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that very few should possess the courage and the perseverance to encounter the mental struggle. The immense majority either never examine the opinions they have inherited, or examine them so completely under the dominating influence of the prejudice of education, that whatever may have been the doctrines they have been taught, they conclude that they are so unquestionably trne that nothing but a judicial blindness can cause their rejection. Of the few who have obtained a glimpse of higher things, a large proportion cannot endure a conflict to which old associations, and, above all, the old doctrine of the guilt of error, lend such a peculiar bitterness; they stifle the voice of reason, they turn away from the path

Overcome.

altogether suspended. It is especially common (or, at least, especially manifest) in languor, in disease, and, above all, in sleep. M. Maury, who has investigated the subject with his usual great ability, has shown that in sleep hyperæsthesia of the memory is very common; that not only facts, but processes of thought that belong altogether to the past, are reproduced; and that a frequent dreamer will often be brought under the influence of vices in which he had once indulged, but by which in his waking hours he is rarely or never

There can be little doubt that when we are actively reasoning this automatic action of the mind still continues, but the ideas and trains of thought that are thus produced are so combined and transformed by the reason, that we are unconscious of their existence. They exist nevertheless, and form (or greatly contribute to) our mental bias. It is impossible to review this most suggestive subject without suspecting that the saying, "habit is a second nature,' represents more than a metaphor; that the reason is much more closely connected with the will than is generally imagined ; and that the origin of most of those opinions we attribute to pure reasoning, is more composite than we suppose. This important subject was first incidentally pointed out by Leibnitz, After his time it seems, except in as far as it was connected with the animism of Stahl, to have been almost unnoticed till very recently. Sir W. Hamilton (in his Essays) has treated it from a psychological, and Drs. Laycock (The Brain and the Mind) and Carpenter (Human Physiology, pp. 799– 819) from a medical, point of view. Mr. Morell, following in the steps of Stahl, has availed himself of it (Mental Philosophy) to explain the laws of generation, ascribing the formation of the foetus to the unconscious action of the soul ; and M. Maury (Le Sommeil et les Rêves) has shown its connection with the phenomena of sleep. See, too, Tissot, Sur la Vie; and Saisset, L'Ame et la Vie.

VOL. II.-33

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of knowledge, they purchase peace at the expense of truth. This is, indeed, in our day, the most fatal of all the obstacles to enquiry. It was not till the old world had been reduced to chaos that the divine voice said, 'Let there be light;' and in the order of knowledge, as in the order of nature, dissolution must commonly precede formation. There is a period in the

. history of the enquirer when old opinions have been shaken or destroyed, and new opinions have not yet been formed; a period of doubt, of terror, and of darkness, when the voice of the dogmatist has not lost its power, and the phantoms of the past still hover over the mind; a period when every landmark is lost to sight, and every star is veiled, and the soul seems drifting helpless and rudderless before the destroying blast. It is in this season of transition that the temptations to stifle reason possess a fearful power. It is when contrasting the tranquillity of past assurance with the feverish paroxysms that accompany enquiry, that the mind is most likely to abandon the path of truth. It is so much easier to assume than to prove; it is so much less painful to believe than to doubt; there is such a charm in the repose of prejudice, when no discordant voice jars upon the harmony of belief; there is such a thrilling pang when cherished dreams are scattered, and old creeds abandoned, that it is not surprising that men should close their eyes to the unwelcome light. Hence the tenacity exhibited by systems that have long since been disproved. Hence the oscillation and timidity that characterise the research of most, and the indifference to truth and the worship of expediency that cloud the fair promise of not

a

a few.

In our age these struggles are diffused over a very wide circle, and are felt by men of many grades of intellect. This fact, however, while it accounts for the perturbation and

instability that characterise a large portion of contemporary literature, should materially lighten the burden of each individual enquirer. The great majority of the ablest intellects of the century have preceded him, and their genius irradiates the path. The hands of many sympathisers are extended to assist him. The disintegration around him will facilitate his course. He who, believing that the search for truth can never be offensive to the God of truth, pursues his way with an unswerving energy, may not unreasonably hope that he may assist others in their struggle towards the light, and may in some small degree contribute to that consummation when the professed belief shall have been adjusted to the . requirements of the age, when the old tyranny shall have been broken, and the anarchy of transition shall have passed away.

CHAPTER V.

THE SECULARISATION OF POLITICS.

The evidence I have collected in the preceding chapters will be sufficient to exhibit the nature of the rationalistic movement, and also the process by which it has been developed. To establish the first, I have reviewed a long series of theological conceptions which the movement has weakened or transformed. To establish the second, I have shown that the most important changes were much less the results of direct controversy than of the attraction of the prevailing modes of thought, which themselves represented the convergence of a great variety of theological influences. In the remainder of this work, I propose to trace more fully than I have yet had occasion to do, the relations of the rationalistic movement to the political and economical history of Europe; or, in other words, to show on the one hand how the theological development has modified political and economical theories; and, on the other hand, how the tendencies produced by these have reacted upon theology.

But, before entering upon this field, it will perhaps not be altogether unnecessary to remind the reader once more of the main principle upon which the relevance of this species of narrative depends. It is that the speculative opinions which are embraced by any large body of men are accepted not ou

account of the arguments upon which they rest, but on account of a predisposition to receive them. This predisposition depends with many persons entirely upon the circumstances of their position, that is to say, upon the associations of childhood, friendship, or interest, and is of such a nature as altogether to dispense with arguments. With others, it depends chiefly upon the character of their minds, which induces them to embrace one class of arguments rather than another. This intellectual character, again, results partly from natural and innate peculiarities, and partly from the totality of influences that act upon the mind. For the mind of man is no inert receptacle of knowledge, but absorbs and incorporates into its own constitution the ideas which it receives. In a healthy condition, increased knowledge implies an increased mental capacity, and each peculiar department of study not merely comprises a peculiar kind of information, but also produces a peculiar ply and tendency of judgment. All minds are more or less governed by what chemists term the laws of elective affinity. Like naturally tends to like. The predominating passion of every man colours the whole train of his reasoning, and in every subject he examines, he instinctively turns to that aspect which is most congruous to his favourite pursuit.

If this be so, we should naturally expect that politics, which occupy so large a place in the minds of men, should at all times have exercised a considerable influence on the tone of thought from which theological opinions arise, and that a general tendency to restrict the province of theology should have resulted in a secularisation of politics. In the present chapter, I shall examine the stages of that secularisation and the minor changes that are connected with it. The subject will naturally divide itself into two parts. We shall first see

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