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be, is not absolute. Superstition and intolerance are as enduring as human weakness. Those who have watched the monstrous development of Mormonism, and know that the population of Utah is chiefly recruited from England, Wales, and America, may be pardoned if, for a moment, they envy the uncritical faith that never wandered out of its immature Christianity. Those who see the upper classes, the contemporaries of Mill and Faraday, believing by thousands in spirit-rapping and tablemoving, may well turn reverently to the Acta Sanctorum. Often puerile, sometimes gross, sometimes even un-Christian, the legends of the medieval saints are only illustrations of a rational faith in God's personal character and
intervention; they do not contradict the philosophy of 16 their times. The laws of causation and gravitation had
not then been developed by an illustrious line of thinkers. Yet, although a contrast like this may teach us to boast less confidently of progress, it is really in our favor. The master of ancient thinkers was as credulous in the region of the supernatural as his pupils. Among ourselves there is a constantly-widening circle of the enlightened, which restrains the half-educated world from relapsing into barbarism. The same argument applies to toleration. The spirit that branded Bishop Butler and Burke as concealed papists, that instigated the burning of Priestley's house, and deprived Shelley of his children, is not less deplorable in itself than the violence that massacred Jews or headed a crusade against the Albigenses. But the belief that persecution is the witness of earthly power to God's
truth unhappily darkened the noblest minds of the Mid17 dle Ages. A few, chiefly among the clergy, protested
against it, but the greatest kings of Europe, St. Louis and Edward I, thought it right to anticipate future judgment upon earth. Among ourselves there is still, no doubt, a
torpid mass of bigotry, but it is restrained from all but occasional outbursts by the righteous principles that long experience has worked into the public sense of Europe. The few active fanatics that still exist within the four seaz number not a single statesman or man of learning in their ranks, and owe their power of annoyance to unscrupulous slander and immoral political partisanship. One by one the persecuting statutes, which intolerance developed from precedents in the last worst times of the Mediæval Church, are disappearing from the English statute book.
Until the Middle Ages are examined with a little of 18 that care which is freely lavished on Greek and Roman antiquity, it will be difficult for all but students to understand the singular fascination of centuries when the new life of a new world was dawning. There is a completeness about the classical epoch which no later period can reproduce. The politics of Athens and Rome were scarcely traversed by religious influences, and their statesmen never halt between two opinions. The strife of old and new was so imperceptible that the philosopher, who, more than any other, substituted a higher faith for the worn-out mythology, enjoined in his supreme agony a conventional sacrifice to an inferior god. The subtiler 19 sense of modern times that finds beauty and repose throughout Nature was, perhaps, wanting to the Greek, but his human appreciations were more complete; he saw only the charm of outline and luxuriance of growth, where the Christian started back from the traces of sin ; and the marble was lifelike under the sculptor's hands, because tree and fountain and stream were instinct with a spiritual humanity. Moreover, time, who is a great artist, has taken away whatever was gross and perishable in the work of those sensuous generations, and left the better
part in the serene light of immortality. We see their temples without the smoke and revel of Cotyttian orgies,
and think of their statues without inlaid ivory or gaudy 20 coloring. But we have not thus risen above the Middle
Ages. Their laws are behind us and around; their faith suffers by comparison because we have partly changed it; and, while the classical enthusiasts who have offered garlands to Jupiter in modern times only serve to point an epigram, the man who looks back toward St. Louis or Dante is suspected of wishing to bind the world's chariotwheels. The Middle Ages will be estimated more fairly as it becomes increasingly certain that they can never be restored. Contrasted with ancient society, they want the genuine scientific spirit that produced treatises like the Politics and elaborated an organic system of law; their literary art is commonly overpowered by its material ;
and in statuary and music they added nothing to the 21 world's wealth. But if they explored no new regions in
abstract thought, they barmonized philosophy and faith with a success that has never yet been rivaled; they produced one poem-the Divina Commedia—which is as deep and various as the many-colored humanity it reflects ; and they had an undergrowth of romance and religious legend which, for moral insight and play of fancy, may compare with any mythology. They carved dreams in stone, and lighted up the church walls or the missal with a lavish wealth of portraiture. Trammeled by the imperfect science they had inherited, they yet created chemistry, applied it to war with terrible results, and at last introduced the new order in which they passed away by an invention to multiply the learning they craved for.
The science of banking and the laws of commerce are of 22 mediæval origin. Even greater has been the influence of
these times upon society. The gladiator, the parasite,
and the slave have disappeared. The vulgar riot and debauchery, which scarcely disgraced an Alcibiades or a Cæsar, have been exchanged for the higher ideal of a Bayard or a Sydney. In one respect the conditions of early life favored an exceptional eminence in individuals. A William the Conqueror or Simon de Montfort could leave his mark more visibly upon society than a modern sovereign or statesman who rather adjusts rival forces than controls them. The advance of general intelligence has, in this instance, taken away a picturesque feature of history. And as we are the poorer by a little hero worship, we have also gained by experience a certain distrust in systems as an education for humanity. We no longer 23 conceive law as penetrating human life in every direction, or attempt to school the citizen in his daily work, or in morality and faith. No one thoroughly realizing the comprehensive links of mediaeval police, or the full extent of regulations which bound the peasant to the soil, controlled the mechanic at his trade, and imposed recognized limits on speculation, can believe that such an order will ever again be possible till the course of the world be arrested. Yet the spectacle of childlike men working out their political Utopia, and building up painfully again as the baseless fabric fell down, is not without its teaching or its interest for our own days. We can look back on it as the old man reverts to the day-dreams and aspirations of youth, rather wondering at the buoyant energy that imagined or attempted, than contemptuous of the unsubstantial design that failed.
SKETCH OF LORD FALKLAND.
OLARENDON'S " HISTORY OF THE REBELLION."
Lord Falkland was one of the most accomplished Englishmen of Charles I's time, a scholar as well as a soldier. The character of the great civil war in which he lost his life has been elsewbere explained.
1 In this unhappy battle (of Newbury) was slain the
Lord Viscount Falkland, a person of such prodigious parts of learning and knowledge, of that inimitable sweetness and delight in conversation, of so flowing and obliging a humanity and goodness to mankind, and of that primitive simplicity and integrity of life, that, if there were no other brand upon
this odious and accursed civil war than that single loss, it must be most infamous and execrable to all posterity.
Turpe mori, post te, solo non posse dolore.
2 Before this parliament, his condition of life was so happy that it was hardly capable of improvement. Before he came to be twenty years of age he was master of a noble fortune, which descended to him by the gift of a grandfather, without passing through his father or mother, who were then both alive, and not well enough contented to find themselves passed by in the descent. His education for some years had been in Ireland, where his father was lord-deputy; so that, when he returned into England to the possession of his fortune, he was unentangled with any acquaintance or friends, which usually grow up by the custom of conversation, and, therefore, was to make a pure election of his company, which he chose by other rules than were prescribed to the young nobility of that time. And it can not be denied, though