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great engine of its operative efficacy on the progress of mind; and that as enthusiasm can only be adapted to extreme cases, and to an ignorant age, little more is to be expected from religion in the regeneration of mankind. Now of all these propositions, we must take the liberty of saying, that they contain with some truth a considerable infusion of error.
Take the first, “ that mankind is marching uniformly onward to a state of exemption from sin, sorrow, and ignorance:" Where is the evidence of it? Many of those cities of Asia which had once embraced revealed truth, and with it, doubtless, its humanizing laws and principles, are blotted from the map of the earth. Africa, also, which sent her bishops to the general councils of Christianity, has become the victim of a most degraded superstition, and of a most inhuman traffic in the flesh of her people. Now this observation applies, not to corners, but to quarters of the earth— to portions of it which cannot be neglected in any estimate of the general condition of man. It proves also a retrogradation in principle---in philosophy, of that very quality of which Madame de Staël is mainly if not exclusively anxious to establish the progress. If, however, a decay in religion should not be considered as decisive of the question, by those who will maintain that such decay implies the extinction of superstition as well as of morality, and therefore is but a dubious evil, let it be remembered that the East, which was once the cradle of the fine arts, is now their sepulchre. Where is now the wisdom of Egypt—where the science of Hindustan—where the poets of Judea—where the grandeur of Greece ?
So far is the general progress of man from being demonstrable, that in our view it would be easier to prove the decay than the advancement of almost every part of the earth, which has not been quickened by the inspiring touch of true religion. It is difficult to say, where Christianity is not concerned, by the operation of what causes the earlier nations of the earth rose in some instances so high in the scale of science and legislation. But certain it is, that for a considerable period the heathen nations have retrograded ; that especially wherever Mohammedanism has entered and established itself, it has marked its course by desolation, that art, and science, and wisdom, and humanity, have perished in its bloody grasp. When the northern hemisphere emptied its hordes upon the eastern and western empires, the conquerors embraced the faith of the conquered; and thus a common amalgam was found, as it were, on the soil, for the incorporation of the discordant population. But neither heathenism nor Mohammedanism provide this moral cement; and consequently the nations enslaved by the followers of the prophet remain disunited, disorganized, shivered into distinct fragments; the conquerors armed, the conquered in chains,“ bateful to and hating one another.” Such is the real state of that large proportion of the earth, where the withering superstition of Mohammed prevails; and Madame de Staël has veiled this fact only, by directing the attention of the reader to that portion of the globe, where the day-star of the gospel has extinguished the crescent of the prophet.
The second proposition of Madame de Staël which we have stated is, “ that the progress of philosophy,' from the first ages to those of the French revolution, is in itself a sufficient proof of the progress of mankind towards perfection,--to a state of exemption from vice and suffering.”. By philosophy, the author sometimes, and, indeed, generally, seems to mean the study of causes and effects: sometimes, also, she appears to mean by it the study of morals.-Now of course it is indisputable, that as far as morals have advanced, the improvement of mankind has been promoted; but the other meaning of philosophy is that which predominates in the work. The spirit of her system is to maintain that a mere advancement in knowledge, and especially the knowledge of mind, is to be identified with progress in happiness and virtue: in other words, that the chief desideratum for happiness and virtue is knowledge. Now this position is founded, we think, neither upon a sound acquaintance with human nature, nor a careful observation of facts. If, indeed, the human mind were not fallen, right knowledge would ensure right practice; but, where the heart needs to be influenced, as well as the understanding illuminated, that knowledge which merely enlightens will accomplish little or nothing. It is merely to open the eyes of the palsied man. A's to the fact, nothing can be more obvious, than that learning or knowledge hare wrought little of this magical transmutation upon the character of their possessors. The philosophers of Greece were among the most profligate of the nation. The learned of Rome conspired, , in some cases, to impose a false and mischievous creed upon the people, and in others, to anuihilate every creed. The scientific and literary cast of ludia are, in like manner, the fountain-head of Indian misery and absurdity. Survey Madame de Staël's own picture of Italy, as left to the mere influence of letters and philosophy,--the picture of a nation rescued from a “second barbarism" only by the most profound “apathy.” And, now that time has developed the full consequences of an event, whence she ventured to sleduce very opposite prognostications, let us contemplate in revo· lutionary France the condition and crimes of a people, where the throne of mere human philosophy has been established and her power universally recognised. There, the lessons of philosophy have been written in the blood, and echoed by the groans, of a mighty nation. The French revolution has been suffered too much to teach only a subordinate lesson, viz. the danger of allowing an unlettered mob to legislate for themselves; it ought to teach us the loftier truth, that all reform is bad, and all legislation mischievous, which is not founded upon the basis of religion. They banished happiness, and honesty, and peace, when they introduced the goddess of nature into the temple. The face of Europe is now scattered with the fragments of almighty wrath; and the thunder of that contending artillery, which now shakes the Continent to its foundations, seems with one voice to proclaim, that piety, and not literature, must reform the world.
The next proposition drawn from the work of Madame de Staël too nearly corresponds with the last to need any additional discussion. Let us then proceed to that in which she seems to maintain “ that where religion has reformed or improved mankind, it is as much by virtue of its excesses and abuses, by its enthusiasm and superstition, as by its inherent excellencies and diyine power.” Now, although we know that it pleases God to educe good out of evil, and that even religious enthusiasm may become under his merciful dispensation a blessing to mankind, still, to us it appears more natural, and, we may add, more philosophical, to attribute good consequences to good causes; and to believe that the excellencies, and not the abuses of religion, produced these felicitous results. Some there are whose good sense compels them to admit those beneficial effects of religion, which their creed inclines them to disown, yet contrive to get rid of their burthen by attributing these consequences, not to religion itself, but to certain circumstances accidentally connecting themselves with it. It is not the divine efficacy accompanying the gospel that reclaims and ennobles, but the pure morality taught by that gospel. And thus, in more extended cases, Gibbon has attempted to resolve the beneficial influence of Christianity altogether into natural causes-and into causes, some of them, rather discreditable than honourable to religion. In the work of Madame de Staël, though parts of it command the gratitude of Christians, yet other parts too much correspond with the spirit of the enemies of the cross.
The last proposition which we have stated as fairly deducible from the work before us, is “ that, as religion has done her work in part, by a few important changes (such as banishing slavery, and increasing the estimation of women), and partly by the enthusiasm and superstition of her disciples; and as she now has no new laws to introduce, and not many either enthusiastic or superstitious followers, little is to be expected from her in the future regenera, tion of the world.” It is only because we believe that there resides in religion a divine efficacy, operating wherever it enters, presiding alike in the temple and the cottage, sanctifying alike the nation and the individual, cheering with its holy flame the altar of every true church, and the path of every solitary pilgrim, confined to no age or country, tempering the rigour of northern barbarity, and creating in our country those institutions which promise to carry the Bible and the Saviour into all nations; it iş on this account, that whatever of advancement we anticipate in the history of man, we expect it from the influence of this transforming power. It is most evident, we conceive, that the doctrine of perfectibility, as maintained by sceptical philosophers and raving literati, is full of absurdities; that we have no very strong reason even in the present advanced state of philosophy to expect with Mr. Godwin, “ that the use of sleep will be superseded; that men, if they die, will die only through their own mis-management; and that ploughs, when turned into a field, will perform their office without the need of superintendance." Still less retson is there to expect these glorious consequences from the causes propounded by these ingenious persons from the universal philanthropy" of Mr. Godwin, or the “ metaphysics” of Madame de Stael.
Art. XIX.A Tour through Italy, exhibiting a View of its
Scenery, its Antiquities, and its Monuments ; particularly as they are Objects of classical Interest and Elucidation: with an Account of the present State of its Cities and Towns, and occasional Observations on the recent Spoliations of the French. By the Rev. John Chetwode Eustace. 2 vols. 4to.
London. Mawman. 1813. The author of the Tour through Italy takes no inconsiderable pains, in his preface, to convey to his readers some useful advice on the proper mode of travelling through this favoured country. “A year," he thinks,“ is the shortest space that ought to be allotted to make a full and complete tour of Italy, and a year and a half, or even two years, might be well devoted to this use ul and amusing part of our travels,” (P. 38.),
That a traveller, apparently impressed with the importance of bestowing sufficient time on a tour of observation through a country so rich in the wonders of art and nature, should conimit the very error of which he is so sensible in others, is matter of regret; but we cannot help remarking, that Mr. Eustace lias felt, better than he has avoided, the errors of precipitancy. A little more attention paid to useful details, and a more persevering search after trutli, would have added much to the value of his work. Where so much ability is displayed we can less allow it to be idle, since every omission is just so much loss of intelligence and instruction,
We have adverted in another place to many of the errors which are usually committed in the dispositions made for that part of polite education which is called foreign travel, a phrase which, in its proper extension, comprises objects and attainments of great moral and intellectual dignity. The error to which our attention is now principally drawn is precipitancyprecipitancy in starting, precipitancy in returning, precipitancy in the prosecution. The origin of the mischief is generally in the first concoction; the ingredients are seldomn properly mixed, and for want of this due preparation, the concussion of travelling soon produces in the mind an irregular fermentation. The anxious parent; or the economical guardian, alarmed lest an hour should be lost, and satisfied that there is a mechanical way of making a gentleman, adjust the various parts of education, with the greatest nicety, to certain divisions of time. According to the calculations of these good persons, a certain quantity of college discipline, with a certain quantity of foreign travel, produce an inevitable result in knowledge of things, knowledge of men, and elegant breeding. All this is too evidently erroneous to need any labour of confutation, . Even those parents who suffer their practice to be influenced by it, and thus perpetuate the succession of folly, are yet sensible of the absurdity, when it is fairly set before them. But indolence has a conscience of its own-a conscience easily appeased by the adoption of what are called approved practice and prevailing opinion.
He who is about to travel for his own instruction, but much more he who travels for the instruction of others, ought to start as little dependent as may be on any adventitious circumstances, particularly on time, maps, and compasses. Full of intellectual curiosity, and with a mind as well furnished as his portmanteau, he should enter upon his ardent career without once thinking of where or when it is to end: no pencilling out his route before quitting his home; no parcelling out his time with an allowance of so many days for the town A, and as many hours for the