.

Interpretation, history of, 221;
  Semler’s historic method, 221;
  methods of, 222;
  Strauss’s account of, 271.

Intuition, relation of to religion as a test of truth, 27-29, 394;
  compared with νοῦς, 331.

Isaac, Rabbin, 385.

Jacobi, German philosopher, 236, 238.

Jehovah, discussion on name, 255, 430;
  used in composition of Hebrew proper names, 431.

Jena, university of, 228.

Jenkins, writer on evidences, 467.

Jerome, passages of about Porphyry, 58 seq.

Jerusalem, temple of, Julian’s attempt to rebuild, 67.

Jerusalem, German theologian, 226.

Jewish controversy against Christianity, 12, 384 seq.

Jews, reformed, 387.

Joachim, author of _Everlasting Gospel_, 86.

Job, Book of, 5.

John of Parma, author of the preface to _Everlasting Gospel_, 86.

Jouffroy, French philosopher, 447.

Journal, Kitto’s; on inspiration, 473.

Journalism, French, 294.

Jowett, Professor, 62, 330, 382.

Julia Domna, 63.

Julian. S;
  life of. 64, 65, 72;
  acts of, 66;
  book against Christians by, 68, 410;
  rebuilding of temple by, 67.

Justin Martyr, 354, 384; apologies, 456.

Kahnis, work on German protestantism, pref. xxv.; 218.

Kant, relation of his view to religion, 27;
  compared with Abélard, 84;
  spread of his philosophy, 228;
  spirit of it, 269;
  theology of, 229 seq.;
  division of rationalists by, 416.

Keil on Chronicles, 17.

Kidder, _Demonstration of Messias_, 386.

Kingsley, C. 32, 46, 330.

Kirchenbund, and Kirchentag, 285.

Kirchoff, discoveries on contents of solar atmosphere, 355.

Kitto’s _Biblical Cyclæpedia_, on Job, 5;
  on Isaiah, 254;
  on Interpretation, 220;
  on accommodation, 222;
  on Daniel, 408.

Klose on Reimarus, 426.

Koerner, the poet, 240.

Koestlin, 436.

Kortholt, _De Relig. Mahom._, 370;
  _De Tribus Impost._ 412, 414;
  _Paganus Obtrectator_, 404.

Krebsius on Lucian, 402.

Kuenen, professor at Leyden, 446.

Labarre, 170.

Labbeus, _Concilia_, 87.

Laotantius, _Divin. Instit._, 458.

_Lake school of poetry_, 239, 309.

Lambert, St., 178.

Lamennais, 447.

La Mettrie, 177.

Landscape art of England, 309.

Lardner’s works, Lect. II. _passim_; pref. xix; 466, 468.

Larroque, sceptical works of, 299.

Latitude party in the English church in time of Charles II. 392.

Laurent’s works, 76.

Lavator, 243.

Laws of contradiction and sufficient reason, 215.

Lay scholars among reformers, 212.

Lechler, _Gesch. des Engl. Deismus_, pref. xx.

Leclerc on inspiration, 113.

Lectures apologetic, Boyle, &c. 466.

Lee, Dr. S., tracts on Mahometanism, 390;
  on German theology, pref.

Lee, Dr. W. on inspiration, 114, 473.

Leibnitz, philosophy of, 214.

Leipsic, school of, 219.

Leland on Deism, pref. xviii.

Leman lake, exiles of, 199.

Le Moyne, _Varia Sacra_, 389.

Leopardi, Italian poet, 15.

Lerminier, _De l’ influence, &c._ 447.

Leslie, C. Method with Deists, 467.

Lessing, works, 238, 426;
  authorship of _his Education of the World_, 87.

_Libre pensée_, pref. v.; 416.

Limborch, _Amica Collatio_, 386, 392.

Lime Street Lecture, 466.

Lindsay, lord, _Scepticism a retrogression_, pref. xvi.

Lippman, Rabbin, 385.

Literature in France, new tone of in eighteenth century, 166;
  Fleury’s opinion of, 169.

Lobeck on Mythology, 450.

Locke, 125, 148; Webb on, 167.

Logic, Metaphysics, &c. distinguished, 77;
  method of, taught by physical science, 98.

Logical and chronological priority distinguished, 372.

Λόγος of Philo, 332.

Lombard, Peter, 461.

Louis XIV. 166.

Lucian, a sceptic, 43;
  _Peregr. Prot._, 48 seq. 402, 403;
  life, 48;
  Philopatris, 67, 409.

Lucretius, 43.

Lutheran reaction. See _Neo_ and _Hyper Lutheranism_.

Lyall, _Propæd. Prophet._, 152.

Lyons, _Infallibility of Human Judgment_, 135.

Lyttleton, on St. Paul, 209, 368, 467.

Mabillon’s Bernard, 82.

Macaulay, subdivision of history, 379.

Mackay, R. W. works of, 319 seq.

Macmillan’s Magazine on Cowper, &c. 23;
  on Miracle Plays, 95.

Maerklin, 34.

Magdeburg Centuries, pref. xvii.

Mahábhárata, 383.

Mahomet. 390.

Mahometans, controversy with, 12, 387, 390.

Maimonides, 107.

Maine de Biran, Eclectic philosopher, 394, 447.

Mandeville, 135.

Mansel, Bampton Lect. 470;
  on Kant, 229;
  on Fichte, 433.

Maracci, Koran, 389.

Marchand’s _Dictionnaire_ de Impostoribus, 412

Maret, 299.

Marheinecke, Hegelian theologian, 265.

Marmontel, 178.

Martineau, J. 321, 338, 392;
  on Butler, 157.

Martyn, II. pamphlets on Mahometanism, 390.

Masson, Essays, 33.

Materialism defined, 166;
  in Germany, 438.

Maternus, 456.

Maupertnis, 217.

Maurice’s Boyle Lectures, 330, 381.

M’Caul’s works on Judaism, 387.

M’Cosh, works, 27, 469.

M’Gill on the Chaldee of Daniel, 60.

Mediation school of theology, 241, 279.

Mendelssohn the philosopher, 225.

Metaphysics, 24;
  tests of truth in, 25 seq.;
  subdivision of, 394.

Mettrie, La, 177.

Miall, E. _Bases of Belief_, 469.

Michaelis, 220.

Michael Scot, 90.

Micrælios, 386.

Middleton, Conyers, 423.

Migne, _Livres Sacrés_, 383;
  _Démonstrations Evangeliques_, 464.

Mill, Dr. on Strauss, 273.

Mill, J. S. on variation of terms, 11;
  on laws, 32, 311, 380;
  on utility, 27;
  on society, 32;
  on Bentham and Coleridge, 309.

Miller’s Bampton Lectures, 366, 468.

Mills, various readings, 132.

Milman on Gibbon, 196.

Milton, compared with Pope and Tennyson, 22.

Minucius Felix, apology, 44, 457.

Miracle Plays, 95.

Miracles, Hume on, 151 seq.;
  how distinguished from wonder, 152;
  Trench’s classification of attacks on, 154.

Miscreant, name explained, 44.

Missions in Germany, 285.

Modern English theology, tendencies in, 329 seq.

Moehter, 240, 250.

Monnaie, de La, 412.

Montaigne, 167.

Montesquieu, 168.

Montgéron on the miracles of Abbé Paris, 150.

Moral causes of doubt. See _Cause_.

Moral sense, 364, 369.

Moravians, 161, 285.

Morell’s works on tests of truth, 19, 22, 25;
  on inspiration, 29.

Morgan’s works, 140 seq.

Morinus on Hebrew vowel points, 113.

Mornæus, _De Ver._ 386, 403.

Mosheim on _Everlasting Gospel_, 86.

Moyer, lady, lecture on Arianism, 466.

Müller, Julius, 250.

Müller, Max, on myths, 270, 450;
  on Sanskrit 383.

Müller, Ottfried, on mythology, 450.

Mundt, 276.

Mysticism, instances of, 20, 30.

Myth, distinguished from parable and legend, 233, 269, 270.

Mythology, Grote on, 5;
  altered opinion on in present century, 320, 450.

Names proper, in Hebrew, 255, 431.

National Review on Ecclesiastes, 5;
  on Swedenborg, 30;
  on Gibbon, 196;
  on Shelley, 204;
  on Strauss, 273;
  on J. H. Newman, 310;
  on the working classes, 313;
  on Theodore Parker, 324;
  on the Acts, 367.

Natural history of doubt, peculiarity of inquiry, 346, 347.

Naturalism, term explained, 415;
  compared with positivism, 339.

Neander, Lect. II. _passim_; life and views. 250, 251, 364;
  opposed prohibition of Strauss’s book, 272.

Neo-Lutheranism, 283.

Neo-Platonism, explained, 46;
  works on, 399;
  teachers of, 399;
  in English theology 332.

Nettement’s works on French literary history, 290, 446.

New Testament, questions on, 367.

Newman, F. 17, 34;
  works, 323, 326 seq;
  _Phases_ 327;
  _Hebr. Mon._ 327.

Nicholai, 219, 224.

Nicholas, Michel, 254, 430, 448.

Niedner’s Zeitschrift, on Reimarus, 426.

Nitzch, 250.

Nizzachon, the two, 385.

Nominalism, 9, 81.

North British Review, on Alexandrian school, 221;
  on socialism, 276, 292, 294;
  on German theology, 284;
  on Comte, 205;
  on Galileo, 350;
  on S. Hennell, 323;
  on Vedas, 383;
  on Socinianism, 392;
  on Vinet, 444;
  on apologetic literature, 464.

Norton on Gospels, 40.

Novalis, 239.

Novel, modern, tendency of, 318.

Oberlin, 243.

Ochino, a unitarian, 99.

Ogilvie, Dr. on doubt, 13.

Olshausen, H. 250.

Ontology explained, 25.

_Oracles of Reason_ of Blount, 124.

Oracles on Christianity, 57.

Orcagna, Averroes in his fresco, 90.

Origen against Celsus, 50, 51, 404, 457;
  comparison of with Schleiermacher, 285, 460.

Osiander, comparison of his views with Schleiermacher’s, 247.

Oxford movement in church, 424.
  See _Reaction_.

Owen, R. 201 seq. 307.

Owen, R. D. 202.

Padua, university of, philosophy at, 100.

Paine. T. 149 seq.

Painting, early Italian schools of, 96.

Paley, 466.

Panizzi on Romantic Epic, 94.

Pantheism at Padua, 100;
  two kinds of, 101, 109;
  name explained, 414.

Paolo Giovio, 96.

Para du Phanjas, 464.

Parable, distinguished from myth, 269.

Paris, àbbé, miracles of, 150.

Parker, Theodore, life and writings of, 323, 324.

Pascal, 470.

Patriotism in Germany, 240.

Paulus, German theologian, 232 seq.

Pearson on infidelity, 13, 311.

Pecock, Reginald, 98.

Pentateuch controversy, 254 seq.

Peregrinus Proteus of Lucian, 49 seq. 402.

Persecution, cause of, 404 seq.

Pestalozzi, 383.

Peter, St. joke on in Romantic Epic, 94.

Petrarch on Evidences, 462.

Pfaff, 419.

Phases of Faith, of F. W. Newman, 327.

Philippsohn on Judaism, 387.

Philopatris of Pseudo-Lucian, 67, 409.

Philosophy, scholastic, 78 seq.;
  German, 235 seq. 438.

Philostratus’s Life of Apollouius, 63 seq.

Physics, difficulties derived from, 350;
  teaches logical method, 98.

Physiology, modern discoveries in. 355;
  mode of approaching psychology through, 438.

Piers Plowman, the poem, on contemporary scepticism, 90.

Pietism, 213, 424.

Planck, A. on Lucian, 50, 402.

Planck’s Sacred Philology, 221.

Plato on Sophists, 42;
  doctrines on religion, 45;
  Platonic dialectic, 78;
  Platonic party at Cambridge in the seventeenth century, 124, 392.

Plurality of worlds, 201.

Poetry in Germany, schools of, 425.

Pomponatius, 101.

Pope, compared with Milton and Tennyson, 22;
  influence of Bolingbroke on, 145.

Porphyry, life and character, 56 seq. 71;
  references for studying, 56;
  view of oracles, 57;
  work against Christians, 57 seq.;
  attack on Daniel, 60 seq.;
  other views of, 61, 62;
  on predication, 57;
  letter to Marcella, 71.

Port Royal, miracle of the thorn, 153.

Positivism, described, 296;
  in England, 311;
  religion of, 312;
  compared with Naturalism, 339.

Pouilly, critic on Roman history, 144.

Powell, Baden, on Deluge, 17.

Prayer, extract from Guizot on, 395.

Prejudices of heathens against Christianity, 405.

Presentative consciousness, 394.

Press, freedom of in England, 123.

Pressensé, pref. xix., 42, 356, 404, 448, 449, 451, 453.

Priestly, 392.

Printsterer, Groen van, 445.

Progress in religion, 87.

Protestant church in France, freethought in, 304, 448.

Protestantism distinguished from scepticism, pref. vi.; 9, 99.

Providence, Holyoake on, 313.

Psalms: the seventy-third named, 5, 19;
  the division of into books, 256.

Pseudo-Clementines, 400.

Pseudo-Lucian, Philopatris, 409.

Psychology explained, 24;
  Morrell on, 395.

_Pugio Fidei_, 385.

Pulci, 95.

Pusey on German theology, pref. xxi.;
  on inspiration, 475.

Quakers, 29.

Quarterly Review, on Leopardi, 16;
  on Romantic Epic, 94;
  on Theophilanthropists, 190;
  on Fourier, 292.

Quinet, E. on comparison of religions, 5, 381;
  on Strauss, 273.

Racovian Catechism, 391.

Rámayana, 382.

Rambouillet, 178.

Ramus, P. 102.

Rationalism in Germany, 11, 231, 234;
  subdivided, 218, 417;
  compared with Deism, 321;
  explained, 416 seq.;
  literary dispute on, 418;
  in English church, 329, 340.

Ratisbon, confession of, 212.

Ray, 466.

Raymond, Martin, 386.

Raynal, 178.

Reaction among heathens, 44;
  Catholic in France, 300, 448;
  in Italy, 103;
  in Oxford, 285, 310.

Readings, variety of in sacred texts, 182.

Realism explained, 9, 79 seq.

Rees, translation of Racovian Catechism, 391.

Reformation, twofold element in, 211;
  not sceptical, 9, 99:
  pref. vi.; 211;
  in Italy, 99.

Reformed Jews, 387.

Reimannus, 7.

Reimarus, 225, 426.

Reinhardt, 231.

Reinhold, 228.

Religion, comparative study of, 4, 380;
  Greek, 5;
  eastern, 4.

Remonstrants in Dutch church, 110, 445.

Renaissance, 92 seq.;
  literature at, 96;
  unchristian sympathy at, 96;
  evidences at, 462.

Renan, E. 5, 31, 302 seq.; 397;
  Averroes, 89;
  Lect. III. _passim_.

Rénand, 299.

Repressor. See _Pecock_.

Responsibility for belief, 18.

Reuss, 448.

Reville, 446, 448.

Revolution, French, 188;
  profanity of, 189.

Revue des Deux Mondes; Taillandier on Abélard, 81;
  Saisset on Spinoza, 106;
  Remusat on Herbert, 119;
  Girardin on Rousseau’s _Emile_, 188;
  Scherer on Hegel, 266, 398;
  Reville on Parker, 324;
  on Comte, 296;
  Moleschott, 438;
  Young Hegelians, 438;
  Reville on Holland, 446;
  Renan on metaphysics, 303.

Revue Germanique, on Lessing, 224;
  on Gospels, 267.

Richardi _Confutatio_, 388.

Riddle’s Bampton Lectures, pref. xv.; 468.

Rigg, J. H. Anglican theology, 330.

Riggenbach, 445.

Robespierre, 190.

Robins, S. pref. xvi.

Rogers, H. 374, 469.

Röhr, 234.

Romaine, 160.

Roman catholic theology in Germany, 442.

Romantic Epic, 94 seq.;
  school in Germany, 239, 291.

Roscelin on Trinity, 80.

Rose, H. J. on German theology, pref. xxi.

Rosenmüller, 220.

Rothe, German theologian, 279, 281, 436.

Rousseau, sources for study of, 183;
  life, 183;
  works, 184 seq.;
  _Contral social_, 184;
  Emile, 185;
  _Confessions_, 187;
  compared with Voltaire, 188.

Ruge, 275.

Saintes-Amand, pref. xxiv.

Saisset, E. on Spinoza. 108.

Salomo Zebi. 386.

Salvador, 299, 387.

Sanskrit literature, 382.

Saumur, school of, 212.

Saussure, Ch. de la, 446.

Scepticism explained, 418 seq.;
  kinds of, 419.

Schelling, 27, 46, 238, 433.

Scherer, 31, 397, 448, 474.

Schlegel, F. 239.

Schleiermacher, 242 seq.;
  critical works of, 248;
  translates Plato, 242;
  theological works of, 244, 428 seq.;
  Glaubenslehre, 245;
  his studies, 428;
  compared with Origen and H. St. Victor, 244;
  and with Plato, 427.

Schmidt, G. 276.

Schneckenbürger, 436.

Scholastic, philosophy, 77 seq.;
  origin of name, 77;
  divisions of, 81;
  value of scholastic theology, 462.

Scholtens J. H. professor at Leyden, 446.

Schools of German poetry, 425.

Schopenhauer, 438.

Schramm, _Anal. Patr._ 41, 454.

Schrockh, pref. xvii.

Scholtens, 446.

Schulze, 228.

Schwarz, C. _Gesch._ pref. xxv.

Schwegler, 436.

Schweizer, 439, 444.

Science, anticipations of the future condition of, 354 seq.

_Science in theology_, 385.

Scriptures, doubts of, 361.

Sebonde on natural religion, 104, 462.

Secker, Abp. relieves Annet, 144;
  subscribes to Voltaire, 171.

Secularism, explained, 312, 313.

Semler, works and system, 218 seq.

Sensation, as a test of truth, 25.

Sensationalisim, meaning of, 25.

Servetus, 99.

Severus, Sept. 63.

Shaftesbury, Lord, 130 seq.

Shelley, 16; 203 seq.;
  works, 206.

Sherlock, 467.

_Sic et Non_, 82.

Silence of heathens on Christianity, 402 seq.

Simeon of Cambridge, 160.

Simon, Jules, 471.

Simon, Richard, 83, 168.

Sirven, 170.

Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, on Ecclesiastes, 5;
  Canon, 58;
  Genesis, 257;
  Daniel, 408;
  Jehovah, 480.

Socialism, English, 201;
  French, 292;
  in 1848, 294;
  compared with English, 294.

Socinianism, 12, 99, 391.

Socrates, 84, 351.

Σοφία, of Aristotle, 78.

Sophists of Greece, 351.

Sources of information for the attacks of heathens, 41.

Sources for lectures, pref.

Spener, the Pietist, 213, 424.

Spinoza, 60;
  sources of information on, 106;
  philosophy of, 107;
  _Theologicus Politicus_, 110;
  effects of 113.

Stahl, 283.

Stanhope’s Boyle Lectures, 386.

Statistics, difficulties from, 314.

Stattler, 464.

Stephen, list of writers on inspiration, 474.

Sterling, 34.

Stilling, Jung, 243, 285.

Stillingfleet, 466.

Stirner, 276.

St. Lambert. See _Lambert_.

Stoics, religious opinions of, 45.

Storr, 231.

Strauss, 34;
  on Julian, 66;
  life and writings, 267, 434;
  life of Christ, 266, 271;
  Christology, 269, 433;
  view of Christ’s ideal, 356;
  replies to, 273, 435;
  effects of, 272 seq.;
  view of his own work, 273;
  on Reimarus, 427.

St. Simon, life and sect, 293, 294.

Subjective character of modern unbelief, 308.

Συγκατάβασις, 222.

Suetonius on Christianity, 401.

Supernatural, tendency of labour to depress the sense of, 314

Swedenborg, 29.

Swift, on Woolston, 137.

Switzerland, modern theology of, 444.

Symmachus, 69.

Tacitus on Christianity, 401.

Taillandier on Abélard, 81, 83.

Taine on Livy, 302, 379.

Tatian, 48, 456.

Taylor, A. on Latitudinarians, 128.

Taylor, I. 469.

Technical. See _Terms_.

Telesius, 102.

Templars, unbelief of, 89.

Tendencies, religious, among ancient heathens, 40 seq.

Tennyson, compared with Pope and Milton, 23;
  quoted, 260.

Terms, technical, 413; literature of, 419.

Tertullian’s Apology, 457.

Tests of truth, effects of various theories of, 25-30.

Thaer, author of Lessing’s _Education of the World_, 87.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, 221.

Theodosius II. destroyer of heathen works against Christianity, 41.

Theologians, German; classification of, 440 seq.
  See _Modern English_.

Theophilanthropists, 190.

Theophilus, apologist, 457.

Tholuck, 249;
  on evidences, 464:
  pref. xxiii.;
  on inspiration, 473;
  attack on Butler’s Analogy, 157.

Thomson’s, Bp. Bampton Lectures, 368, 385, 469.
  See _Atonement_.

Tillemont, pref. xvii.

Tindal, M. works, 139 seq.;
  suggestive of Butler’s Analogy, 157.

Toland, works, 127 seq.

Toldos Jeschu, 385.

Toleration, works on, and principle of, 118, 406.

Treason, charge of against early Christians, 406.

Trench’s Calderon, 95.

Truth, see _Tests_.

Tübingen school, 209, 274, 277, 367;
  university of, 219.

Tullocks Inaugural Address, 339;
  Burnett prize, 469.

Turpin, Abp. joke on in Romantic Epic, 95.

Twelfth century, great minds in, 86.

Twesten, 250.

Tzehirner’s _Essay_, 400;
  _Apologetik_, pref. xix.

Ullmann, 250.

Unbelief, see _Cause_, _Subjective_.

Uniformities of Causation and Co-existence, 79.

Unigenitus Bull, 165.

Union of German churches, 282.

Unitarianism, history of, and works on, 392 seq.

Universities, German, 219, 223;
  that of Paris attacked for Pantheism, 299.

Utility of the inquiry into doubt, pref. xii, 342 seq.

Van den Ende, 106.

Vanim, 103

Van Mildert, pref. vi, xv.;
  on moral causes of doubt, 13, 345.

Vaughan, R. A. on mystics, 30; essays, 59.

Vedas, 382.

Vendidad Sade, 381.

Vilmar, classification of German poetry, 425.

Vinet, 444, 448.

Vituperation in books of evidence of seventeenth century, 465.

Volney, _Les Ruines_, 191 seq.; 290.

Voltaire, on Woolston, 137;
  life of, 170;
  character of, 171 seq.;
  Carlyle on, 171;
  theological works of, 174;
  opinions of, 175;
  ridicule, 172.

Vowel points in Hebrew, controversy on, 113.

Wagenseil, _Tela Ignea Satanœ_, 385.

Walch, 419, 460.

Walton’s Polyglott, various readings in, 132.

Warburton, Divine Legation, 466, 467.

Waterland, reply to Tindal, 188, 464.

Watson, Bp. 198, 464.

Webb on Locke, 168.

Wegscheider, 234.

Weimar, court of, 228.

Welcker on mythology, 450.

Werenfels, tests for miracles, 153.

Wesley, 161, 392.

Westcott on canon, 53;
  on Daniel, 408;
  on Inspiration, 472.

Westminster Review:
  on Job, 5;
  Heine, 16;
  Rousseau, 183;
  German theology, 8;
  Byron and Shelley, 208;
  Owen, 202;
  Weimar, 228;
  Vedas, 383;
  Bentham, 309;
  Positivism, 312;
  Carlyle, 315;
  Emerson, 317;
  S. Hennell, 323;
  Parker and Strauss, 324;
  F. Newman, 327;
  Socialism, 438;
  Taine, 302;
  Schopenbauer, 432.

Whately’s Rhetoric, 14.

Whewell, 28, 79, 369.

White, Blanco, 34.

Whitfield, 160.

Wichern’s Inner Mission, 285.

Will distinct from Emotion, 394.

Wiseman, Cardinal, Lectures, 469.

Wolfenbüttel Fragments, 225, 426 seq.

Wolf, J. A. on Homer, 253.

Wolff’s Bibliotheca Hebraica, 386.

Wollf, philosophy of, 214 seq.;
  life of, 215, 216;
  sources for studying, 215;
  effects of, 216.

Woodham, 78, 454.

Woolstencraft, 200.

Woolston, 136 seq. 420.

Wordsworth quoted, 115; 309.

Wulferus, 386.

Xavier, Hieronimo, a writer against the Mahometans, 296.

Yaçna, 387.

Young’s _Christ of History_, 469.

Zeitstimmen, &c., 436.

Zeller, 436, 444.

Zend Literature, 381.

Zeno of Elea, 84.

Zinzendorf, 101.

Zoroaster, 381.

Zurich, university of, 444.


    1 Pref. pp. v.-ix.

    2 Id. pp. x, xi.

    3 Id. pp. xii, xiii.

    4 Id. p. xiv.

    5 Lect. I.: and Lect. VIII. p. 340 seq.

    6 E.g., in the French expression _la libre pensée_.

    7 In Note, p. 413.

    8 In 1713.

    9 Many of the modern French protestant critics so employ it; e.g. A.
      Reville, _Rev. des Deux Mondes_, Parker, Oct. 1861.

   10 Cfr. pp. 9 and 99.

   11 Cfr. p. 12, and Notes 4, 5, and 6, at the end of this volume.

   12 Boyle Lectures (1802-4). See note, p. 345.

   13 Bacon’s Nov. Org. lib. i. Aph. 104.

   14 Cfr. pp. 14-20.

   15 Pp. 32-34. Pp. 22, 24, 25.

   16 Pp. 24-31.

   17 Cfr. p. 346.

   18 See especially Lect. VIII. p. 357 seq.

   19 Some valuable remarks on the proper balance of the mind in study are
      contained in a sermon, _The Nemesis of Excess_, recently preached at
      Oxford, by Bp. Jackson.

   20 pp. 35-37.

   21 Cfr. pp. 31 note, 342; and Note 9. pp. 396-8.

_   22 The Natural History of Infidelity and Superstition in Contrast with
      Christian Faith._

   23 A work partly on the history of unbelief, _Scepticism a
      Retrogressive Move in Theology and Philosophy_, has also been lately
      written (1861) by the accomplished lord Lindsay. Great learning is
      shown in it. Though written with a special controversial purpose,
      and though the facts accordingly are briefly stated, without
      literary references, it contains a useful summary and suggestive

   24 In a literary point of view it is incorrect, in one chapter, if the
      author understands Mr. Robins rightly, where he seems to classify
      together, under the same head of Pantheism, the atheism of the
      French school of the Encyclopædists in the last century and that of
      the German philosophers of the present. The two indeed agree in
      denying or ignoring the existence of a personal God; but in tone,
      premises, and metaphysical relations, they differ diametrically.
      (Since this note was written, the sad intelligence of Mr. Robins’s
      death has appeared.)

_   25 Christliche Kirchengeschichte_, &c. 45 vols. 1768-1812. The writer
      of these lectures has taken occasion elsewhere (p. 466.) to deplore
      the want of any complete history of the English church. He may here
      add also the want of a history in English of European Christianity
      since the Reformation.

   26 It may offer an explanation of subsequent references to some church
      historians, to name the classification given by Schaff (_Bibliotheca
      Sacra_, 1850). After treating of the ancient and mediæval histories,
      and making the obvious subdivision of the modern into Romish and
      Protestant, and subdividing these again according to their nations,
      he arranges the Protestant historians of Germany chronologically
      under five classes: (1) the Polemico-orthodox, such as the Magdeburg
      centuriators; (2) the Pietistic,—Arnold and Weismann; (3) the
      Pragmatico-super-natural,—Mosheim, Walch, Planck, Schröckh; (4) the
      Rationalist,—Semler, Henke, Gieseler (in reference to which latter
      he is perhaps hardly fair); (5) the Scientific, viz. (α) of the
      Schleiermacher school,—Neander; (β) of the Hegelian, unchurchlike
      and heterodox,—Baur; (γ) of the Hegelian, churchlike and
      orthodox,—Dorner. Concerning older church historians, see the late
      Rev. J. G. Dowling’s excellent work, _Introduction to the Critical
      Study of Ecclesiastical History_, 1838; and, on the most modern
      German church historians, see _North British Review_, Nov. 1858.

   27 Lect. III. pp. 100-103.

_   28 Geschichte des Englischen Deismus._ 1841.

_   29 J. Leland’s View of the Deistical Writers_, 1754. An edition
      published in 1837 contains an account of the subsequent history of
      Deism by Cyrus R. Edmonds. It is edited by Dr. W. L. Brown.

   30 Lecture II.

   31 An older work, in some respects similar to Pressensé’s, is
      Tzchirner’s _Geschichte der Apologetik_, 1805.

   32 Lecture III.

   33 See p. 82, note.

   34 P. 76, note.

   35 Lecture IV.

   36 The able French critic C. Remusat has bestowed attention on some of
      the English deists. A paper on Shaftesbury has appeared since
      Lecture IV. was printed, in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, Nov. 1862.

   37 In Lecture V.

   38 Edited by Vater.

   39 See p. 177, note.

   40 See p. 164, note.

   41 Lectures VI. and VII.

   42 Lecture VI. p. 213.

   43 Some of these works were subsequent to the discussion caused abroad
      by the sermons of Mr. Rose, described below.

   44 Afterwards Principal of the King’s College, London.

_   45 Historical Inquiry into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist
      Character lately predominant in the Theology of Germany._

   46 1829.

_   47 Historical Inquiry_, &c. part ii. 1830.

   48 P. 241.

   49 Dr. S. Lee, of Cambridge, also appended a dissertation on some
      points of German Rationalism to his _Six Sermons on Prophecy_, 1830.

   50 In the Appendix to the second edition of the _State of Protestantism
      in Germany_, 1829.

   51 A brief sketch of Tholuck’s views it given in the _Foreign Quarterly
      Review_, vol. 25.

_   52 Der Deutsche Protestantismus, seine Vergangenheit and seine
      heutigen Lebensfragen in zusammenhang der gesammten
      rationalentwickelung beleuchlet von einem Deutschen._ A very
      instructive article was written in the _British Quarterly Review_,
      No. 26, May 1851, founded chiefly on this work.

   53 Kahnis, _Internal History of German Protestantism_ (E. T.), p. 169,

   54 An English clergyman, Mr. E. H. Dewar, wrote a small work in 1844,
      on _German Protestantism_; based chiefly on Amand Saintes, but in
      tone like that of Mr. Rose. It was considered very unfair, and was
      answered by Neander in the _Jahrbücher fur Wissenschaftliche
      Kritik_, October 1844; and when Mr. Dewar replied, was again
      answered by him in _Antwortschreiben_, 1845. It may be proper to
      name here, that Mr. B. Hawkins’s work, _Germany, Spirit of her
      History_, &c. 1838, contains miscellaneous information on many
      points of German life, which illustrate this portion of the history.

   55 P. 279. Neander has also written a work, _Geschichte des
      Verflossenen halb-Jahrhunderts_. (_Deutsche Zeitschrift_, 1850.)

   56 He belongs to a new form of the historico-critical school; See Note
      41, p. 438; but writes without prejudice. An article elsewhere
      referred to (p. 7) in the _Westminster Review_, may convey an idea
      of the facts of Schwarz’s work; but it expresses a more definite
      tendency and opinions than his work.

   57 Lect. VII. p. 289 seq.

   58 P. 290, note.

   59 Id.

   60 Lect. VIII.

   61 As the relation of the present condition of religions belief in
      England to forms of philosophy may not have been made perfectly
      clear even by the remarks in Lect. VIII. p. 330 seq., and Note 9 (p.
      396), it may be well here to state the sequence intended, even at
      the risk of repetition. The father of the modern philosophy is Kant.
      He first gave the impulse to resolve truth, which was supposed to be
      objective, into subjective forms of thought. Hence, in succeeding
      systems of philosophy, the idea was thought to be of more importance
      than the facts; and an _à priori_ tendency was created. But in the
      two philosophers, Schelling and Hegel, this developed in different
      modes. Both sought to approach facts through ideas; to both the
      ideal world was the real; but with the former, truth was absolute,
      with the latter, relative. In the former case the mind was thrown in
      upon itself, and had a secure ground of truth in the eternal truths
      of the reason; in the latter it was thrown (ultimately, though not
      immediately) outward, and taught to trace the transition of the
      ideas in the world, the growth of truth in history. Hence in
      theology, while the tendency of both was to find an appeal for truth
      independent of revelation, the one produced an intuitional religion,
      the other, proximately, an ideal, but ultimately generates
      scepticism; for the one clings to the eternal ideas in the mind, the
      other views the fleeting, changing aspects of truth in the world.
      The spirit of the former is seen in Carlyle, Coleridge, and Cousin;
      the spirit of the latter in Renan and Scherer, and is beginning to
      appear in the younger writers of the English periodical literature.
      Hence in English theology we have two broadly marked divisions; one
      doctrinal, and the other literary; the former of which subdivides
      into the two just named.

   62 Many references to them are given in Smith’s (American) Translation
      of Hagenbach’s _Hist. of Doctr._ 1862.

   63 In Lect. I. p. 16 (last par.), 35, 36; In Lect. II. p. 66 (last
      par.); in Lect. III. p. 80 (last half), 81 (first half), 92, 97; 98
      (last par.), 99; 102, 104, 105, 108, 111 (part): in Lect. IV. p.
      120, 122, 124 (part), 141, 143, 145-147; 148: in Lect. V. p. 181,
      182; 184; 196-203; in Lect. VI. p. 210, 237; 250-259 (nearly all):
      in Lect. VII. p. 281 (part); 291-301: in Lect. VIII. p. 307 (part);
      310-339 (for which a brief analysis was substituted); p. 344; 355,
      369 (part).

   64 His thanks are especially due to Mr. Macray, the Librarian of the
      Taylor Institution, for his kindness in the last respect.

   65 Pp. 38, 378.

   66 The attitude of the mind towards the national mythology in
      successive ages of Greek history has been treated by Grote, _History
      of Greece_, vol I. ch. 16.

   67 See Quinet’s _Œuvres_, t. i. c. 5, and especially § 4. On the doubts
      expressed in the books of Job and Ecclesiastes respectively, see the
      article _Job_ by Hengstenberg in Kitto’s _Cyclopædia of Biblical
      Literature_, (reprinted in a volume of Hengstenberg’s miscellaneous
      works), and the article _Ecclesiastes_ by Mr. Plumptre in Smith’s
      _Dictionary of the Bible_. For the free-thinking inquiry into the
      two books, see the article on Job in the _Westminster Review_,
      October 1853, founded mainly on Hirzel; and that on Ecclesiastes in
      the _National Review_, No. 27, for January 1862, founded chiefly on
      Hitzig. E. Renan, in his work on Job, and others, have studied the
      doubts expressed in it as an internal evidence for its date. Very
      full information in reference to both books may be found in Dr. S.
      Davidson’s _Introd. to the Old Testament_ (1862), vol. ii. p. 174
      seq., 352 seq. It is deeply interesting to observe, not merely that
      the difficulties concerning Providence felt by Job refer to the very
      subjects which painfully perplex the modern mind, but also that the
      friends of Job exhibit the instinctive tendency which is observed in
      modern times to denounce his doubt as sin, not less than to
      attribute his trials to evil as the direct cause. These two books of
      Scripture, together with the seventy-third Psalm, have an increasing
      religious importance as the world grows older. “The things written
      aforetime were written for our learning.”

   68 Attention, for example, should be directed to the efforts of the
      mind in emancipating itself (1) from particular forms of political
      government, or social arrangements, or artificial laws, in the
      struggle against the feudal system, and in the development of
      political liberty in modern times, or (2) from traditional systems
      of scientific teaching, as the Ptolemaic theory of astronomy, or the
      Cartesian of vortices. The absence too of such attempts in the
      stagnation of Eastern life is an instructive negative instance for

   69 It is proper to express my obligations for a few hints in this part
      of the lecture to an able historic sketch of modern German thought,
      based on the _Geschichte der neuesten Theologie_ of C. Schwartz, in
      the Westminster Review, April 1857 (especially p. 333), The
      enumeration of the epochs which follows nevertheless occurred to me
      for the most part independently of those suggestions, and had been
      previously expressed in public. A classification of a different kind
      will be found in _Reimannus Historia Atheismi_, 1725, p. 315.

   70 The author (supposed to be Hundeshagen) of _Der Deutsche
      Protestantismus_ thus expresses himself (§ 6.): “In the history of
      the world there are four successive periods in which open unbelief
      and unconcealed enmity to Christianity made the tour in some degree
      among the chief nations of Europe. Italy made the beginning in the
      fifteenth and sixteenth century; England and France followed in the
      seventeenth and eighteenth; the series closed in Germany in the
      nineteenth.” The first of the four crises in our text occurred in
      the ancient world; the second is mediæval; the third, at the moment
      of transition into the modern history, is the Italian crisis of the
      quotation just cited; the three others therein named make up the
      fourth in our enumeration.

   71 On the office of language, and the changes to which it is liable,
      consult the chapter on the “Natural History of the variations in the
      meaning of terms,” in J. S. Mill’s _Logic_ (vol. ii. b. 4. ch. 5.).
      An explanation of many of the terms which occur in the history of
      doubt, viz., Deism, Rationalism, &c. will be found in Note 21. at
      the end of these Lectures.

   72 “Empirical,” as in Lessing and Paulus; “Spiritual,” as in the later
      schools. See Lect. VI. and VII.

   73 A brief view of the history of the Christian evidences will be found
      in Note 49 appended to these Lectures.

   74 Viz. toward the close of Lect. VIII.

   75 The moral causes of unbelief have been frequently discussed, but the
      intellectual rarely. Van Mildert has collected, in his _Boyle
      Lectures_ (note to Lect. XXIV.), references to many valuable authors
      where the moral sins of pride and impiety are discussed; and J. A.
      Fabricius (_Delect. Argument._ 1725.) has devoted a chapter to the
      literature of the subject (c. 36. p. 653.) Dr. Ogilvie wrote in 1783
      a separate work on the causes of the recent unbelief; but the causes
      alleged by him, though well treated in the details, are superficial.
      A satisfactory discussion of this and cognate topics connected with
      unbelief is given in a popular but instructive book, _Infidelity,
      its aspects, causes, and agencies_, a Prize Essay (1853) of the
      Evangelical Alliance, by the Rev. T. Pearson, Eyemouth, N. B.

   76 Compare some remarks on this point in Whately’s _Rhetoric_ (part 2.
      ch. I. § 2.)

   77 Proof being of two kinds, viz. _antecedent probability_, εἰκός,
      (Arist. Rhet. i. 2. § 15) which shows the _cause_; and _evidence_,
      σημεῖον, which shows the _fact_; it is clear that the latter, if of
      the positive kind, τεκμήριον, is demonstrative; but if merely of the
      probable kind, or of the nature of circumstantial evidence, ἀνώνυμον
      σημεῖον, requires the antecedent probability in addition for the
      purpose of effecting conviction. Otherwise the evidence may seem to
      be an accidental concatenation of circumstances, unless explained by
      the antecedent probability that existed for the occurrence of the
      main fact which the accumulation of circumstances is adduced to

   78 See below, the commencement of Lect. V.; and on the influence of
      social disaffection in causing modern unbelief, see Pearson’s
      _Infidelity_, part 2. ch. 3. p. 373 seq.

   79 Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), a native of the trans-Apennine Roman
      states. His works were published (1845-49), consisting of
      philological pieces, poems, papers on philosophy, and letters. The
      Italians consider him to have been a prodigy in philological power
      that might have rivalled Niebuhr. As a poet he was one of the finest
      of his country in the present century. His letters are very
      classical in expression, and have been said to rival the
      correspondence of the best ages of Italy. His fine mind was darkened
      with the deepest shades of doubt. Shelley is the nearest English
      representative. A masterly sketch of his mental and literary
      character was given in the _Quarterly Review_ (No. 172. March 1850),
      generally supposed to be from the pen of an English statesman well
      known for his knowledge of the Italian literature and his sympathy
      with constitutional government.

   80 Carlo Bini (1806-1842), a native of Tuscany of less note, who
      belonged to the Republican party in politics, and like Leopardi
      burned with an unquenchable love of _la patria_. A monument with an
      inscription by his friend Mazzini has been recently erected over his
      grave at Livorno. The tender pathos shown in his poetry has been
      compared to that of Jean Paul. One of his poems, _L’Anniversario
      della Nascita_ 1833, expressive of deep and afflicting scepticism
      and life-weariness, will be found in the Collection of Italian