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tions of the Old Testament, the latter those of the New. The kingdom of Rome was universal, because such was to be the kingdom of Christ. And as the ancient law was but a preparation for the new, every thing in the ancient world converged towards Rome, and the accession of Jesus Christ, just as every thing after that accession has concurred to the triumph and the universality of the Christian faith. Never was Rome so powerful as since, by the communication of Christ's religion, she attached to herself the barbarian nations bent formerly on her ruin. The Gauls burnt that Rome which was subject to the false gods; the soldiers of Hannibal would have made her a heap of stones; the Christian Alaric recoils from the destruction of Christian Rome; he makes himself her master, and preserves her."*
It is the main idea which is here so valuable. The atmosphere of Tacitus and the lurid glare of his Rome, compared with St. Augustine's world, are like the shades in which Achilles deplored the loss of life contrasted with a landscape bathed in the morning light of a southern sun. Yet how much more material misery was there in the time of St. Augustine than in the time of Tacitus! In spite of the excesses in which the emperors might indulge within the walls of their palace or of Rome, the fair fabric of civilisation filled the whole Roman world, the great empire was in peace, and
• Histoire de la Gaule, Introduction, p. 340.
its multitude of nations were brethren. Countries which now form great kingdoms of themselves were then tranquil members of one body politic. Men could traverse the coasts of Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece, round to Italy again, and find a rich smiling land covered by prosperous cities, enjoying the same laws and institutions, and possessed in peace by its children. In St. Augustine's time all had changed. On many of these coasts a ruthless, uncivilised, unbelieving, or misbelieving enemy had descended. Through the whole empire there was a feeling of insecurity, a cry of helplessness, and a trembling at what was about to come. Yet in the pages of the two writers the contrast is just in the inverse ratio. In the Pagan, every thing seems borne on by an iron fate, which tramples on the free will of man, and overwhelms the virtuous before the wicked. In the Christian, order shines in the midst of destruction, and mercy dispenses the severest humiliations. It was the symbol of the coming age. And so that great picture of the Doctor, Saint, and Philosopher laid hold of the minds of men during these centuries of violence which followed, and in which peace and justice, so far from embracing each other, seemed to have deserted the earth. And in modern times a great genius has seized upon it, and developed it in the Discourse on Universal History. Bossuet is worthy to receive the torch from St. Augustine ; scarcely could a more majestic voice or a more philosophic spirit set forth the double succession of empire and of religion, or exhibit the tissue wrought by Divine Providence, human free will, and the permitted power of evil. .
I do not say that the scientific method reached its full perfection in either of these great authors. I do not say that in the latter theory never encroaches on the domain of facts. Nor have I time to touch on the relation which the course of man's temporal destiny holds to that of his eternal, or the bearing of history on theology, and how much the philosopher may assume from the theologian. These great men were, above all, theologians, and if they in any respect stretched their own province too far, the tendency of things has since been so much in the contrary direction that there is little danger of their example in this respect being followed.
Nothing of this sort, certainly, can be charged on a living author,—at once statesman, orator, philosopher, and historian of the highest rank,—who has given to us, on a less extensive subject, a philosophy of history in its most finished and accurate form. The very attempt, on the part of M. Guizot, to draw out a picture of civilisation during fourteen hundred years, and to dissect through that immense and ever-changing period the course of society in so many countries, indicates no ordinary power; and the partial fulfilment of the design
may be said to have elevated the philosophy of history into a science. In this work may be found the most important rules of the science accurately stated, but the work itself is the best example of philosophic method and artistic execution united to illustrate a complex subject. A careful study of original authorities, a patient induction of facts, a cautious generalisation, the philosophic eye to detect analogies, the painter's power to group results, and above all a unity of conception which no multiplicity of details can embarrass : these are some of the main qualifications for a philosophy of history, which I should deduce from these works. Yet while the action of Providence and that of human free will are carefully and beautifully brought out, while both may be said to be points of predilection to the author, he has not alluded, so far as I am aware, to the great evil spirit, and his personal operation. Strong as he is, he has been apparently too weak to bear the scoff of modern infidelity, “he believes in the Devil,”unless, indeed, the cause of this lies deeper, and belongs to his philosophy; for if there be one subject out of which eclecticism can pick nothing to its taste, it would be the permitted operation of the great fallen spirit. Nor will the warmest admiration of his genius be mistaken for a concurrence in all his judgments. I presume not to say how far such an author is sometimes, in spite of himself, unjust, from the point of view at which
he draws his picture. Whether and how far he be an eclectic philosopher, let others decide: it would be grievous to feel it true of such a mind; for it is the original sin of that philosophy to make the universe rotate round itself. Great is its complacency in its own conclusions, but there runs through them one mistake,—to fancy itself in the place of God.
It is, perhaps, these works and their great influence which led to another effort of the philosophic mind in the defence of Catholicism as to its action on society by the lamented Balmez, too soon removed from Spain and from the Church. With less unity of conception, with less scientific method, above all, far better in its idea than in execution, it yet exemplifies the philosophy of history; more so, I think, than the volume of the celebrated German who has had the honour of giving its name to the science. We miss, indeed, in Frederic Schlegel the accuracy, lucidity, and point, the admirable concentration of the great French mind above mentioned. Yet there is enough in his volume, in its wide stores of thought and immense learning, to justify the title which he has assumed.
St. Augustine, Bossuet, Guizot, Balmez, Schlegel: I have taken these names not to exhaust, but to illustrate the subject. Here we have the ancient and the modern society, Africa and France, Spain and Germany, and the Christian mind in each, thrown upon the facts of history. They