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been set up, ought not to be rudely pulled down; and that it is often wise in practice to be content with the mitigation of an abuse which, looking at it in the abstract, we might feel impatient to destroy.
We have done; and nothing remains but that we part from Mr. Gladstone with the courtesy of antagonists who bear no malice. We dissent from his opinions, but we admire his talents; we respect his integrity and benevolence; and we hope that he will not suffer political avocations so entirely to engross him, as to leave him no leisurg for literature and philosophy.
RANKE'S HISTORY OF THE POPES.*
It is hardly necessary for us to say, that this is an excellent book excellently translated. The original work of Professor Ranke is known and esteemed wherever Ger. man literature is studied; and has been found interesting even in a most inaccurate and dishonest French ion. is, in deed, the work of a mind fitted both for minute researches and for large speculations. It is written also in an admirable spirit, equally remote from levity and bigotry; serious and earnest, yet tolerant and impartial. It is, therefore, with the greatest pleasure that we now see it take its place among the English classics. Of the translation we need only say, that it is such as might be expected from the skill, the taste, and the scrupulous integrity of the accomplished lady, who, as an interpreter between the mind of Germany and the mind of Britain, has already deserved 50 well of both countries.
The subject of this book has always appeared to us singularly interesting. How it was that Protestantism did so much, yet did no more-how it was that the Church of Rome, having lost a large part of Europe, not only ceased to lose, but actually regained nearly half of what she had lost-is certainly a most curious and important question; and on this question Professor Ranke has thrown far more light than any other person who has written on it.
There is not, and there never was, on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins
* The Ecclesiastical and Political History of the Popes of Rome, during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. By LEOPOLD RANKE, Professor in the University of Berlin: Translated from the German, by SARAI AUSTIN. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1840.
together the two great ages of human civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are hat of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth ; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique ; but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the furthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin; and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated her for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn-countries which, a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her community are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all the other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments, and of all the ccclesiastical establishments, that now exist in this world ; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain-before the Frank had passed the Rhine--when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch-when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour shen some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst
of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of Loudon Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.
We often hear it said that the world is constantly becoming more and more enlightened, and that this enlightening must be favourable to Protestantism, and unfavourable to Catholicism. We wish that we could think so.
But we see great reason to doubt whether this be a well-founded expectation. We see that during the last two hundred ard fifty years, the human mind has been in the bighest degree active—that it has made great advances in every branch of natural philosophy—that it has produced innumerable inventions tending to promote the convenience of life-that medicine, surgery, chemistry, engineering, have been very greatly improved—that government, police, and law have been improved, though not quite to the same extent. Yet we see that, during these two hundred and fifty years, Protestantism has made no conquests worth speaking of. Nay, we believe that, as far as there has been a change, that change has been in favour of the Church of Rome. We cannot, therefore, feel confident that the progress of knowledge will necessarily be fatal to a system which has, to say the least, stood its ground in spite of the immense progress which knowledge has made since the days of Queen Elizabeth.
Indeed, the argument which we are considering seems to us to be founded on an entire mistake. There are branches of knowledge, with respect to which the law of the human mind is progress. In mathematics, when once a proposition has been demonstrated, it is never afterwards contested. Every fresh story is as solid a basis for a new superstructure as the original foundation was. Here, therefore, there is a constant addition to the stock of truth. In the inductive sciences again, the law is progress. Every day furnishes new facts, and thus brings theory nearer and nearer to perfection. There is no chance that either in the purely demonstrative, or in the purely experimental sciences, the world will ever go back or even remain stationary. Nobody ever heard of a reaction against Taylor's theorem, or of a reaction against Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the blood.
But with theology the case is very different. As respects natural religion-revelation being for the present altogether
left out of the question—it is not easy to see that a philoso pher of the present day is more favourably situated than Thal:s or Simonides. He has before him just the same evidences of design in the structure of the universe which the early Greeks had. We say just the same; for the discoveries of modern astronomers and anatomists have really added nothing to the force of that argument which a reflecting mind finds in every beast, bird, insect, fish, leaf, flower and shell. The reasoning by which Socrates, in Xenophon's hearing, confuted the little atheist Aristodemus, is exactly the reasoning of Paley's “Natural Theology." Socrates makes precisely the same use of the statues of Polycletus and the pictures of Zeuxis, which Paley makes of the watch. As to the other great question--the question, what becomes of man after death-we do not see that a highly educated European, left to his unassisted reason, is more likely to be in the right than a Blackfoot Indian. Not a single one of the many sciences in which we surpass the Blackfoot Indians, throws the smallest light on the state of the soul after the animal life is extinct. In truth, all the philosophers, ancient and modern, who have attempted, without the help of revelation, to prove the immortality of man, from Plato down to Franklin, appear to us to have failed deplorably.
Then, again, all the great enigmas which perplex the natural theologian are the same in all ages. The ingenuity of a people just emerging from barbarism is quite sufficient to propound them. The wisdom of Locke or Clarke is quite unable to solve them. It is a mistake to imagine that subtle speculations touching the Divine attributes, the origir of evil, the necessity of human actions, the foundation of moral obligations, imply any high degree of izteilectual culiure. Such speculations, on the contrary, are in a peculiar manner the delight of intelligent children and of half-civilized men,
The number of boys is not small who, at fourteen, have thought enough on these questions to be fully entitled to the praise which Voltaire gives to Zadig, "Il en savait ce qu'on en a su dans tous les âges, c'est-à-dire, fort peu de chose.'
The book of Job shows, that long before letters and arts were known to Ionia, these vexing questions were debated with no common skill and eloquence, under the tents of the Idumean Emirs; nor has human reason, in