HISTORY OF THE CONFLICT
RELIGION AND SCIENCE.
THE ORIGIN OF SCIENCE.
Religious condition of theGreeks in the fourth century before Christ. -- Their invasion of the PersianEmpire brings them in contact with new aspects of Natureand familiarizes themwith new religious systems. -- The militaryengineeringand scientificactivitystimulated by the Macedonian campaignsleads to the establishment inAlexandria of an institutethe Museumfor the cultivation of knowledge byexperimentobservationand mathematical discussion. -- It is the origin ofScience.
No spectacle can be presented to thethoughtful mind more solemnmore mournfulthan that of the dying of an ancientreligionwhich in its day has given consolation to many generations of men.
Four centuries before the birth of ChristGreece was fast outgrowing her ancient faith. Her philosophersin their studiesof the worldhad been profoundly impressed with the contrast between themajesty of the operations of Nature and the worthlessness of the divinities ofOlympus. Her historiansconsidering the orderly course of political affairsthe manifest
uniformity in the acts of menand that there was no event occurring beforetheir eyes for which they could not find an obvious cause in some precedingeventbegan to suspect that the miracles and celestial interventionswithwhich the old annals were filledwere only fictions. They demandedwhen theage of the supernatural had ceasedwhy oracles had become muteand why therewere now no more prodigies in the world.
Traditionsdescending from immemorialantiquityand formerly accepted by pious men as unquestionable truthshadfilled the islands of the Mediterranean and the conterminous countries withsupernatural wonders -- enchantressessorcerersgiantsogresharpiesgorgonscentaurscyclops. The azure vault was the floor of heaven; there Zeussurrounded by the gods with their wives and mistressesheld his courtengagedin pursuits like those of menand not refraining from acts of human passion andcrime.
A sea-coast broken by numerous indentationsan archipelago with some of the most lovely islands in the worldinspired theGreeks with a taste for maritime lifefor geographical discoveryandcolonization. Their ships wandered all over the Black and Mediterranean Seas.The time-honored wonders that had been glorified in the "Odyssey" andsacred in public faithwere found to have no existence. As a better knowledgeof Nature was obtainedthe sky was shown to be an illusion; it was discoveredthat there is no Olympusnothing above but space and stars. With the vanishingof their habitationthe gods disappearedboth those of the Ionian type ofHomer and those of the Doric of Hesiod.
But this did not take place without resistance.At firstthe publicand particularly its religious portiondenounced
the rising doubts as atheism. They despoiled some of the offenders of theirgoodsexiled others; some they put to death. They asserted that what had beenbelieved by pious men in the old timesand had stood the test of agesmustnecessarily be true. Thenas the opposing evidence became irresistibletheywere content to admit that these marvels were allegories under which the wisdomof the ancients had concealed many sacred and mysterious things. They tried toreconcilewhat now in their misgivings they feared might be mythswith theiradvancing intellectual state. But their efforts were in vainfor there arepredestined phases through which on such an occasion public opinion must pass.What it has received with veneration it begins to doubtthen it offers newinterpretationsthen subsides into dissentand ends with a rejection of thewhole as a mere fable.
In their secession the philosophers andhistorians were followed by the poets. Euripides incurred the odium of heresy.Æschylus narrowly escaped being stoned to death for blasphemy. But the franticefforts of those who are interested in supporting delusions must always end indefeat. The demoralization resistlessly extended through every branch ofliteratureuntil at length it reached the common people.
Greek philosophical criticism had lent its aidto Greek philosophical discovery in this destruction of the national faith. Itsustained by many arguments the wide-spreading unbelief. It compared thedoctrines of the different schools with each otherand showed from theircontradictions that man has no criterion of truth; thatsince his ideas of whatis good and what is evil differ according to the country in which he livestheycan have no foundation in Naturebut must be altogether
the result of education; that right and wrong are nothing more than fictionscreated by society for its own purposes. In Athenssome of the more advancedclasses had reached such a pass that they not only denied the unseenthesupernaturalthey even affirmed that the world is only a day-dreama phantasmand that nothing at all exists.
The topographical configuration of Greece gavean impress to her political condition. It divided her people into distinctcommunities having conflicting interestsand made them incapable ofcentralization. Incessant domestic wars between the rival states checked heradvancement. She was poorher leading men had become corrupt. They were everready to barter patriotic considerations for foreign goldto sell themselvesfor Persian bribes. Possessing a perception of the beautiful as manifested insculpture and architecture to a degree never attained elsewhere either before orsinceGreece had lost a practical appreciation of the Good and the True.
While European Greecefull of ideas ofliberty and independencerejected the sovereignty of PersiaAsiatic Greeceacknowledged it without reluctance. At that time the Persian Empire interritorial extent was equal to half of modern Europe. It touched the waters ofthe Mediterraneanthe Ægeanthe Blackthe Caspianthe Indianthe Persianthe Red Seas. Through its territories there flowed six of the grandest rivers inthe world -- the Euphratesthe Tigristhe Industhe Jaxartesthe OxustheNileeach more than a thousand miles in length. Its surface reached fromthirteen hundred feet below the sea-level to twenty thousand feet above. Ityieldedthereforeevery agricultural product. Its mineral wealth was boundless.It inherited the
prestige of the Medianthe Babylonianthe Assyrianthe Chaldean Empireswhose annals reached back through more than twenty centuries.
Persia had always looked upon European Greeceas politically insignificantfor it had scarcely half the territorial extent ofone of her satrapies. Her expeditions for compelling its obedience hadhowevertaught her the military qualities of its people. In her forces were incorporatedGreek mercenariesesteemed the very best of her troops. She did not hesitatesometimes to give the command of her armies to Greek generalsof her fleets toGreek captains. In the political convulsions through which she had passedGreeksoldiers had often been used by her contending chiefs. These military operationswere attended by a momentous result. They revealedto the quick eye of thesewarlike mercenariesthe political weakness of the empire and the possibility ofreaching its centre. After the death of Cyrus on the battle-field of Cunaxaitwas demonstratedby the immortal retreat of the ten thousand under Xenophonthat a Greek army could force its way to and from the heart of Persia.
That reverence for the military abilities ofAsiatic generalsso profoundly impressed on the Greeks by such engineeringexploits as the bridging of the Hellespontand the cutting of the isthmus atMount Athos by Xerxeshad been obliterated at SalamisPlateaMycale. Toplunder rich Persian provinces had become an irresistible temptation. Such wasthe expedition of Agesilausthe Spartan kingwhose brilliant successes werehoweverchecked by the Persian government resorting to its time-proved policyof bribing the neighbors of Sparta to attack her. "I have been conquered bythirty thousand Persian archers" bitterly exclaimed
Agesilausas he reëmbarkedalluding to the Persian cointhe Daricwhich wasstamped with the image of an archer.
At length Philipthe King of Macedonprojected a renewal of these attemptsunder a far more formidable organizationand with a grander object. He managed to have himself appointed captain-generalof all Greece not for the purpose of a mere foray into the Asiatic satrapiesbut for the overthrow of the Persian dynasty in the very centre of its power.Assassinated while his preparations were incompletehe was succeeded by his sonAlexanderthen a youth. A general assembly of Greeks at Corinth had unanimouslyelected him in his father's stead. There were some disturbances in Illyria;Alexander had to march his army as far north as the Danube to quell them. Duringhis absence the Thebans with some others conspired against him. On his return hetook Thebes by assault. He massacred six thousand of its inhabitantssoldthirty thousand for slavesand utterly demolished the city. The military wisdomof this severity was apparent in his Asiatic campaign. He was not troubled byany revolt in his rear.
In the spring B. C. 334 Alexander crossed theHellespont into Asia. His army consisted of thirty-four thousand foot and fourthousand horse. He had with him only seventy talents in money. He marcheddirectly on the Persian armywhichvastly exceeding him in strengthwasholding the line of the Granicus. He forced the passage of the riverrouted theenemyand the possession of all Asia Minorwith its treasureswas the fruitof the victory. The remainder of that year he spent in the military organizationof the conquered provinces. Meantime Dariusthe Persian kinghad
advanced an army of six hundred thousand men to prevent the passage of theMacedonians into Syria. In a battle that ensued among the mountain-defiles atIssusthe Persians were again overthrown. So great was the slaughter thatAlexanderand Ptolemyone of his generalscrossed over a ravine choked withdead bodies. It was estimated that the Persian loss was not less than ninetythousand foot and ten thousand horse. The royal pavilion fell into theconqueror's handsand with it the wife and several of the children of Darius.Syria was thus added to the Greek conquests. In Damascus were found many of theconcubines of Darius and his chief officerstogether with a vast treasure.
Before venturing into the plains ofMesopotamia for the final struggleAlexanderto secure his rear and preservehis communications with the seamarched southward down the Mediterranean coastreducing the cities in his way. In his speech before the council of war afterIssushe told his generals that they must not pursue Darius with Tyre unsubduedand Persia in possession of Egypt and Cyprusforif Persia should regain herseaportsshe would transfer the war into Greeceand that it was absolutelynecessary for him to be sovereign at sea. With Cyprus and Egypt in hispossession he felt no solicitude about Greece. The siege of Tyre cost him morethan half a year. In revenge for this delayhe crucifiedit is saidtwothousand of his prisoners. Jerusalem voluntarily surrenderedand therefore wastreated leniently: but the passage of the Macedonian army into Egypt beingobstructed at Gazathe Persian governor of whichBetismade a most obstinatedefensethat placeafter a siege of two monthswas carried by assaulttenthousand of its men were massacredand the restwith their wives and children
sold into slavery. Betis himself was dragged alive round the city at thechariot-wheels of the conqueror. There was now no further obstacle. TheEgyptianswho detested the Persian rulereceived their invader with open arms.He organized the country in his own interestintrusting all its militarycommands to Macedonian officersand leaving the civil government in the handsof native Egyptians.
While preparations for the final campaign werebeing madehe undertook a journey to the temple of Jupiter Ammonwhich wassituated in an oasis of the Libyan Desertat a distance of two hundred miles.The oracle declared him to be a son of that god whounder the form of a serpenthad beguiled Olympiashis mother. Immaculate conceptions and celestial descentswere so currently received in those daysthat whoever had greatly distinguishedhimself in the affairs of men was thought to be of supernatural lineage. Even inRomecenturies laterno one could with safety have denied that the city owedits founderRomulusto an accidental meeting of the god Mars with the virginRhea Sylviaas she went with her pitcher for water to the spring. The Egyptiandisciples of Plato would have looked with anger on those who rejected the legendthat Perictionethe mother of that great philosophera pure virginhadsuffered an immaculate conception through the influences of Apolloand that thegod had declared to Aristonto whom she was betrothedthe parentage of thechild. When Alexander issued his lettersordersand decreesstyling himself"King Alexanderthe son of Jupiter Ammon" they came to theinhabitants of Egypt and Syria with an authority that now can hardly be realized.The free-thinking Greekshoweverput on such a supernatural
pedigree its proper value. Olympiaswhoof coursebetter than all others knewthe facts of the caseused jestingly to saythat "she wished Alexanderwould cease from incessantly embroiling her with Jupiter's wife." Arrianthe historian of the Macedonian expeditionobserves"I cannot condemn himfor endeavoring to draw his subjects into the belief of his divine originnorcan I be induced to think it any great crimefor it is very reasonable toimagine that he intended no more by it than merely to procure the greaterauthority among his soldiers."
All things being thus secured in his rearAlexanderhaving returned into Syriadirected the march of his armynowconsisting of fifty thousand veteranseastward. After crossing the Euphrateshe kept close to the Masian hillsto avoid the intense heat of the moresoutherly Mesopotamian plains; more abundant forage could also thus be procuredfor the cavalry. On the left bank of the Tigrisnear Arbelahe encountered thegreat army of eleven hundred thousand men brought up by Darius from Babylon. Thedeath of the Persian monarchwhich soon followed the defeat he sufferedleftthe Macedonian general master of all the countries from the Danube to the Indus.Eventually he extended his conquest to the Ganges. The treasures he seized arealmost beyond belief. At Susa alone he found -- so Arrian says -- fifty thousandtalents in money.
The modern military student cannot look uponthese wonderful campaigns without admiration. The passage of the Hellespont; theforcing of the Granicus; the winter spent in a political organization ofconquered Asia Minor; the march of the right wing and centre of the army alongthe Syrian Mediterranean coast; the engineering difficulties overcome at thesiege of Tyre; the
storming of Gaza; the isolation of Persia from Greece; the absolute exclusion ofher navy from the Mediterranean; the check on all her attempts at intriguingwith or bribing Athenians or Spartansheretofore so often resorted to withsuccess; the submission of Egypt; another winter spent in the politicalorganization of that venerable country; the convergence of the whole army fromthe Black and Red Seas toward the nitre-covered plains of Mesopotamia in theensuing spring; the passage of the Euphrates fringed with its weeping-willows atthe broken bridge of Thapsacus; the crossing of the Tigris; the nocturnalreconnaissance before the great and memorable battle of Arbela; the obliquemovement on the field; the piercing of the enemy's centre -- a manoeuvredestined to be repeated many centuries subsequently at Austerlitz; the energeticpursuit of the Persian monarch; these are exploits not surpassed by any soldierof later times.
A prodigious stimulus was thus given to Greekintellectual activity. There were men who had marched with the Macedonian armyfrom the Danube to the Nilefrom the Nile to the Ganges. They had felt thehyperborean blasts of the countries beyond the Black Seathe simooms andsand-tempests of the Egyptian deserts. They had seen the Pyramids which hadalready stood for twenty centuriesthe hieroglyph-covered obelisks of Luxoravenues of silent and mysterious sphinxescolossi of monarchs who reigned inthe morning of the world. In the halls of Esar-haddon they had stood before thethrones of grim old Assyrian kingsguarded by winged bulls. In Babylon therestill remained its wallsonce more than sixty miles in compassandafter theravages of three centuries and three conquerorsstill more than eighty feet inheight; there
were still the ruins of the temple of cloud encompassed Belon its top wasplanted the observatory wherein the weird Chaldean astronomers had heldnocturnal communion with the stars; still there were vestiges of the two palaceswith their hanging gardens in which were great trees growing in mid-airand thewreck of the hydraulic machinery that had supplied them with water from theriver. Into the artificial lake with its vast apparatus of aqueducts and sluicesthe melted snows of the Armenian mountains found their wayand were confined intheir course through the city by the embankments of the Euphrates. Mostwonderful of allperhapswas the tunnel under the river-bed.
If ChaldeaAssyriaBabylonpresentedstupendous and venerable antiquities reaching far back into the night of timePersia was not without her wonders of a later date. The pillared halls ofPersepolis were filled with miracles of art -- carvingssculpturesenamelsalabaster librariesobeliskssphinxescolossal bulls. Ecbatanathe coolsummer retreat of the Persian kingswas defended by seven encircling walls ofhewn and polished blocksthe interior ones in succession of increasing heightand of different colorsin astrological accordance with the seven planets. Thepalace was roofed with silver tilesits beams were plated with gold. Atmidnightin its halls the sunlight was rivaled by many a row of naphthacressets. A paradise -- that luxury of the monarchs of the East -- was plantedin the midst of the city. The Persian Empirefrom the Hellespont to the Induswas truly the garden of the world.
I have devoted a few pages to the story ofthese marvelous campaignsfor the military talent they fostered led to theestablishment of the mathematical and
practical schools of Alexandriathe true origin of science. We trace back allour exact knowledge to the Macedonian campaigns. Humboldt has well observed thatan introduction to new and grand objects of Nature enlarges the human mind. Thesoldiers of Alexander and the hosts of his camp-followers encountered at everymarch unexpected and picturesque scenery. Of all menthe Greeks were the mostobservantthe most readily and profoundly impressed. Here there wereinterminable sandy plainsthere mountains whose peaks were lost above theclouds. In the deserts were mirageson the hill-sides shadows of fleetingclouds sweeping over the forests. They were in a land of amber-coloreddate-palms and cypressesof tamarisksgreen myrtlesand oleanders. At Arbelathey had fought against Indian elephants; in the thickets of the Caspian theyhad roused from his lair the lurking royal tiger. They had seen animals whichcompared with those of Europewere not only strangebut colossal -- therhinocerosthe hippopotamusthe camelthe crocodiles of the Nile and theGanges. They had encountered men of many complexions and many costumes: theswarthy Syrianthe olive-colored Persian. the black African. Even of Alexanderhimself it is related that on his death-bed he caused his admiralNearchustosit by his sideand found consolation in listening to the adventures of thatsailor -- the story of his voyage from the Indus up the Persian Gulf. Theconqueror had seen with astonishment the ebbing and flowing of the tides. He hadbuilt ships for the exploration of the Caspiansupposing that it and the BlackSea might be gulfs of a great oceansuch as Nearchus had discovered the Persianand Red Seas to be. He had formed a resolution that his fleet should attempt the
circumnavigation of Africaand come into the Mediterranean through the Pillarsof Hercules -- a feat whichit was affirmedhad once been accomplished by thePharaohs.
Not only her greatest soldiersbut also hergreatest philosophersfound in the conquered empire much that might excite theadmiration of Greece. Callisthenes obtained in Babylon a series of Chaldeanastronomical observations ranging back through 1903 years; these he sent toAristotle. Perhapssince they were on burnt bricksduplicates of them may berecovered by modern research in the clay libraries of the Assyrian kings.Ptolemythe Egyptian astronomerpossessed a Babylonian record of eclipsesgoing back 747 years before our era. Long-continued and close observations werenecessarybefore some of these astronomical results that have reached our timescould have been ascertained. Thus the Babylonians had fixed the length of atropical year within twenty-five seconds of the truth; their estimate of thesidereal year was barely two minutes in excess. They had detected the precessionof the equinoxes. They knew the causes of eclipsesandby the aid of theircycle called Saroscould predict them. Their estimate of the value of thatcyclewhich is more than 6585 dayswas within nineteen and a half minutes ofthe truth.
Such facts furnish incontrovertible proof ofthe patience and skill with which astronomy had been cultivated in Mesopotamiaand thatwith very inadequate instrumental meansit had reached noinconsiderable perfection. These old observers had made a catalogue of the starshad divided the zodiac into twelve signs; they had parted the day into twelvehoursthe night into twelve. They hadas Alistotle saysfor a long timedevoted themselves to observations of star-occultations
by the moon. They had correct views of the structure of the solar systemandknew the order of the emplacement of the planets. They constructed sundialsclepsydrasastrolabesgnomons.
Not without interest do we still look onspecimens of their method of printing. Upon a revolving roller they engravedincuneiform letterstheir recordsandrunning this over plastic clay formedinto blocksproduced ineffaceable proofs. From their tile-libraries we arestill to reap a literary and historical harvest. They were not without someknowledge of optics. The convex lens found at Nimroud shows that they were notunacquainted with magnifying instruments. In arithmetic they had detected thevalue of position in the digitsthough they missed the grand Indian inventionof the cipher.
What a spectacle for the conquering Greekswhoup to this timehad neither experimented nor observed! They had contentedthemselves with mere meditation and useless speculation.
But Greek intellectual developmentdue thusin part to a more extended view of Naturewas powerfully aided by the knowledgethen acquired of the religion of the conquered country. The idolatry of Greecehad always been a horror to Persiawhoin her invasionshad never failed todestroy the temples and insult the fanes of the bestial gods. The impunity withwhich these sacrileges had been perpetrated had made a profound impressionanddid no little to undermine Hellenic faith. But now the worshiper of the vileOlympian divinitieswhose obscene lives must have been shocking to every piousmanwas brought in contact with a granda solemna consistent religioussystem having its foundation on a philosophical basis. Persia
as is the case with all empires of long durationhad passed through manychanges of religion. She had followed the Monotheism of Zoroaster; had thenaccepted Dualismand exchanged that for Magianism. At the time of theMacedonian expeditionshe recognized one universal Intelligencethe CreatorPreserverand Governor of all thingsthe most holy essence of truththe giverof all good. He was not to be represented by any imageor any graven form. Andsincein every thing here belowwe see the resultant of two opposing forcesunder him were two coequal and coeternal principlesrepresented by the imageryof Light and Darkness. These principles are in never-ending conflict. The worldis their battle-groundman is their prize.
In the old legends of Dualismthe Evil Spiritwas said to have sent a serpent to ruin the paradise which the Good Spirit hadmade. These legends became known to the Jews during their Babylonian captivity.
The existence of a principle of evil is thenecessary incident of the existence of a principle of goodas a shadow is thenecessary incident of the presence of light. In this manner could be explainedthe occurrence of evil in a worldthe maker and ruler of which is supremelygood. Each of the personified principles of light and darknessOrmuzd andAhrimanhad his subordinate angelshis counselorshis armies. It is the dutyof a good man to cultivate truthpurityand industry. He may look forwardwhen this life is overto a life in another worldand trust to a resurrectionof the bodythe immortality of the souland a conscious future existence.
In the later years of the empiretheprinciples of Magianism had gradually prevailed more and more over those ofZoroaster. Magianism was essentially a worship
of the elements. Of thesefire was considered as the most worthy representativeof the Supreme Being. On altars erectednot in templesbut under the bluecanopy of the skyperpetual fires were kept burningand the rising sun wasregarded as the noblest object of human adoration. In the society of Asianothing is visible but the monarch; in the expanse of heavenall objects vanishin presence of the sun.
Prematurely cut off in the midst of many greatprojects Alexander died at Babylon before he had completed his thirty-third year(B. C. 323). There was a suspicion that he had been poisoned. His temper hadbecome so unbridledhis passion so ferociousthat his generals and even hisintimate friends lived in continual dread. Clitusone of the latterhe in amoment of fury had stabbed to the heart. Callisthenesthe intermedium betweenhimself and Aristotlehe had caused to be hangedoras was positivelyasserted by some who knew the factshad had him put upon the rack and thencrucified. It may have been in self-defense that the conspirators resolved onhis assassination. But surely it was a calumny to associate the name ofAristotle with this transaction. He would have rather borne the worst thatAlexander could inflictthan have joined in the perpetration of so great acrime.
A scene of confusion and bloodshed lastingmany years ensuednor did it cease even after the Macedonian generals haddivided the empire. Among its vicissitudes one incident mainly claims ourattention. Ptolemywho was a son of King Philip by Arsinoea beautifulconcubineand who in his boyhood had been driven into exile with Alexanderwhen they incurred their father's displeasurewho had been Alexander's comrade
in many of his battles and all his campaignsbecame governor and eventuallyking of Egypt.
At the siege of RhodesPtolemy had been ofsuch signal service to its citizens that in gratitude they paid divine honors tohimand saluted him with the title of Soter (the Savior). By that designation-- Ptolemy Soter -- he is distinguished from succeeding kings of the Macedoniandynasty in Egypt.
He established his seat of government not inany of the old capitals of the countrybut in Alexandria. At the time of theexpedition to the temple of Jupiter Ammonthe Macedonian conqueror had causedthe foundations of that city to be laidforeseeing that it might be made thecommercial entrepot between Asia and Europe. It is to be particularly remarkedthat not only did Alexander himself deport many Jews from Palestine to peoplethe cityand not only did Ptolemy Soter bring one hundred thousand more afterhis siege of Jerusalembut Philadelphushis successorredeemed from slaveryone hundred and ninety-eight thousand of that peoplepaying their Egyptianowners a just money equivalent for each. To all these Jews the same privilegeswere accorded as to the Macedonians. In consequence of this consideratetreatmentvast numbers of their compatriots and many Syrians voluntarily cameinto Egypt. To them the designation of Hellenistical Jews was given. In likemannertempted by the benign government of Sotermultitudes of Greeks soughtrefuge in the countryand the invasions of Perdiccas and Antigonus showed thatGreek soldiers would desert from other Macedonian generals to join is armies.
The population of Alexandria was therefore ofthree distinct nationalities: 1. Native Egyptians 2. Greeks;
3. Jews -- a fact that has left an impress on the religious faith of modernEurope.
Greek architects and Greek engineers had madeAlexandria the most beautiful city of the ancient world. They had filled it withmagnificent palacestemplestheatres. In its centreat the intersection ofits two grand avenueswhich crossed each other at right anglesand in themidst of gardensfountainsobelisksstood the mausoleumin whichembalmedafter the manner of the Egyptiansrested the body of Alexander. In a funerealjourney of two years it had been brought with great pomp from Babylon. At firstthe coffin was of pure goldbut this having led to a violation of the tombitwas replaced by one of alabaster. But not thesenot even the great light-housePharosbuilt of blocks of white marble and so high that the fire continuallyburning on its top could be seen many miles off at sea -- the Pharos counted asone of the seven wonders of the world -- it is not these magnificentachievements of architecture that arrest our attention; the truethe mostglorious monument of the Macedonian kings of Egypt is the Museum. Its influenceswill last when even the Pyramids have passed away.
The Alexandrian Museum was commenced byPtolemy Soterand was completed by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. It wassituated in the Bruchionthe aristocratic quarter of the cityadjoining theking's palace. Built of marbleit was surrounded with a piazzain which theresidents might walk and converse together. Its sculptured apartments containedthe Philadelphian libraryand were crowded with the choicest statues andpictures. This library eventually comprised four hundred thousand volumes. Inthe course of timeprobably on account of inadequate accommodation for so many
booksan additional library was established in the adjacent quarter Rhacotisand placed in the Serapion or temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in thislibrarywhich was called the Daughter of that in the Museumwas eventuallythree hundred thousand. There werethereforeseven hundred thousand volumes inthese royal collections.
Alexandria was not merely the capital of Egyptit was the intellectual metropolis of the world. Here it was truly said theGenius of the East met the Genius of the Westand this Paris of antiquitybecame a focus of fashionable dissipation and universal skepticism. In theallurements of its bewitching society even the Jews forgot their patriotism.They abandoned the language of their forefathersand adopted Greek.
In the establishment of the MuseumPtolemySoter and his son Philadelphus had three objects in view: 1. The perpetuation ofsuch knowledge as was then in the world; 2. Its increase; 3. Its diffusion.
1. For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orderswere given to the chief librarian to buy at the king's expense whatever books hecould. A body of transcribers was maintained in the Museumwhose duty it was tomake correct copies of such works as their owners were not disposed to sell. Anybooks brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the Museumandwhen correct copies had been madethe transcript was given to the ownerandthe original placed in the library. Often a very large pecuniary indemnity waspaid. Thus It is said of Ptolemy Euergetes thathaving obtained from Athens theworks of EuripidesSophoclesand Æschylushe sent to their ownerstranscriptstogether with about fifteen thousand dollarsas an indemnity. Onhis return from the Syrian expedition he carried
back in triumph all the Egyptian monuments from Ecbatana and SusawhichCambyses and other invaders had removed from Egypt. These he replaced in theiroriginal seatsor added as adornments to his museums. When works weretranslated as well as transcribedsums which we should consider as almostincredible were paidas was the case with the Septuagint translation of theBibleordered by Ptolemy Philadelphus.
2. For the increase of knowledge. One of thechief objects of the Museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men whodevoted themselves to studyand were lodged and maintained at the king'sexpense. Occasionally he himself sat at their table. Anecdotes connected withthose festive occasions have descended to our times. In the originalorganization of the Museum the residents were divided into four faculties --literature; mathematicsastronomymedicine. Minor branches were appropriatelyclassified under one of these general heads; thus natural history was consideredto be a branch of medicine. An officer of very great distinction presided overthe establishmentand had general charge of its interests. Demetrius Phalareusperhaps the most learned man of his agewho had been governor of Athens formany yearswas the first so appointed. Under him was the librarianan officesometimes held by men whose names have descended to our timesas Eratosthenesand Apollonius Rhodius.
In connection with the Museum were a botanicaland a zoological garden. These gardensas their names importwere for thepurpose of facilitating the study of plants and animals. There was also anastronomical observatory containing armillary spheresglobessolstitial andequatorial armilsastrolabesparallactic rulesand other apparatus then inusethe graduation on the
divided instruments being into degrees and sixths. On the floor of thisobservatory a meridian line was drawn. The want of correct means of measuringtime and temperature was severely felt; the clepsydra of Ctesibius answered veryimperfectly for the formerthe hydrometer floating in a cup of water for thelatter; it measured variations of temperature by variations of density.Philadelphuswho toward the close of his life was haunted with an intolerabledread of deathdevoted much of his time to the discovery of an elixir. For suchpursuits the Museum was provided with a chemical laboratory. In spite of theprejudices of the ageand especially in spite of Egyptian prejudicesthere wasin connection with the medical department an anatomical room for the dissectionnot only of the deadbut actually of the livingwho for crimes had beencondemned.
3. For the diffusion of knowledge. In theMuseum was givenby lecturesconversationor other appropriate methodsinstruction in all the various departments of human knowledge. There flocked tothis great intellectual centrestudents from all countries. It is said that atone time not fewer than fourteen thousand were in attendance. Subsequently eventhe Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathersas Clemens AlexandrinusOrigenAthanasius.
The library in the Museum was burnt during thesiege of Alexandria by Julius Cæsar. To make amends for this great lossthatcollected by EumenesKing of Pergamuswas presented by Mark Antony to QueenCleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that of the Ptolemies. It wasadded to the collection in the Serapion.
It remains now to describe briefly thephilosophical
basis of the Museumand some of its contributions to the stock of humanknowledge.
In memory of the illustrious founder of thismost noble institution -- an institution which antiquity delighted to call"The divine school of Alexandria" -- we must mention in the first rankhis "History of the Campaigns of Alexander." Great as a soldier and asa sovereignPtolemy Soter added to his glory by being an author. Timewhichhas not been able to destroy the memory of our obligations to himhas dealtunjustly by his work. It is not now extant.
As might be expected from the friendship thatexisted between AlexanderPtolemyand Aristotlethe Aristotelian philosophywas the intellectual corner-stone on which the Museum rested. King Philip hadcommitted the education of Alexander to Aristotleand during the Persiancampaigns the conqueror contributed materiallynot only in moneybutotherwisetoward the "Natural History" then in preparation.
The essential principle of the Aristotelianphilosophy wasto rise from the study of particulars to a knowledge of generalprinciples or universalsadvancing to them by induction. The induction is themore certain as the facts on which it is based are more numerous; itscorrectness is established if it should enable us to predict other facts untilthen unknown. This system implies endless toil in the collection of factsbothby experiment and observation; it implies also a close meditation on them. Itisthereforeessentially a method of labor and of reasonnot a method ofimagination. The failures that Aristotle himself so often exhibits are no proofof its unreliabilitybut rather of its trustworthiness. They are failuresarising from want of a sufficiency of facts.
Some of the general results at which Aristotlearrived are very grand. Thushe concluded that every thing is ready to burstinto lifeand that the various organic forms presented to us by Nature arethose which existing conditions permit. Should the conditions changethe formswill also change. Hence there is an unbroken chain from the simple elementthrough plants and animals up to manthe different groups merging by insensibleshades into each other.
The inductive philosophy thus established byAristotle is a method of great power. To it all the modern advances in scienceare due. In its most improved form it rises by inductions from phenomena totheir causesand thenimitating the method of the Academyit descends bydeductions from those causes to the detail of phenomena.
While thus the Scientific School of Alexandriawas founded on the maxims of one great Athenian philosopherthe Ethical Schoolwas founded on the maxims of anotherfor Zenothough a Cypriote or Phoenicianhad for many years been established at Athens. His disciples took the name ofStoics. His doctrines long survived himandin times when there was no otherconsolation for manoffered a support in the hour of trialand an unwaveringguide in the vicissitudes of lifenot only to illustrious Greeksbut also tomany of the great philosophersstatesmengeneralsand emperors of Rome.
The aim of Zeno wasto furnish a guide forthe daily practice of lifeto make men virtuous. He insisted that education isthe true foundation of virtueforif we know what is goodwe shall incline todo it. We must trust to senseto furnish the data of knowledgeand reason willsuitably combine them. In this the affinity of Zeno to Aristotle is plainlyseen. Every appetite
lustdesiresprings from imperfect knowledge. Our nature is imposed upon us byFatebut we must learn to control our passionsand live freeintelligentvirtuousin all things in accordance with reason. Our existence should beintellectualwe should survey with equanimity all pleasures and all pains. Weshould never forget that we are freemennot the slaves of society. "Ipossess" said the Stoic"a treasure which not all the world can robme of -- no one can deprive me of death." We should remember that Nature inher operations aims at the universaland never spares individualsbut usesthem as means for the accomplishment of her ends. It isthereforefor us tosubmit to Destinycultivatingas the things necessary to virtueknowledgetemperancefortitudejustice. We must remember that every thing around us isin mutation; decay follows reproductionand reproduction decayand that it isuseless to repine at death in a world where every thing is dying. As a cataractshows from year to year an invariable shapethough the water composing it isperpetually changingso the aspect of Nature is nothing more than a flow ofmatter presenting an impermanent form. The universeconsidered as a wholeisunchangeable. Nothing is eternal but spaceatomsforce. The forms of Naturethat we see are essentially transitorythey must all pass away.
We must bear in mind that the majority of menare imperfectly educatedand hence we must not needlessly offend the religiousideas of our age. It is enough for us ourselves to know thatthough there is aSupreme Powerthere is no Supreme Being. There is an invisible principlebutnot a personal Godto whom it would be not so much blasphemy as absurdity toimpute the formthe sentimentsthe passions of man. All
revelation isnecessarilya mere fiction. That which men call chance is onlythe effect of an unknown cause. Even of chances there is a law. There is no suchthing as Providencefor Nature proceeds under irresistible lawsand in thisrespect the universe is only a vast automatic engine. The vital force whichpervades the world is what the illiterate call God. The modifications throughwhich all things are running take place in an irresistible wayand hence it maybe said that the progress of the world isunder Destinylike a seedit canevolve only in a predetermined mode.
The soul of man is a spark of the vital flamethe general vital principle. Like heatit passes from one to anotherand isfinally reabsorbed or reunited in the universal principle from which it came.Hence we must not expect annihilationbut reunion; andas the tired man looksforward to the insensibility of sleepso the philosopherweary of the worldshould look forward to the tranquillity of extinction. Of these thingshoweverwe should think doubtinglysince the mind can produce no certain knowledge fromits internal resources alone. It is unphilosophical to inquire into firstcauses; we must deal only with phenomena. Above allwe must never forget thatman cannot ascertain absolute truthand that the final result of human inquiryinto the matter isthat we are incapable of perfect knowledge; thateven ifthe truth be in our possessionwe cannot be sure of it.
Whatthenremains for us? Is it not this --the acquisition of knowledgethe cultivation of virtue and of friendshiptheobservance of faith and truthan unrepining submission to whatever befalls usa life led in accordance with reason?
Butthough the Alexandrian Museum wasespecially intended for the cultivation of the Aristotelian philosophyit mustnot be supposed that other systems were excluded. Platonism was not only carriedto its full developmentbut in the end it supplanted Peripateticismandthrough the New Academy left a permanent impress on Christianity. Thephilosophical method of Plato was the inverse of that of Aristotle. Itsstarting-point was universalsthe very existence of which was a matter offaithand from these it descended to particularsor details. Aristotleon thecontraryrose from particulars to universalsadvancing to them by inductions.
Platothereforetrusted to the imaginationAristotle to reason. The former descended from the decomposition of a primitiveidea into particularsthe latter united particulars into a general conception.Hence the method of Plato was capable of quickly producing what seemed to besplendidthough in reality unsubstantial results; that of Aristotle was moretardy in its operationbut much more solid. It implied endless labor in thecollection of factsa tedious resort to experiment and observationtheapplication of demonstration. The philosophy of Plato is a gorgeous castle inthe air; that of Aristotle a solid structurelaboriouslyand with manyfailuresfounded on the solid rock.
An appeal to the imagination is much morealluring than the employment of reason. In the intellectual decline ofAlexandriaindolent methods were preferred to laborious observation and severemental exercise. The schools of Neo-Platonism were crowded with speculativemysticssuch as Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus. These took the place of thesevere geometers of the old Museum.
The Alexandrian school offers the firstexample of that system whichin the hands of modern physicistshas led to suchwonderful results. It rejected imaginationand made its theories the expressionof facts obtained by experiment and observationaided by mathematicaldiscussion. It enforced the principle that the true method of studying Nature isby experimental interrogation. The researches of Archimedes in specific gravityand the works of Ptolemy on opticsresemble our present investigations inexperimental philosophyand stand in striking contrast with the speculativevagaries of the older writers. Laplace says that the only observation which thehistory of astronomy offers usmade by the Greeks before the school ofAlexandriais that of the summer solstice of the year B. C. 432. by Meton andEuctemon. We havefor the first timein that schoola combined system ofobservations made with instruments for the measurement of anglesand calculatedby trigonometrical methods. Astronomy then took a form which subsequent agescould only perfect.
It does not accord with the compass or theintention of this work to give a detailed account of the contributions of theAlexandrian Museum to the stock of human knowledge. It is sufficient that thereader should obtain a general impression of their character. For particularsImay refer him to the sixth chapter of my "History of the IntellectualDevelopment of Europe."
It has just been remarked that the Stoicalphilosophy doubted whether the mind can ascertain absolute truth. While Zeno wasindulging in such doubtsEuclid was preparing his great workdestined tochallenge contradiction from the whole human race. After more than twenty-twocenturies it still survivesa model
of accuracyperspicuityand a standard of exact demonstration. This greatgeometer not only wrote on other mathematical topicssuch as Conic Sections andPorismsbut there are imputed to him treatises on Harmonics and Opticsthelatter subject being discussed on the hypothesis of rays issuing from the eye tothe object.
With the Alexandrian mathematicians andphysicists must be classed Archimedesthough he eventually resided in Sicily.Among his mathematical works were two books on the Sphere and Cylinderin whichhe gave the demonstration that the solid content of a sphere is two-thirds thatof its circumscribing cylinder. So highly did he esteem thisthat he directedthe diagram to be engraved on his tombstone. He also treated of the quadratureof the circle and of the parabola; he wrote on Conoids and Spheroidsand on thespiral that bears his namethe genesis of which was suggested to him by hisfriend Conon the Alexandrian. As a mathematicianEurope produced no equal tohim for nearly two thousand years. In physical science he laid the foundation ofhydrostatics; invented a method for the determination of specific gravities;discussed the equilibrium of floating bodies; discovered the true theory of theleverand invented a screwwhich still bears his namefor raising the waterof the Nile. To him also are to be attributed the endless screwand a peculiarform of burning-mirrorby whichat the siege of Syracuseit is said that heset the Roman fleet on fire.
Eratostheneswho at one time had charge ofthe librarywas the author of many important works. Among them may be mentionedhis determination of the interval between the tropicsand an attempt toascertain the size of the earth. He considered the articulation and expansion ofcontinentsthe position of mountain-chains
the action of cloudsthe geological submersion of landsthe elevation ofancient sea-bedsthe opening of the Dardanelles and the straits of Gibraltarand the relations of the Euxine Sea. He composed a complete system of the earthin three books -- physicalmathematicalhistorical -- accompanied by a map ofall the parts then known. It is only of late years that the fragments remainingof his "Chronicles of the Theban Kings" have been justly appreciated.For many centuries they were thrown into discredit by the authority of ourexisting absurd theological chronology.
It is unnecessary to adduce the argumentsrelied upon by the Alexandrians to prove the globular form of the earth. Theyhad correct ideas respecting the doctrine of the sphereits polesaxisequatorarctic and antarctic circlesequinoctial pointssolsticesthedistribution of climatesetc. I cannot do more than merely allude to thetreatises on Conic Sections and on Maxima and Minima by Apolloniuswho is saidto have been the first to introduce the words ellipse and hyperbola. In likemanner I must pass the astronomical observations of Alistyllus and Timocharis.It was to those of the latter on Spica Virginis that Hipparchus was indebted forhis great discovery of the precession of the eqninoxes. Hipparchus alsodetermined the first inequality of the moonthe equation of the centre. Headopted the theory of epicycles and eccentricsa geometrical conception for thepurpose of resolving the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies on theprinciple of circular movement. He also undertook to make a catalogue of thestars by the method of alineations -- that isby indicating those that are inthe same apparent straight line. The number of stars so catalogued was 1080. Ifhe thus attempted to depict the aspect
of the skyhe endeavored to do the same for the surface of the earthbymarking the position of towns and other places by lines of latitude andlongitude. He was the first to construct tables of the sun and moon.
In the midst of such a brilliant constellationof geometersastronomersphysicistsconspicuously shines forth Ptolemytheauthor of the great work"Syntaxis" "a Treatise on theMathematical Construction of the Heavens." It maintained its ground fornearly fifteen hundred yearsand indeed was only displaced by the immortal"Principia" of Newton. It commences with the doctrine that the earthis globular and fixed in spaceit describes the construction of a table ofchordsand instruments for observing the solsticesit deduces the obliquity ofthe eclipticit finds terrestrial latitudes by the gnomondescribes climatesshows how ordinary may be converted into sidereal timegives reasons forpreferring the tropical to the sidereal yearfurnishes the solar theory on theprinciple of the sun's orbit being a simple eccentricexplains the equation oftimeadvances to the discussion of the motions of the moontreats of the firstinequalityof her eclipsesand the motion of her nodes. It then givesPtolemy's own great discovery -- that which has made his name immortal -- thediscovery of the moon's evection or second inequalityreducing it to theepicyclic theory. It attempts the determination of the distances of the sun andmoon from the earth -- withhoweveronly partial success. It considers theprecession of the equinoxesthe discovery of Hipparchusthe full period ofwhich is twenty-five thousand years. It gives a catalogue of 1022 starstreatsof the nature of the milky-wayand discusses in the most masterly manner themotions of the planets. This point constitutes another of Ptolemy's claims to
scientific fame. His determination of the planetary orbits was accomplished bycomparing his own observations with those of former astronomersamong them theobservations of Timocharis on the planet Venus.
In the Museum of AlexandriaCtesibiusinvented the fire-engine. His pupilHeroimproved it by giving it twocylinders. Theretoothe first steam-engine worked. This also was theinvention of Heroand was a reaction engineon the principle of the eolipile.The silence of the halls of Serapis was broken by the water-clocks of Ctesibiusand Apolloniuswhich drop by drop measured time. When the Roman calendar hadfallen into such confusion that it had become absolutely necessary to rectifyitJulius Cæsar brought Sosigenes the astronomer from Alexandria. By hisadvice the lunar year was abolishedthe civil year regulated entirely by thesunand the Julian calendar introduced.
The Macedonian rulers of Egypt have beenblamed for the manner in which they dealt with the religious sentiment of theirtime. They prostituted it to the purpose of state-craftfinding in it a meansof governing their lower classes. To the intelligent they gave philosophy.
But doubtless they defended this policy by theexperience gathered in those great campaigns which had made the Greeks theforemost nation of the world. They had seen the mythological conceptions oftheir ancestral country dwindle into fables; the wonders with which the oldpoets adorned the Mediterranean had been discovered to be baseless illusions.From Olympus its divinities had disappeared; indeedOlympus itself had provedto be a phantom of the imagination. Hades had lost its terrors; no place couldbe found for it.
From the woods and grottoes and rivers of Asia Minor the local gods andgoddesses had departed; even their devotees began to doubt whether they had everbeen there. If still the Syrian damsels lamentedin their amorous dittiesthefate of Adonisit was only as a recollectionnot as a reality. Again and againhad Persia changed her national faith. For the revelation of Zoroaster she hadsubstituted Dualism; then under new political influences she had adoptedMagianism. She had worshiped fireand kept her altars burning on mountain-tops.She had adored the sun. When Alexander cameshe was fast falling into pantheism
On a country to which in its politicalextremity the indigenous gods have been found unable to give any protectionachange of faith is impending. The venerable divinities of Egyptto whose gloryobelisks had been raised and temples dedicatedhad again and again submitted tothe sword of a foreign conqueror. In the land of the Pyramidsthe ColossitheSphinxthe images of the gods had ceased to represent living realities. Theyhad ceased to be objects of faith. Others of more recent birth were needfulandSerapis confronted Osiris. In the shops and streets of Alexandria there werethousands of Jews who had forgotten the God that had made his habitation behindthe veil of the temple.
Traditionrevelationtimeall had losttheir influence. The traditions of European mythologythe revelations of Asiathe time-consecrated dogmas of Egyptall had passed or were fast passing away.And the Ptolemies recognized how ephemeral are forms of faith.
But the Ptolemies also recognized that thereis something more durable than forms of faithwhichlike the organic forms ofgeological agesonce goneare clean gone foreverand have no restorationnoreturn. They
recognized that within this world of transient delusions and unrealities thereis a world of eternal truth.
That world is not to be discovered through thevain traditions that have brought down to us the opinions of men who lived inthe morning of civilizationnor in the dreams of mystics who thought that theywere inspired. It is to be discovered by the investigations of geometryand bythe practical interrogation of Nature. These confer on humanity solidandinnumerableand inestimable blessings.
The day will never come when any one of thepropositions of Euclid will be denied; no one henceforth will call in questionthe globular shape of the earthas recognized by Eratosthenes; the world willnot permit the great physical inventions and discoveries made in Alexandria andSyracuse to be forgotten. The names of Hipparchusof Apolloniusof PtolemyofArchimedeswill be mentioned with reverence by men of every religiousprofessionas long as there are men to speak.
The Museum of Alexandria was thus thebirthplace of modern science. It is true thatlong before its establishmentastronomical observations had been made in China and Mesopotamia; themathematics also had been cultivated with a certain degree of success in India.But in none of these countries had investigation assumed a connected andconsistent form; in none was physical experimentation resorted to. Thecharacteristic feature of Alexandrianas of modern scienceisthat it did notrestrict itself to observationbut relied on a practical interrogation ofNature.
THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY. -- ITS TRANSFORMATION ON ATTAINING IMPERIAL POWER.-- ITS RELATIONS TO SCIENCE.
Religious condition of theRoman Republic. -- The adoption of imperialism leads to monotheism. --Christianity spreads over the Roman Empire. -- The circumstances under which itattained imperial power make its union with Paganism a political necessity. --Tertullian's description of its doctrines and practices. -- Debasing effect ofthe policy of Constantine on it. -- Its alliance with the civil power. -- Itsincompatibility with science. -- Destruction of the Alexandrian Library andprohibition of philosophy. -- Exposition of the Augustinian philosophy andPatristic science generally. -- The Scriptures made the standard of science.
IN a political senseChristianity is thebequest of the Roman Empire to the world.
At the epoch of the transition of Rome fromthe republican to the imperial form of governmentall the independentnationalities around the Mediterranean Sea had been brought under the control ofthat central power. The conquest that had befallen them in succession had beenby no means a disaster. The perpetual wars they had maintained with each othercame to an end; the miseries their conflicts had engendered were exchanged foruniversal peace.
Not only as a token of the conquest she hadmade but also as a gratification to her pridethe conquering
republic brought the gods of the vanquished peoples to Rome. With disdainfultolerationshe permitted the worship of them all. That paramount authorityexercised by each divinity in his original seat disappeared at once in the crowdof gods and goddesses among whom he had been brought. Alreadyas we have seenthrough geographical discoveries and philosophical criticismfaith in thereligion of the old days had been profoundly shaken. It wasby this policy ofRomebrought to an end.
The kings of all the conquered provinces hadvanished; in their stead one emperor had come. The gods also had disappeared.Considering the connection which in all ages has existed between political andreligious ideasit was then not at all strange that polytheism should manifesta tendency to pass into monotheism. Accordinglydivine honors were paid atfirst to the deceased and at length to the living emperor.
The facility with which gods were thus calledinto existence had a powerful moral effect. The manufacture of a new one castridicule on the origin of the old Incarnation in the East and apotheosis in theWest were fast filling Olympus with divinities. In the Eastgods descended fromheavenand were made incarnate in men; in the Westmen ascended from earthand took their seat among the gods. It was not the importation of Greekskepticism that made Rome skeptical. The excesses of religion itself sapped thefoundations of faith.
Not with equal rapidity did all classes of thepopulation adopt monotheistic views. The merchants and lawyers and soldierswhoby the nature of their pursuits are more familiar with the vicissitudes of lifeand have larger intellectual viewswere the first to be affectedthe landlaborers and farmers the last.
When the empire in a military and politicalsense had reached its culminationin a religious and social aspect it hadattained its height of immorality. It had become thoroughly epicurean; its maximwasthat life should be made a feastthat virtue is only the seasoning ofpleasureand temperance the means of prolonging it. Dining-rooms glitteringwith gold and incrusted with gemsslaves in superb apparelthe fascinations offemale society where all the women were dissolutemagnificent bathstheatresgladiatorssuch were the objects of Roman desire. The conquerors of the worldhad discovered that the only thing worth worshiping is Force. By it all thingsmight be securedall that toil and trade had laboriously obtained. Theconfiscation of goods and landsthe taxation of provinceswere the reward ofsuccessful warfare; and the emperor was the symbol of force. There was a socialsplendorbut it was the phosphorescent corruption of the ancient Mediterraneanworld.
In one of the Eastern provincesSyriasomepersons in very humble life had associated themselves together for benevolentand religious purposes. The doctrines they held were in harmony with thatsentiment of universal brotherhood arising from the coalescence of the conqueredkingdoms. They were doctrines inculcated by Jesus.
The Jewish people at that time entertained abelieffounded on old traditionsthat a deliverer would arise among themwhowould restore them to their ancient splendor. The disciples of Jesus regardedhim as this long-expected Messiah. But the priesthoodbelieving that thedoctrines he taught were prejudicial to their interestsdenounced him to theRoman governorwhoto satisfy their clamorsreluctantly delivered him over todeath.
His doctrines of benevolence and humanbrotherhood outlasted that event. The disciplesinstead of scatteringorganized. They associated themselves on a principle of communismeach throwinginto the common stock whatever property he possessedand all his gains. Thewidows and orphans of the community were thus supportedthe poor and the sicksustained. From this germ was developed a newand as the events provedall-powerful society -- the Church; newfor nothing of the kind had existed inantiquity; powerfulfor the local churchesat first isolatedsoon began toconfederate for their common interest. Through this organization Christianityachieved all her political triumphs.
As we have saidthe military domination ofRome had brought about universal peaceand had generated a sentiment ofbrotherhood among the vanquished nations. Things werethereforepropitious forthe rapid diffusion of the newly-established -- the Christian -- principlethroughout the empire. It spread from Syria through all Asia Minorandsuccessively reached CyprusGreeceItalyeventually extending westward as faras Gaul and Britain.
Its propagation was hastened by missionarieswho made it known in all directions. None of the ancient classical philosophieshad ever taken advantage of such a means.
Political conditions determined the boundariesof the new religion. Its limits were eventually those of the Roman Empire; Romedoubtfully the place of death of Peternot Jerusalemindisputably the place ofthe death of our Saviorbecame the religious capital. It was better to havepossession of the imperial seven hilled citythan of Gethsemane and Calvarywith all their holy souvenirs.
For many years Christianity manifested itselfas a system enjoining three things -- toward God venerationin personal lifepurityin social life benevolence. In its early days of feebleness it madeproselytes only by persuasionbutas it increased in numbers and influenceitbegan to exhibit political tendenciesa disposition to form a government withinthe governmentan empire within the empire. These tendencies it has never sincelost. They arein truththe logical result of its development. The Romanemperorsdiscovering that it was absolutely incompatible with the imperialsystemtried to put it down by force. This was in accordance with the spirit oftheir military maximswhich had no other means but force for the establishmentof conformity.
In the winter A. D. 302-'3the Christiansoldiers in some of the legions refused to join in the time-honored solemnitiesfor propitiating the gods. The mutiny spread so quicklythe emergency became sopressingthat the Emperor Diocletian was compelled to hold a council for thepurpose of determining what should be done. The difficulty of the position mayperhaps be appreciated when it is understood that the wife and the daughter ofDiocletian himself were Christians. He was a man of great capacity and largepolitical views; he recognized in the opposition that must be made to the newparty a political necessityyet he expressly enjoined that there should be nobloodshed. But who can control an infuriated civil commotion? The church ofNicomedia was razed to the ground; in retaliation the imperial palace was set onfirean edict was openly insulted and torn down. The Christian officers in thearmy were cashiered; in all directionsmartyrdoms and massacres were takingplace. So resistless was the
march of eventsthat not even the emperor himself could stop the persecution.
It had now become evident that the Christiansconstituted a powerful party in the stateanimated with indignation at theatrocities they had sufferedand determined to endure them no longer. After theabdication of Diocletian (A. D. 305)Constantineone of the competitors forthe purpleperceiving the advantages that would accrue to him from such apolicyput himself forth as the head of the Christian party. This gave himinevery part of the empiremen and women ready to encounter fire and sword in hisbehalf; it gave him unwavering adherents in every legion of the armies. In adecisive battlenear the Milvian bridgevictory crowned his schemes. The deathof Maximinand subsequently that of Liciniusremoved all obstacles. Heascended the throne of the Cæsars -- the first Christian emperor.
Placeprofitpower -- these were in view ofwhoever now joined the conquering sect. Crowds of worldly personswho carednothing about its religious ideasbecame its warmest supporters. Pagans athearttheir influence was soon manifested in the paganization of Christianitythat forthwith ensued. The emperorno better than theydid nothing to checktheir proceedings. But he did not personally conform to the ceremonialrequirements of the Church until the close of his evil lifeA. D. 337.
That we may clearly appreciate themodifications now impressed on Christianity -- modifications which eventuallybrought it in conflict with science -- we must haveas a means of comparisonastatement of what it was in its purer days. Suchfortunatelywe find in the"Apology or Defense of the Christians against the
Accusations of the Gentiles" written by Tertullianat Romeduring thepersecution of Severus. He addressed itnot to the emperorbut to themagistrates who sat in judgment on the accused. It is a solemn and most earnestexpostulationsetting forth all that could be said in explanation of thesubjecta representation of the belief and cause of the Christians made in theimperial city in the face of the whole worldnot a querulous or passionateecclesiastical appealbut a grave historical document. It has ever been lookedupon as one of the ablest of the early Christian works. Its date is about A. D.200.
With no inconsiderable skill Tertullian openshis argument. He tells the magistrates that Christianity is a stranger uponearthand that she expects to meet with enemies in a country which is not herown. She only asks that she may not be condemned unheardand that Romanmagistrates will permit her to defend herself; that the laws of the empire willgather lustreif judgment be passed upon her after she has been tried but notif she is sentenced without a hearing of her cause; that it is unjust to hate athing of which we are ignoranteven though it may be a thing worthy of hate;that the laws of Rome deal with actionsnot with mere names; but thatnotwithstanding thispersons have been punished because they were calledChristiansand that without any accusation of crime.
He then advances to an exposition of theoriginthe natureand the effects of Christianitystating that it is foundedon the Hebrew Scriptureswhich are the most venerable of all books. He says tothe magistrates: "The books of Mosesin which God has inclosedas in atreasureall the religion of the Jewsand consequently all the Christianreligionreach far beyond the oldest
you haveeven beyond all your public monumentsthe establishment of yourstatethe foundation of many great cities -- all that is most advanced by youin all ages of historyand memory of times; the invention of letterswhich arethe interpreters of sciences and the guardians of all excellent things. I thinkI may say more -- beyond your godsyour templesyour oracles and sacrifices.The author of those books lived a thousand years before the siege of Troyandmore than fifteen hundred before Homer." Time is the ally of truthandwise men believe nothing but what is certainand what has been verified bytime. The principal authority of these Scriptures is derived from theirvenerable antiquity. The most learned of the Ptolemieswho was surnamedPhiladelphusan accomplished princeby the advice of Demetrius Phalareusobtained a copy of these holy books. It may be found at this day in his library.The divinity of these Scriptures is proved by thisthat all that is done in ourdays may be found predicted in them; they contain all that has since passed inthe view of men.
Is not the accomplishment of a prophecy atestimony to its truth? Seeing that events which are past have vindicated thesepropheciesshall we be blamed for trusting them in events that are to come?Nowas we believe things that have been prophesied and have come to passso webelieve things that have been told usbut not yet come to passbecause theyhave all been foretold by the same Scripturesas well those that are verifiedevery day as those that still remain to be fulfilled.
These Holy Scriptures teach us that there isone Godwho made the world out of nothingwhothough daily seenisinvisible; his infiniteness is known only
to himself; his immensity concealsbut at the same time discovers him. He hasordained for menaccording to their livesrewards and punishments; he willraise all the dead that have ever lived from the creation of the worldwillcommand them to reassume their bodiesand thereupon adjudge them to felicitythat has so endor to eternal flames. The fires of hell are those hidden flameswhich the earth shuts up in her bosom. He has in past times sent into the worldpreachers or prophets. The prophets of those old times were Jews; they addressedtheir oraclesfor such they wereto the Jewswho have stored them up in theScriptures. On themas has been saidChristianity is foundedthough theChristian differs in his ceremonies from the Jew. We are accused of worshiping amanand not the God of the Jews. Not so. The honor we bear to Christ does notderogate from the honor we bear to God.
On account of the merit of these ancientpatriarchsthe Jews were the only beloved people of God; he delighted to be incommunication with them by his own mouth. By him they were raised to admirablegreatness. But with perversity they wickedly ceased to regard him; they changedhis laws into a profane worship. He warned them that he would take to himselfservants more faithful than theyandfor their crimepunished them by drivingthem forth from their country. They are now spread all over the world; theywander in all parts; they cannot enjoy the air they breathed at their birth;they have neither man nor God for their king. As he threatened themso he hasdone. He has takenin all nations and countries of the earthpeople morefaithful than they. Through his prophets he had declared that these should havegreater favorsand that a Messiah should cometo publish a new law
among them. This Messiah was Jesuswho is also God. For God may be derived fromGodas the light of a candle may be derived from the light of another candle.God and his Son are the self-same God -- a light is the same light as that fromwhich it was taken.
The Scriptures make known two comings of theSon of God; the first in humilitythe second at the day of judgmentin power.The Jews might have known all this from the prophetsbut their sins have soblinded them that they did not recognize him at his first comingand are stillvainly expecting him. They believed that all the miracles wrought by him werethe work of magic. The doctors of the law and the chief priests were envious ofhim; they denounced him to Pilate. He was crucifieddiedwas buriedand afterthree days rose again. For forty days he remained among his disciples. Then hewas environed in a cloudand rose up to heaven -- a truth far more certain thanany human testimonies touching the ascension of Romulus or of any other Romanprince mounting up to the same place.
Tertullian then describes the origin andnature of devilswhounder Satantheir princeproduce diseasesirregularities of the airplaguesand the blighting of the blossoms of theearthwho seduce men to offer sacrificesthat they may have the blood of thevictimswhich is their food. They are as nimble as the birdsand hence knowevery thing that is passing upon earth; they live in the airand hence can spywhat is going on in heaven; for this reason they can impose on men reignedpropheciesand deliver oracles. Thus they announced in Rome that a victorywould be obtained over King Perseuswhen in truth they knew that the battle wasalready won. They falsely cure diseases;
fortaking possession of the body of a manthey produce in him a distemperand then ordaining some remedy to he usedthey cease to afflict himand menthink that a cure has taken place.
Though Christians deny that the emperor is agodthey nevertheless pray for his prosperitybecause the general dissolutionthat threatens the universethe conflagration of the worldis retarded so longas the glorious majesty of the triumphant Roman Empire shall last. They desirenot to be present at the subversion of all Nature. They acknowledge only onerepublicbut it is the whole world; they constitute one bodyworship one Godand all look forward to eternal happiness. Not only do they pray for the emperorand the magistratesbut also for peace. They read the Scriptures to nourishtheir faithlift up their hopeand strengthen the confidence they have in God.They assemble to exhort one another; they remove sinners from their societies;they have bishops who preside over themapproved by the suffrages of those whomthey are to conduct. At the end of each month every one contributes if he willbut no one is constrained to give; the money gathered in this manner is thepledge of piety; it is not consumed in eating and drinkingbut in feeding thepoorand burying themin comforting children that are destitute of parents andgoodsin helping old men who have spent the best of their days in the serviceof the faithfulin assisting those who have lost by shipwreck what they hadand those who are condemned to the minesor have been banished to islandsorshut up in prisonsbecause they professed the religion of the true God. Thereis but one thing that Christians have not in commonand that one thing is theirwives. They do not feast as if they should die to-morrownor build as if they
should never die. The objects of their life are innocencejusticepatiencetemperancechastity.
To this noble exposition of Christian beliefand life in his dayTertullian does not hesitate to add an ominous warning tothe magistrates he is addressing -- ominousfor it was a forecast of a greatevent soon to come to pass: "Our origin is but recentyet already we fillall that your power acknowledges -- citiesfortressesislandsprovincestheassemblies of the peoplethe wards of Romethe palacethe senatethe publicplacesand especially the armies. We have left you nothing but your temples.Reflect what wars we are able to undertake! With what promptitude might we notarm ourselves were we not restrained by our religionwhich teaches us that itis better to be killed than to kill!"
Before he closes his defenseTertullianrenews an assertion whichcarried into practiceas it subsequently wasaffected the intellectual development of all Europe. He declares that the HolyScriptures are a treasure from which all the true wisdom in the world has beendrawn; that every philosopher and every poet is indebted to them. He labors toshow that they are the standard and measure of all truthand that whatever isinconsistent with them must necessarily be false.
From Tertullian's able work we see whatChristianity was while it was suffering persecution and struggling forexistence. We have now to see what it became when in possession of imperialpower. Great is the difference between Christianity under Severus andChristianity after Constantine. Many of the doctrines which at the latter periodwere preëminentin the former were unknown.
Two causes led to the amalgamation ofChristianity with paganism: 1. The political necessities of the new
dynasty; 2. The policy adopted by the new religion to insure its spread.
1. Though the Christian party had proveditself sufficiently strong to give a master to the empireit was neversufficiently strong to destroy its antagonistpaganism. The issue of thestruggle between them was an amalgamation of the principles of both. In thisChristianity differed from Mohammedanismwhich absolutely annihilated itsantagonistand spread its own doctrines without adulteration.
Constantine continually showed by his actsthat he felt he must be the impartial sovereign of all his peoplenot merelythe representative of a successful faction. Henceif he built Christianchurcheshe also restored pagan temples; if he listened to the clergyhe alsoconsulted the haruspices; if he summoned the Council of Niceahe also honoredthe statue of Fortune; if he accepted the rite of baptismhe also struck amedal bearing his title of "God." His statueon the top of the greatporphyry pillar at Constantinopleconsisted of an ancient image of Apollowhose features were replaced by those of the emperorand its head surrounded bythe nails feigned to have been used at the crucifixion of Christarranged so asto form a crown of glory.
Feeling that there must be concessions to thedefeated pagan partyin accordance with its ideashe looked with favor on theidolatrous movements of his court. In factthe leaders of these movements werepersons of his own family.
2. To the emperor -- a mere worldling -- a manwithout any religious convictionsdoubtless it appeared best for himselfbestfor the empireand best for the contending partiesChristian and pagantopromote their
union or amalgamation as much as possible. Even sincere Christians do not seemto have been averse to this; perhaps they believed that the new doctrines woulddiffuse most thoroughly by incorporating in themselves ideas borrowed from theoldthat Truth would assert her self in the endand the impurity be cast off.In accomplishing this amalgamationHelenathe empress-motheraided by thecourt ladiesled the way. For her gratification there were discoveredin acavern at Jerusalemwherein they had lain buried for more than three centuriesthe Savior's crossand those of the two thievesthe inscriptionand the nailsthat had been used. They were identified by miracle. A true relic-worship setin. The superstition of the old Greek times reappeared; the times when the toolswith which the Trojan horse was made might still be seen at Metapontumthesceptre of Pelops at Chæroneiathe spear of Achilles at Phaselisthe sword ofMemnon at Nicomediawhen the Tegeates could show the hide of the Calydonianboar and very many cities boasted their possession of the true palladium ofTroy; when there were statues of Minerva that could brandish spearspaintingsthat could blushimages that could sweatand endless shrines and sanctuariesat which miracle-cures could be performed.
As years passed onthe faith described byTertullian was transmuted into one more fashionable and more debased. It wasincorporated with the old Greek mythology. Olympus was restoredbut thedivinities passed under other names. The more powerful provinces insisted on theadoption of their time-honored conceptions. Views of the Trinityin accordancewith Egyptian traditionswere established. Not only was the adoration of Isisunder a new name restoredbut even her imagestanding on the crescent moonreappeared.
The well-known effigy of that goddesswith the infant Horus in her armshasdescended to our days in the beautifulartistic creations of the Madonna andChild. Such restorations of old conceptions under novel forms were everywherereceived with delight. When it was announced to the Ephesians that the Councilof that placeheaded by Cyrilhad decreed that the Virgin should be called"the Mother of God" with tears of joy they embraced the knees oftheir bishop; it was the old instinct peeping out; their ancestors would havedone the same for Diana.
This attempt to conciliate worldly convertsby adopting their ideas and practicesdid not pass without remonstrance fromthose whose intelligence discerned the motive. "You have" saysFaustus to Augustine"substituted your agapæ for the sacrifices of thepagans; for their idols your martyrswhom you serve with the very same honors.You appease the shades of the dead with wine and feasts; you celebrate thesolemn festivities of the Gentilestheir calendsand their solstices; andasto their mannersthose you have retained without any alteration. Nothingdistinguishes you from the pagansexcept that you hold your assemblies apartfrom them." Pagan observances were everywhere introduced. At weddings itwas the custom to sing hymns to Venus.
Let us pause here a momentand seeinanticipationto what a depth of intellectual degradation this policy ofpaganization eventually led. Heathen rites were adopteda pompous and splendidritualgorgeous robesmitrestiaraswax-tapersprocessional serviceslustrationsgold and silver vaseswere introduced. The Roman lituusthe chiefensign of the augursbecame the crozier. Churches were built over the tombs ofmartyrsand consecrated with rites borrowed from the
ancient laws of the Roman pontiffs. Festivals and commemorations of martyrsmultiplied with the numberless fictitious discoveries of their remains. Fastingbecame the grand means of repelling the devil and appeasing God; celibacy thegreatest of the virtues. Pilgrimages. were made to Palestine and the tombs ofthe martyrs. Quantities of dust and earth were brought from the Holy Land andsold at enormous pricesas antidotes against devils. The virtues of consecratedwater were upheld. Images and relics were introduced into the churchesandworshiped after the fashion of the heathen gods. It was given out that prodigiesand miracles were to be seen in certain placesas in the heathen times. Thehappy souls of departed Christians were invoked; it was believed that they werewandering about the worldor haunting their graves. There was a multiplicationof templesaltarsand penitential garments. The festival of the purificationof the Virgin was invented to remove the uneasiness of heathen converts onaccount of the loss of their Lupercaliaor feasts of Pan. The worship ofimagesof fragments of the crossor bonesnailsand other relicsa truefetich worshipwas cultivated. Two arguments were relied on for theauthenticity of these objects -- the authority of the Churchand the working ofmiracles. Even the worn-out clothing of the saints and the earth of their graveswere venerated. From Palestine were brought what were affirmed to be theskeletons of St. Mark and St. Jamesand other ancient worthies. The apotheosisof the old Roman times was replaced by canonization; tutelary saints succeed tolocal mythological divinities. Then came the mystery of transubstantiationorthe conversion of bread and wine by the priest into the flesh and blood ofChrist. As centuries passedthe
paganization became more and more complete. Festivals sacred to the memory ofthe lance with which the Savior's side was piercedthe nails that fastened himto the crossand the crown of thornswere instituted. Though there wereseveral abbeys that possessed this last peerless relicno one dared to say thatit was impossible they could all be authentic.
We may read with advantage the remarks made byBishop Newton on this paganization of Christianity. He asks: "Is not theworship of saints and angels now in all respects the same that the worship ofdemons was in former times? The name only is differentthe thing is identicallythe same. . . the deified men of the Christians are substituted for thedeified men of the heathens. The promoters of this worship were sensible that itwas the sameand that the one succeeded to the other; andas the worship isthe sameso likewise it is performed with the same ceremonies. The burning ofincense or perfumes on several altars at one and the same time; the sprinklingof holy wateror a mixture of salt and common waterat going into and comingout of places of public worship; the lighting up of a great number of lamps andwax-candles in broad daylight before altars and statues of these deities; thehanging up of votive offerings and rich presents as attestations of so manymiraculous cures and deliverances from diseases and dangers; the canonization ordeification of deceased worthies; the assigning of distinct provinces orprefectures to departed heroes and saints; the worshiping and adoring of thedead in their sepulchresshrinesand relics; the consecrating and bowing downto images; the attributing of miraculous powers and virtues to idols; thesetting up of little oratoriesaltarsand statues in the streets and highwaysand on the tops of
mountains; the carrying of images and relics in pompous processionwithnumerous lights and with music and singing; flagellations at solemn seasonsunder the notion of penance; a great variety of religious orders andfraternities of priests; the shaving of priestsor the tonsure as it is calledon the crown of their heads; the imposing of celibacy and vows of chastity onthe religious of both sexes -- all these and many more rites and ceremonies areequally parts of pagan and popish superstition. Naythe very same templesthevery same imageswhich were once consecrated to Jupiter and the other demonsare now consecrated to the Virgin Mary and the other saints. The very same ritesand inscriptions are ascribed to boththe very same prodigies and miracles arerelated of these as of those. In shortalmost the whole of paganism isconverted and applied to popery; the one is manifestly formed upon the same planand principles as the other; so that there is not only a conformitybut even auniformityin the worship of ancient and modernof heathen and ChristianRome."
Thus far Bishop Newton; but to return to thetimes of Constantine: though these concessions to old and popular ideas werepermitted and even encouragedthe dominant religious party never for a momenthesitated to enforce its decisions by the aid of the civil power -- an aid whichwas freely given. Constantine thus carried into effect the acts of the Councilof Nicea. In the affair of Ariushe even ordered that whoever should find abook of that hereticand not burn itshould be put to death. In like mannerNestor was by Theodosius the Younger banished to an Egyptian oasis.
The pagan party included many of the oldaristocratic families of the empire; it counted among its adherents all thedisciples of the old philosophical schools.
It looked down on its antagonist with contempt. It asserted that knowledge is tobe obtained only by the laborious exercise of human observation and humanreason.
The Christian party asserted that allknowledge is to be found in the Scriptures and in the traditions of the Church;thatin the written revelationGod had not only given a criterion of truthbut had furnished us all that he intended us to know. The Scripturesthereforecontain the sumthe end of all knowledge. The clergywith the emperor at theirbackwould endure no intellectual competition.
Thus came into prominence what were termedsacred and profane knowledge; thus came into presence of each other two opposingpartiesone relying on human reason as its guidethe other on revelation.Paganism leaned for support on the learning of its philosophersChristianity onthe inspiration of its Fathers
The Church thus set herself forth as thedepository and arbiter of knowledge; she was ever ready to resort to the civilpower to compel obedience to her decisions. She thus took a course whichdetermined her whole future career: she became a stumbling-block in theintellectual advancement of Europe for more than a thousand years.
The reign of Constantine marks the epoch ofthe transformation of Christianity from a religion into a political system; andthoughin one sensethat system was degraded into an idolatryin another ithad risen into a development of the old Greek mythology. The maxim holds good inthe social as well as in the mechanical worldthatwhen two bodies striketheform of both is changed. Paganism was modified by Christianity; Christianity byPaganism.
In the Trinitarian controversywhich firstbroke out in Egypt -- Egyptthe land of Trinities -- the chief point indiscussion was to define the position of "the Son." There lived inAlexandria a presbyter of the name of Ariusa disappointed candidate for theoffice of bishop. He took the ground that there was a time whenfrom the verynature of sonshipthe Son did not existand a time at which he commenced tobeasserting that it is the necessary condition of the filial relation that afather must be older than his son. But this assertion evidently denied thecoeternity of the three persons of the Trinity; it suggested a subordination orinequality among themand indeed implied a time when the Trinity did not exist.Hereuponthe bishopwho had been the successful competitor against Ariusdisplayed his rhetorical powers in public debates on the questionandthestrife spreadingthe Jews and paganswho formed a very large portion of thepopulation of Alexandriaamused themselves with theatrical representations ofthe contest on the stage -- the point of their burlesques being the equality ofage of the Father and his Son.
Such was the violence the controversy atlength assumedthat the matter had to be referred to the emperor. At first helooked upon the dispute as altogether frivolousand perhaps in truth inclinedto the assertion of Ariusthat in the very nature of the thing a father must beolder than his son. So greathoweverwas the pressure laid upon himthat hewas eventually compelled to summon the Council of Niceawhichto dispose ofthe conflictset forth a formulary or creedand attached to it this anathema:"The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes those who say thatthere was a time when the Son of God was notand
thatbefore he was begottenhe was notand that he was made out of nothingor out of another substance or essenceand is createdor changeableoralterable." Constantine at once enforced the decision of the council by thecivil power.
A few years subsequently the EmperorTheodosius prohibited sacrificesmade the inspection of the entrails of animalsa capital offenseand forbade any one entering a temple. He institutedInquisitors of Faithand ordained that all who did not accord with the beliefof Damasusthe Bishop of Romeand Peterthe Bishop of Alexandriashould bedriven into exileand deprived of civil rights. Those who presumed to celebrateEaster on the same day as the Jewshe condemned to death. The Greek languagewas now ceasing to be known in the Westand true learning was becoming extinct.
At this time the bishopric of Alexandria washeld by one Theophilus. An ancient temple of Osiris having been given to theChristians of the city for the site of a churchit happened thatin diggingthe foundation for the new edificethe obscene symbols of the former worshipchanced to be found. Thesewith more zeal than modestyTheophilus exhibited inthe market-place to public derision. With less forbearance than the Christianparty showed when it was insulted in the theatre during the Trinitarian disputethe pagans resorted to violenceand a riot ensued. They held the Serapion astheir headquarters. Such were the disorder and bloodshed that the emperor had tointerfere. He dispatched a rescript to Alexandriaenjoining the bishopTheophilusto destroy the Serapion; and the great librarywhich had beencollected by the Ptolemiesand had escaped the fire of Julius Cæsarwas bythat fanatic dispersed.
The bishopric thus held by Theophilus was indue
time occupied by his nephew St. Cyrilwho had commended himself to the approvalof the Alexandrian congregations as a successful and fashionable preacher. Itwas he who had so much to do with the introduction of the worship of the VirginMary. His hold upon the audiences of the giddy city washowevermuch weakenedby Hypatiathe daughter of Theonthe mathematicianwho not only distinguishedherself by her expositions of the doctrines of Plato and Aristotlebut also byher comments on the writings of Apollonius and other geometers. Each day beforeher academy stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded withthe wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen to her discourses onthose questions which man in all ages has askedbut which never yet have beenanswered: "What am I? Where am I? What can I know?"
Hypatia and Cyril! Philosophy and bigotry.They cannot exist together. So Cyril feltand on that feeling he acted. AsHypatia repaired to her academyshe was assaulted by Cyril's mob -- a mob ofmany monks. Stripped naked in the streetshe was dragged into a churchandthere killed by the club of Peter the Reader. The corpse was cut to piecestheflesh was scraped from the bones with shellsand the remnants cast into a fire.For this frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It seemed to beadmitted that the end sanctified the means.
So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandriasocame to an untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies had done so much topromote. The "Daughter Library" that of the Serapionhad beendispersed. The fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profaneknowledge. Henceforth there was to be no
freedom for human thought. Every one must think as the ecclesiastical authorityordered himA. D. 414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinianat length prohibited its teachingand caused all its schools in that city to beclosed.
While these events were transpiring in theEastern provinces of the Roman Empirethe spirit that had produced them wasdisplaying itself in the West. A British monkwho had assumed the name ofPelagiuspassed through Western Europe and Northern Africateaching that deathwas not introduced into the world by the sin of Adam; that on the contrary hewas necessarily and by nature mortaland had he not sinned he wouldnevertheless have died; that the consequences of his sins were confined tohimselfand did not affect his posterity. From these premises Pelagius drewcertain important theological conclusions.
At RomePelagius had been received withfavor; at Carthageat the instigation of St. Augustinehe was denounced. By asynodheld at Diospolishe was acquitted of heresybuton referring thematter to the Bishop of RomeInnocent I.he wason the contrarycondemned.It happened that at this moment Innocent diedand his successorZosimusannulled his judgment and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be orthodox.These contradictory decisions are still often referred to by the opponents ofpapal infallibility. Things were in this state of confusionwhen the wilyAfrican bishopsthrough the influence of Count Valeriusprocured from theemperor an edict denouncing Pelagins as a heretic; he and his accomplices werecondemned to exile and the forfeiture of their goods. To affirm that death wasin the world before the fall of Adamwas a state crime.
It is very instructive to consider theprinciples on
which this strange decision was founded. Since the question was purelyphilosophicalone might suppose that it would have been discussed on naturalprinciples; instead of thattheological considerations alone were adduced. Theattentive reader will have remarkedin Tertullian's statement of the principlesof Christianitya complete absence of the doctrines of original sintotaldepravitypredestinationgraceand atonement. The intention of Christianityas set forth by himhas nothing in common with the plan of salvation upheld twocenturies subsequently. It is to St. Augustinea Carthaginianthat we areindebted for the precision of our views on these important points.
In deciding whether death had been in theworld before the fall of Adamor whether it was the penalty inflicted on theworld for his sinthe course taken was to ascertain whether the views ofPelagius were accordant or discordant not with Nature but with the theologicaldoctrines of St. Augustine. And the result has been such as might be expected.The doctrine declared to be orthodox by ecclesiastical authority is overthrownby the unquestionable discoveries of modern science. Long before a human beinghad appeared upon earthmillions of individuals -- naymorethousands ofspecies and even genera -- had died; those which remain with us are aninsignificant fraction of the vast hosts that have passed away.
A consequence of great importance issued fromthe decision of the Pelagian controversy. The book of Genesis had been made thebasis of Christianity. Ifin a theological point of viewto its account of thesin in the garden of Edenand the transgression and punishment of Adamso muchweight had been attachedit also in a philosophical point of view became thegrand
authority of Patristic science. Astronomygeologygeographyanthropologychronologyand indeed all the various departments of human knowledgewere madeto conform to it.
As the doctrines of St. Augustine have had theeffect of thus placing theology in antagonism with scienceit may beinteresting to examine briefly some of the more purely philosophical views ofthat great man. For this purposewe may appropriately select portions of hisstudy of the first chapter of Genesisas contained in the eleventhtwelfthand thirteenth books of his "Confessions."
These consist of philosophical discussionslargely interspersed with rhapsodies. He prays that God will give him tounderstand the Scripturesand will open their meaning to him; he declares thatin them there is nothing superfluousbut that the words have a manifoldmeaning.
The face of creation testifies that there hasbeen a Creator; but at once arises the question"How and when did he makeheaven and earth? They could not have been made in heaven and earththeworld could not have been made in the worldnor could they have beenmade when there was nothing to make them of." The solution of thisfundamental inquiry St. Augustine finds in saying"Thou spakestand theywere made."
But the difficulty does not end here. St.Augustine goes on to remark that the syllables thus uttered by God came forth insuccessionand there must have been some created thing to express the words.This created thing mustthereforehave existed before heaven and earthandyet there could have been no corporeal thing before heaven and earth. It musthave been a creaturebecause the words passed away and came to an end
but we know that "the word of the Lord endureth forever."
Moreoverit is plain that the words thusspoken could not have been spoken successivelybut simultaneouslyelse therewould have been time and change -- succession in its nature implying time;whereas there was then nothing but eternity and immortality. God knows and sayseternally what takes place in time.
St. Augustine then definesnot without muchmysticismwhat is meant by the opening words of Genesis: "In thebeginning." He is guided to his conclusion by another scriptural passage:"How wonderful are thy worksO Lord! in wisdom hast thou made themall." This "wisdom" is "the beginning" and in thatbeginning the Lord created the heaven and the earth.
"But" he adds"some one mayask`What was God doing before he made the heaven and the earth? forif at anyparticular moment he began to employ himselfthat means timenot eternity. Ineternity nothing transpires -- the whole is present.' " In answering thisquestionhe cannot forbear one of those touches of rhetoric for which he was socelebrated: "I will not answer this question by saying that he waspreparing hell for priers into his mysteries. I say thatbefore God made heavenand earthhe did not make any thingfor no creature could be made before anycreature was made. Time itself is a creatureand hence it could not possiblyexist before creation.
"Whatthenis time? The past is notthe future is notthe present -- who can tell what it isunless it be thatwhich has no duration between two nonentities? There is no such thing as `a longtime' or `a short time' for there are no such things as the past and thefuture. They have no existenceexcept in the soul."
The style in which St. Augustine conveyed hisideas is that of a rhapsodical conversation with God. His works are anincoherent dream. That the reader may appreciate this remarkI might copyalmost at random any of his paragraphs. The following is from the twelfth book:
"This thenis what I conceiveO my Godwhen I hear thy Scripture sayingIn the beginning God made heaven and earth:and the earth was invisible and without formand darkness was upon the deepand not mentioning what day thou createdst them; this is what I conceivethatbecause of the heaven of heavens -- that intellectual heavenwhoseintelligences know all at oncenot in partnot darklynot through a glassbut as a wholein manifestationface to face; not this thing nowand thatthing anon; but (as I said) know all at oncewithout any succession of times;and because of the earthinvisible and without formwithout any succession oftimeswhich succession presents `this thing nowthat thing anon;' becausewhere there is no formthere is no distinction of things; it isthenonaccount of these twoa primitive formedand a primitive formless; the oneheavenbut the heaven of heavens; the otherearthbut the earth movable andwithout form; because of these two do I conceivedid thy Scripture say withoutmention of daysIn the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Forforthwith it subjoined what earth it spake of; and also in that the firmament isrecorded to be created the second dayand called heavenit conveys to us ofwhich heaven he before spakewithout mention of days.
"Wondrous depth of thy words! whosesurface behold! is before usinviting to little ones; yet are they a wondrousdepthO my Goda wondrous depth!
It is awful to look therein; an awfulness of honorand a trembling of love. Theenemies thereof I hate vehemently; O that thou wouldst slay them with thytwo-edged swordthat they might no longer be enemies to it: for so do I love tohave them slain unto themselvesthat they may live unto thee."
As an example of the hermeneutical manner inwhich St. Augustine unfolded the concealed facts of the ScripturesI may citethe following from the thirteenth book of the "Confessions;" hisobject is to show that the doctrine of the Trinity is contained in the Mosaicnarrative of the creation:
"Lonow the Trinity appears unto me in aglass darklywhich is thou my Godbecause thouO Fatherin him who is thebeginning of our wisdomwhich is thy wisdomborn of thyselfequal unto theeand coeternalthat isin thy Soncreatedst heaven and earth. Much now have wesaid of the heaven of heavensand of the earth invisible and without formandof the darksome deepin reference to the wandering instability of its spiritualdeformityunless it had been converted unto himfrom whom it had its thendegree of lifeand by his enlightening became a beauteous lifeand the heavenof that heavenwhich was afterward set between water and water. And under thename of GodI now held the Fatherwho made these things; and under the name ofthe beginningthe Sonin whom he made these things; and believingas I didmy God as the TrinityI searched further in his holy wordsand lo! thy Spiritmoved upon the waters. Behold the Trinitymy God! -- Fatherand Sonand HolyGhost Creator of all creation."
That I might convey to my reader a justimpression of the character of St. Augustine's philosophical
writingsI havein the two quotations here givensubstituted for my owntranslation that of the Rev. Dr. Puseyas contained in Vol. I. of the"Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church" published at Oxford1840.
Considering the eminent authority which hasbeen attributed to the writings of St. Augustine by the religious world fornearly fifteen centuriesit is proper to speak of them with respect. And indeedit is not necessary to do otherwise. The paragraphs here quoted criticisethemselves. No one did more than this Father to bring science and religion intoantagonism; it was mainly he who diverted the Bible from its true office -- aguide to purity of life -- and placed it in the perilous position of being thearbiter of human knowledgean audacious tyranny over the mind of man. Theexample once setthere was no want of followers; the works of the great Greekphilosophers were stigmatized as profane; the transcendently gloriousachievements of the Museum of Alexandria were hidden from sight by a cloud ofignorancemysticismand unintelligible jargonout of which there too oftenflashed the destroying lightnings of ecclesiastical vengeance.
A divine revelation of science admits of noimprovementno changeno advance. It discourages as needlessand indeed aspresumptuousall new discoveryconsidering it as an unlawful prying intothings which it was the intention of God to conceal.
Whatthenis that sacredthat revealedsciencedeclared by the Fathers to be the sum of all knowledge?
It likened all phenomenanatural andspiritualto human acts. It saw in the Almightythe Eternalonly a giganticman.
As to the earthit affirmed that it is a flatsurfaceover which the sky is spread like a domeoras St. Augustine tellsusis stretched like a skin. In this the sun and moon and stars moveso thatthey may give light by day and by night to man. The earth was made of mattercreated by God out of nothingandwith all the tribes of animals and plantsinhabiting itwas finished in six days. Above the sky or firmament is heaven;in the dark and fiery space beneath the earth is hell. The earth is the centraland most important body of the universeall other things being intended for andsubservient to it.
As to manhe was made out of the dust of theearth. At first he was alonebut subsequently woman was formed from one of hisribs. He is the greatest and choicest of the works of God. He was placed in aparadise near the banks of the Euphratesand was very wise and very pure; buthaving tasted of the forbidden fruitand thereby broken the commandment givento himhe was condemned to labor and to death.
The descendants of the first manundeterredby his punishmentpursued such a career of wickedness that it became necessaryto destroy them. A delugethereforeflooded the face of the earthand roseover the tops of the mountains. Having accomplished its purposethe water wasdried up by a wind.
From this catastrophe Noah and his three sonswith their wiveswere saved in an ark. Of these sonsShem remained in Asia andrepeopled it. Ham peopled Africa; JaphetEurope. As the Fathers were notacquainted with the existence of Americathey did not provide an ancestor forits people.
Let us listen to what some of theseauthorities say in support of their assertions. Thus Lactantiusreferring
to the heretical doctrine of the globular form of the earthremarks: "Isit possible that men can be so absurd as to believe that the crops and the treeson the other side of the earth hang downwardand that men have their feethigher than their heads? If you ask them how they defend these monstrositieshow things do not fall away from the earth on that sidethey reply that thenature of things is such that heavy bodies tend toward the centrelike thespokes of a wheelwhile light bodiesas cloudssmokefiretend from thecentre to the heavens on all sides. NowI am really at a loss what to say ofthose whowhen they have once gone wrongsteadily persevere in their follyand defend one absurd opinion by another." On the question of theantipodesSt. Augustine asserts that "it is impossible there should beinhabitants on the opposite side of the earthsince no such race is recorded byScripture among the descendants of Adam." Perhapshoweverthe mostunanswerable argument against the sphericity of the earth was thisthat"in the day of judgmentmen on the other side of a globe could not see theLord descending through the air."
It is unnecessary for me to say any thingrespecting the introduction of death into the worldthe continual interventionsof spiritual agencies in the course of eventsthe offices of angels and devilsthe expected conflagration of the earththe tower of Babelthe confusion oftonguesthe dispersion of mankindthe interpretation of natural phenomenaaseclipsesthe rainbowetc. Above allI abstain from commenting On thePatristic conceptions of the Almighty; they are too anthropomorphicand wantingin sublimity.
PerhapshoweverI may quote from CosmasIndicopleustes the views that were entertained in the sixth
century. He wrote a work entitled "Christian Topography" the chiefintent of which was to confute the heretical opinion of the globular form of theearthand the pagan assertion that there is a temperate zone on the southernside of the torrid. He affirms thataccording to the true orthodox system ofgeographythe earth is a quadrangular planeextending four hundred days'journey east and westand exactly half as much north and south; that it isinclosed by mountainson which the sky rests; that one on the north sidehugerthan the othersby intercepting the rays of the sunproduces night; and thatthe plane of the earth is not set exactly horizontallybut with a littleinclination from the north: hence the EuphratesTigrisand other riversrunning southwardare rapid; but the Nilehaving to run up-hillhasnecessarily a very slow current.
The Venerable Bedewriting in the seventhcenturytells us that "the creation was accomplished in six daysand thatthe earth is its centre and its primary object. The heaven is of a fiery andsubtile natureroundand equidistant in every partas a canopy from thecentre of the earth. It turns round every day with ineffable rapidityonlymoderated by the resistance of the seven planetsthree above the sun -- SaturnJupiterMars -- then the sun; three below -- VenusMercurythe moon. Thestars go round in their fixed coursesthe northern perform the shortest circle.The highest heaven has its proper limit; it contains the angelic virtues whodescend upon earthassume ethereal bodiesperform human functionsand return.The heaven is tempered with glacial waterslest it should be set on fire. Theinferior heaven is called the firmamentbecause it separates the superincumbentwaters from the waters below.
The firmamental waters are lower than the spiritual heavenhigher than allcorporeal beingsreservedsome sayfor a second deluge; othersmore trulyto temper the fire of the fixed stars."
Was it for this preposterous scheme -- thisproduct of ignorance and audacity -- that the works of the Greek philosopherswere to be given up? It was none too soon that the great critics who appeared atthe Reformationby comparing the works of these writers with one anotherbrought them to their proper leveland taught us to look upon them all withcontempt.
Of this presumptuous systemthe strangestpart was its logicthe nature of its proofs. It relied upon miracle-evidence. Afact was supposed to he demonstrated by an astounding illustration of somethingelse! An Arabian writerreferring to thissays: "If a conjurer should sayto me`Three are more than tenand in proof of it I will change this stickinto a serpent' I might be surprised at his legerdemainbut I certainly shouldnot admit his assertion." Yetfor more than a thousand yearssuch was theaccepted logicand all over Europe propositions equally absurd were accepted onequally ridiculous proof.
Since the party that had become dominant inthe empire could not furnish works capable of intellectual competition withthose of the great pagan authorsand since it was impossible for it to accept aposition of inferioritythere arose a political necessity for thediscouragementand even persecutionof profane learning. The persecution ofthe Platonists under Valentinian was due to that necessity. They were accused ofmagicand many of them were put to death. The profession of philosophy hadbecome dangerous -- it was a state crime. In its stead there arose a passion forthe
marvelousa spirit of superstition. Egypt exchanged the great menwho had madeher Museum immortalfor bands of solitary monks and sequestered virginswithwhich she was overrun.
CONFLICT RESPECTING THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITY OF GOD. -- THE FIRST OR SOUTHERNREFORMATION.
The Egyptians insist on theintroduction of the worship of the Virgin Mary -- They are resisted by Nestorthe Patriarch of Constantinoplebut eventuallythrough their influence withthe emperorcause Nestor's exile and the dispersion of his followers.
Prelude to the Southern Reformation -- ThePersian attack; its moral effects.
The Arabian Reformation. -- Mohammed isbrought in contact with the Nestorians -- He adopts and extends theirprinciplesrejecting the worship of the Virginthe doctrine of the Trinityand every thing in opposition to the unity of God. -- He extinguishes idolatryin Arabiaby forceand prepares to make war on the Roman Empire. -- Hissuccessors conquer SyriaEgyptAsia MinorNorth AfricaSpainand invadeFrance.
As the result of this conflictthe doctrineof the unity of God was established in the greater part of the Roman Empire --The cultivation of science was restoredand Christendom lost many of her mostillustrious capitalsas AlexandriaCarthageandabove allJerusalem.
THE policy of the Byzantine court had given toprimitive Christianity a paganized formwhich it had spread over all theidolatrous populations constituting the empire. There had been an amalgamationof the two parties. Christianity had modified paganismpaganism had modifiedChristianity. The limits of this adulterated religion were the confines of theRoman Empire. With this great extension there had come to the
Christian party political influence and wealth. No insignificant portion of thevast public revenues found their way into the treasuries of the Church. As undersuch circumstances must ever be the casethere were many competitors for thespoils -- men whounder the mask of zeal for the predominant faithsought onlythe enjoyment of its emoluments.
Under the early emperorsconquest had reachedits culmination; the empire was completed; there remained no adequate objectsfor military life; the days of war-peculationand the plundering of provinceswere over. For the ambitioushoweveranother path was open; other objectspresented. A successful career in the Church led to results not unworthy ofcomparison with those that in former days had been attained by a successfulcareer in the army.
The ecclesiasticaland indeedit may besaidmuch of the political history of that timeturns on the struggles of thebishops of the three great metropolitan cities -- ConstantinopleAlexandriaRome -- for supremacy: Constantinople based her claims on the fact that she wasthe existing imperial city; Alexandria pointed to her commercial and literaryposition; Rometo her souvenirs. But the Patriarch of Constantinople laboredunder the disadvantage that he was too closely under the eyeandas he foundto his costtoo often under the handof the emperor. Distance gave security tothe episcopates of Alexandria and Rome.
Religious disputations in the East havegenerally turned on diversities of opinion respecting the nature and attributesof God; in the Weston the relations and life of man. This peculiarity has beenstrikingly manifested in the transformations that Christianity has undergone inAsia and Europe respectively. Accordingly
at the time of which we are speakingall the Eastern provinces of the RomanEmpire exhibited an intellectual anarchy. There were fierce quarrels respectingthe Trinitythe essence of Godthe position of the Sonthe nature of the HolySpiritthe influences of the Virgin Mary. The triumphant clamor first of onethen of another sect was confirmedsometimes by miracle-proofsometimes bybloodshed. No attempt was ever made to submit the rival opinions to logicalexamination. All partieshoweveragreed in thisthat the imposture of the oldclassical pagan forms of faith was demonstrated by the facility with which theyhad been overthrown. The triumphant ecclesiastics proclaimed that the images ofthe gods had failed to defend themselves when the time of trial came.
Polytheistic ideas have always been held inrepute by the southern European racesthe Semitic have maintained the unity ofGod. Perhaps this is due to the factas a recent author has suggestedthat adiversified landscape of mountains and valleysislandsand riversand gulfspredisposes man to a belief in a multitude of divinities. A vast sandy desertthe illimitable oceanimpresses him with an idea of the oneness of God.
Political reasons had led the emperors to lookwith favor on the admixture of Christianity and paganismand doubtless by thismeans the bitterness of the rivalry between those antagonists was somewhatabated. The heaven of the popularthe fashionable Christianity was the oldOlympusfrom which the venerable Greek divinities had been removed. Thereon agreat white thronesat God the Fatheron his right the Sonand then theblessed Virginclad in a golden robeand "covered with various femaleadornments;" on the left sat God the Holy Ghost. Surrounding these
thrones were hosts of angels with their harps. The vast expanse beyond wasfilled with tablesseated at which the happy spirits of the just enjoyed aperpetual banquet.
Ifsatisfied with this picture of happinessilliterate persons never inquired how the details of such a heaven were carriedoutor how much pleasure there could be in the ennui of such an eternallyunchangingunmoving sceneit was not so with the intelligent. As we are soonto seethere were among the higher ecclesiastics those who rejected withsentiments of horror these carnalthese materialistic conceptionsand raisedtheir protesting voices in vindication of the attributes of the OmnipresenttheAlmighty God.
In the paganization of religionnow in alldirections taking placeit became the interest of every bishop to procure anadoption of the ideas whichtime out of mindhad been current in the communityunder his charge. The Egyptians had already thus forced on the Church theirpeculiar Trinitarian views; and now they were resolved thatunder the form ofthe adoration of the Virgin Marythe worship of Isis should be restored.
It so happened that Nestorthe Bishop ofAntiochwho entertained the philosophical views of Theodore of Mopsuestiahadbeen called by the Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the Episcopate ofConstantinople (A. D. 427). Nestor rejected the base popular anthropomorphismlooking upon it as little better than blasphemousand pictured to himself anawful eternal Divinitywho pervaded the universeand had none of the aspectsor attributes of man. Nestor was deeply imbued with the doctrines of Aristotleand attempted to coordinate them with what he considered to be orthodox
Christian tenets. Between him and Cyrilthe Bishop or Patriarch of Alexandriaa quarrel accordingly arose. Cyril represented the paganizingNestor thephilosophizing party of the Church. This was that Cyril who had murderedHypatia. Cyril was determined that the worship of the Virgin as the Mother ofGod should be recognizedNestor was determined that it should not. In a sermondelivered in the metropolitan church at Constantinoplehe vindicated theattributes of the Eternalthe Almighty God. "And can this God have amother?" he exclaimed. In other sermons and writingshe set forth withmore precision his ideas that the Virgin should be considered not as the Motherof Godbut as the mother of the human portion of Christthat portion being asessentially distinct from the divine as is a temple from its contained deity.
Instigated by the monks of Alexandriathemonks of Constantinople took up arms in behalf of "the Mother of God."The quarrel rose to such a pitch that the emperor was constrained to summon acouncil to meet at Ephesus. In the mean time Cyril had given a bribe of manypounds of gold to the chief eunuch of the imperial courtand had therebyobtained the influence of the emperor's sister. "The holy virgin of thecourt of heaven thus found an ally of her own sex in the holy virgin of theemperor's court." Cyril hastened to the councilattended by a mob of menand women of the baser sort. He at once assumed the presidencyand in the midstof a tumult had the emperor's rescript read before the Syrian bishops couldarrive. A single day served to complete his triumph. All offers of accommodationon the part of Nestor were refusedhis explanations were not readhe wascondemned unheard. On the arrival of the Syrian ecclesiasticsa meeting of
protest was held by them. A riotwith much bloodshedensued in the cathedralof St. John. Nestor was abandoned by the courtand eventually exiled to anEgyptian oasis. His persecutors tormented him as long as he livedby everymeans in their powerand at his death gave out that "his blasphemoustongue had been devoured by wormsand that from the heats of an Egyptian deserthe had escaped only into the hotter torments of hell!"
The overthrow and punishment of Nestorhoweverby no means destroyed his opinions. He and his followersinsisting onthe plain inference of the last verse of the first chapter of St. Matthewtogether with the fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth verses of the thirteenth of thesame gospelcould never be brought to an acknowledgment of the perpetualvirginity of the new queen of heaven. Their philosophical tendencies were soonindicated by their actions. While their leader was tormented in an Africanoasismany of them emigrated to the Euphratesand established the ChaldeanChurch. Under their auspices the college of Edessa was founded. From the collegeof Nisibis issued those doctors who spread Nestor's tenets through SyriaArabiaIndiaTartaryChinaEgypt. The Nestoriansof courseadopted thephilosophy of Aristotleand translated the works of that great writer intoSyriac and Persian. They also made similar translations of later workssuch asthose of Pliny. In connection with the Jews they founded the medical college ofDjondesabour. Their missionaries disseminated the Nestorian form of Christianityto such an extent over Asiathat its worshipers eventually outnumbered all theEuropean Christians of the Greek and Roman Churches combined. It may beparticularly remarked that in Arabia they had a bishop.
The dissensions between Constantinople andAlexandria had thus filled all Western Asia with sectariesferocious in theircontests with each otherand many of them burning with hatred against theimperial power for the persecutions it had inflicted on them. A religiousrevolutionthe consequences of which are felt in our own timeswas the result.It affected the whole world.
We shall gain a clear view of this greateventif we consider separately the two acts into which it may be decomposed:1. The temporary overthrow of Asiatic Christianity by the Persians; 2. Thedecisive and final reformation under the Arabians.
1. It happened (A. D. 590) thatby one ofthose revolutions so frequent in Oriental courtsChosroesthe lawful heir tothe Persian thronewas compelled to seek refuge in the Byzantine Empireandimplore the aid of the Emperor Maurice. That aid was cheerfully given. A briefand successful campaign restored Chosroes to the throne of his ancestors.
But the glories of this generous campaigncould not preserve Maurice himself. A mutiny broke out in the Roman armyheadedby Phocasa centurion. The statues of the emperor were overthrown. ThePatriarch of Constantinoplehaving declared that he had assured himself of theorthodoxy of Phocasconsecrated him emperor. The unfortunate Maurice wasdragged from a sanctuaryin which he had sought refuge; his five sons werebeheaded before his eyesand then he was put to death. His empress wasinveigled from the church of St. Sophiatorturedand with her three youngdaughters beheaded. The adherents of the massacred family were pursued withferocious vindictiveness; of some the eyes were blindedof others the tongueswere
torn outor the feet and hands cut offsome were whipped to deathothers wereburnt.
When the news reached RomePope Gregoryreceived it with exultationpraying that the hands of Phocas might bestrengthened against all his enemies. As an equivalent for this subserviencyhewas greeted with the title of "Universal Bishop." The cause of hisactionas well as of that of the Patriarch of Constantinoplewas doubtless thefact that Maurice was suspected of Magrian tendenciesinto which he had beenlured by the Persians. The mob of Constantinople had hooted after him in thestreetsbranding him as a Marcionitea sect which believed in the Magiandoctrine of two conflicting principles.
With very different sentiments Chosroes heardof the murder of his friend. Phocas had sent him the heads of Maurice and hissons. The Persian king turned from the ghastly spectacle with horrorand atonce made ready to avenge the wrongs of his benefactor by war.
The Exarch of AfricaHeracliusone of thechief officers of the statealso received the shocking tidings withindignation. He was determined that the imperial purple should not be usurped byan obscure centurion of disgusting aspect. "The person of this Phocas wasdiminutive and deformed; the closeness of his shaggy eyebrowshis red hairhisbeardless chinwere in keeping with his cheekdisfigured and discolored by aformidable scar. Ignorant of lettersof lawsand even of armshe indulged inan ample privilege of lust and drunkenness." At first Heraclius refusedtribute and obedience to him; thenadmonished by age and infirmitieshecommitted the dangerous enterprise of resistance to his son of the same name. Aprosperous voyage
from Carthage soon brought the younger Heraclius in front of Constantinople. Theinconstant clergysenateand people of the city joined himthe usurper wasseized in his palace and beheaded.
But the revolution that had taken place inConstantinople did not arrest the movements of the Persian king. His Magianpriests had warned him to act independently of the Greekswhose superstitionthey declaredwas devoid of all truth and justice. Chosroesthereforecrossedthe Euphrates; his army was received with transport by the Syrian sectariesinsurrections in his favor everywhere breaking out. In successionAntiochCæsareaDamascus fell; Jerusalem itself was taken by storm; the sepulchre ofChristthe churches of Constantine and of Helena were given to the flames; theSavior's cross was sent as a trophy to Persia; the churches were rifled of theirriches; the sacred relicscollected by superstitionwere dispersed. Egypt wasinvadedconqueredand annexed to the Persian Empire; the Patriarch ofAlexandria escaped by flight to Cyprus; the African coast to Tripoli was seized.On the northAsia Minor was subduedand for ten years the Persian forcesencamped on the shores of the Bosporusin front of Constantinople.
In his extremity Heraclius begged for peace."I will never give peace to the Emperor of Rome" replied the proudPersian"till he has abjured his crucified Godand embraced the worshipof the sun." After a long delay terms werehoweversecuredand the RomanEmpire was ransomed at the price of "a thousand talents of golda thousandtalents of silvera thousand silk robesa thousand horsesand a thousandvirgins."
But Heraclius submitted only for a moment. Hefound means not only to restore his affairs but to retaliate
on the Persian Empire. The operations by which he achieved this result wereworthy of the most brilliant days of Rome.
Though her military renown was thus recoveredthough her territory was regainedthere was something that the Roman Empire hadirrecoverably lost. Religious faith could never be restored. In face of theworld Magianism had insulted Christianityby profaning her most sacred places-- BethlehemGethsemaneCalvary -- by burning the sepulchre of Christbyrifling and destroying the churchesby scattering to the winds pricelessrelicsby carrying offwith shouts of laughterthe cross.
Miracles had once abounded in Syriain Egyptin Asia Minor; there was not a church which had not its long catalogue of them.Very often they were displayed on unimportant occasions and in insignificantcases. In this supreme momentwhen such aid was most urgently demandednot amiracle was worked.
Amazement filled the Christian populations ofthe East when they witnessed these Persian sacrileges perpetrated with impunity.The heavens should have rolled asunderthe earth should have opened herabyssesthe sword of the Almighty should have flashed in the skythe fate ofSennacherib should have been repeated. But it was not so. In the land ofmiraclesamazement was followed by consternation -- consternation died out indisbelief.
2. Butdreadful as it wasthe Persianconquest was but a prelude to the great eventthe story of which we have now torelate -- the Southern revolt against Christianity. Its issue was the loss ofnine-tenths of her geographical possessions -- AsiaAfricaand part of Europe.
In the summer of 581 of the Christian erathere came to Bozraha town on the confines of Syriasouth of Damascusacaravan of camels. It was from Meccaand was laden with the costly products ofSouth Arabia -- Arabia the Happy. The conductor of the caravanone Abou Taleband his nephewa lad of twelve yearswere hospitably received and entertainedat the Nestorian convent of the town.
The monks of this convent soon found thattheir young visitorHalibi or Mohammedwas the nephew of the guardian of theCaabathe sacred temple of the Arabs. One of themby name Bahiraspared nopains to secure his conversion from the idolatry in which he had been broughtup. He found the boy not only precociously intelligentbut eagerly desirous ofinformationespecially on matters relating to religion.
In Mohammed's own country the chief object ofMeccan worship was a black meteoric stonekept in the Caabawith three hundredand sixty subordinate idolsrepresenting the days of the yearas the year wasthen counted.
At this timeas we have seenthe ChristianChurchthrough the ambition and wickedness of its clergyhad been brought intoa condition of anarchy. Councils had been held on various pretenseswhile thereal motives were concealed. Too often they were scenes of violencebriberycorruption. In the Westsuch were the temptations of richesluxuryand powerpresented by the episcopatesthat the election of a bishop was often disgracedby frightful murders. In the Eastin consequence of the policy of the court ofConstantinoplethe Church had been torn in pieces by contentions and schisms.Among a countless host of disputants may be mentioned AriansBasilidiansCarpocratians
CollyridiansEutychiansGnosticsJacobitesMarcionitesMarionitesNestoriansSabelliansValentinians. Of thesethe Marionites regarded theTrinity as consisting of God the FatherGod the Sonand God the Virgin Mary;the Collyridians worshiped the Virgin as a divinityoffering her sacrifices ofcakes; the Nestoriansas we have seendenied that God had "amother." They prided themselves on being the inheritorsthe possessors ofthe science of old Greece.
Butthough they were irreconcilable inmatters of faiththere was one point in which all these sects agreed --ferocious hatred and persecution of each other. Arabiaan unconquered land oflibertystretching from the Indian Ocean to the Desert of Syriagave them allas the tide of fortune successively turneda refuge. It had been so from theold times. Thitherafter the Roman conquest of Palestinevast numbers of Jewsescaped; thitherimmediately after his conversionSt. Paul tells the Galatiansthat he retired. The deserts were now filled with Christian anchoritesandamong the chief tribes of the Arabs many proselytes had been made. Here andthere churches had been built. The Christian princes of Abyssiniawho wereNestoriansheld the southern province of Arabia -- Yemen -- in possession.
By the monk Bahirain the convent at BozrahMohammed was taught the tenets of the Nestorians; from them the young Arablearned the story of their persecutions. It was these interviews whichengendered in him a hatred of the idolatrous practices of the Eastern Churchand indeed of all idolatry; that taught himin his wonderful careernever tospeak of Jesus as the Son of Godbut always as "Jesusthe son ofMary." His untutored but active mind could not fail to be profoundlyimpressed not only with the religious but also with
the philosophical ideas of his instructorswho gloried in being the livingrepresentatives of Aristotelian science. His subsequent career shows howcompletely their religious thoughts had taken possession of himand repeatedacts manifest his affectionate regard for them. His own life was devoted to theexpansion and extension of their theological doctrineandthat onceeffectually establishedhis successors energetically adopted and diffused theirscientifictheir Aristotelian opinions.
As Mohammed grew to manhoodhe made otherexpeditions to Syria. Perhapswe may supposethat on these occasions theconvent and its hospitable in mates were not forgotten. He had a mysteriousreverence for that country. A wealthy Meccan widow Chadizahhad intrusted himwith the care of her Syrian trade. She was charmed with his capacity andfidelityand (since he is said to have been characterized by the possession ofsingular manly beauty and a most courteous demeanor) charmed with his person.The female heart in all ages and countries is the same. She caused a slave tointimate to him what was passing in her mindandfor the remaining twenty-fouryears of her lifeMohammed was her faithful husband. In a land of polygamyhenever insulted her by the presence of a rival. Many years subsequentlyin theheight of his powerAyeshawho was one of the most beautiful women in Arabiasaid to him: "Was she not old? Did not God give you in me a better wife inher place?" "Noby God!" exclaimed Mohammedand with a burst ofhonest gratitude"there never can be a better. She believed in me when mendespised meshe relieved me when I was poor and persecuted by the world."
His marriage with Chadizah placed him incircumstances of easeand gave him an opportunity of indulging
his inclination to religious meditation. It so happened that her cousin Warakawho was a Jewhad turned Christian. He was the first to translate the Bibleinto Arabic. By his conversation Mohammed's detestation of idolatry wasconfirmed.
After the example of the Christian anchoritesin their hermitages in the desertMohammed retired to a grotto in Mount Heraafew miles from Meccagiving himself up to meditation and prayer. In thisseclusioncontemplating the awful attributes of the Omnipotent and Eternal Godhe addressed to his conscience the solemn inquirywhether he could adopt thedogmas then held in Asiatic Christendom respecting the Trinitythe sonship ofJesus as begotten by the Almightythe character of Mary as at once a virginamotherand the queen of heavenwithout incurring the guilt and the peril ofblasphemy.
By his solitary meditations in the grottoMohammed was drawn to the conclusion thatthrough the cloud of dogmas anddisputations around himone great truth might be discerned -- the unity of God.Leaning against the stem of a palm-treehe unfolded his views on this subjectto his neighbors and friendsand announced to them that he should dedicate hislife to the preaching of that truth. Again and againin his sermons and in theKoranhe declared: "I am nothing but a public preacher.... I preach theoneness of God." Such was his own conception of his so-called apostleship.Henceforthto the day of his deathhe wore on his finger a seal-ring on whichwas engraved"Mohammedthe messenger of God."
It is well known among physicians thatprolonged fasting and mental anxiety inevitably give rise to hallucination.Perhaps there never has been any religious
system introduced by self-denyingearnest men that did not offer examples ofsupernatural temptations and supernatural commands. Mysterious voices encouragedthe Arabian preacher to persist in his determination; shadows of strange formspassed before him. He heard sounds in the air like those of a distant bell. In anocturnal dream he was carried by Gabriel from Mecca to Jerusalemand thence insuccession through the six heavens. Into the seventh the angel feared to intrudeand Mohammed alone passed into the dread cloud that forever enshrouds theAlmighty. "A shiver thrilled his heart as he felt upon his shoulder thetouch of the cold hand of God."
His public ministrations met with muchresistance and little success at first. Expelled from Mecca by the upholders ofthe prevalent idolatryhe sought refuge in Medinaa town in which there weremany Jews and Nestorians; the latter at once became proselytes to his faith. Hehad already been compelled to send his daughter and others of his disciples toAbyssiniathe king of which was a Nestorian Christian. At the end of six yearshe had made only fifteen hundred converts. But in three little skirmishesmagnified in subsequent times by the designation of the battles of BederofOhudand of the NationsMohammed discovered that his most convincing argumentwas his sword. Afterwardwith Oriental eloquencehe said"Paradise willbe found in the shadow of the crossing of swords." By a series ofwell-conducted military operationshis enemies were completely overthrown.Arabian idolatry was absolutely exterminated; the doctrine he proclaimedthat"there is but one God" was universally adopted by his countrymenandhis own apostleship accepted
Let us pass over his stormy lifeand hearwhat he
says whenon the pinnacle of earthly power and gloryhe was approaching itsclose.
Steadfast in his declaration of the unity ofGodhe departed from Medina on his last pilgrimage to Meccaat the head of onehundred and fourteen thousand devoteeswith camels decorated with garlands offlowers and fluttering streamers. When he approached the holy cityhe utteredthe solemn invocation: "Here am I in thy serviceO God! Thou hast nocompanion. To thee alone belongeth worship. Thine alone is the kingdom. There isnone to share it with thee."
With his own hand he offered up the camels insacrifice. He considered that primeval institution to be equally sacred asprayerand that no reason can be alleged in support of the one which is notequally strong in support of the other.
From the pulpit of the Caaba he reiterated"O my hearersI am only a man like yourselves." They remembered thathe had once said to one who approached him with timid steps: "Of what dostthou stand in awe? I am no king. I am nothing but the son of an Arab womanwhoate flesh dried in the sun."
He returned to Medina to die. In his farewellto his congregationhe said: "Every thing happens according to the will ofGodand has its appointed timewhich can neither be hastened nor avoided. Ireturn to him who sent meand my last command to you isthat ye lovehonorand uphold each otherthat ye exhort each other to faith and constancy inbeliefand to the performance of pious deeds. My life has been for your goodand so will be my death."
In his dying agonyhis head was reclined onthe lap of Ayesha. From time to time he had dipped his hand in a vase of waterand moistened his face. At last he
ceasedandgazing steadfastly upwardsaidin broken accents: "O God --forgive my sins -- be it so. I come."
Shall we speak of this man with disrespect?His precepts areat this daythe religious guide of one-third of the humanrace.
In Mohammedwho had already broken away fromthe ancient idolatrous worship of his native countrypreparation had been madefor the rejection of those tenets which his Nestorian teachers had communicatedto himinconsistent with reason and conscience. Andthoughin the first pagesof the Koranhe declares his belief in what was delivered to Moses and Jesusand his reverence for them personallyhis veneration for the Almighty isperpetually displayed. He is horror-stricken at the doctrine of the divinity ofJesusthe Worship of Mary as the mother of Godthe adoration of images andpaintingsin his eyes a base idolatry. He absolutely rejects the Trinityofwhich he seems to have entertained the idea that it could not be interpretedotherwise than as presenting three distinct Gods.
His first and ruling idea was simply religiousreform -- to overthrow Arabian idolatryand put an end to the wild sectarianismof Christianity. That he proposed to set up a new religion was a calumnyinvented against him in Constantinoplewhere he was looked upon withdetestationlike that with which in after ages Luther was regarded in Rome.
Butthough he rejected with indignationwhatever might seem to disparage the doctrine of the unity of Godhe was notable to emancipate himself from anthropomorphic conceptions. The God of theKoran is altogether humanboth corporeally and mentallyif such expressionsmay with propriety be used. Very soon
howeverthe followers of Mohammed divested themselves of these base ideas androse to nobler ones.
The view here presented of the primitivecharacter of Mohammedanism has long been adopted by many competent authorities.Sir William Jonesfollowing Lockeregards the main point in the divergence ofMohammedanism from Christianity to consist "in denying vehemently thecharacter of our Savior as the Sonand his equality as God with the Fatherofwhose unity and attributes the Mohammedans entertain and express the most awfulideas." This opinion has been largely entertained in Italy. Dante regardedMohammed only as the author of a schismand saw in Islamism only an Arian sect.In EnglandWhately views it as a corruption of Christianity. It was an offshootof Nestorianismand not until it had overthrown Greek Christianity in manygreat battleswas spreading rapidly over Asia and Africaand had becomeintoxicated with its wonderful successesdid it repudiate its primitive limitedintentionsand assert itself to be founded on a separate and distinctrevelation.
Mohammed's life had been almost entirelyconsumed in the conversion or conquest of his native country. Toward its closehoweverhe felt himself strong enough to threaten the invasion of Syria andPersia. He had made no provision for the perpetuation of his own dominionandhence it was not without a struggle that a successor was appointed. At lengthAbubekerthe father of Ayeshawas selected. He was proclaimed the firstkhalifor successor of the Prophet.
There is a very important difference betweenthe spread of Mohammedanism and the spread of Christianity. The latter was neversufficiently strong to over throw and extirpate idolatry in the Roman Empire. As
it advancedthere was an amalgamationa union. The old forms of the one werevivified by the new spirit of the otherand that paganization to whichreference has already been made was the result.
Butin ArabiaMohammed overthrew andabsolutely annihilated the old idolatry. No trace of it is found in thedoctrines preached by him and his successors. The black stone that had fallenfrom heaven -- the meteorite of the Caaba -- and its encircling idolspassedtotally out of view. The essential dogma of the new faith -- "There is butone God" -- spread without any adulteration. Military successes hadin aworldly sense made the religion of the Koran profitable; andno matter whatdogmas may bewhen that is the casethere will be plenty of converts.
As to the popular doctrines of MohammedanismI shall here have nothing to say. The reader who is interested in that matterwill find an account of them in a review of the Koran in the eleventh chapter ofmy "History of the Intellectual Development of Europe." It is enoughnow to remark that their heaven was arranged in seven storiesand was only apalace of Oriental carnal delight. It was filled with black-eyed concubines andservants. The form of God wasperhapsmore awful than that of paganizedChristianity. Anthropomorphism willhowevernever be obliterated from theideas of the unintellectual. Their Godat the bestwill never be any thingmore than the gigantic shadow of a man -- a vast phantom of humanity -- like oneof those Alpine spectres seen in the midst of the clouds by him who turns hisback on the sun.
Abubeker had scarcely seated himself in thekhalifatewhen he put forth the following proclamation:
In the name of the most merciful God! Abubeker
to the rest of the true believershealth and happiness. The mercy and blessingof God be upon you. I praise the most high God. I pray for his prophet Mohammed.
"This is to inform you that I intend tosend the true believers into Syriato take it out of the hands of the infidels.And I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of obedienceto God."
On the first encounterKhaledthe Saracengeneralhard pressedlifted up his hands in the midst of his army and said:"O God! these vile wretches pray with idolatrous expressions and take tothemselves another God besides theebut we acknowledge thy unity and affirmthat there is no other God but thee alone. Help uswe beseech theefor thesake of thy prophet Mohammedagainst these idolaters." On the part of theSaracens the conquest of Syria was conducted with ferocious piety. The belief ofthe Syrian Christians aroused in their antagonists sentiments of horror andindignation. "I will cleave the skull of any blaspheming idolater who saysthat the Most Holy Godthe Almighty and Eternalhas begotten a son." TheKhalif Omarwho took Jerusalemcommences a letter to Heracliusthe Romanemperor: "In the name of the most merciful God! Praise be to Godthe Lordof this and of the other worldwho has neither female consort nor son."The Saracens nicknamed the Christians "Associators" because theyjoined Mary and Jesus as partners with the Almighty and Most Holy God.
It was not the intention of the khalif tocommand his army; that duty was devolved on Abou Obeidah nominallyon Khaled inreality. In a parting review the khalif enjoined on his troops justicemercyand the observance of fidelity in their engagements he commanded
them to abstain from all frivolous conversation and from wineand rigorously toobserve the hours of prayer; to be kind to the common people among whom theypassedbut to show no mercy to their priests.
Eastward of the river Jordan is Bozrahastrong town where Mohammed had first met his Nestorian Christian instructors. Itwas one of the Roman forts with which the country was dotted over. Before thisplace the Saracen army encamped. The garrison was strongthe ramparts werecovered with holy crosses and consecrated banners. It might have made a longdefense. But its governorRomanusbetrayed his trustand stealthily openedits gates to the besiegers. His conduct shows to what a deplorable condition thepopulation of Syria had come. After the surrenderin a speech he made to thepeople he had betrayedhe said: "I renounce your societyboth in thisworld and that to come. And I deny him that was crucifiedand whosoeverworships him. And I choose God for my LordIslam for my faithMecca for mytemplethe Moslems for my brethrenMohammed for my prophetwho was sent tolead us in the right wayand to exalt the true religion in spite of those whojoin partners with God." Since the Persian invasionAsia MinorSyriaandeven Palestinewere full of traitors and apostatesready to join the Saracens.Romanus was but one of many thousands who had fallen into disbelief through thevictories of the Persians.
From Bozrah it was only seventy milesnorthward to Damascusthe capital of Syria. Thitherwithout delaythe Saracenarmy marched. The city was at once summoned to take its option -- conversiontributeor the sword. In his palace at Antiochbarely one hundred and fiftymiles still farther norththe Emperor Heraclius
received tidings of the alarming advance of his assailants. He at oncedispatched an army of seventy thousand men. The Saracens were compelled to raisethe siege. A battle took place in the plains of Aiznadinthe Roman army wasoverthrown and dispersed. Khaled reappeared before Damascus with his standard ofthe black eagleand after a renewed investment of seventy days Damascussurrendered.
From the Arabian historians of these events wemay gather that thus far the Saracen armies were little better than a fanaticmob. Many of the men fought naked. It was not unusual for a warrior to standforth in front and challenge an antagonist to mortal duel. Naymoreeven thewomen engaged in the combats. Picturesque narratives have been handed down to usrelating the gallant manner in which they acquitted themselves.
From Damascus the Saracen army advancednorthwardguided by the snow-clad peaks of Libanus and the beautiful riverOrontes. It captured on its way Baalbecthe capital of the Syrian valleyandEmesathe chief city of the eastern plain. To resist its further progressHeraclius collected an army of one hundred and forty thousand men. A battle tookplace at Yermuck; the right wing of the Saracens was brokenbut the soldierswere driven back to the field by the fanatic expostulations of their women. Theconflict ended in the complete overthrow of the Roman army. Forty thousand weretaken prisonersand a vast number killed. The whole country now lay open to thevictors. The advance of their army had been east of the Jordan. It was clearthatbefore Asia Minor could be touchedthe strong and important cities ofPalestinewhich was now in their rearmust be secured. There was a differenceof opinion among the generals in the field as
to whether Cæsarea or Jerusalem should be assailed first. The matter wasreferred to the khalifwhorightly preferring the moral advantages of thecapture of Jerusalem to the military advantages of the capture of Cæsareaordered the Holy City to be takenand that at any cost. Close siege wastherefore laid to it. The inhabitantsremembering the atrocities inflicted bythe Persiansand the indignities that had been offered to the Savior'ssepulchreprepared now for a vigorous defense. Butafter an investment of fourmonthsthe Patriarch Sophronius appeared on the wallasking terms ofcapitulation. There had been misunderstandings among the generals at the captureof Damascusfollowed by a massacre of the fleeing inhabitants. Sophroniusthereforestipulated that the surrender of Jerusalem should take place inpresence of the khalif himself AccordinglyOmarthe khalifcame from Medinafor that purpose. He journeyed on a red camelcarrying a bag of corn and one ofdatesa wooden dishand a leathern water-bottle. The Arab conqueror enteredthe Holy City riding by the side of the Christian patriarch and the transferenceof the capital of Christianity to the representative of Mohammedanism waseffected without tumult or outrage. Having ordered that a mosque should be builton the site of the temple of Solomonthe khalif returned to the tomb of theProphet at Medina.
Heraclius saw plainly that the disasters whichwere fast settling on Christianity were due to the dissensions of itsconflicting sects; and hencewhile he endeavored to defend the empire with hisarmieshe sedulously tried to compose those differences. With this view hepressed for acceptance the Monothelite doctrine of the nature of Christ. But itwas now too late. Aleppo and
Antioch were taken. Nothing could prevent the Saracens from overrunning AsiaMinor. Heraclius himself had to seek safety in flight. Syriawhich had beenadded by Pompey the Greatthe rival of Cæsarto the provinces of Romesevenhundred years previously -- Syriathe birthplace of Christianitythe scene ofits most sacred and precious souvenirsthe land from which Heraclius himselfhad once expelled the Persian intruder -- was irretrievably lost. Apostates andtraitors had wrought this calamity. We are told thatas the ship which bore himto Constantinople parted from the shoreHeraclius gazed intently on thereceding hillsand in the bitterness of anguish exclaimed"FarewellSyriaforever farewell!"
It is needless to dwell on the remainingdetails of the Saracen conquest: how Tripoli and Tyre were betrayed; howCæsarea was captured; how with the trees of Libanus and the sailors ofPhoenicia a Saraeen fleet was equippedwhich drove the Roman navy into theHellespont; how CyprusRhodesand the Cycladeswere ravagedand theColossuswhich was counted as one of the wonders of the worldsold to a Jewwho loaded nine hundred camels with its brass; how the armies of the khalifadvanced to the Black Seaand even lay in front of Constantinople -- all thiswas as nothing after the fall of Jerusalem.
The fall of Jerusalem! the loss of themetropolis of Christianity! In the ideas of that age the two antagonistic formsof faith had submitted themselves to the ordeal of the judgment of God. Victoryhad awarded the prize of battleJerusalemto the Mohammedan; andnotwithstanding the temporary successes of the Crusadersafter much more than athousand years in his hands it remains to this day. The Byzantine historians
are not without excuse for the course they are condemned for taking: "Theyhave wholly neglected the great topic of the ruin of the Eastern Church."And as for the Western Churcheven the debased popes of the middle ages -- theages of the Crusades -- could not see without indignation that they werecompelled to rest the claims of Rome as the metropolis of Christendom on a falselegendary story of a visit of St. Peter to that city; while the true metropolisthe grandthe sacred place of the birththe lifethe death of Christ himselfwas in the hands of the infidels! It has not been the Byzantine historians alonewho have tried to conceal this great catastrophe. The Christian writers ofEurope on all manner of subjectswhether of historyreligionor sciencehavefollowed a similar course against their conquering antagonists. It has beentheir constant practice to hide what they could not depreciateand depreciatewhat they could not hide.
I have not spacenor indeed does it comportwith the intention of this workto relatein such detail as I have given tothe fall of Jerusalemother conquests of the Saracens -- conquests whicheventually established a Mohammedan empire far exceeding in geographical extentthat of Alexanderand even that of Rome. Butdevoting a few words to thissubjectit may be said that Magianism received a worse blow than that which hadbeen inflicted on Christianity; The fate of Persia was settled at the battle ofCadesia. At the sack of Ctesiphonthe treasurythe royal armsand anunlimited spoilfell into the hands of the Saracens. Not without reason do theycall the battle of Nehavend the victory of victories." In one directionthey advanced to the Caspianin the other southward along the Tigris toPersepolis. The Persian king fled for his
life over the great Salt Desertfrom the columns and statues of that city whichhad lain in ruins since the night of the riotous banquet of Alexander. Onedivision of the Arabian army forced the Persian monarch over the Oxus. He wasassassinated by the Turks. His son was driven into Chinaand became a captainin the Chinese emperor's guards. The country beyond the Oxus was reduced. Itpaid a tribute of two million pieces of gold. While the emperor at Peking wasdemanding the friendship of the khalif at Medinathe standard of the Prophetwas displayed on the banks of the Indus.
Among the generals who had greatlydistinguished themselves in the Syrian wars was Amroudestined to be theconqueror of Egypt; for the khalifsnot content with their victories on theNorth and Eastnow turned their eyes to the Westand prepared for theannexation of Africa. As in the former casesso in thissectarian treasonassisted them. The Saracen army was hailed as the deliverer of the JacobiteChurch; the Monophysite Christians of Egyptthat isthey whoin the languageof the Athanasian Creedconfounded the substance of the Sonproclaimedthrough their leaderMokaukasthat they desired no communion with the Greekseither in this world or the nextthat they abjured forever the Byzantine tyrantand his synod of Chalcedon. They hastened to pay tribute to the khaliftorepair the roads and bridgesand to supply provisions and intelligence to theinvading army.
Memphisone of the old Pharaonic capitalssoon felland Alexandria was invested. The open sea behind gave opportunity toHeraclius to reënforce the garrison continually. On his partOmarwho was nowkhalif sent to the succor of the besieging army the veteran
troops of Syria. There were many assaults and many sallies. In one Amrou himselfwas taken prisoner by the besiegedbutthrough the dexterity of a slavemadehis escape. After a siege of fourteen monthsand a loss of twenty-threethousand menthe Saracens captured the city. In his dispatch to the KhalifAmrou enumerated the splendors of the great city of the West "its fourthousand palacesfour thousand bathsfour hundred theatrestwelve thousandshops for the sale of vegetable foodand forty thousand tributary Jews."
So fell the second great city of Christendom-- the fate of Jerusalem had fallen on Alexandriathe city of AthanasiusandAriusand Cyril; the city that had imposed Trinitarian ideas and Mariolatry onthe Church. In his palace at Constantinople Heraclius received the fataltidings. He was overwhelmed with grief. It seemed as if his reign was to bedisgraced by the downfall of Christianity. He lived scarcely a month after theloss of the town.
But if Alexandria had been essential toConstantinople in the supply of orthodox faithshe was also essential in thesupply of daily food. Egypt was the granary of the Byzantines. For this reasontwo attempts were made by powerful fleets and armies for the recovery of theplaceand twice had Amrou to renew his conquest. He saw with what facilitythese attacks could be madethe place being open to the sea; he saw that therewas but one and that a fatal remedy. "By the living Godif this thing berepeated a third time I will make Alexandria as open to anybody as is the houseof a prostitute!" He was better than his wordfor he forthwith dismantledits fortificationsand made it an untenable place.
It was not the intention of the khalifs tolimit their
conquest to Egypt. Othman contemplated the annexation of the entireNorth-African coast. His generalAbdallahset out from Memphis with fortythousand menpassed through the desert of Barcaand besieged Tripoli. Buttheplague breaking out in his armyhe was compelled to retreat to Egypt.
All attempts were now suspended for more thantwenty years. Then Akbah forced his way from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean. Infront of the Canary Islands he rode his horse into the seaexclaiming:"Great God! if my course were not stopped by this seaI would still go onto the unknown kingdoms of the Westpreaching the unity of thy holy nameandputting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship any other gods thanthee."
These Saracen expeditions had been through theinterior of the countryfor the Byzantine emperorscontrolling for the timethe Mediterraneanhad retained possession of the cities on the coast. TheKhalif Abdalmalek at length resolved on the reduction of Carthagethe mostimportant of those citiesand indeed the capital of North Africa. His generalHassancarried it by escalade; but reënforcements from Constantinopleaidedby some Sicilian and Gothic troopscompelled him to retreat. The relief washoweveronly temporary. Hassanin the course of a few months renewed hisattack. It proved successfuland he delivered Carthage to the flames.
JerusalemAlexandriaCarthagethree out ofthe five great Christian capitalswere lost. The fall of Constantinople wasonly a question of time. After its fallRome alone remained.
In the development of ChristianityCarthagehad played no insignificant part. It had given to Europe
its Latin form of faithand some of its greatest theologians. It was the homeof St. Augustine.
Never in the history of the world had therebeen so rapid and extensive a propagation of any religion as Mohammedanism. Itwas now dominating from the Altai Mountains to the Atlantic Oceanfrom thecentre of Asia to the western verge of Africa.
The Khalif Alwalid next authorized theinvasion of Europethe conquest of Andalusiaor the Region of the Evening.Musahis generalfoundas had so often been the case elsewheretwo effectiveallies sectarianism and treason -- the Archbishop of Toledo and Count Julian theGothic general. Under their leadin the very crisis of the battle of Xeresalarge portion of the army went over to the invaders; the Spanish king wascompelled to flee from the fieldand in the pursuit he was drowned in thewaters of the Guadalquivir.
With great rapidity Tarikthe lieutenant ofMusapushed forward from the battle-field to Toledoand thence northward. Onthe arrival of Musa the reduction of the Spanish peninsula was completedandthe wreck of the Gothic army driven beyond the Pyrenees into France. Consideringthe conquest of Spain as only the first step in his victorieshe announced hisintention of forcing his way into Italyand preaching the unity of God in theVatican. Thence he would march to Constantinopleandhaving put all end to theRoman Empire and Christianitywould pass into Asia and lay his victorious swordon the footstool of the khalif at Damascus.
But this was not to be. Musaenvious of hislieutenantTarikhad treated him with great indignity. The friends of Tarik atthe court of the khalif found means of retaliation. An envoy from Damascusarrested
Musa in his camp; he was carried before his sovereigndisgraced by a publicwhippingand died of a broken heart.
Under other leadershoweverthe Saracenconquest of France was attempted. In a preliminary campaign the country from themouth of the Garonne to that of the Loire was secured. Then AbderahmantheSaracen commanderdividing his forces into two columnswith one on the eastpassed the Rhoneand laid siege to Arles. A Christian armyattempting therelief of the placewas defeated with heavy loss. His western columnequallysuccessfulpassed the Dordognedefeated another Christian armyinflicting onit such dreadful loss thataccording to its own fugitives"God alonecould number the slain." All Central France was now overrun; the banks ofthe Loire were reached; the churches and monasteries were despoiled of theirtreasures; and the tutelar saintswho had worked so many miracles when therewas no necessitywere found to want the requisite power when it was so greatlyneeded.
The progress of the invaders was at lengthstopped by Charles Martel (A. D. 732). Between Tours and Poictiersa greatbattlewhich lasted seven dayswas fought. Abderahman was killedthe Saracensretreatedand soon afterward were compelled to recross the Pyrenees.
The banks of the Loirethereforemark theboundary of the Mohammedan advance in Western Europe. Gibbonin his narrativeof these great eventsmakes this remark: "A victorious line of march hadbeen prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks ofthe Loire -- a repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens tothe confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland."
It is not necessary for me to add to thissketch of the military diffusion of Mohammedanismthe operations of theSaracens on the Mediterranean Seatheir conquest of Crete and Sicilytheirinsult to Rome. It will be foundhoweverthat their presence in Sicily and thesouth of Italy exerted a marked influence on the intellectual development ofEurope.
Their insult to Rome! What could be morehumiliating than the circumstances under which it took place (A. D. 846)? Aninsignificant Saracen expedition entered the Tiber and appeared before the wallsof the city. Too weak to force an entranceit insulted and plundered theprecinctssacrilegiously violating the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. Had thecity itself been sackedthe moral effect could not have been greater. From thechurch of St. Peter its altar of silver was torn away and sent to Africa -- St.Peter's altarthe very emblem of Roman Christianity!
Constantinople had already been besieged bythe Saracens more than once; its fall was predestinedand only postponed. Romehad received the direst insultthe greatest loss that could be inflicted uponit; the venerable churches of Asia Minor had passed out of existence; noChristian could set his foot in Jerusalem without permission; the Mosque of Omarstood on the site of the Temple of Solomon. Among the ruins of Alexandria theMosque of Mercy marked the spot where a Saracen generalsatiated with massacrehadin contemptuous compassionspared the fugitive relics of the enemies ofMohammed; nothing remained of Carthage but her blackened ruins. The mostpowerful religious empire that the world had ever seen had suddenly come intoexistence. It stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chinese Wallfrom theshores of the Caspian to
those of the Indian Oceanand yetin one senseit had not reached itsculmination. The day was to come when it was to expel the successors of theCæsars from their capitaland hold the peninsula of Greece in subjectiontodispute with Christianity the empire of Europe in the very centre of thatcontinentand in Africa to extend its dogmas and faith across burning desertsand through pestilential forests from the Mediterranean to regions southward farbeyond the equinoetial line.
Butthough Mohammedanism had not reached itsculminationthe dominion of the khalifs had. Not the sword of Charles Martelbut the internal dissension of the vast Arabian Empirewas the salvation ofEurope. Though the Ommiade Khalifs were popular in Syriaelsewhere they werelooked upon as intruders or usurpers; the kindred of the apostle was consideredto be the rightful representative of his faith. Three partiesdistinguished bytheir colorstore the khalifate asunder with their disputesand disgraced itby their atrocities. The color of the Ommiades was whitethat of the Fatimitesgreenthat of the Abassides black; the last represented the party of Abbastheuncle of Mohammed. The result of these discords was a tripartite division of theMohammedan Empire in the tenth century into the khalifates of BagdadofCairoanand of Cordova. Unity in Mohammedan political action was at an endandChristendom found its safeguardnot in supernatural helpbut in the quarrelsof the rival potentates. To internal animosities foreign pressures wereeventually added and Arabismwhich had done so much for the intellectualadvancement of the worldcame to an end when the Turks and the Berbers attainedto power.
The Saracens had become totally regardless ofEuropean opposition -- they were wholly taken up with their
domestic quarrels. Ockley says with truthin his history: "The Saracenshad scarce a deputy lieutenant or general that would not have thought it thegreatest affrontand such as ought to stigmatize him with indelible disgraceif he should have suffered himself to have been insulted by the united forces ofall Europe. And if any one asks why the Greeks did not exert themselves moreinorder to the extirpation of these insolent invadersit is a sufficient answerto any person that is acquainted with the characters of those men to say thatAmrou kept his residence at Alexandriaand Moawyah at Damascus."
As to their contemptthis instance maysuffice: Nicephorusthe Roman emperorhad sent to the Khalif Haroun-al-Raschida threatening letterand this was the reply: "In the name of the mostmerciful GodHaroun-al-Raschidcommander of the faithfulto NicephorustheRoman dog! I have read thy letterO thou son of an unbelieving mother. Thoushalt not hearthou shalt behold my reply!" It was written in letters ofblood and fire on the plains of Phrygia.
A nation may recover the confiscation of itsprovincesthe confiscation of its wealth; it may survive the imposition ofenormous war-fines; but it never can recover from that most frightful of allwar-actsthe confiscation of its women. When Abou Obeidah sent to Omar news ofhis capture of AntiochOmar gently upbraided him that he had not let the troopshave the women. "If they want to marry in Syrialet them; and let themhave as many female slaves as they have occasion for." It was theinstitution of polygamybased upon the confiscation of the women in thevanquished countriesthat secured forever the Mohammedan rule. the children ofthese unions gloried in their descent
from their conquering fathers. No better proof can be given of the efficacy ofthis policy than that which is furnished by North Africa. The irresistibleeffect of polygamy in consolidating the new order of things was very striking.In little more than a single generationthe Khalif was informed by his officersthat the tribute must ceasefor all the children born in that region wereMohammedansand all spoke Arabic.
Mohammedanismas left by its founderwas ananthropomorphic religion. Its God was only a gigantic manits heaven a mansionof carnal pleasures. From these imperfect ideas its more intelligent classesvery soon freed themselvessubstituting for them others more philosophicalmore correct. Eventually they attained to an accordance with those that havebeen pronounced in our own times by the Vatican Council as orthodox. ThusAl-Gazzali says: "A knowledge of God cannot be obtained by means of theknowledge a man has of himselfor of his own soul. The attributes of God cannotbe determined from the attributes of man. His sovereignty and government canneither be compared nor measured."
THE RESTORATION OF SCIENCE IN THE SOUTH.
By the influence of theNestorians and Jewsthe Arabians are turned to the cultivation of Science. --They modify their views as to the destiny of manand obtain true conceptionsrespecting the structure of the world. -- They ascertain the size of the earthand determine its shape. -- Their khalifs collect great librariespatronizeevery department of science and literatureestablish astronomicalobservatories. -- They develop the mathematical sciencesinvent algebraandimprove geometry and trigonometry. -- They collect and translate the old Greekmathematical and astronomical worksand adopt the inductive method ofAristotle. -- They establish many collegesandwith the aid of the Nestoriansorganize a public-school system. -- They introduce the Arabic numerals andarithmeticand catalogue and give names to the stars. -- They lay thefoundation of modern astronomychemistryand physicsand introduce greatimprovements in agriculture and manufactures.
"IN the course of my long life"said the Khalif Ali"I have often observed that men are more like thetimes they live in than they are like their fathers." This profoundlyphilosophical remark of the son-in-law of Mohammed is strictly true; forthoughthe personalthe bodily lineaments of a man may indicate his parentagetheconstitution of his mindand therefore the direction of his thoughtsisdetermined by the environment in which he lives.
When Amrouthe lieutenant of the Khalif Omarconquered Egyptand annexed it to the Saracenic Empire
he found in Alexandria a Greek grammarianJohn surnamed Philoponusor theLabor-lover. Presuming on the friendship which had arisen between themtheGreek solicited as a gift the remnant of the great library -- a remnant whichwar and time and bigotry had spared. Amrouthereforesent to the khalif toascertain his pleasure. "If" replied the khalif"the booksagree with the Koranthe Word of Godthey are uselessand need not bepreserved; if they disagree with itthey are pernicious. Let them bedestroyed." Accordinglythey were distributed among the baths ofAlexandriaand it is said that six months were barely sufficient to consumethem.
Although the fact has been deniedthere canbe little doubt that Omar gave this order. The khalif was an illiterate man; hisenvironment was an environment of fanaticism and ignorance. Omar's act was anillustration of Ali's remark.
But it must not be supposed that the bookswhich John the Labor-lover coveted were those which constituted the greatlibrary of the Ptolemiesand that of EumenesKing of Pergamus. Nearly athousand years had elapsed since Philadelphus began his collection. JuliusCæsar had burnt more than half; the Patriarchs of Alexandria had not onlypermitted but superintended the dispersion of almost all the rest. Orosiusexpressly states that he saw the empty cases or shelves of the library twentyyears after Theophilusthe uncle of St. Cyrilhad procured from the EmperorTheodosius a rescript for its destruction. Even had this once noble collectionnever endured such acts of violencethe mere wear and tearand perhapsI mayaddthe pilfering of a thousand yearswould have diminished it sadly. ThoughJohnas the surname he received indicatesmight rejoice in
a superfluity of occupationwe may be certain that the care of a library ofhalf a million books would transcend even his well-tried powers; and the cost ofpreserving and supporting itthat had demanded the ample resources of thePtolemies and the Cæsarswas beyond the means of a grammarian. Nor is the timerequired for its combustion or destruction any indication of the extent of thecollection. Of all articles of fuelparchment isperhapsthe most wretched.Paper and papyrus do excellently well as kindling-materialsbut we may be surethat the bath-men of Alexandria did not resort to parchment so long as theycould find any thing elseand of parchment a very large portion of these bookswas composed.
There canthenbe no more doubt that Omardid order the destruction of this libraryunder an impression of itsuselessness or its irreligious tendencythan that the Crusaders burnt thelibrary of Tripolifancifully said to have consisted of three million volumes.The first apartment entered being found to contain nothing but the Koranallthe other books were supposed to be the works of the Arabian impostorand wereconsequently committed to the flames. In both cases the story contains sometruth and much exaggeration. Bigotryhoweverhas often distinguished itself bysuch exploits. The Spaniards burnt in Mexico vast piles of Americanpicture-writingsan irretrievable loss; and Cardinal Ximenes delivered to theflamesin the squares of Granadaeighty thousand Arabic manuscriptsmany ofthem translations of classical authors.
We have seen how engineering talentstimulated by Alexander's Persian campaignled to a wonderful development ofpure science under the Ptolemies; a similar
effect may be noted as the result of the Saracenic military operations.
The friendship contracted by Amroutheconqueror of Egyptwith John the Grammarianindicates how much the Arabianmind was predisposed to liberal ideas. Its step from the idolatry of the Caabato the monotheism of Mohammed prepared it to expatiate in the wide and pleasingfields of literature and philosophy. There were two influences to which it wascontinually exposed. They conspired in determining its path. These were -- 1.That of the Nestorians in Syria; 2. That of the Jews in Egypt.
In the last chapter I have briefly related thepersecution of Nestor and his disciples. They bore testimony to the oneness ofGodthrough many sufferings and martyrdoms. They utterly repudiated an Olympusfilled with gods and goddesses. "Away from us a queen of heaven!"
Such being their special viewsthe Nestoriansfound no difficulty in affiliating with their Saracen conquerorsby whom theywere treated not only with the highest respectbut intrusted with some of themost important offices of the state. Mohammedin the strongest mannerprohibited his followers from committing any injuries against them. Jesuiabbastheir pontiffconcluded treaties both with the Prophet and with Omarandsubsequently the Khalif Haroun-al-Raschid placed all his public schools underthe superintendence of John Masuea Nestorian.
To the influence of the Nestorians that of theJews was added. When Christianity displayed a tendency to unite itself withpaganismthe conversion of the Jews was arrested; it totally ceased whenTrinitarian ideas were introduced. The cities of Syria and Egypt were
full of Jews. In Alexandria aloneat the time of its capture by Amroutherewere forty thousand who paid tribute. Centuries of misfortune and persecutionhad served only to confirm them in their monotheismand to strengthen thatimplacable hatred of idolatry which they had cherished ever since the Babyloniancaptivity. Associated with the Nestoriansthey translated into Syriac manyGreek and Latin philosophical workswhich were retranslated into Arabic. Whilethe Nestorian was occupied with the education of the children of the greatMohammedan familiesthe Jew found his way into them in the character of aphysician.
Under these influences the ferociousfanaticism of the Saracens abatedtheir manners were polishedtheir thoughtselevated. They overran the realms of Philosophy and Science as quickly as theyhad overrun the provinces of the Roman Empire. They abandoned the fallacies ofvulgar Mohammedanismaccepting in their stead scientific truth.
In a world devoted to idolatrythe sword ofthe Saracen had vindicated the majesty of God. The doctrine of fatalisminculcated by the Koranhad powerfully contributed to that result. "No mancan anticipate or postpone his predetermined end. Death will overtake us even inlofty towers. From the beginning God hath settled the place in which each manshall die." In his figurative language the Arab said: "No man can byflight escape his fate. The Destinies ride their horses by night. . . . Whetherasleep in bed or in the storm of battlethe angel of death will findthee." "I am convinced" said Alito whose wisdom we havealready referred -- "I am convinced that the affairs of men go by divinedecreeand not by our administration." The Mussulmen are those whosubmissively resign them
selves to the will of God. They reconciled fate and free-will by saying"The outline is given uswe color the picture of life as we will."They said thatif we would overcome the laws of Naturewe must not resistwemust balance them against each other.
This dark doctrine prepared its devotees forthe accomplishment of great things -- things such as the Saracens didaccomplish. It converted despair into resignationand taught men to disdainhope. There was a proverb among them that "Despair is a freemanHope is aslave."
But many of the incidents of war showedplainly that medicines may assuage painthat skill may close woundsthat thosewho are incontestably dying may be snatched from the grave. The Jewish physicianbecame a livingan accepted protest against the fatalism of the Koran. Bydegrees the sternness of predestination was mitigatedand it was admitted thatin individual life there is an effect due to free-will; that by his voluntaryacts man may within certain limits determine his own course. Butso far asnations are concernedsince they can yield no personal accountability to Godthey are placed under the control of immutable law.
In this respect the contrast between theChristian and the Mohammedan nations was very striking: The Christian wasconvinced of incessant providential interventions; he believed that there was nosuch thing as law in the government of the world. By prayers and entreaties hemight prevail with God to change the current of affairsorif that failedhemight succeed with Christor perhaps with the Virgin Maryor through theintercession of the saintsor by the influence of their relics or bones. If hisown supplications were unavailinghe might obtain his desire through theintervention
of his priestor through that of the holy men of the Churchand especially ifoblations or gifts of money were added. Christendom believed that she couldchange the course of affairs by influencing the conduct of superior beings.Islam rested in a pious resignation to the unchangeable will of God. The prayerof the Christian was mainly an earnest intercession for benefits hoped forthatof the Saracen a devout expression of gratitude for the past. Both substitutedprayer for the ecstatic meditation of India. To the Christian the progress ofthe world was an exhibition of disconnected impulsesof sudden surprises. Tothe Mohammedan that progress presented a very different aspect. Every corporealmotion was due to some preceding motion; every thought to some precedingthought; every historical event was the offspring of some preceding event; everyhuman action was the result of some foregone and accomplished action. In thelong annals of our racenothing has ever been abruptly introduced. There hasbeen an orderlyan inevitable sequence from event to event. There is an ironchain of destinyof which the links are facts; each stands in its preordainedplace -- not one has ever been disturbednot one has ever been removed. Everyman came into the world without his own knowledgehe is to depart from itperhaps against his own wishes. Then let him calmly fold his handsand expectthe issues of fate.
Coincidently with this change of opinion as tothe government of individual lifethere came a change as respects themechanical construction of the world. According to the Koranthe earth is asquare planeedged with vast mountainswhich serve the double purpose ofbalancing it in its seatand of sustaining the dome of the sky. Our devoutadmiration of the power and
wisdom of God should be excited by the spectacle of this vast crystallinebrittle expansewhich has been safely set in its position without so much as acrack or any other injury. Above the skyand resting on itis heavenbuilt inseven storiesthe uppermost being the habitation of Godwhounder the form ofa gigantic mansits on a thronehaving on either side winged bullslike thosein the palaces of old Assyrian kings.
These ideaswhich indeed are not peculiar toMohammedanismbut are entertained by all men in a certain stage of theirintellectual development as religious revelationswere very quickly exchangedby the more advanced Mohammedans for others scientifically correct. Yetas hasbeen the case in Christian countriesthe advance was not made withoutresistance on the part of the defenders of revealed truth. Thus when Al-Mamunhaving become acquainted with the globular form of the earthgave orders to hismathematicians and astronomers to measure a degree of a great circle upon itTakyuddinone of the most celebrated doctors of divinity of that timedenounced the wicked khalifdeclaring that God would assuredly punish him forpresumptuously interrupting the devotions of the faithful by encouraging anddiffusing a false and atheistical philosophy among them. Al-Mamunhoweverpersisted. On the shores of the Red Seain the plains of Shinarby the aid ofan astrolabethe elevation of the pole above the horizon was determined at twostations on the same meridianexactly one degree apart. The distance betweenthe two stations was then measuredand found to be two hundred thousandHashemite cubits; this gave for the entire circumference of the earth abouttwenty-four thousand of our milesa determination not far from the truth. Butsince the spherical
form could not be positively asserted from one such measurementthe khalifcaused another to be made near Cufa in Mesopotamia. His astronomers dividedthemselves into two partiesandstarting from a given pointeach partymeasured an arc of one degreethe one northwardthe other southward. Theirresult is given in cubits. If the cubit employed was that known as the royalcubitthe length of a degree was ascertained within one-third of a mile of itstrue value. From these measures the khalif concluded that the globular form wasestablished.
It is remarkable how quickly the ferociousfanaticism of the Saracens was transformed into a passion for intellectualpursuits. At first the Koran was an obstacle to literature and science. Mohammedhad extolled it as the grandest of all compositionsand had adduced itsunapproachable excellence as a proof of his divine mission. Butin little morethan twenty years after his deaththe experience that had been acquired inSyriaPersiaAsia MinorEgypthad produced a striking effectand Ali thekhalif reigning at that timeavowedly encouraged all kinds of literarypursuits. Moawyahthe founder of the Ommiade dynastywho followed in 661revolutionized the government. It had been electivehe made it hereditary. Heremoved its seat from Medina to a more central position at Damascusand enteredon a career of luxury and magnificence. He broke the bonds of a sternfanaticismand put himself forth as a cultivator and patron of letters. Thirtyyears had wrought a wonderful change. A Persian satrap who had occasion to payhomage to Omarthe second khaliffound him asleep among the beggars on thesteps of the Mosque of Medina; but foreign envoys who had occasion to seekMoawyahthe sixth khalifwere presented to him
in a magnificent palacedecorated with exquisite arabesquesand adorned withflower-gardens and fountains.
In less than a century after the death ofMohammedtranslations of the chief Greek philosophical authors had been madeinto Arabic; poems such as the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey"being considered to have an irreligious tendency from their mythologicalallusionswere rendered into Syriacto gratify the curiosity of the learned.Almansorduring his khalifate (A. D. 753-775)transferred the seat ofgovernment to Bagdadwhich he converted into a splendid metropolis; he gavemuch of his time to the study and promotion of astronomyand establishedschools of medicine and law. His grandsonHaroun-al-Raschid (A. D. 786)followed his exampleand ordered that to every mosque in his dominions a schoolshould be attached. But the Augustan age of Asiatic learning was during thekhalifate of Al-Mamun (A. D. 813-832). He made Bagdad the centre of sciencecollected great librariesand surrounded himself with learned men.
The elevated taste thus cultivated continuedafter the division of the Saracen Empire by internal dissensions into threeparts. The Abasside dynasty in Asiathe Fatimite in Egyptand the Ommiade inSpainbecame rivals not merely in politicsbut also in letters and science.
In letters the Saracens embraced every topicthat can amuse or edify the mind. In later timesit was their boast that theyhad produced more poets than all other nations combined. In science their greatmerit consists in thisthat they cultivated it after the manner of theAlexandrian Greeksnot after the manner of the European Greeks. They perceivedthat it can never be advanced by mere speculation; its only sure progress
is by the practical interrogation of Nature. The essential characteristics oftheir method are experiment and observation. Geometry and the mathematicalsciences they looked upon as instruments of reasoning. In their numerouswritings on mechanicshydrostaticsopticsit is interesting to remark thatthe solution of a problem is always obtained by performing an experimentor byan instrumental observation. It was this that made them the originators ofchemistrythat led them to the invention of all kinds of apparatus fordistillationsublimationfusionfiltrationetc.; that in astronomy causedthem to appeal to divided instrumentsas quadrants and astrolabes; inchemistryto employ the balancethe theory of which they were perfectlyfamiliar with; to construct tables of specific gravities and astronomicaltablesas those of BagdadSpainSamarcand; that produced their greatimprovements in geometrytrigonometrythe invention of algebraand theadoption of the Indian numeration in arithmetic. Such were the results of theirpreference of the inductive method of Aristotletheir declining the reveries ofPlato.
For the establishment and extension of thepublic librariesbooks were sedulously collected. Thus the khalif Al-Mamun isreported to have brought into Bagdad hundreds of camel-loads of manuscripts. Ina treaty he made with the Greek emperorMichael III.he stipulated that one ofthe Constantinople libraries should be given up to him. Among the treasures hethus acquired was the treatise of Ptolemy on the mathematical construction ofthe heavens. He had it forthwith translated into Arabicunder the title of"Al-magest." The collections thus acquired sometimes became verylarge; thus the Fatimite Library at Cairo contained one hundred thousandvolumeselegantly transcribed
and bound. Among thesethere were six thousand five hundred manuscripts onastronomy and medicine alone. The rules of this library permitted the lendingout of books to students resident at Cairo. It also contained two globesone ofmassive silver and one of brass; the latter was said to have been constructed byPtolemythe former cost three thousand golden crowns. The great library of theSpanish khalifs eventually numbered six hundred thousand volumes; its cataloguealone occupied forty-four. Besides thisthere were seventy public libraries inAndalusia. The collections in the possession of individuals were sometimes veryextensive. A private doctor refused the invitation of a Sultan of Bokharabecause the carriage of his books would have required four hundred camels.
There was in every great library a departmentfor the copying or manufacture of translations. Such manufactures were alsooften an affair of private enterprise. Honiana Nestorian physicianhad anestablishment of the kind at Bagdad (A. D. 850). He issued versions ofAristotlePlatoHippocratesGalenetc. As to original worksit was thecustom of the authorities of colleges to require their professors to preparetreatises on prescribed topics. Every khalif had his own historian. Books ofromances and talessuch as "The Thousand and One Arabian Nights'Entertainments" bear testimony to the creative fancy of the Saracens.Besides thesethere were works on all kinds of subjects -- historyjurisprudencepoliticsphilosophybiographies not only of illustrious menbut also of celebrated horses and camels. These were issued without anycensorship or restraintthoughin later timesworks on theology required alicense for publication. Books of reference aboundedgeographicalstatisticalmedicalhistorical
dictionariesand even abridgments or condensations of themas the"Encyclopedic Dictionary of all the Sciencesby Mohammed Abu Abdallah.Much pride was taken in the purity and whiteness of the paperin the skillfulintermixture of variously-colored inksand in the illumination of titles bygilding and other adornments.
The Saracen Empire was dotted all over withcolleges. They were established in MongoliaTartaryPersiaMesopotamiaSyriaEgyptNorth AfricaMoroccoFezSpain. At one extremity of this vastregionwhich far exceeded the Roman Empire in geographical extentwere thecollege and astronomical observatory of Samarcandat the other the Giralda inSpain. Gibbonreferring to this patronage of learningsays: "The sameroyal prerogative was claimed by the independent emirs of the provincesandtheir emulation diffused the taste and the rewards of science from Samarcand andBokhara to Fez and Cordova. The vizier of a sultan consecrated a sum of twohundred thousand pieces of gold to the foundation of a college at Bagdadwhichhe endowed with an annual revenue of fifteen thousand dinars. The fruits ofinstruction were communicatedperhapsat different timesto six thousanddisciples of every degreefrom the son of the noble to that of the mechanic; asufficient allowance was provided for the indigent scholarsand the merit orindustry of the professors was repaid with adequate stipends. In every city theproductions of Arabic literature were copied and collectedby the curiosity ofthe studious and the vanity of the rich." The superintendence of theseschools was committed with noble liberality sometimes to Nestorianssometimesto Jews. It mattered not in what country a man was bornnor what
were his religious opinions; his attainment in learning was the only thing to beconsidered. The great Khalif Al-Mamun had declared that "they are the electof Godhis best and most useful servantswhose lives are devoted to theimprovement of their rational faculties; that the teachers of wisdom are thetrue luminaries and legislators of this worldwhichwithout their aidwouldagain sink into ignorance and barbarism."
After the example of the medical college ofCairoother medical colleges required their students to pass a rigidexamination. The candidate then received authority to enter on the practice ofhis profession. The first medical college established in Europe was that foundedby the Saracens at Salernoin Italy. The first astronomical observatory wasthat erected by them at Sevillein Spain.
It would far transcend the limits of this bookto give an adequate statement of the results of this imposing scientificmovement. The ancient sciences were greatly extended -- new ones were broughtinto existence. The Indian method of arithmetic was introduceda beautifulinventionwhich expresses all numbers by ten charactersgiving them anabsolute valueand a value by positionand furnishing simple rules for theeasy performance of all kinds of calculations. Algebraor universal arithmetic-- the method of calculating indeterminate quantitiesor investigating therelations that subsist among quantities of all kindswhether arithmetical orgeometrical -- was developed from the germ that Diophantus had left. MohammedBen Musa furnished the solution of quadratic equationsOmar Ben Ibra him thatof cubic equations. The Saracens also gave to trigonometry its modern formsubstituting sines for chordswhich had been previously used; they elevated
it into a separate science. Musaabove mentionedwas the author of a"Treatise on Spherical Trigonometry." Al-Baghadadi left one onland-surveyingso excellentthat by some it has been declared to be a copy ofEuclid's lost work on that subject.
In astronomythey not only made cataloguesbut maps of the stars visible in their skiesgiving to those of the largermagnitudes the Arabic names they still bear on our celestial globes. Theyascertainedas we have seenthe size of the earth by the measurement of adegree on her surfacedetermined the obliquity of the eclipticpublishedcorrected tables of the sun and moon fixed the length of the yearverified theprecession of the equinoxes. The treatise of Albategnius on "The Science ofthe Stars" is spoken of by Laplace with respect; he also draws attention toan important fragment of Ibn-Junisthe astronomer of Hakemthe Khalif ofEgyptA. D. 1000as containing a long series of observations from the time ofAlmansorof eclipsesequinoxessolsticesconjunctions of planetsoccultations of stars -- observations which have cast much light on the greatvariations of the system of the world. The Arabian astronomers also devotedthemselves to the construction and perfection of astronomical instrumentstothe measurement of time by clocks of various kindsby clepsydras and sun-dials.They were the first to introducefor this purposethe use of the pendulum.
In the experimental sciencesthey originatedchemistry; they discovered some of its most important reagents -- sulphuricacidnitric acidalcohol. They applied that science in the practice ofmedicinebeing the first to publish pharmacopoeias or dispensatoriesand toinclude in them mineral preparations. In mechanicsthey had determined the lawsof falling bodieshad
ideasby no means indistinctof the nature of gravity; they were familiar withthe theory of the mechanical powers. In hydrostatics they constructed the firsttables of the specific gravities of bodiesand wrote treatises on the flotationand sinking of bodies in water. In opticsthey corrected the Greekmisconceptionthat a ray proceeds from the eyeand touches the object seenintroducing the hypothesis that the ray passes from the object to the eye. Theyunderstood the phenomena of the reflection and refraction of light. Alhazen madethe great discovery of the curvilinear path of a ray of light through theatmosphereand proved that we see the sun and moon before they have risenandafter they have set.
The effects of this scientific activity areplainly perceived in the great improvements that took place in many of theindustrial arts. Agriculture shows it in better methods of irrigationtheskillful employment of manuresthe raising of improved breeds of cattletheenactment of wise codes of rural lawsthe introduction of the culture of riceand that of sugar and coffee. The manufactures show it in the great extension ofthe industries of silkcottonwool; in the fabrication of cordova and moroccoleatherand paper; in miningcastingand various metallurgic operations; inthe making of Toledo blades.
Passionate lovers of poetry and musictheydedicated much of their leisure time to those elegant pursuits. They taughtEurope the game of chess; they gave it its taste for works of fiction --romances and novels. In the graver domains of literature they took delight: theyhad many admirable compositions on such subjects as the instability of humangreatness; the consequences of irreligion; the reverses of fortune; the originduration
and end of the world. Sometimesnot without surprisewe meet with ideas whichwe flatter ourselves have originated in our own times. Thus our modern doctrinesof evolution and development were taught in their schools. In factthey carriedthem much farther than we are disposed to doextending them even to inorganicor mineral things. The fundamental principle of alchemy was the natural processof development of metalline bodies. "When common people" saysAl-Khaziniwriting in the twelfth century"hear from natural philosophersthat gold is a body which has attained to perfection of maturityto the goal ofcompletenessthey firmly believe that it is something which has gradually cometo that perfection by passing through the forms of all other metallic bodiessothat its gold nature was originally leadafterward it became tinthen brassthen silverand finally reached the development of gold; not knowing that thenatural philosophers meanin saying thisonly something like what they meanwhen they speak of manand attribute to him a completeness and equilibrium innature and constitution -- not that man was once a bulland was changed into anassand afterward into a horseand after that into an apeand finally becamea man."
CONFLICT RESPECTING THE NATURE OF THE SOUL. -- DOCTRINE OF EMANATION ANDABSORPTION.
European ideas respecting thesoul. -- It resembles the form of the body.
Philosophical views of the Orientals. -- TheVedic theology and Buddhism assert the doctrine of emanation and absorption. --It is advocated by Aristotlewho is followed by the Alexandrian schoolandsubsequently by the Jews and Arabians. -- It is found in the writings ofErigena.
Connection of this doctrine with the theory ofconservation and correlation of force. -- Parallel between the origin anddestiny of the body and the soul. -- The necessity of founding human oncomparative psychology.
Averroismwhich is based on these factsisbrought into Christendom through Spain and Sicily.
History of the repression of Averroism. --Revolt of Islam against it. -- Antagonism of the Jewish synagogues. -- Itsdestruction undertaken by the papacy. -- Institution of the Inquisition inSpain. -- Frightful persecutions and their results. -- Expulsion of the Jews andMoors. -- Overthrow of Averroism in Europe. -- Decisive action of the lateVatican Council.
THE pagan Greeks and Romans believed that thespirit of man resembles his bodily formvarying its appearance with hisvariationsand growing with his growth. Heroesto whom it had been permittedto descend into Hadeshad therefore without difficulty recognized their formerfriends. Not only had the corporeal aspect been retainedbut even the customaryraiment.
The primitive Christianswhose conceptions ofa future life and of heaven and hellthe abodes of the
blessed and the sinfulwere far more vivid than those of their paganpredecessorsaccepted and intensified these ancient ideas. They did not doubtthat in the world to come they should meet their friendsand hold converse withthemas they had done here upon earth -- an expectation that gives consolationto the human heartreconciling it to the most sorrowful bereavementsandrestoring to it its dead.
In the uncertainty as to what becomes of thesoul in the interval between its separation from the body and the judgment-daymany different opinions were held. Some thought that it hovered over the gravesome that it wandered disconsolate through the air. In the popular beliefSt.Peter sat as a door-keeper at the gate of heaven. To him it had been given tobind or to loose. He admitted or excluded the Spirits of men at his pleasure.Many personshoweverwere disposed to deny him this powersince his decisionswould be anticipatory of the judgment-daywhich would thus be renderedneedless. After the time of Gregory the Greatthe doctrine of purgatory metwith general acceptance. A resting-place was provided for departed spirits.
That the spirits of the dead occasionallyrevisit the livingor haunt their former abodeshas been in all agesin allEuropean countriesa fixed beliefnot confined to rusticsbut participated inby the intelligent. A pleasing terror gathers round the winter's-eveningfireside at the stories of apparitionsgoblinsghosts. In the old times theRomans had their laresor spirits of those who had led virtuous lives; theirlarvæ or lemuresthe spirits of the wicked; their manesthe spirits of thoseof whom the merits were doubtful. If human testimony on such subjects can be ofany valuethere is
a body of evidence reaching from the remotest ages to the present timeasextensive and unimpeachable as is to be found in support of any thing whateverthat these shades of the dead congregate near tombstonesor take up theirsecret abode in the gloomy chambers of dilapidated castlesor walk by moonlightin moody solitude.
While these opinions have universally foundpopular acceptance in Europeothers of a very different nature have prevailedextensively in Asiaand indeed very generally in the higher regions of thought.Ecclesiastical authority succeeded in repressing them in the sixteenth centurybut they never altogether disappeared. In our own times so silently andextensively have they been diffused in Europethat it was found expedient inthe papal Syllabus to draw them in a very conspicuous manner into the openlight; and the Vatican Councilagreeing in that view of their obnoxioustendency and secret spreadhas in an equally prominent and signal manner amongits first canons anathematized all persons who hold them. "Let him beanathema who says that spiritual things are emanations of the divine substanceor that the divine essence by manifestation or development becomes allthings." In view of this authoritative actionit is necessary now toconsider the character and history of these opinions.
Ideas respecting the nature of God necessarilyinfluence ideas respecting the nature of the soul. The eastern Asiatics hadadopted the conception of an impersonal Godandas regards the soulitsnecessary consequencethe doctrine of emanation and absorption.
Thus the Vedic theology is based on theacknowledgment of a universal spirit pervading all things. "There is intruth but one Deitythe supreme Spirit; he is of the same nature as the soul ofman." Both the
Vedas and the Institutes of Menu affirm that the soul is an emanation of theall-pervading Intellectand that it is necessarily destined to be reabsorbed.They consider it to be without formand that visible Naturewith all itsbeauties and harmoniesis only the shadow of God.
Vedaism developed itself into Buddhismwhichhas become the faith of a majority of the human race. This system acknowledgesthat there is a supreme Powerbut denies that there is a supreme Being. Itcontemplates the existence of Forcegiving rise as its manifestation to matter.It adopts the theory of emanation and absorption. In a burning taper it sees aneffigy of man -- an embodiment of matterand an evolution of force. If weinterrogate it respecting the destiny of the soulit demands of us what hasbecome of the flame when it is blown outand in what condition it was beforethe taper was lighted. Was it a nonentity? Has it been annihilated? It admitsthat the idea of personality which has deluded us through life may not beinstantaneously extinguished at deathbut may be lost by slow degrees. On thisis founded the doctrine of transmigration. But at length reunion with theuniversal Intellect takes placeNirwana is reachedoblivion is attainedastate that has no relation to matterspaceor timethe state into which thedeparted flame of the extinguished taper has gonethe state in which we werebefore we were born. This is the end that we ought to hope for; it isreabsorption in the universal Force -- supreme blisseternal rest.
Through Aristotle these doctrines were firstintroduced into Eastern Europe; indeedeventuallyas we shall seehe wasregarded as the author of them. They exerted a dominating influence in the laterperiod of
the Alexandrian school. Philothe Jewwho lived in the time of Caligulabasedhis philosophy on the theory of emanation. Plotinus not only accepted thattheory as applicable to the soul of manbut as affording an illustration of thenature of the Trinity. Foras a beam of light emanates from the sunand aswarmth emanates from the beam when it touches material bodiesso from theFather the Son emanatesand thence the Holy Ghost. From these views Plotinusderived a practical religious systemteaching the devout how to pass into acondition of ecstasya foretaste of absorption into the universal mundane soul.In that condition the soul loses its individual consciousness. In like mannerPorphyry sought absorption in or union with God. He was a Tyrian by birthestablished a school at Romeand wrote against Christianity; his treatise onthat subject was answered by Eusebius and St. Jeromebut the Emperor Theodosiussilenced it more effectually by causing all the copies to be burnt. Porphyrybewails his own unworthinesssaying that he had been united to God in ecstasybut once in eighty-six yearswhereas his master Plotinus had been so united sixtimes in sixty years. A complete system of theologybased on the theory ofemanationwas constructed by Procluswho speculated on the manner in whichabsorption takes place: whether the soul is instantly reabsorbed and reunited inthe moment of deathor whether it retains the sentiment of personality for atimeand subsides into complete reunion by successive steps.
From the Alexandrian Greeks these ideas passedto the Saracen philosopherswho very soon after the capture of the greatEgyptian city abandoned to the lower orders their anthropomorphic notions of thenature of God and the simulachral form of the spirit of
man. As Arabism developed itself into a distinct scientific systemthe theoriesof emanation and absorption were among its characteristic features. In thisabandonment of vulgar Mohammedanismthe example of the Jews greatly assisted.Theytoohad given up the anthropomorphism of their ancestors; they hadexchanged the God who of old lived behind the veil of the temple for an infiniteIntelligence pervading the universeandavowing their inability to conceivethat any thing which had on a sudden been called into existence should becapable of immortalitythey affirmed that the soul of man is connected with apast of which there was no beginningand with a future to which there is noend.
In the intellectual history of Arabism the Jewand the Saracen are continually seen together. It was the same in theirpolitical historywhether we consider it in Syriain Egyptor in Spain. Fromthem conjointly Western Europe derived its philosophical ideaswhich in thecourse of time culminated in Averroism; Averroism is philosophical Islamism.Europeans generally regarded Averroes as the author of these heresiesand theorthodox branded him accordinglybut he was nothing more than their collectorand commentator. His works invaded Christendom by two routes: from Spain throughSouthern France they reached Upper Italyengendering numerous heresies on theirway; from Sicily they passed to Naples and South Italyunder the auspices ofFrederick II.
Butlong before Europe suffered this greatintellectual invasionthere were what mightperhapsbe termed sporadicinstances of Orientalism. As an example I may quote the views of John Erigena(A. D. 800) He had adopted and taught the philosophy of Aristotle
had made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of that philosopherand indulged a hopeof uniting philosophy and religion in the manner proposed by the Christianecclesiastics who were then studying in the Mohammedan universities of Spain. Hewas a native of Britain.
In a letter to Charles the BaldAnastasiusexpresses his astonishment "how such a barbarian mancoming from the veryends of the earthand remote from human conversationcould comprehend thingsso clearlyand transfer them into another language so well." The generalintention of his writings wasas we have saidto unite philosophy withreligionbut his treatment of these subjects brought him under ecclesiasticalcensureand some of his works were adjudged to the flames. His most importantbook is entitled "De Divisione Nature."
Erigena's philosophy rests upon the observedand admitted fact that every living thing comes from something that hadpreviously lived. The visible worldbeing a world of lifehas thereforeemanated necessarily from some primordial existenceand that existence is Godwho is thus the originator and conservator of all. Whatever we see maintainsitself as a visible thing through force derived from himandwere that forcewithdrawnit must necessarily disappear. Erigena thus conceives of the Deity asan unceasing participator in Naturebeing its preservermaintainerupholderand in that respect answering to the soul of the world of the Greeks. Theparticular life of individuals is therefore a part of general existencethatisof the mundane soul.
If ever there were a withdrawal of themaintaining powerall things must return to the source from which they issued-- that isthey must return to Godand be absorbed in him. All visible Naturemust thus pass back
into "the Intellect" at last. "The death of the flesh is theauspices of the restitution of thingsand of a return to their ancientconservation. So sounds revert back to the air in which they were bornand bywhich they were maintainedand they are heard no more; no man knows what hasbecome of them. In that final absorption whichafter a lapse of timemustnecessarily comeGod will be all in alland nothing exist but him alone.""I contemplate him as the beginning and cause of all things; all thingsthat are and those that have beenbut now are notwere created from himandby himand in him. I also view him as the end and intransgressible term of allthings. . . . There is a fourfold conception of universal Nature -- two views ofdivine Natureas origin and end; two also of framed Naturecauses and effects.There is nothing eternal but God."
The return of the soul to the universalIntellect is designated by Erigena as Theosisor Deification. In that finalabsorption all remembrance of its past experiences is lost. The soul reverts tothe condition in which it was before it animated the body. NecessarilythereforeErigena fell under the displeasure of the Church.
It was in India that men first recognized thefact that force is indestructible and eternal. This implies ideas more or lessdistinct of that which we now term its "correlation and conservation."Considerations connected with the stability of the universe give strength tothis viewsince it is clear thatwere there either an increase or adiminutionthe order of the world must cease. The definite and invariableamount of energy in the universe must therefore be accepted as a scientificfact. The changes we witness are in its distribution.
Butsince the soul must be regarded as anactive principleto call a new one into existence out of nothing
is necessarily to add to the force previously in the world. Andif this hasbeen done in the case of every individual who has been bornand is to berepeated for every individual hereafterthe totality of force must becontinually increasing.
Moreoverto many devout persons there issomething very revolting in the suggestion that the Almighty is a servitor tothe caprices and lusts of manand thatat a certain term after its originitis necessary for him to create for the embryo a soul.
Considering man as composed of two portionsasoul and a bodythe obvious relations of the latter may cast much light on themysteriousthe obscure relations of the former. Nowthe substance of which thebody consists is obtained from the general mass of matter around usand afterdeath to that general mass it is restored. Has Naturethendisplayed beforeour eyes in the originmutationsand destiny of the material partthe bodyarevelation that may guide us to a knowledge of the origin and destiny of thecompanionthe spiritual partthe soul?
Let us listen for a moment to one of the mostpowerful of Mohammedan writers:
"God has created the spirit of man out ofa drop of his own light; its destiny is to return to him. Do not deceiveyourself with the vain imagination that it will die when the body dies. The formyou had on your entrance into this worldand your present formare not thesame; hence there is no necessity of your perishingon account of the perishingof your body. Your spirit came into this world a strangerit is onlysojourningin a temporary home. From the trials and tempests of thistroublesome lifeour refuge is in God. In reunion with him we shall findeternal rest -- a rest
without sorrowa joy without paina strength without infirmitya knowledgewithout doubta tranquil and yet an ecstatic vision of the source of life andlight and glorythe source from which we came." So says the SaracenphilosopherAl-Gazzali (A. D. 1010).
In a stone the material particles are in astate of stable equilibrium; it maythereforeendure forever. An animal is inreality only a form through which a stream of matter is incessantly flowing. Itreceives its suppliesand dismisses its wastes. In this it resembles acataracta rivera flame. The particles that compose it at one instant havedeparted from it the next. It depends for its continuance on exterior supplies.It has a definite duration in timeand an inevitable moment comes in which itmust die.
In the great problem of psychology we cannotexpect to reach a scientific resultif we persist in restricting ourselves tothe contemplation of one fact. We must avail ourselves of all accessible facts.Human psychology can never be completely resolved except through comparativepsychology. With Descarteswe must inquire whether the souls of animals berelations of the human soulless perfect members in the same series ofdevelopment. We must take account of what we discover in the intelligentprinciple of the antas well as what we discern in the intelligent principle ofman. Where would human physiology beif it were not illuminated by the brightirradiations of comparative physiology?
Brodieafter an exhaustive consideration ofthe factsaffirms that the mind of animals is essentially the same as that ofman. Every one familiar with the dog will admit that that creature knows rightfrom wrongand is conscious when he has committed a fault. Many
domestic animals have reasoning powersand employ proper means for theattainment of ends. How numerous are the anecdotes related of the intentionalactions of the elephant and the ape! Nor is this apparent intelligence due toimitationto their association with manfor wild animals that have no suchrelation exhibit similar properties. In different speciesthe capacity andcharacter greatly vary. Thus the dog is not only more intelligentbut hassocial and moral qualities that the cat does not possess; the former loves hismasterthe latter her home.
Du Bois-Reymond makes this striking remark:"With awe and wonder must the student of Nature regard that microscopicmolecule of nervous substance which is the seat of the laboriousconstructiveorderlyloyaldauntless soul of the ant. It has developed itself to itspresent state through a countless series of generations." What animpressive inference we may draw from the statement of Huberwho has written sowell on this subject: "If you will watch a single ant at workyou can tellwhat he will next do!" He is considering the matterand reasoning as youare doing. Listen to one of the many anecdotes which Huberat once truthful andartlessrelates: "On the visit of an overseer ant to the workswhen thelaborers had begun the roof too soonhe examined it and had it taken downthewall raised to the proper heightand a new ceiling constructed with thefragments of the old one." Surely these insects are not automatathey showintention. They recognize their old companionswho have been shut up from themfor many monthsand exhibit sentiments of joy at their return. Their antennallanguage is capable of manifold expression; it suits the interior of the nestwhere all is dark.
While solitary insects do not live to raisetheir youngsocial insects have a longer termthey exhibit moral affectionsand educate their offspring. Patterns of patience and industrysome of theseinsignificant creatures will work sixteen or eighteen hours a day. Few men arecapable of sustained mental application more than four or five hours.
Similarity of effects indicates similarity ofcauses; similarity of actions demands similarity of organs. I would ask thereader of these paragraphswho is familiar with the habits of animalsandespecially with the social relations of that wonderful insect to which referencehas been madeto turn to the nineteenth chapter of my work on the"Intellectual Development of Europe" in which he will find adescription of the social system of the Incas of Peru. Perhapsthenin view ofthe similarity of the social institutions and personal conduct of the insectand the social institutions and personal conduct of the civilized Indian -- theone an insignificant speckthe other a man -- he will not be disposed todisagree with me in the opinion that "from beesand waspsand antsandbirdsfrom all that low animal life on which he looks with superciliouscontemptman is destined one day to learn what in truth he really is."
The views of Descarteswho regarded allinsects as automatacan scarcely be accepted without modification. Insects areautomata only so far as the action of their ventral cordand that portion oftheir cephalic ganglia which deals with contemporaneous impressionsisconcerned.
It is one of the functions ofvesicular-nervous material to retain traces or relics of impressions brought toit by the organs of sense; hencenervous gangliabeing composed of thatmaterialmay be considered as registering
apparatus. They also introduce the element of time into the action of thenervous mechanism. An impressionwhich without them might have forthwith endedin reflex actionis delayedand with this duration come all those importanteffects arising through the interaction of many impressionsold and newuponeach other.
There is no such thing as a spontaneousorself-originatedthought. Every intellectual act is the consequence of somepreceding act. It comes into existence in virtue of something that has gonebefore. Two minds constituted precisely alikeand placed under the influence ofprecisely the same environmentmust give rise to precisely the same thought. Tosuch sameness of action we allude in the popular expression"common-sense" -- a term full of meaning. In the origination of athought there are two distinct conditions: the state of the organism asdependent on antecedent impressionsand on the existing physical circumstances.
In the cephalic ganglia of insects are storedup the relics of impressions that have been made upon the common peripheralnervesand in them are kept those which are brought in by the organs of specialsense -- the visualolfactiveauditory. The interaction of these raisesinsects above mere mechanical automatain which the reaction instantly followsthe impression.
In all cases the action of every nerve-centreno matter what its stage of development may behigh or lowdepends upon anessential chemical condition -- oxidation. Even in manif the supply ofarterial blood be stopped but for a momentthe nerve-mechanism loses its power;if diminishedit correspondingly declines; ifon the contraryit be increased-- as when nitrogen monoxide is breathed -- there is more energetic action.
Hence there arises a need of repaira necessity for rest and sleep.
Two fundamental ideas are essentially attachedto all our perceptions of external things: they are SPACE and TIMEand forthese provision is made in the nervous mechanism while it is yet in an almostrudimentary state. The eye is the organ of spacethe ear of time; theperceptions of which by the elaborate mechanism of these structures becomeinfinitely more precise than would be possible if the sense of touch alone wereresorted to.
There are some simple experiments whichillustrate the vestiges of ganglionic impressions. If on a coldpolished metalas a new razorany objectsuch as a waferbe laidand the metal be thenbreathed uponandwhen the moisture has had time to disappearthe wafer bethrown offthough now the most critical inspection of the polished surface candiscover no trace of any formif we breathe once more upon ita spectral imageof the wafer comes plainly into view; and this may be done again and again. Naymoreif the polished metal be carefully put aside where nothing can deteriorateits surfaceand be so kept for many monthson breathing again upon it theshadowy form emerges.
Such an illustration shows how trivial animpression may be thus registered and preserved. Butifon such an inorganicsurfacean impression may thus be indelibly markedhow much more likely in thepurposely-constructed ganglion! A shadow never falls upon a wall without leavingthereupon a permanent tracea trace which might be made visible by resorting toproper processes. Photographic operations are cases in point. The portraits ofour friendsor landscape viewsmay be hidden on the sensitive. surface fromthe eyebut
they are ready to make their appearance as soon as proper developers areresorted to. A spectre is concealed on a silver or glassy surface untilby ournecromancywe make it come forth into the visible world. Upon the walls of ourmost private apartmentswhere we think the eye of intrusion is altogether shutout and our retirement can never be profanedthere exist the vestiges of allour actssilhouettes of whatever we have done.
Ifafter the eyelids have been closed forsome timeas when we first awake in the morningwe suddenly and steadfastlygaze at a brightly-illuminated object and then quickly close the lids againaphantom image is perceived in the indefinite darkness beyond us. We may satisfyourselves that this is not a fictionbut a realityfor many details that wehad not time to identify in the momentary glance may be contemplated at ourleisure in the phantom. We may thus make out the pattern of such an object as alace curtain hanging in the windowor the branches of a tree beyond. By degreesthe image becomes less and less distinct; in a minute or two it has disappeared.It seems to have a tendency to float away in the vacancy before us. If weattempt to follow it by moving the eyeballit suddenly vanishes.
Such a duration of impressions on the retinaproves that the effect of external influences on nerve-vesicles is notnecessarily transitory. In this there is a correspondence to the durationtheemergencethe extinctionof impressions on photographic preparations. ThusIhave seen landscapes and architectural views taken in Mexico developedasartists saymonths subsequently in New York -- the images coming outafter thelong voyagein all their proper forms and n all their proper
contrast of light and shade. The photograph had forgotten nothing. It hadequally preserved the contour of the everlasting mountains and the passing smokeof a bandit-fire.
Are therethencontained in the brain morepermanentlyas in the retina more transientlythe vestiges of impressions thathave been gathered by the sensory organs? Is this the explanation of memory --the Mind contemplating such pictures of past things and events as have beencommitted to her custody. In her silent galleries are there hung micrographs ofthe living and the deadof scenes that we have visitedof incidents in whichwe have borne a part? Are these abiding impressions mere signal-markslike theletters of a bookwhich impart ideas to the mind? or are they actualpicture-imagesinconceivably smaller than those made for us by artistsinwhichby the aid of a microscopewe can seein a space not bigger than apinholea whole family group at a glance?
The phantom images of the retina are notperceptible in the light of the day. Those that exist in the sensorium in likemanner do not attract our attention so long as the sensory organs are invigorous operationand occupied in bringing new impressions in. Butwhen thoseorgans become weary or dullor when we experience hours of great anxietyorare in twilight reveriesor are asleepthe latent apparitions have theirvividness increased by the contrastand obtrude themselves on the mind. For thesame reason they occupy us in the delirium of feversand doubtless also in thesolemn moments of death. During a third part of our lifein sleepwe arewithdrawn from external influences; hearing and sight and the other senses areinactive.but the never-sleeping Mindthat pensivethat veiled enchantress
in her mysterious retirementlooks over the ambrotypes she has collected --ambrotypesfor they are truly unfading impressions -- andcombining themtogetheras they chance to occurconstructs from them the panorama of a dream.
Nature has thus implanted in the organizationof every man means which impressively suggest to him the immortality of the souland a future life. Even the benighted savage thus sees in his visions the fadingforms of landscapeswhich areperhapsconnected with some of his mostpleasant recollections; and what other conclusion can be possibly extract fromthose unreal pictures than that they are the foreshadowings of another landbeyond that in which his lot is cast? At intervals he is visited in his dreamsby the resemblances of those whom he has loved or hated while they were alive;and these manifestations are to him incontrovertible proofs of the existence andimmortality of the soul. In our most refined social conditions we are never ableto shake off the impressions of these occurrencesand are perpetually drawingfrom them the same conclusions that our uncivilized ancestors did. Our moreelevated condition of life in no respect relieves us from the inevitableoperation of our own organizationany more than it relieves us from infirmitiesand disease. In these respectsall over the globe men are on an equality.Savage or civilizedwe carry within us a mechanism which presents us withmementoes of the most solemn facts with which we can be concerned. It wants onlymoments of repose or sicknesswhen the influence of external things isdiminishedto come into full playand these are precisely the moments when weare best prepared for the truths it is going to suggest. That mechanism is norespecter of persons. It neither
permits the haughtiest to be free from the monitionsnor leaves the humblestwithout the consolation of a knowledge of another life. Open to no opportunitiesof being tampered with by the designing or interestedrequiring no extraneoushuman agency for its effectout always present with every man wherever he maygoit marvelously extracts from vestiges of the impressions of the pastoverwhelming proofs of the realities of the futureandgathering its powerfrom what would seem to be a most unlikely sourceit insensibly leads usnomatter who or where we may beto a profound belief in the immortal andimperishablefrom phantoms which have scarcely made their appearance beforethey are ready to vanish away.
The insect differs from a mere automaton inthisthat it is influenced by oldby registered impressions. In the higherforms of animated life that registration becomes more and more completememorybecomes more perfect. There is not any necessary resemblance between an externalform and its ganglionic impressionany more than there is between the words ofa message delivered in a telegraphic office and the signals which the telegraphmay give to the distant station; any more than there is between the letters of aprinted page and the acts or scenes they describebut the letters call up withclearness to the mind of the reader the events and scenes.
An animal without any apparatus for theretention of impressions must be a pure automaton -- it cannot have memory. Frominsignificant and uncertain beginningssuch an apparatus is gradually evolvedandas its development advancesthe intellectual capacity increases. In manthis retention or registration reaches perfection; he guideshimself by past aswell as by
present impressions; be is influenced by experience; his conduct is determinedby reason.
A most important advance is made when thecapability is acquired by any animal of imparting a knowledge of the impressionsstored up in its own nerve-centres to another of the same kind. This marks theextension of individual into social lifeand indeed is essential thereto. Inthe higher insects it is accomplished by antennal contactsin man by speech.Humanityin its earlierits savage stageswas limited to this: the knowledgeof one person could be transmitted to another by conversation. The acts andthoughts of one generation could be imparted to anotherand influence its actsand thoughts.
But tradition has its limit. The faculty ofspeech makes society possible -- nothing more.
Not without interest do we remark the progressof development of this function. The invention of the art of writing gaveextension and durability to the registration or record of impressions. Thesewhich had hitherto been stored up in the brain of one manmight now be impartedto the whole human raceand be made to endure forever. Civilization becamepossible -- for civilization cannot exist without writingor the means ofrecord in some shape.
From this psychological point of view weperceive the real significance of the invention of printing -- a development ofwriting whichby increasing the rapidity of the diffusion of ideasandinsuring their permanencetends to promote civilization and to unify the humanrace.
In the foregoing paragraphsrelating tonervous impressionstheir registryand the consequencesthat spring fromthemI have given an abstract of views presented in my work on "HumanPhysiology" published in
1856and maythereforerefer the reader to the chapter on "InverseVisionor Cerebral Sight;" to Chapter XIV.Book I.; and to Chapter VIII.Book II.; of that workfor other particulars.
The only path to scientific human psychologyis through comparative psychology. It is a long and wearisome pathbut it leadsto truth.
Is therethena vast spiritual existencepervading the universeeven as there is a vast existence of matter pervading it-- a spirit whichas a great German author tells us"sleeps in the stonedreams in the animalawakes in man?" Does the soul arise from the one asthe body arises from the other? Do they in like manner returneach to thesource from which it has come? If sowe can interpret human existenceand ourideas may still be in unison with scientific truthand in accord with ourconception of the stabilitythe unchangeability of the universe.
To this spiritual existence the Saracensfollowing Eastern nationsgave the designation "the ActiveIntellect." They believed that the soul of man emanated from itas arain-drop comes from the seaandafter a seasonreturns. So arose among themthe imposing doctrines of emanation and absorption. The active intellect is God.
In one of its formsas we have seenthisidea was developed by Chakia Mouniin Indiain a most masterly mannerandembodied in the vast practical system of Buddhism; in anotherit was with lesspower presented among the Saracens by Averroes.
Butperhaps we ought rather to say thatEuropeans hold Averroes as the author of this doctrinebecause they saw himisolated from his antecedents. But Mohammedans
gave him little credit for originality. He stood to them in the light of acommentator on Aristotleand as presenting the opinions of the Alexandrian andother philosophical schools up to his time. The following excerpts from the"Historical Essay on Averroism" by M. Renanwill show how closelythe Sarscenic ideas approached those presented above:
This system supposes thatat the death of anindividualhis intelligent principle or soul no longer possesses a separateexistencebut returns to or is absorbed in the universal mindthe activeintelligencethe mundane soulwhich is God; from whomindeedit hadoriginally emanated or issued forth.
The universalor activeor objectiveintellectis uncreatedimpassibleincorruptiblehas neither beginning norend; nor does it increase as the number of individual souls increases. It isaltogether separate from matter. It isas it werea cosmic principle. Thisoneness of the active intellector reasonis the essential principle of theAverroistic theoryand is in harmony with the cardinal doctrine ofMohammedanism -- the unity of God.
The individualor passiveor subjectiveintellectis an emanation from the universaland constitutes what is termedthe soul of man. In one sense it is perishable and ends with the bodybut in ahigher sense it endures; forafter deathit returns to or is absorbed in theuniversal souland thus of all human souls there remains at last but one -- theaggregate of them alllife is not the property of the individualit belongs toNature. The end ofman is to enter into union more and more complete with theactive intellect -- reason. In that the happiness of the soul consists. Ourdestiny is quietude. It was the opinion of Averroes that
the transition from the individual to the universal is instantaneous at deathbut the Buddhists maintain that human personality continues in a decliningmanner for a certain term before nonentityor Nirwanais attained.
Philosophy has never proposed but twohypotheses to explain the system of the world: firsta personal God existingapartand a human soul called into existence or createdand thenceforthimmortal; secondan impersonal intelligenceor indeterminate Godand a soulemerging from and returning to him. As to the origin of beingsthere are twoopposite opinions: firstthat they are created from nothing; secondthat theycome by development from preëxisting forms. The theory of creation belongs tothe first of the above hypothesesthat of evolution to the last.
Philosophy among the Arabs thus took the samedirection that it had taken in Chinain Indiaand indeed throughout the East.Its whole spirit depended on the admission of the indestructibility of matterand force. It saw an analogy between the gathering of the material of which thebody of man consists from the vast store of matter in Natureand its finalrestoration to that storeand the emanation of the spirit of man from theuniversal Intellectthe Divinityand its final reabsorption.
Having thus indicated in sufficient detail thephilosophical characteristics of the doctrine of emanation and absorptionIhave in the next place to relate its history. It was introduced into Europe bythe Spanish Arabs. Spain was the focal point from whichissuing forthitaffected the ranks of intelligence and fashion all over Europeand in Spain ithad a melancholy end.
The Spanish khalifs had surrounded themselveswith all the luxuries of Oriental life. They had magnificent palacesenchantinggardensseraglios filled with beautiful women. Europe at the present day doesnot offer more tastemore refinementmore elegancethan might have been seenat the epoch of which we are speakingin the capitals of the Spanish Arabs.Their streets were lighted and solidly paved. The houses were frescoed andcarpeted; they were warmed in winter by furnacesand cooled in summer withperfumed air brought by underground pipes from flower-beds. They had bathsandlibrariesand dining-hallsfountains of quicksilver and water. City andcountry were full of convivialityand of dancing to the lute and mandolin.Instead of the drunken and gluttonous wassail orgies of their Northernneighborsthe feasts of the Saracens were marked by sobriety. Wine wasprohibited. The enchanting moonlight evenings of Andalusia were spent by theMoors in sequesteredfairy-like gardens or in orange-groveslistening to theromances of the story-telleror engaged in philosophical discourse; consolingthemselves for the disappointments of this life by such reflections as thatifvirtue were rewarded in this worldwe should be without expectations in thelife to come; and reconciling themselves to their daily toil by the expectationthat rest will be found after death -- a rest never to be succeeded by labor.
In the tenth century the Khalif Hakein II. hadmade beautiful Andalusia the paradise of the world. ChristiansMussulmenJewsmixed together without restraint. Thereamong many celebrated names that havedescended to our timeswas Gerbertdestined subsequently to become pope.Theretoowas Peter the Venerableand many Christian ecclesiastics. Peter
says that he found learned men even from Britain pursuing astronomy. All learnedmenno matter from what country they cameor what their religious viewswerewelcomed. The khalif had in his palace a manufactory of booksand copyistsbindersilluminators. He kept book-buyers in all the great cities of Asia andAfrica. His library contained four hundred thousand volumessuperbly bound andilluminated.
Throughout the Mohammedan dominions in Asiain Africaand in Spainthe lower order of Mussulmen entertained a fanaticalhatred against learning. Among the more devout -- those who claimed to beorthodox -- there were painful doubts as to the salvation of the great KhalifAl-Mamun -- the wicked khalifas they called him -- for he had not onlydisturbed the people by introducing the writings of Aristotle and other Greekheathensbut had even struck at the existence of heaven and hell by saying thatthe earth is a globeand pretending that he could measure its size. Thesepersonsfrom their numbersconstituted a political power.
Almansorwho usurped the khalifate to theprejudice of Hakem's sonthought that his usurpation would be sustained if heput himself at the head of the orthodox party. He therefore had the library ofHakem searchedand all works of a scientific or philosophical nature carriedinto the public places and burntor thrown into the cisterns of the palace. Bya similar court revolution Averroesin his old age -- he died A. D. 1193 -- wasexpelled from Spain; the religious party had triumphed over the philosophical.He was denounced as a traitor to religion. An opposition to philosophy had beenorganized all over the Mussulman world. There was hardly a philosopher who wasnot
punished. Some were put to deathand the consequence wasthat Islam was fullof hypocrites.
Into ItalyGermanyEnglandAverroism hadsilently made its way. It found favor in the eyes of the Franciscansand afocus in the University of Paris. By very many of the leading minds it had beenaccepted. But at length the Dominicansthe rivals of the Franciscanssoundedan alarm. They said it destroys all personalityconducts to fatalismandrenders inexplicable the difference and progress of individual intelligences.The declaration that there is but one intellect is an error subversive of themerits of the saintsit is an assertion that there is no difference among men.What! is there no difference between the holy soul of Peter and the damned soulof Judas? are they identical? Averroes in this his blasphemous doctrine deniescreationprovidencerevelationthe Trinitythe efficacy of prayersof almsand of litanies; he disbelieves in the resurrection and immortality; he placesthe summum bonum in mere pleasure.
Sotooamong the Jews who were then theleading intellects of the worldAverroism had been largely propagated. Theirgreat writer Maimonides had thoroughly accepted it; his school was spreading itin all directions. A furious persecution arose on the part of the orthodox Jews.Of Maimonides it had been formerly their delight to declare that he was"the Eagle of the Doctorsthe Great Sagethe Glory of the Westthe Lightof the Eastsecond only to Moses." Nowthey proclaimed that he hadabandoned the faith of Abraham; had denied the possibility of creationbelievedin the eternity of the world; had given himself up to the manufacture ofatheists; had deprived God of his attributes; made a vacuum of him; had declaredhim inaccessible
to prayerand a stranger to the government of the world. The works ofMaimonides were committed to the flames by the synagogues of MontpellierBarcelonaand Toledo.
Scarcely had the conquering arms of Ferdinandand Isabella overthrown the Arabian dominion in Spainwhen measures were takenby the papacy to extinguish these opinionswhichit was believedwereundermining European Christianity.
Until Innocent IV. (1243)there was nospecial tribunal against hereticsdistinct from those of the bishops. TheInquisitionthen introducedin accordance with the centralization of thetimeswas a general and papal tribunalwhich displaced the old local ones. Thebishopsthereforeviewed the innovation with great dislikeconsidering it asan intrusion on their rights. It was established in ItalySpainGermanyandthe southern provinces of France.
The temporal sovereigns were only too desirousto make use of this powerful engine for their own political purposes. Againstthis the popes strongly protested. They were not willing that its use shouldpass out of the ecclesiastical hand.
The Inquisitionhaving already been tried inthe south of Francehad there proved to be very effective for the suppressionof heresy. It had been introduced into Aragon. Now was assigned to it the dutyof dealing with the Jews.
In the old times under Visigothic rule thesepeople had greatly prosperedbut the leniency that had been shown to them wassucceeded by atrocious persecutionwhen the Visigoths abandoned their Arianismand became orthodox. The most inhuman ordinances were issued against them -- alaw was enacted condemning
them all to be slaves. It was not to be wondered at thatwhen the Saraceninvasion took placethe Jews did whatever they could to promote its success.Theylike the Arabswere an Oriental peopleboth traced their lineage toAbrahamtheir common ancestor; both were believers in the unity of God. It wastheir defense of that doctrine that had brought upon them the hatred of theirVisigothic masters.
Under the Saracen rule they were treated withthe highest consideration. They became distinguished for their wealth and theirlearning. For the most part they were Aristotelians. They founded many schoolsand colleges. Their mercantile interests led them to travel all over the world.They particularly studied the science of medicine. Throughout the middle agesthey were the physicians and bankers of Europe. Of all men they saw the courseof human affairs from the most elevated point of view. Among the specialsciences they became proficient in mathematics and astronomy; they composed thetables of Alfonsoand were the cause of the voyage of De Gama. Theydistinguished themselves greatly in light literature. From the tenth to thefourteenth century their literature was the first in Europe. They were to befound in the courts of princes as physiciansor as treasurers managing thepublic finances.
The orthodox clergy in Navarre had excitedpopular prejudices against them. To escape the persecutions that arosemany ofthem feigned to turn Christiansand of these many apostatized to their formerfaith. The papal nuncio at the court of Castile raised a cry for theestablishment of the Inquisition. The poorer Jews were accused of sacrificingChristian children at the Passoverin mockery of the crucifixion; the richerwere denounced as Averroists. Under the influence of Torquemadaa
Dominican monkthe confessor of Queen Isabellathat princess solicited a bullfrom the pope for the establishment of the Holy Office. A bull was accordinglyissued in November1478for the detection and suppression of heresy. In thefirst year of the operation of the Inquisition1481two thousand victims wereburnt in Andalusia; besides thesemany thousands were dug up from their gravesand burnt; seventeen thousand were fined or imprisoned for life. Whoever of thepersecuted race could fleeescaped for his life. Torquemadanow appointedinquisitor-general for Castile and Leonillustrated his office by his ferocity.Anonymous accusations were receivedthe accused was not confronted bywitnessestorture was relied upon for conviction; it was inflicted in vaultswhere no one could hear the cries of the tormented. Asin pretended mercyitwas forbidden to inflict torture a second timewith horrible duplicity it wasaffirmed that the torment had not been completed at firstbut had only beensuspended out of charity until the following day! The families of the convictedwere plunged into irretrievable ruin. Llorentethe historian of theInquisitioncomputes that Torquemada and his collaboratorsin the course ofeighteen yearsburnt at the stake ten thousand two hundred and twenty personssix thousand eight hundred and sixty in effigyand otherwise punishedninety-seven thousand three hundred and twenty-one. This frantic priestdestroyed Hebrew Bibles wherever be could find themAnd burnt six thousandvolumes of Oriental literature at Salamancaunder an imputation that theyinculcated Judaism. With unutterable disgust and indignationwe learn that thepapal government realized much money by selling to the rich dispensations tosecure them from the Inquisition.
But all these frightful atrocities provedfailures. The conversions were few. Torquemadathereforeinsisted on theimmediate banishment of every unbaptized Jew. On March 301492the edict ofexpulsion was signed. All unbaptized Jewsof whatever agesexor conditionwere ordered to leave the realm by the end of the following July. If theyrevisited itthey should suffer death. They might sell their effects and takethe proceeds in merchandise or bills of exchangebut not in gold or silver.Exiled thus suddenly from the land of their birththe land of their ancestorsfor hundreds of yearsthey could not in the glutted market that arose sell whatthey possessed. Nobody would purchase what could be got for nothing after July.The Spanish clergy occupied themselves by preaching in the public squaressermons filled with denunciations against their victimswhowhen the time forexpatriation cameswarmed in the roads and filled the air with their cries ofdespair. Even the Spanish onlookers wept at the scene of agony. Torquemadahoweverenforced the ordinance that no one should afford them any help.
Of the banished persons some made their wayinto Africasome into Italy; the latter carried with them to Naples ship-feverwhich destroyed not fewer than twenty thousand in that cityand devastated thatpeninsula; some reached Turkeya few England. Thousandsespecially motherswith nursing childreninfantsand old peopledied by the way; many of them inthe agonies of thirst.
This action against the Jews was soon followedby one against the Moors. A pragmatica was issued at SevilleFebruary1502setting forth the obligations of the Castilians to drive the enemies of God fromthe
landand ordering that all unbaptized Moors in the kingdoms of Castile and Leonabove the age of infancy should leave the country by the end of April. Theymight sell their propertybut not take away any gold or silver; they wereforbidden to emigrate to the Mohammedan dominions; the penalty of disobediencewas death. Their condition was thus worse than that of the Jewswho had beenpermitted to go where they chose. Such was the fiendish intolerance of theSpaniardsthat they asserted the government would be justified in taking thelives of all the Moors for their shameless infidelity.
What an ungrateful return for the tolerationthat the Moors in their day of power had given to the Christians! No faith waskept with the victims. Granada had surrendered under the solemn guarantee of thefull enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. At the instigation of CardinalXimenes that pledge was brokenandafter a residence of eight centuriestheMohammedans were driven out of the land.
The coexistence of three religions inAndalusia -- the Christianthe Mohammedanthe Mosaic -- had given opportunityfor the development of Averroism or philosophical Arabism. This was a repetitionof what had occurred at Romewhen the gods of all the conquered countries wereconfronted in that capitaland universal disbelief in them all ensued. Averroeshimself was accused of having been first a Mussulmanthen a Christianthen aJewand finally a misbeliever. It was affirmed that he was the author of themysterious book "De Tribus Impostoribus."
In the middle ages there were two celebratedheretical books"The Everlasting Gospel" and the "De
Tribus Impostoribus." The latter was variously imputed to Pope GerberttoFrederick II.and to Averroes. In their unrelenting hatred the Dominicansfastened all the blasphemies current in those times on Averroes; they nevertired of recalling the celebrated and outrageous one respecting the eucharist.His writings had first been generally made known to Christian Europe by thetranslation of Michael Scot in the beginning of the thirteenth centurybut longbefore his time the literature of the Westlike that of Asiawas full of theseideas. We have seen how broadly they were set forth by Erigena. The Arabiansfrom their first cultivation of philosophyhad been infected by them; they werecurrent in all the colleges of the three khalifates. Considered not as a mode ofthoughtthat will spontaneously occur to all men at a certain stage ofintellectual developmentbut as having originated with Aristotletheycontinually found favor with men of the highest culture. We see them in RobertGrostetein Roger Baconand eventually in Spinoza. Averroes was not theirinventorbe merely gave them clearness and expression. Among the Jews of thethirteenth centuryhe had completely supplanted his imputed master. Aristotlehad passed away from their eyes; his great commentatorAverroesstood in hisplace. So numerous were the converts to the doctrine of emanation inChristendomthat Pope Alexander IV. (1255) found it necessary to interfere. Byhis orderAlbertus Magnus composed a work against the "Unity of theIntellect." Treating of the origin and nature of the soulhe attempted toprove that the theory of "a separate intellectenlightening man byirradiation anterior to the individual and surviving the individualis adetestable error." But the most illustrious antagonist of the greatcommentator
was St. Thomas Aquinasthe destroyer of all such heresies as the unity of theintellectthe denial of Providencethe impossibility of creation; thevictories of "the Angelic Doctor" were celebrated not only in thedisputations of the Dominicansbut also in the works of art of the painters ofFlorence and Pisa. The indignation of that saint knew no bounds when Christiansbecame the disciples of an infidelwho was worse than a Mohammedan. The wrathof the Dominicansthe order to which St. Thomas belongedwas sharpened by thefact that their rivalsthe Franciscansinclined to Averroistic views; andDantewho leaned to the Dominicansdenounced Averroes as the author of a mostdangerous system. The theological odium of all three dominant religions was putupon him; he was pointed out as the originator of the atrocious maxim that"all religions are falsealthough all are probably useful." Anattempt was made at the Council of Vienne to have his writings absolutelysuppressedand to forbid all Christians reading them. The Dominicansarmedwith the weapons of the Inquisitionterrified Christian Europe with theirunrelenting persecutions. They imputed all the infidelity of the times to theArabian philosopher. But he was not without support. In Paris and in the citiesof Northern Italy the Franciscans sustained his viewsand all Christendom wasagitated with these disputes.
Under the inspiration of the DominicansAverroes oceanic to the Italian painters the emblem of unbelief. Many of theItalian towns had pictures or frescoes of the Day of Judgment and of Hell. Inthese Averroes not unfrequently appears. Thusin one at Pisahe figures withAriusMohammedand Antichrist. In another he is represented as overthrown bySt. Thomas.
He had become an essential element in the triumphs of the great Dominicandoctor. He continued thus to be familiar to the Italian painters until thesixteenth century. His doctrines were maintained in the University of Paduauntil the seventeenth.
Such isin briefthe history of Averroism asit invaded Europe from Spain. Under the auspices of Frederick II.itin a lessimposing mannerissued from Sicily. That sovereign bad adopted it fully. In his"Sicilian Questions" he had demanded light on the eternity of theworldand on the nature of the souland supposed he had found it in thereplies of Ibn Sabinan upholder of these doctrines. But in his conflict withthe papacy be was overthrownand with him these heresies were destroyed.
In Upper ItalyAverroism long maintained itsground. It was so fashionable in high Venetian society that every gentleman feltconstrained to profess it. At length the Church took decisive action against it.The Lateran CouncilA. D. 1512condemned the abettors of these detestabledoctrines to be held as heretics and infidels. As we have seenthe late VaticanCouncil has anathematized them. Notwithstanding that stigmait is to be bornein mind that these opinions are held to be true by a majority of the human race.
CONFLICT RESPECTING THE NATURE OF THE WORLD.
Scriptural view of the world:the earth a flat surface; location of heaven and hell.
Scientific view: the earth a globe; its sizedetermined; its position in and relations to the solar system. -- The threegreat voyages. -- ColumbusDe GamaMagellan. -- Circumnavigation of the earth.-- Determination of its curvature by the measurement of a degree and by thependulum.
The discoveries of Copernicus. -- Invention ofthe telescope. -- Galileo brought before the Inquisition. -- His punishment. --Victory over the Church.
Attempts to ascertain the dimensions of thesolar system. -- Determination of the sun's parallax by the transits of Venus.-- Insignificanceof the earth and man.
Ideas respecting the dimensions of theuniverse. -- Parallax of the stars. -- The plurality of worlds asserted byBruno. -- He is seized and murdered by the Inquisition.
I HAVE now to present the discussions thatarose respecting the third great philosophical problem -- the nature of theworld.
An uncritical observation of the aspect ofNature persuades us that the earth is an extended level surface which sustainsthe dome of the skya firmament dividing the waters above from the watersbeneath; that the heavenly bodies -- the sunthe moonthe stars -- pursuetheir waymoving from east to westtheir insignificant size and motion roundthe motionless earth proclaiming
their inferiority. Of the various organic forms surrounding man none rival himin dignityand hence he seems justified in concluding that every thing has beencreated for his use -- the sun for the purpose of giving him light by daythemoon and stars by night.
Comparative theology shows us that this is theconception of Nature universally adopted in the early phase of intellectuallife. It is the belief of all nations in all parts of the world in the beginningof their civilization: geocentricfor it makes the earth the centre of theuniverse; anthropocentricfor it makes man the central object of the earth. Andnot only is this the conclusion spontaneously come to from inconsiderateglimpses of the worldit is also the philosophical basis of various religiousrevelationsvouchsafed to man from time to time. These revelationsmoreoverdeclare to him that above the crystalline dome of the sky is a region of eternallight and happiness -- heaven -- the abode of God and the angelic hostsperhapsalso his own abode after death; and beneath the earth a region of eternaldarkness and miserythe habitation of those that are evil. In the visible worldis thus seen a picture of the invisible.
On the basis of this view of the structure ofthe world great religious systems have been foundedand hence powerful materialinterests have been engaged in its support. These have resistedsometimes byresorting to bloodshedattempts that have been made to correct itsincontestable errors -- a resistance grounded on the suspicion that thelocalization of heaven and hell and the supreme value of man in the universemight be affected.
That such attempts would be made wasinevitable. As soon as men began to reason on the subject at all
they could not fail to discredit the assertion that the earth is an indefiniteplane. No one can doubt that the sun we see to-day is the self-same sun that wesaw yesterday. His reappearance each morning irresistibly suggests that he haspassed on the underside of the earth. But this is incompatible with the reign ofnight in those regions. It presents more or less distinctly the idea of theglobular form of the earth.
The earth cannot extend indefinitely downward;for the sun cannot go through itnor through any crevice or passage in itSince he rises and sets in different positions at different seasons of the year.The stars also move under it in countless courses. There mustthereforebe aclear way beneath.
To reconcile revelation with these innovatingfactsschemessuch as that of Cosmas Indicopleustes in his ChristianTopographywere doubtless often adopted. To this in particular we have hadoccasion on a former page to refer. It asserted that in the northern parts ofthe flat earth there is an immense mountainbehind which the sun passesandthus produces night.
At a very remote historical period themechanism of eclipses had been discovered. Those of the moon demonstrated thatthe shadow of the earth is always circular. The form of the earth must thereforebe globular. A body which in all positions casts a circular shadow must itselfbe spherical. Other considerationswith which every one is now familiarcouldnot fail to establish that such is her figure.
But the determination of the shape of theearth by no means deposed her from her position of superiority. Apparentlyvastly larger than all other thingsit was fitting that she should beconsidered not merely as the centre of the worldbutin truthas -- theworld. All
other objects in their aggregate seemed utterly unimportant in comparison withher.
Though the consequences flowing from anadmission of the globular figure of the earth affected very profoundly existingtheological ideasthey were of much less moment than those depending on adetermination of her size. It needed but an elementary knowledge of geometry toperceive that correct ideas on this point could be readily obtained by measuringa degree on her surface. Probably there were early attempts to accomplish thisobjectthe results of which have been lost. But Eratosthenes executed onebetween Syene and Alexandriain EgyptSyene being supposed to be exactly underthe tropic of Cancer. The two places arehowevernot on the same meridianandthe distance between them was estimatednot measured. Two centuries laterPosidonius made another attempt between Alexandria and Rhodes; the bright starCanopus just grazed the horizon at the latter placeat Alexandria it rose 7½o.In this instancealsosince the direction lay across the seathe distance wasestimatednot measured. Finallyas we have already relatedthe KhalifAl-Mamun made two sets of measuresone on the shore of the Red Seathe othernear Cufain Mesopotamia. The general result of these various observations gavefor the earth's diameter between seven and eight thousand miles.
This approximate determination of the size ofthe earth tended to depose her from her dominating positionand gave rise tovery serious theological results. In this the ancient investigations ofAristarchus of Samosone of the Alexandrian school280 B. C.powerfullyaided. In his treatise on the magnitudes and distances of the sun and moonheexplains the ingenious though
imperfect method to which he had resorted for the solution of that problem. Manyages previously a speculation had been brought from India to Europe byPythagoras. It presented the sun as the centre of the system. Around him theplanets revolved in circular orbitstheir order of position being MercuryVenusEarthMarsJupiterSaturneach of them being supposed to rotate onits axis as it revolved round the sun. According to CiceroNicetas suggestedthatif it were admitted that the earth revolves on her axisthe difficultypresented by the inconceivable velocity of the heavens would be avoided.
There is reason to believe that the works ofAristarchusin the Alexandrian Librarywere burnt at the time of the fire ofCæsar. The only treatise of his that has come down to us is that abovementionedon the size and distance of the sun and moon.
Aristarchus adopted the Pythagorean system asrepresenting the actual facts. This was the result of a recognition of the sun'samazing distanceand therefore of his enormous size. The heliocentric systemthus regarding the sun as the central orbdegraded the earth to a verysubordinate rankmaking her only one of a company of six revolving bodies.
But this is not the only contributionconferred on astronomy by Aristarchusforconsidering that the movement of theearth does not sensibly affect the apparent position of the starshe inferredthat they are incomparably more distant from us than the sun. Hethereforeofall the ancientsas Laplace remarkshad the most correct ideas of the grandeurof the universe. He saw that the earth is of absolutely insignificant sizewhencompared with the stellar distances. He sawtoothat there is nothing above usbut space and stars.
But the views of Aristarchusas respects theemplacement of the planetary bodieswere not accepted by antiquity; the systemproposed by Ptolemyand incorporated in his "Syntaxis" wasuniversally preferred. The physical philosophy of those times was very imperfect-- one of Ptolemy's objections to the Pythagorean system being thatif theearth were in motionit would leave the air and other light bodies behind it.He therefore placed the earth in the central positionand in successionrevolved round her the MoonMercuryVenusthe SunMarsJupiterSaturn;beyond the orbit of Saturn came the firmament of the fixed stars. As to thesolid crystalline spheresone moving from east to westthe other from north tosouththese were a fancy of Eudoxusto which Ptolemy does not allude.
The Ptolemaic system isthereforeessentially a geocentric system. It left the earth in her position ofsuperiorityand hence gave no cause of umbrage to religious opinionsChristianor Mohammedan. The immense reputation of its authorthe signal ability of hisgreat work on the mechanism of the heavenssustained it for almost fourteenhundred years -- that isfrom the second to the sixteenth century.
In Christendomthe greater part of this longperiod was consumed in disputes respecting the nature of Godand in strugglesfor ecclesiastical power. The authority of the Fathersand the prevailingbelief that the Scriptures contain the sumof all knowledgediscouraged anyinvestigation of Nature. If by chance a passing interest was taken in someastronomical questionit was at once settled by a reference to such authoritiesas the writings of Augustine or Lactantiusnot by an appeal to the phenomena ofthe heavens. So great was
the preference given to sacred over profane learning that Christianity had beenin existence fifteen hundred yearsand had not produced a single astronomer.
The Mohammedan nations did much better. Theircultivation of science dates from the capture of AlexandriaA. D. 638. This wasonly six years after the death of the Prophet. In less than two centuries theyhad not only become acquainted withbut correctly appreciatedthe Greekscientific writers. As we have already mentionedby his treaty with MichaelIII.the khalif Al-Mamun had obtained a copy of the "Syntaxis" ofPtolemy. He had it forthwith translated into Arabic. It became at once the greatauthority of Saracen astronomy. From this basis the Saracens had advanced to thesolution of some of the most important scientific problems. They had ascertainedthe dimensions of the earth; they had registered or catalogued all the starsvisible in their heavensgiving to those of the larger magnitudes the namesthey still bear on our maps and globes; they determined the true length of theyeardiscovered astronomical refractioninvented the pendulum-clockimprovedthe photometry of the starsascertained the curvilinear path of a ray of lightthrough the airexplained the phenomena of the horizontal sun and moonand whywe see those bodies before they have risen and after they have set; measured theheight of the atmospheredetermining it to be fifty-eight miles; given the truetheory of the twilightand of the twinkling of the stars. They had built thefirst observatory in Europe. So accurate were they in their observationsthatthe ablest modern mathematicians have made use of their results. Thus Laplacein his "Système du Monde" adduces the observations of Al-Batagni asaffording incontestable proof of the diminution of the eccentricity
of the earth's orbit. He uses those of Ibn-Junis in his discussion of theobliquity of the eclipticand also in the case of the problems of the greaterinequalities of Jupiter and Saturn.
These represent but a partand indeed but asmall partof the services rendered by the Arabian astronomersin the solutionof the problem of the nature of the world. Meanwhilesuch was the benightedcondition of Christendomsuch its deplorable ignorancethat it cared nothingabout the matter. Its attention was engrossed by image-worshiptransubstantiationthe merits of the saintsmiraclesshrine-cures.
This indifference continued until the close ofthe fifteenth century. Even then there was no scientific inducement. Theinciting motives were altogether of a different kind. They originated incommercial rivalriesand the question of the shape of the earth was finallysettled by three sailorsColumbusDe Gamaandabove allby FerdinandMagellan.
The trade of Eastern Asia has always been asource of immense wealth to the Western nations who in succession have obtainedit. In the middle ages it had centred in Upper Italy. It was conducted along twolines -- a northernby way of the Black and Caspian Seasand camel-caravansbeyond -- the headquarters of this were at Genoa; and a southernthrough theSyrian and Egyptian portsand by the Arabian Seathe headquarters of thisbeing at Venice. The merchants engaged in the latter traffic had also made greatgains in the transport service of the Crusade-wars.
The Venetians had managed to maintain amicablerelations with the Mohammedan powers of Syria and Egypt; they were permitted tohave consulates at Alexandria and Damascusandnotwithstanding the military
commotions of which those countries had been the scenethe trade was stillmaintained in a comparatively flourishing condition. But the northern or Genoeseline had been completely broken up by the irruptions of the Tartars and theTurksand the military and political disturbances of the countries throughwhich it passed. The Eastern trade of Genoa was not merely in a precariouscondition -- it was on the brink of destruction.
The circular visible horizon and its dip atseathe gradual appearance and disappearance of ships in the offingcannotfail to incline intelligent sailors to a belief in the globular figure of theearth. The writings of the Mohammedan astronomers and philosophers had givencurrency to that doctrine throughout Western Europebutas might be expectedit was received with disfavor by theologians. When Genoa was thus on the verybrink of ruinit occurred to some of her mariners thatif this view werecorrecther affairs might be re-established. A ship sailing through the straitsof Gibraltar westwardacross the Atlanticwould not fail to reach the EastIndies. There were apparently other great advantages. Heavy cargoes might betransported without tedious and expensive land-carriageand without breakingbulk.
Among the Genoese sailors who entertainedthese views was Christopher Columbus.
He tells us that his attention was drawn tothis subject by the writings of Averroesbut among his friends he numberedToscanellia Florentinewho had turned his attention to astronomyand hadbecome a strong advocate of the globular form. In Genoa itself Columbus met withbut little encouragement. He then spent many years in trying to interestdifferent princes in his proposed attempt. Its irreligious tendency was pointed
out by the Spanish ecclesiasticsand condemned by the Council of Salamanca; itsorthodoxy was confuted from the Pentateuchthe Psalmsthe PropheciestheGospelsthe Epistlesand the writings of the Fathers -- St. ChrysostomSt.AugustineSt. JeromeSt. GregorySt. BasilSt Ambrose.
At lengthhoweverencouraged by the SpanishQueen Isabellaand substantially aided by a wealthy seafaring familythePinzons of Palossome of whom joined him personallyhe sailed on August 31492with three small shipsfrom Paloscarrying with him a letter from KingFerdinand to the Grand-Khan of Tartaryand also a chartor mapconstructed onthe basis of that of Toscanelli. A little before midnightOctober 111492hesaw from the forecastle of his ship a moving light at a distance. Two hourssubsequently a signal-gun from another of the ships announced that they haddescried land. At sunrise Columbus landed in the New World.
On his return to Europe it was universallysupposed that he had reached the eastern parts of Asiaand that therefore hisvoyage bad been theoretically successful. Columbus himself died in that belief.But numerous voyages which were soon undertaken made known the general contourof the American coast-lineand the discovery of the Great South Sea by Balboarevealed at length the true facts of the caseand the mistake into which bothToscanelli and Columbus had fallenthat in a voyage to the West the distancefrom Europe to Asia could not exceed the distance passed over in a voyage fromItaly to the Gulf of Guinea -- a voyage that Columbus had repeatedly made.
In his first voyageat nightfall on September131492being then two and a half degrees east of Corvo
one of the AzoresColumbus observed that the compass needles of the ships nolonger pointed a little to the east of northbut were varying to the west. Thedeviation became more and more marked as the expedition advanced. He was not thefirst to detect the fact of variationbut he was incontestably the first todiscover the line of no variation. On the return-voyage the reverse wasobserved; the variation westward diminished until the meridian in question wasreachedwhen the needles again pointed due north. Thenceas the coast ofEurope was approachedthe variation was to the east. Columbusthereforecameto the conclusion that the line of no variation was a fixed geographical lineor boundarybetween the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. In the bull of May1493Pope Alexander VI. accordingly adopted this line as the perpetual boundarybetween the possessions of Spain and Portugalin his settlement of the disputesof those nations. Subsequentlyhoweverit was discovered that the line wasmoving eastward. It coincided with the meridian of London in 1662.
By the papal bull the Portuguese possessionswere limited to the east of the line of no variation. Information derived fromcertain Egyptian Jews had reached that governmentthat it was possible to sailround the continent of Africathere being at its extreme south a cape whichcould be easily doubled. An expedition of three ships under Vasco de Gama setsailJuly 91497; it doubled the cape on November 20thand reached Calicuton the coast of IndiaMay 191498. Under the bullthis voyage to the Eastgave to the Portuguese the right to the India trade.
Until the cape was doubledthe course of DeGama's ships was in a general manner southward. Very soon
it was noticed that the elevation of the pole-star above the horizon wasdiminishingandsoon after the equator was reachedthat star had ceased to bevisible. Meantime other starssome of them forming magnificent constellationshad come into view -- the stars of the Southern Hemisphere. All this was inconformity to theoretical expectations founded on the admission of the globularform of the earth.
The political consequences that at once ensuedplaced the Papal Government in a position of great embarrassment. Its traditionsand policy forbade it to admit any other than the flat figure of the earthasrevealed in the Scriptures. Concealment of the facts was impossiblesophistrywas unavailing. Commercial prosperity now left Venice as well as Genoa. Thefront of Europe was changed. Maritime power had departed from the Mediterraneancountriesand passed to those upon the Atlantic coast.
But the Spanish Government did not submit tothe advantage thus gained by its commercial rival without an effort. It listenedto the representations of one Ferdinand Magellanthat India and the SpiceIslands could be reached by sailing to the westif only a strait or passagethrough what had now been recognized as "the American Continent" couldbe discovered; andif this should be accomplishedSpainunder the papal bullwould have as good a right to the India trade as Portugal. Under the command ofMagellanan expedition of five shipscarrying two hundred and thirty-sevenmenwas dispatched from SevilleAugust 101519.
Magellan at once struck boldly for the SouthAmerican coasthoping to find some cleft or passage through the continent bywhich he might reach the great South
Sea. For seventy days he was becalmed on the line; his sailors were appalled bythe apprehension that they had drifted into a region where the winds never blewand that it was impossible for them to escape. Calmstempestsmutinydesertioncould not shake his resolution. After more than a year he discoveredthe strait which now bears his nameandas Pigafettian Italianwho was withhimrelateshe shed fears of joy when he found that it had pleased God atlength to bring him where he might grapple with the unknown dangers of the SouthSea"the Great and Pacific Ocean."
Driven by famine to eat scraps of skin andleather with which his rigging was here and there boundto drink water that hadgone putridhis crew dying of hunger and scurvythis manfirm in his beliefof the globular figure of the earthsteered steadily to the northwestand fornearly four months never saw inhabited land. He estimated that he had sailedover the Pacific not less than twelve thousand miles. He crossed the equatorsaw once more the pole-starand at length made land -- the Ladrones. Here hemet with adventurers from Sumatra. Among these islands he was killedeither bythe savages or by his own men. His lieutenantSebastian d'Elcanonow tookcommand of the shipdirecting her course for the Cape of Good Hopeandencountering frightful hardships. He doubled the cape at lastand then for thefourth time crossed the equator. On September 71522after a voyage of morethan three yearshe brought his shipthe San Vittoriato anchor in the portof St. Lucarnear Seville. She had accomplished the greatest achievement in thehistory of the human race. She had circumnavigated the earth.
The San Vittoriasailing westwardhad comeback
to her starting-point. Henceforth the theological doctrine of the flatness ofthe earth was irretrievably overthrown.
Five years after the completion of the voyageof Magellanwas made the first attempt in Christendom to ascertain the size ofthe earth. This was by Fernela French physicianwhohaving observed theheight of the pole at Pariswent thence northward until be came to a placewhere the height of the pole was exactly one degree more than at that city. Hemeasured the distance between the two stations by the number of revolutions ofone of the wheels of his carriageto which a proper indicator bad beenattachedand came to the conclusion that the earth's circumference is abouttwenty-four thousand four hundred and eighty Italian miles.
Measures executed more and more carefully weremade in many countries: by Snell in Holland; by Norwood between London and Yorkin England; by Picardunder the auspices of the French Academy of SciencesinFrance. Picard's plan was to connect two points by a series of trianglesandthus ascertaining the length of the arc of a meridian intercepted between themto compare it with the difference of latitudes found from celestialobservations. The stations were Malvoisine in the vicinity of Parisand Sourdonnear Amiens. The difference of latitudes was determined by observing thezenith-distancesof Cassiopeia.There are two points of interest connected with Picard's operation: it was thefirst in which instruments furnished with telescopes were employed; and itsresultas we shall shortly seewas to Newton the first confirmation of thetheory of universal gravitation.
At this time it had become clear frommechanical considerationsmore especially such as had been deduced
by Newtonthatsince the earth is a rotating bodyher form cannot be that ofa perfect spherebut must be that of a spheroidoblate or flattened at thepoles. It would followfrom thisthat the length of a degree must be greaternear the poles than at the equator.
The French Academy resolved to extend Picard'soperationby prolonging the measures in each directionand making the resultthe basis of a more accurate map of France. Delayshowevertook placeand itwas not until 1718 that the measuresfrom Dunkirk on the north to the southernextremity of Francewere completed. A discussion arose as to the interpretationof these measuressome affirming that they indicated a prolateothers anoblate spheroid; the former figure may be popularly represented by a lemonthelatter by an orange. To settle thisthe French Governmentaided by theAcademysent out two expeditions to measure degrees of the meridian -- oneunder the equatorthe other as far north as possible; the former went to Peruthe latter to Swedish Lapland. Very great difficulties were encountered by bothparties. The Lapland commissionhowevercompleted its observations long beforethe Peruvianwhich consumed not less than nine years. The results of themeasures thus obtained confirmed the theoretical expectation of the oblate form.Since that time many extensive and exact repetitions of the observation havebeen madeamong which may be mentioned those of the English in England and inIndiaand particularly that of the French on the occasion of the introductionof the metric system of weights and measures. It was begun by Delambre andMechainfrom Dunkirk to Barcelonaand thence extendedby Biot and Aragotothe island of Formentera near Minorea. Its length was nearly twelve and a halfdegrees.
Besides this method of direct measurementthefigure of the earth may be determined from the observed number of oscillationsmade by a pendulum of invariable length in different latitudes. Thesethoughthey confirm the foregoing resultsgive a somewhat greater ellipticity to theearth than that found by the measurement of degrees. Pendulums vibrate moreslowly the nearer they are to the equator. It followsthereforethat they arethere farther from the centre of the earth.
From the most reliable measures that have beenmadethe dimensions of the earth may be thus stated:
Greater or equatorial diameter .............7925 miles.
Less or polar diameter......................7899 "
Difference or polar compression .............26 "
Such was the result of the discussionrespecting the figure and size of the earth. While it was yet undeterminedanother controversy arosefraught with even more serious consequences. This wasthe conflict respecting the earth's position with regard to the sun and theplanetary bodies.
Copernicusa Prussianabout the year 1507had completed a book "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies." Hehad journeyed to Italy in his youthhad devoted his attention to astronomyandhad taught mathematics at Rome. From a profound study of the Ptolemaic andPythagorean systemshe had come to a conclusion in favor of the lattertheobject of his book being to sustain it. Aware that his doctrines were totallyopposed to revealed truthand foreseeing that they would bring upon him thepunishments of the Churchbe expressed himself in a cautious and apologeticmannersaying that he had only taken the liberty of trying whetheron thesupposition of the earth's
motionit was possible to find better explanations than the ancient ones of therevolutions of the celestial orbs; that in doing this he had only taken theprivilege that had been allowed to othersof feigning what hypothesis theychose. The preface was addressed to Pope Paul III.
Full of misgivings as to what might be theresulthe refrained from publishing his book for thirty-six yearsthinkingthat "perhaps it might be better to follow the examples of the Pythagoreansand otherswho delivered their doctrine only by tradition and to friends."At the entreaty of Cardinal Schomberg he at length published it in 1543. A copyof it was brought to him on his death-bed. Its fate was such as he hadanticipated. The Inquisition condemned it as heretical. In their decreeprohibiting itthe Congregation of the Index denounced his system as "thatfalse Pythagorean doctrine utterly contrary to the Holy Scriptures."
Astronomers justly affirm that the book ofCopernicus"De Revolutionibus" changed the face of their science. Itincontestably established the heliocentric theory. It showed that the distanceof the fixed stars is infinitely greatand that the earth is a mere point inthe heavens. Anticipating NewtonCopernicus imputed gravity to the sunthemoonand heavenly bodiesbut he was led astray by assuming that the celestialmotions must be circular. Observations on the orbit of Marsand his differentdiameters at different timeshad led Copernicus to his theory.
In thus denouncing the Copernican system asbeing in contradiction to revelationthe ecclesiastical authorities weredoubtless deeply moved by inferential considerations. To dethrone the earth fromher central dominating positionto give her many equals and not a
few superiorsseemed to diminish her claims upon the Divine regard. If each ofthe countless myriads of stars was a sunsurrounded by revolving globespeopled with responsible beings like ourselvesif we had fallen so easily andhad been redeemed at so stupendous a price as the death of the Son of Godhowwas it with them? Of them were there none who had fallen or might fall like us?Wherethenfor them could a Savior be found?
During the year 1608 one LippersheyaHollanderdiscovered thatby looking through two glass lensescombined in acertain manner togetherdistant objects were magnified and rendered very plain.He had invented the telescope. In the following year Galileoa Florentinegreatly distinguished by his mathematical and scientific writingshearing ofthe circumstancebut without knowing the particulars of the constructioninvented a form of the instrument for himself. Improving it graduallyhesucceeded in making one that. could magnify thirty times. Examining the moonhefound that she had valleys like those of the earthand mountains castingshadows. It had been said in the old times that in the Pleiades there wereformerly seven starsbut a legend related that one of them had mysteriouslydisappeared. On turning his telescope toward themGalileo found that he couldeasily count not fewer than forty. In whatever direction he lookedbediscovered stars that were totally invisible to the naked eye.
On the night of January 71610he perceivedthree small stars in a straight lineadjacent to the planet Jupiteranda fewevenings latera fourth. He found that these were revolving in orbits round thebody of the planetandwith transportrecognized that they
presented a miniature representation of the Copernican system.
The announcement of these wonders at onceattracted universal attention. The spiritual authorities were not slow to detecttheir tendencyas endangering the doctrine that the universe was made for man.In the creation of myriads of starshitherto invisiblethere must surely havebeen some other motive than that of illuminating the nights for him.
It had been objected to the Copernican theorythatif the planets Mercury and Venus move round the sun in orbits interior tothat of the earththey ought to show phases like those of the moon; and that inthe case of Venuswhich is so brilliant and conspicuousthese phases should bevery obvious. Copernicus himself had admitted the force of the objectionandhad vainly tried to find an explanation. Galileoon turning his telescope tothe planetdiscovered that the expected phases actually exist; now she was acrescentthen half-moonthen gibbousthen full. Previously to Copernicusitwas supposed that the planets shine by their own lightbut the phases of Venusand Mars proved that their light is reflected. The Aristotelian notionthatcelestial differ from terrestrial bodies in being incorruptiblereceived a rudeshock from the discoveries of Galileothat there are mountains and valleys inthe moon like those of the earththat the sun is not perfectbut has spots onhis faceand that he turns on his axis instead of being in a state of majesticrest. The apparition of new stars had already thrown serious doubts on thistheory of incorruptibility.
These and many other beautiful telescopicdiscoveries tended to the establishment of the truth of the Copernican theoryand gave unbounded alarm to the
Church. By the low and ignorant ecclesiastics they were denounced as deceptionsor frauds. Some affirmed that the telescope might be relied on well enough forterrestrial objectsbut with the heavenly bodies it was altogether a differentaffair. Others declared that its invention was a mere application of Aristotle'sremark that stars could be seen in the daytime from the bottom of a deep well.Galileo was accused of impostureheresyblasphemyatheism. With a view ofdefending himselfhe addressed a letter to the Abbe Castellisuggesting thatthe Scriptures were never intended to be a scientific authoritybut only amoral guide. This made matters worse. He was summoned before the HolyInquisitionunder an accusation of having taught that the earth moves round thesuna doctrine "utterly contrary to the Scriptures." He was orderedto renounce that heresyon pain of being imprisoned. He was directed to desistfrom teaching and advocating the Copernican theoryand pledge himself that hewould neither publish nor defend it for the future. Knowing well that Truth hasno need of martyrsbe assented to the required recantationand gave thepromise demanded.
For sixteen years the Church had rest. But in1632 Galileo ventured on the publication of his work entitled "The Systemof the World" its object being the vindication of the Copernican doctrine.He was again summoned before the Inquisition at Romeaccused of having assertedthat the earth moves round the sun. He was declared to have brought upon himselfthe penalties of heresy. On his kneeswith his hand on the Biblehe wascompelled to abjure and curse the doctrine of the movement of the earth. What aspectacle! This venerable manthe most illustrious of his age
forced by the threat of death to deny facts which his judges as well as himselfknew to be true! He was then committed to prisontreated with remorselessseverity during the remaining ten years of his lifeand was denied burial inconsecrated ground. Must not that be false which requires for its support somuch impostureso much barbarity? The opinions thus defended by the Inquisitionare now objects of derision to the whole civilized world.
One of the greatest of modern mathematiciansreferring to this subjectsays that the point here contested was one which isfor mankind of the highest interestbecause of the rank it assigns to the globethat we inhabit. If the earth be immovable in the midst of the universeman hasa right to regard himself as the principal object of the care of Nature. But ifthe earth be only one of the planets revolving round the sunan insignificantbody in the solar systemshe will disappear entirely in the immensity of theheavensin which this systemvast as it may appear to usis nothing but aninsensible point.
The triumphant establishment of the Copernicandoctrine dates from the invention of the telescope. Soon there was not to befound in all Europe an astronomer who had not accepted the heliocentric theorywith its essential postulatethe double motion of the earth -- movement ofrotation on her axisand a movement of revolution round the sun. If additionalproof of the latter were neededit was furnished by Bradley's great discoveryof the aberration of the fixed starsan aberration depending partly on theprogressive motion of lightand partly on the revolution of the earth.Bradley's discovery ranked in importance with that of the precession of theequinoxes. Roemer's discovery of the progressive
motion of lightthough denounced by Fontenelle as a seductive errorand notadmitted by Cassiniat length forced its way to universal acceptance.
Next it was necessary to obtain correct ideasof the dimensions of the solar systemorputting the problem under a morelimited formto determine the distance of the earth from the sun.
In the time of Copernicus it was supposed thatthe sun's distance could not exceed five million milesand indeed there weremany who thought that estimate very extravagant. From a review of theobservations of Tycho BraheKeplerhoweverconcluded that the error wasactually in the opposite directionand that the estimate must be raised to atleast thirteen million. In 1670 Cassini showed that these numbers werealtogether inconsistent with the factsand gave as his conclusion eighty-fivemillion.
The transit of Venus over the face of the sunJune 31769had been foreseenand its great value in the solution of thisfundamental problem in astronomy appreciated. With commendable alacrity variousgovernments contributed their assistance in making observationsso that inEurope there were fifty stationsin Asia sixin America seventeen. It was forthis purpose that the English Government dispatched Captain Cook on hiscelebrated first voyage. He went to Otaheite. His voyage was crowned withsuccess. The sun rose without a cloudand the sky continued equally clearthroughout the day. The transit at Cook's station lasted from about half-pastnine in the morning until about half-past three in the afternoonand all theobservations were made in a satisfactory manner.
Buton the discussion of the observationsmade at the different stationsit was found that there was not
the accordance that could have been desired -- the result varying fromeighty-eight to one hundred and nine million. The celebrated mathematicianEncketherefore reviewed them in 1822-'24and came to the conclusion that thesun's horizontal parallaxthat isthe angle under which the semi-diameter ofthe earth is seen from the sunis 8 576/1000 seconds; this gave as the distance95274000 miles. Subsequently the observations were reconsidered by Hansenwhogave as their result 91659000 miles. Still laterLeverrier made it91759000. Airy and Stoneby another methodmade it 91400000; Stone aloneby a revision of the old observations91730000; and finallyFoucault andFizeaufrom physical experimentsdetermining the velocity of lightandtherefore in their nature altogether differing from transit observations91400000. Until the results of the transit of next year (1874) areascertainedit must therefore be admitted that the distance of the earth fromthe sun is somewhat less than ninety-two million miles.
This distance once determinedthe dimensionsof the solar system may be ascertained with ease and precision. It is enough tomention that the distance of Neptune from the sunthe most remote of theplanets at present knownis about thirty times that of the earth.
By the aid of these numbers we may begin togain a just appreciation of the doctrine of the human destiny of the universe --the doctrine that all things were made for man. Seen from the sunthe earthdwindles away to a mere specka mere dust-mote glistening in his beams. If thereader wishes a more precise valuationlet him hold a page of this book acouple of feet from his eye; then let him consider one of its dots or fullstops; that dot is several hundred times larger in surface than is the earth asseen from the sun!
Of what consequencethencan such an almostimperceptible particle be? One might think that it could be removed or evenannihilatedand yet never be missed. Of what consequence is one of those humanmonadsof whom more than a thousand millions swarm on the surface of this allbut invisible speckand of a million of whom scarcely one will leave a tracethat he has ever existed? Of what consequence is manhis pleasures or hispains?
Among the arguments brought forward againstthe Copernican system at the time of its promulgationwas one by the greatDanish astronomerTycho Braheoriginally urged by Aristarchus against thePythagorean systemto the effect thatifas was allegedthe earth movesround the sunthere ought to be a change of the direction in which the fixedstars appear. At one time we are nearer to a particular region of the heavens bya distance equal to the whole diameter of the earth's orbit than we were sixmonths previouslyand hence there ought to be a change in the relative positionof the stars; they should seem to separate as we approach themand to closetogether as we recede from them; orto use the astronomical expressionthesestars should have a yearly parallax.
The parallax of a star is the angle containedbetween two lines drawn from it -- one to the sunthe other to the earth.
At that timethe earth's distance from thesun was greatly under-estimated. Had it been knownas it is nowthat thatdistance exceeds ninety million milesor that the diameter of the orbit is morethan one hundred and eighty millionthat argument would doubtless have had verygreat weight.
In reply to Tychoit was said thatsince theparallax
of a body diminishes as its distance increasesa star may be so far off thatits parallax may be imperceptible. This answer proved to be correct. Thedetection of the parallax of the stars depended on the improvement ofinstruments for the measurement of angles.
The parallax of Centauria fine double star of the Southern Hemisphereat present considered to be thenearest of the fixed starswas first determined by Henderson and Maclear at theCape of Good Hope in 1832-'33. It is about nine-tenths of a second. Hence thisstar is almost two hundred and thirty thousand times as far from us as the sun.Seen from itif the sun were even large enough to fill the whole orbit of theearthor one hundred and eighty million miles in diameterhe would be a merepoint. With its companionit revolves round their common centre of gravity ineighty-one yearsand hence it would seem that their conjoint mass is less thanthat of the sun.
The star 61 Cygni is of the sixth magnitude.Its parallax was first found by Bessel in 1838and is about one-third of asecond. The distance from us isthereforemuch more than five hundred thousandtimes that of the sun. With its companionit revolves round their common centreof gravity in five hundred and twenty years. Their conjoint weight is aboutone-third that of the sun.
There is reason to believe that the great starSiriusthe brightest in the heavensis about six times as far off as Centauri.His probable diameter is twelve million milesand the light he emits twohundred times more brilliant than that of the sun. Yeteven through thetelescopehe has no measurable diameter; be looks merely like a very brightspark.
The starsthendiffer not merely in visiblemagnitude
but also in actual size. As the spectroscope showsthey differ greatly inchemical and physical constitution. That instrument is also revealing to us theduration of the life of a starthrough changes in the refrangibility of theemitted light. Thoughas we have seenthe nearest to us is at an enormous andall but immeasurable distancethis is but the first step -- there are othersthe rays of which have taken thousandsperhaps millionsof years to reach us!The limits of our own system are far beyond the range of our greatesttelescopes; whatthenshall we say of other systems beyond? Worlds arescattered like dust in the abysses in space.
Have these gigantic bodies -- myriads of whichare placed at so vast a distance that our unassisted eyes cannot perceive them-- have these no other purpose than that assigned by theologiansto give lightto us? Does not their enormous size demonstrate thatas they are centres offorceso they must be centres of motion -- suns for other systems of worlds?
While yet these facts were very imperfectlyknown -- indeedwere rather speculations than facts -- Giordano BrunoanItalianborn seven years after the death of Copernicuspublished a work on the"Infinity of the Universe and of Worlds;" he was also the author of"Evening Conversations on Ash-Wednesday" an apology for theCopernican systemand of "The One Sole Cause of Things." To these maybe added an allegory published in 1584"The Expulsion of the TriumphantBeast." He had also collectedfor the use of future astronomersall theobservations he could find respecting the new star that suddenly appeared inCassiopeiaA. D. 1572and increased in brilliancyuntil it surpassed all theother stars. It could be plainly seen in the daytime. On a suddenNovember11thit was as bright
as Venus at her brightest. In the following March it was of the first magnitude.It exhibited various hues of color in a few monthsand disappeared in March1574.
The star that suddenly appeared inSerpentariusin Kepler's time (1604)was at first brighter than Venus. Itlasted more than a yearandpassing through various tints of purpleyellowredbecame extinguished.
OriginallyBruno was intended for the Church.He had become a Dominicanbut was led into doubt by his meditations on thesubjects of transubstantiation and the immaculate conception. Not caring toconceal his opinionshe soon fell under the censure of the spiritualauthoritiesand found it necessary to seek refuge successively in SwitzerlandFranceEnglandGermany. The cold-scented sleuth-hounds of the Inquisitionfollowed his track remorselesslyand eventually hunted him back to Italy. Hewas arrested in Veniceand confined in the Piombi for six yearswithout booksor paperor friends.
In England he had given lectures on theplurality of worldsand in that country had writtenin Italianhis mostimportant works. It added not a little to the exasperation against himthat hewas perpetually declaiming against the insincerity; the imposturesof hispersecutors -- that wherever he went he found skepticism varnished over andconcealed by hypocrisy; and that it was not against the belief of menbutagainst their pretended beliefthat he was fighting; that he was strugglingwith an orthodoxy that had neither morality nor faith.
In his "Evening Conversations" hehad insisted that the Scriptures were never intended to teach sciencebutmorals only; and that they cannot be received as of
any authority on astronomical and physical subjects. Especially must we rejectthe view they reveal to us of the constitution of the worldthat the earth is aflat surfacesupported on pillars; that the sky is a firmament -- the floor ofheaven. On the contrarywe must believe that the universe is infiniteand thatit is filled with self-luminous and opaque worldsmany of them inhabited; thatthere is nothing above and around us but space and stars. His meditations onthese subjects had brought him to the conclusion that the views of Averroes arenot far from the truth -- that there is an Intellect which animates theuniverseand of this Intellect the visible world is only an emanation ormanifestationoriginated and sustained by force derived from itandwere thatforce withdrawnall things would disappear. This ever-presentall-pervadingIntellect is Godwho lives in all thingseven such as seem not to live; thatevery thing is ready to become organizedto burst into life. God istherefore"the One Sole Cause of Things" "the All in All."
Bruno may hence be considered amongphilosophical writers as intermediate between Averroes and Spinoza. The latterheld that God and the Universe are the samethat all events happen by animmutable law of Natureby an unconquerable necessity; that God is theUniverseproducing a series of necessary movements or actsin consequence ofintrinsicunchangeableand irresistible energy.
On the demand of the spiritual authoritiesBruno was removed from Venice to Romeand confined in the prison of theInquisitionaccused not only of being a hereticbut also a heresiarchwho hadwritten things unseemly concerning religion; the special charge against himbeing that he had taught the plurality of worldsa
doctrine repugnant to the whole tenor of Scripture and inimical to revealedreligionespecially as regards the plan of salvation. After an imprisonment oftwo years he was brought before his judgesdeclared guilty of the acts allegedexcommunicatedandon his nobly refusing to recantwas delivered over to thesecular authorities to be punished "as mercifully as possibleand withoutthe shedding of his blood" the horrible formula for burning a prisoner atthe stake. Knowing well that though his tormentors might destroy his bodyhisthoughts would still live among menhe said to his judges"Perhaps it iswith greater fear that you pass the sentence upon me than I receive it."The sentence was carried into effectand he was burnt at RomeFebruary 16thA. D. 1600.
No one can recall without sentiments of pitythe sufferings of those countless martyrswho first by one partyand then byanotherhave been brought for their religious opinions to the stake. But eachof these had in his supreme moment a powerful and unfailing support. The passagefrom this life to the nextthough through a hard trialwas the passage from atransient trouble to eternal happinessan escape from the cruelty of earth tothe charity of heaven. On his way through the dark valley the martyr believedthat there was an invisible hand that would lead hima friend that would guidehim all the more gently and firmly because of the terrors of the flames. ForBruno there was no such support. The philosophical opinionsfor the sake ofwhich he surrendered his lifecould give him no consolation. He must fight thelast fight alone. Is there not something very grand in the attitude of thissolitary mansomething which human nature cannot help admiringas he stands inthe gloomy hall before his inexorable
judges? No accuserno witnessno advocate is presentbut the familiars of theHoly Officeclad in blackare stealthily moving about. The tormentors and therack are in the vaults below. He is simply told that he has brought upon himselfstrong suspicions of heresysince he has said that there are other worlds thanours. He is asked if he will recant and abjure his error. He cannot and will notdeny what he knows to be trueand perhaps -- for he had often done so before --he tells his judges that theytooin their hearts are of the same belief. Whata contrast between this scene of manly honorof unshaken firmnessofinflexible adherence to the truthand that other scene which took place morethan fifteen centuries previously by the fireside in the hall of Caiaphas thehigh-priestwhen the cock crewand "the Lord turned and looked uponPeter" (Luke xxii. 61)! And yet it is upon Peter that the Church hasgrounded her right to act as she did to Bruno. But perhaps the day approacheswhen posterity will offer an expiation for this great ecclesiastical crimeanda statue of Bruno be unveiled under the dome of St. Peter's at Rome.
CONTROVERSY RESPECTING THE AGE OF THE EARTH.
Scriptural view that the Earthis only six thousand years oldand that it was made in a week. -- Patristicchronology founded on the ages of the patriarchs. -- Difficulties arising fromdifferent estimates in different versions of the Bible.
Legend of the Deluge. -- The repeopling. --The Tower of Babel; the confusion of tongues. -- The primitive language.
Discovery by Cassini of the oblateness of theplanet Jupiter. -- Discovery by Newton of the oblateness of the Earth. --Deduction that she has been modeled by mechanical causes. -- Confirmation ofthis by geological discoveries respecting aqueous rocks; corroboration byorganic remains. -- The necessity of admitting enormously long periods of time.-- Displacement of the doctrine of Creation by that of Evolution -- Discoveriesrespecting the Antiquity of Man.
The time-scale and space-scale of the worldare infinite. -- Moderation with which the discussion of the Age of the Worldhas been conducted.
THE true position of the earth in the universewas established only after a long and severe conflict. The Church used whateverpower she hadeven to the infliction of deathfor sustaining her ideas. But itwas in vain. The evidence in behalf of the Copernican theory becameirresistible. It was at length universally admitted that the sun is the centralthe ruling body of our system; the earth only oneand by no means the largestof a family of encircling planets. Taught by the issue of that disputewhen thequestion
of the age of the world presented itself for considerationthe Church did notexhibit the active resistance she had displayed on the former occasion. Forthough her traditions were again put in jeopardythey were notin herjudgmentso vitally assailed. To dethrone the Earth from her dominatingposition wasso the spiritual authorities declaredto undermine the veryfoundation of revealed truth; but discussions respecting the date of creationmight within certain limits be permitted. Those limits werehoweververyquickly overpassedand thus the controversy became as dangerous as the formerone had been.
It was not possible to adopt the advice givenby Plato in his "Timæus" when treating of this subject -- the originof the universe: "It is proper that both I who speak and you who judgeshould remember that we are but menand thereforereceiving the probablemythological traditionit is meet that we inquire no further into it."Since the time of St. Augustine the Scriptures had been made the great and finalauthority in all matters of scienceand theologians had deduced from themschemes of chronology and cosmogony which had proved to be stumbling-blocks tothe advance of real knowledge.
It is not necessary for us to do more than toallude to some of the leading features of these schemes; their peculiaritieswill be easily discerned with sufficient clearness. Thusfrom the six days ofcreation and the Sabbath-day of restsince we are told that a day is with theLord as a thousand yearsit was inferred that the duration of the world will bethrough six thousand years of sufferingand an additional thousandamillennium of rest. It was generally admitted that the earth was about fourthousand years old at the birth of Christ
butso careless had Europe been in the study of its annalsthat not Until A.D. 627 had it a proper chronology of its own. A Roman abbotDionysius Exiguusor Dennis the Lessthen fixed the vulgar eraand gave Europe its presentChristian chronology.
The method followed in obtaining the earliestchronological dates was by computationsmainly founded on the lives of thepatriarchs. Much difficulty was encountered in reconciling numericaldiscrepancies. Even ifas was taken for granted in those uncritical agesMoseswas the author of the books imputed to himdue weight was not given to the factthat he related eventsmany of which took place more than two thousand yearsbefore he was born. It scarcely seemed necessary to regard the Pentateuch as ofplenary inspirationsince no means had been provided to perpetuate itscorrectness. The different copies which had escaped the chances of time variedvery much; thus the Samaritan made thirteen hundred and seven years from theCreation to the Delugethe Hebrew sixteen hundred and fifty-sixthe Septuaginttwenty-two hundred and sixty-three. The Septuagint counted fifteen hundred yearsmore from the Creation to Abraham than the Hebrew. In generalhowevertherewas an inclination to the supposition that the Deluge took place about twothousand years after the Creationandafter another interval of two thousandyearsChrist was born. Persons who had given much attention to the subjectaffirmed that there were not less than one hundred and thirty-two differentopinions as to the year in which the Messiah appearedand hence they declaredthat it was inexpedient to press for acceptance the Scriptural numbers toocloselysince it was plainfrom the great differences in different copiesthat there had been no providential
intervention to perpetuate a correct readingnor was there any mark by whichmen could be guided to the only authentic version. Even those held in thehighest esteem contained undeniable errors. Thus the Septuagint made Methuselahlive until after the Deluge.
It was thought thatin the antediluvianworldthe year consisted of three hundred and sixty days. Some even affirmedthat this was the origin of the division of the circle into three hundred andsixty degrees. At the time of the Delugeso many theologians declaredthemotion of the sun was alteredand the year became five days and six hourslonger. There was a prevalent opinion that that stupendous event occurred onNovember 2din the year of the world 1656. Dr. Whistonhoweverdisposed togreater precisioninclined to postpone it to November 28th. Some thought thatthe rainbow was not seen until after the flood; othersapparently with betterreasoninferred that it was then first established as a sign. On coming forthfrom the arkmen received permission to use flesh as foodthe antediluvianshaving been herbivorous! It would seem that the Deluge had not occasioned anygreat geographical changesfor Noahrelying on his antediluvian knowledgeproceeded to divide the earth among his three sonsgiving to Japhet EuropetoShem Asiato Ham Africa. No provision was made for Americaas he did not knowof its existence. These patriarchsundeterred by the terrible solitudes towhich they were goingby the undrained swamps and untracked forestsjourneyedto their allotted possessionsand commenced the settlement of the continents.
In seventy years the Asiatic family hadincreased to several hundred. They had found their way to the plains ofMesopotamiaand therefor some motive that
we cannot divinebegan building a tower "whose top might reach toheaven." Eusebius informs us that the work continued for forty years. Theydid not abandon it until a miraculous confusion of their language took place anddispersed them all over the earth. St. Ambrose shows that this confusion couldnot have been brought about by men. Origen believes that not even the angelsaccomplished it.
The confusion of tongues has given rise tomany curious speculations among divines as to the primitive speech of man. Somehave thought that the language of Adam consisted altogether of nounsthat theywere monosyllablesand that the confusion was occasioned by the introduction ofpolysyllables. But these learned men must surely have overlooked the numerousconversations reported in Genesissuch as those between the Almighty and Adamthe serpent and Eveetc. In these all the various parts of speech occur. Therewashowevera coincidence of opinion that the primitive language was Hebrew.On the general principles of patristicismit was fitting that this should bethe case.
The Greek Fathers computed thatat the timeof the dispersionseventy-two nations were formedand in this conclusion St.Augustine coincides. But difficulties seem to have been recognized in thesecomputations; thus the learned Dr. Shuckfordwho has treated very elaboratelyon all the foregoing points in his excellent work "On the Sacred andProfane History of the World connected" demonstrates that there could nothave been more than twenty-one or twenty-two menwomenand childrenin eachof those kingdoms.
A very vital point in this system ofchronological computationbased upon the ages of the patriarchswas the greatlength of life to which those worthies attained.
It was generally supposed that before the Flood "there was a perpetualequinox" and no vicissitudes in Nature. After that event the standard oflife diminished one-halfand in the time of the Psalmist it had sunk to seventyyearsat which it still remains. Austerities of climate were affirmed to havearisen through the shifting of the earth's axis at the Floodand to this illeffect were added the noxious influences of that universal catastrophewhich"converting the surface of the earth into a vast swampgave rise tofermentations of the blood and a weakening of the fibres."
With a view of avoiding difficulties arisingfrom the extraordinary length of the patriarchal livescertain divinessuggested that the years spoken of by the sacred penman were not ordinary butlunar years. Thisthough it might bring the age of those venerable men withinthe recent term of lifeintroducedhoweveranother insuperable difficultysince it made them have children when only five or six years old.
Sacred scienceas interpreted by the Fathersof the Churchdemonstrated these facts: 1. That the date of Creation wascomparatively recentnot more than four or five thousand years before Christ;2. That the act of Creation occupied the space of six ordinary days; 3. That theDeluge was universaland that the animals which survived it were preserved inan ark; 4. That Adam was created perfect in morality and intelligencethat hefelland that his descendants have shared in his sin and his fall.
Of these points and others that might bementioned there were two on which ecclesiastical authority felt that it mustinsist. These were: 1. The recent date of Creation; forthe remoter that eventthe more urgent the necessity of vindicating the justice of Godwho apparently
had left the majority of our race to its fateand had reserved salvation forthe few who were living in the closing ages of the world; 2. The perfectcondition of Adam at his creationsince this was necessary to the theory of thefalland the plan of salvation.
Theological authorities were thereforeconstrained to look with disfavor on any attempt to carry back the origin of theearthto an epoch indefinitely remoteand on the Mohammedan theory of theevolution of man from lower formsor his gradual development to his presentcondition in the long lapse of time.
From the puerilitiesabsurditiesandcontradictions of the foregoing statementwe may gather how very unsatisfactorythis so-called sacred science was. And perhaps we may be brought to theconclusion to which Dr. Shuckfordabove quotedwas constrained to comeafterhis wearisome and unavailing attempt to coördinate its various parts: "Asto the Fathers of the first ages of the Churchthey were good menbut not menof universal learning."
Sacred cosmogony regards the formation andmodeling of the earth as the direct act of God ; it rejects the intervention ofsecondary causes in those events.
Scientific cosmogony dates from the telescopicdiscovery made by Cassini -- an Italian astronomerunder whose care Louis XIV.placed the Observatory of Paris -- that the planet Jupiter is not a spherebutan oblate spheroidflattened at the poles. Mechanical philosophy demonstratedthat such a figure is the necessary result of the rotation of a yielding massand that the more rapid the rotation the greater the flatteningorwhat comesto the same thingthe greater the equatorial bulging must be.
From considerations -- purely of a mechanicalkind -- Newton had foreseen that such likewisethough to a less strikingextentmust be the figure of the earth. To the protuberant mass is due theprecession of the equinoxeswhich requires twenty-five thousand eight hundredand sixty-eight years for its completionand also the nutation of the earth'saxisdiscovered by Bradley. We have already had occasion to remark that theearth's equatorial diameter exceeds the polar by about twenty-six miles.
Two facts are revealed by the oblateness ofthe earth: 1. That she has formerly been in a yielding or plastic condition; 2.That she has been modeled by a mechanical and therefore a secondary cause.
But this influence of mechanical causes ismanifested not only in the exterior configuration of the globe of the earth as aspheroid of revolutionit also plainly appears on an examination of thearrangement of her substance.
If we consider the aqueous rockstheiraggregate is many miles in thickness; yet they undeniably have been of slowdeposit. The material of which they consist has been obtained by thedisintegration of ancient lands; it has found its way into the water-coursesand by them been distributed anew. Effects of this kindtaking place before oureyesrequire a very considerable lapse of time to produce a well-marked result-- a water deposit may in this manner measure in thickness a few inches in acentury -- whatthenshall we say as to the time consumed in the formation ofdeposits of many thousand yards?
The position of the coast-line of Egypt hasbeen known for much more than two thousand years. In that time it has madebyreason of the detritus brought
down by the Nilea distinctly-marked encroachment on the Mediterranean. But allLower Egypt has had a similar origin. The coast-line near the mouth of theMississippi has been well known for three hundred yearsand during that timehas scarcely made a perceptible advance on the Gulf of Mexico; but there was atime when the delta of that river was at St. Louismore than seven hundredmiles from its present position. In Egypt and in America -- in factin allcountries -- the rivers have been inch by inch prolonging the land into the sea;the slowness of their work and the vastness of its extent satisfy us that wemust concede for the operation enormous periods of time.
To the same conclusion we are brought if weconsider the filling of lakesthe deposit of travertinesthe denudation ofhillsthe cutting action of the sea on its shoresthe undermining of cliffsthe weathering of rocks by atmospheric water and carbonic acid.
Sedimentary strata must have been originallydeposited in planes nearly horizontal. Vast numbers of them have been forcedeither by paroxysms at intervals or by gradual movementinto all manner ofangular inclinations. Whatever explanations we may offer of these innumerableand immense tilts and fracturesthey would seem to demand for their completionan inconceivable length of time.
The coal-bearing strata in Walesby theirgradual submergencehave attained a thickness of 12000 feet; in Nova Scotia of14570 feet. So slow and so steady was this submergencethat erect trees standone above another on successive levels; seventeen such repetitions may becounted in a thickness of 4515 feet. The age of the trees is proved by theirsizesome being four feet in diameter. Round themas they gradually went
down with the subsiding soilcalamites grewat one level after another. In theSydney coal-field fifty-nine fossil forests occur in superposition.
Marine shellsfound on mountain-tops far inthe interior of continentswere regarded by theological writers as anindisputable illustration of the Deluge. But whenas geological studies becamemore exactit was proved that in the crust of the earth vast fresh-waterformations are repeatedly intercalated with vast marine oneslike the leaves ofa bookit became evident that no single cataclysm was sufficient to account forsuch results; that the same regionthrough gradual variations of its level andchanges in its topographical surroundingshad sometimes been dry landsometimes covered with fresh and sometimes with sea water. It became evidentalso thatfor the completion of these changestens of thousands of years wererequired.
To this evidence of a remote origin of theearthderived from the vast superficial extentthe enormous thicknessand thevaried characters of its stratawas added an imposing body of proof dependingon its fossil remains. The relative ages of formations having been ascertainedit was shown that there has been an advancing physiological progression oforganic formsboth vegetable and animalfrom the oldest to the most recent;that those which inhabit the surface in our times are but an insignificantfraction of the prodigious multitude that have inhabited it heretofore; that foreach species now living there are thousands that have become extinct. Thoughspecial formations are so strikingly characterized by some predominating type oflife as to justify such expressions as the age of mollusksthe age of reptilesthe age of mammalsthe introduction of the new-comers did not take placeabruptly.
as by sudden creation. They gradually emerged in an antecedent agereachedtheir culmination in the one which they characterizeand then gradually diedout in a succeeding. There is no such thing as a sudden creationa suddenstrange appearance -- but there is a slow metamorphosisa slow development froma preëxisting form. Here again we encounter the necessity of admitting for suchresults long periods of time. Within the range of history no well-markedinstance of such development has been witnessedand we speak with hesitation ofdoubtful instances of extinction. Yet in geological times myriads of evolutionsand extinctions have occurred.
Since thuswithin the experience of mannocase of metamorphosis or development has been observedsome have been disposedto deny its possibility altogetheraffirming that all the different specieshave come into existence by separate creative acts. But surely it is lessunphilosophical to suppose that each species has been evolved from a predecessorby a modification of its partsthan that it has suddenly started into existenceout of nothing. Nor is there much weight in the remark that no man has everwitnessed such a transformation taking place. Let it be remembered that no manhas ever witnessed an act of creationthe sudden appearance of an organic formwithout any progenitor.
Abruptarbitrarydisconnected creative actsmay serve to illustrate the Divine power; but that continuous unbroken chain oforganisms which extends from palæozoic formations to the formations of recenttimesa chain in which each link hangs on a preceding and sustains a succeedingonedemonstrates to us not only that the production of animated beings isgoverned by lawbut that it is by law that has undergone no change.
In its operationthrough myriads of agesthere has been no variationnosuspension.
The foregoing paragraphs may serve to indicatethe character of a portion of the evidence with which we must deal inconsidering the problem of the age of the earth. Through the unintermittinglabors of geologistsso immense a mass has been accumulatedthat many volumeswould be required to contain the details. It is drawn from the phenomenapresented by all kinds of rocksaqueousigneousmetamorphic. Of aqueous rocksit investigates the thicknessthe inclined positionsand how they restunconformably on one another; how those that are of fresh-water origin areintercalated with those that are marine; how vast masses of material have beenremoved by slow-acting causes of denudationand extensive geographical surfaceshave been remodeled; how continents have undergone movements of elevation anddepressiontheir shores sunk under the oceanor sea-beaches and sea-cliffscarried far into the interior. It considers the zoological and botanical factsthe fauna and flora of the successive agesand how in an orderly manner thechain of organic formsplantsand animalshas been extendedfrom its dim anddoubtful beginnings to our own times. From facts presented by the deposits ofcoal-coal whichin all its varietieshas originated from the decay of plants-- it not only demon strates the changes that have taken place in the earth'satmospherebut also universal changes of climate. From other facts it provesthat there have been oscillations of temperature. periods in which the meanheat has risenand periods in which the polar ices and snows have covered largeportions of the existing continents -- glacial periodsas they are termed.
One school of geologistsresting its argumenton
very imposing evidenceteaches that the whole mass of the earthfrom being ina moltenor perhaps a vaporous conditionhas cooled by radiation in the lapseof millions of agesuntil it has reached its present equilibrium oftemperature. Astronomical observations give great weight to this interpretationespecially so far as the planetary bodies of the solar system are concerned. Itis also supported by such facts as the small mean density of the earththeincreasing temperature at increasing depthsthe phenomena of volcanoes andinjected veinsand those of igneous and metamorphic rocks. To satisfy thephysical changes which this school of geologists contemplatesmyriads ofcenturies are required.
Butwith the views that the adoption of theCopernican system has given usit is plain that we cannot consider the originand biography of the earth in an isolated way; we must include with her all theother members of the system or family to which she belongs. Naymorewe cannotrestrict ourselves to the solar system; we must embrace in our discussions thestarry worlds. Andsince we have become familiarized with their almostimmeasurable distances from one anotherwe are prepared to accept for theirorigin an immeasurably remote time. There are stars so far off that their lightfast as it travelshas taken thousands of years to reach usand hence theymust have been in existence many thousands of years ago.
Geologists having unanimously agreed -- forperhaps there is not a single dissenting voice -- that the chronology of theearth must be greatly extendedattempts have been made to give precision to it.Some of these have been based on astronomicalsome on physical principles. Thuscalculations founded on the known changes of the
eccentricity of the earth's orbitwith a view of determining the lapse of timesince the beginning of the last glacial periodhave given two hundred and fortythousand years. Though the general postulate of the immensity of geologicaltimes may be concededsuch calculations are on too uncertain a theoreticalbasis to furnish incontestable results.
Butconsidering the whole subject from thepresent scientific stand-pointit is very clear that the views presented bytheological writersas derived from the Mosaic recordcannot be admitted.Attempts have been repeatedly made to reconcile the revealed with the discoveredfactsbut they have proved to be unsatisfactory. The Mosaic time is too shortthe order of creation incorrectthe divine interventions too anthropomorphic;andthough the presentment of the subject is in harmony with the ideas that menhave entertainedwhen first their minds were turned to the acquisition ofnatural knowledgeit is not in accordance with their present conceptions of theinsignificance of the earth and the grandeur of the universe.
Among late geological discoveries is one ofspecial interest; it is the detection of human remains and human works informations whichthough geologically recentare historically very remote.
The fossil remains of menwith rudeimplements of rough or chipped flintof polished stoneof boneof bronzearefound in Europe in cavesin driftsin peat-beds. They indicate a savage lifespent in hunting and fishing. Recent researches give reason to believe thatunder low and base gradesthe existence of man can be traced back into thetertiary times. He was contemporary with the southern elephantthe rhinocerosleptorhinus
the great hippopotamusperhaps even in the miocene contemporary with themastodon.
At the close of the Tertiary periodfromcauses not yet determinedthe Northern Hemisphere underwent a great depressionof temperature. From a torrid it passed to a glacial condition. After a periodof prodigious lengththe temperature again roseand the glaciers that had soextensively covered the surface receded. Once more there was a decline in theheatand the glaciers again advancedbut this time not so far as formerly.This ushered in the Quaternary periodduring which very slowly the temperaturecame to its present degree. The water deposits that were being made requiredthousands of centuries for their completion. At the beginning of the Quaternaryperiod there were alive the cave-bearthe cave-lionthe amphibioushippopotamusthe rhinoceros with chambered nostrilsthe mammoth. In factthemammoth swarmed. He delighted in a boreal climate. By degrees the reindeerthehorsethe oxthe bisonmultipliedand disputed with him his food. Partly forthis reasonand partly because of the increasing heathe became extinct. Frommiddle Europealsothe reindeer retired. His departure marks the end of theQuaternary period.
Since the advent of man on the earthwe havethereforeto deal with periods of incalculable length. Vast changes in theclimate and fauna were produced by the slow operation of causes such as are inaction at the present day. Figures cannot enable us to appreciate these enormouslapses of time.
It seems to be satisfactorily establishedthat a race allied to the Basques may be traced back to the Neolithic age. Atthat time the British Islands were undergoing a change of levellike that atpresent occurring
in the Scandinavian Peninsula. Scotland was risingEngland was sinking. In thePleistocene age there existed in Central Europe a rude race of hunters andfishers closely allied to the Esquimaux.
In the old glacial drift of Scotland therelics of man are found along with those of the fossil elephant. This carries usback to that time above referred towhen a large portion of Europe was coveredwith icewhich had edged down from the polar regions to southerly latitudesandas glaciersdescended from the summits of the mountain-chains into theplains. Countless species of animals perished in this cataclysm of ice and snowbut man survived.
In his primitive savage conditionliving forthe most part on fruitsrootsshell-fishman was in possession of a factwhich was certain eventually to insure his civilization. He knew how to make afire. In peat-bedsunder the remains of trees that in those localities havelong ago become extincthis relics are still foundthe implements thataccompany him indicating a distinct chronological order. Near the surface arethose of bronzelower down those of bone or hornstill lower those of polishedstoneand beneath all those of chipped or rough stone. The date of the originof some of these beds cannot be estimated at less than forty or fifty thousandyears.
The caves that have been examined in Franceand elsewhere have furnished for the Stone age axeskniveslance and arrowpointsscrapershammers. The change from what may be termed the chipped to thepolished stone period is very gradual. It coincides with the domestication ofthe dogan epoch in hunting-life. It embraces thousands of centuries. Theappearance of arrow-heads indicates the invention of the bowand the
rise of man from a defensive to an offensive mode of life. The introduction ofbarbed arrows shows how inventive talent was displaying itself; bone and horntipsthat the huntsman was including smaller animalsand perhaps birdsin hischase; bone whistleshis companionship with other huntsmen or with his dog. Thescraping-knives of flint indicate the use of skin for clothingand rude bodkinsand needles its manufacture. Shells perforated for bracelets and necklaces provehow soon a taste for personal adornment was acquired; the implements necessaryfor the preparation of pigments suggest the painting of the bodyand perhapstattooing; and bâtons of rank bear witness to the beginning of a socialorganization.
With the utmost interest we look upon thefirst germs of art among these primitive men. They have left its rude sketcheson pieces of ivory and flakes of boneand carvingsof the animals contemporarywith them. In these prehistoric delineationssometimes not without spiritwehave mammothscombats of reindeer. One presents us with a man harpooning afishanother a hunting-scene of naked men armed with the dart. Man is the onlyanimal who has the propensity of depicting external formsand of availinghimself of the use of fire.
Shell-moundsconsisting of bones and shellssome of which may be justly described as of vast extentand of a date anteriorto the Bronze ageand full of stone implementsbear in all their partsindications of the use of fire. These are often adjacent to the existing coastssometimeshoweverthey are far inlandin certain instances as far as fiftymiles. Their contents and position indicate for them a date posterior to that ofthe great extinct mammalsbut prior to the domesticated.
Some of theseit is saidcannot be less than one hundred thousand years old.
The lake-dwellings in Switzerland -- hutsbuilt on piles or logswattled with boughs -- wereas may be inferred from theaccompanying implementsbegun in the Stone ageand continued into that ofBronze. In the latter period the evidences become numerous of the adoption of anagricultural life.
It must not be supposed that the periods intowhich geologists have found it convenient to divide the progress of man incivilization are abrupt epochswhich hold good simultaneously for the wholehuman race. Thus the wandering Indians of America are only at the present momentemerging from the Stone age. They are still to be seen in many places armed witharrowstipped with flakes of flint. It is but as yesterday that some haveobtainedfrom the white manironfire-armsand the horse.
So far as investigations have gonetheyindisputably refer the existence of man to a date remote from us by manyhundreds of thousands of years. It must be borne in mind that theseinvestigations are quite recentand confined to a very limited geographicalspace. No researches have yet been made in those regions which might reasonablybe regarded as the primitive habitat of man.
We are thus carried back immeasurably beyondthe six thousand years of Patristic chronology. It is difficult to assign ashorter date for the last glaciation of Europe than a quarter of a million ofyearsand human existence antedates that. But not only is it this grand factthat confronts uswe have to admit also a primitive animalized stateand aslowa gradual development. But this forlornthis savage condition of humanity
is in strong contrast to the paradisiacal happiness of the garden of Edenandwhat is far in ore seriousit is inconsistent with the theory of the Fall.
I have been induced to place the subject ofthis chapter out of its proper chronological orderfor the sake of presentingwhat I had to say respecting the nature of the world more completely by itself.The discussions that arose as to the age of the earth were long after theconflict as to the criterion of truth -- that isafter the Reformation; indeedthey were substantially included in the present century. They have beenconducted with so much moderation as to justify the term I have used in thetitle of this chapter"Controversy" rather than"Conflict." Geology has not had to encounter the vindictive oppositionwith which astronomy was assailedandthoughon her partshe has insisted ona concession of great antiquity for the earthshe has herself pointed out theunreliability of all numerical estimates thus far offered. The attentive readerof this chapter cannot have failed to observe inconsistencies in the numbersquoted. Though wanting the merit of exactnessthose numbershoweverjustifythe claim of vast antiquityand draw us to the conclusion that the time-scaleof the world answers to the space-scale in magnitude.
CONFLICT RESPECTING THE CRITERION OF TRUTH.
Ancient philosophy declaresthat man has no means of ascertaining the truth.
Differences of belief arise among the earlyChristians -- An ineffectual attempt is made to remedy them by Councils. --Miracle and ordeal proof introduced.
The papacy resorts to auricular confession andthe Inquisition. -- It perpetrates frightful atrocities for the suppression ofdifferences of opinion.
Effect of the discovery of the Pandects ofJustinian and development of the canon law on the nature of evidence. -- Itbecomes more scientific.
The Reformation establishes the rights ofindividual reason. -- Catholicism asserts that the criterion of truth is in theChurch. It restrains the reading of books by the Index Expurgatoriusandcombats dissent by such means as the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve.
Examination of the authenticity of thePentateuch as the Protestant criterion. -- Spurious character of those books.
For Science the criterion of truth is to befound in the revelations of Nature: for the Protestantit is in the Scriptures;for the Catholicin an infallible Pope.
"WHAT is truth?" was the passionatedemand of a Roman procurator on one of the most momentous occasions in history.And the Divine Person who stood before himto whom the interrogation wasaddressedmade no reply -- unlessindeedsilence contained the reply.
Often and vainly had that demand been madebefore
-- often and vainly has it been made since. No one has yet given a satisfactoryanswer.
Whenat the dawn of science in Greecetheancient religion was disappearing like a mist at sunrisethe pious andthoughtful men of that country were thrown into a condition of intellectualdespair. Anaxagoras plaintively exclaims"Nothing can be knownnothingcan be learnednothing can be certainsense is limitedintellect is weaklife is short." Xenophanes tells us that it is impossible for us to becertain even when we utter the truth. Parmenides declares that the veryconstitution of man prevents him from ascertaining absolute truth. Empedoclesaffirms that all philosophical and religious systems must be unreliablebecausewe have no criterion by which to test them. Democritus asserts that even thingsthat are true cannot impart certainty to us; that the final result of humaninquiry is the discovery that man is incapable of absolute knowledge; thatevenif the truth be in his possessionhe cannot be certain of it. Pyrrho bids usreflect on the necessity of suspending our judgment of thingssince we have nocriterion of truth; so deep a distrust did he impart to his followersthat theywere in the habit of saying"We assert nothing; nonot even that weassert nothing." Epicurus taught his disciples that truth can never bedetermined by reason. Arcesilausdenying both intellectual and sensuousknowledgepublicly avowed that he knew nothingnot even his own ignorance! Thegeneral conclusion to which Greek philosophy came was this -- thatin view ofthe contradiction of the evidence of the senseswe cannot distinguish the truefrom the false; and such is the imperfection of reasonthat we cannot affirmthe correctness of any philosophical deduction.
It might be supposed that a revelation fromGod to man would come with such force and clearness as to settle alluncertainties and overwhelm all opposition. A Greek philosopherless despairingthan othershad ventured to affirm that the coexistence of two forms of faithboth claiming to be revealed by the omnipotent Godproves that neither of themis true. But let us remember that it is difficult for men to come to thesameconclusion as regards even material and visible thingsunless they stand at thesame point of view. If discord and distrust were the condition of philosophythree hundred years before the birth of Christdiscord and distrust were thecondition of religion three hundred years after his death. This is what Hilarythe Bishop of Poictiersin his well-known passage written about the time of theNicene Councilsays:
"It is a thing equally deplorable anddangerous that there areas many creeds as opinions among menas manydoctrines as inclinationsand as many sources of blasphemy as there are faultsamong usbecause we make creeds arbitrarily and explain them as arbitrarily.Every yearnayevery moonwe make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries;we repent of what we have done; we defend those who repent; we anathematizethose whom we defend; we condemn either the doctrines of others in ourselvesorour own in that of others; andreciprocally tearing each other to pieceswehave been the cause of each other's ruin."
These are not mere words; but the import ofthis self-accusation can be realized fully only by such as are familiar with theecclesiastical history of those times. As soon as the first fervor ofChristianity as a system of benevolence had declineddissensions appeared.Ecclesiastical historians assert that "as early as the second
century began the contest between faith and reasonreligion and philosophypiety and genius." To compose these dissensionsto obtain someauthoritative expressionsome criterion of truthassemblies for consultationwere resorted towhich eventually took the form of councils. For a long timethey had nothing more than an advisory authority; butwhenin the fourthcenturyChristianity had attained to imperial ruletheir dictates becamecompulsorybeing enforced by the civil power. By this the whole face of theChurch was changed. OEcumenical councils -- parliaments of Christianity --consisting of delegates from all the churches in the worldwere summoned by theauthority of the emperor; he presided either personally or nominally in them --composed all differencesand wasin factthe Pope of Christendom. Mosheimthe historianto whom I have more particularly referred abovespeaking ofthese timesremarks that "there was nothing to exclude the ignorant fromecclesiastical preferment; the savage and illiterate partywho looked on allkinds of learningparticularly philosophyas pernicious to pietywasincreasing; " andaccordingly"the disputes carried on in theCouncil of Nicea offered a remarkable example of the greatest ignorance andutter confusion of ideasparticularly in the language and explanations of thosewho approved of the decisions of that council." Vast as its influence hasbeen"the ancient critics are neither agreed concerning the time nor placein which it was assembledthe number of those who sat in itnor the bishop whopresided. No authentic acts of its famous sentence have been committed towritingorat leastnone have been transmitted to our times." The Churchhad now become whatin the language of modern politicianswould be called"a confederated
republic." The will of the council was determined by a majority voteandto secure thatall manner of intrigues and impositions were resorted to; theinfluence of court femalesbriberyand violencewere not spared. The Councilof Nicea had scarcely adjourned-- when it was plain to all impartial men thatas a method of establishing a criterion of truth in religious matterssuchcouncils were a total failure. The minority had no rights which the majorityneed respect. The protest of many good menthat a mere majority vote given bydelegateswhose right to vote had never been examined and authorizedcould notbe received as ascertaining absolute truthwas passed over with contemptandthe consequence wasthat council was assembled against counciland theirjarring and contradictory decrees spread perplexity and confusion throughout theChristian world. In the fourth century alone there were thirteen councilsadverse to Ariusfifteen in his favorand seventeen for the semi-Arians -- inallforty-five. Minorities were perpetually attempting to use the weapon whichmajorities had abused.
The impartial ecclesiastical historian abovequotedmoreoversays that "two monstrous and calamitous errors wereadopted in this fourth century: 1. That it was an act of virtue to deceive andlie whenby that meansthe interests of the Church might be promoted. 2. Thaterrors in religionwhen maintained and adhered to after proper admonitionwerepunishable with civil penalties and corporal tortures."
Not without astonishment can we look back atwhatin those timeswere popularly regarded as criteria of truth. Doctrineswere considered as established by the number of martyrs who had professed themby miraclesby the confession of demonsof lunaticsor of persons
possessed of evil spirits: thusSt. Ambrosein his disputes with the Ariansproduced men possessed by devilswhoon the approach of the relics of certainmartyrsacknowledgedwith loud criesthat the Nicean doctrine of the threepersons of the Godhead was true. But the Arians charged him with suborning theseinfernal witnesses with a weighty bribe. Alreadyordeal tribunals were makingtheir appearance. During the following six centuries they were held as a finalresort for establishing guilt or innocenceunder the forms of trial by coldwaterby duelby the fireby the cross.
What an utter ignorance of the nature ofevidence and its laws have we here! An accused man sinks or swims when throwninto a pond of water; he is burnt or escapes unharmed when he holds a piece ofred-hot iron in his hand; a champion whom he has hired is vanquished orvanquishes in single fight; he can keep his arms outstretched like a crossorfails to do so longer than his accuserand his innocence or guilt of someimputed crime is established! Are these criteria of truth?
Is it surprising that all Europe was filledwith imposture miracles during those ages? -- miracles that are a disgrace tothe common-sense of man!
But the inevitable day came at length.Assertions and doctrines based upon such preposterous evidence were involved inthe discredit that fell upon the evidence itself. As the thirteenth century isapproachedwe find unbelief in all directions setting in. Firstit is plainlyseen among the monastic ordersthen it spreads rapidly among the common people.Bookssuch as "The Everlasting Gospel" appear among the former;sectssuch as the CatharistsWaldensesPetrobrussiansarise among thelatter. They agreed in this"that the public and established religion wasa motley system
of errors and superstitionsand that the dominion which the pope had usurpedover Christians was unlawful and tyrannical; that the claim put forth by Romethat the Bishop of Rome is the supreme lord of the universeand that neitherprinces nor bishopscivil governors nor ecclesiastical rulershave any lawfulpower in church or state but what they receive from himis utterly withoutfoundationand a usurpation of the rights of man."
To withstand this flood of impietythe papalgovernment established two institutions: 1. The Inquisition; 2. Auricularconfession -- the latter as a means of detectionthe former as a tribunal forpunishment.
In general termsthe commission of theInquisition wasto extirpate religious dissent by terrorismand surroundheresy with the most horrible associations; this necessarily implied the powerof determining what constitutes heresy. The criterion of truth was thus inpossession of this tribunalwhich was charged "to discover and bring tojudgment heretics lurking in townshousescellarswoodscavesandfields." With such savage alacrity did it carry out its object ofprotecting the interests of religionthat between 1481 and 1808 it had punishedthree hundred and forty thousand personsand of these nearly thirty-twothousand had been burnt! In its earlier dayswhen public opinion could find nomeans of protesting against its atrocities"it often put to deathwithoutappealon the very day that they were accusednoblesclerksmonkshermitsand lay persons of every rank." In whatever direction thoughtful menlookedthe air was full of fearful shadows. No one could indulge in freedom ofthought without expecting punishment. So dreadful were the proceedings of theInquisitionthat the exclamation of Pagliarici
was the exclamation of thousands: "It is hardly possible for a man to be aChristianand die in his bed."
The Inquisition destroyed the sectaries ofSouthern France in the thirteenth century. Its unscrupulous atrocitiesextirpated Protestantism in Italy and Spain. Nor did it confine itself toreligious affairs; it engaged in the suppression of political discontent.Nicolas Eymericwho was inquisitor-general of the kingdom of Aragon for nearlyfifty yearsand who died in 1399has left a frightful statement of its conductand appalling cruelties in his "Directorium Inquisitorum."
This disgrace of Christianityand indeed ofthe human racehad different constitutions in different countries. The papalInquisition continued the tyrannyand eventually superseded the old episcopalinquisitions. The authority of the bishops was unceremoniously put aside by theofficers of the pope.
By the action of the fourth Lateran CouncilA. D. 1215the power of the Inquisition was frightfully increasedthenecessity of private confession to a priest -- auricular confession -- being atthat time formally established. Thisso far as domestic life was concernedgave omnipresence and omniscience to the Inquisition. Not a man was safe. In thehands of the priestwhoat the confessionalcould extract or extort from themtheir most secret thoughtshis wife and his servants were turned into spies.Summoned before the dread tribunalhe was simply informed that he lay understrong suspicions of heresy. No accuser was named; but the thumb-screwthestretching-ropethe boot and wedgeor other enginery of torturesoon suppliedthat defectandinnocent or guiltyhe accused himself!
Notwithstanding all this powertheInquisition failed of its purpose. When the heretic could no longer confront
ithe evaded it. A dismal disbelief stealthily pervaded all Europe-- a denialof Providenceof the immortality of the soulof human free-willand that mancan possibly resist the absolute necessitythe destiny which envelops him.Ideas such as these were cherished in silence by multitudes of persons driven tothem by the tyrannical acts of ecclesiasticism. In spite of persecutiontheWaldenses still survived to propagate their declaration that the Roman Churchsince Constantinehad degenerated from its purity and sanctity; to protestagainst the sale of indulgenceswhich they said had nearly abolished prayerfastingalms; to affirm that it was utterly useless to pray for the souls ofthe deadsince they must already have gone either to heaven or hell. Though itwas generally believed that philosophy or science was pernicious to theinterests of Christianity or true pietythe Mohammedan literature thenprevailing in Spain was making converts among all classes of society. We seevery plainly its influence in many of the sects that then arose; thus"theBrethren and Sisters of the Free. Spirit" held that "the universe cameby emanation from Godand would finally return to him by absorption; thatrational souls are so many portions of the Supreme Deity; and that the universeconsidered as one great wholeis God." These are ideas that can only beentertained in an advanced intellectual condition. Of this sect it is said thatmany suffered burning with unclouded serenitywith triumphant feelings ofcheerfulness and joy. Their orthodox enemies accused them of gratifying theirpassions at midnight assemblages in darkened roomsto which both sexes in acondition of nudity repaired. A similar accusationas is well knownwasbrought against the primitive Christians by the fashionable society of Rome.
The influences of the Averroistic philosophywere apparent in many of these sects. That Mohammedan systemconsidered from aChristian point of viewled to the heretical belief that the end of theprecepts of Christianity is the union of the soul with the Supreme Being; thatGod and Nature have the same relations to each other as the soul and the body;that there is but one individual intelligence; and that one soul performs allthe spiritual and rational functions in all the human race. Whensubsequentlytoward the time of the Reformationthe Italian Averroists were required by theInquisition to give an account of themselvesthey attempted to show that thereis a wide distinction between philosophical and religious truth; that things maybe philosophically trueand yet theologically false -- an exculpatory devicecondemned at length by the Lateran Council in the time of Leo X.
Butin spite of auricular confessionand theInquisitionthese heretical tendencies survived. It has been truly said thatat the epoch of the Reformationthere lay concealedin many parts of Europepersons who entertained the most virulent enmity against Christianity. In thispernicious class were many Aristotelianssuch as Pomponatius; many philosophersand witssuch as BodinRabelaisMontaigne; many Italiansas Leo X.BemboBruno.
Miracle-evidence began to fall into discreditduring the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The sarcasms of the Hispano-Moorishphilosophers had forcibly drawn the attention of many of the more enlightenedecclesiastics to its illusory nature. The discovery of the Pandects ofJustinianat Amalfiin 1130doubtless exerted a very powerful influence inpromoting the study of Roman jurisprudenceand disseminating better
notions as to the character of legal or philosophical evidence. Hallam has castsome doubt on the well-known story of this discoverybut he admits that thecelebrated copy in the Laurentian libraryat Florenceis the only onecontaining the entire fifty books. Twenty years subsequentlythe monk Gratiancollected together the various papal edictsthe canons of councilsthedeclarations of the Fathers and Doctors of the Churchin a volume called"The Decretum" considered as the earliest authority in canon law. Inthe next century Gregory IX. published five books of Decretalsand BonifaceVIII. subsequently added a sixth. To these followed the ClementineConstitutionsa seventh book of Decretalsand "A Book ofInstitutes" published togetherby Gregory XIII.in 1580under the titleof "Corpus Juris Canonici." The canon law had gradually gainedenormous power through the control it had obtained over willsthe guardianshipof orphansmarriagesand divorces.
The rejection of miracle-evidenceand thesubstitution of legal evidence in its steadaccelerated the approach of theReformation. No longer was it possible to admit the requirement whichin formerdaysAnselmthe Archbishop of Canterburyin his treatise"Cur DeusHomo" had enforcedthat we must first believe without examinationandmay afterward endeavor to understand what we have thus believed. When Cajetansaid to Luther"Thou must believe that one single drop of Christ's bloodis sufficient to redeem the whole human raceand the remaining quantity thatwas shed in the garden and on the cross was left as a legacy to the popeto bea treasure from which indulgences were to be drawn" the soul of the sturdyGerman monk revolted against such a monstrous assertion
nor would he have believed it though a thousand miracles had been worked in itssupport. This shameful practice of selling indulgences for the commission of sinoriginated among the bishopswhowhen they had need of money for their privatepleasuresobtained it in that way. Abbots and monksto whom this gainfulcommerce was deniedraised funds by carrying about relics in solemn processionand charging a fee for touching them. The popesin their pecuniary straitsperceiving how lucrative the practice might becomedeprived the bishops of theright of making such salesand appropriated it to themselvesestablishingagencieschiefly among the mendicant ordersfor the traffic. Among theseorders there was a sharp competitioneach boasting of the superior value of itsindulgences through its greater influence at the court of heavenits familiarconnection with the Virgin Mary and the saints in glory. Even against Lutherhimselfwho had been an Augustinian monka calumny was circulated that he wasfirst alienated from the Church by a traffic of this kind having been conferredon the Dominicansinstead of on his own orderat the time when Leo X. wasraising funds by this means for building St. Peter'sat RomeA. D. 1517. andthere is reason to think that Leo himselfin the earlier stages of theReformationattached weight to that allegation.
Indulgences were thus the immediate incitingcause of the Reformationbut very soon there came into light the real principlethat was animating the controversy. It lay in the questionDoes the Bible oweits authenticity to the Church? or does the Church owe her authenticity to theBible? Where is the criterion of truth?
It is not necessary for me here to relate thewell
known particulars of that controversythe desolating wars and scenes of bloodto which it gave rise: how Luther posted on the door of the cathedral ofWittemberg ninety-five thesesand was summoned to Rome to answer for hisoffense; how he appealed from the popeill-informed at the timeto the popewhen he should have been better instructed; how he was condemned as a hereticand thereupon appealed to a general council; howthrough the disputes aboutpurgatorytransubstantiationauricular confessionabsolutionthe fundamentalidea which lay at the bottom of the whole movement came into reliefthe rightof individual judgment; how Luther was now excommunicatedA. D. 1520and indefiance burnt the bull of excommunication and the volumes of the canon lawwhich he denounced as aiming at the subversion of all civil governmentand theexaltation of the papacy; how by this skillful manoeuvre he brought over many ofthe German princes to his views; howsummoned before the Imperial Diet atWormshe refused to retractandwhile he was bidden in the castle ofWartburghis doctrines were spreadingand a reformation under Zwingli brokeout in Switzerland; how the principle of sectarian decomposition embedded in themovement gave rise to rivalries and dissensions between the Germans and theSwissand even divided the latter among themselves under the leadership ofZwingli and of Calvin; how the Conference of Marburgthe Diet of Spiresandthat at Augsburgfailed to compose the troublesand eventually the GermanReformation assumed a political organization at Smalcalde. The quarrels betweenthe Lutherans and the Calvinists gave hopes to Rome that she might recover herlosses.
Leo was not slow to discern that the LutheranReformation was something more serious than a squabble
among some monks about the profits of indulgence-salesand the papacy setitself seriously at work to overcome the revolters. It instigated the frightfulwars that for so many years desolated Europeand left animosities which neitherthe Treaty of Westphalianor the Council of Trent after eighteen years ofdebatecould compose. No one can read without a shudder the attempts that weremade to extend the Inquisition in foreign countries. All EuropeCatholic andProtestantwas horror-stricken at the Huguenot massacre of St. Bartholomew'sEve (A. D. 1572). For perfidy and atrocity it has no equal in the annals of theworld.
The desperate attempt in which the papacy hadbeen engaged to put down its opponents by instigating civil warsmassacresandassassinationsproved to be altogether abortive. Nor had the Council of Trentany better result. Ostensibly summoned to correctillustrateand fix withperspicacity the doctrine of the Churchto restore the vigor of its disciplineand to reform the lives of its ministersit was so manipulated that a largemajority of its members were Italiansand under the influence of the pope.Hence the Protestants could not possibly accept its decisions.
The issue of the Reformation was theacceptance by all the Protestant Churches of the dogma that the Bible is asufficient guide for every Christian man. Tradition was rejectedand the rightof private interpretation assured. It was thought that the criterion of truthhad at length been obtained.
The authority thus imputed to the Scriptureswas not restricted to matters of a purely religious or moral kind; it extendedover philosophical facts and to the interpretation of Nature. Many went as faras in the old times Epiphanius had done: he believed that the
Bible contained a complete system of mineralogy! The Reformers would tolerate noscience that was not in accordance with Genesis. Among them there were many whomaintained that religion and piety could never flourish unless separated fromlearning and science. The fatal maxim that the Bible contained the sum andsubstance of all knowledgeuseful or possible to man -- a maxim employed withsuch pernicious effect of old by Tertullian and by St. Augustineand which hadso often been enforced by papal authority -- was still strictly insisted upon.The leaders of the ReformationLuther and Melanchthonwere determined tobanish philosophy from the Church. Luther declared that the study of Aristotleis wholly useless; his vilification of that Greek philosopher knew no bounds. Heissays Luther"truly a devila horrid calumniatora wicked sycophanta prince of darknessa real Apollyona beasta most horrid impostor onmankindone in whom there is scarcely any philosophya public and professedliara goata complete epicurethis twice execrable Aristotle." Theschoolmen wereso Luther said"locustscaterpillarsfrogslice."He entertained an abhorrence for them. These opinionsthough not soemphatically expressedwere entertained by Calvin. So far as science isconcernednothing is owed to the Reformation. The Procrustean bed of thePentateuch was still before her.
In the annals of Christianity the mostill-omened day is that in which she separated herself from science. Shecompelled Origenat that time (A. D. 231) its chief representative andsupporter in the Churchto abandon his charge in Alexandriaand retire toCæsarea. In vain through many subsequent centuries did her leading men spendthemselves in -- as the phrase then
went -- "drawing forth the internal juice and marrow of the Scriptures forthe explaining of things." Universal history from the third to thesixteenth century shows with what result. The dark ages owe their darkness tothis fatal policy. Here and thereit is truethere were great mensuch asFrederick II. and Alphonso X.whostanding at a very elevated and generalpoint of viewhad detected the value of learning to civilizationandin themidst of the dreary prospect that ecclesiasticism had created around themhadrecognized that science alone can improve the social condition of man.
The infliction of the death-punishment fordifference of opinion was still resorted to. When Calvin caused Servetus to beburnt at Genevait was obvious to every one that the spirit of persecution wasunimpaired. The offense of that philosopher lay in his belief. This wasthatthe genuine doctrines of Christianity had been lost even before the time of theCouncil of Nicea; that the Holy Ghost animates the whole system of Naturelikea soul of the worldand thatwith the Christit will be absorbedat the endof all thingsinto the substance of the Deityfrom which they had emanated.For this he was roasted to death over a slow fire. Was there any distinctionbetween this Protestant auto-da-fe and the Catholic one of Vaniniwho was burntat Toulouseby the Inquisitionin 1629for his "Dialogues concerningNature?"
The invention of printingthe disseminationof bookshad introduced a class of dangers which the persecution of theInquisition could not reach. In 1559Pope Paul IV. instituted the Congregationof the Index Expurgatorius. "Its duty is to examine books and manuscriptsintended for publicationand to decide
whether the people may be permitted to read them; to correct those books ofwhich the errors are not numerousand which contain certain useful and salutarytruthsso as to bring them into harmony with the doctrines of the Church; tocondemn those of which the principles are heretical and pernicious; and to grantthe peculiar privilege of perusing heretical books to certain persons. Thiscongregationwhich is sometimes held in presence of the popebut generally inthe palace of the Cardinal-presidenthas a more extensive jurisdiction thanthat of the Inquisitionas it not only takes cognizance of those books thatcontain doctrines contrary to the Roman Catholic faithbut of those thatconcern the duties of moralitythe discipline of the Churchthe interests ofsociety. Its name is derived from the alphabetical tables or indexes ofheretical books and authors composed by its appointment."
The Index Expurgatorius of prohibited books atfirst indicated those works which it was unlawful to read; buton this beingfound insufficientwhatever was not permitted was prohibited -- an audaciousattempt to prevent all knowledgeexcept such as suited the purposes of theChurchfrom reaching the people.
The two rival divisions of the ChristianChurch -- Protestant and Catholic -- were thus in accord on one point: totolerate no science except such as they considered to be agreeable to theScriptures. The Catholicbeing in possession of centralized powercould makeits decisions respected wherever its sway was acknowledgedand enforce themonitions of the Index Expurgatorius; the Protestantwhose influence wasdiffused among many foci in different nationscould not act in such a directand resolute manner. Its mode of procedure wasby raising a theological odiumagainst an
offenderto put him under a social ban -- a course perhaps not less effectualthan the other.
As we have seen in former chaptersanantagonism between religion and science had existed from the earliest days ofChristianity. On every occasion permitting its display it may be detectedthrough successive centuries. We witness it in the downfall of the AlexandrianMuseumin the cases of Erigena and Wiclifin the contemptuous rejection by theheretics of the thirteenth century of the Scriptural account of the Creation;but it was not until the epoch of CopernicusKeplerand Galileothat theefforts of Science to burst from the thraldom in which she was fettered becameuncontrollable. In all countries the political power of the Church had greatlydeclined; her leading men perceived that the cloudy foundation on which she hadstood was dissolving away. Repressive measures against her antagonistsin oldtimes resorted to with effectcould be no longer advantageously employed. Toher interests the burning of a philosopher here and there did more harm thangood. In her great conflict with astronomya conflict in which Galileo standsas the central figureshe received an utter overthrow; andas we have seenwhen the immortal work of Newton was printedshe could offer no resistancethough Leibnitz affirmedin the face of Europethat "Newton had robbedthe Deity of some of his most excellent attributesand had sapped thefoundation of natural religion."
From the time of Newton to our own timethedivergence of science from the dogmas of the Church has continually increased.The Church declared that the earth is the central and most important body in theuniverse; that the sun and moon and stars are tributary to it. On these pointsshe was worsted by astronomy.
She affirmed that a universal deluge had covered the earth; that the onlysurviving animals were such as had been saved in an ark. In this her error wasestablished by geology. She taught that there was a first manwhosome six oreight thousand years agowas suddenly created or called into existence in acondition of physical and moral perfectionand from that condition he fell. Butanthropology has shown that human beings existed far back in geological timeand in a savage state but little better than that of the brute.
Many good and well-meaning men have attemptedto reconcile the statements of Genesis with the discoveries of sciencebut itis in vain. The divergence has increased so muchthat it has become an absoluteopposition. One of the antagonists must give way.
May we notthenbe permitted to examine theauthenticity of this bookwhichsince the second centuryhas been put forthas the criterion of scientific truth? To maintain itself in a position soexaltedit must challenge human criticism.
In the early Christian agesmany of the mosteminent Fathers of the Church had serious doubts respecting the authorship ofthe entire Pentateuch. I have not spacein the limited compass of these pagesto present in detail the facts and arguments that were then and have since beenadduced. The literature of the subject is now very extensive. I mayhoweverrefer the reader to the work of the pious and learned Dean Prideauxon"The Old and New Testament connected" a work which is one of theliterary ornaments of the last century. He will also find the subject morerecently and exhaustively discussed by Bishop Colenso. The following paragraphswill convey a sufficiently distinct impression of the present state of thecontroversy:
The Pentateuch is affirmed to have beenwritten by Mosesunder the influence of divine inspiration. Considered thusasa record vouchsafed and dictated by the Almightyit commands not onlyscientific but universal consent.
But herein the first placeit may bedemandedWho or what is it that has put forth this great claim in its behalf?
Not the work itself. It nowhere claims theauthorship of one manor makes the impious declaration that it is the writingof Almighty God.
Not until after the second century was thereany such extravagant demand on human credulity. It originatednot among thehigher ranks of Christian philosophersbut among the more fervid Fathers of theChurchwhose own writings prove them to have been unlearned and uncriticalpersons.
Every agefrom the second century to ourtimeshas offered men of great abilityboth Christian and Jewishwho havealtogether repudiated these claims. Their decision has been founded upon theintrinsic evidence of the books themselves. These furnish plain indications ofat least two distinct authorswho have been respectively termed Elohistic andJehovistic. Hupfeld maintains that the Jehovistic narrative bears marks ofhaving been a second original recordwholly independent of the Elohistic. Thetwo sources from which the narratives have been derived arein many respectscontradictory of each other. Moreoverit is asserted that the books of thePentateuch are never ascribed to Moses in the inscriptions of Hebrewmanuscriptsor in printed copies of the Hebrew Biblenor are they styled"Books of Moses" in the Septuagint or Vulgatebut only in moderntranslations.
It is clear that they cannot be imputed to thesole authorship of Mosessince they record his death. It is clear that theywere not written until many hundred years after that eventsince they containreferences to facts which did not occur until after the establishment of thegovernment of kings among the Jews.
No man may dare to impute them to theinspiration of Almighty God -- their inconsistenciesincongruitiescontradictionsand impossibilitiesas exposed by many learned and piousmodernsboth German and Englishare so great. It is the decision of thesecritics that Genesis is a narrative based upon legends; that Exodus is nothistorically true; that the whole Pentateuch is unhistoric and non-Mosaic; itcontains the most extraordinary contradictions and impossibilitiessufficientto involve the credibility of the whole -- imperfections so many and soconspicuous that they would destroy the authenticity of any modern historicalwork.
Hengstenbergin his "Dissertations onthe Genuineness of the Pentateuch" says: "It is the unavoidable fateof a spurious historical work of any length to be involved in contradictions.This must be the case to a very great extent with the Pentateuchif it be notgenuine. If the Pentateuch is spuriousits histories and laws have beenfabricated in successive portionsand were committed to writing in the courseof many centuries by different individuals. From such a mode of originationamass of contradictions is inseparableand the improving hand of a later editorcould never be capable of entirely obliterating them."
To the above conclusions I may add that we areexpressly told by Ezra (Esdras ii. 14) that he himselfaided by five otherpersonswrote these books in the space of forty days. He says that at the time
of the Babylonian captivity the ancient sacred writings of the Jews were burntand gives a particular detail of the circumstances under which these werecomposed. He sets forth that he undertook to write all that had been done in theworld since the beginning. It may be said that the books of Esdras areapocryphalbut in return it may be demandedHas that conclusion been reachedon evidence that will withstand modern criticism? In the early ages ofChristianitywhen the story of the fall of man was not considered as essentialto the Christian systemand the doctrine of the atonement had not attained thatprecision which Anselm eventually gave itit was very generally admitted by theFathers of the Church that Ezra probably did so compose the Pentateuch. Thus St.Jerome says"Sive Mosem dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchisive Esdramejusdem instauratorem operisnon recuso." Clemens Alexandrinus says thatwhen these books had been destroyed in the captivity of NebuchadnezzarEsdrashaving become inspired propheticallyreproduced them. Irenæus says the same.
The incidents contained in Genesisfrom thefirst to the tenth chapters inclusive (chapters whichin their bearing uponscienceare of more importance than other portions of the Pentateuch)havebeen obviously compiled from shortfragmentary legends of various authorship.To the critical eye they allhoweverpresent peculiarities which demonstratethat they were written on the banks of the Euphratesand not in the Desert ofArabia. They contain many Chaldaisms. An Egyptian would not speak of theMediterranean Sea as being west of himan Assyrian would. Their scenery andmachineryif such expressions may with propriety be usedare altogetherAssyriannot Egyptian. They were such records
as one might expect to meet with in the cuneiform impressions of the tilelibraries of the Mesopotamian kings. It is affirmed that one such legendthatof the Delugehas already been exhumedand it is not beyond the bounds ofprobability that the remainder may in like manner be obtained.
From such Assyrian sourcesthe legends of thecreation of the earth and heaventhe garden of Edenthe making of man fromclayand of woman from one of his ribsthe temptation by the serpentthenaming of animalsthe cherubim and flaming swordthe Deluge and the arkthedrying up of the waters by the windthe building of the Tower of Babeland theconfusion of tongueswere obtained by Ezra. He commences abruptly the properhistory of the Jews in the eleventh chapter. At that point his universal historyceases; he occupies himself with the story of one familythe descendants ofShem.
It is of this restriction that the Duke ofArgyllin his book on "Primeval Man" very graphically says:
In the genealogy of the family of Shem we havea list of names which are namesand nothing more to us. It is a genealogy whichneither doesnor pretends to domore than to trace the order of successionamong a few families onlyout of the millions then already existing in theworld. Nothing but this order of succession is givennor is it at all certainthat this order is consecutive or complete. Nothing is told us of all that laybehind that curtain of thick darknessin front of which these names are made topass; and yet there areas it weremomentary liftingsthrough which we haveglimpses of great movements which were going onand had been long going onbeyond. No shapes are distinctly seen. Even the direction of those movements canonly be
guessed. But voices are heard which are as the voices of many waters." Iagree in the opinion of Hupfeldthat "the discovery that the Pentateuch isput together out of various sourcesor original documentsis beyond all doubtnot only one of the most important and most pregnant with consequences for theinterpretation of the historical books of the Old Testamentor rather for thewhole of theology and historybut it is also one of the most certaindiscoveries which have been made in the domain of criticism and the history ofliterature. Whatever the anticritical party may bring forward to the contraryit will maintain itselfand not retrograde again through any thingso long asthere exists such a thing as criticism; and it will not be easy for a readerupon the stage of culture on which we stand in the present dayif he goes tothe examination unprejudicedand with an uncorrupted power of appreciating thetruthto be able to ward off its influence."
What then? shall we give up these books? Doesnot the admission that the narrative of the fall in Eden is legendary carry withit the surrender of that most solemn and sacred of Christian doctrinestheatonement?
Let us reflect on this! Christianityin itsearliest dayswhen it was converting and conquering the worldknew little ornothing about that doctrine. We have seen thatin his "Apology"Tertullian did not think it worth his while to mention it. It originated amongthe Gnostic heretics. It was not admitted by the Alexandrian theological school.It was never prominently advanced by the Fathers. It was not brought into itspresent commanding position until the time of Anselm Philo Judæus speaks of thestory of the fall as symbolical; Origen regarded it as an allegory. Perhaps someof the Protestant churches maywith reasonbe accused
of inconsistencysince in part they consider it as mythicalin part real. Butifwith themwe admit that the serpent is symbolical of Satandoes not thatcast an air of allegory over the whole narrative?
It is to be regretted that the ChristianChurch has burdened itself with the defense of these booksand voluntarily madeitself answerable for their manifest contradictions and errors. Theirvindicationif it were possibleshould have been resigned to the Jewsamongwhom they originatedand by whom they have been transmitted to us. Still moreit is to be deeply regretted that the Pentateucha production so imperfect asto be unable to stand the touch of modern criticismshould be put forth as thearbiter of science. Let it be remembered that the exposure of the true characterof these books has been madenot by captious enemiesbut by pious and learnedchurchmensome of them of the highest dignity.
While thus the Protestant churches haveinsisted on the acknowledgment of the Scriptures as the criterion of truththeCatholic hasin our own timesdeclared the infallibility of the pope. It maybe said that this infallibility applies only to moral or religious things; butwhere shall the line of separation be drawn? Onmiscience cannot be limited to arestricted group of questions; in its very nature it implies the knowledge ofalland infallibility means omniscience.
Doubtlessif the fundamental principles ofItalian Christianity be admittedtheir logical issue is an infallible pope.There is no need to dwell on the unphilosophical nature of this conception; itis destroyed by an examination of the political history of the papacyand thebiography of the popes. The former exhibits all the errors and mistakes to whichinstitutions of a
confessedly human character have been found liable; the latter is only tonfrequently a story of sin and shame.
It was not possible that the authoritativepromulgation of the dogma of papal infallibility should meet among enlightenedCatholics universal acceptance. Serious and wide-spread dissent has beenproduced. A doctrine so revolting to common-sense could not find any otherresult. There are many who affirm thatif infallibility exists anywhereit isin oecumenical councilsand yet such councils have not always agreed with eachother. There are also many who remember that councils have deposed popesandhave passed judgment on their clamors and contentions. Not without reason doProtestants demandWhat proof can be given that infallibility exists in theChurch at all? what proof is there that the Church has ever been fairly orjustly represented in any council? and why should the truth be ascertained bythe vote of a majority rather than by that of a minority? How often it hashappened that one manstanding at the right point of viewhas descried thetruthandafter having been denounced and persecuted by all othersthey haveeventually been constrained to adopt his declarations! Of many greatdiscoverieshas not this been the history?
It is not for Science to compose thesecontesting claims; it is not for her to determine whether the criterion of truthfor the religious man shall be found in the Bibleor in the oecumenicalcouncilor in the pope. She only asks the rightwhich she so willingly accordsto othersof adopting a criterion of her own. If she regards unhistoricallegends with disdain; if she considers the vote of a majority in theascertainment of truth with supreme indifference; if she leaves the claim ofinfallibility in any human being to be vindicated by the
stern logic of coming events -- the cold impassiveness which in these mattersshe maintains is what she displays toward her own doctrines. Without hesitationshe would give up the theories of gravitation or undulationsif she found thatthey were irreconcilable with facts. For her the volume of inspiration is thebook of Natureof which the open scroll is ever spread forth before the eyes ofevery man. Confronting allit needs no societies for its dissemination.Infinite in extenteternal in durationhuman ambition and human fanaticismhave never been able to tamper with it. On the earth it is illustrated by allthat is magnificent and beautifulon the heavens its letters are suns andworlds.
CONTROVERSY RESPECTING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE.
There are two conceptions ofthe government of the world: 1. By Providence; 2. By Law. -- The formermaintained by the priesthood. -- Sketch of the introduction of the latter.
Kepler discovers the laws that preside overthe solar system. -- His works are denounced by papal authority. -- Thefoundations of mechanical philosophy are laid by Da Vinci. -- Galileo discoversthe fundamental laws of Dynamics. -- Newton applies them to the movements of thecelestial bodiesand shows that the solar system is governed by mathematicalnecessity. -- Herschel extends that conclusion to the universe. -- The nebularhypothesis. -- Theological exceptions to it.
Evidences of the control of law in theconstruction of the earthand in the development of the animal and plantseries. -- They arose by Evolutionnot by Creation.
The reign of law is exhibited by the historiccareer of human societiesand in the case of individual man.
Partial adoption of this view by some of theReformed Churches.
Two interpretations may be given of the modeof government of the world. It may be by incessant divine interventionsor bythe operation of unvarying law.
To the adoption of the former a priesthoodwill always inclinesince it must desire to be considered as standing betweenthe prayer of the votary and the providential act. Its importance is magnifiedby the power it claims of determining what that act shall be. In the preChristian (Roman) religionthe grand office of the
priesthood was the discovery of future events by oraclesomensor aninspection of the entrails of animalsand by the offering of sacrifices topropitiate the gods. In the laterthe Christian timesa higher power wasclaimed; the clergy asserting thatby their intercessionsthey could regulatethe course of affairsavert dangerssecure benefitswork miraclesand evenchange the order of Nature.
Not without reasonthereforedid they lookupon the doctrine of government by unvarying law with disfavor. It seemed todepreciate their dignityto lessen their importance. To them there wassomething shocking in a God who cannot be swayed by human entreatya coldpassionless divinity -- something frightful in fatalismdestiny.
But the orderly movement of the heavens couldnot fail in all ages to make a deep impression on thoughtful observers -- therising and setting of the sun; the increasing or diminishing light of the day;the waxing and waning of the moon; the return of the seasons in their propercourses; the measured march of the wandering planets in the sky -- what are alltheseand a thousand suchbut manifestations of an orderly and unchangingprocession of events? The faith of early observers in this interpretation mayperhaps have been shaken by the occurrence of such a phenomenon as an eclipseasudden and mysterious breach of the ordinary course of natural events; but itwould be resumed in tenfold strength as soon as the discovery was made thateclipses themselves recurand may be predicted.
Astronomical predictions of all kinds dependupon the admission of this fact -- that there never has been and never will beany intervention in the operation of natural laws. The scientific philosopheraffirms that
the condition of the world at any given moment is the direct result of itscondition in the preceding momentand the direct cause of its condition in thesubsequent moment. Law and chance are only different names for mechanicalnecessity.
About fifty years after the death ofCopernicusJohn Keplera native of Würtembergwho had adopted theheliocentric theoryand who was deeply impressed with the belief thatrelationships exist in the revolutions of the planetary bodies round the sunand that these if correctly examined would reveal the laws under which thosemovements take placedevoted himself to the study of the distancestimesandvelocities of the planetsand the form of their orbits. His method wastosubmit the observations to which he had accesssuch as those of Tycho Brahetocomputations based first on one and then on another hypothesisrejecting thehypothesis if he found that the calculations did not accord with theobservations. The incredible labor he had undergone (he says"Iconsideredand I computeduntil I almost went mad") was at lengthrewardedand in 1609 he published his book"On the Motions of the PlanetMars." In this he had attempted to reconcile the movements of that planetto the hypothesis of eccentrics and epicyclesbut eventually discovered thatthe orbit of a planet is not a circle but an ellipsethe sun being in one ofthe fociand that the areas swept over by a line drawn from the planet to thesun are proportional to the times. These constitute what are now known as thefirst and second laws of Kepler. Eight years subsequentlyhe was rewarded bythe discovery of a third lawdefining the relation between the mean distancesof the planets from the sun and the times of their revolutions; "thesquares of the periodic times are
proportional to the cubes of the distances." In "An Epitome of theCopernican System" published in 1618he announced this lawand showedthat it holds good for the satellites of Jupiter as regards their primary. Henceit was inferred that the laws which preside over the grand movements of thesolar system preside also over the less movements of its constituent parts.
The conception of law which is unmistakablyconveyed by Kepler's discoveriesand the evidence they gave in support of theheliocentric as against the geocentric theorycould not fail to incur thereprehension of the Roman authorities. The congregation of the Indexthereforewhen they denounced the Copernican system as utterly contrary to the HolyScripturesprohibited Kepler's "Epitome" of that system. It was onthis occasion that Kepler submitted his celebrated remonstrance: "Eightyyears have elapsed during which the doctrines of Copernicus regarding themovement of the earth and the immobility of the sun have been promulgatedwithout hinderancebecause it was deemed allowable to dispute concerningnatural thingsand to elucidate the works of Godand now that new testimony isdiscovered in proof of the truth of those doctrines -- testimony which was notknown to the spiritual judges -- ye would prohibit the promulgation of the truesystem of the structure of the universe."
None of Kepler's contemporaries believed thelaw of the areasnor was it accepted until the publication of the"Principia" of Newton. In factno one in those times understood thephilosophical meaning of Kepler's laws. He himself did not foresee what theymust inevitably lead to. His mistakes showed how far he was from perceivingtheir result. Thus he thought that each planet is the seat of an intelligentprincipleand
that there is a relation between the magnitudes of the orbits of the fiveprincipal planets and the five regular solids of geometry. At first he inclinedto believe that the orbit of Mars is ovalnor was it until after a wearisomestudy that he detected the grand truthits elliptical form. An idea of theincorruptibility of the celestial objects had led to the adoption of theAristotelian doctrine of the perfection of circular motionsand to the beliefthat there were none but circular motions in the heavens. He bitterly complainsof this as having been a fatal "thief of his time." His philosophicaldaring is illustrated in his breaking through this time-honored tradition.
In some most important particulars Kepleranticipated Newton. He was the first to give clear ideas respecting gravity. Hesays every particle of matter will rest until it is disturbed by some otherparticle -- that the earth attracts a stone more than the stone attracts theearthand that bodies move to each other in proportion to their masses; thatthe earth would ascend to the moon one-fifty-fourth of the distanceand themoon would move toward the earth the other fifty-three. He affirms that themoon's attraction causes the tidesand that the planets must impressirregularities on the moon's motions.
The progress of astronomy is obviouslydivisible into three periods:
1. The period of observation of the apparentmotions of the heavenly bodies.
2. The period of discovery of their realmotionsand particularly of the laws of the planetary revolutions; this wassignally illustrated by Copernicus and Kepler.
3. The period of the ascertainment of thecauses of those laws. It was the epoch of Newton.
The passage of the second into the thirdperiod depended on the development of the Dynamical branch of mechanicswhichhad been in a stagnant condition from the time of Archimedes or the AlexandrianSchool.
In Christian Europe there had not been acultivator of mechanical philosophy until Leonardo da Vinciwho was born A. D.1452. To himand not to Lord Baconmust be attributed the renaissance ofscience. Bacon was not only ignorant of mathematicsbut depreciated itsapplication to physical inquiries. He contemptuously rejected the Copernicansystemalleging absurd objections to it. While Galileo was on the brink of hisgreat telescopic discoveriesBacon was publishing doubts as to the utility ofinstruments in scientific investigations. To ascribe the inductive method to himis to ignore history. His fanciful philosophical suggestions have never been ofthe slightest practical use. No one has ever thought of employing them. Exceptamong English readershis name is almost unknown.
To Da Vinci I shall have occasion to alludemore particularly on a subsequent page. Of his works still remaining inmanuscripttwo volumes are at Milanand one in Pariscarried there byNapoleon. After an interval of about seventy yearsDa Vinci was followed by theDutch engineerStevinuswhose work on the principles of equilibrium waspublished in 1586. Six years afterward appeared Galileo's treatise on mechanics.
To this great Italian is due the establishmentof the three fundamental laws of dynamicsknown as the Laws of Motion.
The consequences of the establishment of theselaws were very important.
It had been supposed that continuousmovementssuchfor instanceas those of the celestial bodiescould only bemaintained by a perpetual consumption and perpetual application of forcebutthe first of Galileo's laws declared that every body will persevere in its stateof restor of uniform motion in a right lineuntil it is compelled to changethat state by disturbing forces. A clear perception of this fundamentalprinciple is essential to a comprehension of the elementary facts of physicalastronomy. Since all the motions that we witness taking place on the surface ofthe earth soon come to an endwe are led to infer that rest is the naturalcondition of things. We have madethena very great advance when we havebecome satisfied that a body is equally indifferent to rest as to motionandthat it equally perseveres in either state until disturbing forces are applied.Such disturbing forces in the case of common movements are friction and theresistance of the air. When no such resistances existmovement must beperpetualas is the case with the heavenly bodieswhich are moving in a void.
Forcesno matter what their difference ofmagnitude may bewill exert their full influence conjointlyeach as though theother did not exist. Thuswhen a ball is suffered to drop from the mouth of acannonit falls to the ground in a certain interval of time through theinfluence of gravity upon it. Ifthenit be fired from the cannonthough nowit may be projected some thousands of feet in a secondthe effect of gravityupon it will be precisely the same as before. In the intermingling of forcesthere is no deterioration; each produces its own specific effect.
In the latter half of the seventeenth centurythrough the works of BorelliHookeand Huyghensit had become
plain that circular motions could be accounted for by the laws of Galileo.Borellitreating of the motions of Jupiter's satellitesshows how a circularmovement may arise under the influence of a central force. Hooke exhibited theinflection of a direct motion into a circular by a supervening centralattraction.
The year 1687 presentsnot only an epoch inEuropean sciencebut also in the intellectual development of man. It is markedby the publication of the "Principia" of Newtonan incomparableanimmortal work.
On the principle that all bodies attract eachother with forces directly as their massesand inversely as the squares oftheir distancesNewton showed that all the movements of the celestial bodiesmay be accounted forand that Kepler's laws might all have been predicted --the elliptic motions -- the described areas the relation of the times anddistances. As we have seenNewton's contemporaries had perceived how circularmotions could be explained; that was a special casebut Newton furnished thesolution of the general problemcontaining all special cases of motion incirclesellipsesparabolashyperbolas -- that isin all the conic sections.
The Alexandrian mathematicians had shown thatthe direction of movement of falling bodies is toward the centre of the earth.Newton proved that this must necessarily be the casethe general effect of theattraction of all the particles of a sphere being the same as if they were allconcentrated in its centre. To this central forcethus determining the fall ofbodiesthe designation of gravity was given. Up to this timeno oneexceptKeplerhad considered how far its influence reached. It seemed to Newtonpossible that it might extend as far as the moonand be the
force that deflects her from a rectilinear pathand makes her revolve in herorbit round the earth. It was easy to computeon the principle of the law ofinverse squareswhether the earth's attraction was sufficient to produce theobserved effect. Employing the measures of the size of the earth accessible atthe timeNewton found that the moon's deflection was only thirteen feet in aminute; whereasif his hypothesis of gravitation were trueit should befifteen feet. But in 1669 Picardas we have seenexecuted the measurement of adegree more carefully than had previously been done; this changed the estimateof the magnitude of the earthandthereforeof the distance of the moon; andNewton's attention having been directed to it by some discussions that tookplace at the Royal Society in 1679he obtained Picard's resultswent hometook out his old papersand resumed his calculations. As they drew to a closehe became so much agitated that he was obliged to desire a friend to finishthem. The expected coincidence was established. It was proved that the moon isretained in her orbit and made to revolve round the earth by the force ofterrestrial gravity. The genii of Kepler had given place to the vortices ofDescartesand these in their turn to the central force of Newton.
In like manner the earthand each of theplanetsare made to move in an elliptic orbit round the sun by his attractiveforceand perturbations arise by reason of the disturbing action of theplanetary masses on one another. Knowing the masses and the distancesthesedisturbances may be computed. Later astronomers have even succeeded with theinverse problemthat isknowing the perturbations or disturbancesto find theplace and the mass of the disturbing body. Thusfrom the
deviations of Uranus from his theoretical positionthe discovery of Neptune wasaccomplished.
Newton's merit consisted in thisthat heapplied the laws of dynamics to the movements of the celestial bodiesandinsisted that scientific theories must be substantiated by the agreement ofobservations with calculations.
When Kepler announced his three lawstheywere received with condemnation by the spiritual authoritiesnot because of anyerror they were supposed to present or to containbut partly because they gavesupport to the Copernican systemand partly because it was judged inexpedientto admit the prevalence of law of any kind as opposed to providentialintervention. The world was regarded as the theatre in which the divine will wasdaily displayed; it was considered derogatory to the majesty of God that thatwill should be fettered in any way. The power of the clergy was chieflymanifested in the influence the were alleged to possess in changing hisarbitrary determinations. It was thus that they could abate the baleful actionof cometssecure fine weather or rainprevent eclipsesandarresting thecourse of Naturework all manner of miracles; it was thus that the shadow hadbeen made to go back on the dialand the sun and the moon stopped inmid-career.
In the century preceding the epoch of Newtona great religious and political revolution had taken place -- the Reformation.Though its effect had not been the securing of complete liberty for thoughtitbad weakened many of the old ecclesiastical bonds. In the reformed countriesthere was no power to express a condemnation of Newton's worksand among theclergy there was no disposition to give themselves any concern about the matter.At first the attention of the Protestant
was engrossed by the movements of his great enemy the Catholicand when thatsource of disquietude ceasedand the inevitable partitions of the Reformationarosethat attention was fastened upon the rival and antagonistic Churches. TheLutheranthe Calvinistthe Episcopalianthe Presbyterianhad something moreurgent on hand than Newton's mathematical demonstrations.
Souncondemnedand indeed unobservedinthis clamor of fighting sectsNewton's grand theory solidly established itself.Its philosophical significance was infinitely more momentous than the dogmasthat these persons were quarreling about. It not only accepted the heliocentrictheory and the laws discovered by Keplerbut it proved thatno matter whatmight be the weight of opposing ecclesiastical authoritythe sun must bethe centre of our systemand that Kepler's laws are the result of amathematical necessity. It is impossible that they should be other than theyare.
But what is the meaning of all this? Plainlythat the solar system is not interrupted by providential interventionsbut isunder the government of irreversible law -- law that is itself the issue ofmathematical necessity.
The telescopic observations of Herschel I.satisfied him that there are very many double stars -- double not merely becausethey are accidentally in the same line of viewbut because they are connectedphysicallyrevolving round each other. These observations were continued andgreatly extended by Herschel II. The elements of the elliptic orbit of thedouble star ofthe Great Bear were determined by Savaryits period being fifty-eight andone-quarter years; those of anotherCoronæwere determined by Hindits period being more
than seven hundred and thirty-six years. The orbital movement of these doublesuns in ellipses compels us to admit that the law of gravitation holds good farbeyond the boundaries of the solar system; indeedas far as the telescope canreachit demonstrates the reign of law. D'Alembertin the Introduction to theEncyclopædiasays: "The universe is but a single fact; it is only onegreat truth."
Shall wethenconclude that the solar andthe starry systems have been called into existence by Godand that he has thenimposed upon them by his arbitrary will laws under the control of which it washis pleasure that their movements should be made?
Or are there reasons for believing that theseseveral systems came into existence not by such an arbitrary fiatbut throughthe operation of law?
The following are some peculiarities displayedby the solar system as enumerated by Laplace. All the planets and theirsatellites move in ellipses of such small eccentricity that they are nearlycircles. All the planets move in the same direction and nearly in the sameplane. The movements of the satellites are in the same direction as those of theplanets. The movements of rotation of the sunof the planetsand thesatellitesare in the same direction as their orbital motionsand in planeslittle different.
It is impossible that so many coincidencescould be the result of chance! Is it not plain that there must have been acommon tie among all these bodiesthat they are only parts of what must oncehave been a single mass?
But if we admit that the substance of whichthe solar system consists once existed in a nebulous conditionand was inrotationall the above peculiarities
follow as necessary mechanical consequences. Naymorethe formation ofplanetsthe formation of satellites and of asteroidsis accounted for. We seewhy the outer planets and satellites are larger than the interior ones; why thelarger planets rotate rapidlyand the small ones slowly; why of the satellitesthe outer planets have morethe inner fewer. We are furnished with indicationsof the time of revolution of the planets in their orbitsand of the satellitesin theirs; we perceive the mode of formation of Saturn's rings. We find anexplanation of the physical condition of the sunand the transitions ofcondition through which the earth and moon have passedas indicated by theirgeology.
But two exceptions to the above peculiaritieshave been noted; they are in the cases of Uranus and Neptune.
The existence of such a nebulous mass onceadmittedall the rest follows as a matter of necessity. Is there nothowevera most serious objection in the way? Is not this to exclude Almighty God fromthe worlds he has made?
Firstwe must be satisfied whether there isany solid evidence for admitting the existence of such a nebulous mass.
The nebular hypothesis rests primarily on thetelescopic discovery made by Herschel I.that there are scattered here andthere in the heavens palegleaming patches of lighta few of which are largeenough to be visible to the naked eye. Of thesemany may be resolved by asufficient telescopic power into a congeries of starsbut somesuch as thegreat nebula in Orionhave resisted the best instruments hitherto made.
It was asserted by those who were indisposedto accept the nebular hypothesisthat the non-resolution was
due to imperfection in the telescopes used. In these instruments two distinctfunctions may be observed: their light-gathering power depends on the diameterof their object mirror or lenstheir defining power depends on the exquisitecorrectness of their optical surfaces. Grand instruments may possess the formerquality in perfection by reason of their sizebut the latter very imperfectlyeither through want of original configurationor distortion arising fromflexure through their own weight. Butunless an instrument be perfect in thisrespectas well as adequate in the otherit may fail to decompose a nebulainto discrete points.
Fortunatelyhoweverother means for thesettlement of this question are available. In 1846it was discovered by theauthor of this book that the spectrum of an ignited solid is continuous -- thatishas neither dark nor bright lines. Fraunhofer had previously made known thatthe spectrum of ignited gases is discontinuous. Herethenis the means ofdetermining whether the light emitted by a given nebula comes from anincandescent gasor from a congeries of ignited solidsstarsor suns. If itsspectrum be discontinuousit is a true nebula or gas; if continuousacongeries of stars.
In 1864Mr. Huggins made this examination inthe case of a nebula in the constellation Draco. It proved to be gaseous.
Subsequent observations have shown thatofsixty nebulæ examinednineteen give discontinuous or gaseous spectra -- theremainder continuous ones.
It maythereforebe admitted that physicalevidence has at length been obtaineddemonstrating the existence of vast massesof matter in a gaseous conditionand at a temperature of incandescence. Thehypothesis of Laplace has thus a firm basis. In such a nebular
masscooling by radiation is a necessary incidentand condensation androtation the inevitable results. There must be a separation of rings all lyingin one planea generation of planets and satellites all rotating alikeacentral sun and engirdling globes. From a chaotic massthrough the operation ofnatural lawsan organized system has been produced. An integration of matterinto worlds has taken place through a decline of heat.
If such be the cosmogony of the solar systemsuch the genesis of the planetary worldswe are constrained to extend our viewsof the dominion of lawand to recognize its agency in the creation as well asin the conservation of the innumerable orbs that throng the universe.
Butagainit may be asked: "Is therenot something profoundly impious in this? Are we not excluding Almighty God fromthe world he has made?
We have often witnessed the formation of acloud in a serene sky. A hazy pointbarely perceptible -- a little wreath ofmist -- increases in volumeand becomes darker and denseruntil it obscures alarge portion of the heavens. It throws itself into fantastic shapesit gathersa glory from the sunis borne onward by the windandperhapsas it graduallycameso it gradually disappearsmelting away in the untroubled air.
Nowwe say that the little vesicles of whichthis cloud was composed arose from the condensation of water-vapor preëxistingin the atmospherethrough reduction of temperature; we show how they assumedthe form they present. We assign optical reasons for the brightness or blacknessof the cloud; we explainon mechanical principlesits drifting before thewind; for its disappearance we account on the principles of
chemistry. It never occurs to us to invoke the interposition of the Almighty inthe production and fashioning of this fugitive form. We explain all the factsconnected with it by physical lawsand perhaps should reverentially hesitate tocall into operation the finger of God.
But the universe is nothing more than such acloud -- a cloud of suns and worlds. Supremely grand though it may seem to usto the Infinite and Eternal Intellect it is no more than a fleeting mist. Ifthere be a multiplicity of worlds in infinite spacethere is also a successionof worlds in infinite time. As one after another cloud replaces cloud in theskiesso this starry systemthe universeis the successor of countless othersthat have preceded it -- the predecessor of countless others that will follow.There is an unceasing metamorphosisa sequence of eventswithout beginning orend.
Ifon physical principleswe account forminor meteorological incidentsmists and cloudsis it not permissible for usto appeal to the same principle in the origin of world-systems and universeswhich are only clouds on a space-scale somewhat largermists on a time-scalesomewhat less transient? Can any man place the line which bounds the physical onone sidethe supernatural on the other? Do not our estimates of the extent andthe duration of things depend altogether on our point of view? Were we set inthe midst of the great nebula of Orionhow transcendently magnificent thescene! The vast transformationsthe condensations of a fiery mist into worldsmight seem worthy of the immediate presencethe supervision of God; hereatour distant stationwhere millions of miles are inappreciable to our eyesandsuns seem no bigger than motes in the airthat nebula is more insignificantthan the faintest cloud.
Galileoin his description of the constellation of Oriondid not think itworth while so much as to mention it. The most rigorous theologian of those dayswould have seen nothing to blame in imputing its origin to secondary causesnothing irreligious in failing to invoke the arbitrary interference of God inits metamorphoses. If such be the conclusion to which we come respecting itwhat would be the conclusion to which an Intelligence seated in it might comerespecting us? It occupies an extent of space millions of times greater thanthat of our solar system; we are invisible from itand therefore absolutelyinsignificant. Would such an Intelligence think it necessary to require for ourorigin and maintenance the immediate intervention of God?
From the solar system let us descend to whatis still more insignificant -- a little portion of it; let us descend to our ownearth. In the lapse of time it has experienced great changes. Have these beendue to incessant divine interventionsor to the continuous operation ofunfailing law? The aspect of Nature perpetually varies under our eyesstillmore grandly and strikingly has it altered in geological times. But the lawsguiding those changes never exhibit the slightest variation. In the midst ofimmense vicissitudes they are immutable. The present order of things is only alink in a vast connected chain reaching back to an incalculable pastandforward to an infinite future.
There is evidencegeological andastronomicalthat the temperature of the earth and her satellite was in theremote past very much higher than it is now. A decline so slow as to beimperceptible at short intervalsbut manifest enough in the course of manyageshas occurred. The heat has been lost by radiation into space
The cooling of a mass of any kindno matterwhether large or smallis not discontinuous; it does not go on by fits andstarts; it takes place under the operation of a mathematical lawthough forsuch mighty changes as are here contemplated neither the formula of Newtonnorthat of Dulong and Petitmay apply. It signifies nothing that periods ofpartial declineglacial periodsor others of temporary elevationhave beenintercalated; it signifies nothing whether these variations may have arisen fromtopographical variationsas those of levelor from periodicities in theradiation of the sun. A periodical sun would act as a mere perturbation in thegradual decline of heat. The perturbations of the planetary motions are aconfirmationnot a disproofof gravity.
Nowsuch a decline of temperature must havebeen attended by innumerable changes of a physical character in our globe. Herdimensions must have diminished through contractionthe length of her day musthave lessenedher surface must have collapsedand fractures taken place alongthe lines of least resistance; the density of the sea must have increaseditsvolume must have become less; the constitution of the atmosphere must havevariedespecially in the amount of water-vapor and carbonic acid that itcontained; the barometric pressure must have declined.
These changesand very many more that mightbe mentionedmust have taken place not in a discontinuous but in an orderlymannersince the master-factthe decline of heatthat was causing themwasitself following a mathematical law.
But not alone did lifeless Nature submit tothese inevitable mutations; living Nature was also simultaneously affected.
An organic form of any kindvegetable oranimalwill remain unchanged only so long as the environment in which it isplaced remains unchanged. Should an alteration in the environment occurtheorganism will either be modified or destroyed.
Destruction is more likely to happen as thechange in the environment is more sudden; modification or transformation is morepossible as that change is more gradual.
Since it is demonstrably certain that lifelessNature has in the lapse of ages undergone vast modifications; since the crust ofthe earthand the seaand the atmosphereare no longer such as they oncewere; since the distribution of the land and the ocean and all manner ofphysical conditions have varied; since there have been such grand changes in theenvironment of living things on the surface of our planet -- it necessarilyfollows that organic Nature must have passed through destructions andtransformations in correspondence thereto.
That such extinctionssuch modificationshave taken placehow copioushow convincingis the evidence!
Hereagainwe must observe thatsince thedisturbing agency was itself following a mathematical lawthese its resultsmust be considered as following that law too.
Such considerationsthenplainly force uponus the conclusion that the organic progress of the world has been guided by theoperation of immutable law -- not determined by discontinuousdisconnectedarbitrary interventions of God. They incline us to view favorably the idea oftransmutations of one form into anotherrather than that of sudden creations.
Creation implies an abrupt appearancetransformation a gradual change.
In this manner is presented to ourcontemplation the great theory of Evolution. Every organic being has a place ina chain of events. It is not an isolateda capricious factbut an unavoidablephenomenon. It has its place in that vastorderly concourse which hassuccessively risen in the pasthas introduced the presentand is preparing theway for a predestined future. From point to point in this vast progression therehas been a graduala definitea continuous unfoldinga resistless order ofevolution. But in the midst of these mighty changes stand forth immutable thelaws that are dominating over all.
If we examine the introduction of any type oflife in the animal serieswe find that it is in accordance with transformationnot with creation. Its beginning is under an imperfect form in the midst ofother formsof which the time is nearly completeand which are passing intoextinction. By degreesone species after another in succession more and moreperfect arisesuntilafter many agesa culmination is reached. From thatthere isin like mannera longa gradual decline.
Thusthough the mammal type of life is thecharacteristic of the Tertiary and post-Tertiary periodsit does not suddenlymake its appearance without premonition in those periods. Far backin theSecondarywe find it under imperfect formsstrugglingas it wereto makegood a foothold. At length it gains a predominance under higher and bettermodels.
Sotooof reptilesthe characteristic typeof life of the Secondary period. As we see in a dissolving viewout of thefading outlines of a scene that is passing awaythe dim form of a new oneemergingwhich gradually gains strengthreaches its culminationand thenmelts away in some other that is displacing itso reptile-life
doubtfullyappearsreaches its culminationand gradually declines. In allthis there is nothing abrupt; the changes shade into each other by insensibledegrees.
How could it be otherwise? The hot-bloodedanimals could not exist in an atmosphere so laden with carbonic acid as was thatof the primitive times. But the removal of that noxious ingredient from the airby the leaves of plants under the influence of sunlightthe enveloping of itscarbon in the earth under the form of coalthe disengagement of its oxygenpermitted their life. As the atmosphere was thus modifiedthe sea was involvedin the change; it surrendered a large part of its carbonic acidand thelimestone hitherto held in solution by it was deposited in the solid form. Forevery equivalent of carbon buried in the earththere was an equivalent ofcarbonate of lime separated from the sea -- not necessarily in an amorphousconditionmost frequently under an organic form. The sunshine kept up its workday by daybut there were demanded myriads of days for the work to becompleted. It was a slow passage from a noxious to a purified atmosphereand anequally slow passage from a cold-blooded to a hot-blooded type of life. But thephysical changes were taking place under the control of lawand the organictransformations were not sudden or arbitrary providential acts. They were theimmediatethe inevitable consequences of the physical changesand thereforelike themthe necessary issue of law.
For a more detailed consideration of thissubjectI may refer the reader to Chapters III.VIIof the second book ofmy "Treatise on Human Physiology" published in 1856.
Is the worldthengoverned by law or byprovidential
interventionsabruptly breaking the proper sequence of events?
To complete our view of this questionwe turnfinally to whatin one senseis the most insignificantin another the mostimportantcase that can be considered. Do human societiesin their historiccareerexhibit the marks of a predetermined progress in an unavoidable track?Is there any evidence that the life of nations is under the control of immutablelaw?
May we conclude thatin societyas in theindividual manparts never spring from nothingbut are evolved or developedfrom parts that are already in existence?
If any one should object to or deride thedoctrine of the evolution or successive development of the animated forms whichconstitute that unbroken organic chain reaching from the beginning of life onthe globe to the present timeslet him reflect that he has himself passedthrough modifications the counterpart of those he disputes. For nine months histype of life was aquaticand during that time he assumedin successionmanydistinct but correlated forms. At birth his type of life became aërial; hebegan respiring the atmospheric air; new elements of food were supplied to him;the mode of his nutrition changed; but as yet he could see nothinghearnothingnotice nothing. By degrees conscious existence was assumed; he becameaware that there is an external world. In due time organs adapted to anotherchange of foodthe teethappearedand a change of food ensued. He then passedthrough the stages of childhood and youthhis bodily form developingand withit his intellectual powers. At about fifteen yearsin consequence of theevolution which special parts of his system had attainedhis moral characterchanged. New ideasnew passionsinfluenced him. And that
that was the causeand this the effectis demonstrated whenby the skill ofthe surgeonthose parts have been interfered with. Nor does the developmentthe metamorphosisend here; it requires many years for the body to reach itsfull perfectionmany years for the mind. A culmination is at length reachedand then there is a decline. I need not picture its mournful incidents -- thecorporealthe intellectual enfeeblement. Perhaps there is little exaggerationin saying that in less than a century every human being on the face of theglobeif not cut off in an untimely mannerhas passed through all thesechanges.
Is there for each of us a providentialintervention as we thus pass from stage to stage of life? or shall we not ratherbelieve that the countless myriads of human beings who have peopled the earthhave been under the guidance of an unchanginga universal law?
But individuals are the elementaryconstituents of communities -- nations. They maintain therein a relation likethat which the particles of the body maintain to the body itself. Theseintroduced into itcommence and complete their function; they dieand aredismissed.
Like the individualthe nation comes intoexistence without its own knowledgeand dies without its own consentoftenagainst its own will. National life differs in no particular from individualexcept in thisthat it is spread over a longer spanbut no nation can escapeits inevitable term. Eachif its history be well consideredshows its time ofinfancyits time of youthits time of maturityits time of declineif itsphases of life be completed.
In the phases of existence of allso far asthose phases are completedthere are common characteristicsandas likeaccordances in individuals point out that all
are living under a reign of lawwe are justified in inferring that the courseof nationsand indeed the progress of humanitydoes not take place in a chanceor random waythat supernatural interventions never break the chain of historicactsthat every historic event has its warrant in some preceding eventandgives warrant to others that are to follow..
But this conclusion is the essential principleof Stoicism -- that Grecian philosophical system whichas I have already saidoffered a support in their hour of trial and an unwavering guide in thevicissitudes of lifenot only to many illustrious Greeksbut also to some ofthe great philosophersstatesmengeneralsand emperors of Rome; a systemwhich excluded chance from every thingand asserted the direction of all eventsby irresistible necessityto the promotion of perfect good; a system ofearnestnesssternnessausterityvirtue -- a protest in favor of thecommon-sense of mankind. And perhaps we shall not dissent from the remark ofMontesquieuwho affirms that the destruction of the Stoics was a great calamityto the human race; for they alone made great citizensgreat men.
To the principle of government by lawLatinChristianityin its papal formis in absolute contradiction. The history ofthis branch of the Christian Church is almost a diary of miracles andsupernatural interventions. These show that the supplications of holy men haveoften arrested the course of Nature -- ifindeedthere be any such course;that images and pictures have worked wonders; that boneshairsand othersacred relicshave wrought miracles. The criterion or proof of the authenticityof many of these objects isnot an unchallengeable record of their origin andhistorybut an exhibition of their miracle-working powers.
Is not that a strange logic which finds proofof an asserted fact in an inexplicable illustration of something else?
Even in the darkest ages intelligent Christianmen must have had misgivings as to these alleged providential or miraculousinterventions. There is a solemn grandeur in the orderly progress of Naturewhich profoundly impresses us; and such is the character of continuity in theevents of our individual life that we instinctively doubt the occurrence of thesupernatural in that of our neighbor. The intelligent man knows well thatforhis personal behoofthe course of Nature has never been checked; for him nomiracle has ever been worked; he attributes justly every event of his life tosome antecedent event; this he looks upon as the causethat as the consequence.When it is affirmed thatin his neighbor's behalfsuch grand interventionshave been vouchsafedhe cannot do otherwise than believe that his neighbor iseither deceivedor practising deception.
As mightthenhave been anticipatedtheCatholic doctrine of miraculous intervention received a rude shock at the timeof the Reformationwhen predestination and election were upheld by some of thegreatest theologiansand accepted by some of the greatest Protestant Churches.With stoical austerity Calvin declares: "We were elected from eternitybefore the foundation of the worldfrom no merit of our ownbut according tothe purpose of the divine pleasure." In affirming thisCalvin was restingon the belief that God has from all eternity decreed whatever comes to pass.Thusafter the lapse of many ageswere again emerging into prominence theideas of the Basilidians wad ValentiniansChristian sects of the secondcenturywhose Gnostical views led to the engraftment of the great
doctrine of the Trinity upon Christianity. They asserted that all the actions ofmen are necessarythat even faith is a natural giftto which men are forciblydeterminedand must therefore be savedthough their lives be ever soirregular. From the Supreme God all things proceeded. Thusalsocame intoprominence the views which were developed by Augustine in his work"Dedono perseverantiæ." These were: that Godby his arbitrary willhasselected certain persons without respect to foreseen faith or good worksandhas infallibly ordained to bestow upon them eternal happiness; other personsinlike mannerhe has condemned to eternal reprobation. The Sublapsarians believedthat "God permitted the fall of Adam;" the Supralapsarians that"he predestinated itwith all its pernicious consequencesfrom alleternityand that our first parents had no liberty from the beginning." Inthisthese sectarians disregarded the remark of St. Augustine: "Nefas estdicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum. predestinare."
Is it truethenthat "predestination toeternal happiness is the everlasting purpose of Godwherebybefore thefoundations of the world were laidhe hath constantly decreed by his councilsecret to usto deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen outof mankind?" Is it true that of the human family there are some whoinview of no fault of their ownAlmighty God has condemned to unending tortureeternal misery?
In 1595 the Lambeth Articles asserted that"God from eternity hath predestinated certain men unto life; certain hehath reprobated." In 1618 the Synod of Dort decided in favor of this view.It condemned the remonstrants against itand treated them with such severity
that many of them had to flee to foreign countries. Even in the Church ofEnglandas is manifested by its seventeenth Article of Faiththese doctrineshave found favor.
Probably there was no point which brought downfrom the Catholics on the Protestants severer condemnation than thistheirpartial acceptance of the government of the world by law. In all Reformed Europemiracles ceased. Butwith the cessation of shrine-curerelic-curegreatpecuniary profits ended. Indeedas is well knownit was the sale ofindulgences that provoked the Reformation -- indulgences which are essentially apermit from God for the practice of sinconditioned on the payment of a certainsum of money to the priest.
Philosophicallythe Reformation implied aprotest against the Catholic doctrine of incessant divine intervention in humanaffairsinvoked by sacerdotal agency; but this protest was far from being fullymade by all the Reforming Churches. The evidence in behalf of government by lawwhich has of late years been offered by scienceis received by many of themwith suspicionperhaps with dislike; sentiments whichhowevermust eventuallygive way before the hourly-increasing weight of evidence.
Shall we notthenconclude with Cicerowhoquoted by Lactantiussays: "One eternal and immutable law embraces allthings and all times?"
LATIN CHRISTIANITY IN RELATION TO MODERN CIVILIZATION.
For more than a thousand yearsLatin Christianity controlled the intelligence of Europeand is responsible forthe result.
That result is manifested by the condition ofthe city of Rome at the Reformationand by the condition of the Continent ofEurope in domestic and social life. -- European nations suffered under thecoexistence of a dual governmenta spiritual and a temporal. -- They wereimmersed in ignorancesuperstitiondiscomfort. -- Explanation of the failureof Catholicism -- Political history of the papacy: it was transmuted from aspiritual confederacy into an absolute monarchy. -- Action of the College ofCardinals and the Curia-Demoralization that ensued from the necessity of raisinglarge revenues.
The advantages accruing to Europe during theCatholic rule arose not from direct intentionbut were incidental.
The general result isthat the politicalinfluence of Catholicism was prejudicial to modern civilization.
LATIN Christianity is responsible for thecondition and progress of Europe from the fourth to the sixteenth century. Wehave now to examine how it discharged its trust.
It will be convenient to limit to the case ofEurope what has here to be presentedthoughfrom the claim of the papacy tosuperhuman originand its demand for universal obedienceit should strictly beheld to account for the condition of all mankind. Its inefficacy against thegreat and venerable religions of Southern and Eastern
Asia would furnish an important and instructive theme for considerationandlead us to the conclusion that it has impressed itself only where Roman imperialinfluences have prevailed; a political conclusion whichhoweveritcontemptuously rejects.
Doubtless at the inception of the Reformationthere were many persons who compared the existing social condition with what ithad been in ancient times. Morals had not changedintelligence had notadvancedsociety had little improved. From the Eternal City itself itssplendors had vanished. The marble streetsof which Augustus had once boastedhad disappeared. Templesbroken columnsand the longarcaded vistas ofgigantic aqueducts bestriding the desolate Campagnapresented a mournful scene.From the uses to which they had been respectively putthe Capitol had beenknown as Goats' Hilland the site of the Roman Forumwhence laws had beenissued to the worldas Cows' Field. The palace of the Cæsars was hidden bymounds of earthcrested with flowering shrubs. The baths of Caracallawiththeir porticoesgardensreservoirshad long ago become useless through thedestruction of their supplying aqueducts. On the ruins of that grand edifice"flowery glades and thickets of odoriferous trees extended in ever-windinglabyrinths upon immense platformsand dizzy arches suspended in the air."Of the Coliseumthe most colossal of Roman ruinsonly about one-thirdremained. Once capable of accommodating nearly ninety thousand spectatorsithadin successionbeen turned into a fortress in the middle agesand theninto a stone-quarry to furnish material for the palaces of degenerate Romanprinces. Some of the popes had occupied it as a woollen-millsome as asaltpetre factory; some had planned the conversion of its magnificent
arcades into shops for tradesmen. The iron clamps which bound its stonestogether had been stolen. The walls were fissured and falling. Even in our owntimes botanical works have been composed on the plants which have made thisnoble wreck their home. "The Flora of the Coliseum" contains fourhundred and twenty species. Among the ruins of classical buildings might be seenbroken columnscypressesand mouldy frescoesdropping from the walls. Eventhe vegetable world participated in the melancholy change: the myrtlewhichonce flourished on the Aventinehad nearly become extinct; the laurelwhichonce gave its leaves to encircle the brows of emperorshad been replaced by ivy-- the companion of death.
But perhaps it may be said the popes were notresponsible for all this. Let it be remembered that in less than one hundred andforty years the city had been successively taken by AlaricGensericRieimerVitigesTotila ; that many of its great edifices had been converted intodefensive works. The aqueducts were destroyed by Vitigeswho ruined theCampagna; the palace of the Cæsars was ravaged by Totila; then there had beenthe Lombard sieges; then Robert Guiscard and his Normans had burnt the city fromthe Antonine Column to the Flaminian Gatefrom the Lateran to the Capitol; thenit was sacked and mutilated by the Constable Bourbon; again and again it wasflooded by inundations of the Tiber and shattered by earthquakes. We musthoweverbear in mind the accusation of Machiavelliwho saysin his"History of Florence" that nearly all the barbarian invasions ofItaly were by the invitations of the pontiffswho called in those hordes! Itwas not the Gothnor the Vandalnor the Normannor the Saracenbut the popesand their nephews
who produced the dilapidation of Rome! Lime-kilns had been fed from the ruinsclassical buildings had become stone-quarries for the palaces of Italianprincesand churches were decorated from the old temples.
Churches decorated from the temples! It is forthis and such as this that the popes must be held responsible. Superb Corinthiancolumns bad been chiseled into images of the saints. Magnificent Egyptianobelisks had been dishonored by papal inscriptions. The Septizonium of Severushad been demolished to furnish materials for the building of St. Peter's; thebronze roof of the Pantheon had been melted into columns to ornament theapostle's tomb.
The great bell of Viterboin the tower of theCapitolhad announced the death of many a popeand still desecration of thebuildings and demoralization of the people went on. Papal Rome manifested noconsiderationbut rather hatredfor classical RomeThe pontiffs had beensubordinates of the Byzantine sovereignsthen lieutenants of the Frankishkingsthen arbiters of Europe; their government had changed as much as those ofany of the surrounding nations; there had been complete metamorphoses in itsmaximsobjectsclaims. In one point only it had never changed -- intolerance.Claiming to be the centre of the religious life of Europeit steadfastlyrefused to recognize any religious existence outside of itselfyet both in apolitical and theological sense it was rotten to the core. Erasmus and Lutherheard with amazement the blasphemies and witnessed with a shudder the atheism ofthe city.
The historian Ranketo whom I am indebted formany of these factshas depicted in a very graphic man
ner the demoralization of the great metropolis. The popes werefor the mostpartat their electionaged men. Power wasthereforeincessantly passinginto new hands. Every election was a revolution in prospects and expectations.In a community where all might risewhere all might aspire to allitnecessarily followed that every man was occupied in thrusting some other intothe background. Though the population of the city at the inception of theReformation had sunk to eighty thousandthere were vast crowds of placemenandstill greater ones of aspirants for place. The successful occupant of thepontificate had thousands of offices to give away -- offices from many of whichthe incumbents had been remorselessly ejected; many had been created for thepurpose of sale. The integrity and capacity of an applicant were never inquiredinto; the points considered werewhat services has he rendered or can he renderto the party? how much can he pay for the preferment? An American reader canthoroughly realize this state of things. At every presidential election hewitnesses similar acts. The election of a pope by the Conclave is not unlike thenomination of an American president by a convention. In both cases there aremany offices to give away.
William of Malmesbury says that in his day theRomans made a sale of whatever was righteous and sacred for gold. After his timethere was no improvement; the Church degenerated into an instrument for theexploitation of money. Vast sums were collected in Italy; vast sums were drawnunder all manner of pretenses from surrounding and reluctant countries. Of thesethe most nefarious was the sale of indulgences for the perpetration of sin.Italian religion had become the art of plundering the people.
For more than a thousand years the sovereignpontiffs had been rulers of the city. Trueit had witnessed many scenes ofdevastation for which they were not responsible; but they were responsible forthisthat they had never made any vigorousany persistent effort for itsmaterialits moral improvement. Instead of being in these respects an exemplarfor the imitation of the worldit became an exemplar of a condition that oughtto be shunned. Things steadily went on from bad to worseuntil at the epoch ofthe Reformation no pious stranger could visit it without being shocked.
The papacyrepudiating science as absolutelyincompatible with its pretensionshad in later years addressed itself to theencouragement of art. But music and paintingthough they may be exquisiteadornments of lifecontain no living force that can develop a weak nation intoa strong one; nothing that can permanently assure the material well-being orhappiness of communities; and hence at the time of the Reformationto one whothoughtfully considered her conditionRome had lost all living energy. She wasno longer the arbiter of the physical or the religious progress of the world.For the progressive maxims of the republic and the empireshe had substitutedthe stationary maxims of the papacy. She had the appearance of piety and thepossession of art. In this she resembled one of those friar-corpses which westill see in their brown cowls in the vaults of the Cappucciniwith a breviaryor some withered flowers in its hands.
From this view of the Eternal Citythissurvey of what Latin Christianity had done for Rome itselflet us turn to thewhole European Continent. Let us try to determine the true value of the systemthat was guiding society; let us judge it by its fruits.
The condition of nations as to theirwell-being is most precisely represented by the variations of their population.Forms of government have very little influence on populationbut policy maycontrol it completely.
It has been very satisfactorily shown byauthors who have given attention to the subjectthat the variations ofpopulation depend upon the interbalancing of the generative force of society andthe resistances to life.
By the generative force of society is meantthat instinct which manifests itself in the multiplication of the race. To someextent it depends on climate; butsince the climate of Europe did not sensiblychange between the fourth and the sixteenth centurieswe may regard this forceas having beenon that continentduring the period under considerationinvariable.
By the resistances to life is meant whatevertends to make individual existence more difficult of support. Among such may beenumerated insufficient foodinadequate clothingimperfect shelter.
It is also known thatif the resistancesbecome inappreciablethe generative force will double a population intwenty-five years.
The resistances operate in two modes: 1.Physically; since they diminish the number of birthsand shorten the term ofthe life of all. 2. Intellectually; sincein a moraland particularly in areligious communitythey postpone marriageby causing individuals to declineits responsibilities until they feel that they are competent to meet the chargesand cares of a family. Hence the explanation of a long-recognized factthat thenumber of marriages during a given period has a connection with the price offood.
The increase of population keeps pace with theincrease
of food; andindeedsuch being the power of the generative forceitoverpasses the means of subsistenceestablishing a constant pressure upon them.Under these circumstancesit necessarily happens that a certain amount ofdestitution must occur. Individuals have come into existence who must bestarved.
As illustrations of the variations that haveoccurred in the population of different countriesmay be mentioned the immensediminution of that of Italy in consequence of the wars of Justinian; thedepopulation of North Africa in consequence of theological quarrels; itsrestoration through the establishment of Mohammedanism; the increase of that ofall Europe through the feudal systemwhen estates became more valuable inproportion to the number of retainers they could supply. The crusades caused asensible diminutionnot only through the enormous army lossesbut also byreason of the withdrawal of so many able-bodied men from marriage-life. Similarvariations have occurred on the American Continent. The population of Mexico wasvery quickly diminished by two million through the rapacity and atrociouscruelty of the Spaniardswho drove the civilized Indians to despair. The samehappened in Peru.
The population of England at the Normanconquest was about two million. In five hundred years it had scarcely doubled.It may be supposed that this stationary condition was to some extent induced bythe papal policy of the enforcement of celibacy in the clergy. The "legalgenerative force" was doubtless affected by that policythe "actualgenerative force" was not. For those who have made this subject their studyhave long ago been satisfied that public celibacy is private wickedness. Thismainly determined the laityas well as
the government in Englandto suppress the monasteries. It was openly assertedthat there were one hundred thousand women in England made dissolute by theclergy.
In my history of the "American CivilWar" I have presented some reflections on this pointwhich I will takethe liberty of quoting here: "Whatthendoes this stationary condition ofthe population mean? It meansfood obtained with hardshipinsufficientclothingpersonal uncleannesscabins that could not keep out the weatherthedestructive effects of cold and heatmiasmwant of sanitary provisionsabsence of physiciansuselessness of shrine-curethe deceptiveness ofmiraclesin which society was putting its trust; orto sum up a long catalogueof sorrowswantsand sufferingsin one term -- it means a high death-rate.
"But more; it means deficient births. Andwhat does that point out? Marriage postponedlicentious lifeprivatewickednessdemoralized society.
"To an Americanwho lives in a countrythat was yesterday an interminable and impenetrable desertbut which to-day isfilling with a population doubling itself every twenty-five years at theprescribed ratethis awful waste of actual and contingent life cannot but be amost surprising fact. His curiosity will lead him to inquire what kind of systemthat could have been which was pretending to guide and develop societybutwhich must be held responsible for this prodigious destructionexcellinginits insidious resultwarpestilenceand famine combined; insidiousfor menwere actually believing that it secured their highest temporal interests. Howdifferent now! In Englandthesame geographical surface is sustaining tentimes the population of that dayand sending forth its emigrating swarms. Lethimwho
looks backwith veneration on the pastsettle in his own mind what such asystem could have been worth."
These variations in the population of Europehave been attended with changes in distribution. The centre of population haspassed northward since the establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Ithas since passed westwardin consequence of the development of manufacturingindustry.
We may now examine somewhat more minutely thecharacter of the resistances which thusfor a thousand yearskept thepopulation of Europe stationary. The surface of the Continent was for the mostpart covered with pathless forests; here and there it was dotted withmonasteries and towns. In the lowlands and along the river-courses were fenssometimes hundreds of miles in extentexhaling their pestiferous miasmsandspreading agues far and wide. In Paris and Londonthe houses were of wooddaubed with clayand thatched with straw or reeds. They had no windowsanduntil the invention of the saw-millvery few had wooden floors. The luxury of acarpet was unknown; some strawscattered in the roomsupplied its place. Therewere no chimneys; the smoke of the ill-fedcheerless fire escaped through ahole in the roof. In such habitations there was scarcely any protection from theweather. No attempt was made at drainagebut the putrefying garbage and rubbishwere simply thrown out of the door. Menwomenand childrenslept in the sameapartment; not unfrequentlydomestic animals were their companions; in such aconfusion of the familyit was impossible that modesty or morality could bemaintained. The bed was usually a bag of strawa wooden log served as a pillow.Personal cleanliness
was utterly unknown; great officers of stateeven dignitaries so high as theArchbishop of Canterburyswarmed with vermin; suchit is relatedwas thecondition of Thomas à Becketthe antagonist of an English king. To concealpersonal impurityperfumes were necessarily and profusely used. The citizenclothed himself in leathera garment whichwith its ever-accumulatingimpuritymight last for many years. He was considered to be in circumstances ofeaseif he could procure fresh meat once a week for his dinner. The streets hadno sewers; they were without pavement or lamps. After nightfallthechamber-shatters were thrown openand slops unceremoniously emptied downtothe discomfiture of the wayfarer tracking his path through the narrow streetswith his dismal lantern in his hand.
Æneas Sylviuswho afterward became Pope PiusII.and was therefore a very competent and impartial writerhas left us agraphic account of a journey he made to the British Islandsabout 1430. Hedescribes the houses of the peasantry as constructed of stones put togetherwithout mortar; the roofs were of turfa stiffened bull's-hide served for adoor. The food consisted of coarse vegetable productssuch as peasand eventhe bark of trees. In some places they were unacquainted with bread.
Cabins of reeds plastered with mudhouses ofwattled stakeschimneyless peat-fires from which there was scarcely an escapefor the smokedens of physical and moral pollution swarming with verminwispsof straw twisted round the limbs to keep off the coldthe ague-strickenpeasantwith no help except shrine-cure! How was it possible that thepopulation could increase? Shall wethenwonder thatin the famine of 1030
human flesh was cooked and sold; or thatin that of 1258fifteen thousandpersons died of hunger in London? Shall we wonder thatin some of the invasionsof the plaguethe deaths were so frightfully numerous that the living couldhardly bury the dead? By that of 1348which came from the East along the linesof commercial traveland spread all over Europeone-third of the population ofFrance was destroyed.
Such was the condition of the peasantryandof the common inhabitants of cities. Not much better was that of the nobles.William of Malmesburyspeaking of the degraded manners of the Anglo-Saxonssays: "Their noblesdevoted to gluttony and voluptuousnessnever visitedthe churchbut the matins and the mass were read over to them by a hurryingpriest in their bedchambersbefore they rosethemselves not listening. Thecommon people were a prey to the more powerful; their property was seizedtheirbodies dragged away to distant countries; their maidens were either thrown intoa brothelor sold for slaves. Drinking day and night was the general pursuit;vicesthe companions of inebrietyfollowedeffeminating the manly mind."The baronial castles were dens of robbers. The Saxon chronicler records how menand women were caught and dragged into those strongholdshung up by theirthumbs or feetfire applied to themknotted strings twisted round their headsand many other torments inflicted to extort ransom.
All over Europethe great and profitablepolitical offices were filled by ecclesiastics. In every country there was adual government: 1. That of a local kindrepresented by a temporal sovereign;2. That of a foreign kindacknowledging the authority of the popeThis Romaninfluence wasin the nature of thingssuperior
to the local; it expressed the sovereign will of one man over all the nations ofthe continent conjointlyand gathered overwhelming power from its compactnessand unity. The local influence was necessarily of a feeble naturesince it wascommonly weakened by the rivalries of conterminous statesand the dissensionsdexterously provoked by its competitor. On not a single occasion could thevarious European states form a coalition against their common antagonist.Whenever a question arosethey were skillfully taken in detailand commonlymastered. The ostensible object of papal intrusion was to secure for thedifferent peoples moral well-being; the real object was to obtain largerevenuesand give support to vast bodies of ecclesiastics. The revenues thusabstracted were not infrequently many times greater than those passing into thetreasury of the local power. Thuson the occasion of Innocent IV. demandingprovision to be made for three hundred additional Italian clergy by the Churchof Englandand that one of his nephews -- a mere boy -- should have a stall inLincoln Cathedralit was found that the sum already annually abstracted byforeign ecclesiastics from England was thrice that which went into the coffersof the king.
While thus the higher clergy secured everypolitical appointment worth havingand abbots vied with counts in the herds ofslaves they possessed -- someit is saidowned not fewer than twenty thousand-- begging friars pervaded society in all directionspicking up a share of whatstill remained to the poor. There was a vast body of non-producersliving inidleness and owning a foreign allegiancewho were subsisting on the fruits ofthe toil of the laborers. It could not be otherwise than that small farms shouldbe unceasingly merged into the
larger estates; that the poor should steadily become poorer; that societyfarfrom improvingshould exhibit a continually increasing demoralization. Outsidethe monastic institutions no attempt at intellectual advancement was made;indeedso far as the laity were concernedthe influence of the Church wasdirected to an opposite resultfor the maxim universally received wasthat"ignorance is the mother of devotion."
The settled practice of republican andimperial Rome was to have swift communication with all her outlying provincesby means of substantial bridges and roads. One of the prime duties of thelegions was to construct them and keep them in repair. By thisher militaryauthority was assured. But the dominion of papal Romedepending upon adifferent principlehad no exigencies of that kindand this duty accordinglywas left for the local powers to neglect. And soin all directionsthe roadswere almost impassable for a large part of the year. A common means oftransportation was in clumsy carts drawn by oxengoing at the most but three orfour miles an hour. Where boat-conveyance along rivers could not be hadpack-horses and mules were resorted to for the transportation of merchandiseanadequate means for the slender commerce of the times. When large bodies of menhad to be movedthe difficulties became almost insuperable. Of thisperhapsone of the best illustrations may be found in the story of the march of thefirst Crusaders. These restraints upon intercommunication tended powerfully topromote the general benighted condition. Journeys by individuals could not beundertaken without much riskfor there was scarcely a moor or a forest that hadnot its highwaymen.
An illiterate condition everywhere prevailinggave
opportunity for the development of superstition. Europe was full of disgracefulmiracles. On all the roads pilgrims were wending their way to the shrines ofsaintsrenowned for the cures they had wrought. It had always been the policyof the Church to discourage the physician and his art; he interfered too muchwith the gifts and profits of the shrines. Time has brought this once lucrativeimposture to its proper value. How many shrines are there now in successfuloperation in Europe?
For patients too sick to move or be movedthere were no remedies except those of a ghostly kind -- the Pater-noster or theAve. For the prevention of diseasesprayers were put up in the churchesbut nosanitary measures were resorted to. From cities reeking with putrefying filth itwas thought that the plague might be stayed by the prayers of the priestsbythem rain and dry weather might be securedand deliverance obtained from thebaleful influences of eclipses and comets. But when Halley's comet camein1456so tremendous was its apparition that it was necessary for the popehimself to interfere. He exorcised and expelled it from the skies. It slunk awayinto the abysses of spaceterror-stricken by the maledictions of Calixtus III.and did not venture back for seventy-five years!
The physical value of shrine-cures and ghostlyremedies is measured by the death-rate. In those days it wasprobablyaboutone in twenty-threeunder the present more material practice it is about one inforty.
The moral condition of Europe was signallyillustrated when syphilis was introduced from the West Indies by the companionsof Columbus. It spread with wonderful rapidity; all ranks of personsfrom theHoly Father Leo X. to the beggar by the waysidecontracting the shamefuldisease. Many excused their misfortune
by declaring that it was an epidemic proceeding from a certain malignity in theconstitution of the airbut in truth its spread was due to a certain infirmityin the constitution of man -- an infirmity which had not been removed by thespiritual guidance under which he had been living.
To the medical efficacy of shrines must beadded that of special relics. These were sometimes of the most extraordinarykind. There were several abbeys that possessed our Savior's crown of thorns.Eleven had the lance that had pierced his side. If any person was adventurousenough to suggest that these could not all be authentiche would have beendenounced as an atheist. During the holy wars the Templar-Knights had driven aprofitable commerce by bringing from Jerusalem to the Crusading armies bottlesof the milk of the Blessed Virginwhich they sold for enormous sums; thesebottles were preserved with pious care in many of the great religiousestablishments. But perhaps none of these impostures surpassed in audacity thatoffered by a monastery in Jerusalemwhich presented to the beholder one of thefingers of the Holy Ghost! Modern society has silently rendered its verdict onthese scandalous objects. Though they once nourished the piety of thousands ofearnest peoplethey are now considered too vile to have a place in any publicmuseum.
How shall we account for the great failure wethus detect in the guardianship of the Church over Europe? This is not theresult that must have occurred had there been in Rome an unremitting care forthe spiritual and material prosperity of the continenthad the universalpastorthe successor of Peteroccupied himself with singleness of purpose forthe holiness and happiness of his flock.
The explanation is not difficult to find. Itis contained in a story of sin and shame. I preferthereforein the followingparagraphsto offer explanatory facts derived from Catholic authorsandindeedto present them as nearly as I can in the words of those writers.
The story I am about to relate is a narrativeof the transformation of a confederacy into an absolute monarchy.
In the early times every churchwithoutprejudice to its agreement with the Church universal in all essential pointsmanaged its own affairs with perfect freedom and independencemaintaining itsown traditional usages and disciplineall questions not concerning the wholeChurchor of primary importancebeing settled on the spot.
Until the beginning of the ninth centurythere was no change in the constitution of the Roman Church. But about 845 theIsidorian Decretals were fabricated in the west of Gaul -- a forgery containingabout one hundred pretended decrees of the early popestogether with certainspurious writings of other church dignitaries and acts of synods. This forgeryproduced an immense extension of the papal powerit displaced the old system ofchurch governmentdivesting it of the republican attributes it had possessedand transforming it into an absolute monarchy. It brought the bishops intosubjection to Romeand made the pontiff the supreme judge of the clergy of thewhole Christian world. It prepared the way for the great attemptsubsequentlymade by Hildebrandto convert the states of Europe into a theocraticpriest-kingdomwith the pope at its head.
Gregory VII.the author of this greatattemptsaw
that his plans would be best carried out through the agency of synods. Hethereforerestricted the right of holding them to the popes and their legates.To aid in the mattera new system of church law was devised by Anselm of Luccapartly from the old Isidorian forgeriesand partly from new inventions. Toestablish the supremacy of Romenot only had a new civil and a new canon law tobe produceda new history had also to be invented. This furnished needfulinstances of the deposition and excommunication of kingsand proved that theyhad always been subordinate to the popes. The decretal letters of the popes wereput on a par with Scripture. At length it came to be receivedthroughout theWestthat the popes had beenfrom the beginning of Christianitylegislatorsfor the whole Church. As absolute sovereigns in later times cannot endurerepresentative assembliesso the papacywhen it wished to become absolutefound that the synods of particular national churches must be put an end toandthose only under the immediate control of the pontiff permitted. Thisinitselfconstituted a great revolution.
Another fiction concocted in Rome in theeighth century led to important consequences. It feigned that the EmperorConstantinein gratitude for his cure from leprosyand baptism by PopeSylvesterhad bestowed Italy and the Western provinces on the popeand thatin token of his subordinationhe had served the pope as his groomand led hishorse some distance. This forgery was intended to work on the Frankish kingstoimpress them with a correct idea of their inferiorityand to show thatin theterritorial concessions they made to the Churchthey were not giving but onlyrestoring what rightfully belonged to it.
The most potent instrument of the new papalsystem was Gratian's Decretumwhich was issued about the middle of the twelfthcentury. It was a mass of fabrications. It made the whole Christian worldthrough the papacythe domain of the Italian clergy. It inculcated that it islawful to constrain men to goodnessto torture and execute hereticsand toconfiscate their property; that to kill an excommunicated person is not murder;that the popein his unlimited superiority to all lawstands on an equalitywith the Son of God!
As the new system of centralization developedmaximsthat in the olden times would have been held to be shockingwere boldlyavowed -- the whole Church is the property of the pope to do with as he will;what is simony in others is not simony in him; he is above all lawand can becalled to account by none; whoever disobeys him must be put to death; everybaptized man is his subjectand must for life remain sowhether he will ornot. Up to the end of the twelfth centurythe popes were the vicars of Peter;after Innocent III. they were the vicars of Christ.
But an absolute sovereign has need ofrevenuesand to this the popes were no exception. The institution of legateswas brought in from Hildebrand's time. Sometimes their duty was to visitchurchessometimes they were sent on special businessbut always invested withunlimited powers to bring back money over the Alps. And since the pope could notonly make lawsbut could suspend their operationa legislation was introducedin view to the purchase of dispensations. Monasteries were exempted fromepiscopal jurisdiction on payment of a tribute to Rome. The pope had now become"the universal bishop;" he had a concurrent jurisdiction in all thediocesesand could bring any
cases before his own courts. His relation to the bishops was that of an absolutesovereign to his officials. A bishop could resign only by his permissionandsees vacated by resignation lapsed to him. Appeals to him were encouraged inevery way for the sake of the dispensations; thousands of processes came beforethe Curiabringing a rich harvest to Rome. Often when there were disputingclaimants to beneficesthe pope would oust them alland appoint a creature ofhis own. Often the candidates had to waste years in Romeand either died thereor carried back a vivid impression of the dominant corruption. Germany sufferedmore than other countries from these appeals and processesand hence of allcountries was best prepared for the Reformation. During the thirteenth andfourteenth centuries the popes made gigantic strides in the acquisition ofpower. Instead of recommending their favorites for beneficesnow they issuedmandates. Their Italian partisans must be rewarded; nothing could be done tosatisfy their clamors. but to provide for them in foreign countries. Shoals ofcontesting claimants died in Rome; andwhen death took place in that citythePope claimed the right of giving away the benefices. At length it was affirmedthat he had the right of disposing of all church-offices without distinctionand that the oath of obedience of a bishop to him implied political as well asecclesiastical subjection. In countries having a dual government this increasedthe power of the spiritual element prodigiously.
Rights of every kind were remorselesslyoverthrown to complete this centralization. In this the mendicant orders weremost efficient aids. It was the pope and those orders on one sidethe bishopsand the parochial clergy on the other. The Roman court had seized
the rights of synodsmetropolitansbishopsnational churches. Incessantlyinterfered with by the legatesthe bishops lost all desire to discipline theirdioceses; incessantly interfered with by the begging monkstho parish priesthad become powerless in his own village; his pastoral influence was utterlydestroyed by the papal indulgences and absolutions they sold. The money wascarried off to Rome.
Pecuniary necessities urged many of the popesto resort to such petty expedients as to require from a princea bishopor agrand-masterwho bad a cause pending in the courta present of a golden cupfilled with ducats. Such necessities also gave origin to jubilees. Sixtus IV.established whole collegesand sold the places at three or four hundred ducats.Innocent VIII. pawned the papal tiara. Of Leo X. it was said that he squanderedthe revenues of three popeshe wasted the savings of his predecessorhe spenthis own incomehe anticipated that of his successorhe created twenty-onehundred and fifty new offices and sold them; they were considered to be a goodinvestmentas they produced twelve per cent. The interest was extorted fromCatholic countries. Nowhere in Europe could capital be so well invested as atRome. Large sums were raised by the foreclosing of mortgagesand not only bythe sale but the resale of offices. Men were promotedfor the purpose ofselling their offices again.
Though against the papal theorywhichdenounced usurious practicesan immense papal banking system had sprung upinconnection with the Curiaand sums at usurious interest were advanced toprelatesplace. huntersand litigants. The papal bankers were privileged; allothers were under the ban. The Curia had discovered that it was for theirinterest to have ecelesiastics
all over Europe in their debt. They could make them pliantand excommunicatethem for non-payment of interest. In 1327 it was reckoned that half theChristian world was under excommunication: bishops were excommunicated becausethey could not meet the extortions of legates; and persons were excommunicatedunder various pretensesto compel them to purchase absolution at an exorbitantprice. The ecclesiastical revenues of all Europe were flowing into Romea sinkof corruptionsimonyusurybriberyextortion. The popessince 1066whenthe great centralizing movement beganhad no time to pay attention to theinternal affairs of their own special flock in the city of Rome. There werethousands of foreign caseseach bringing in money. "Whenever" saysthe Bishop Alvaro Pelayo"I entered the apartments of the Roman courtclergyI found them occupied in counting up the gold-coinwhich lay about therooms in heaps." Every opportunity of extending the jurisdiction of theCuria was welcome. Exemptions were so managed that fresh grants were constantlynecessary. Bishops were privileged against cathedral chapterschapters againsttheir bishops; bishopsconventsand individualsagainst the extortions oflegates.
The two pillars on which the papal system nowrested were the College of Cardinals and the Curia. The cardinalsin 1059hadbecome electors of the popes. Up to that time elections were made by the wholebody of the Roman clergyand the concurrence of the magistrates and citizenswas necessary. But Nicolas II. restricted elections to the College of Cardinalsby a two-thirds voteand gave to the German emperor the right of confirmation.For almost two centuries there was a struggle for mastery between the cardinaloligarchy and
papal absolutism. The cardinals were willing enough that the pope should beabsolute in his foreign rulebut the never failed to attemptbefore giving himtheir votesto bind him to accord to them a recognized share in the government.After his electionand before his consecrationhe swore to observe certaincapitulationssuch as a participation of revenues between himself and thecardinals; an obligation that lie would not remove thembut would permit themto assemble twice a year to discuss whether he had kept his oath. Repeatedly thepopes broke their oath. On one sidethe cardinals wanted a larger share in thechurch government and emoluments; on the otherthe popes refused to surrenderrevenues or power. The cardinals wanted to be conspicuous in pomp andextravaganceand for this vast sums were requisite. In one instancenot fewerthan five hundred benefices were held by one of them; their friends andretainers must be suppliedtheir families enriched. It was affirmed that thewhole revenues of France were insufficient to meet their expenditures. In theirrivalries it sometimes happened that no pope was elected for several years. Itseemed as if they wanted to show how easily the Church could get on without theVicar of Christ.
Toward the close of the eleventh century theRoman Church became the Roman court. In place of the Christian sheep gentlyfollowing their shepherd in the holy precincts of the citythere had arisen achancery of writersnotariestax-gathererswhere transactions aboutprivilegesdispensationsexemptionswere carried on; and suitors went withpetitions from door to door. Rome was a rallying-point for place-hunters ofevery nation. In presence of the enormous mass of business-processesgracesindulgencesabsolutionscommands
and decisionsaddressed to all parts of Europe and Asiathe functions of thelocal church sank into insignificance. Several hundred personswhose home wasthe Curiawere required. Their aim was to rise in it by enlarging the profitsof the papal treasury. The whole Christian world had become tributary to it.Here every vestige of religion had disappeared; its members were busy withpoliticslitigationsand processes; not a word could be heard about spiritualconcerns. Every stroke of the pen had its price. Beneficesdispensationslicensesabsolutionsindulgencesprivilegeswere bought and sold likemerchandise. The suitor had to bribe every onefrom the doorkeeper to the popeor his case was lost. Poor men could neither attain prefermentnor hope for it;and the result wasthat every cleric felt he had a right to follow the examplehe had seen at Romeand that he might make profits out of his spiritualministries and sacramentshaving bought the right to do so at Romeand havingno other way to pay off his debt. The transference of power from Italians toFrenchmenthrough the removal of the Curia to Avignonproduced no change --only the Italians felt that the enrichment of Italian families had slipped outof their grasp. They had learned to consider the papacy as their appanageandthat theyunder the Christian dispensationwere God's chosen peopleas theJews had been under the Mosaic.
At the end of the thirteenth century a newkingdom was discoveredcapable of yielding immense revenues. This wasPurgatory. It was shown that the pope could empty it by his indulgences. In thisthere was no need of hypocrisy. Things were done openly. The original germ ofthe apostolic primacy had now expanded into a colossal monarchy.
The Inquisition had made the papal systemirresistible. All opposition must be punished with death by fire. A merethoughtwithout having betrayed itself by outward signwas considered asguilt. As time went onthis practice of the Inquisition became more and moreatrocious. Torture was resorted to on mere suspicion. The accused was notallowed to know the name of his accuser. He was not permitted to have any legaladviser. There was no appeal. The Inquisition was ordered not to lean to pity.No recantation was of avail. The innocent family of the accused was deprived ofits property by confiscation; half went to the papal treasuryhalf to theinquisitors. Life onlysaid Innocent III.was to be left to the sons ofmisbelieversand that merely as an act of mercy. The consequence wasthatpopessuch as Nicolas III.enriched their families through plunder acquired bythis tribunal. Inquisitors did the same habitually.
The struggle between the French and Italiansfor the possession of the papacy inevitably led to the schism of the fourteenthcentury. For more than forty years two rival popes were now anathematizing eachothertwo rival Curias were squeezing the nations for money. Eventuallytherewere three obediencesand triple revenues to be extorted. Nobodynowcouldguarantee the validity of the sacramentsfor nobody could be sure which was thetrue pope. Men were thus compelled to think for themselves. They could not findwho was the legitimate thinker for them. They began to see that the Church mustrid herself of the curialistic chainsand resort to a General Council. Thatattempt was again and again madethe intention being to raise the Council intoa Parliament of Christendomand make the pope its chief executive officer. Butthe vast interests
that had grown out of the corruption of ages could not so easily be overcome;the Curia again recovered its ascendencyand ecclesiastical trading wasresumed. The Germanswho had never been permitted to share in the Curiatookthe leading part in these attempts at reform. As things went on from bad toworseeven they at last found out that all hope of reforming the Church bymeans of councils was delusive. Erasmus exclaimed"If Christ does notdeliver his people from this multiform ecclesiastical tyrannythe tyranny ofthe Turk will become less intolerable." Cardinals' hats were now soldandunder Leo X. ecclesiastical and religious offices were actually put up toauction. The maxim of life had becomeinterest firsthonor afterward. Amongthe officialsthere was not one who could be honest in the darkand virtuouswithout a witness. The violet-colored velvet cloaks and white ermine capes ofthe cardinals were truly a cover for wickedness.
The unity of the Churchand therefore itspowerrequired the use of Latin as a sacred language. Through thisRome hadstood in an attitude strictly Europeanand was enabled to maintain a generalinternational relation. It gave her far more power than her asserted celestialauthorityandmuch as she claims to have doneshe is open to condemnationthatwith such a signal advantage in her handsnever again to be enjoyed byany successorshe did not accomplish much more. Had not the sovereign pontiffsbeen so completely occupied with maintaining their emoluments and temporalitiesin Italythey might have made the whole continent advance like one man. Theirofficials could pass without difficulty into every nationand communicatewithout embarrassment with each otherfrom Ireland to Bohemiafrom Italy toScotland. The possession of a common tongue
gave them the administration of international affairs with intelligent allieseverywherespeaking the same language.
Not without cause was the hatred manifested byRome to the restoration of Greek and introduction of Hebrewand the alarm withwhich she perceived the modern languages forming out of the vulgar dialects. Notwithout reason did the Faculty of Theology in Paris reëcho the sentiment thatwas prevalent in the time of Ximenes"What will become of religion if thestudy of Greek and Hebrew be permitted?" The prevalence of Latin was thecondition of her power; its deteriorationthe measure of her decay; its disusethe signal of her limitation to a little principality in Italy. In factthedevelopment of European languages was the instrument of her overthrow. Theyformed an effectual communication between the mendicant friars and theilliterate populaceand there was not one of them that did not display in itsearliest productions a sovereign contempt for her.
The rise of the many-tongued Europeanliterature was therefore coincident with the decline of papal Christianity;European literature was impossible under Catholic rule. A granda solemnanimposing religious unity enforced the literary unity which is implied in the useof a single tongue.
While thus the possession of a universallanguage so signally secured her powerthe real secret of much of the influenceof the Church lay in the control she had so skillfully obtained over domesticlife. Her influence diminished as that declined. Coincident with this was herdisplacement in the guidance of international relations by diplomacy.
In the old times of Roman domination theencampments
of the legions in the provinces had always proved to be foci of civilization.The industry and order exhibited in them presented an example not lost on thesurrounding barbarians of BritainGauland Germany. Andthough it was no partof their duty to occupy themselves actively in the betterment of the conqueredtribesbut rather to keep them in a depressed condition that aided inmaintaining subjectiona steady improvement both in the individual and socialcondition took place.
Under the ecclesiastical domination of Romesimilar effects occurred. In the open country the monastery replaced thelegionary encampment; in the village or townthe church was a centre of light.A powerful effect was produced by the elegant luxury of the formerand by thesacred and solemn monitions of the latter.
In extolling the papal system for what it didin the organization of the familythe definition of civil policytheconstruction of the states of Europeour praise must be limited by therecollection that the chief object of ecclesiastical policy was theaggrandizement of the Churchnot the promotion of civilization. The benefitobtained by the laity was not through any special intentionbut incidental orcollateral.
There was no far-reachingno persistent planto ameliorate the physical condition of the nations. Nothing was done to favortheir intellectual development; indeedon the contraryit was the settledpolicy to keep them not merely illiteratebut ignorant. Century after centurypassed awayand left the peasantry but little better than the cattle in thefields. Intercommunication and locomotionwhich tend so powerfully to expandthe ideasreceived no encouragement; the majority of men died without everhaving ventured out of the
neighborhood in which they were born. For them there was no hope of personalimprovementnone of the bettering of their lot; there were no comprehensiveschemes for the avoidance of individual wantnone for the resistance offamines. Pestilences were permitted to stalk forth uncheckedor at best opposedonly by mummeries. Bad foodwretched clothinginadequate shelterweresuffered to produce their resultand at the end of a thousand years thepopulation of Europe had not doubled.
If policy may be held accountable as much forthe births it prevents as for the deaths it occasionswhat a greatresponsibility there is here!
In this investigation of the influence ofCatholicismwe must carefully keep separate what it did for the people and whatit did for itself. When we think of the stately monasteryan embodiment ofluxurywith its closely-mown lawnsits gardens and bowersits fountains andmany murmuring streamswe must connect it not with the ague-stricken peasantdying without help in the fensbut with the abbothis ambling palfreyhishawk and houndshis well-stocked cellar and larder. He is part of a system thathas its centre of authority in Italy.. To that his allegiance is due. For itsbehoof are all his acts. When we surveyas still we maythe magnificentchurches and cathedrals of those timesmiracles of architectural skill -- theonly real miracles of Catholicism -- when in imagination we restore thetranscendently imposingthe noble services of which they were once the scenethe dimreligious-light streaming in through the many-colored windowsthesounds of voices not inferior in their melody to those of heaventhe priests intheir sacred vestmentsand above all the prostrate worshipers listening tolitanies and prayers in
a foreign and unknown tongueshall we not ask ourselvesWas all this for thesake of those worshipersor for the glory of the greatthe overshadowingauthority at Rome?
But perhaps some one may sayAre there notlimits to human exertion -- things which no political systemno human powernomatter how excellent its intentioncan accomplish? Men cannot be raised frombarbarisma continent cannot be civilizedin a day!
The Catholic power is nothoweverto betried by any such standard. It scornfully rejected and still rejects a humanorigin. It claims to be accredited supernaturally. The sovereign pontiff is theVicar of God upon earth. Infallible in judgmentit is given to him toaccomplish all things by miracle if need be. He had exercised an autocratictyranny over the intellect of Europe for more than a thousand years; andthoughon some occasions he had encountered the resistances of disobedient princesthesein the aggregatewere of so little momentthat the physicalthepolitical power of the continent may be affirmed to have been at his disposal.
Such facts as have been presented in thischapter weredoubtlesswell weighed by the Protestant Reformers of thesixteenth centuryand brought them to the conclusion that Catholicism hadaltogether failed in its mission; that it had become a vast system of delusionand impostureand that a restoration of true Christianity could only beaccomplished by returning to the faith and practices of the primitive times.This was no decision suddenly arrived at; it had long been the opinion of manyreligious and learned men. The pious Fratricelli in the middle ages had loudlyexpressed their belief that the fatal gift of a Roman emperor had been the doom
of true religion. It wanted nothing more than the voice of Luther to bring menthroughout the north of Europe to thedetermination that the worship of theVirgin Marythe invocation of saintsthe working of miraclessupernaturalcures of the sickthe purchase of indulgences for the perpetration of sinandall other evil practiceslucrative to their abettorswhich had been fastenedon Christianitybut which were no part of itshould come to an end.Catholicismas a system for promoting the well-being of manhad plainly failedin justifying its alleged origin; its performance had not corresponded to itsgreat pretensions; andafter an opportunity of more than a thousand years'durationit had left the masses of men submitted to its influencesboth asregards physical well-being and intellectual culturein a condition far lowerthan what it ought to have been.
SCIENCE IN RELATION TO MODERN CIVILIZATION.
Illustration of the generalinfluences of Science from the history of America.
THE INTRODUCTION OF SCIENCE INTO EUROPE. -- Itpassed from Moorish Spain to Upper Italyand was favored by the absence of thepopes at Avignon. -- The effects of printingof maritime adventureand of theReformation -- Establishment of the Italian scientific societies.
THE INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE. -- Itchanged the mode and the direction of thought in Europe. -- The transactions ofthe Royal Society of Londonand other scientific societiesfurnish anillustration of this.
THE ECONOMICAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE isillustrated by the numerous mechanical and physical inventionsmade since thefourteenth century. -- Their influence on health and domestic lifeon the artsof peace and of war.
Answer to the questionWhat has Science donefor humanity?
EUROPEat the epoch of the Reformationfurnishes us with the result of the influences of Roman Christianity in thepromotion of civilization. Americaexamined in like manner at the present timefurnishes us with an illustration of the influences of science.
In the course of the seventeenth century asparse European population bad settled along the western Atlantic coast.Attracted by the cod-fishery of Newfoundlandthe French had a little colonynorth of the St. Lawrence; the EnglishDutchand Swedesoccupied the shore ofNew England and the Middle States; some
Huguenots were living in the Carolinas. Rumors of a spring that could conferperpetual youth -- a fountain of life -- had brought a few Spaniards intoFlorida. Behind the fringe of villages which these adventurers had builtlay avast and unknown countryinhabited by wandering Indianswhose numbers from theGulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence did not exceed one hundred and eightythousand. From them the European strangers had learned that in those solitaryregions there were fresh-water seasand a great river which they called theMississippi. Some said that it flowed through Virginia into the Atlanticsomethat it passed through Floridasome that it emptied into the Pacificand somethat it reached the Gulf of Mexico. Parted from their native countries by thestormy Atlanticto cross which implied a voyage of many monthsthese refugeesseemed lost to the world.
But before the close of the nineteenth centurythe descendants of this feeble people had become one of the great powers of theearth. They had established a republic whose sway extended from the Atlantic tothe Pacific. With an army of more than a million mennot on paperbut actuallyin the fieldthey had overthrown a domestic assailant. They had maintained atsea a war-fleet of nearly seven hundred shipscarrying five thousand gunssomeof them the heaviest in the world. The tonnage of this navy amounted to half amillion. In the defense of their national life they had expended in less thanfive years more than four thousand million dollars. Their censusperiodicallytakenshowed that the population was doubling itself every twenty-five years;it justified the expectation that at the close of that century it would numbernearly one hundred million souls.
A silent continent had been changed into ascene of industry; it was full of the din of machinery and the restless movingof men. Where there had been an unbroken forestthere were hundreds of citiesand towns. To commerce were furnished in profusion some of the most importantstaplesas cottontobaccobreadstuffs. The mines yielded incrediblequantities of goldironcoal. Countless churchescollegesand publicschoolstestified that a moral influence vivified this material activity.Locomotion was effectually provided for. The railways exceeded in aggregatelength those of all Europe combined. In 1873 the aggregate length of theEuropean railways was sixty-three thousand three hundred and sixty milesthatof the American was seventy thousand six hundred and fifty miles. One of thembuilt across the continentconnected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
But not alone are these material resultsworthy of notice. Others of a moral and social kind force themselves on ourattention. Four million negro slaves had been set free. Legislationif itinclined to the advantage of any classinclined to that of the poor. Itsintention was to raise them from povertyand better their lot. A career wasopen to talentand that without any restraint. Every thing was possible tointelligence and industry. Many of the most important public offices were filledby men who had risen from the humblest walks of life. If there was not socialequalityas there never can be in rich and prosperous communitiesthere wascivil equalityrigorously maintained.
It may perhaps be said that much of thismaterial prosperity arose from special conditionssuch as had never occurred inthe case of any people beforeThere
was a vastan open theatre of actiona whole continent ready for any who choseto take possession of it. Nothing more than courage and industry was needed toovercome Natureand to seize the abounding advantages she offered.
But must not men be animated by a greatprinciple who successfully transform the primeval solitudes into an abode ofcivilizationwho are not dismayed by gloomy forestsor riversmountainsorfrightful desertswho push their conquering way in the course of a centuryacross a continentand hold it in subjection? Let us contrast with this theresults of the invasion of Mexico and Peru by the Spaniardswho in thosecountries overthrew a wonderful civilizationin many respects superior to theirown -- a civilization that had been accomplished without iron and gunpowder -- acivilization resting on an agriculture that had neither horsenor oxnorplough. The Spaniards had a clear base to start fromand no obstructionwhatever in their advance. They ruined all that the aboriginal children ofAmerica had accomplished. Millions of those unfortunates were destroyed by theircruelty. Nations that for many centuries had been living in contentment andprosperityunder institutions shown by their history to be suitable to themwere plunged into anarchy; the people fell into a baneful superstitionand agreater part of their landed and other property found its way into thepossession of the Roman Church.
I have selected the foregoing illustrationdrawn from American historyin preference to many others that might have beentaken from Europeanbecause it furnishes an instance of the operation of theacting principle least interfered with by extraneous conditions. Europeanpolitical progress is less simple than American.
Before considering its manner of actionandits resultsI will briefly relate how the scientific principle found anintroduction into Europe. INTRODUCTION OF SCIENCE INTO EUROPE.
Not only had the Crusadesfor many yearsbrought vast sums to Romeextorted from the fears or the piety of everyChristian nation; they had also increased the papal power to a most dangerousextent. In the dual governments everywhere prevailing in Europethe spiritualhad obtained the mastery; the temporal was little better than its servant.
From all quartersand under all kinds ofpretensesstreams of money were steadily flowing into Italy. The temporalprinces found that there were left for them inadequate and impoverishedrevenues. Philip the FairKing of France (A. D. 1300)not only determined tocheck this drain from his dominionsby prohibiting the export of gold andsilver without his license; he also resolved that the clergy and theecclesiastical estates should pay their share of taxes to him. This brought on amortal contest with the papacy. The king was excommunicatedandinretaliationhe accused the popeBoniface VIII.of atheism; demanding that heshould be tried by a general council. He sent some trusty persons into Italywho seized Boniface in his palace at Anagniand treated him with so muchseveritythat in a few days he died. The succeeding pontiffBenedict XI.waspoisoned.
The French king was determined that the papacyshould be purified and reformed; that it should no longer be the appanage of afew Italian familieswho were dexterously transmuting the credulity of Europeinto coin -- that French influence should prevail in it. He
therefore came to an understanding with the cardinals; a French archbishop waselevated to the pontificate; he took the name of Clement V. The papal court wasremoved to Avignonin Franceand Rome was abandoned as the metropolis ofChristianity.
Seventy years elapsed before the papacy wasrestored to the Eternal City (A. D. 1376). The diminution of its influence inthe peninsulathat had thus occurredgave opportunity for the memorableintellectual movement which soon manifested itself in the great commercialcities of Upper Italy. Contemporaneouslyalsothere were other propitiousevents. The result of the Crusades had shaken the faith of all Christendom. Inan age when the test of the ordeal of battle was universally acceptedthosewars had ended in leaving the Holy Land in the hands of the Saracens; the manythousand Christian warriors who had returned from them did not hesitate todeclare that they had found their antagonists not such as had been pictured bythe Churchbut valiantcourteousjust. Through the gay cities of the South ofFrance a love of romantic literature had been spreading; the wanderingtroubadours had been singing their songs -- songs far from being restricted toladye-love and feats of war; often their burden was the awful atrocities thathad been perpetrated by papal authority -- the religious massacres of Languedoc;often their burden was the illicit amours of the clergy. From Moorish Spain thegentle and gallant idea of chivalry had been broughtand with it the noblesentiment of "personal honor" destined in the course of time to givea code of its own to Europe.
The return of the papacy to Rome was far fromrestoring the influence of the popes over the Italian Peninsula. More than twogenerations had passed away
since their departureandhad they come back even in their original strengththey could not have resisted the intellectual progress that had been made duringtheir absence. The papacyhowevercame back not to rulebut to be dividedagainst itselfto encounter the Great Schism. Out of its dissensions emergedtwo rival popes; eventually there were threeeach pressing his claims upon thereligiouseach cursing his rival. A sentiment of indignation soon spread allover Europea determination that the shameful scenes which were then enactingshould be ended. How could the dogma of a Vicar of God upon earththe dogma ofan infallible popebe sustained in presence of such scandals? Herein lay thecause of that resolution of the ablest ecclesiastics of those times (whichalasfor Europe! could not be carried into effect)that a general council should bemade the permanent religious parliament of the whole continentwith the pope asits chief executive officer. Had that intention been accomplishedthere wouldhave been at this day no conflict between science and religion; the convulsionof the Reformation would have been avoided; there would have been no jarringProtestant sects. But the Councils of Constance and Basle failed to shake offthe Italian yokefailed to attain that noble result.
Catholicism was thus weakening; as its leadenpressure liftedthe intellect of man expanded. The Saracens had invented themethod of making paper from linen rags and from cotton. The Venetians hadbrought from China to Europe the art of printing. The former of these inventionswas essential to the latter. Hence forthwithout the possibility of a checkthere was intellectual intercommunication among all men.
The invention of printing was a severe blow to
Catholicismwhich hadpreviouslyenjoyed the inappreciable advantage of amonopoly of intercommunication. From its central seatorders could bedisseminated through all the ecclesiastical ranksand fulminated through thepulpits. This monopoly and the amazing power it conferred were destroyed by thepress. In modern timesthe influence of the pulpit has become insignificant.The pulpit has been thoroughly supplanted by the newspaper.
YetCatholicism did not yield its ancientadvantage without a struggle. As soon as the inevitable tendency of the new artwas detecteda restraint upon itunder the form of a censorshipwasattempted. It was made necessary to have a permitin order to print a book. Forthisit was needful that the work should have been readexaminedand approvedby the clergy. There must be a certificate that it was a godly and orthodoxbook. A bull of excommunication was issued in 1501by Alexander VI.againstprinters who should publish pernicious doctrines. In 1515 the Lateran Councilordered that no books should be printed but such as had been inspected by theecclesiastical censorsunder pain of excommunication and fine; the censorsbeing directed "to take the utmost care that nothing should be printedcontrary to the orthodox faith." There was thus a dread of religiousdiscussion; a terror lest truth should emerge.
But these frantic struggles of the powers ofignorance were unavailing. Intellectual intercommunication among men wassecured. It culminated in the modern newspaperwhich daily gives itscontemporaneous intelligence from all parts of the world. Reading became acommon occupation. In ancient society that art was possessed by comparativelyfew persons. Modern
society owes some of its most striking characteristics to this change.
Such was the result of bringing into Europethe manufacture of paper and the printing-press. In like manner the introductionof the mariner's compass was followed by imposing material and moral effects.These were -- the discovery of America in consequence of the rivalry of theVenetians and Genoese about the India trade; the doubling of Africa by De Gama;and the circumnavigation of the earth by Magellan. With respect to the lastthegrandest of all human undertakingsit is to be remembered that Catholicism hadirrevocably committed itself to the dogma of a flat earthwith the sky as thefloor of heavenand hell in the under-world. Some of the Fatherswhoseauthority was held to be paramounthadas we have previously saidfurnishedphilosophical and religious arguments against the globular form. The controversyhad now suddenly come to an end -- the Church was found to be in error.
The correction of that geographical error wasby no means the only important result that followed the three great voyages. Thespirit of ColumbusDe GamaMagellandiffused itself among all theenterprising men of Western Europe. Society had been hitherto living under thedogma of "loyalty to the kingobedience to the Church." It hadtherefore been living for othersnot for itself. The political effect of thatdogma had culminated in the Crusades. Countless thousands had perished in warsthat could bring them no rewardand of which the result had been conspicuousfailure. Experience had revealed the fact that the only gainers were thepontiffscardinalsand other ecclesiastics in Romeand the shipmasters ofVenice. Butwhen it became known that the wealth of MexicoPeruand
Indiamight be shared by any one who had enterprise and couragethe motivesthat had animated the restless populations of Europe suddenly changed. The storyof Cortez and Pizarro found enthusiastic listeners everywhere. Maritimeadventure supplanted religious enthusiasm.
If we attempt to isolate the principle thatlay at the basis of the wonderful social changes that now took placewe mayrecognize it without difficulty. Heretofore each man had dedicated his servicesto his superior -- feudal or ecclesiastical; now he had resolved to gather thefruits of his exertions himself. Individualism was becoming predominantloyaltywas declining into a sentiment. We shall now see how it was with the Church.
Individualism rests on the principle that aman shall be his own masterthat he shall have liberty to form his ownopinionsfreedom to carry into effect his resolves. He isthereforeeverbrought into competition with his fellow-men. His life is a display of energy.
To remove the stagnation of centuries frontEuropean lifeto vivify suddenly what had hitherto been an inert masstoimpart to it individualismwas to bring it into conflict with the influencesthat had been oppressing it. All through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuriesuneasy strugglings gave a premonition of what was coming. In the early part ofthe sixteenth (1517)the battle was joined. Individualism found its embodimentin a sturdy German monkand thereforeperhaps necessarilyasserted its rightsunder theological forms. There were some preliminary skirmishes aboutindulgences and other minor mattersbut very soon the real cause of disputecame plainly into view. Martin Luther refused to think as he was ordered to doby his ecclesiastical
superiors at Rome; he asserted that he had an inalienable right to interpret theBible for himself.
At her first glanceRome saw nothing inMartin Luther but a vulgarinsubordinatequarrelsome monk. Could theInquisition have laid hold of himit would have speedily disposed of hisaffair; butas the conflict went onit was discovered that Martin was notstanding alone. Many thousands of menas resolute as himselfwere coming up tohis support; andwhile he carried on the combat with writings and wordstheymade good his propositions with the sword.
The vilification which was poured on Lutherand his doings was so bitter as to be ludicrous. It was declared that his fatherwas not his mother's husbandbut an impish incubuswho had deluded her; thatafter ten years' struggling with his consciencehe had become an atheist; thathe denied the immortality of the soul; that he had composed hymns in honor ofdrunkennessa vice to which he was unceasingly addicted; that he blasphemed theHoly Scripturesand particularly Moses; that he did not believe a word of whathe preached; that he had called the Epistle of St. James a thing of straw; andabove allthat the Reformation was no work of hisbutin realitywas due toa certain astrological position of the stars. It washowevera vulgar sayingamong the Roman ecclesiastics that Erasmus laid the egg of the ReformationandLuther hatched it.
Rome at first made the mistake of supposingthat this was nothing more than a casual outbreak; she failed to discern that itwasin factthe culmination of an internal movement which for two centurieshad been going on in Europeand which had been hourly gathering force; thathad there been nothing elsethe existence of three popes -- three obediences --would have compelled men to
thinkto deliberateto conclude for themselves. The Councils of Constance andBasle taught them that there was a higher power than the popes. The long andbloody wars that ensued were closed by the Peace of Westphalia; and then it wasfound that Central and Northern Europe had cast off the intellectual tyranny ofRomethat individualism had carried its pointand had established the right ofevery man to think for himself.
But it was impossible that the establishmentof this right of private judgment should end with the rejection of Catholicism.Early in the movement some of the most distinguished mensuch as Erasmuswhohad been among its first promotersabandoned it. They perceived that many ofthe Reformers entertained a bitter dislike of learningand they were afraid ofbeing brought under bigoted caprice. The Protestant partyhaving thusestablished its existence by dissent and separationmustin its turnsubmitto the operation of the same principles. A decomposition into many subordinatesects was inevitable. And thesenow that they had no longer any thing to fearfrom their great Italian adversarycommenced partisan warfares on each other.Asin different countriesfirst one and then another sect rose to poweritstained itself with cruelties perpetrated upon its competitors. The mortalretaliations that had ensuedwhenin the chances of the timesthe oppressedgot the better of their oppressorsconvinced the contending sectarians thatthey must concede to their competitors what they claimed for themselves; andthusfrom their broils and their crimesthe great principle of tolerationextricated itself. But toleration is only an intermediate stage; andas theintellectual decomposition of Protestantism keeps going onthat transitional
condition will lead to a higher and nobler state -- the hope of philosophy inall past ages of the world -- a social state in which there shall be unfetteredfreedom for thought. Tolerationexcept when extorted by fearcan only comefrom those who are capable of entertaining and respecting other opinions thantheir own. It can therefore only come from philosophy. History teaches us onlytoo plainly that fanaticism is stimulated by religionand neutralized oreradicated by philosophy.
The avowed object of the Reformation wastoremove from Christianity the pagan ideas and pagan rites engrafted upon it byConstantine and his successorsin their attempt to reconcile the Roman Empireto it. The Protestants designed to bring it back to its primitive purity; andhencewhile restoring the ancient doctrinesthey cast out of it all suchpractices as the adoration of the Virgin Mary and the invocation of saints. TheVirgin Marywe are assured by the Evangelistshad accepted the duties ofmarried lifeand borne to her husband several children. In the prevailingidolatryshe had ceased to be regarded as the carpenter's wife; she had becomethe queen of heavenand the mother of God.
The science of the Arabians followed theinvading track of their literaturewhich had come into Christendom by tworoutes -- the south of Franceand Sicily. Favored by the exile of the popes toAvignonand by the Great Schismit made good its foothold in Upper Italy. TheAristotelian or Inductive philosophyclad in the Saracenic costume thatAverroes had given itmade many secret and not a few open friends. It foundmany minds eager to receive and able to appreciate it. Among these were Leonardoda Vinciwho proclaimed
the fundamental principle that experiment and observation are the only reliablefoundations of reasoning in sciencethat experiment is the only trustworthyinterpreter of Natureand is essential to the ascertainment of laws. He showedthat the action of two perpendicular forces upon a point is the same as thatdenoted by the diagonal of a rectangleof which they represent the sides. Fromthis the passage to the proposition of oblique forces was very easy. Thisproposition was rediscovered by Stevinusa century laterand applied by him tothe explanation of the mechanical powers. Da Vinci gave a clear exposition ofthe theory of forces applied obliquely on a leverdiscovered the laws offriction subsequently demonstrated by Amontonsand understood the principle ofvirtual velocities. He treated of the conditions of descent of bodies alonginclined planes and circular arcsinvented the camera-obscuradiscussedcorrectly several physiological problemsand foreshadowed some of the greatconclusions of modern geologysuch as the nature of fossil remainsand theelevation of continents. He explained the earth-light reflected by the moon.With surprising versatility of genius he excelled as a sculptorarchitectengineer; was thoroughly versed in the astronomyanatomyand chemistry of histimes. In paintinghe was the rival of Michel Angelo; in a competition betweenthemhe was considered to have established his superiority. His "LastSupper" on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Sta.Maria delle Grazieis well knownfrom the numerous engravings and copies thathave been made of it.
Once firmly established in the north of ItalyScience soon extended her sway over the entire peninsula. The increasing numberof her devotees is indicated by the rise and rapid multiplication of learned
societies. These were reproductions of the Moorish ones that had formerlyexisted in Granada and Cordova. As if to mark by a monument the track throughwhich civilizing influences had comethe Academy of Toulousefounded in 1345has survived to our own times. It representedhoweverthe gay literature ofthe south of Franceand was known under the fanciful title of "the Academyof Floral Games." The first society for the promotion of physical sciencethe Academia Secretorum Naturæwas founded at Naplesby Baptista Porta. Itwasas Tiraboschi relatesdissolved by the ecclesiastical authorities. TheLyncean was founded by Prince Frederic Cesi at Rome; its device plainlyindicated its intention: a lynxwith its eyes turned upward toward heaventearing a triple-headed Cerberus with its claws. The Accademia del Cimentoestablished at Florence1657held its meetings in the ducal palace. It lastedten yearsand was then suppressed at the instance of the papal government; asan equivalentthe brother of the grand-duke was made a cardinal. It numberedmany great mensuch as Torricelli and Castelliamong its members. Thecondition of admission into it was an abjuration of all faithand a resolutionto inquire into the truth. These societies extricated the cultivators of sciencefrom the isolation in which they had hitherto livedandby promoting theirintercommunication and unionimparted activity and strength to them all.INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE
Returning now from this digressionthishistorical sketch of the circumstances under which science was introduced intoEuropeI pass to the consideration of its manner of action and its results.
The influence of science on moderncivilization has been twofold: 1. Intellectual; 2. Economical. Under thesetitles we may conveniently consider it.
Intellectually it overthrew the authority oftradition. It refused to acceptunless accompanied by proofthe dicta of anymasterno matter how eminent or honored his name. The conditions of admissioninto the Italian Accademia del Cimentoand the motto adopted by the RoyalSociety of Londonillustrate the position it took in this respect.
It rejected the supernatural and miraculous asevidence in physical discussions. It abandoned sign-proof such as the Jews inold days requiredand denied that a demonstration can be given through anillustration of something elsethus casting aside the logic that had been invogue for many centuries.
In physical inquiriesits mode of procedurewasto test the value of any proposed hypothesisby executing computations inany special case on the basis or principle of that hypothesisand thenbyperforming an experiment or making an observationto ascertain whether theresult of these agreed with the result of the computation. If it did notthehypothesis was to be rejected.
We may here introduce an illustration or twoof this mode of procedure:
Newtonsuspecting that the influence of theearth's attractiongravitymay extend as far as the moonand be the forcethat causes her to revolve in her orbit round the earthcalculated thatby hermotion in her orbitshe was deflected from the tangent thirteen feet everyminute; butby ascertaining the space through which bodies would fall in oneminute at the earth's surfaceand supposing it to be diminished in the ratio
of the inverse squareit appeared that the attraction at the moon's orbit woulddraw a body through more than fifteen feet. Hethereforefor the timeconsidered his hypothesis as unsustained. But it so happened that Picard shortlyafterward executed more correctly a new measurement of a degree; this changedthe estimated magnitude of the earthand the distance of the moonwhich wasmeasured in earth-semidiameters. Newton now renewed his computationandas Ihave related on a previous pageas it drew to a closeforeseeing that acoincidence was about to be establishedwas so much agitated that he wasobliged to ask a friend to complete it. The hypothesis was sustained.
A second instance will sufficiently illustratethe method under consideration. It is presented by the chemical theory ofphlogiston. Stahlthe author of this theoryasserted that there is a principleof inflammabilityto which he gave the name phlogistonhaving the quality ofuniting with substances. Thuswhen what we now term a metallic oxide was unitedto ita metal was produced; andif the phlogiston were withdrawnthe metalpassed back into its earthy or oxidized state. On this principlethenthemetals were compound bodiesearths combined with phlogiston.
But during the eighteenth century the balancewas introduced as an instrument of chemical research. Nowif the phlogistichypothesis be trueit would follow that a metal should be the heavieritsoxide the lighter bodyfor the former contains something -- phlogiston -- thathas been added to the latter. Buton weighing a portion of any metaland alsothe oxide producible from itthe latter proves to be the heavierand here thephlogistic hypothesis fails. Still furtheron continuing the investigationitmay be shown that the oxide or calxas
it used to be calledhas become heavier by combining with one of theingredients of the air.
To Lavoisier is usually attributed this testexperiment; but the fact that the weight of a metal increases by calcination wasestablished by earlier European experimentersandindeedwas well known tothe Arabian chemists. Lavoisierhoweverwas the first to recognize its greatimportance. In his hands it produced a revolution in chemistry.
The abandonment of the phlogistic theory is anillustration of the readiness with which scientific hypotheses are surrenderedwhen found to be wanting in accordance with facts. Authority and tradition passfor nothing. Every thing is settled by an appeal to Nature. It is assumed thatthe answers she gives to a practical interrogation will ever be true.
Comparing now the philosophical principles onwhich science was proceedingwith the principles on which ecclesiasticismrestedwe see thatwhile the former repudiated traditionto the latter it wasthe main support while the former insisted on the agreement of calculation andobservationor the correspondence of reasoning and factthe latter leaned uponmysteries; while the former summarily rejected its own theoriesif it saw thatthey could not be coördinated with Naturethe latter found merit in a faiththat blindly accepted the inexplicablea satisfied contemplation of"things above reason." The alienation between the two continuallyincreased. On one side there was a sentiment of disdainon the other asentiment of hatred. Impartial witnesses on all hands perceived that science wasrapidly undermining ecclesiasticism.
Mathematics had thus become the greatinstrument
of scientific researchit had become the instrument of scientific reasoning. Inone respect it may be said that it reduced the operations of the mind to amechanical processfor its symbols often saved the labor of thinking. The habitof mental exactness it encouraged extended to other branches of thoughtandproduced an intellectual revolution. No longer was it possible to be satisfiedwith miracle-proofor the logic that had been relied upon throughout the middleages. Not only did it thus influence the manner of thinkingit also changed thedirection of thought. Of this we may be satisfied by comparing the subjectsconsidered in the transactions of the various learned societies with thediscussions that had occupied the attention of the middle ages.
But the use of mathematics was not limited tothe verification of theories; as above indicatedit also furnished a means ofpredicting what had hitherto been unobserved. In this it offered a counterpartto the prophecies of ecclesiasticism. The discovery of Neptune is an instance ofthe kind furnished by astronomyand that of conical refraction by the opticaltheory of undulations.
Butwhile this great instrument led to such awonderful development in natural scienceit was itself undergoing development-- improvement. Let us in a few lines recall its progress.
The germ of algebra may be discerned in theworks of Diophantus of Alexandriawho is supposed to have lived in the secondcentury of our era. In that Egyptian school Euclid had formerly collected thegreat truths of geometryand arranged them in logical sequence. ArchimedesinSyracusehad attempted the solution of the higher problems by the method ofexhaustions.
Such was the tendency of things thathad the patronage of science beencontinuedalgebra would inevitably have been invented.
To the Arabians we owe our knowledge of therudiments of algebra; we owe to them the very name under which this branch ofmathematics passes. They had carefully addedto the remains of the AlexandrianSchoolimprovements obtained in Indiaand had communicated to the subject acertain consistency and form. The knowledge of algebraas they possessed itwas first brought into Italy about the beginning of the thirteenth century. Itattracted so little attentionthat nearly three hundred years elapsed beforeany European work on the subject appeared. In 1496 Paccioli published his bookentitled "Arte Maggiore" or "Alghebra." In 1501CardanofMilangave a method for the solution of cubic equations; other improvementswere contributed by Scipio Ferreo1508by Tartaleaby Vieta. The Germans nowtook up the subject. At this time the notation was in an imperfect state.
The publication of the Geometry of Descarteswhich contains the application of algebra to the definition and investigation ofcurve lines (1637)constitutes an epoch in the history of the mathematicalsciences. Two years previouslyCavalieri's work on Indivisibles had appeared.This method was improved by Torricelli and others. The way was now openfor thedevelopment of the Infinitesimal Calculusthe method of Fluxions of Newtonandthe Differential and Integral Calculus of Leibnitz. Though in his possessionmany years previouslyNewton published nothing on Fluxions until 1704; theimperfect notation he employed retarded very much the application of his method.Meantime
on the Continentvery largely through the brilliant solutions of some of thehigher problemsaccomplished by the Bernouillisthe Calculus of Leibnitz wasuniversally acceptedand improved by many mathematicians. An extraordinarydevelopment of the science now took placeand continued throughout the century.To the Binomial theorempreviously discovered by NewtonTaylor now addedinhis "Method of Increments" the celebrated theorem that bears hisname. This was in 1715. The Calculus of Partial Differences was introduced byEuler in 1734. It was extended by D'Alembertand was followed by that ofVariationsby Euler and Lagrangeand by the method of Derivative FunctionsbyLagrangein 1772.
But it was not only in Italyin GermanyinEnglandin Francethat this great movement in mathematics was witnessed;Scotland had added a new gem to the intellectual diadem with which her brow isencircledby the grand invention of Logarithmsby Napier of Merchiston. It isimpossible to give any adequate conception of the scientific importance of thisincomparable invention. The modern physicist and astronomer will most cordiallyagree with Briggsthe Professor of Mathematics in Gresham Collegein hisexclamation: "I never saw a book that pleased me betterand that made I memore wonder!" Not without reason did the immortal Kepler regard Napier"to be the greatest man of his agein the department to which he hadapplied his abilities." Napier died in 1617. It is no exaggeration to saythat this inventionby shortening the laborsdoubled the life of theastronomer.
But here I must check myself. I must rememberthat my present purpose is not to give the history of mathematicsbut toconsider what science has done for
the advancement of human civilization. And nowat oncerecurs the questionHow is it that the Church produced no geometer in her autocratic reign of twelvehundred years?
With respect to pure mathematics this remarkmay be made: Its cultivation does not demand appliances that are beyond thereach of most individuals. Astronomy must have its observatorychemistry itslaboratory; but mathematics asks only personal disposition and a few books. Nogreat expenditures are called fornor the services of assistants. One wouldthink that nothing could be more congenialnothing more delightfuleven in theretirement of monastic life.
Shall we answer with Eusebius"It isthrough contempt of such useless labor that we think so little of these matters;we turn our souls to the exercise of better things?" Better things! Whatcan be better than absolute truth? Are mysteriesmiracleslying imposturesbetter? It was these that stood in the way!
The ecclesiastical authorities had recognizedfrom the outset of this scientific invasionthat the principles it wasdisseminating were absolutely irreconcilable with the current theology. Directlyand indirectlythey struggled against it. So great was their detestation ofexperimental sciencethat they thought they had gained a great advantage whenthe Accademia del Cimento was suppressed. Nor was the sentiment restricted toCatholicism. When the Royal Society of London was foundedtheological odium wasdirected against it with so much rancor thatdoubtlessit would have beenextinguishedhad not King Charles II. given it his open and avowed support. Itwas accused of an intention of "destroying the established religionofinjuring the universitiesand of upsetting ancient and solid learning."
We have only to turn over the pages of itsTransactions to discern how much this society has done for the progress ofhumanity. It was incorporated in 1662and has interested itself in all thegreat scientific movements and discoveries that have since been made. Itpublished Newton's "Principia;" it promoted Halley's voyagethe firstscientific expedition undertaken by any government; it made experiments on thetransfusion of bloodand accepted Harvey's discovery of the circulation. Theencouragement it gave to inoculation led Queen Caroline to beg six condemnedcriminals for experimentand then to submit her own children to that operation.Through its encouragement Bradley accomplished his great discoverytheaberration of the fixed starsand that of the nutation of the earth's axis; tothese two discoveriesDelambre sayswe owe the exactness of modern astronomy.It promoted the improvement of the thermometerthe measure of temperatureandin Harrison's watchthe chronometerthe measure of time. Through it theGregorian Calendar was introduced into Englandin 1752against a violentreligious opposition. Some of its Fellows were pursued through the streets by anignorant and infuriated mobwho believed it had robbed them of eleven days oftheir lives; it was found necessary to conceal the name of Father Walmesleyalearned Jesuitwho had taken deep interest in the matter; andBradleyhappening to die during the commotionit was declared that he had suffered ajudgment from Heaven for his crime!
If I were to attempt to do justice to themerits of this great societyI should have to devote many pagesto suchsubjects as the achromatic telescope of Dollond; the dividing engine of Ramsdenwhich first gave precision to astronomical observationsthe measurement
of a degree on the earth's surface by Mason and Dixon; the expeditions of Cookin connection with the transit of Venus; his circumnavigation of the earth; hisproof that scurvythe curse of long sea-voyagesmay be avoided by the use ofvegetable substances; the polar expeditions; the determination of the density ofthe earth by Maskelyne's experiments at Scheliallionand by those of Cavendish;the discovery of the planet Uranus by Herschel; the composition of water byCavendish and Watt; the determination of the difference of longitude betweenLondon and Paris; the invention of the voltaic pile; the surveys of the heavensby the Herschels; the development of the principle of interference by Youngandhis establishment of the undulatory theory of light; the ventilation of jailsand other buildings; the introduction of gas for city illumination; theascertainment of the length of the seconds-pendulum; the measurement of thevariations of gravity in different latitudes; the operations to ascertain thecurvature of the earth; the polar expedition of Ross; the invention of thesafety-lamp by Davyand his decomposition of the alkalies and earths; theelectro-magnetic discoveries of Oersted and Faraday; the calculating-engines ofBabbage; the measures taken at the instance of Humboldt for the establishment ofmany magnetic observatories; the verification of contemporaneous magneticdisturbances over the earth's surface. But it is impossiblein the limitedspace at my disposalto give even so little as a catalogue of its Transactions.Its spirit was identical with that which animated the Accademia del Cimentoandits motto accordingly was "Nullius in Verba." It proscribedsuperstitionand permitted only calculationobservationand experiment.
Not for a moment must it be supposed that inthese great attemptsthese great Successesthe Royal Society stood alone. Inall the capitals of Europe there were AcademiesInstitutesor Societiesequalin distinctionand equally successful in promoting human knowledge and moderncivilization. THE ECONOMICAL INFLUENCES OF SCIENCE.
The scientific study of Nature tends not onlyto correct and ennoble the intellectual conceptions of man; it serves also toameliorate his physical condition. It perpetually suggests to him the inquiryhow he may makeby their economical applicationascertained facts subservientto his use.
The investigation of principles is quicklyfollowed by practical inventions. Thisindeedis the characteristic feature ofour times. It has produced a great revolution in national policy.
In former ages wars were made for theprocuring of slaves. A conqueror transported entire populationsand extortedfrom them forced laborfor it was only by human labor that human labor could berelieved. But when it was discovered that physical agents and mechanicalcombinations could be employed to incomparably greater advantagepublic policyunderwent a change; when it was recognized that the application of a newprincipleor the invention of a new machinewas better than the acquisition ofan additional slavepeace became preferable to war. And not only sobutnations possessing great slave or serf populationsas was the care in Americaand Russiafound that considerations of humanity were supported byconsiderations of interestand set their bondmen free.
Thus we live in a period of which acharacteristic is
the supplanting of human and animal labor by machines. Its mechanical inventionshave wrought a social revolution. We appeal to the naturalnot to thesupernaturalfor the accomplishment of our ends. It is with the "moderncivilization" thus arising that Catholicism refuses to be reconciled. Thepapacy loudly proclaims its inflexible repudiation of this state of affairsandinsists on a restoration of the medieval condition of things.
That a piece of amberwhen rubbedwillattract and then repel light bodieswas a fact known six hundred years beforeChrist. It remained an isolateduncultivated facta mere trifleuntil sixteenhundred years after Christ. Then dealt with by the scientific methods ofmathematical discussion and experimentand practical application made of theresultit has permitted men to communicate instantaneously with each otheracross continents and under oceans. It has centralized the world. By enablingthe sovereign authority to transmit its mandates without regard to distance orto timeit has revolutionized statesmanship and condensed political power.
In the Museum of Alexandria there was amachine invented by Herothe mathematiciana little more than one hundredyears before Christ. It revolved by the agency of steamand was of the formthat we should now call a reaction-engine. Thisthe germ of one of the mostimportant inventions ever madewas remembered as a mere curiosity for seventeenhundred years.
Chance had nothing to do with the invention ofthe modern steam-engine. It was the product of meditation and experiment. Ia themiddle of the seventeenth century several mechanical engineers attempted toutilize the properties of steam; their labors were
brought to perfection by Watt in the middle of the eighteenth.
The steam-engine quickly became the drudge ofcivilization. It performed the work of many millions of men. It gaveto thosewho would have been condemned to a life of brutal toilthe opportunity ofbetter pursuits. He who formerly labored might now think.
Its earliest application was in suchoperations as pumpingwherein mere force is required. Soonhoweveritvindicated its delicacy of touch in the industrial arts of spinning and weaving.It created vast manufacturing establishmentsand supplied clothing for theworld. It changed the industry of nations.
In its applicationfirst to the navigation ofriversand then to the navigation of the oceanit more than quadrupled thespeed that had heretofore been attained. Instead of forty days being requisitefor the passagethe Atlantic might now be crossed in eight. Butin landtransportationits power was most strikingly displayed. The admirable inventionof the locomotive enabled men to travel farther in less than an hour than theyformerly could have done in more than a day.
The locomotive has not only enlarged the fieldof human activitybutby diminishing spaceit has increased the capabilitiesof human life. In the swift transportation of manufactured goods andagricultural productsit has become a most efficient incentive to humanindustry
The perfection of ocean steam-navigation wasgreatly promoted by the invention of the chronometerwhich rendered it possibleto find with accuracy the place of a ship at sea. The great drawback on theadvancement of science in the Alexandrian School was the want of an instrumentfor the measurement of
timeand one for the measurement of temperature -- the chronometer and thethermometer; indeedthe invention of the latter is essential to that of theformer. Clepsydrasor water-clockshad been triedbut they were deficient inaccuracy. Of one of themornamented with the signs of the zodiacand destroyedby certain primitive ChristiansSt. Polycarp significantly remarked"Inall these monstrous demons is seen an art hostile to God." Not until about1680 did the chronometer begin to approach accuracy. Hookethe contemporary ofNewtongave it the balance-wheelwith the spiral springand variousescapements in succession were devisedsuch as the anchorthe dead-beattheduplexthe remontoir. Provisions for the variation of temperature wereintroduced. It was brought to perfection eventually by Harrison and Arnoldintheir hands becoming an accurate measure of the flight of time. To the inventionof the chronometer must be added that of the reflecting sextant by Godfrey. Thispermitted astronomical observations to be madenotwithstanding the motion of aship.
Improvements in ocean navigation areexercising a powerful influence on the distribution of mankind. They areincreasing the amount and altering the character of colonization.
But not alone have these great discoveries andinventionsthe offspring of scientific investigationchanged the lot of thehuman race; very many minor onesperhaps individually insignificanthave intheir aggregate accomplished surprising effects. The commencing cultivation ofscience in the fourteenth century gave a wonderful stimulus to inventive talentdirected mainly to useful practical results; and thissubsequentlywas greatlyencouraged by the system of patentswhich
secure to the originator a reasonable portion of the benefits of his skill. Itis sufficient to refer in the most cursory manner to a few of theseimprovements; we appreciate at once how much they have done. The introduction ofthe saw-mill gave wooden floors to housesbanishing those of gypsumtileorstone; improvements cheapening the manufacture of glass gave windowsmakingpossible the warming of apartments. Howeverit was not until the sixteenthcentury that glazing could be well done. The cutting of glass by the diamond wasthen introduced. The addition of chimneys purified the atmosphere of dwellingssmoky and sooty as the huts of savages; it gave that indescribable blessing ofnorthern homes -- a cheerful fireside. Hitherto a hole in the roof for theescape of the smokea pit in the midst of the floor to contain the fueland tobe covered with a lid when the curfew-bell sounded or night camesuch had beenthe cheerless and inadequate means of warming.
Though not without a bitter resistance on thepart of the clergymen began to think that pestilences are not punishmentsinflicted by God on society for its religious shortcomingsbut the physicalconsequences of filth and wretchedness; that the proper mode of avoiding them isnot by praying to the saintsbut by insuring personal and municipalcleanliness. In the twelfth century it was found necessary to pave the streetsof Paristhe stench in them was so dreadful At once dysenteries and spottedfever diminished; a sanitary condition approaching that of the Moorish cities ofSpainwhich had been paved for centurieswas attained. In that now beautifulmetropolis it was forbidden to keep swinean ordinance resented by the monks ofthe abbey of St. Anthonywho demanded that
the pigs of that saint should go where they chose; the government was obliged tocompromise the matter by requiring that bells should be fastened to the animals'necks. King Philipthe son of Louis the Fathad been killed by his horsestumbling over a sow. Prohibitions were published against throwing slops out ofthe windows. In 1870 an eye-witnessthe author of this bookat the close ofthe pontifical rule in Romefound thatin walking the ordure-defiled streetsof that cityit was more necessary to inspect the earth than to contemplate theheavensin order to preserve personal purity. Until the beginning of theseventeenth centurythe streets of Berlin were never swept. There was a lawthat every countrymanwho came to market with a cartshould carry back a loadof dirt!
Paving was followed by attemptsoften of animperfect kindat the construction of drains and sewers. It had become obviousto all reflecting men that these were necessary to the preservation of healthnot only in townsbut in isolated houses. Then followed the lighting of thepublic thoroughfares. At first houses facing the streets were compelled to havecandles or lamps in their windows; next the system that had been followed withso much advantage in Cordova and Granada -- of having public lamps -- was triedbut this was not brought to perfection until the present centurywhen lightingby gas was invented. Contemporaneously with public lamps were improvedorganizations for night-watchmen and police.
By the sixteenth centurymechanicalinventions and manufacturing improvements were exercising a conspicuousinfluence on domestic and social life. There were looking-glasses and clocks onthe wallsmantels over the fireplaces. Though in many districts thekitchen-fire
was still supplied with turfthe use of coal began to prevail. The table in thedining-room offered new delicacies; commerce was bringing to it foreignproducts; the coarse drinks of the North were supplanted by the delicate winesof the South. Ice-houses were constructed. The bolting of flourintroduced atthe windmillshad given whiter and finer bread. By degrees things that had beenrarities became common -- Indian-cornthe potatothe turkeyandconspicuousin the long listtobacco. Forksan Italian inventiondisplaced the filthy useof the fingers. It may be said that the diet of civilized men now underwent aradical change. Tea came from Chinacoffee from Arabiathe use of sugar fromIndiaand these to no insignificant degree supplanted fermented liquors.Carpets replaced on the floors the layer of straw; in the chambers thereappeared better bedsin the wardrobes cleaner and more frequently-changedclothing. In many towns the aqueduct was substituted for the public fountain andthe street-pump. Ceilings which in the old days would have been dingy with sootand dirtwere now decorated with ornamental frescoes. Baths were more commonlyresorted to; there was less need to use perfumery for the concealment ofpersonal odors. An increasing taste for the innocent pleasures of horticulturewas manifestedby the introduction of many foreign flowers in the gardens --the tuberosethe auriculathe crown imperialthe Persian lilytheranunculusand African marigolds. In the streets there appeared sedansthenclose carriagesand at length hackney-coaches.
Among the dull rustics mechanical improvementsforced their wayand gradually attainedin the implements for ploughingsowingmowingreapingthrashingthe perfection of our own times.
It began to be recognizedin spite of thepreaching of the mendicant ordersthat poverty is the source of crimetheobstruction to knowledge; that the pursuit of riches by commerce is far betterthan the acquisition of power by war. Forthough it may be trueas Montesquieusaysthatwhile commerce unites nationsit antagonizes individualsand makesa traffic of moralityit alone can give unity to the world; its dreamitshopeis universal peace.
Thoughinstead of a few pagesit wouldrequire volumes to record adequately the ameliorations that took place indomestic and social life after science began to exert its beneficent influencesand inventive talent came to the aid of industrythere are some things whichcannot be passed in silence. From the port of Barcelona the Spanish khalifs hadcarried on an enormous commerceand they with their coadjutors -- Jewishmerchants -- had adopted or originated many commercial inventionswhichwithmatters of pure sciencethey had transmitted to the trading communities ofEurope. The art of book-keeping by double entry was thus brought into UpperItaly. The different kinds of insurance were adoptedthough strenuouslyresisted by the clergy. They opposed fire and marine insuranceon the groundthat it is a tempting of Providence. Life insurance was regarded as an act ofinterference with the consequences of God's will. Houses for lending money oninterest and on pledgesthat isbanking and pawnbroking establishmentswerebitterly denouncedand especially was indignation excited against the taking ofhigh rates of interestwhich was stigmatized as usury -- a feeling existing insome backward communities up to the present day. Bills of exchange in thepresent form and terms were adoptedthe office of the public notary
establishedand protests for dishonored obligations resorted to. Indeedit maybe saidwith but little exaggerationthat the commercial machinery now usedwas thus introduced. I have already remarked thatin consequence of thediscovery of Americathe front of Europe had been changed. Many rich Italianmerchants and many enterprising Jewshad settled in Holland EnglandFranceand brought into those countries various mercantile devices. The Jewswho carednothing about papal maledictionswere enriched by the pontifical action inrelation to the lending of money at high interest; but Pius II.perceiving themistake that had been madewithdrew his opposition. Pawnbroking establishmentswere finally authorized by Leo X.who threatened excommunication of those whowrote against them. In their turn the Protestants now exhibited a dislikeagainst establishments thus authorized by Rome. As the theological dogmathatthe plaguelike the earthquakeis an unavoidable visitation from God for thesins of menbegan to be doubtedattempts were made to resist its progress bythe establishment of quarantines. When the Mohammedan discovery of inoculationwas brought from Constantinople in 1721by Lady Mary Wortley Montaguit was sostrenuously resisted by the clergythat nothing short of its adoption by theroyal family of England brought it into use. A similar resistance was exhibitedwhen Jenner introduced his great improvementvaccination; yet a century ago itwas the exception to see a face unpitted by smallpox -- now it is the exceptionto see one so disfigured. In like mannerwhen the great American discovery ofanæsthetics was applied in obstetrical casesit was discouragednot so muchfor physiological reasonsas under the pretense that it was an impious attemptto escape
from the curse denounced against all women in Genesis iii. 16.
Inventive ingenuity did not restrict itself tothe production of useful contrivancesit added amusing ones. Soon after theintroduction of science into Italythe houses of the virtuosi began to aboundin all kinds of curious mechanical surprisesandas they were termedmagicaleffects. In the latter the invention of the magic-lantern greatly assisted. Notwithout reason did the ecclesiastics detest experimental philosophyfor aresult of no little importance ensued -- the juggler became a successful rivalto the miracle-worker. The pious frauds enacted in the churches lost theirwonder when brought into competition with the tricks of the conjurer in themarket-place: he breathed flamewalked on burning coalsheld red-hot iron inhis teethdrew basketfuls of eggs out of his mouthworked miracles bymarionettes. Yet the old idea of the supernatural was with difficulty destroyed.A horsewhose master had taught him many trickswas tried at Lisbon in 1601found guilty of beingpossessed by the deviland was burnt. Still later thanthat many witches were brought to the stake.
Once fairly introduceddiscovery andinvention have unceasingly advanced at an accelerated pace. Each continuallyreacted on the othercontinually they sapped supernaturalism. De Dominiscommencedand Newton completedthe explanation of the rainbow; they showedthat it was not the weapon of warfare of Godbut the accident of rays of lightin drops of water. De Dominis was decoyed to Rome through the promise of anarchbishopricand the hope of a cardinal's hat. He was lodged in a fineresidencebut carefully watched. Accused of having suggested a concord betweenRome
and Englandhe was imprisoned in the castle of St Angeloand there died. Hewas brought in his coffin before an ecclesiastical tribunaladjudged guilty ofheresyand his bodywith a heap of heretical bookswas cast into the flames.Franklinby demonstrating the identity of lightning and electricitydeprivedJupiter of his thunder-bolt. The marvels of superstition were displaced by thewonders of truth. The two telescopesthe reflector and the achromaticinventions of the last centurypermitted man to penetrate into the infinitegrandeurs of the universeto recognizeas far as such a thing is possibleitsillimitable spacesits measureless times; and a little later the achromaticmicroscope placed before his eyes the world of the infinitely small. Theair-balloon carried him above the cloudsthe diving-bell to the bottom of thesea. The thermometer gave him true measures of the variations of heat; thebarometerof the pressure of the air. The introduction of the balance impartedexactness to chemistryit proved the indestructibility of matter. The discoveryof oxygenhydrogenand many other gasesthe isolation of aluminumcalciumand other metalsshowed that earth and air and water are not elements. With anenterprise that can never be too much commendedadvantage was taken of thetransits of Venusandby sending expeditions to different regionsthedistance of the earth from the sun was determined. The step that Europeanintellect had made between 1456 and 1759 was illustrated by Halley's comet. Whenit appeared in the former yearit was considered as the harbinger of thevengeance of Godthe dispenser of the most dreadful of his retributionswarpestilencefamine. By order of the popeall the church-bells in Europe wererung to scare it awaythe faithful were commanded to add each day
another prayer; andas their prayers had often in so marked a manner beenanswered in eclipses and droughts and rainsso on this occasion it was declaredthat a victory over the comet had been vouchsafed to the pope. Butin the meantimeHalleyguided by the revelations of Kepler and Newtonhad discoveredthat its motionsso far from being controlled by the supplications ofChristendomwere guided in an elliptic orbit by destiny. Knowing that Naturebad denied to him an opportunity of witnessing the fulfillment of his daringprophecyhe besought the astronomers of the succeeding generation to watch forits return in 1759and in that year it came.
Whoever will in a spirit of impartialityexamine what had been done by Catholicism for the intellectual and materialadvancement of Europeduring her long reignand what has been done by sciencein its brief period of actioncanI am persuadedcome to no other conclusionthan thisthatin instituting a comparisonhe has established a contrast. Andyethow imperfecthow inadequate is the catalogue of facts I have furnished inthe foregoing pages! I have said nothing of the spread of instruction by thediffusion of the arts of reading and writingthrough public schoolsand theconsequent creation of a reading community; the modes of manufacturing publicopinion by newspapers and reviewsthe power of journalismthe diffusion ofinformation public and private by the post-office and cheap mailstheindividual and social advantages of newspaper advertisements. I have saidnothing of the establishment of hospitalsthe first exemplar of which was theInvalides of Paris; nothing of the improved prisonsreformatoriespenitentiariesasylumsthe treatment of lunaticspauperscriminals; nothingof the construction
of canalsof sanitary engineeringor of census reports; nothing of theinvention of stereotypingbleaching by chlorinethe cotton-ginor of themarvelous contrivances with which cotton-mills are filled -- contrivances whichhave given us cheap clothingand therefore added to cleanlinesscomforthealth; nothing of the grand advancement of medicine and surgeryor of thediscoveries in physiologythe cultivation of the fine artsthe improvement ofagriculture and rural economythe introduction of chemical manures andfarm-machinery. I have not referred to the manufacture of iron and its vastaffiliated industries; to those of textile fabrics; to the collection of museumsof natural historyantiquitiescuriosities. I have passed unnoticed the greatsubject of the manufacture of machinery by itself -- the invention of theslide-restthe planing-machineand many other contrivances by which enginescan be constructed with almost mathematical correctness. I have said nothingadequate about the railway systemor the electric telegraphnor about thecalculusor lithographythe airpumpor the voltaic battery; the discovery ofUranus or Neptuneand more than a hundred asteroids; the relation of meteoricstreams to comets; nothing of the expeditions by land and sea that have beensent forth by various governments for the determination of importantastronomical or geographical questions; nothing of the costly and accurateexperiments they have caused to be made for the ascertainment of fundamentalphysical data. I have been so unjust to our own century that I have made noallusion to some of its greatest scientific triumphs: its grand conceptions innatural history; its discoveries in magnetism and electricity; its invention ofthe beautiful art of photography; its applications of spectrum analysis; itsattempts to bring
chemistry under the three laws of Avogadroof Boyle and Mariotteand ofCharles; its artificial production of organic substances from inorganicmaterialof which the philosophical consequences are of the utmost importance;its reconstruction of physiology by laying the foundation of that science onchemistry; its improvements and advances in topographical surveying and in thecorrect representation of the surface of the globe. I have said nothing aboutrifled-guns and armored shipsnor of the revolution that has been made in theart of war; nothing of that gift to womenthe sewing-machine; nothing of thenoble contentions and triumphs of the arts of peace -- the industrialexhibitions and world's fairs.
What a catalogue have we hereand yet howimperfect! It gives merely a random glimpse at an ever-increasing intellectualcommotion -- a mention of things as they casually present themselves to view.How striking the contrast between this literarythis scientific activityandthe stagnation of the middle ages!
The intellectual enlightenment that surroundsthis activity has imparted unnumbered blessings to the human race. In Russia ithas emancipated a vast serf-population; in America it has given freedom to fourmillion negro slaves. In place of the sparse dole of the monastery-gateit hasorganized charity and directed legislation to the poor. It has shown medicineits true functionto prevent rather than to cure disease. In statesmanship ithas introduced scientific methodsdisplacing random and empirical legislationby a laborious ascertainment of social facts previous to the application oflegal remedies. So conspicuousso impressive is the manner in which it iselevating menthat the hoary nations of Asia seek to participate in the boon.Let us not forget that our action on them must be attended
by their reaction on us. If the destruction of paganism was completed when allthe gods were brought to Rome and confronted therenowwhen by our wonderfulfacilities of locomotion strange nations and conflicting religions are broughtinto common presence -- the Mohammedanthe Buddhistthe Brahman-modificationsof them all must ensue. In that conflict science alone will stand secure; for ithas given us grander views of the universemore awful views of God.
The spirit that has imparted life to thismovementthat has animated these discoveries and inventionsis Individualism;in some minds the hope of gainin other and nobler ones the expectation ofhonor. It isthennot to be wondered at that this principle found a politicalembodimentand thatduring the last centuryon two occasionsit gave rise tosocial convulsions -- the American and the French Revolutions. The former hasended in the dedication of a continent to Individualism -- thereunderrepublican formsbefore the close of the present centuryone hundred millionpeoplewith no more restraint than their common security requireswill bepursuing an unfettered career. The latterthough it has modified the politicalaspect of all Europeand though illustrated by surprising military successeshasthus farnot consummated its intentions; again and again it has broughtupon France fearful disasters. Her dual form of government -- her allegiance toher two sovereignsthe political and the spiritual -- has made her at once theleader and the antagonist of modern progress. With one hand she has enthronedReasonwith the other she has reëtablished and sustained the pope. Nor willthis anomaly in her conduct cease until she bestows a true education on all herchildreneven on those of the humblest rustic.
The intellectual attack made on existingopinions by the French Revolution was not of a scientificbut of a literarycharacter; it was critical and aggressive. But Science has never been anaggressor. She has always acted on the defensiveand left to her antagonist themaking of wanton attacks. Neverthelessliterary dissent is not of such ominousimport as scientific; for literature isin its naturelocal -- science iscosmopolitan.
Ifnowwe demandWhat has science done forthe promotion of modern civilization; what has it done for the happinessthewell-being of society? we shall find our answer in the same manner that wereached a just estimate of what Latin Christianity had done. The reader of theforegoing paragraphs would undoubtedly infer that there must have been anamelioration in the lot of our race; butwhen we apply the touchstone ofstatisticsthat inference gathers precision. Systems of philosophy and forms ofreligion find a measure of their influence on humanity in census-returns. LatinChristianityin a thousand yearscould not double the population of Europe; itdid not add perceptibly to the term of individual life. Butas Dr. Jarvisinhis report to the Massachusetts Board of Healthhas statedat the epoch of theReformation "the average longevity in Geneva was 21.21 yearsbetween 1814and 1833 it was 40.68; as large a number of persons now live to seventy years aslived to fortythree hundred years ago. In 1693 the British Government borrowedmoney by selling annuities on lives from infancy upwardon the basis of theaverage longevity. The contract was profitable. Ninety-seven years later anothertontineor scale of annuitieson the basis of the same expectation of life asin the previous centurywas issued. These latter annuitantshoweverlived somuch longer than their predecessors
that it proved to be a very costly loan for the government. It was found thatwhile ten thousand of each sex in the first tontine died under the age oftwenty-eightonly five thousand seven hundred and seventy-two males and sixthousand four hundred and sixteen females in the second tontine died at the sameageone hundred years later."
We have been comparing the spiritual with thepracticalthe imaginary with the real. The maxims that have been followed inthe earlier and the later period produced their inevitable result. In the formerthat maxim was"Ignorance is the mother of Devotion in the latter"Knowledge is Power."
THE IMPENDING CRISIS.
Indications of the approach ofa religious crisis. -- The predominating Christian Churchthe Romanperceivesthisand makes preparation for it. -- Pius IX convokes an OEcumenical Council-- Relations of the different European governments to the papacy. -- Relationsof the Church to Scienceas indicated by the Encyclical Letter and theSyllabus.
Acts of the Vatican Council in relation to theinfallibility of the popeand to Science. -- Abstract of decisions arrived at.
Controversy between the Prussian Governmentand the papacy. -- It is a contest between the State and the Church forsupremacy -- Effect of dual government in Europe -- Declaration by the VaticanCouncil of its position as to Science -- The dogmatic constitution of theCatholic faith. -- Its definitions respecting GodRevelationFaithReason. --The anathemas it pronounces. -- Its denunciation of modern civilization.
The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and itsacts.
General review of the foregoing definitionsand acts. -- Present condition of the controversyand its future prospects.
No one who is acquainted with the present toneof thought in Christendom can hide from himself the fact that an intellectualareligious crisis is impending.
In all directions we see the lowering skieswe hear the mutterings of the coming storm. In Germanythe national party isarraying itself against the ultramontane; in Francethe men of progress arestruggling against the unprogressiveand in their contest the politicalsupremacy of that great country is wellnigh neutralized
or lost. In ItalyRome has passed into the hands of an excommunicated king. Thesovereign pontifffeigning that he is a prisoneris fulminating from theVatican his anathemasandin the midst of the most convincing proofs of hismanifold errorsasserting his own infallibility. A Catholic archbishop withtruth declares that the whole civil society of Europe seems to be withdrawingitself in its public life from Christianity. In England and Americareligiouspersons perceive with dismay that the intellectual basis of faith has beenundermined by the spirit of the age. They prepare for the approaching disasterin the best manner they can.
The most serious trial through which societycan pass is encountered in the exuviation of its religious restraints. Thehistory of Greece and the history of Rome exhibit to us in an impressive mannerhow great are the perils. But it is not given to religions to endure forever.They necessarily undergo transformation with the intellectual development ofman. How many countries are there professing the same religion now that they didat the birth of Christ?
It is estimated that the entire population ofEurope is about three hundred and one million. Of theseone hundred andeighty-five million are Roman Catholicsthirty-three million are GreekCatholics. Of Protestants there are seventy-one millionseparated into manysects. Of Jewsfive million; of Mohammedansseven million.
Of the religious subdivisions of America anaccurate numerical statement cannot be given. The whole of Christian SouthAmerica is Roman Catholicthe same may be said of Central America and ofMexicoas also of the Spanish and French West India possessions. In the UnitedStates and Canada the Protestant population
predominates. To Australia the same remark applies. In India the sparseChristian population sinks into insignificance in presence of two hundredmillion Mohammedans and other Oriental denominations. The Roman Catholic Churchis the most widely diffused and the most powerfully organized of all modernsocieties. It is far more a political than a religious combination. Itsprinciple is that all power is in the clergyand that for laymen there is onlythe privilege of obedience. The republican forms under which the Churchesexisted in primitive Christianity have gradually merged into an absolutecentralizationwith a man as vice-God at its head. This Church asserts that thedivine commission under which it acts comprises civil government; that it has aright to use the state for its own purposesbut that the state has no right tointermeddle with it ; that even in Protestant countries it is not merely acoördinate governmentbut the sovereign power. It insists that the state hasno rights over any thing which it declares to be in its domainand thatProtestantismbeing a mere rebellionhas no rights at all; that even inProtestant communities the Catholic bishop is the only lawful spiritual pastor.
It is plainthereforethat of professingChristians the vast majority are Catholic; and such is the authoritative demandof the papacy for supremacythatin any survey of the present religiouscondition of Christendomregard must be mainly had to its acts. Its movementsare guided by the highest intelligence and skill. Catholicism obeys the ordersof one manand has therefore a unitya compactnessa powerwhich Protestantdenominations do not possess. Moreoverit derives inestimable strength from thesouvenirs of the great name of Rome.
Unembarrassed by any hesitating sentimentthe
papacy has contemplated the coming intellectual crisis. It has pronounced itsdecisionand occupied what seems to it to be the most advantageous ground.
This definition of position we find in theacts of the late Vatican Council.
Pius IX.by a bull dated June 291868convoked an OEcumenical Councilto meet in Romeon December 81869. Itssessions ended in July1870. Among other matters submitted to itsconsiderationtwo stand forth in conspicuous prominence -- they are theassertion of the infallibility of the Roman pontiffand the definition of therelations of religion to science.
But the convocation of the Council was farfrom meeting with general approval.
The views of the Oriental Churches wereforthe most partunfavorable. They affirmed that they saw a desire in the Romanpontiff to set himself up as the head of Christianitywhereas they recognizedthe Lord Jesus Christ alone as the head of the Church. They believed that theCouncil would only lead to new quarrels and scandals. The sentiment of thesevenerable Churches is well shown by the incident thatwhenin 1867theNestorian Patriarch Simeon had been invited by the Chaldean Patriarch to returnto Roman Catholic unityhein his replyshowed that there was no prospect forharmonious action between the East and the West: "You invite me to kisshumbly the slipper of the Bishop of Rome; but is he notin every respecta manlike yourself -- is his dignity superior to yours? We will never permit to beintroduced into our holy temples of worship images and statueswhich arenothing but abominable and impure idols. What! shall we attribute to AlmightyGod a motheras you dare to do? Away from ussuch blasphemy!"
Eventuallythe patriarchsarchbishopsandbishopsfrom all regions of the worldwho took part in this Councilwereseven hundred and four.
Rome had seen very plainly that Science wasnot only rapidly undermining the dogmas of the papacybut was gathering greatpolitical power. She recognized that all over Europe there was a fast-spreadingsecession among persons of educationand that its true focus was North Germany.
She lookedthereforewith deep interest onthe Prusso-Austrian Wargiving to Austria whatever encouragement she could. Thebattle of Sadowa was a bitter disappointment to her.
With satisfaction again she looked upon thebreaking out of the Franco-Prussian Warnot doubting that its issue would befavorable to Franceand therefore favorable to her. Hereagainshe was doomedto disappointment at Sedan.
Having now no further hopefor many years tocomefrom external warshe resolved to see what could be done by internalinsurrectionand the present movement in the German Empire is the result of hermachinations.
Had Austria or had France succeededProtestantism would have been overthrown along with Prussia.
Butwhile these military movements were beingcarried ona movement of a differentan intellectual kindwas engaged in. Itsprinciple wasto restore the worn-out mediæval doctrines and practicescarrying them to an extremeno matter what the consequences might be.
Not only was it asserted that the papacy has adivine right to participate in the government of all countriescoördinatelywith their temporal authoritiesbut
that the supremacy of Rome in this matter must be recognized; and that in anyquestion between them the temporal authority must conform itself to her order.
Andsince the endangering of her position hadbeen mainly brought about by the progress of scienceshe presumed to define itsboundariesand prescribe limits to its authority. Still moreshe undertook todenounce modern civilization.
These measures were contemplated soon afterthe return of his Holiness from Gaeta in 1848and were undertaken by the adviceof the Jesuitswholingering in the hope that God would work the impossiblesupposed that the papacyin its old agemight be reinvigorated. The organ ofthe Curia proclaimed the absolute independence of the Church as regards thestate; the dependence of the bishops on the pope; of the diocesan clergy on thebishops; the obligation of the Protestants to abandon their atheismand returnto the fold; the absolute condemnation of all kinds of toleration. In December1854in an assembly of bishopsthe pope had proclaimed the dogma of theimmaculate conception. Ten years subsequently he put forth the celebratedEncyclical Letter and the Syllabus.
The Encyclical Letter is dated December 81864. It was drawn up by learned ecclesiasticsand subsequently debated at theCongregation of the Holy Officethen forwarded to prelatesand finally goneover by the pope and cardinals.
Many of the clergy objected to itscondemnation of modern civilization. Some of the cardinals were reluctant toconcur in it. The Catholic press accepted itnothoweverwithout misgivingsand regrets. The Protestant governments put no obstacle in its way; the Catholicwere embarrassed by it. France allowed the
publication only of that portion proclaiming the jubilee; Austria and Italypermitted its introductionbut withheld their approval. The political press andlegislatures of Catholic countries gave it an unfavorable reception. Manydeplored it as likely to widen the breach between the Church and modern society.The Italian press regarded it as determining a warwithout truce or armisticebetween the papacy and modern civilization. Even in Spain there were journalsthat regretted "the obstinacy and blindness of the court of Romeinbranding and condemning modern civilization."
It denounces that "most pernicious andinsane opinionthat liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of everymanand that this right oughtin every well-governed stateto be proclaimedand asserted by law; and that the will of the peoplemanifested by publicopinion (as it is called)or by other meansconstitutes a supreme lawindependent of all divine and human rights." It denies the right of parentsto educate their children outside the Catholic Church. It denounces "theimpudence" of those who presume to subordinate the authority of the Churchand of the Apostolic See"conferred upon it by Christ our Lordto thejudgment of the civil authority." His Holiness commendsto the venerablebrothers to whom the Encyclical is addressedincessant prayerand"inorder that God may accede the more easily to our and your prayerslet us employin all confidenceas our mediatrix with himthe Virgin Marymother of Godwho sits as a queen upon the right hand of her only-begotten Sonour Lord JesusChristin a golden vestmentclothed around with various adornments. There isnothing she cannot obtain from him."
Plainlythe principle now avowed by thepapacy
must bring it into collision even with governments which had heretoforemaintained amicable relations with it. Great dissatisfaction was manifested byRussiaand the incidents that ensued drew forth from his Holiness an allocution(November1866) condemnatory of the course of that government. To thisRussiarepliedby declaring the Concordat of 1867 abrogated.
Undeterred by the result of the battle ofSadowa (July1866)though it was plain that the political condition of Europewas now profoundly affectedand especially the relations of the papacythepope delivered an allocution (June 271867)confirming the Encyclical andSyllabus. He announced his intention of convoking an OEcumenical Council.
Accordinglyas we have already mentionedinthe following year (June 291868)a bull was issued convoking that Council.Misunderstandingshoweverhad now sprung up with Austria. The AustrianReichsrath had adopted laws introducing equality of civil rights for all theinhabitants of the empireand restricting the influence of the Church. Thisproduced on the part of the papal government an expostulation. Acting as Russiahad donethe Austrian Government found it necessary to abrogate the Concordatof 1855.
In Franceas above statedthe publication ofthe entire Syllabus was not permitted; but Prussiadesirous of keeping on goodterms with the papacydid not disallow it. The exacting disposition of thepapacy increased. It was openly declared that the faithful must now sacrifice tothe Churchpropertylifeand even their intellectual convictions. TheProtestants and the Greeks were invited to tender their submission.
On the appointed daythe Council opened. Itsobjects wereto translate the Syllabus into practiceto
establish the dogma of papal infallibilityand define the relations of religionto science. Every preparation had been made that the points determined on shouldbe carried. The bishops were informed that they were coming to Rome not todeliberatebut to sanction decrees previously made by an infallible pope. Noidea was entertained of any such thing as free discussion. The minutes of themeetings were not permitted to be inspected; the prelates of the opposition werehardly allowed to speak. On January 221870a petitionrequesting that theinfallibility of the pope should be definedwas presented; an oppositionpetition of the minority was offered. Hereuponthe deliberations of theminority were forbiddenand their publications prohibited. Andthough theCuria had provided a compact majorityit was found expedient to issue an orderthat to carry any proposition it was not necessary that the vote should be nearunanimitya simple majority sufficed. The remonstrances of the minority werealtogether unheeded.
As the Council pressed forward to its objectforeign authorities became alarmed at its reckless determination. A petitiondrawn up by the Archbishop of Viennaand signed by several cardinals andarchbishopsentreated his Holiness not to submit the dogma of infallibility forconsideration"because the Church has to sustain at present a struggleunknown in former timesagainst men who oppose religion itself as aninstitution baneful to human natureand that it is inopportune to impose uponCatholic nationsled into temptation by so many machinationsmore dogmas thanthe Council of Trent proclaimed." It added that "the definitiondemanded would furnish fresh arms to the enemies of religionto excite againstthe Catholic Church the resentment of
men avowedly the best." The Austrian prime-minister addressed a protest tothe papal governmentwarning it against any steps that might lead toencroachments on the rights of Austria. The French Government also addressed anotesuggesting that a French bishop should explain to the Council thecondition and the rights of France. To this the papal government replied that abishop could not reconcile the double duties of an ambassador and a Father ofthe Council. Hereuponthe French Governmentin a very respectful noteremarked thatto prevent ultra opinions from becoming dogmasit reckoned onthe moderation of the bishopsand the prudence of the Holy Father; andtodefend its civil and political laws against the encroachments of the theocracyit had counted on public reason and the patriotism of French Catholics. In theseremonstrances the North-German Confederation joinedseriously pressing them onthe consideration of the papal government.
On April 23dVon Arnimthe Prussianembassadorunited with Daruthe French ministerin suggesting to the Curiathe inexpediency of reviving mediæval ideas. The minority bishopsthusencourageddemanded now that the relations of the spiritual to the secularpower should be determined before the pope's infallibility was discussedandthat it should be settled whether Christ had conferred on St. Peter and hissuccessors a power over kings and emperors.
No regard was paid to thisnot even delay wasconsented to. The Jesuitswho were at the bottom of the movementcarried theirmeasures through the packed assembly with a high hand. The Council omitted nodevice to screen itself from popular criticism. Its proceedings were conductedwith the utmost secrecy; all
who took part in them were bound by a solemn oath to observe silence.
On July 13ththe votes were taken. Of 601votes451 were affirmative. Under the majority rulethe measure was pronouncedcarriedandfive days subsequentlythe pope proclaimed the dogma of hisinfallibility. It has often been remarked that this was the day on which theFrench declared war against Prussia. Eight days afterward the French troops werewithdrawn from Rome. Perhaps both the statesman and the philosopher will admitthat an infallible pope would be a great harmonizing elementif onlycommon-sense could acknowledge him.
Hereuponthe King of Italy addressed anautograph letter to the popesetting forth in very respectful terms thenecessity that his troops should advance and occupy positions"indispensable to the security of his Holinessand the maintenance oforder;" thatwhile satisfying the national aspirationsthe chief ofCatholicitysurrounded by the devotion of the Italian populations"mightpreserve on the banks of the Tiber a glorious seatindependent of all humansovereignty."
To this his Holiness replied in a brief andcaustic letter: "I give thanks to Godwho has permitted your majesty tofill the last days of my life with bitterness. For the restI cannot grantcertain requestsnor conform with certain principles contained in your letter.AgainI call upon Godand into his hands commit my causewhich is his cause.I pray God to grant your majesty many gracesto free you from dangersand todispense to you his mercy which you so much need."
The Italian troops met with but littleresistance. They occupied Rome on September 201870. A manifesto was issuedsetting forth the details of a plebiscitum
the vote to be by ballotthe question"the unification of Italy."Its result showed how completely the popular mind in Italy is emancipated fromtheology. In the Roman provinces the number of votes on the lists was 167548;the number who voted135291; the number who voted for annexation133681; thenumber who voted against it1507; votes annulled103. The Parliament of Italyratified the vote of the Roman people for annexation by a vote of 239 to 20. Aroyal decree now announced the annexation of the Papal States to the kingdom ofItalyand a manifesto was issued indicating the details of the arrangement. Itdeclared that "by these concessions the Italian Government seeks to proveto Europe that Italy respects the sovereignty of the pope in conformity with theprinciple of a free Church in a free state."
In. the Prusso-Austrian War it had been thehope of the papacyto restore the German Empire under Austriaand make Germanya Catholic nation. In the Franco-German War the French expected ultramontanesympathies in Germany. No means were spared to excite Catholic sentiment againstthe Protestants. No vilification was spared. They were spoken of as atheists;they were declared incapable of being honest men; their sects were pointed outas indicating that their secession was in a state of dissolution. "Thefollowers of Luther are the most abandoned men in all Europe." Even thepope himselfpresuming that the whole world had forgotten all historydid nothesitate to say"Let the German people understand that no other Church butthat of Rome is the Church of freedom and progress."
Meantimeamong the clergy of Germany a partywas organized to remonstrate againstand even resistthe papal usurpation. Itprotested against "a man being
placed on the throne of God" against a vice-God of any kindnor would ityield its scientific convictions to ecclesiastical authority. Some did nothesitate to accuse the pope himself of being a heretic. Against theseinsubordinates excommunications began to be fulminatedand at length it wasdemanded that certain professors and teachers should be removed from theirofficesand infallibilists substituted. With this demand the PrussianGovernment declined to comply.
The Prussian Government had earnestly desiredto remain on amicable terms with the papacy; it had no wish to enter on atheological quarrel; but gradually the conviction was forced upon it that thequestion was not a religious but a political one -- whether the power of thestate should be used against the state. A teacher in a gymnasium had beenexcommunicated; the governmenton being required to dismiss himrefused. TheChurch authorities denounced this as an attack upon faith. The emperor sustainedhis minister. The organ of the infallible party threatened the emperor with theopposition of all good Catholicsand told him thatin a contention with thepopesystems of government can and must change. It was now plain to every onethat the question had become"Who is to be master in the statethegovernment or the Roman Church? It is plainly impossible for men to live undertwo governmentsone of which declares to be wrong what the other commands. Ifthe government will not submit to the Roman Churchthe two are enemies." Aconflict was thus forced upon Prussia by Rome -- a conflict in which the latterimpelled by her antagonism to modern civilizationis clearly the aggressor.
The governmentnow recognizing itsantagonistdefended itself by abolishing the Catholic department
in the ministry of Public Worship. This was about midsummer1871. In thefollowing November the Imperial Parliament passed a law that ecclesiasticsabusing their officeto the disturbance of the public peaceshould becriminally punished. Andguided by the principle that the future belongs to himto whom the school belongsa movement arose for the purpose of separating theschools from the Church.
The Jesuit party was extending andstrengthening an organization all over Germanybased on the principle thatstate legislation in ecclesiastical matters is not binding. Here was an act ofopen insurrection. Could the government allow itself to be intimidated? TheBishop of Ermeland declared that he would not obey the laws of the state if theytouched the Church. The government stopped the payment of his salary; andperceiving that there could be no peace so long as the Jesuits were permitted toremain in the countrytheir expulsion was resolved onand carried into effect.At the close of 1872 his Holiness delivered an allocutionin which he touchedon the "persecution of the Church in the German Empire" and assertedthat the Church alone has a right to fix the limits between its domain and thatof the state -- a dangerous and inadmissible principlesince under the termmorals the Church comprises all the relations of men to each otherand assertsthat whatever does not assist her oppresses her. Hereupona few dayssubsequently (January 91873)four laws were brought forward by thegovernment: 1. Regulating the means by which a person might sever his connectionwith the Church; 2. Restricting the Church in the exercise of ecclesiasticalpunishments; 3. Regulating the ecclesiastical power of disciplineforbiddingbodily chastisementregulating fines and banishments
granting the privilege of an appeal to the Royal Court of Justice forEcclesiastical Affairsthe decision of which is final; 4. Ordaining thepreliminary education and appointment of priests. They must have had asatisfactory educationpassed a public examination conducted by the stateandhave a knowledge of philosophyhistoryand German literature. Institutionsrefusing to be superintended by the state are to be closed.
These laws demonstrate that Germany isresolved that she will no longer be dictated to nor embarrassed by a few Italiannoble families; that she will be master of her own house. She sees in theconflictnot an affair of religion or of consciencebut a struggle between thesovereignty of state legislation and the sovereignty of the Church. She treatsthe papacy not in the aspect of a religiousbut of a political powerand isresolved that the declaration of the Prussian Constitution shall be maintainedthat "the exercise of religious freedom must not interfere with the dutiesof a citizen toward the community and the state."
With truth it is affirmed that the papacy isadministered not oecumenicallynot as a universal Churchfor all the nationsbut for the benefit of some Italian families. Look at its composition! Itconsists of popecardinal bishopscardinal deaconswho at the present momentare all Italians; cardinal priestsnearly all Italians; ministers andsecretaries of the Sacred Congregation in Romeall Italians. France has notgiven a pope since the middle ages. It is the same with AustriaPortugalSpain. In spite of all attempts to change this system of exclusionto open thedignities of the Church to all Catholicismno foreigner can reach the holychair. It is recognized that the Church is a domain given by God to the princelyItalian families.
Of fifty-five members of the present College of Cardinalsforty are Italians --that isthirty-two beyond their proper share.
The stumbling-block to the progress of Europehas been its dual system of government. So long as every nation had twosovereignsa temporal one at home and a spiritual one in a foreign land --there being different temporal masters in different nationsbut only oneforeign master for allthe pontiff at Rome -- how was it possible that historyshould present us with any thing more than a narrative of the strifes of theserival powers? Whoever will reflect on this state of things will see how it isthat those nations which have shaken off the dual form of government are thosewhich have made the greatest advance. He will discern what is the cause of theparalysis which has befallen France. On one hand she wishes to be the leader ofEuropeon the other she clings to a dead past. For the sake of propitiating herignorant classesshe enters upon lines of policy which her intelligence mustcondemn. So evenly balanced are the two sovereignties under which she livesthat sometimes onesometimes the otherprevails; and not unfrequently the oneuses the other as an engine for the accomplishment of its ends.
But this dual system approaches its close. Tothe northern nationsless imaginative and less superstitiousit had long agobecome intolerable; they rejected it summarily at the epoch of the Reformationnotwithstanding the protestations and pretensions of RomeRussiahappier thanthe resthas never acknowledged the influence of any foreign spiritual power.She gloried in her attachment to the ancient Greek riteand saw in the papacynothing more than a troublesome dissenter from the primitive faith. In Americathe temporal and
the spiritual have been absolutely divorced -- the latter is not permitted tohave any thing to do with affairs of statethough in all other respects libertyis conceded to it. The condition of the New World also satisfies us that bothforms of ChristianityCatholic and Protestanthave lost their expansive power;neither can pass beyond its long-established boundary-line -- the Catholicrepublics remain Catholicthe Protestant Protestant. And among the latter thedisposition to sectarian isolation is disappearing; persons of differentdenominations consort without hesitation together. They gather their currentopinions from newspapersnot from the Church.
Pius IX.in the movements we have beenconsideringhas had two objects in view: 1. The more thorough centralization ofthe papacywith a spiritual autocrat assuming the prerogatives of God at itshead; 2. Control over the intellectual development of the nations professingChristianity.
The logical consequence of the former of theseis political intervention. He insists that in all cases the temporal mustsubordinate itself to the spiritual power; all laws inconsistent with theinterests of the Church must be repealed. They are not binding on the faithful.In the preceding pages I have briefly related some of the complications thathave already occurred in the attempt to maintain this policy.
I now come to the consideration of the mannerin which the papacy proposes to establish its intellectual control; how itdefines its relation to its antagonistScienceandseeking a restoration ofthe mediæval conditionopposes modern civilizationand denounces modernsociety.
The Encyclical and Syllabus present theprinciples which it was the object of the Vatican Council to carry
into practical effect. The Syllabus stigmatizes pantheismnaturalismandabsolute rationalismdenouncing such opinions as that God is the world; thatthere is no God other than Nature; that theological matters must be treated inthe same manner as philosophical onesthat the methods and principles by whichthe old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to thedemands of the age and the progress of science; that every man is free toembrace and profess the religion he may believe to be trueguided by the lightof his reason; that it appertains to the civil power to define what are therights and limits in which the Church may exercise authority; that the Churchhas not the right of availing herself of force or any direct or indirecttemporal power; that the Church ought to be separated from the state and thestate from the Church; that it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religionshall be held as the only religion of the stateto the exclusion of all othermodes of worship; that persons coming to reside in Catholic countries have aright to the public exercise of their own worship; that the Roman pontiff canand ought to reconcile himself toand agree withthe progress of moderncivilization. The Syllabus claims the right of the Church to control publicschoolsand denies the right of the state in that respect; it claims thecontrol over marriage and divorce.
Such of these principles as the Council foundexpedient at present to formularizewere set forth by it in "The DogmaticConstitution of the Catholic Faith." The essential points of thisconstitutionmore especially as regards the relations of religion to sciencewe have now to examine. It will be understood that the following does notpresent the entire documentbut only an abstract of what appear to be its moreimportant parts.
This definition opens with a severe review ofthe principles and consequences of the Protestant Reformation:
"The rejection of the divine authority ofthe Church to teachand the subjection of all things belonging to religion tothe judgment of each individualhave led to the production of many sectsandas these differed and disputed with each otherall belief in Christ wasoverthrown in the minds of not a fewand the Holy Scriptures began to becounted as myths and fables. Christianity has been rejectedand the reign ofmere Reason as they call itor Naturesubstituted; many falling into the abyssof pantheismmaterialismand atheismandrepudiating the reasoning nature ofmanand every rule of right and wrongthey are laboring to overthrow the veryfoundations of human society. As this impious heresy is spreading everywherenot a few Catholics have been inveigled by it. They have confounded humanscience and divine faith.
"But the Churchthe Mother and Mistressof nationsis ever ready to strengthen the weakto take to her bosom thosethat returnand carry them on to better things. Andnow the bishops of thewhole world being gathered together in this OEcumenical Counciland the HolyGhost sitting thereinand judging with uswe have determined to declare fromthis chair of St. Peter the saving doctrine of Christand proscribe and condemnthe opposing errors.
"OF GODTHE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS. --The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church believes that there is one true andliving GodCreator and Lord of Heaven and EarthAlmightyEternalImmenseIncomprehensibleInfinite in understanding and willand in all perfection. Heis distinct from the world. Of his own
most free counsel he made alike out of nothing two created creaturesaspiritual and a temporalangelic and earthly. Afterward be made the humannaturecomposed of both. MoreoverGod by his providence protects and governsall thingsreaching from end to end mightilyand ordering all thingsharmoniously. Every thing is open to his eyeseven things that come to pass bythe free action of his creatures."
"OF REVELATION. -- The Holy Mother Churchholds that God can be known with certainty by the natural light of human reasonbut that it has also pleased him to reveal himself and the eternal decrees ofhis will in a supernatural way. This supernatural revelationas declared by theHoly Council of Trentis contained in the books of the Old and New Testamentas enumerated in the decrees of that Counciland as are to be had in the oldVulgate Latin edition. These are sacred because they were written under theinspiration of the Holy Ghost. They have God for their authorand as such havebeen delivered to the Church.
"Andin order to restrain restlessspiritswho may give erroneous explanationsit is decreed -- renewing thedecision of the Council of Trent -- that no one may interpret the sacredScriptures contrary to the sense in which they are interpreted by Holy MotherChurchto whom such interpretation belongs."
"OF FAITH. -- Inasmuch as man depends onGod as his Lordand created reason is wholly subject to uncreated truthhe isbound when God makes a revelation to obey it by faith. This faith is asupernatural virtueand the beginning of man's salvation who believes revealedthings to be truenot for their intrinsic truth as seen by the natural light ofreasonbut for the authority of God in revealing them. Butnevertheless
that faith might be agreeable to reasonGod willed to join miracles andprophecieswhichshowing forth his omnipotence and knowledgeare proofssuited to the understanding of all. Such we have in Moses and the prophetsandabove all in Christ. Nowall those things are to be believed which are writtenin the word of Godor handed down by traditionwhich the Church by herteaching has proposed for belief.
"No one can be justified without thisfaithnor shall any oneunless he persevere therein to the endattaineverlasting life. Hence Godthrough his only-begotten Sonhas established theChurch as the guardian and teacher of his revealed word. For only to theCatholic Church do all those signs belong which make evident the credibility ofthe Christian faith. Naymorethe very Church herselfin view of herwonderful propagationher eminent holinessher exhaustless fruitfulness in allthat is goodher Catholic unityher unshaken stabilityoffers a great andevident claim to beliefand an undeniable proof of her divine mission. Thus theChurch shows to her children that the faith they hold rests on a most solidfoundation. Whereforetotally unlike is the condition of those whoby theheavenly gift of faithhave embraced the Catholic truthand of those wholedby human opinionsare followinga false religion."
"OF FAITH AND REASON. -- MoreovertheCatholic Church has ever held and now holds that there exists a twofold order ofknowledgeeach of which is distinct from the otherboth as to its principleand its object. As to its principlebecause in the one we know by naturalreasonin the other by divine faith; as to the objectbecausebesides thosethings which our natural reason can attainthere are proposed to our beliefmysteries
hidden in Godwhichunless by him revealedcannot come to our knowledge.
"Reasonindeedenlightened by faithand seekingwith diligence and godly sobrietymayby God's giftcome to someunderstandinglimited in degreebut most wholesome in its effectsofmysteriesboth from the analogy of things which are naturally known and fromthe connection of the mysteries themselves with one another and with man's lastend. But never can reason be rendered capable of thoroughly understandingmysteries as it does those truths which form its proper object. For God'smysteriesin their very natureso far surpass the reach of created intellectthateven when taught by revelation and received by faiththey remain coveredby faith itselfas by a veiland shroudedas it werein darkness as long asin this mortal life.
"Butalthough faith be above reasonthere never can be a real disagreement between themsince the same God whoreveals mysteries and infuses faith has given man's soul the light of reasonand God cannot deny himselfnor can one truth ever contradict another.Wherefore the empty shadow of such contradiction arises chiefly from thisthateither the doctrines of faith are not understood and set forth as the Churchreally holds themor that the vain devices and opinions of men are mistaken forthe dictates of reason. We therefore pronounce false every assertion which iscontrary to the enlightened truth of faith. Moreoverthe Churchwhichtogether with her apostolic office of teachingis charged also with theguardianship of the deposits of faithholds likewise from God the right and theduty to condemn `knowledgefalsely so called' `lest any man be cheated byphilosophy and vain deceit.' Hence all the Christian faithful are not onlyforbidden
to defendas legitimate conclusions of sciencethose opinions which are knownto be contrary to the doctrine of faithespecially when condemned by theChurchbut are rather absolutely bound to hold them for errors wearing thedeceitful appearance of truth.
"Not only is it impossible for faith andreason ever to contradict each otherbut they rather afford each other mutualassistance. For right reason establishes the foundation of faithandby theaid of its lightcultivates the science of divine things; and faithon theother handfrees and preserves reason from errorsand enriches it withknowledge of many kinds. So farthenis the Church from opposing the cultureof human arts and sciencesthat she rather aids and promotes it in many ways.For she is not ignorant of nor does she despise the advantages which flow fromthem to the life of man; on the contraryshe acknowledges thatas they sprangfrom Godthe Lord of knowledgesoif they be rightly pursuedthey willthrough the aid of his gracelead to God. Nor does she forbid any of thosesciences the use of its own principles and its own method within its own propersphere; butrecognizing this reasonable freedomshe takes care that they maynotby contradicting God's teachingfall into errorsoroverstepping the duelimitsinvade or throw into confusion the domain of faith.
"For the doctrine of faith revealed byGod has not been proposedlike some philosophical discoveryto be made perfectby human ingenuitybut it has been delivered to the spouse of Christ as adivine depositto be faithfully guarded and unerringly set forth. Hencealltenets of holy faith are to be explained always according to the sense andmeaning of the Church; nor is it ever lawful to depart therefrom under pretense
or color of a more enlightened explanation. Thereforeas generations andcenturies roll onlet the understandingknowledgeand wisdom of each andevery oneof individuals and of the whole Churchgrow apace and increaseexceedinglyyet only in its kind; that is to say retaining pure and inviolatethe sense and meaning and belief of the same doctrine."
Among other canons the following werepromulgated.
"Let him be anathema --
"Who denies the one true GodCreator andLord of all thingsvisible and invisible.
"Who unblushingly affirms thatbesidesmatternothing else exists.
"Who says that the substance or essenceof Godand of all thingsis one and the same.
"Who says that finite thingsbothcorporeal and spiritualor at least spiritual thingsare emanations of thedivine substance; or that the divine essenceby manifestation or development ofitselfbecomes all things.
"Who does not acknowledge that the worldand all things which it contains were produced by God out of nothing.
"Who shall say that man can and ought toof his own effortsby means ofconstant progressarriveat lastat thepossession of all truth and goodness.
"Who shall refuse to receivefor sacredand canonicalthe books of Holy Scripture in their integritywith all theirpartsaccording as they were enumerated by the holy Council of Trentor shalldeny that they are Inspired by God.
"Who shall say that human reason is insuch wise independentthat faith cannot be demanded of it by God.
"Who shall say that divine revelationcannot be rendered credible by external evidences.
"Who shall say that no miracles can bewroughtor that they can never be known with certaintyand that the divineorigin of Christianity cannot be proved by them.
"Who shall say that divine revelationincludes no mysteriesbut that all the dogmas of faith may be understood anddemonstrated by reason duly cultivated.
"Who shall say that human sciences oughtto be pursued in such a spirit of freedom that one may be allowed to hold astrue their assertionseven when opposed to revealed doctrine.
"Who shall say that it may at any timecome to passin the progress of sciencethat the doctrines set forth by theChurch must be taken in another sense than that in which the Church has everreceived and yet receives them."
The extraordinary andindeedit may be saidarrogant assumptions contained in these decisions were far from being receivedwith satisfaction by educated Catholics. On the part of the German universitiesthere was resistance; andwhenat the close of the yearthe decrees of theVatican Council were generally acquiesced init was not through conviction oftheir truthbut through a disciplinary sense of obedience.
By many of the most pious Catholics the entiremovement and the results to which it had led were looked upon with the sincerestsorrow. Père Hyacinthein a letter to the superior of his ordersays :"I protest against the divorceas impious as it is insensatesought to beeffected between the Churchwhich is our eternal motherand the society of thenineteenth century
of which we are the temporal childrenand toward which we have also duties andregards. It is my most profound conviction thatif France in particularandthe Latin race in generalare given up to socialmoraland religious anarchythe principal cause undoubtedly is not Catholicism itselfbut the manner inwhich Catholicism has for a long time been understood and practised."
Notwithstanding his infallibilitywhichimplies omnisciencehis Holiness did not foresee the issue of theFranco-Prussian War. Had the prophetical talent been vouchsafed to himhe wouldhave detected the inopportuneness of the acts of his Council. His request to theKing of Prussia for military aid to support his temporal power was denied. Theexcommunicated King of Italyas we have seentook possession of Rome. A bitterpapal encyclicalstrangely contrasting with the courteous politeness of modernstate-paperswas issuedNovember 11870denouncing the acts of thePiedmontese court"which had followed the counsel of the sects ofperdition." In this his Holiness declares that he is in captivityand thathe will have no agreement with Belial. He pronounces the greaterexcommunicationwith censures and penaltiesagainst his antagonistsand praysfor "the intercession of the immaculate Virgin Marymother of Godandthat of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul."
Of the various Protestant denominationsseveral had associated themselvesfor the purposes of consultationunder thedesignation of the Evangelical Alliance. Their last meeting was held in NewYorkin the autumn of 1873. Thoughin this meetingwere gathered togethermany pious representatives of the Reformed
ChurchesEuropean and Americanit had not the prestige nor the authority ofthe Great Council that had just previously closed its sessions in St. PetersatRome. It could not appeal to an unbroken ancestry of far more than a thousandyears; it could not speak with the authority of an equal andindeedof asuperior to emperors and kings. While profound intelligence and a statesmanlikeworldly wisdom gleamed in every thing that the Vatican Council had donetheEvangelical Alliance met without a clear and precise view of its objectswithout any definitely-marked intentions. Its wish was to draw into closer unionthe various Protestant Churchesbut it had no well-grounded hope ofaccomplishing that desirable result. It illustrated the necessary workingofthe principle on which those Churches originated. They were founded on dissentand exist by separation.
Yet in the action of the Evangelical Alliancemay be discerned certain very impressive facts. It averted its eyes from itsancient antagonist -- that antagonist which had so recently loaded theReformation with contumely and denunciation -- it fastened themas the VaticanCouncil had doneon Science. Under that dreaded name there stood before it whatseemed to be a spectre of uncertain formof hourly-dilating proportionsofthreatening aspect. Sometimes the Alliance addressed this stupendous apparitionin words of courtesysometimes in tones of denunciation.
The Alliance failed to perceive that modernScience is the legitimate sister -- indeedit is the twin-sister -- of theReformation. They were begotten together and were born together. It failed toperceive thatthough there is an impossibility of bringing into coalition themany conflicting sectsthey may all find in science a point of connection; andthatnot a distrustful attitude
toward itbut a cordial union with itis their true policy.
It remains now to offer some reflections onthis "Constitution of the Catholic Faith" as defined by the VaticanCouncil.
For objects to present themselves underidentical relations to different personsthey must be seen from the same pointof view. In the instance we are now consideringthe religious man has his ownespecial station; the scientific man anothera very different one. It is notfor either to demand that his coöbserver shall admit that the panorama of factsspread before them is actually such as it appears to him to be.
The Dogmatic Constitution insists on theadmission of this postulatethat the Roman Church acts under a divinecommissionspecially and exclusively delivered to it. In virtue of that greatauthorityit requires of all men the surrender of their intellectualconvictionsand of all nations the subordination of their civil power.
But a claim so imposing must be substantiatedby the most decisive and unimpeachable credentials; proofsnot only of animplied and indirect kindbut clearemphaticand to the point; proofs that itwould be impossible to call in question.
The Churchhoweverdeclaresthat she willnot submit her claim to the arbitrament of human reason; she demands that itshall be at once conceded as an article of faith.
If this be admittedall bar requirements mustnecessarily be assented tono matter how exorbitant they may be.
With strange inconsistency the DogmaticConstitution deprecates reasonaffirming that it cannot determine
the points under considerationand yet submits to it arguments foradjudication. In truthit might be said that the whole composition is apassionate plea to Reason to stultify itself in favor of Roman Christianity.
With points of view so widely asunderit isimpossible that Religion and Science should accord in their representation ofthings. Nor can any conclusion in common be reachedexcept by an appeal toReason as a supreme and final judge.
There are many religions in the worldsome ofthem of more venerable antiquitysome having far more numerous adherentsthanthe Roman. How can a selection be made among themexcept by such an appeal toReason? Religion and Science must both submit their claims and their dissensionsto its arbitrament.
Against this the Vatican Council protests. Itexalts faith to a superiority over reason; it says that they constitute twoseparate orders of knowledgehaving respectively for their objects mysteriesand facts. Faith deals with mysteriesreason with facts. Asserting thedominating superiority of faithit tries to satisfy the reluctant mind withmiracles and prophecies.
On the other handScience turns away from theincomprehensibleand rests herself on the maxim of Wiclif: "God forcethnot a man to believe that which he cannot understand." In the absence of anexhibition of satisfactory credentials on the part of her opponentsheconsiders whether there be in the history of the papacyand in the biography ofthe popesany thing that can adequately sustain a divine commissionany thingthat can justify pontifical infallibilityor extort that unhesitating obediencewhich is due to the vice-God.
One of the most striking and vet contradictoryfeatures
of the Dogmatic Constitution isthe reluctant homage it pays to theintelligence of man. It presents a definition of the philosophical basis ofCatholicismbut it veils from view the repulsive features of the vulgar faith.It sets forth the attributes of Godthe Creator of all thingsin words fitlydesignating its sublime conceptionbut it abstains from affirming that thismost awful and eternal Being was born of an earthly motherthe wife of a Jewishcarpenterwho has since become the queen of heaven. The God it depicts is notthe God of the middle agesseated on his golden thronesurrounded by choirs ofangelsbut the God of Philosophy. The Constitution has nothing to say about theTrinitynothing of the worship due to the Virgin -- on the contrarythat is byimplication sternly condemned; nothing about transubstantiationor the makingof the flesh and blood of God by the priest; nothing of the invocation of thesaints. It bears on its face subordination to the thought of the agetheimpress of the intellectual progress of man.
Such being the exposition rendered to usrespecting the attributes of Godit next instructs us as to his mode ofgovernment of the world. The Church asserts that she possesses a supernaturalcontrol over all material and moral events. The priesthoodin its variousgradescan determine issues of the futureeither by the exercise of itsinherent attributesor by its influential invocation of the celestial powers.To the sovereign pontiff it has been given to bind or loose at his pleasure. Itis unlawful to appeal from his judgments to an OEcumenical Councilas if to anearthly arbiter superior to him. Powers such as these are consistent witharbitrary rulebut they are inconsistent with the government of the world byimmutable law. Hence the Dogmatic Constitution
plants itself firmly in behalf of incessant providential interventions; it willnot for a moment admit that in natural things there is an irresistible sequenceof eventsor in the affairs of men an unavoidable course of acts.
But has not the order of civilization in allparts of the world been the same? Does not the growth of society resembleindividual growth? Do not both exhibit to us phases of youthof maturityofdecrepitude? To a person who has carefully considered the progressivecivilization of groups of men in regions of the earth far apartwho hasobserved the identical forms under which that advancing civilization hasmanifested itselfis it not clear that the procedure is determined by law? Thereligious ideas of the Incas of Peru and the emperors of Mexicoand theceremonials of their court-lifewere the same as those in Europe -- the same asthose in Asia. The current of thought had been the same. A swarm of bees carriedto some distant land will build its combs and regulate its social institutionsas other unknown swarms would doand so with separated and disconnected swarmsof men. So invariable is this sequence of thought and actthat there arephilosophers whotransferring the past example offered by Asiatic history tothe case of Europewould not hesitate to sustain the proposition -- given abishop of Rome and some centuriesand you will have an infallible pope: givenan infallible pope and a little more timeand you will have Llamaism --Llamaism to which Asia has longago attained.
As to the origin of corporeal and spiritualthingsthe Dogmatic Constitution adds a solemn emphasis to its declarationsbyanathematizing all those who bold the doctrine of emanationor who believe thatvisible Nature
is only a manifestation of the Divine Essence. In this its authors had a task ofno ordinary difficulty before them. They must encounter those formidable ideaswhether old or newwhich in our times are so strongly forcing themselves onthoughtful men. The doctrine of the conservation and correlation of Force yieldsas its logical issue the time-worn Oriental emanation theory; the doctrines ofEvolution and Development strike at that of successive creative acts. The formerrests on the fundamental principle that the quantity of force in the universe isinvariable. Though that quantity can neither be increased nor diminishedtheforms under which Force expresses itself may be transmuted into each other. Asyet this doctrine has not received complete scientific demonstrationbut sonumerous and so cogent are the arguments adduced in its behalfthat it standsin an imposingalmost in an authoritative attitude. Nowthe Asiatic theory ofemanation and absorption is seen to be in harmony with this grand idea. It doesnot hold thatat the conception of a human beinga soul is created by God outof nothing and given to itbut that a portion of the already existingthedivinethe universal intelligenceis impartedandwhen life is overthisreturns to and is absorbed in the general source from which it originally came.The authors of the Constitution forbid these ideas to be heldunder pain ofeternal punishment.
In like manner they dispose of the doctrinesof Evolution and Developmentbluntly insisting that the Church believes indistinct creative acts. The doctrine that every living form is derived from somepreceding form is scientifically in a much more advanced position than thatconcerning Forceand probably may he considered as establishedwhatever maybecome of
the additions with which it has recently been overlaid.
In her condemnation of the ReformationtheChurch carries into effect her ideas of the subordination of reason to faith. Inher eyes the Reformation is an impious heresyleading to the abyss ofpantheismmaterialismand atheismand tending to overthrow the veryfoundations of human society. She therefore would restrain those "restlessspirits" whofollowing Lutherhave upheld the "right of every man tointerpret the Scriptures for himself." She asserts that it is a wickederror to admit Protestants to equal political privileges with Catholicsandthat to coerce them and suppress them is a sacred duty; that it is abominable topermit them to establish educational institutions. Gregory XVI. denouncedfreedom of conscience as an insane follyand the freedom of the press apestilent errorwhich cannot be sufficiently detested.
But how is it possible to recognize aninspired and infallible oracle on the Tiberwhen it is remembered that againand again successive popes have contradicted each other; that popes havedenounced councilsand councils have denounced popes; that the Bible of SixtusV. had so many admitted errors -- nearly two thousand -- that its own authorshad to recall it? How is it possible for the children of the Church to regard as"delusive errors" the globular form of the earthher position as aplanet in the solar systemher rotation on her axisher movement round thesun? How can they deny that there are antipodesand other worlds than ours? Howcan they believe that the world was made out of nothingcompleted in a weekfinished just as we see it now; that it has undergone no changebut that itsparts have worked so indifferently as to require incessant interventions?
When Science is thus commanded to surrenderher intellectual convictionsmay she not ask the ecclesiastic to remember thepast? The contest respecting the figure of the earthand the location of heavenand hellended adversely to him. He affirmed that the earth is an extendedplaneand that the sky is a firmamentthe floor of heaventhrough which againand again persons have been seen to ascend. The globular form demonstratedbeyond any possibility of contradiction by astronomical factsand by the voyageof Magellan's shiphe then maintained that it is the central body of theuniverseall others being in subordination to itand it the grand object ofGod's regard. Forced from this positionhe next affirmed that it is motionlessthe sun and the stars actually revolvingas they apparently doaround it. Theinvention of the telescope proved that here again he was in error. Then hemaintained that all the motions of the solar system are regulated byprovidential intervention; the "Principia" of Newton demonstrated thatthey are due to irresistible law. He then affirmed that the earth and all thecelestial bodies were created about six thousand years agoand that in six daysthe order of Nature was settledand plants and animals in their various tribesintroduced. Constrained by the accumulating mass of adverse evidenceheenlarged his days into periods of indefinite length -- onlyhoweverto findthat even this device was inadequate. The six ageswith their six specialcreationscould no longer be maintainedwhen it was discovered that speciesslowly emerged in one agereached a culmination in a secondand gradually diedout in a third: this overlapping from age to age would not only have demandedcreationsbut re-creations also. He affirmed that there had been a delugewhich covered the whole earth above the tops
of the highest mountainsand that the waters of this flood were removed by awind. Correct ideas respecting the dimensions of the atmosphereand of the seaand of the operation of evaporationproved how untenable these statements are.Of the progenitors of the human racehe declared that they had come from theirMaker's hand perfectboth in body and mindand had subsequently experienced afall. He is now considering how best to dispose of the evidence continuallyaccumulating respecting the savage condition of prehistoric man.
Is it at all surprising that the number ofthose who hold the opinions of the Church in light esteem should so rapidlyincrease? How can that be received as a trustworthy guide in the invisiblewhich falls into so many errors in the visible? How can that give confidence inthe moralthe spiritualwhich has so signally failed in the physical? It isnot possible to dispose of these conflicting facts as "empty shadows""vain devices" "fictions coming from knowledge falsely socalled" "errors wearing the deceitful appearance of truth" asthe Church stigmatizes them. On the contrarythey are stern witnessesbearingemphatic and unimpeachable testimony against the ecclesiastical claim toinfallibilityand fastening a conviction of ignorance and blindness upon her.
Convicted of so many errorsthe papacy makesno attempt at explanation. It ignores the whole matter Naymorerelying on theefficacy of audacitythough confronted by these factsit lays claim toinfallibility.
Butto the pontiffno other rights can beconceded than those he can establish at the bar of Reason. He cannot claiminfallibility in religious affairsand decline it in scientific. Infallibilityembraces all things. It
implies omniscience. If it holds good for theologyit necessarily holds goodfor science. How is it possible to coördinate the infallibility of the papacywith the well-known errors into which it has fallen?
Does it notthenbecome needful to rejectthe claim of the papacy to the employment of coercion in the maintenance of itsopinions; to repudiate utterly the declaration that "the Inquisition is anurgent necessity in view of the unbelief of the present age" and in thename of human nature to protest loudly against the ferocity and terrorism ofthat institution? Has not conscience inalienable rights?
An impassable and hourly-widening gulfintervenes between Catholicism and the spirit of the age. Catholicism insiststhat blind faith is superior to reason; that mysteries are of more importancethan facts. She claims to be the sole interpreter of Nature and revelationthesupreme arbiter of knowledge; she summarily rejects all modern criticism of theScripturesand orders the Bible to be accepted in accordance with the views ofthe theologians of Trent; she openly avows her hatred of free institutions andconstitutional systemsand declares that those are in damnable error who regardthe reconciliation of the pope with modern civilization as either possible ordesirable.
But the spirit of the age demands -- is thehuman intellect to be subordinated to the Tridentine Fathersor to the fancy ofilliterate and uncritical persons who wrote in the earlier ages of the Church?It sees no merit in blind faithbut rather distrusts it. It looks forward to animprovement in the popular canon of credibility for a decision between fact andfiction. It does not consider itself bound to believe fables and falsehoods thathave been invented for ecclesiastical
ends. It finds no argument in behalf of their truththat traditions and legendshave been long-lived; in this respectthose of the Church are greatly inferiorto the fables of paganism. The longevity of the Church itself is not due todivine protection or interventionbut to the skill with which it has adaptedits policy to existing circumstances. If antiquity be the criterion ofauthenticitythe claims of Buddhism must be respected; it has the superiorwarrant of many centuries. There can be no defense of those deliberatefalsifications of historythat concealment of historical factsof which theChurch has so often taken advantage. In these things the end does not justifythe means.
Then has it in truth come to thisthat RomanChristianity and Science are recognized by their respective adherents as beingabsolutely incompatible; they cannot exist together; one must yield to theother; mankind must make its choice -- it cannot have both.
While such isperhapsthe issue as regardsCatholicisma reconciliation of the Reformation with Science is not onlypossiblebut would easily take placeif the Protestant Churches would onlylive up to the maxim taught by Lutherand established by so many years of war.That maxim isthe right of private interpretation of the Scriptures. It was thefoundation of intellectual liberty. Butif a personal interpretation of thebook of Revelation is permissiblehow can it be denied in the case of the bookof Nature? In the misunderstandings that have taken placewe must ever bear inmind the infirmities of men. The generations that immediately followed theReformation may perhaps be excused for not comprehending the full significanceof their cardinal principleand for not on all occasions carrying it intoeffect. When Calvin caused Servetusto
be burnthe was animatednot by the principles of the Reformationbut bythose of Catholicismfrom which he had not been able to emancipate himselfcompletely. And when the clergy of influential Protestant confessions havestigmatized the investigators of Nature as infidels and atheiststhe same maybe said. For Catholicism to reconcile itself to Sciencethere are formidableperhaps insuperable obstacles in the way. For Protestantism to achieve thatgreat result there are not. In the one case there is a bittera mortalanimosity to be overcome; in the othera friendshipthat misunderstandingshave alienatedto be restored.
Butwhatever may be the preparatory incidentsof that great impending intellectual crisis which Christendom must sooninevitably witnessof this we may rest assuredthat the silent secession fromthe public faithwhich in so ominous a manner characterizes the presentgenerationwill find at length political expression. It is not withoutsignificance that France reënforces the ultramontane tendencies of her lowerpopulationby the promotion of pilgrimagesthe perpetration of miraclestheexhibition of celestial apparitions. Constrained to do this by her destinyshedoes it with a blush. It is not without significance that Germany resolves torid herself of the incubus of a dual governmentby the exclusion of the Italianelementand to carry to its completion that Reformation which three centuriesago she left unfinished. The time approaches when men must take their choicebetween quiescentimmobile faith and ever-advancing Science -- faithwith itsmediæval consolationsSciencewhich is incessantly scattering its materialblessings in the pathway of lifeelevating the lot of man in this worldandunifying the human race.
Its triumphs are solid and enduring. But the glory which Catholicism might gainfrom a conflict with material ideas is at the best only like that of othercelestial meteors when they touch the atmosphere of the earth -- transitory anduseless.
Though Guizot's affirmation that the Churchhas always sided with despotism is only too trueit must be remembered that inthe policy she follows there is much of political necessity. She is urged on bythe pressure of nineteen centuries. Butif the irresistible indicates itself inher actionthe inevitable manifests itself in her life. For it is with thepapacy as with a man. It has passed through the struggles of infancyit hasdisplayed the energies of maturityandits work completedit must sink intothe feebleness and querulousness of old age. Its youth can never be renewed. Theinfluence of its souvenirs alone will remain. As pagan Rome threw her departingshadow over the empire and tinctured all its thoughtsso Christian Rome castsher parting shadow over Europe.
Will modern civilization consent to abandonthe career of advancement which has given it so much power and happiness? Willit consent to retrace its steps to the semi-barbarian ignorance and superstitionof the middle ages? Will it submit to the dictation of a powerwhichclaimingdivine authoritycan present no adequate credentials of its office; a powerwhich kept Europe in a stagnant condition for many centuriesferociouslysuppressing by the stake and the sword every attempt at progress; a power thatis founded in a cloud of mysteries; that sets itself above reason andcommon-sense; that loudly proclaims the hatred it entertains against liberty ofthought and freedom in civil institutions; that professes its intention ofrepressing the one and destroying
the other whenever it can find the opportunity; that denounces as mostpernicious and insane the opinion that liberty of conscience and of worship isthe right of every man; that protests against that right being proclaimed andasserted by law in every well-governed state; that contemptuously repudiates theprinciple that the will of the peoplemanifested by public opinion (as it iscalled) or by other meansshall constitute law; that refuses to every man anytitle to opinion in matters of religionbut holds that it is simply his duty tobelieve what he is told by the Churchand to obey her commands; that will notpermit any temporal government to define the rights and prescribe limits to theauthority of the Church; that declares it not only may but will resort to forceto discipline disobedient individuals; that invades the sanctify of privatelifeby makingat the confessionalthe wife and daughters and servants of onesuspectedspies and informers against him; that tries him without an accuserand by torture makes him bear witness against himself; that denies the right ofparents to educate their children outside of its own Churchand insists that toit alone belongs the supervision of domestic life and the control of marriagesand divorces; that denounces "the impudence" of those who presume tosubordinate the authority of the Church to the civil authorityor who advocatethe separation of the Church from the state; that absolutely repudiates alltolerationand affirms that the Catholic religion is entitled to be held as theonly religion in every countryto the exclusion of all other modes of worship;that requires all laws standing in the way of its interests to be repealedandif that be refusedorders all its followers to disobey them?
This powerconscious that it can work nomiracle to
serve itselfdoes not hesitate to disturb society by its intrigues againstgovernmentsand seeks to accomplish its ends by alliances with despotism.
Claims such as these mean a revolt againstmodern civilizationan intention of destroying itno matter at what socialcost. To submit to them without resistancemen must be slaves indeed!
As to the issue of the coming conflictcanany one doubt? Whatever is resting on fiction and fraud will be overthrown.Institutions that organize impostures and spread delusions must show what rightthey have to exist. Faith must render an account of herself to Reason. Mysteriesmust give place to facts. Religion must relinquish that imperiousthatdomineering position which she has so long maintained against Science. Theremust be absolute freedom for thought. The ecclesiastic must learn to keephimself within the domain he has chosenand cease to tyrannize over thephilosopherwhoconscious of his own strength and the purity of his motiveswill bear such interference no longer. What was written by Esdras near thewillow-fringed rivers of Babylonmore than twenty-three centuries agostillholds good: "As for Truth it endureth and is always strong; it liveth andconquereth for evermore."