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so dangerous? Therefore, me thinketh this present book is right necessary often to be read; for in all ye tind the most gracious, kuightly, and virtuous war, of the most noble knights of the world, whereby they got praising continually; also me seemeth, by the oft reading thereof, ye shall greatly desire to accustom yourself in following of those gracious knightly deeds; that is to say, to dread God and to love righteousness, faithfully and courageously to serve your sovereign prince; and, the more that God hath given you the triumphal honour, the meeker onght ye to be, ever searing the unstableness of this deceitful world.'
History. The science of true history had yet no existence. All facts appeared of equal worth, for all alike cost the same toil; and, still dispersed in their insulated state, still refused combination. But the day had now arrived, in the progress of society, when chronicles were written by laymen. The first in our vernacular prose was the labor of a citizen and alderman, and sometime sheriff of London, Robert Fabyan; and was designed for the unlettered who understand no Latin. In the accustomed mode, he fixes the historic periods by dates from Adam or from Brut, and composing in the spirit of the day, mentions the revolutions of government with the same brevity as he speaks of the price of wheat and poultry; passes unnoticed his friend Caxton, to speak of a new weathercock placed on the cross of St. Paul's steeple’; tells us that of the French monarch’s dress 'I might make a long rehearsal'; finds the level of his faculties in recording 'flying dragons in the air,' or describing the two castles in space, whence issued two armies black and white, combating in the skies till the white vanished. Of Cabot's voyage of discovery, under the patronage of Henry VII, he says curiously:
• There were brought King Henry three men, taken in the new found island: they were clothed iri beast's skins, and did eat raw flesh, and spake such speech as that no man could understand them: and in their demeanor were like brute beasts; whom the King kept a ume after. Of the which about two years after, I saw two, apparelled after the manner of Englishmen, in Westminster palace, which at that time I could not discern from Englishmen, till I was learned what they were. But as for speech I heard none of them utter one word.' Superstition has always attached to numbers. Seven, or the heptad, is very powerful for good or for evil, and belongs especially to sacred things. The good man's chronicle opens with an invocation for help, is in seven unequal divisions, and ends with seven cheering epilogues in unmetrical metre, entitled The Seven Joys of the Virgin.
Theology.-All knowledge was claimed as a part of theology, and all questions were decided by scholastic rules. What
ever was old, was divine ; whatever was new, was suspected. Never had the schools of divinity made a more miserable figure. Teachers and students loaded their memories with unintelligible distinctions and unmeaning sounds, that they might discourse and dispute, with the semblance of method, upon matters which they did not understand. They still discussed whether God could have taken any form but that of man,- as, for instance, that of a woman, of the devil, of an ass, of a cucumber, of a flint. If of a cucumber, how could He have preached, wrought miracles, or been crucified ? Whether Christ could be called a man while on the cross; whether the pope shared both natures with Christ; whether the Father could in any case hate the Son; whether the pope was gr than Peter, and a thousand other niceties more subtle. There now remained few of those who proved and illustrated doctrine by the positive declarations of Scripture; but upon them as upon the pedants, the mechanical manner of arguing and replying imposes its servitude. The moment they begin to reflect, Aristotle and the army of the ancients, flanked by the definition and the syllogism, enter their brains, and construct monstrous, sleep-inspiring books. Hear the worthy Pecock, on whose unconscious shoulders had fallen the mantle of Wycliffe. Thirteen propositions are to be demonstrated in the approved style:
'An argument if he be ful and foormal, which is clepid a sillogisme, is mad of twey proposiciouns dryning out of hem and bi strengthe of hem the thridde proposicion.. Of the whiche thre proposiciouns thc ij. first hen clepid premissis, and the iij. folewing out of bem is clepid the conclusioun of hem. And the firste of tho ij. premissis is clepid the first premisse, and the ij. of hem is clepid the ij. premisse. And ech such argument is of this kinde, that if the bothe premissis ben trewe, the conclusioun concludid out and bi hem is also trewe; and but if euereither of tho premissis he trewe, the conclusioun is not trewe. Enxample her of is this. “Ech man is at Rome, the Pope is a man, eke the Pope is at Rome." Lo here ben sett forth ij. proposiciouns, which ben these, “Ech man is at Rome;" and "The Pope is a man: " and these hen the ij. premyssis in this argnment, and thei drynen out the iij. proposicióun, which is this, "The Pope is at Rome," and it is the conclusioun of the ij, premissis. Wherefore certis if eny man can be sikir for eny tyme that these ij. premyssis be trewe, he may be sikir that the conclusion is trewe; though alle the aungelis in heuen wolden seie and holde that thilk conclusioun were not trewe. And this is a general reule, in euery good and formal and ful argument, that if his premissis be knowe for trewe, the conclusioun oughte to be arowid for trewe, what ener creature wole seie the contrarie.
But as for now thus miche in this wise ther of here talkid, that y be the better vndírtonde in al what y schal argne thorugh this present book, y wole come down into the xiij. conclusiouns, of whiche the firste is this: It longith not to Holi Scripture, neither it is his office into which God hath him ordeyned, neither it is his part forto grovnde eny gouernaunce or deede or seruice of God, or eny lawe of God, or eny trouthe
which mannis resoun bi nature may fynde, leerne, and knowe. That this conclusioun is trewc, y proue thus: Whateuer thing is ordeyned, &c.'
Enough. You are spared the dreary length, the wandering mazes, of the remainder. With all this display of logical tools, he was unable to see in what direction he was marching; for while he assailed the heretical opinions of the Lollards, he ad. mitted that general councils were not infallible, that the Bible was the true rule of faith, that religious dogmas were to be supported by argument, not by the bare decree of authority. His well-meant defence of the Church was, in reality, a formidable attack upon its foundations. His Repressor was burnt, he was degraded, compelled to recant, and confined for the rest of his life in a conventual prison.
As long as visible images form the channels of religious devotion, the true history of theology, or at least of its emotional and realizing parts, may be found in the history of art. The steady tendency of European art in the fifteenth century was to give an ever-increasing preëminence to the Father, to dilate upon the vengeance of the Day of Judgment, to present to the contemplation of the faithful, in new and horrible conceptions, the sufferings of the martyrs on earth or of the lost in hell.
Ethics.- As in the dearth of genius, there were no philosophers, so there were no philosophic expositions of duty, and hence no definite ethical system distinct from theological teaching. Moral culture was, of course, the main function of the clergy, from the state of whose discipline at this time we may fairly estimate the fidelity and efficiency of their instruction. The ideal of life and character was yet ecclesiastical. too early for a purely moral faith, appealing to a disinterested sense of virtue and perception of excellence, to be efficacious. Rites and ceremonies, an elaborate creed and a copious legendary, were the appointed means for developing the emotional side of human nature and securing a rectitude of conduct. The formation of a moral philosophy is usually the first step in the decadence of dogmatic religions.
Science. Those who turned their attention to mathematics or physics, still pursued the bewildering dreams of astrology and alchemy. An Act of 1456, for example, in favor of three
DREAMS OF SCIENCE-FAILURE OF PHILOSOPHY.
alchemists, describes the object of these “famous men’ to be “a certain most precious medicine, called by some the mother and queen of medicines; by some the inestimable glory; by others the quintessence; by others the philosopher's stone; by others the elixir of life; which cures all curable diseases with ease, prolongs human life in perfect health and vigor of faculty to its utmost term, heals all healable wounds, is a most sovereign antidote against all poisons, and is capable of preserving to us, and our kingdom, other great advantages, such as the transmutation of other metals into real and fine gold and silver.'
The art of medicine appears to have made little or no progress. It was still, to some extent, in the hands of the clergy. The priests, because they were able to read the Greek and Roman authors on medicine, had, all through the dark ages, been the principal physicians. They became intimate with the barbers by frequently employing them to shave their heads, according to the uniform of the clerical order. The barbers were also employed to shave the heads of patients, when washes were prescribed to cool the fevered brain, or blisters were applied to draw the peccant humors from the surface. Found expert and handy with edged tools, the priests taught them to bleed, and to perform such minor operations as they were competent to direct, as well as to make salves and poultices, and dress wounds and sores. Edward IV, in 1461, granted a charter of incorporation and privilege to barber-surgeons; nor, though the distinct nature of the two became gradually more apparent, was the tonsorial art severed completely from the surgical till nearly three centuries had elapsed. "Would heart of man e'er think it, but you'll be silent.'
Philosophy. - The race of great Schoolmen had died out, and the schools only repeated and maintained, with ever-increasing emptiness, what their founders had taught. The whole science of dialectic was degraded into an elaborate and ingenious word-quibbling. Like religion, it had no other substance but one of words. Syllogisms were sold like fish, by the string, and descended, like silver shoe-buckles, from generation to generation. Scholasticism was self-extinguished in a period of barbarity into whose darkness the light of the Renaissance was destined soon to shine with regenerating effect. What had the
laborers accomplished ? — If from heart or brain they educed no great original creed, they produced a ferment of intellectual activity such as Europe had never seen. Through the long, terrible night which threatened the extinction of scholarship, they kept alive the spirit of culture in the whirlwind of energy. Disputation, if it adds no single idea to the human mind, is better than indolence. In action, rather than in cognition, lie life and acquirement. The highest value of truth is less in the possession than in the pursuit of it. Could you ever establish a theory of the universe, that were entire and final, man were then spiritually defunct. The one justifying service of metaphysics, in whosesoever hands, is subjective,—the upward aspirations it may kindle, and the habits of close, patient, vigorous thought it
As for its efforts to list the veil from the mystery of being, they are the labor of the struggling and baffled Sisyphus, who rolls up the heavy stone which no sooner reaches a certain point than down it rolls to the bottom, and all the labor is to begin again. There is scarcely anything which modern philos ophers have proudly brought forward as their own that may not be found in some one or other of the mighty tomes of the hooded Scholastics. Why not?
Why not? Were they not the posterity of Plato and Aristotle, out of whom come all things yet debated among men of reflection ?
In countless upward-striving waves
The parent fruit survives.' Résumé.—The throb of hope and glory which pulsed at the outset, died into inaction or despair. Disputed successions, cruel factions, family feuds, convulsed the land, till the political crisis was terminated by Henry VII, who, as the authority of the potent aristocracy declined, established that despotic regality which remained as the inheritance of the dynasty of the Tudors.
Commerce widened, material life went on, darkly, without the diviner elements of national progress. The intellect, unable to proceed in the path of creative literature, fell back into lethargy. Inquiry was repressed; originality was replaced by submission; the reformation was trodden out; in the clash of arms the voice of genius sank feebleness or was hushed to silence; and the reactionary influence of vice, ignorance, and superstition, was in