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pealed to these changes with confidence and triumph, as evidences that their faith was divinek. Under its influence illiberal prejudices were abated; humility together with justice and honesty, firmness under persecution, patience under worldly afflictions, and calmness in the approach of death, were produced. It gave dignity and consequence to the female sex, prohibiting all breaches of the marriage contract, and reclaiming dissolute men.
It abolished human sacrifices; checked infanticide and cruel sports; discouraged suicide; imparted comparative mildness to war; restrained the violence of rulers ; encouraged hospitality to strangers ; originated charitable institutions; abated the rigours of servitude; relieved prisoners, and procured protection for the weak and oppressed
The increase of spiritual knowledge and moral habits, produced improvement in the arts and sciences. Literature found in Christianity a sincere and powerful patron. Magic, and such knowledge as only gratifies
k Justin, Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Origen, Lactantius, Eusebius, and others.
i Ryan's Effects of Religion, 3d edit. ch. iii. sec. 1, 2, 3, 4.
curiosity without meliorating our condition, were discouraged", whilst true learning was promoted. The barbarous nations, who had been checked or subdued by Roman prowess, felt the influence of Christian principles. Among them was diffused the love of letters, which increasing, produced the happiest effects. Who,” says Jerome, “ would be“ lieve that the barbarous Getæ should seek “ for truth from the Hebrew tongue; or that “ the Germans should seek for the eloquence “ of the Holy Spirit, while the Greeks should “ be engaged in idle contentions; that the “ hand long callous with the sword or bow, “ should apply to the
pen; or that ferocious 6 hearts should turn to Christian mildness"?” Even to the Saracens, those fierce followers of Mahomet, the light of revelation communicated a taste for science and the arts. Rejecting, as they did, Messiah, no new discoveries could be expected among them, nor any improvements in social happiness. But as their prophet recognized the Saviour and
m Acts xix. 19. This passage is merely quoted as an authentic fact, to prove the above remark. Many such facts are furnished by ecciesiastical historians.
n Hieron. Opusc. vol. 11. p. 262, ed. Par. 1706, quoted by Ryan, in his History of the Effects of Religion, ch. iii. p. 51.
his divine mission, and as he was indebted to
This subject is examined more particularly in Ser. 3.
ingredient in the character of a scholar. This event, connected as it was with the discovery of printing, an art which, by means equally effectual and unexpected, secured to the world the result of the labours of men of genius and erudition, effected the restoration of letters in modern times.
In the mean while, from the close of the second century, the purity of doctrine and discipline in the Church began to be corrupted. As the defection incseased, the light of the world was gradually obscured by clouds. The mind became weakened in its powers, and the sphere of information was circumscribed. Men, by wasting their intellect
upon subtle trifles, unfitted themselves for high attainments in knowledge. Ere long the barbarians pouring in upon the Roman empire, in succession became its masters. From this period true religion, sound science, and the arts of civilized life, rapidly deteriorated. Amidst the darkness and barbarism of the times, Antichrist arose to consequence
power, consummating, by his superstitions, immoralities, and blasphemies, the degradation of the Christian world.
Roscoe's Lorenzo de Medici, vol. 1.
With his reign commenced the dark
ages; ages in which ignorance, vice, ferocity, impiety, and atheism, prevailed universally, contaminating society at large, and making intercourse between men the source both of misery and of crimes. The benevolent mind, in reading the history of this period, is filled with disgust or with horror'. God, however, was preparing the way for a new, a more pure and happy state of things. Whilst darkness rested
the earth, he said, “ Let there be light,” and Luther arose. 4. The reformation from popery,
popery, constitutes another æra of light and improvement, more brilliant than any preceding'. No new revelations were then given ; but the Scriptures were better understood, and more extensively used than before. Under their quickening influence, a new impulse was given to the human mind in its researches after knowledge, and the application of its discoveries to the benefit and happiness of society.
This revolution was produced by a multitude of causes, which had long silently ope
Gibbon's Rom. Emp. Mosheim's Ecc. Hist. s This event took place in the 16th century.