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Authority and Liberty

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1849
Art. I. - Remarks on the Past, and its Legacies to American Society, By J. D. Nourse. Louisville (Ky.) : Morton & Griswold.    1847.    16mo. pp. 223.
A  critic in  this city  expresses surprise that  this  book could have been written by a young man born and brought up in Kentucky ; but we see no reason why it could not have been written by a young man as well as by an old man, and in Ken­tucky as well as in any other part of the Union.    We suppose they read in Kentucky as well as in Massachusetts *,  and it is not more strange that a young Kentuckian than that a young Bostonian should expend a good deal of thought in elaborating a system compounded of sense and nonsense, truth and false­hood, common-place and crude speculation.    The book cer­tainly indicates some natural and acquired ability, but no abili­ty peculiar to either side of the Alleghanies.    The substance of it may be read any day in Schlegel,  Carlyle,   Macaulay, Guizot, Bancroft, and The Boston Quarterly Review.    We have discovered nothing new or striking in the views it sets forth, or if now and then something we never met with before, it is usually something we have no desire to meet with again. The author tells us, in his brief advertisement, " that it may seem presumptuous for a young backwoodsman to enter the lists with Schlegel, Guizot, and Macaulay."    We think it not only may seem so, but that it actually is so ; for Schlegel and Guizot - to say nothing of Macaulay - are at least men of varied and profound erudition.    They are scholars, and have not derived their learning at second or third hand.    Mr. Nourse may rival, nay, surpass them, in his ambition and self-confidence ; but he must live long, and enjoy advantages of study which neither Kentucky nor Massachusetts affords, before he rivals them in any thing else, or can do much else than travesty them. Not that we regard either of them as a safe guide. Guizot is eclectic and humaniiarian ; and Schlegel is too mys­tical, and loo ambitious, to reduce within a theory matters which by their very nature transcend any theory the human mind can form or comprehend. Mr. Nourse has, if you will, extraordi­nary natural abilities, an honest and ingenuous disposition ; but he has not yet begun to master the present, far less the whole past. He has a vague recognition of religion, concedes some influence to Christianity in civilizing the world ; but he is with­out faith, and has yet to learn the very rudiments of the Chris­tian creed. We doubt, also, whether he is able to give even the outlines of a single historical period, or of a single people or institution, with sufficient accuracy to enable them to serve as the basis of a single sound induction. One should know the facts of history before proceeding to construct its philosophy. He will forgive us, therefore, if we tell him that we do regard him as not a little presumptuous in attempting a work for which he has in reality not a single qualification. He writes, indeed, with earnestness ; his style, though somewhat cramped, and de­ficient in freedom and ease, is dignified, simple, clear, and terse, occasionally rich and beautiful ; but this cannot atone for the general incorrectness of his statements, or the crudeness and unsoundness of his speculations.
With sound premises and freed from the prejudices of his education, we doubt not, Mr. Nourse might arrive at passa­ble conclusions ; but he is ruined by his love of theorizing, his false philosophy, and his unsound theology. He may have phil­anthropic impulses and generous sentiments ; he may mean to be a Christian, and actually believe that he is a Christian be­liever ; but, whether he knows it or not, the order of thought which he seeks to develop and propagate is neither more nor less than the old Alexandrian Syncretism, as obtained through German Mysticism, French Eclecticism, and Boston Tran­scendentalism. Radically considered, his system, if system it can be called, is the old Alexandrian system, which sprang up in the third century of our era, as the rival of the Christian Church, ascended the throne of the Caesars with Julian the Apostate, and fled to Persia in the sixth century, when Jus­tinian closed the last schools of philosophy at Athens. This system was an attempted fusion of all the particular forms of Gentilism, moulded into a shape as nearly like Christianity as it might be, and intended to dispute with it the empire of the world. It borrowed largely from Christianity, - copied the forms of its hierarchy, and many of its dogmas ; which has led some in more recent times, who never consult chronology, to charge the Church with having herself copied her hierarchy, her ritual, and her principal doctrines from it. It made no di­rect war on the Christian Symbol ; it simply denied or derided the sources whence it was obtained, and the authority which Christian faith always presupposes. It called itself Philosophy, and its pretension was to raise philosophy to the dignity of re­ligion, and to do by it what Christianity professes to do by faith and an external and supernaturally accredited revelation. It was, therefore, Gentile Rationalism, and, in fact, Gentile Ra­tionalism carried to its last degree of perfection. It is this Rationalism, met and refuted by the great Fathers of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, that lies at the bottom of our author's thought, and which he labors to reproduce with a zeal - we cannot say ability-not unworthy of a disciple of Plotinus, Proclus, and Porphyrius.
This should not surprise us. There is nothing new under the sun. The old Gentile world exhausted human reason ; and it is not possible, even with a full knowledge of all the Church teaches, taking human reason alone as the basis of our system, to surpass the old Alexandrian Syncretism, or Neoplatonism, as it is sometimes called. In constructing it, the human mind had present to it, as materials, all the labors and traditions of Gentil­ism in all ages and nations, and also all the teachings and traditions of Jews and Christians, as well as of the Jewish and early Chris­tian sects ; and it was, from the point of view of Rationalism, the resume of the whole. It was the last word of heathendom. In it Gentilism, collecting and combining all that was not the Christian Church, exerted all her forces and all her energies for a last desperate battle against the Nazarene, the triumph of the Cross. Catholicity or Rationalism is, as every one knows or may know, the only alternative that remains to us since the preaching of the Gospel. Impossible, then, is it to depart from Catholicity without falling back on Rationalism, and, if a little profound and consistent, upon Neoplatonism, as Rationalism in its fulness and integrity. All heresies are simply attempts to return to this Rationalism, and in it they find their complement, as may be historically as well as logically established. All your modern philosophies are regarded as profound and complete only as they approach it. Kant, Schelling, HegeJ, Cousin, Leroux, De Lamennais, Hermes, Schleiermacher, Carlyle, Emerson, Parker, all belong to the Alexandrian school, and only reproduce, more or less successfully, its teachings, and to the best of their ability renew the war it waged against the Christian Church.
It is no objection to what we assert, that the sects and many of the modern philosophies retain some or even the greater part of the Christian dogmas. Neoplatonism did as much. We must not forget that Neoplatonism is subsequent to the Chris­tian Church ; that it took its rise in the school of Ammonius Saccas, in the beginning of the third century of our era; that it received its form and development from Plotinus, who flourished about the year of our Lord 260 ; and that it proposed itself as the rival rather than the antagonist of Christianity. Its aim was to satisfy the ever recurring and indestructible religious wants of the human soul, without recognizing the Christian Church, or bowing to the authority of the Nazarene. It was not the Christian doctrines, abstracted from the Christian Church, and received as philosophy on the authority of reason or even private inspirations, instead of the authority of our Lord and his supernaturally commissioned teachers, that it opposed. It was willing to accept Christianity as a philosophy, or a part of philosophy ; but not as a religion, far less as a religion complete in itself and excluding all others. Hence, it, as well as the Church, taught one Supreme God existing as a Trinity in Uni­ty, the immortality of the soul, the fall of man and the corrup­tion of human nature, the necessity of redemption, self-denial and the practice of austere virtue ; that we are bound to worship God, must live for him, and can attain to supreme felicity only in attaining to an ineffable union with him. In the simple prov­ince of philosophy it was often profound and just. In many things it and Christianity ran parallel one with the other. Not unfrequenllydo the Alexandrian philosophers talk like Christian Fathers, and Christian Fathers talk like Alexandrian philoso­phers. There is Neoplatonism in St. Gregory Nazianzen, in St. Basil, and St. Austin. The most renowned of the Fa­thers studied in its schools, as distinguished Doctors now study in the schools of the philosophers of France and Germany. But Neoplatonism was at bottom a philosophy, and whatever it held from Christianity, it held as philosophy, as resting on a human, not a Divine basis. The philosophers transformed Christianity, so far as they accepted it, into a philosophy; while the Fathers made Neoplatonism, so far as they did not reject it, subservient to Christianity, to the statement and explication of Christian theology to the human understanding, keeping it al­ways within the province of reason, and never allowing it to be­come the arbiter of the dogmas of faith, or to supersede or in­terfere with the Divine authority on which alone they were to be meekly and submissively received. The Fathers, therefore, were not less Christian for the philosophy they did not reject, nor the Alexandrians the less Gentile Rationalists for the Chris­tian doctrines they borrowed. One may embrace, avowedly, all Christian doctrine, without approaching the Christian order, if, as Hermes proposed, he embraces it as philosophy, or on the authority of reason ; for the Christian, to be a Christian believer, must believe God, and therefore Christianity, because it is his supernatural word, not because it is the word of human reason or human sentiment, as contend our modern Liberal Chris­tians.
It would be interesting to show historically the resemblance of the whole modern un-Catholic  world to the  old  Alex­andrian world represented by Plotinus, Jamblicus,   Porphy-rius, Proclus, and Julian the Apostate ; - how each heresiarch and each modern philosopher only reproduces what the old Christian Fathers fought against and defeated, - how  each progress in this boasted age of progress only tends to bring us back to ihe system which the Gregories, the Basils, and their associates combated from the Christian pulpit and the Episco­pal chair ; but we have neither the space nor the learning to do it as it should be done.     Yet no one who has studied with tol­erable care the learned Gentilism of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries of our era, and is passably well acquainted with the modern Rationalism of France and Germany, and the move­ments of the various heretical sects in our day, can doubt that our own nineteenth century is distinguished for its return to Gentilism, and has nearly reproduced it under its most perfect form.    The various forms of heathenism had become effete ; no one of them any longer satisfied the minds or the hearts of its adherents.    An age of skepticism and indifference had in­tervened, attended by a licentiousness of manners and  public and private corruption which threatened the universal dissolu­tion of society.    Individuals rose who saw it, and felt the ne­cessity of a general reform, and that a general reform was im­possible without religion.   But they would not, on the one hand, accept the Church, and could not, on the other, hope any thing from any of the old forms of heathenism. The world must have a religion, and could not get on without it. But how get a religion, when all religions were discarded, when all forms of religion were treated with general neglect or contempt ?
The Reformers saw that they must have a religion, and, since none existed which was satisfactory, none which was powerful enough to meet the exigency of the times, they must make one for themselves ; - that is, form one to their purpose out of the old particular religions no longer heeded. Alexandria was their proper workshop, for there were collected or lying about in glorious confusion all the necessary materials. They began with the assumption, that all religions are at bottom equally true, and that the error of each is in its exclusiveness, in its claiming to be the whole of religion, and the only true religion. Take, then, the elements of each, mould them together into a com­plete and harmonious whole, and you will have the true religion, a religion which will meet the wants of all minds and hearts, rally the human race around it, and be " The Church of the Future." Hence arose the Alexandrian Syncretism, combin­ing in one systematic whole, as far as reason could combine them, all the known religions of the world, which, under the name of philosophy, but which became a veritable superstition, disputed the empire of the world with Christianity for full three hundred years.
What is the movement of our day, but an attempt of the same sort ? By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the various forms of heresy, in which the Protestant spirit had developed it­self, and which had attempted toreproduce Gentilism without for­feiting their title to Christianity, had exhausted their moral force, and the age began to lapse again into the old license and cor­ruption. Never in its worst days was there grosser immorality and corruption in the Roman Empire than prevailed in England during the earlier half of the last century, under the reigns of George the First and George the Second. Deism was rife in the court, in the schools, in the church, among the nobility and the people. Germany was hardly better, if so good ; and of France under the regency of the profligate Duke of Orleans, or under Louis the Fifteenth with his pare au cerfs, we need not speak. Literature was infidel throughout, and atheism became fashionable. To the rabid infidel propagandism, begun by the English deists, and;carried on by Voltaire and his asso­ciates, under the motto, Ecrasez Vinfame, soon succeeded, as of old, profound skepticism and indifference.   Neither false religion nor no religion could rouse the mind from the torpidity into which it sank.   Exclusive heresy, or, as we may say, sec­tarianism, born from the Protestant Reformation, though pro­ducing its efleets far beyond the limits of the so-called Protes­tant world, had caused all forms of religion, about the beginning of this century, to be treated as equally false and contemptible. But, once more, individuals started up frightened at the pros­pect they beheld.    They felt and owned the eternal truth, Man cannot be an atheist.    They saw the necessity of a general re­form, and that a general reform could be effected only by re­ligion.   But, disdaining the Church as did the old Alexandrians, and seeing clearly that all the particular forms of Protestantism were worn out, they felt that they must have a new religion, and to have it they must make it for themselves, or reconstruct it out of such materials as the old religions supplied.    The principle on which they proceed is precisely the Alexandrian. To them all religions are equally true or equally false, - true as parts of a whole, false when regarded each as a whole in it­self.    Take, then, the several religions which have been and are, mould them into a complete, uniform, and systematic whole, and you will have what the Editor of The Boston Quarterly Review, and Chevalier Bunsen after him, call  " The Church of the Future," and Dr. Bushnell and his friends call " Compre­hensive Christianity," - what Saint-Simon denominated Nou-veau Christianisme, and M. Victor Cousin brilliantly advocates under the name of Eclecticism, borrowed avowedly from the Neoplatonists.
In perfect harmony with this, you see everywhere attempts to amalgamate sects, to form the un-Catholic world into one body, with a common creed, a common worship, and a common purpose. While the philosophers elaborate the bases of the union, statesmen and ministers attempt its practical realization. This is what we see in u Evangelical Alliances " and "World Conventions," in the formation of " The Evangelical Church" in Prussia, and the union of Prussia and England in establishing the bishopric of Jerusalem. The aim is everywhere the same that it was with the Alexandrians, the principles of proceeding are the same, and the result, if obtained, must be similar. The movement of the un-Catholic world now, how much soever it may borrow from Christianity, however near it may approach the Catholic model, can be regarded, by those who understand it, only as a conscious or unconscious effort to reproduce the Gentile Rationalism of the old Alexandrian school.

The identity of the two movements might be established even down to minute details. The most fanciful dreams of our Transcendentalists may be found among the Alexandrians, - either with those who disavowed Christianity, or the sects, pro­fessing to retain it, allied to them. The very principle of Transcendentalism, namely, an element or activity in the hu­man soul above reason, by which man is placed in immediate communion with the Divine mind, is nothing but the Ecstasy or Trance of the Neoplatonists, or their fifth source of science ; and the Alexandrian theurgy and magic are reproduced in your Swedenborgianism and Mesmerism. Moreover, the Protes­tant Reformation itself not only involved as its legitimate con­sequence a return to the Alexandrian Rationalism, but was in some measure the effect of such return. To be satisfied of this, we need but study the history of the Revival of Letters and the controversies of the schools in the fifteenth century. We say nothing of the Revival in so far as it was simply a revival of classical antiquity under the relation of art, or beauty of form,- under which relation it was in no sense censurable, but perhaps a progress. Christian piety and learning can coexist with bar­barism in taste, and want of elegance and polish in manners, but do not demand them. The Revival, however, was, in fact, something more than this, and something far different from it. Those Greek scholars who escaped from Constantinople when it was taken by the Turks, and who spread themselves over Western Europe, did not bring with them merely the poets, or­ators, and historians of ancient Greece, nor merely more com­plete editions of Plato and Aristotle ; they brought with them Proclus and Plotinus, and the old Alexandrian Rationalism, with its Oriental comprehensiveness and its Greek subtlety. They made no attacks on the Church, - they professed pro­found respect for Catholicity, and with Eastern suppleness read­ily submitted to her authority ; but they deposited in the minds and hearts of their disciples the germs of a system the rival of hers, which weakened their attachment to her doctrines, dis­gusted them with the barbarous Latin and un- Greek taste of her Monks, and the rigid, sometimes frigid, Scholasticism of her Doctors. These germs were not slow in developing, and very soon gave us the Neoplatonists in philosophy, and the Human­ists in literature, of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The former destroyed the authority of the Schoolmen ; the latter, at the head of whom stood Erasmus, the Voltaire of his time, covered the clergy, especially the Monks, with ridicule, and sowed the seeds of practical, as the others had of speculative, infidelity. Combined or operating to the same end, they pre­pared, and, favored by the politics of the period, produced, the Protestant Reformation. Not accidentally, then, has Protestantism from its birth manifested a Gentile spirit, mis­represented and ridiculed every thing distinctively Christian, or that it is now undeniably developing in pure Alexandrian Syn­cretism, gathering itself up as a grand and well-organized super­stition to wage war once more on the old Alexandrian battle­ground, with the old Alexandrian forces and arms, against the Nazarene, as Julian the Apostate always terms our Lord. Was it by accident that Protestantism, wherever permitted to follow its instincts, began by pulling down, breaking, or defacing the Cross, the sacred symbol of Christianity ?
The identity of the modern movement with that which result­ed in Alexandrian Syncretism may be traced also in the pan­theistic tendencies of the day. The Alexandrian school re­jected none of the popular gods ; it placed Apis and Jove, Isis and Hercules, and sometimes even Christ himself, in the same temple ; but all under the shadow of the god Serapis, the symbol of unity, or rather of the whole, the all, that is, of pure pantheism, in which all pure Rationalism is sure to end. To what does all modern philosophy tend, but to pantheism ? Have we not seen Spinoza in our own day rehabilitated, and commented upon as the greatest of modern philosophers ? Cousin's Eclecticism is undeniably pantheistic, and less cannot be said of Schellingism or Hegelism. Socialism, now so rife, is simply pantheism adapted to the apprehensions of the vulgar, - refined and voluptuous with the Fourierists and Saint-Simonians, coarse and revolting with the Chartists and Red Republicans.
But we are pursuing this line of remark beyond our original purpose. We may return to it hereafter. In the mean time we invite those who have the requisite leisure and learning to take up the subject, and consider the relation of all the ancient and modern sects to Gentilism, the persistence of Gentilism in Christian nations down to our own times, in spite of the anathe­mas of the Church and the unwearied efforts of the Catholic clergy to exterminate it, and its all but avowed revival in our own day under the most comprehensive, scientific, erudite, subtle, and dangerous form it ever assumed. In doing this, great attention should be paid to chronology ; for the Gen­tilism with which it is the fashion among Protestants and unbe­lievers to compare Christianity, and from which it is pretended the Church has largely borrowed, will be found to have been formed two centuries and a half after the birth of our Lord. That stupendous fabric, that systematic organization of Gentil-ism, which we find in the time of Julian the Apostate, and which fell with him, was not the model copied by the Church, but was itself modelled after the Christian hierarchy, and it is hea­thenism that has Christianized, not the Church that has heathen­ized. The Platonism of modern times, whether on the Conti­nent or in England, is not the Platonism of Plato, but of the Alexandrians, as every one knows who has studied Plato him­self in his own inimitable Dialogues, not merely in the specula­tions of Plotinus, or the commentaries of Proclus.
That our author, born and brought up in the Protestant world, and formed by its Gentile spirit and tendencies, should even unconsciously fall into the Alexandrian order of thought, and labor to reconstruct a system intended to rival the Christian, is nothing strange. In doing so, he only yields to the spirit of the age, and follows the lead of those whom the age owns and reverences as its chiefs. That his system is not Christian, al­though he would have us receive it as Christian, is evident enough from his dictum with regard to miracles. " The mira­cles ascribed to Christ and his Apostles," he says, (p. 61,) " however conclusive to those who witnessed them, are no evi­dence to us, until by other means we have established the truth of the writings which record them,-that is to say, until we have proved, all that ive wish to prove." There is a sophism in this, which, probably, the author does not perceive. If the writings are the only authority for the miracles as historical facts, that we must establish their historical authenticity before the miracles can be evidence to us, we concede ; but not their truth, that is, the truth of the mysteries they teach, the material ob­ject of faith, - therefore the matter we want proved. The miracles are not proofs of the mysteries, but simply motives of credibility. " Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God ; for no man could do these miracles which thou do-est, unless God were with him." Ordinary historical testimony, though wholly inadequate to prove the mysteries, is sufficient to prove the miracles as facts, and, when so proved, they are evi­dence to us in the same manner and in the same degree that they were to those who witnessed them. It does not, therefore, follow that we must prove, without them, all we want proved, before they can be evidence to us.
But this by'the way.    The author in his dictum asserts either that Christianity is not provable at all, or that it is provable without miracles ; but no Christian can assert either the one or the other.    The former is absurd, if Christianity came from God and is intended for reasonable beings.    God, as the author of reason, cannot require us to believe, and we as reasonable be­ings   cannot  believe,   without  reason,  or  authority sufficient to satisfy reason.    The latter cannot be said without  reduc­ing Christianity to the mere order of nature ; for  a supernat­ural religion is, in the nature of things, provable only by super-naturally accredited witnesses, and witnesses cannot be super-naturally accredited without miracles of some sort.    To deny the necessity of miracles as motives of credibility, or to assert the provability of Christianity without them, is  to   deny the supernatural character of Christianity, and therefore to deny Christianity itself; for Christianity is essentially and distinctive­ly supernatural.    Without the miracles, Christianity is provable only as a philosophy, and as a philosophy it must lie wholly within the order of nature ; since philosophy, by its very defi­nition, is the science of principles cognizable by the light of nat­ural reason.    Rationalism turns for ever within the limits of na­ture, and, do its best, it can never overleap them.   It can never rise to Christianity ; all it can do is, by rejecting or explaining away  the mysteries, discarding all that transcends reason, to bring Christianity down to itself, - a fact we commend to the serious  consideration  of all who   pretend  that  our religion, even to its loftiest mysteries, is rationally or philosophically de­monstrable.    The Christianity they can prove as a philosophy is no more the Christianity of the Gospel than the Neoplaton-ism of Proclus and Plotinus was the Christianity of the Grego-ries, the Basils, and the Austins.
The author also betrays the unchristian character of his or­der of thought in his third discourse, entitled Spiritual Despot­ism and the Reformation. He says, indeed, in this part of his work, some very handsome things - in his own estimation - of the Church ; but, as he says them from the humanitarian point of view, on the hypothesis that she is a purely human institu­tion, and therefore a gigantic imposition upon mankind, we can­not take them as evidences of his Christian mode of thinking. If the Church is what we hold her to be, these humanitarian compliments and apologies are impertinent; and if what he holds her to be, they betray on his part a very unchristian laxity of moral principle. An infallible Church, the Church of God, needs no apologies ; man's Church, or the Synagogue of Satan, deserves nono. But, although the author maintains that the Church was very necessary from the fifth to the fifteenth century, - that she preserved our holy religion, and without her Chris­tian faith and piety would have been lost, Christianity would have been unable to fulfil her mission, and the European na­tions would have remained uncivilized, ignorant, illiterate, ruth­less barbarians,-he yet holds that she was a spiritual despotism, and the Protestant Reformation was inevitable and necessary to emancipate the human mind from her thraldom, and to prepare the way for mental and civil freedom.
According to the author, the spiritual despotism of the Church consisted in her claiming and exercising authority over faith and morals, - over the minds, the hearts, and the consciences of the faithful. If we catch his meaning, which does not appear to lie very clear or distinct even in his own mind, the despot­ism is in the authority itself, not simply in the fact that the Church claims and exercises it. It would be equally despot­ism, if claimed and exercised by any one else, because it is in­trinsically hostile to the rights of the mind and to the principles of civil liberty. Consequently, he objects not merely to the claimant, but to the thing claimed, and rejects the authority, let who will claim it, or let it be vested where or in whom it may.
But this is obviously unchristian. If we suppose Christian­ity at all, we must suppose it as an external revelation from God, a definite and authoritative religion, given by the Supreme Lawgiver to all men as the Supreme Law, binding upon the whole man, against which no one has the right to think, speak, or act, and to which every one is bound to conform in thought, word, and deed. All this is implied in the very conception of Christianity, and must be admitted, if we admit the Christian re­ligion at all. The authority objected to is therefore included in the fundamental conception of the Christian revelation, and consequently we cannot denominate it a spiritual despotism without denominating Christianity itself a spiritual despotism, which, we need not say, would be any thing but Christian.
The author's order of thought would carry him even farther. If the authority of the Church is a spiritual despotism for the reason he assigns, the authority of God is also a spiritual des­potism. The principle on which he objects to the Church is, that the mind and the state are free, and that any authority over either is unjust. The essence of despotism is not that it is authority, but that it is authority without right, will without reason, power without justice.    We cannot suppose the existence of God without supposing the precise authority over the mind and the state objected to. If this authority, claimed and exercised in his name by the Church, is despotism, it must be, then, because he has no right to it; if no right to it, he is not sovereign ; if not sovereign, he does not exist. If God does not exist, there is no conscience, no law, no accountability, moral or civil. To this conclusion the author's notions of mental free­dom and civil liberty, pushed to their logical consequences, ne­cessarily lead.
Every Christian is obliged to recognize, in the abstract, to say the least, the precise authority claimed and exercised by the Church over faith and morals, over the intellect and the con­science, in spirituals and in temporals ; and it is a well-known fact, that all Christian sects, as long as they retain any thing dis­tinctively Christian, do claim, and, as far as able, exercise it, and never practically abandon it, till they lapse into pure Ra­tionalism, from which all that is distinctively Christian disappears. It cannot be otherwise ; because Christianity is essentially law, and the Supreme Law, for the reason, the will, the conscience, for individuals and nations, for the subject and for the prince. If our author's order of thought were Christian, he could not object to the authority in itself; he would feel himself obliged to assert and vindicate it somewhere for some one ; and if he objected to the Church at all, he would do so, not because of the authority, but because it is not rightfully hers, but another's, - which would be a legitimate objection, and conclusive, if sus­tained, as of course it cannot be, by the facts in the case.    His failure to object on this ground is a proof that his thought is not Christian.
The author's notions of authority and liberty are not only unchristian, but exceedingly unphilosophical and confused. He has no just conception of either, and is evidently unable to draw any intelligible distinction between authority and despotism on the one hand, or between liberty and license on the other. He can conceive of authority and liberty only as each is the antago­nist or the limitation of the other ; he ingenuously confesses that he is unable to reconcile them, and presents their reconciliation as a problem that Protestantism has yet to solve. " To adjust the respective limits of these antagonists, - Liberty of thought and Ecclesiastical authority,- and bring about a lasting treaty of peace between them, is the yet unsolved problem of the Ref­ormation. The Reformers attempted to solve it, and strove in vain to confine the torrent they had set in motion, within certain dikes of their own construction. The spring-tide of free inquiry, not yet perhaps at its flood, is sweeping away their barriers, and ages may elapse before it subsides into its proper channel, after cleansing the earth of a thousand follies and abuses." (p. 160.) All this proves that his order of thought is unchristian, and that his conceptions of authority and of liberty are not taken from the Gospel. No intelligent Christian, no sound philosopher even, ever conceives of authority and liberty as antagonists, as limiting one the other, or admits that their conciliation is an unsolved problem, or even a problem at all.
The Christian, even the philosopher, derives all from God, and nothing from man, and therefore escapes the difficulty felt by our author and the Reformers. He knows that authority is not authority, if limited, and liberty is not liberty, if bounded. Con­sequently, he never conceives of the two in the same sphere, but distributes them in separate spheres, where each may be su­preme. God is the absolute, underived, and unlimited Sove­reign and Proprietor of the universe. Here is the foundation of all authority, and also of all liberty. Before God we have no liberty. We are his, and not our own. We are what he cre­ates us, have only what he gives us, and lie completely at his mercy. We hold all from him, even to the breath in our nos­trils, and he has the sovereign right to dispose of us according to his own will and pleasure. In his presence, and in presence of his law, we have duties, but no rights, and our duty and his right is the full, entire, and unconditional submission of our­selves, soul and body, to his will. Here is authority, abso­lute, full, entire, and unbounded, -as must be all authority, in order to be authority.
In the presence of authority there is no liberty ; where, then, is liberty ? It is not before God, but it is between man and man, between man and society, and between society and so­ciety. The absolute and plenary sovereignty of God excludes all other sovereignty, and our absolute and unconditional sub­jection to him excludes all other subjection. Hence no liberty before God, and no subjection before man ; and therefore lib­erty is rightly defined, full and entire freedom from all authority but the authority of God. Here is liberty, liberty in the hu­man sphere, and liberty full and entire, without restraint or limit in the sphere to which it pertains. Man is subjected to God, but to God only. No man, in his own right, has any, the least, authority over man ; no body or community of men, as such, has any rightful authority either in spirituals or temporals.
All merely human authorities are usurpations, and their acts are without obligation, null and void from the beginning. If the par­ent, the pastor, the prince has any right to command, it is as the vicar of God, and in that character alone ; if I am bound to obey my parents, my pastor, or my prince, it is because my God commands me to obey them, and because in obeying them I am obeying him. Here is the law of liberty, and here, too, is the law of authority. Understand now why religion must found the state, why it is nonsense or blasphemy to talk of an alliance between religion and liberty, a reconciliation between authority and freedom. Both proceed from the same fountain, the absolute, underived, unlimited sovereignty of God, and can be no more opposed one to the other than God can be opposed to himself. Hence, absolute and unconditional subjection to God is absolute and unlimited freedom. Therefore says our Lord, u If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
The sovereignty of God does not oppose liberty ; it founds and guaranties it. Authority is not the antagonist of freedom ; it is its support, its vindicator. It is not religion, it is not Chris­tianity, but infidelity, that places authority and liberty one over against the other, in battle array. It is not God who crushes our liberty, robs us of our rights, and binds heavy burdens upon our shoulders, too grievous to be borne, it is man, who at the same time that he robs us of our rights robs God of his. He who attacks our freedom attacks his sovereignty; he who vin­dicates his sovereignty, the rights of God, vindicates the rights of man ; for all human rights are summed up in the one right to be governed by God and by him alone, in the duty of absolute subjection to him, and absolute freedom from all subjection to any other. Maintain, therefore, the rights of God, the suprem­acy in all departments of the Divine law, and you need not trouble your heads about the rights of man, freedom of thought, or civil liberty ; for they are secured with all the guaranty of the Divine sovereignty. The Divine sovereignty is, there­fore, as indispensable to liberty as to authority.
We need not stop to show that the Divine sovereignty is not itself a despotism. The essence of despotism, as we have said, is not that it is authority, but that it is authority without right, will without reason, power without justice, which can never be said of God ; for his right to universal dominion is un­questionable, and in him will and reason, power and justice are never disjoined, are identical, are one and the same, and are indistinguishable save in our manner of conceiving them.    His sovereignty is rightful, his will is intrinsically, eternally, nnd immutably just will, his power just power. Absolute subjec­tion to him is absolute subjection to eternal, immutable, and absolute justice. Hence, subjection to him alone is, on the one hand, subjection to absolute justice, and, on the other, free­dom to be and to do all that absolute justice permits. Here is just authority as great as can be conceived, and true liberty as large as is possible this side of license ; and between the two there is and can be in the nature of things no clashing, no con­flict, no antagonism. How mean and shallow is infidel phi­losophy !
Taking this view along with us, a view which is alike that of Christianity and of sound philosophy, we cannot fail to perceive that the objection urged against the Church is exceedingly ill-chosen. The Church, if what she professes to be, - and we have the right here to reason on the supposition that she is, - represents the Divine sovereignty, and is commissioned by God to teach and to govern in his name. Her authority, then, is his authority, and it is he that teaches and governs in her and through her ; so far, then, from being hostile to liberty in one department or another, she must be its support and safeguard in every department. The ground and condition of liberty is the presence of the Divine sovereignty, for in its presence there is no other sovereignty, no other authority, consequently no slavery. The objection, that the Church is a spiritual despot­ism, is grounded on the supposition that all authority is despot­ism and all liberty license, - that is, that liberty and authority are antagonist forces, - which would require us to deny both, for neither despotism nor license is defensible. Authority and lib­erty are only the two phases of one and the same principle ; sup­pose the absence of authority, you suppose the presence of li­cense or despotism, which, again, are only the two phases of one and the same thing. To remove license or despotism, you must suppose the presence of legitimate authority. The Church being the representative of the Divine sovereignty on the earth, intro­duces legitimate authority, and by her presence necessarily dis­places both despotism and license, that is, establishes both order and liberty.
The difficulty which Protestants and unbelievers suppose must exist in conforming reason, which is not always obedient to will, to the commands of authority, arises from their over­looking the nature of authority. The authority is not only an order to believe, but it is authority for believing.    The authority of reason in the natural order is derived from God, not from man ; and the obligation to believe the axioms of mathe­matics or the definitions of geometry arises solely from the fact, that reason, which declares them, does, thus far, speak by Divine authority. U it did not, reason would be no reason for believing or asserting them. The same Divine authority in a higher order, speaking through the Church, cannot be less au­thoritative, or a less authority for believing what the Church teaches. Hence the command of the Church is at once author­ity for the will and for the reason, an injunction to believe and a reason for believing. The absolute submission of reason to her commands is not, as some fancy, the abnegation of reason. Reason does not, in submitting, fold her hands, shut her eyes, and take a doze, like a fat alderman after dinner, but keeps wide awake, and exercises her highest powers, her most sacred rights, according to her own nature. What more reasonable reason for believing than the command of God ? - since, in the order of truth, his sovereignty is identically his veracity. To suppose a Catholic mind can have any difficulty in bringing rea­son to assent to the teachings of the Church, believed to be God's Church, is as absurd as to suppose that an American who has never been abroad can have any difficulty in believing that there is such a city as Paris, or that Louis Napoleon Bonaparte has recently been elected President of the French Republic; or as to suppose that the logician finds a difficulty in bringing his reason to assent to the proposition that the same is the same, that the same thing cannot both be and not be at the same time, or that two and two make four.
It is not the Church that establishes spiritual despotism ; it is she who saves us from it. Spiritual despotism is that which subjects us, in spiritual matters, to a human authority, whether our own or that of others, - for our own is as human as an­other's ; and the only redemption from it is in having in them a Divine authority. Protestants themselves acknowledge this, when they call out for the pure word of God. The Church teaches by Divine authority *, in submitting to her, we submit to God, and are freed from all human authority. She teaches infal­libly ; therefore, in believing what she teaches, we believe the truth, which frees us from falsehood and error, to which all men without an infallible guide are subject, and subjection to which is the elemental principle of all spiritual despotism. Her author­ity admitted excludes all other authority, and therefore frees us from heresiarchs and sects, the very embodiment of spiritual despotism in its most odious forms. Sectarianism is spiritual despotism itself; and to know how far spiritual despotism and spiritual slavery may go, you have only to study the history of the various sects and false religions which have heretofore ex­isted, or which now exist.

In the temporal order, again, the authority claimed and exer­
cised by the Church is nothing but the assertion over the state
of the Divine sovereignty, which she represents, or the subjec­
tion of the prince to the law of God, in his character of prince
as well as in his character of man. That the prince or civil
power is subject to the law of God, no man who admits
Christianity at all dares question ; and, if the Church be the
Divinely commissioned teacher and guardian of that law, as she
certainly is, the same subjection to her must be conceded.
But this, instead of being opposed to civil liberty, is its only pos­
sible condition. Civil liberty, like all liberty, is in being held
to no obedience but obedience to God ; and obedience to the
state can be compatible with liberty only on the condition that
God commands it, or on the condition that he governs in the
state, which he does not and cannot do, unless the state holds
from his law and is subject to it. To deny, then, the suprem­
acy of the Church in temporals is only to release the temporal
order from its subjection to the Divine sovereignty, which, so
far as regards the state, is to deny its authority, or its right to
govern, and, so far as regards the subject, is to assert pure, un­
mitigated civil despotism. All authority divested of the Divine
sanction is despotic, because it is authority without right, will
unregulated by reason, power disjoined from justice. With­
draw the supremacy of the Church from the temporal order, and
you deprive the state of that sanction, by asserting that it does
not hold from God and is not amenable to his law ; you give
the state simply a human basis, and have in it only a human au­
thority, which has no right to govern, which I am not bound to
obey, and which it is intolerable tyranny to compel me to obey.
" Let every soul," says the blessed Apostle Paul, the Doctor
of the Gentiles, " be subject to the higher powers ; for there
is no power but from God ; and those that are, are ordained of
God. Therefore he that resisteth power resisteth the ordi­
nance of God.  Wherefore be subject of necessity, not
only for wrath, but for conscience' sake." (Rom. xiii. 1-5.) Here the obligation of obedience is grounded on the fact that the civil power is the ordinance of God, that is, as we say, holds from God.    But, obviously, this, while it subjects the subject to the state, equally suhjects the state to the Divine sovereignty. Take away the subjection of the state to God, and you take away the reason of the subjection of the subject to the state ; and we need not tell you that to subject us to an authority which we are not bound to obey is tyranny. See, then, what you get by denying the supremacy of the Church in temporals !

The Church and the state, as administrations, are distinct bodies ", but they are not, as some modern politicians would persuade us, two coordinate and mutually independent author­ities. The state holds under the law of nature, and has author­ity only within the limits of that law. As long as it confines itself within that law, and faithfully executes its provisions, it acts freely, without ecclesiastical restraint or interference. But the Church holds from God under the supernatural or revealed law, which includes, as integral in itself, the whole law of nature, and is therefore the teacher and guardian of the natural as well as of the revealed law. She is, under God, the supreme judge of both laws, which for her are but one law ; and hence she takes cognizance, in her tribunals, of the breaches of the natural law as well as of the revealed, and has the right to take cogni­zance of its breaches by nations as well as of its breaches by in­dividuals, by the prince as well as by the subject, for it is the su­preme law for both. The state is, therefore, only an inferior court, bound to receive the law from the supreme court, and liable to have its decisions reversed on appeal.

This must be asserted, if we assert the supremacy of the Christian law, and hold the Church to be its teacher and judge ; for no man will deny that Christianity includes the natural as well as the supernatural law. Who, with any just conceptions, or any conceptions at all, of the Christian religion, will pretend that one can fulfil the Christian law and yet violate the natural law ? --that one is a good Christian, if he keeps the precepts of the Church, though he break every precept of the Decalogue ? - or that Christianity remits the catechumen to the state to learn the law of nature, or what we term natural morality ? Grace presupposes nature. The supernatural ordinances of God's law presuppose the natural, and the Church, which is the teacher and guardian of faith and morals, can no more be so without plenary authority with regard to the latter than the former. Who, again, dares pretend that the moral law is not as obligatory on emperors, kings, princes, commonwealths, as upon private indi­viduals ?- upon politicians, as upon priests or simple believ­ers ?    Unless, then, you exempt the state from all obligationeven to the law of nature, you must make it amenable to the moral law as expounded by the Church, Divinely commissioned to teach and declare it.
Deny this, and assert the independence of the political order, and declare the state in its own right, without accountability to the Christian law, of which it is not the teacher or guardian, su­preme in temporals, and you gain, instead of civil liberty, sim­ply, in principle at least, civil despotism. If you deny that the Church is the teacher and guardian of the law of God, you must either claim the authority you deny her for the state, or you must deny it altogether. If you claim it for the state, you, on your own principles, make the state a spiritual despotism, and on ours also ; for the state obviously has not received that author­ity, is incompetent in spirituals, is no teacher of morals, or di­rector of consciences. If you deny it altogether, you make the state independent of the moral order, independent of the Divine sovereignty, the only real sovereignty, and establish pure, unmitigated civil despotism.
There is no escaping this conclusion ; and hence we see the folly and madness of those who assert in the name of liberty the independence of the political order, and exclaim, in a tone of mock heroism, " Neither priest nor bishop shall interfere with my political opinions as long as I am able to resist him !" Bra­vo ! my young Liberal ; but did you know what you are do­ing, you would see that you are laying the foundation, not of lib­erty, but of despotism. Hence, too, we see that our author must be mistaken, when he asserts that the Protestant Reformation, in its essential principle, was " a revolt of free spirits against profligate despotism." It was no such thing. Its objections to the Church, reduced to their substance, were simply, the Church is a spiritual despotism because she claims supremacy over rea­son, conscience, and the state ; and it objected to her, not be­cause it was she who claimed that supremacy, but because it rejected the supremacy itself, let it be claimed by whom it might. This our author himself concedes, contends, and proves. Its argument was, the Church claims to be the Church of God, and no Church of God can claim supremacy over reason, con­science, and the state. But the Church does claim this su­premacy, therefore she cannot be the Church of God. The principle of the argument is, that God could not delegate the authority to any Church. But if he could not, it must have been because, he himself did not possess it. Therefore the essential principle of the Reformation, in the last analysis, was the denial, on the one hand, of the sovereignty of God over reason, conscience, and the state, and, on the other, the asser­tion of the absolute independence of man, and of the temporal order, which is either pure license or pure despotism, accord­ing to the light in which you choose to consider it.    The real character of the Reformation was the substitution of human sovereignty for the Divine ; and hence, in its developments, wherever it is free to follow its own law, we see it result either in pure humanitarianism or pure pantheism, as it does or does not combine with religious sentiment.    And either is the denial of both authority and liberty ; for all authority is in the Divine sovereignty, and all liberty in being bound to it alone, that is, in freedom from all human government resting merely on a humanitarian basis, whether ourselves, the one, the few, or the many, as every one would see, if it were understood that author­ity over myself, emanating from myself, is as human and there­fore as illegitimate, as much of the essence of despotism, as au­thority over me emanating from other men.    Is  it not said in all languages that a man may be the slave of himself, of his own passions, his own ignorance, or his own prejudices ?    Under Protestantism we may have civil and spiritual despotism, or civil and spiritual license, the only two things that man can found, without a Divine commission and subjection to the Divine law ; but authority and liberty are possible and can be practi­cally secured only under the Divine order represented by the Church, or an institution precisely similar to what she professes to be, the Divinely commissioned teacher and guardian of both the natural and the revealed law.
That this conclusion will be acceptable to our politicians, young or old, we are not quite so simple as to suppose ; but we are not aware that it is necessary to consult their pleasure. They have in these, as they had in other times, the physical power to do with us as seems to them good. They can decry us, they can pull out our tongue, cut ofF our right hand, and at need burn our body, or cast it to the wild beasts ; but this will not alter the nature of things, make wrong right, or right wrong. Civil and spiritual despotism is not the less despotism because practised by them, and in the name of humanity and the people. We desire to have all due respect for them ; but we must con­fess that we have not yet seen their title-deeds, the papers which prove them to have a chartered right from Almighty God to be the sole governors of mankind. We have no author­ity for pronouncing them infallible or impeccable ; we have seen no reason for supposing their ascendency, freed from the restraints of the Divine law, is either honorable to God or ser­viceable to man ; we have not found them always exempt from the common infirmities of our nature ; and we think we have seen, at least heard of, politicians who were ambitious, selfish, intriguing, greedy of power, place, emolument even. In a word, we have no reason to believe that they monopolize all the wis­dom, the virtue, the generosity and disinterestedness of the community, or that they never need looking after, and therefore never need a power above them, under the immediate and super­natural protection of Almighty God, to look after them, and to compel them to keep within their own province, to respect religion, and to refrain from inflicting irreparable injuries upon society. Even should they, then, clamor against us, or do worse, it would not greatly move us, and would tend to confirm us in the truth of our doctrine, rather than lead us to distrust its sound­ness or its necessity.
We need hardly say that we advocate no amalgamation of the civil and ecclesiastical administrations. They are in their nature, as we have said, distinct, and the supremacy of the Church which we assert is by no means the supremacy of the clergy as politicians. We have no more respect for clergymen turned politicians than we have for any other class of politicians of equal worth, perhaps not quite so much ; for we cannot forget that they, in becoming politicians, descend from their sacerdotal rank, as a judge descending from the bench to play the part of an advocate. We have had political priests ever since there was a Christian state, and many of them have made sad work of both politics and religion. We have nothing to say of them, but that they were politicians, and their censurable acts were performed in their character of politicians, not in their char­acter of priests. The principle we assert does not exact that the Church should turn politician, and thus from the Church become the state, or that the clergy should turn politicians ; it exacts that both she and they should not. The clergy as poli­ticians fall into the category of all politicians, and their suprem­acy as politicians would still be the supremacy of the state, not of the Church. The state is supreme, if politicians as such be supreme, let them be selected from what class of the commu­nity they may. The principle exacts, indeed, the supremacy of the clergy, but solely as the Church, in their sacerdotal and pastoral character as teachers, guardians, and judges of the law of God, natural and   revealed, supreme for individuals  and nations, for prince and subject, king and commonwealth, noble and plebeian, rich and poor, great and small, wise and simple; not as politicians, in which character they have and can have no preeminence over politicians selected from the laity, and must stand on the same level with them. We do not advocate - far from it - the notion that the Church must administer the civil government ; what we advocate is her supremacy as the teacher and guardian of the law of God, - as the supreme court, which must be recognized and submitted to as such by the state, and whose decisions cannot be disregarded, whose preroga­tives cannot be abridged or usurped by any power on earth, without rebellion against the Divine majesty, and robbing man of his rights. As Christians, we must insist on this supremacy ; as Catholics, it is not only our duty, but our glorious privilege, to assert it, and to understand and practise our religion as God himself, through his own chosen organ, promulgates and ex­pounds it.
We know how hateful this doctrine is to politicians, to the world, and to the devil, who seek always to find a rival in the state to the kingdom of God. We know that the representatives of the state in nearly all ages of Christendom, and in nearly all nations, have resisted it, and been encouraged, sustained, in their resistance, by ambitious priests and courtly prelates. We know that it is now resisted by every civil government on earth, that the kings of the earth stand up, the princes conspire together, the nations rage, and the people imagine vain things, against the Lord and against his Christ, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, let us cast away their yoke from us ; but we cannot help that. We know the truth, and dare assert it; we know the rights of God, and dare not betray them. We cannot be false, because others are, - shrink from proclaiming the supremacy of the moral order, because now more than ever it is necessary to proclaim it. We do not understand the heroism that goes al­ways with the popular party, or the loyalty that deserts to the enemy the moment that his forces appear to be the most numer­ous. We know the moral order is supreme, and shall we fear to say it, lest sinners tremble, the wicked gnash their teeth, and the multitude threaten? We know our Church is God's Church ; that she is the judge of God's law, and has the right to de­nounce, as from the judgment-seat of the Almighty, whoever violates it, and to place king or peasant under her anathema, who refuses to obey it. She has the right, the Divine right, to denounce moral wrong, spiritual wrong, political wrong, tyranny and oppression, wheresoever or by whomsoever they are prac­tised, and to vindicate the rights of God, and, in so doing, the rights of man, let who will dare threaten or invade them. We are subject to God, but to him only; and are we afraid to assert the fact ?    Are we not free before all men ?
The Church is the Divinely appointed guardian of truth, vir­tue, liberty, because she is the representative of the Divine sovereignty on earth. Kings and potentates, commonwealths and mobs, may rise up, as they have often risen up, against her ; politicians may murmur or denounce, the timid may quake, the faint-hearted may fail, the cowardly shrink away, and the disloyal join her persecutors ; but that can neither justify them, nor unmake her rights, nor depose her from her sovereignty under God,-make it not true that she represents the moral order, and that the moral order is supreme. That supremacy is a fact in God's universe, an eternal and primal truth ; and let no man dare deny it, who would not be branded on his forehead traitor to God, and therefore to man ; and let him who fears to assert it in the hour of thickest danger be branded poltroon. It is the glory of the Church that she has always asserted it. She asserted it in that noble answer of her inspired Apostles to the magistrates, - "We must obey God rather than men " ; she asserted it in her glorious army of martyrs, who chose rather to die at the stake, in the amphitheatre, under the most cruel and lingering tortures, than to offer incense to Jupiter or to the statue of Caesar ; she asserted it by the mouth of holy Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, when he forbade the emperor Theodosius the Great to enter the Church till he had done pub­lic penance for his tyrannical treatment of his subjects, and drove him from the sanctuary, and bade him take his place with the laity, where he belonged ; she asserted it in the person of her sovereign Pontiff, St. Gregory the Seventh, when he made the tyrant and brutal Henry the Fourth of Germany wait for three days shivering with cold and hunger at his door, before he would grant him absolution, and when he finally smote him with the sword of Peter and Paul for his violation of his oaths, his wars against religion, and his oppression of his subjects ; and she as­serted it, again, in the person of her glorious Pontiff, Gregory the Sixteenth, who, standing with one foot in the grave, con­fronted the tyrant of the North, and made the Autocrat of all the Russias tremble and weep as a child. Never for one mo­ment has she ceased to assert it in face of crowned and un­crowned heads, - Jew,  Pagan,  Arian,  Barbarian,  Saracen, Protestant, Infidel, Monarchist, Aristocrat, Democrat ; and gloriously is she asserting it now in her noble confessor, the Bishop of Lausanne and Geneva, and in her exiled Pius the Ninth.
You talk of religious liberty. Know you what the word means ? Know ye that religious liberty is all and entire in the supremacy of the moral order ? The Church is a spiritual despotism, is she ? Bold blasphemer, miserable apologist for tyrants and tyranny, go trace her track through eighteen hun­dred years, and see it marked with the blood of her irae and noble-hearted children, whom God loves and honors, shed in defence of religious liberty. From the first moment of her ex­istence has she fought, ay, fought as no other power can fight, for liberty of religion. Every land has been reddened with the blood and whitened with the bones of her martyrs, in that sa­cred cause ", and now, rash upstart, you dare in the face of day proclaim her the friend of despotism ! Alas ! my brother, may God forgive you, for you know not what you do.
But we have said enough to show the unchristian as well as the unphilosophical character of our author's thought, which we are willing to believe he does not fully comprehend, and from the logical consequences of which, were he to see them, we are anxious to believe he is prepared to recoil with horror. His thought is unphilosophical, because it conceives authority •and liberty as antagonists ; it is unchristian, because it reduces Christianity to mere Rationalism, and revives Alexandrian Gen-tilism ; because it denies the Divine sovereignty, and the su­premacy in all things of the spiritual or moral order ; because it denies moral accountability, and involves unmitigated despot­ism or unbounded license as the inevitable doom of the human race. As a philosopher, we hold his work in contempt ; as an historian, we deny its authenticity ; as a Christian, we abhor it; as a friend of liberty, civil and religious, we denounce its prin­ciples, as fit only for despots or libertines.
There are matters of detail in the work to which we serious­ly object, but, as we have shown the unsoundness of the book in its principles, it is not worth while to waste time or argument in exposing them. The author has expended no inconsiderable thought and labor in constructing his work, but, like all the works which rank under the head of philosophy of history, it is shallow, vague, confused, worthless. The writers of philoso­phy of history may have great natural talents, they may have varied and extensive learning, but they start wrong, they attempt what is impossible, and never go to the bottom of things or rise to their first principles. They never reach the ultimate ; they never attain to science ; and only amuse or bewilder us with vague generalities, crude speculations, or unmeaning verbiage. There is an order of thought of which they have no concep­tion, infinitely more profound than theirs, which, when once at­tained to, makes all their views appear heterogeneous, confused, weak, and childish.
We have no disposition to treat our young Kentuckian rude­ly, or to discourage him by an unkind reception. We know him only through his book. His book is bad, but we every clay receive works which are far worse. We do not believe that he means to be a Pagan ; we do not believe that he even means to be a Rationalist ; we are sure that he does not mean to deny the moral order ; and this is much for him personally, but it is nothing for his book. In judging the man, we look to his in­tention ; in judging the author, we look only to the principles he inculcates. If these are unsound or dangerous, we have no mer­cy for the author, though we may abound in charity for the man. Mr. Nourse does not understand his own principles ; he has not seen them in all their relations, and does not suspect their logical consequences. He has undertaken, without other guide than a few books which, themselves unsafe guides, he has read, but not digested, to do, after the study of a few months, what no mortal man could accomplish with all the libraries in the world, were he to live longer than the world has stood. How could he expect to succeed ? We hold him accountable for his rashness in undertaking such a task, not for having failed in its accomplishment.