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all those grooves or channels for thought, which it is easy
and pleasing to follow, and painful and difficult to abandon. Such are the love of ease, the love of certainty, the love of system, the bias of the passions, the associations of the imagination, as well as the coarser influences of social position, domestic happiness, professional interest, party feeling, or ambition. In most men, the love of truth is so languid, and the reluctance to encounter mental suffering is so great, that they yield their judgments without an effort to the current, withdraw their minds from all opinions or arguments opposed to their own, and thus speedily convince themselves of the truth of what they wish to believe. He who really loves truth is bound at least to endeavour to resist these distorting influences, and in as far as his opinions are the result of his not having done so, in so far they represent a moral failing.
In the next place, it must be observed that every moral disposition brings with it an intellectual bias which exercises a great and often a controlling and decisive influence even upon the most earnest enquirer. If we know the character or disposition of a man, we can usually predict with tolerable accuracy many of his opinions. We can tell to what side of politics, to what canons of taste, to what theory of morals he will naturally incline. Stern, heroic, and haughty natures tend to systems in which these qualities occupy the foremost position in the moral type, while gentle natures will as naturally lean towards systems in which the amiable virtues are supreme. Impelled by a species of moral gravitation, the enquirer will glide insensibly to the system which is congruous to his disposition, and intellectual difficulties will seldom arrest him. He can have observed human nature with but little fruit who has not remarked how constant is this connection, and how very rarely men change fundamentally the principles they had deliberately adopted on religious, moral, or even political questions,
without the change being preceded, accompanied, or very speedily followed, by a serious modification of character. So, too, a vicious and depraved nature, or a nature which is hard, narrow, and unsympathetic, will tend, much less by calculation or indolence than by natural affinity, to low and degrading views of human nature. Those who have never felt the higher emotions will scarcely appreciate them. The materials with which the intellect builds are often derived from the heart, and a moral disease is therefore not unfrequently at the root of an erroneous judgment.
Of these two truths the first cannot, I think, be said to have had any influence in the formation of the theological notion of the guilt of error. An elaborate process of mental discipline, with a view to strengthening the critical powers of the mind, is utterly remote from the spirit of theology; and this is one of the great reasons why the growth of an inductive and scientific spirit is invariably hostile to theological interests. To raise the requisite standard of proof, to inculcate hardness and slowness of belief, is the first task of the inductive reasoner.
He looks with great favour upon the condition of a suspended judgment; he encourages men rather to prolong than to abridge it; he regards the tendency of the human mind to rapid and premature generalisations as one of its most fatal vices; he desires especially that that which is believed should not be so cherished that the mind should be indisposed to admit doubt, or, on the appearance of new arguments, to revise with impartiality its conclusions. Nearly all the greatest intellectual achievements of the last three centuries have been preceded and prepared by the growth of scepticism. The historic scepticism which Vico, Beaufort, Pouilly, and Voltaire in the last century, and Niebuhr and Lewis in the present century, applied to ancient history, lies at the root of all the great modern efforts to reconstruct the history of mankind. The splendid discoveries of physical science would have been impossible but for the
scientific scepticism of the school of Bacon, which dissipated the old theories of the universe, and led men to demand a severity of proof altogether unknown to the ancients. The philosophic scepticism with which the system of Hume ended and the system of Kant began, has given the greatest modern impulse to metaphysics and ethics. Exactly in proportion, therefore, as men are educated in the inductive school, they are alienated from those theological systems which represent a condition of doubt as sinful, seek to govern the reason by the interests and the affections, and make it a main object to destroy the impartiality of the judgment.
But although it is difficult to look upon Catholicism in any other light than as the most deadly enemy of the scientific spirit, it has always cordially recognised the most important truth, that character in a very great measure determines opinions. To cultivate the moral type that is most congenial to the opinions it desires to recommend has always been its effort, and the conviction that a deviation from that type has often been the predisposing cause of intel lectual heresy, had doubtless a large share in the first persuasion of the guilt of error. But priestly and other influences soon conspired to enlarge this doctrine. A crowd of speculative, historical, and administrative propositions were asserted as essential to salvation, and all who rejected them were wholly external to the bond of Christian sympathy.
If, indeed, we put aside the pure teaching of the Christian founders, and consider the actual history of the Church since Constantine, we shall find no justification for the popular theory that beneath its influence the narrow spirit of patriotism faded into a wide and cosmopolitan philanthropy. A real though somewhat languid feeling of universal brotherhood had already been created in the world by the universality of the Roman Empire. In the new faith the range of genuine sympathy was strictly limited by the creed. Acording to the popular belief, all who differed from the teaching of the orthodox lived under the hatred of the Almighty, and were destined after death for an eternity of anguish. Very naturally, therefore, they were wholly alienated from the true believers, and no moral or intellectual excellence could atone for their crime in propagating error. The eighty or ninety sects,' into which Christianity speedily divided, hated one another with an intensity that extorted the wonder of Julian and the ridicule of the Pagans of Alexandria, and the fierce riots and persecutions that hatred produced appear in every page of ecclesiastical history. There is, indeed, something at once grotesque and ghastly in the spectacle. The Donatists, having separated from the orthodox simply on the question of the validity of the consecration of a certain bishop, declared that all who adopted the orthodox view must be damned, refused to perform their rites in the orthodox churches which they had seized, till they had burnt the altar and scraped the wood, beat multitudes to death with clubs, blinded others by anointing their eyes with lime, filled Africa, during nearly two centuries, with war and desolation, and contributed largely to its final ruin. The childish and almost unintelligible quarrels between the Homoiousians and the Homoousians, between those who maintained that the nature of Christ was like that of the Father and those who maintained that it was the same, filled the world with riot and hatred. The Catholics tell how an Arian Emperor caused eighty orthodox priests to be drowned on a single occasion ;3 how three thousand persons perished in the riots that convulsed Constantinople when the Arian Bishop Macedonius superseded the Athanasian Paul ;4 how George of Cappadocia, the Arian Bishop of Alexandria,
St. Augustine reckoned eighty- Socrates, H. E., iv. 16. This eight sects as existing in his time. anecdote is much doubted by
? See à full account of these modern historians. persecutions in Tillemont, Mém. * Milman's Hist. of Christianity ď Histoire ecclés. tome vi.
(ed. 1867), vol. ii. p. 422.
caused the widows of the Athanasian party to be scourged on the soles of their feet, the holy virgins to be stripped naked, to be flogged with the prickly branches of palm-trees, or to be slowly scorched over fires till they abjured their creed. The triumph of the Catholics in Egypt was accompanied (if we may believe the solemn assertions of eighty Arian Bishops) by every variety of plunder, murder, sacrilege, and outrage, and Arius himself was probably poisoned by Catholic hands. The followers of St. Cyril of Alexandria, who were chiefly monks, filled their city with riot and bloodshed, wounded the prefect Orestes, dragged the pure and gifted Hypatia into one of their churches, murdered her, tore the flesh from her bones with sharp shells, and, having stripped her body naked, flung her mangled remains into the flames. In Ephesus, during the contest between St. Cyril and the Nestorians, the cathedral itself was the theatre of a fierce and bloody conflict.5 Constantinople, on the occasion of the deposition of St. Chrysostom, was for several days in a condition of absolute anarchy. After the Council of Chalcedon, Jerusalem and Alexandria were again convulsed, and the bishop of the latter city was murdered in his baptistery. About fifty years later, when the Monophysite controversy was at its height, the palace of the emperor at Constantinople was blockaded, the churches were besieged, and the streets commanded by furious bands of contending monks. Repressed for a time, the riots broke
, 1 St. Athanasius, Historical seems to have been regarded as Treatises (Library of the Fathers), such, but it was a matter of conpp. 192, 284.
troversy whether it was a miracle 2 Milman, Hist. of Christianity, or a murder. ii. pp. 436-437.
* Socrates, H. E., vii. 13-15. 3 The death of Arius, as is well Milman, Hist. of Latin Chrisknown, took place suddenly (his tianity, vol. i. pp. 214-215. bowels, it is said, coming out) when 6 Milman, Hist. of Christianity, he was just about to make his vol. iii. p. 145. triumphal entry into the Cathe- ? Milman, Hist. of Latin Chrisdral of Constantinople. The death tianity, vol. i. pp. 290-291. (though possibly natural) never 8 Ibid. vol. i. pp. 310–311.