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yersant with such subjects, and thinks them weil deserving of ą free, liberal, and accurate discuffien.
In regard to the Differtations, few of our Readers, we apprehend, will agree with Mr. Taylor, in what he says of the Millennium, &c, though they will be pleased to see what so abie a Writer advances in support of his opinions.
ART. XV. Conclusion of the Account of Mr. Gibbon's History of
the Decline and Fall of tbe Roman Empire. N consequence of our having so long delayed concluding our
account of Mr. Gibbon's History, we are enabled to communicate to our Readers a piece of intelligence, which, we have every reason to believe, will be as acceptable to them as it is agreeable to us. It is contained in the Preface to the last edition of the History.
• An Author (says Mr. Gibbon) easily persuades himself that the public opinion is fill favourable to his labours ; and I have now embraced the serious resolution of proceeding to the last period of my original design, and of the Roman Empire, the taking of Conftan inople by the Turks, in the year 1453. The most pacient Reader, who computes that three ponderous volumes have been already employed on the events of four centuries, may, perhaps, be alarmed at the long prospect of nine bundred years. But it is not my intention to expaciate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history. At our entrance into this period, che reign of Juftinian, and the conquells of the Mahometans, will deserve and detain our attention, and the last age of Conítantinople (the Crusades and che Turks) is connected with the revolutions of modern Europe. From the seventh to the eleventh century, the obscure interval will be supplied by a concise narrative of such fa&ts, as may still appear either interesting or important.'
Every candid Reader, who is acquainted with Mr. Gibbon's merit as an Hiftorian, and a competent judge of his abilities, will, we are persuaded, join his fincere wishes to ours, that nothing may happen to prevent his carrying his design into execution.
We now proceed to the 32d Chapter of his History, which contains an account of the reign of Arcadius; the administration and disgrace of Eutropius ; the revolt of Gainas ; che Perfian war; the division of Armenia, &c. together with an impartial and judicious view of the character and conduct of Chryfoftom, Pulcheria, and the Empress Eudocia.
In the 330, 371h, 35th, and 36th Chapters, we have an account of the death of Honorius ; the administration of Placidia; the conquest of Africa by the Vandals; the character, conquests, and court of Attila, King of the Huns; the death of Theodosius the younger ; the elevation of Marcian to the empire of the East; the invasion of Gaul by Attila ; the sack of Rome by Genseric, King of the Vandals; the total extinction
of the Western empire, and the reign of Odoacer, the firft Bar. barian King of Italy. It is imposible to read these chapters with the attention they deserve, without entertaining a very high opinion of the industry, accuracy, and discernment of the Historian, who has formed fo agreeable and interesting a narrative from such scanty and imperfect materials. The character which Mr. Gibbon gives of the Marquis Scipio Maffei may, with great justice, be applied to himself-viz. That he is equally capable of enlarged views and minute disquisitions.
The indiffoluble connection of civil and ecclefiaftical affairs, he says, has compelled and encouraged him to relate the progress, the perfecutions, the establishment, the divisions, the final triumph, and the gradual corruption of Christianity; and he has purposely delayed the consideration of two religious events, interesting in the study of human nature, and important in the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ; 1. The inftitution of the monastic life; and, 2. The conversion of the Northern Barbarians. These important events are the subject of the 37th Chapter, which is introduced in the following manner:
Prosperity and peace introduced the distication of the vulgar and the Afcetic Christians. The loose and imperfect practice of religion fatisfied the conscience of the multitude. The prince or magiftrate, the soldier or merchant, recoociled their fervent zeal, and implicit faith, with the exercise of their profeffion, the pursuit of their iste. reft, and the indulgence of their paffions: but the Afcetics, who obeyed and abused the rigid precepts of the gospel, were jospired by the savage enthufiasm, which represents man as a criminal, and God as a tyrant. They seriously renounced the business, and the pleasures, of the age ; abjured the use of wine, of flesh, and of marsiage; chatised their body, mortified their affections, and embraced a life of misery, as the price of eternal happiness. In the reign of Conftantine, the Ascetics fled from a profane and degenerate world, to perpetual solitude, or religious fociety. Like the firft Chriftians of Jerusalem, they resigned the use, or the property, of their temporal polieslions ; establi hed regular communities of the same sex, and a similar disposition ; and affumed the names of Hermits, Monts, and Arachorets, expressive of their lonely retreat in a patoral or artificial desert. 'They soon acquired the respect of the world, which they despised; and the loudeit applause was bestowed on this Divis! PHILOSOPHY, which surpassed, without the aid of science or reason, the laborious virtues of the Grecian schools. The monks might indeed contend with the Stoics, in the contempt of fortune, of pain, and of death: the Pythagorean filence and fubmiflion were revived is their servile discipline; and they disdained, as firmly as the Cynics themselves, all the forms and decencies of civil society. But the vo. taries of this Divine Philosophy aspired to imirate a purer and more perfect model. They trod in the footlteps of the prophets, who had retired to the desert; and they restored the devout and contemplative life, which had been inllicured by the Essenians, in Paiettine and Egypt. The philofophic eye of Pliny had surveyed with attonithment a solitary people, who dwelt among the palm-trees near the Dead Sea; who subfifted without money, who were propagated without women; and who derived from the disgust and repentance of mankind, a perpetual fupply of voluntary associates.'
Mr. Gibbon concludes this very curious and interesting chapter with what follows:
• As soon as the Barbarians withdrew their powerful support, the un popular heresy of Arius sunk into contempi and oblivion. But the Greeks still retained their subtle and loquacious disposition: the establishment of an obscure do&rine suggested new questions, and new disputes ; and it was always in the power of an ambitious prelate, or a fanatic monk, to violate the peace of the church, and, perhaps, of the empire. The historian of the empire may overlook those disputes which were confined to the obscurity of schools and synods. The Manichæans, who laboured to reconcile the religions of Chrift and of Zoroafter, had secretly introduced themselves into the provinces : but these foreign sectaries were involved in the common disgrace of the Gooftics, and the Imperial laws were executed by the public hatred. The rational opinions of the Pelagians were propagated from Britain to Rome, Africa, and Palestine, and filently expired in a superstitious age. But the East was diftra&ed by the Neftorian and Eatychian controversies; which attempted to explain the mystery of the incarnation, and haltened the ruin of Christianity in her native land. These controverfies were first agitated under the rcige çf the younger Theodofius: but their important consequences extend far beyond the limits of the present volume. The metaphy fical chain of argument, the contests of ecclesiastical ambition, and their political in Huence on the decline of the Byzantine empire, may afford an interesting and instructive series of history, from the general councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, to the conquest of the Eatt by the successors of Mahomer.'
The 38th Chapter contains the history of the reign and conversion of Clovis, the establishment of the French monarchy in Gaul, the state of the Romans, and the conquest of Britain by the Saxons. Mr. Gibbon concludes his third volume with some general Observations on the fall of the Roman empire in the Weft :
• The rise of a city, says he, which swelled into an empire, may de.. serve, as a fingular prodigy, the reflection of a philofophic mind. But the decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderase. greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conqueft; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the ftupendous, fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of its ruin is fimple and obvious; and instead of enquiring wby the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had sublifled. so long. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majeity of the Purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal falety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which ren.
dered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and fically dilfolved, by the partial inttitutions of Conftantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians.
The decay of Rome bas been frequently ascribed to the translation of the seat of empire; but this history has already fewn, that the powers of government were divided, rather than removed. The throne of Conftantinople was erected in the East; while the West was still poffefied by a series of emperors who held their residence in Italy, and claimed their equal inheritance of the legions and provinces. This dangerous novelty impaired the strength, and fomented the vices, of a double reign : the inftruments of an oppreffive and arbitrary system were multiplied; and a vain emulation of luxury, not of merit, was introduced and supported between the degenerate fuccel. sors of Theodosius. Extreme distress, which upites che virtue of a free people, embitters the factions of a declining monarchy. The hoftile favourites of Arcadius and Honorias betrayed the republic to its common enemies; and the Byzantine court beheld with indiference, perhaps with pleasure, the disgrace of Rome, the misfortunes of Italy, and the loss of the Wek. Under the succeeding reigns, the alliance of the two empires was rellored ; but the aid of ibe Oriental Romans was tardy, doubtful, and ineffectual; and the national schism of the Greeks and Latins was enlarged by the perpetual difference of language and manners, of interest, and even of religion. Yet the salutary event approved in some measure the judgment of Conftantine. During a long period of decay, his impregnable city repelled the victorious armies of Barbarians, protected ihe wealth of Asia, and commanded, both in peace and war, the important freights which connect the Euxine and Mediterranean seas. The foundation of Constantinople more essentially contributed to the preservation of the East, than to the ruin of the West.
• As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion, we mạy hear without surprise or scandal, that the introduction, or at least the abuse, of Christianity, had some infuence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pufillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged ; and the latt remains of military spiric were buried in the cloyster : a large portion of public and private wealth was confecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotions and the soldiers pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both fexes, who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. Faith, zeal, curiosity, and the more earthly pacons of malice and ambition, kiodled the flame of theological discord ; the church, and even the state, were distracted by religious factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody, and always implacable; the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was opprefied by a new species of tyranny, and the persecuted feats became the secret enemies of their country. Yet party-spirit, however pernicious or absurd, is a principle of union as well as of diflention. The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of paflive obedie ence to a lawful and orthodox sovereign ; their frequent assemblies, and perpetual correspondence, maintained the communion of dittads
churches, churches; and the benevolent temper of the gospel was strengthened though confined, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The facred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; buc if superftition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baler motives, the tandard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed, which indulge and fanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity mav be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the Bar. barian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was haltened by the conversion of Conftantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors.
• This awful revolution may be usefully applied to the indruction of the present age. It is the duty of a patriot to prefer and promote the exclusive interest and glory of his native country : but a philoso. pher may be permitted to enlarge his views, and to consider Europe as one great republic, whose various inhabitants have attained almost the same level of politeness and cultivation. The balance of power will continue to fluctuate, and the prosperity of our own, or the neighbouring kingdoms, may be alternately exalted or depressed; but these parcial events cannot essentially injure our general itate of happiness, the system of arts, and laws, and manners, which so advantageously distinguish, above the rest of mankind, the Europeans and their colonies. The savage nations of the globe are the common enemies of civilized society; and we may enquire with anxious curiolity, whether Europe is ftill threatened with a repetition of those calamities, which formerly oppressed the arms and infticucions of Rome. Perhaps the fame reflections will illustrate the fall of that mighty empire, and explain the probable causes of our actual fecurity'
The remaining observations, wherewith our Hiftorian closes his third yolume, breathe the same liberal spirit, and shew evidently, to every Reader of taste and judgment, that there are few Writers who are capable of taking so enlarged and comprehenfive a view of a subject as Mr. Gibbon. We cannot take our leave, without returning the Master of the Feast our sincere and hearty thanks for the very elegant and agreeable manner in which he has entertained us, and shall only say to him, at parting, Macte INGENIO, AC VIRTUTE ESTO.
A Theorie des Loix Criminelles : i. c. The Theory of Penal
Laws in criminal Cases. By M. BRISSOȚ De WARVILLE. 2 Vols. 8vo. Paris, 1781.---This Author merits attention, as his wiews feem upright and humane, and as the subject he useats is of great consequence to all civilized nations; but we