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" that the clergy were infinitely superior to their neigh6 bours ; and that, if they had not possessed the power 66 they did, it would have been in far worse hands." Those who knew Henry Mackenzie will recognize these last few words as altogether characteristic of his mind: they well convey his hatred of all special pleading, most of all in defence of the Faith which was so dear to him, along with that trust in history as a guide to truth, which is happily taking possession of the more thoughtful men of England, France, and Germany. Indeed the pervading spirit of this his only literary legacy cannot be better expressed than in the words of St. Augustine, whose Confessions were his favourite companion, along with his Greek Testament, during the latter months of his illness : “ Narratione autem historica quum præterita “ etiam hominum instituta narrantur, non inter humana “ instituta ipsa historia numeranda est; quia jam quæ 6 transierunt, nec infecta fieri possunt, in ordine tem“ porum habenda sunt, quorum est conditor et admi“nistrator Deus.”



October, 1855.


Introduction. .

God’s dealings with nations the most important aspect of

history, . . .

Especially Church history. .


The subject of this Essay the practical benefits of our faith, as

seen in its representatives the clergy. . . .
The respective results of Roman and Teutonic influences unin-

telligible except in combination with the polity of the Church.
Influence on later ages to be considered as well as that on con-

temporaries. . .

Influences not beneficial, and influences not due to the clergy,

excluded from the subject. . . . . .

Two classes of benefits;

(1) to the social and moral life of mankind,

(2) to the political state and progress of nations. .
The first ten centuries full of political vicissitudes. .
Chronological division of the subject. .

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Effects of theology on literature and philosophy.

Value of early Christian literature in itself,

and early theology in keeping alive the study of

Greek philosophy, and preserving the works of



Substitution of ethics and politics for physics. .

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II. Political influence of the clergy less during this period than

. .

though the first victims of persecution ;
but they are not therefore to be blamed : . .
the fact partly due to the discipline which forbad them to

hold civil offices. . . . . .
Their attempts to humanize the treatment of slaves.

38, 39

40, 41

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Mischievous modern prejudice of regarding the germs of

errours solely with reference to their later evil results : 56, 57

their true value as parts of one great design. . . 57, 58

Increase of clerical power a preservative against the time

of barbarian invasions.

Freedom of inheritance.

Appropriation of heathen and heretic possessions.

Tithes. . . .

Elevation of bishops above clergy.

• 60—62

Distribution of revenues.

Bishops authorized as judges.

Evils of excessive clerical sway. . . . 62, 63

Church pomp impressive to the barbarians.

Intellectual influence of the Fathers.

Pulpit eloquence,

peculiar to Christianity:

its rude force, .

and use in keeping alive a taste for speculation.

Christian seats of learning. .

Mental activity of the age chiefly theological. . 71, 72

Different Eastern and Western estimates of litera-


Gallic dilettantism (Sidonius Apollinaris). . 73–76

Æsthetic influence of the clergy. . . . 76, 77

Genuine Gallic love of truth. . . . 77, 78

Beginnings of Monasticism. . . . . 78–85

Violent fanaticism of the East a reaction from its

excessive speculativeness : . . .

The more practical theology of the West resulting

in a similar form of monasticism. . .

Western monasticism encouraged by the disor-

ganized state of society. . . . 81, 82

Western contempt of hermits. . . .

Judicious counsels of Ambrose, Augustine, &c. . 83, 84

Separation of contemplation from action useful for

that age. . . . . . 84, 85

Monasticism not as yet clerical. . . 85

II. Political influence of the clergy.


Improvement of the Roman state through the clergy no


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