Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Ecclesiastical History

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.,

§ 1. The most important preliminaries to this study may be conveniently reduced to six heads or topics—1. Definitions. 2. Relations. 3. Uses. 4. Sources. 5. History. 6. Method.

§ 2. The first of these includes the answer to two questions—{a) What is ecclesiastical history ?— (5) How far does it extend?

§ 3. In all such cases it is best to begin with the etymology of terms, when this can be determined without recondite research or fanciful conjecture.

§ 4. The English word history is derived, through the Latin historia, from the Greek iaropia, which, according to its etymology and primary usage, denotes information, knowledge gained by inquiry, with particular reference to matters of fact, and by a further limitation, to events or actual occurrences.

§ 5. This last is the invariable usage of our own word, perhaps with the single exception of the technical phrase "Natural History," in which the term retains its original and wider meaning.

§ 6. Some modern writers make a distinction between Objective and Subjective History, the first denoting the events themselves, the second their recital or exhibition, either viva voce or in writing.

§ 7. When we say that prophecy is verified in history, we use the word in its objective sense; but when we say that the prophecies of Daniel are elucidated by the history of Greece, it is subjective.

§ 8. It is only with subjective history that we are concerned as a science, or a subject of instruction, which may be defined the science of events, or the methodical and rational investigation of what has actually taken place; the methodical or systematic form distinguishing history, properly so called from chronicles or annals, which are mere collections of historical material.

§ 9. History, as thus defined, is necessarily unbounded, and can never be exhausted, since something may be added still to the most copious historical account, even of a day or hour.

§ 10. It follows that all history must be eclectic, in the sense of presupposing or involving a selection from the great mass of accessible materials.

§ 11. The vast field of history may be reduced, without detracting from its value, by the twofold process of (a) Elimination and (J) Division.

§ 12. Elimination, as here used, is the exclusion of some clement, belonging to the subject in its widest definition, but not essential to its practical utility or purpose.

§ 13. We may thus eliminate from history, as a subject of investigation, all that does not relate to the human subject, such as natural history and angelic history, as well as all that relates merely to the individual, and constitutes Biography, so far as this can be distinguished from History, of which it is, in fact, a species.

§ 14. Division differs from Elimination in excluding no entire element of history, but merely one or more of its parts, by an arbitrary or conventional arrangement.

§ 15. Such division may be merely mechanical, as in the case of Ancient and Modern History, which differ not at all in kind, but only in chronology; or rational, as in the case of National History; or that of particular professions, sciences, or doctrines.

§ 16. Among the innumerable possible divisions of General or Universal History, one of the most obvious and important is the old distinction between Civil and Religious History, the first relating to men's temporal interests and mutual relations, the second to their spiritual interests and relations to their God, which cannot bo entirely divorced, but may predominate in different degrees, so as to give character and name to these two kinds of history.

§ 17. Under the genus of Religious History, the most extensive and important species is the History of the Church, which is indeed almost the same thing, since all the topics of Religious History may be included in Church History, except perhaps the history of personal religion and a few particulars of still less moment.

§ 18. The meaning of the phrase "Church History," or rather its extent of application, will depend upon that of the term "Church," which although absolutely used to mean the Christian Church, as such, admits of a much wider application.

§ 19. The word church has been derived by some from a Celtic root (cyrch or cylch) meaning centre and then rallying-point or rendezvous; but much more probably by most writers from a Greek phrase (oiicLa or iicKXTjala icvpiaicrj) meaning the Lord's House or Congregation.

§ 20. We are concerned with it, however, only as a modern version of a Greek word (iick\aj<r(a) derived from a verb (e/t/caXew) meaning to evoke or call out, but suggesting also the idea of convoking or calling together as an organized body.

§ 21. The Greek noun is applied in the classics to the political or legislative bodies of the Grecian states, particularly Athens; in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, to the congregation of Israel, considered as the chosen people; and in the New Testament, to the same body as reorganized on a Christian basis at the day of Pentecost.

§ 22. The widest application of the phrase "Church History" depends upon the question, how long there has been a body in existence corresponding to the essential definition of eV/eX.7j0"&», i. e. one called out from the mass of men, and called together in a separate society, by divine authority, and for a religious purpose.

§ 23. It is evident from Scripture that such a society existed long before the day of Pentecost, before the Advent of our Lord, before the Babylonish Captivity, the reign of David, the Conquest of Canaan, the Mosaic Legislation, the calling of Abraham, the Universal Deluge.

§ 24. Its existence may be traced back to the Protevangelium, or first promise of a Saviour (Gen. 3, 15), with the accompanying prophecy of mutual hostility for ages between two great parties, " the seed of the serpent," represented by Satan, and "the seed of the woman," represented by Christ.

§ 25. The fulfilment of this prophecy gives colour or complexion to all history, in which the opposition or antithesis of Church and World can be distinctly traced from age to age, beginning with the contrast between Cain and Abel, followed by that between the posterity of Cain and Seth, until confounded by the impious amalgamation of the " sons of God" and "daughters of men," which led to the general corruption of mankind and their destruction by a deluge; then reappearing in the family of Noah and the line of Shem, made still more marked by the calling of Abraham, to be the father of a separate race, and permanently fixed by the Mosaic legislation, ceremonially distinguishing the chosen people, even externally, from every other, till the Advent of Messiah and the change of dispensations.

§ 26. Since then a church or chosen people has existed in all ages, the idea of church history must be equally extensive, reaching from the Fall of Man, or his ensuing restoration, to the present moment, and this last is a variable fluctuating point, it is continually growing in extent, as every day adds something to the field and the materials of history.

§ 27. The extent of the subject being still unmanageably great, it may be conveniently divided, not by a mechanical and arbitrary process, but on principles arising from its very nature.

§ 28. The primary division is into two great parts, which may be designated Biblical and Ecclesiastical History, the latter comprehending all that is not recorded in the "Word of God.

§ 29. The difference between these two parts is not merely circumstantial, but essential, being thai between inspired and uninspired history; a readymade authoritative record, and one to be constructed from diversified materials by human skill and labour; the one requiring mere interpretation, while the other calls for a dissimilar and far more complicated process. The application of the same mode of treatment to materials so unlike, has always been the cause or the effect of sceptical misgivings, if not of avowed unbelief in the divine authority of Scripture.

§ 30. As an additional facility in study and investigation, Biblical History may be subdivided into that of the Old and that of the New Testament, although the difference is here a circumstantial one, implying no diversity of inspiration or authority, but only one of date, language, and specific form, requiring some diversity of method for the illustration and interpretation of these two great subdivisions of the Sacred History.

§ 31. The three divisions of Church History thus arising (Old Testament, New Testament, and Ecclesiastical), are exceedingly unequal in their chronological dimensions, the first comprising about forty centuries, the third eighteen, the second less than one, but claiming full equality of time and attention, on the ground of its absolute importance, springing from the dignity of its subject, the Life of Christ and the Acts of his Apostles, and on that of its relative importance, as the winding up of the Old Testament History, and the foundation of Ecclesiastical History, without which both would be incomprehensible and worthless.

§ 32. According to these definitions and distinctions, Ecclesiastical History is the third great division of Church History in the widest sense, beginning at the close of the New Testament Canon, or rather of the history which it contains, and reaching to the present time, or stretching indefinitely into the future.

§ 33. The relation of Ecclesiastical History, as thus defined, to Biblical or Sacred History, is not coincident with that between the history of the New and of the Old Dispensation, since a part of both these is contained in the New Testament, the Gospels belonging to the one, and the Acts of the Apostles to the other; so that the limit of the two economics or dispensations does not fall between the Old and New Testament, but between the two historical divisions of the New.

§ 34. This brings us to the second introductory question (see above, § 1), namely, what relations does Ecclesiastical History sustain to other sciences or fields of knowledge?

§ 35. Besides its relation to Biblical History, •which has just been defined, it has points of contact with a multitude of subjects, some of which are so near akin to it, and practically so inseparable from it, that they may be classed together as its cognate or auxiliary sciences. The nearest and most necessary of these helps, to which the name just mentioned has been commonly applied, are three in number: 1, Geography; 2, Chronology; and 3, Archseology.

§ 36. Historical Geography relates to the localities of history, and ascertains the places where events occurred; and is therefore a subordinate auxiliary science, since the interest of the places depends upon that of the events, and not vice versa.

§ 37. The same thing is true of Chronology, the science of dates, as these derive their value from the events, of which they fix the time, and not the events from them.

§ 38. The principal uses of Historical Chronology, so called to distinguish it from that which is merely arithmetical or astronomical, are to solve apparent contradictions, and to determine the mutual relation of events, especially as causes and effects, or antecedents and consequents.

§ 39. That the absolute chronology, i. e. the precise day or even year, of an event, however interesting it may be and worthy of attention when it can be ascertained, is not essential to historical truth or to its beneficial uses, may be seen from the familiar fact, that men not unfrequently forget the exact dates of their own biography, without losing their distinct impression of its principal events in their mutual relations and their true succession; or, to borrow Bossuet's illustration, from the slight effect of the acknowledged error in the Christian era on the history of the last eighteen hundred years.

§ 40. Archceology (from apxaios, ancient), the science of antiquity (hence called by the Latin name Antiquitates), in its widest sense embraces ancient history, as in the Jewish Archaeology of Josephus; but in its technical restricted sense, relates to usages or permanent conditions, as distinguished from events, which always involve change, so that nothing immutable can have a history, and the best times to live in are the worst to write about.

§41. This distinction, being artificial and conventional, cannot be rigidly insisted on, since archaeology and history are partially inclusive of each other, and are always interchanging their materials, events becoming usages by repetition, and permanent conditions being liable to change, and thus continually passing from the field of archaeology to that of history.

§ 42. But even if they could be kept apart, their total separation would be undesirable, since they are necessary to illustrate and complete each other; and accordingly the best historians are disposed to reunite them, by admitting much into their histories which formally belongs to archaeology, as in Macaulay's famous chapter on the change of manners and the mode of life in England, which is one of the most brilliant and instructive portions of his history.

§ 43. Ecclesiastical Antiquities or Archaeology is limited by arbitrary modern usage to the government and worship of the Church in the first six centuries; but recent writers give it more extension, among whom may be mentioned a learned and laborious American scholar (Dr. Lyman Coleman).

§ 44. The moderns, and especially the Germans, are accustomed to distinguish many other auxiliary studies, such as that of Statistics, exhibiting the actual condition of the world, or any of its parts, as to population, industry, wealth, trade, &c, at a given time, in which it differs both from History and Archaeology; Diplomatics, or the art of decyphering and verifying documents; Historical Philology, distinguishing the dialects of different localities and periods; and many others, which it is not necessary to enumerate, as such distinctions, if pursued too far, tend to defeat their own design by comprehending every thing, especially in this case, where the principal subject, that of History, has really so many points of contact with the other provinces of human knowledge. (Vide supra, §35.)

§ 45. In answer to the third preliminary question .—"What are the uses of Church History? For what reason or what purpose, is it to be studied ?— the utility of history in general may be argued from the space which it occupies in Scripture, and from the position assigned to it in the literature of the wisest and most cultivated nations, as well as in every scheme of liberal study, which together may be represented as the testimony or the judgment of the civilized world throughout a course of ages.

§ 46. The maxim that "history is philosophy teaching by examples" has sometimes been abused, by making it the basis of specific prophecies or prognostications, which are usually falsified by the event; but this abuse does not destroy the lawful use of general experience, as a source of correct judgments in relation to the future; just as long practice may be an invaluable guide to the physician, though it does not enable him to predict with certainty the issue even of a single case.

§ 47. Of history in general, and of ecclesiastical history in particular, it may be said, that they illustrate, in an eminent degree, the laws of the divine administration; evince the truth of prophecy by showing its fulfilment; and in due subordination to the study of God's word and of our own hearts, furnish the best school of human nature, although commonly postponed to that of frivolous society and superficial worldly wisdom.

§ 48. In addition to these benefits of all authentic history, that of the church contributes to the demonstration of the truth of Christianity, by contrasting it with every form of error, by recording its triumphs over enemies and obstacles which seemed invincible, and by showing its invariable moral influence where it prevails; all this in spite of human errors and corruptions, not only in the world, but in the church itself.

§ 49. Among the salutary moral influences which have been ascribed to the judicious study of this subject, may be named the elevation and enlargement of the views beyond the petty bounds of personal, sectarian, or local interests; the consequent discouragement of bigotry, and moderation of mere controversial zeal, without impairing men's attachment to the truth itself; and lastly, the suppression of crude innovations, both in theory and practice, by showing that the same, if not in form in substance, have been canvassed and exploded centuries ago. 33ut independently of all utilitarian considerations, authentic history, as well ecclesiastical as general, demands attention on account of its intrinsic value, as a portion of that truth, which is the natural and necessary aliment of mind, and which would be entitled to regard on this ground, if it had no other practical effect whatever.

§ 50. The fourth preliminary question {vide supra, § 1), is, From what sources, or of what materials, is Ecclesiastical - History to be constructed?

§ 51. It may be answered, in the general, first, that according to the very definition above given (§ 29), all the authorities are uninspired; and, secondly, that they are incalculably numerous and endlessly diversified.

§ 52. In order to a more particular and positive solution of this question, the materials and sources of Ecclesiastical History have been divided into two great classes: 1st, Monumental; and, 2d, Documentary.

§ 53. To the first class belong all historical materials or authorities not contained in books, including monuments, not only in the narrow sense of tombs or sepulchres, but in the wide sense of relics or memorials of antiquity, particularly buildings, statues, paintings, medals, coins, inscriptions.

§ 54. Authorities of this class, when extant and accessible, have this advantage, that they are originals; whereas, the oldest books now extant are mere copies of copies.

§ 55. The utility of monumental sources or authorities may be exemplified by the arch of Titus, still standing at Home, with the original carvings, representing the triumph of the conqueror of Jerusalem, from which arc derived our common drawings of the sacred vessels and utensils of the temple, as carried in procession upon that occasion; and also in a less degree by the inscriptions upon ancient Christian tombstones, which are built into the wall of a gallery of the Vatican museum, and by which some light is cast on early customs and conditions of society.

§ 56. In Ecclesiastical History, however, Monumental sources and authorities are neither so abundant nor so valuable as the Documentary, or those contained in books or other writings, whether manuscript or printed.

§ 57. These may again be subdivided into, 1st, Private or Personal; and, 2d, Public or Official.

§ 58. By Public Documents, in this connection, are meant all official acts of public bodies or authorities, having direct or indirect ecclesiastical in- fluenee or jurisdiction.

§ 59. The first place among these is due to the acts of councils, ecumenical or national, who claimed to represent the Church, and in her name decided questions both of discipline and doctrine.

§ 60. Some idea of the vast extent of these materials may be gathered from the fact that besides a collection of these Acts of Councils in four folio volumes, and another in twelve, there is one in eighteen, Odc (the best, that of Mansi) in thirtyone, and one in thirty-seven folios; not to mention smaller works, containing only national or local councils, such as "Wilkin's Concilia Magnse Britannise et Hibernise (4 vols. fob).

§ 61. Another class of these material, inferior in authority, but of great historical value, are the Acts of the Popes, or of the Papal See—the Eegesta— the Corpus Juris Canonici—the Briefs—the Bulls— and the Decretals.

§ 62. To give some idea, as before, of the extent of these materials, it may be stated that, although the Regesta, prior to the close of the twelfth century, are lost, those belonging to the next four centuries are said to be preserved in the Yatican library at Rome, in two thousand folio manuscript volumes, which have never been accessible to Protestants, except in a solitary case, and then to a very limited extent.

§ 63. A third class of public documentary materials are those contained in the archives or records of civil governments in Europe, some of which go back to the old Roman times, and all of which contain ecclesiastical matter, in consequence of the intimate connection between church and state since Constantine.

§ 6i. Still more direct in their bearing on Church History are the collections of Symbolical Books, including Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms, and other books of elementary instruction in the doctrines of religion, "which of course afford important aid in tracing theological mutations.

§ 65. Similar light is thrown upon the history of worship, and indirectly upon that of practical religion, by the ancient liturgies, which, far from being uniform and homogeneous, are both numerous and various in a high degree.

§ 66. Of less intrinsic value, but of great historical importance in relation to particular periods, are the rules and statutes of religious bodies, such as the Eegulas, or Constitutions of Monastic orders, which exerted a great influence upon society, and often give the key to circumstances otherwise inexplicable.

§ 67. This is not proposed as an exhaustive catalogue of public documentary materials, but rather as a sample of the most abundant sources, which may serve to convey an imperfect but definite idea of the multitude of such materials, .which exist, and may be used in the construction of Church History.

§ 68. Private Documents include all other writings which can throw light on the history of the Church, and which, in reference to their authority and value as historical materials, may be thrown into three classes.

§ 69. Highest in this respect are contemporary books and papers, whether formally historical, didactic, controversial, practical, devotional, or epistolary, which last are regarded by the best moder n writers as peculiarly important, especially when brought to light long after date, and evidently written without any view to publication; so that the very compositions which are most emphatically personal and private often throw most light on public history, by revealing the true sentiments and secret motives of the leading actors, and are therefore gathered up, deciphered, and edited by learned men, with all the critical exactness that was once applied only to the classics or the Scriptures. A remarkable example is DeWette's edition of Luther's letters, with the various readings of the different manuscripts, a work which throws a vivid light on Luther's character and history, as well as on that of the Reformation. A similar effect, though in a less degree, has been produced upon our own revolutionary history, by extracts from inedited or newly-published private correspondence, exhibited in Irving's Life of "Washington.

§ 70. Next to these in value, as historical authorities, are works of later date, but made of contemporaneous materials, especially when these are no longer in existence or directly accessible, in which case such works are the only succedaneum, imperfect though it be, for what has thus been lost.

§ 71. The third or residuary class includes all elaborations of historical material, not comprehended under either of the others, that is to say, a large proportion of the historical literature extant.

§ 72. This class, though the lowest in historical authority,—which must not be confounded with literary merit, since the finest modern composition may have less weight as a witness than the most uncouth and ungrammatieal contemporary fragment,—ha8 the widest influence upon the general mass of readers, who neither will nor can resort to the original authorities, except by proxy, but for that very reason have the deepest interest in knowing that thenproxies are reliable and speak the truth.

§ 73. We are thus brought to the fifth introductory question (vide supra, % 1), namely, "Who have made use of these materials and brought them into history, and what has been the fruit of their labours?

§ 74. The answer to this question comprises the History, Literature, or Bibliography of Ecclesiastical History.

§ 75. It might have been expected that the early Christian Church would pay great attention to its own history, and bring it to a state of high perfection, as so much attention had been paid to history, both by the classical and sacred writers (§ 45), and the highest models furnished of historiography, as well in Hebrew as in Greek and Latin.

§ 76. But this antecedent probability was so far from being verified by the event, that the first three centuries are almost an entire blank in this respect, few histories having been composed, and of those few none preserved entire.

§ 77. The oldest writer of church history, of whom we have any knowledge, was Hegesippus, a converted Jew of Asia Minor, who, about the middle of the second century, by travelling and otherwise, collected the traditions of the Apostolic Age, now extant only in the shape of fragments and quotations, in the works of later writers.

§ 78. The same may be said of the Chronographia of Julius Africanus, written about a hundred years later.

§ 79. There is no proof that either of these works was a regular historical composition; but, whatever may have been their form or character, they do not seem to have been so much in demand as to secure their preservation, though their disappearance may bo owing to causes wholly independent either of their literary merit or the public taste.

§ 80. This remarkable neglect of Ecclesiastical History, in the very period when it might have been expected most to flourish, has been imputed to the constant persecutions of the age; but this is not a satisfactory solution, as they did not hinder other kinds of intellectual exertion; and as some of the interesting historical documents of that age which have been preserved owe both their existence and their subject to these very sufferings; such as the account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, recorded by the church at Smyrna, and that of the persecution in the south of Gaul, by the churches of Lyons and Vienne (§ 498).

§ 81. A better explanation, although still not wholly satisfactory, is, that historical studies were excluded by the general attention to didactic and polemic studies, and especially to philosophical speculation, which, when pushed to an extreme, has always led to the neglect of history.

§ 82. A circumstance which may, at first sight, seem to favour the opinion that persecution was the cause of this neglect is, that the first change for the better took place under Constantine, by whom the church was freed from persecution; but this, if it be more than mere fortuitous coincidence, cannot outweigh the facts just mentioned, as to other forms of intellectual activity.

§ 83. The oldest "Ecclesiastical History," now extant, is the work of Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, in Palestine, in the early part of the fourth century | the confidential friend and spiritual guide of Constantine; a man of good mind and considerable learning; of so mild a temper, even towards the erring, as to be suspected of agreement with them; familiarly conversant with all the great events and persons of the day, and deriving great advantages as a historian from his free access to the archives of the empire, as well as to the library founded at Cesarea by his friend Pamphilus, from whom he is sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili.

§ 84. Besides his Preparatio Evangel, which is not so much historical as doctrinal, he wrote a Chronicle and an Ecclesiastical History, to which his account of the martyrs of Palestine, and his panegyrical biography of Constantine, may be regarded as appendices. These works, and especially the Ecclesiastical History, are disfigured by a style at once inflated and jejune, and by a method sometimes wholly arbitrary or fortuitous, and sometimes simply chronological, without any attempt at a digested systematic form. Their chief merits are the personal testimony of a witness so competent and credible to the events of his own time, and the preservation of older documents, fragments and quotations, in a manner which detracts from the literary merit of the composition, but enhances its value as a storehouse of materials.

§ 85. The example of Eusebius was not without effect upon his contemporaries, and especially his followers in the next generation, some of whom wrote history chiefly for polemic purposes; as Epiphanius, to whom we are indebted for most of our knowledge of the ancient heresies; and Philostorgius, whose lost work was intended to maintain the Arian cause. Another lost historian of the fourth century is Sidetes, of Pamphylia, described as a copious, but confused and immethodical, writer.

§ 86. The next century produced several continuators of Eusebius, whose history ends with the year 321; among the rest, two lawyers of Byzantium, Socrates and Sozomen, and an eminent bishop, theologian, and interpreter, Theodoret; all of whom cover nearly the same ground, being a little more than a hundred years.

§ 87. In the beginning of the sixth century, Theodoras, of Constantinople, wrote a continuation of Eusebius, which is lost, and an abridgment, which is extant, but of little value. The last Greek continuator of Eusebius, or of his continuators, is Evagrius of Antioch, about the end of the sixth century, who brought down the history until near that time.

§ 88. Hie Latin church-historians of the 6ame age were little more than translators and abridgers of the Greeks. The Historia Sacra of the Gallic Presbyter, Sulpicius Severus, called the Christian Sallust, from his comparatively classic style, and the similar work of the Spaniard, Orosius, are universal histories, but contain much religious or ecclesiastical matter. Euffin or Rufinus, an Italian translated and continued Eusebius. Casiodorus, an Ostrogoth in Italy, by compilation and abridgment, formed a manual, which, with that just mentioned, remained in use as a text-book through the Middle Ages.

§ 89. During the Middle Ages there are no professed church-historians in Greek before Nicephorus Callisti in the thirteenth century; but much ecclesiastical matter is contained in the Byzantine historians (from the end of the fifth to that of the fifteenth century), as the Greek church was not only united with the state, but much involved in politics and court intrigues.

§ 90. The subjugation of the Western Koman Empire (near the end of the fifth century) by the northern barbarians, was followed immediately by great intellectual depression, and remotely by extreme devotion to scholastic studies, which were equally unfriendly to historical and classical pursuits; so that the medieval histories became mere chronicles or annals, among which two of the most celebrated are those of William of Tyre and Matthew Paris, one relating chiefly to the east, the other to the west of Europe.

§ 91. As exceptions to the general dearth of history in the Middle Ages may be mentioned some who wrote the history of their own national churches; such as Gregory of Tours in France, Beda Venerabilis in England, Paulus DeaconuB in Italy, and Adam of Bremen in the north of Europe.

§ 92. But besides the literary degradation of church-history in this period, it was morally debased by the increase of superstition, and especially that form of it called Hagiolatry, which led to a rivalry between the tutelary saints of different churches, provinces, and nations, to maintain which their biographies not only usurped the place of more important history, but were first embellished, and then forged, which did not prevent their being sanctioned by ecclesiastical authority, as legenda, or lessons to be read in public or private worship, whence our words "legend," "legendary," have become almost synonymous with "fable," "fabulous."

§ 93. The general state of historical knowledge reached its lowest ebb in the age before the Reformation, and was intentionally kept there by the rulers of the church, whose policy it was to represent the existing rites and doctrines as identical with those of the apostolic age; an illusion which would instantly have been dispelled by any clear view of the intervening history.

§ 94. The Revival of Letters, which preceded and prepared the way for the Reformation, or Revival of Religion, gave the first shock to the prevailing ignorance, and by the sceptical criticism of such men as Laurentius "Valla, excited a spirit of inquiry into early history as well as doctrine.

§ 95. This spirit of historical inquiry is related to the Reformation, both as a cause and an effect, having led the way to the correction of abuses, and the restoration of a purer faith and practice, which, in their turn, gave a stronger impulse to this class of studies.

§ 96. All the polemic writings of the great Reformers are so far historical as they demonstrate the corruptions of the Church of Home to be innovations, and contrast them with the simplicity and purity of ancient times; but Luther and Calvin wrote no formal histories, as their associates and successors, Beza and Melancthon did; a circumstance which seems to show, that the importance of Ecclesiastical History as a means of refuting error, and establishing the truth, was more and more appreciated, as the work of Reformation advanced.

§ 97. The first complete Ecclesiastical History was the product of the Lutheran Reformation, although projected after Luther's death, by one of his most zealous disciples, Matthias Flacius called Illyricus, because a native of the ancient Illyricum, a man of strong mind and great learning, and a strenuous opposer of tlie Church of Home, but coarse in taste and violent in temper.

§ 98. To Elacius is due the bold and new conception of a history of the Church upon the largest scale, designed to expose the Romish errors in detail, and trace the progress of corruption from age to age.

§ 99. He had the sagacity to see, that such a work could be successful only in proportion to its fulness and exactness, and to the weight of the authorities on which it rested; as well as that it was "beyond the strength of any one man, and could only be accomplished by associated labour.

§ 100. He therefore devised a well-concerted scheme of organization, consisting of five managers or directors (gubematores), and under them ten labourers (operarii), seven of whom were to collect materials, two to digest them, and the tenth to write them out.

§ 101. The first part or number of this great work appeared at Basel, from the press of Oporinus, in the year 1559, and the last in January, 1574, under the title of " Ilistoria Ecclesiastica, &c," but as Flacius and his chief associates were then resident in Magdeburg, and as the centuries were issued seriatim, it has ever since been known by the name of the " Magdeburg Centuries," and its authors as the " Magdeburg Centuriators."

§ 102. This publication acted as a blaze of light upon the darkness of the age, in which the rays which had already been omitted in particular discussions were concentrated and reduced to a complete and regular historical arrangement.

§ 103. At the same time, it raised ecclesiastical history to a position, which it has ever since retained, especially in Germany, and although it repressed for a time the spirit of original investigation, in a field which seemed to be already exhausted, it eventually gave a new and mighty impulse to such studies, in both divisions of the great Protestant body, exciting Lutherans to continue the good work begun among themselves, and stirring up the Calvinists to emulation.

§ 104. Its effect upon the Church of Koine was still more remarkable, as it led, after various attempts to counteract its influence in other ways, to the preparation of a work of the same kind, designed expressly to refute it, and to establish, by historical evidence, the very system which the Centuries were meant to overthrow.

§ 105. The person chosen for this service was a young Dominican of great ability and learning, Cesar Baronius, who was afterwards rewarded for his labours by the dignity of a Cardinal.

§ 106. The "Annals" of Baronius made its first appearance in the year 1588, and was continued by the same hand till the year 1607, the author having access to additional materials contained in the archives of the Papal See, and other repositories inaccessible to Protestants, (vide svpra, § 62); but while this seemed to give him some exclusive advantages, it also tended to excite suspicion in his own church as well as among Protestants, as to the fidelity with which he had made use of these materials, so carefully withheld from public view.

§ 107. The "Annals," although now extremely rare, have been several times reprinted, with and without Renaud's continuation, bringing them down to the latter part of the sixteenth century.

§ 108. These two great works, themselves the fruit of theological discussion in the age of the Reformation, may be represented as the parents of a vast and varied literature, belonging to the province of Ecclesiastical History.

§ 109. Although the Annals of Baronius were intended to maintain the strictest form of Romish doctrine, the later historiography of that church was chiefly in the hands of its more liberal theologians; such as Fra Paolo (Sarpi), the classical and almost Protestant historian of the Council of Trent, to whom Pallavicino bears the same relation as Baronius to the Magdeburg Centuriators.

§ 110. To the same class may be referred a brilliant constellation of historians belonging to the Gallican or Romish church of France, among whom may be named Morinus, Petavius, Tillemont, R. Simon, Fleury, and Natalis Alexander, whose history was composed in such a 6pirit as to be put upon the Index of forbidden books at Rome.

§ 111. The most elegant and eloquent of these Gallican historians was the famous Bossuet, the most admired preacher and accomplished champion of his church in that age, whose Discourse on Universal History is not only a French classic of the first rank, but a noble view of the whole field from the highest Christian ground, though not without an eye to the exaltation of his own creed and communion.

§ 112. The Reformed or Calvinistic churches of the seventeenth century furnished many zealous and successful rivals of the great historians of the previous age; but it has been noted as a curious fact, that their researches tended rather to special than to general church history, though Hottinger in Switzerland produced a good work of that kind, while Spanheim and the Basnages in Holland, Daille, Blondel, and Salmasius in France, excelled in cultivating smaller fields.

§ 113. In the same century, the Church of England produced many eminent historical writers, chiefly on special or restricted subjects, among whom may be named as representatives, Archbishop Usher; Bishops Pearson, Beveridge, and Burnet; Doctors Dodwell, Cave, Bull, and Bingham, who is still one of the highest authorities in the department of Ecclesiastical Antiquities, or Christian Archaeology {vide supra, § 43).

§ 114. The tone of church history continued to be controversial or polemic, more especially in Germany, until Calixtus, in the seventeenth century, attempted to introduce a more pacific and dispassionate mode of treating the subject, with a view to the promotion of his favourite scheme of reuniting all Christian churches, on the doctrinal and ecclesiastical basis of the first six centuries; but the unpopularity of this scheme gave him little influence on contemporary historiography.

§ 115. More success, in this direction, attended the efforts of Spener, the first founder of the Pietists, to moderate polemic rancour, and to make experimental piety the essence of church history, as well as of Christianity itself; while the orthodox Lutherans of the same date, like the Calvinistic writers of an earlier day, spent their strength chiefly upon special subjects, such as the History of the Reformation, as composed by Seckendorf and others.

§ 116. This new mode of writing history was pushed to an extreme by Godfrey Arnold, in the early part of the last century, who allowed his feelings as a Pietist, and therefore an opponent of the Orthodox Lutherans, to govern him so far, that'he espoused the cause of heretics in general, and, without embracing their opinions, undertook to show that they were often, if not always, morally in the right, and the Church, as a body, in the wrong. This work, although it gave rise to a long and angry controversy, was deprived of permanent and popular effect by its paradoxical character and by its harsh and unattractive style.

§ 117. Though Arnold, strictly speaking, had no follower, his very excesses, when contrasted with those of previous writers in the opposite direction, contributed still further to divest Ecclesiastical History of its predominant polemic tone, and to promote a more impartial and dispassionate treatment of the subject; as appears from the tone of the most eminent historians in the first half of the eighteenth century, as well among the Lutherans (such as Buddeus, Fabricius, and "Weismann) as among the Calvinists (such as Jablonsld,Yenema, J. A. Turretin, Lenfant, Beausobre and Le Clerc, or Clericus); and the same thing is measurably true of Romish writers also (such as Orsi and Mansi).

§ 118. The danger now was that the controversial spirit would give place to one of cold indifference as to matters in dispute, even where the writer really adhered to orthodox opinions; and this fear is thought by some to have been realized in the case of the next distinguished writer, who exerted a commanding influence both on contemporaneous and on subsequent historiography, John Laurence Mosheim, who died in 1755, after holding a conspicuous position during many years, at Helmstadt and Gottingen.

§ 119. Besides a multitude of books and tracts on various subjects, chiefly belonging to Church History, he published two, which have never lost their place among the highest secondary or derivative authorities (see § 71); his "Commentaries on the State of Christianity before the time of Constantine," and his "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern ;" both which have been translated into English, and the last of which, though now comparatively little used in Germany, has long been a favourite text-book, botb in England and America.

§ 120. The works of Mosbeim are distinguished, in addition to the absence of all warmth and passion, by a thorough knowledge of the subject, rare acuteness and sagacity in critical conjecture and historical combination; great completeness and exactness as to the essential facts of history; extreme formality and clearness of arrangement, and especially by classical elegance of Latin style, which last attraction is of course wanting, both in the free or rather loose translation of Maclaine, and in the accurate but awkward one of Murdock, who has added to the value of the original, considered as a storehouse of facts, but not to its beauty as a composition by his numerous and often overloaded notes.

§ 121. The influence of Mosheim's better taste and temper may be traced in the German writers who succeeded him, among whom may be named as representatives, Baumgarten, Cramer, PfafF, and the two "Walchs, father and son, several of whom, as well as others not here mentioned, have independent merits of their own.

§ 122. The next important change in historical writing and investigation was occasioned by the rise of German rationalism or neology, of which the reputed father is John Solomon Semler, professor at Halle, who, although educated in the strictest forms of Pietism, and never wholly emancipated from its influence, did more perhaps than any other person to shake the foundations of men's faith in the divine authority of Scripture, by calling everything in question, and suggesting doubts as to the authenticity of almost every book in the Bible, a sceptical criticism which has been earned to still greater length by later writers, in reference both to Scripture and Church History, to which it was applied by Semler himself, not in regular historical compositions, but in various confused, ill-written works, and, still more, through the intermediate agency of pupils and disciples.

§ 123. The sceptical tendency thus introduced into the study of Church History had very different effects on different classes; in frivolous and shallow minds engendering contempt for the whole subject, and producing works of a satirical and scoffing tone, such as those of Spittler and Hcnke; while in minds of greater depth and earnestness, even when destitute of strong faith in the truth of Christianity, it led to a laborious reconstruction of Church History by working up the original materials afresh, and giving them a new shape, either in general works (such as the gigantic one of Schrockh), or special treatises (like those of Planek and Staudlin).

§ 124. To the latter class belongs an extensive literature of recent date, beginning near the close of the last century, and flourishing especially during the first quarter of the present, being one of the good, incidental fruits of the new impulse given to historical research by the sceptical or rationalistic movement, which produced a strong taste and demand for monographs, or thorough and minute investigations of some single doctrine, period, or personage, derived directly from original authorities, and published as a separate and independent work.

§ 125. Besides the interest imparted to many distinct topics of Church History by this detailed and thorough mode of treating them, these monographs were gradually storing up materials for new works of a general and comprehensive character, to fill the chasms or supply the place of those which had appeared before these new researches and accumulations were begun; the very same persons sometimes taking part in both the processes, that is, distinguishing themselves as writers both of monographs and general church histories.

§ 126. The most signal instance of this twofold labour and success is that afforded by Neander, of Jewish birth, but Christian education, a child in spirit and in secular affairs, but in intellect a man, and in learning a giant, for many years an eminent professor at Berlin, where he died in 1850, and now acknowledged to have no superior as a general writer on Church History, but first distinguished, in his early manhood, as the author of invaluable monographs or special treatises on Julian the Apostate, on Tertullian, on Chrysostom, and on Bernard, each of which, besides a full biography, including a large portion of contemporary history, contains a critical analysis of many ancient and important works.

§ 127. At the close of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the time seemed to be come for the reduction of these new or freshly gathered stores to a complete and systematic whole in general church histories; a crisis indicated by the almost simultaneous commencement of two great works which are still unfinished, but unanimously reckoned, by all competent authorities, to be the two great master-pieces of the age in this department, one by Neander, which appeared in 1825, and the other in the preceding year, by Gieseler, who was already known as a learned and sagacious critic, one of liis ablest compositions being a review of Neander's Tertullian, in which he developed his own theory of Gnosticism.

§ 128. The authors of these two works are as much alike in some points as they are unlike in others, the resemblance lying in their education and • extent of reading, their official positions and professional employments, their integrity and truthfulness, and their use, for the most part, of the same materials, both being thoroughly and equally familiar with the oldest authorities, and the freshest forms into which the raw material had been newly wrought; the difference lying in the calm impartiality of Gieseler as contrasted with the honest and enlightened zeal of Neander; and in the moderate and unimpassioned rationalism of the one, compared with the warm but meagre Christianity of the other.

§ 129. The books themselves are as unlike as their authors, both in plan and execution; Giescler's consisting of an exquisite selection from the very words of the original authorities, arranged as notes and strung together by a slender thread of narrative; Neander's of the very same materials, but digested in his own mind, and wrought up into a flowing homogeneous narrative, exhibiting the express of his character in almost every page and sentence; the one as perfectly objective as the other is subjective in its whole design and structure; the one enabling every reader to construct the history for himself, the other exhibiting it ready-made, but by the hand of a master.

§. 130. The difference just mentioned may account for the fact that Gieseler, although universally applauded, and implicitly relied upon for facts and for materials, has founded no distinct school, and propagated no peculiar mode of -writing history; "whereas ISfeander has had many professed followers, who hold his principles, adopt his plans, and sometimes even imitate his style and manner.

§ 131. Among the most faithful and yet most independent followers of Neander may be mentioned Guericke, who carries out his master's plan in a more compendious form, but with an almost bigoted attachment to the peculiar doctrines of Luther, and in a style so crabbed and involved as to forbid translation or convenient use in elementary instruction, although it has been eminently useful as a vehicle, not only of the best historical knowledge, but of sincere piety and sound religious principles in all essential points.

§ 132. Another representative of this school is Jacobi, less orthodox and pious than Guericke, but nearer to Neander in sentiment and spirit, and superior to both in clearness and simplicity of style and method, which, together with the fact that his work was suggested and commended to the public by Neander, as the best compendious view of his own system, although far from being a mere abridgment, makes it matter of regret that it has Dot yet gone beyond a single part or volume, extending not quite to the close of the sixth century.

§ 133. As other offshoots of Neander's stock, though very different, in some points, both from him and from each other, may be named Schaff of Mercerburg and Lange of Zurich; but as neither of these writers has yet brought his work below the Apostolic age, they can scarcely be considered as belonging to our present subject.

§ 134. Still more unlike Neander, both in sentiment and method, although evidently nurtured in his school, is Hase of Jena, a man of genius and of cultivated taste, and an original and brilliant writer, but unduly partial to the mere aesthetic and artistical relations of his subject, not so much a believer as an admirer of the Gospel (rather than a believer), and so often obscure from epigrammatic or laconic brevity, and from rather presupposing than detailing facts, that he is scarcely more translatable or fit for elementary instruction than Guericke himself, though otherwise no two writers can be more dissimilar and even opposite.

§ 135. One of the latest and best German writers is John Henry Kurtz, now Professor at Dorpat, but for many years a Gymnasial teacher, which has given him a practical acquaintance with the wants of students, while his thorough knowledge of the Biblical History, on which he is the author of some admirable works, gives him a great advantage over some justly celebrated church historians. His facility and zeal as a maker of books have tempted him to vary their form and multiply their number to excess; but all of them are sound, clear, wholesome in tendency, and admirably suited both to academical and general use.

§ 136. One of the most singular effects of modern German changes in this science is the frequent adoption of the form and method common among Protestants, by Roman Catholic historians, including liberality of tone and abstinence from all polemic violence, but really by that means tending to insinuate their own views more effectually into the minds of unsuspicious readers; while in Italy, and even in France, works of this class still retain the bigoted exclusive form, by which they have always been distinguished from the writings of Reformed theologians. Of the former, Alzog's "Universal History of the Christian Church " may be taken as a sample; of the latter, S. L'Homond's "History of the Church," as re-written by the Abbe Postel, for the use of schools and families in France.

§ 137. In the British isles, Ecclesiastical History has been chiefly cultivated in the Church of England and the great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or by men instructed there, of late years more or less controlled by German influence, but never without much independent use of the original authorities, and almost always with the rare advantage of general culture, classical scholarship, and a native English style.

§ 138. Near the end of the last century, Joseph Milner, an Anglican clergyman of the evangelical or low-church party, and a man of greater piety and learning than sound judgment, wrote the history of the church until the Reformation, with the avowed purpose of making practical religion.or experimental Christianity the great subject of his work, and passing over all that does not bear upon it, a plan injudicious in itself, and very imperfect in its execution, doing credit to the author's own religious character and sentiments, and generally edifying to 'the' readers of congenial spirit, but, as might have been expected, partial and onesided, and exceedingly imperfect as a full view of the whole subject.

§ 139. Milman, now the Dean of St. Paul's, London, previously well known as a poet, an historian of the Jews, and an editor of Gibbon, has also written a " History of Christianity to the abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire," since continued in his "History of Latin Christianity," extending to Nicolas V., a work distinguished by originality and erudition, an elegant though not an easy style, and free to a great extent from that apparent sympathy with German scepticism or latitudinarianism, with which some of his earlier works had been reproached, but not entitled to the praise of having carried Church History beyond the point where Gieseler and Neander left it.

§ 140. Equally scholarlike and elegant, and still more Christian in their tone, but at the same time still more Anglican in sentiment and prepossession, although free from any thing offensive in pretension or assumption, are the " History of the Christian Church to the Pontificate of Gregory the. Great," by J. C. Robertson, a beneficed clergyman in England, and the "History of the Christian Church during the first three centuries," by J. J. Blunt, late Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, the latter a posthumous collection of the Author's Academical Lectures; the former intended for the use of general readers, as well as of students in theology

§ 141. One of the latest and best English works of this class is the " History of the Christian Church during the Middle Age, and during the Reformation," by the Rev. Charles Hardwick, formerly of Cambridge, then of Harrow, now of King's College, London, the two volumes forming part of a Series of Theological Manuals, for the use of candidates for orders in the Church of England, prepared by several different writers, and now issuing at Cambridge. The two in question show an intimate acquaintance with the modern German literature, as well as the original authorities, soundness on all essential doctrines, avowed attachment to the polity and worship of the author's church, but scrupulous courtesy and candor towards others, with a clearness of method, elegance of style, and beauty of typography not often found in combination.

§ 142. None of these modern English writers on Church History, betray the slightest tendency or tenderness towards Romish error, such as may be traced in the "Ecclesiastical History" of Palmer, one of the Oxford Theologians, republished in America by Bp. "Whittingham, of Maryland, and adapted to parochial instruction. This work, which is a small and slight one, without any pretension to original or independent value, is the only general Church History with which I am acquainted, representing or proceeding from the Puseyite or Romish party in the Church of Engand.

§ 143. The sixth and last introductory topic is that of method, involving two questions, what method has been pursued by the best writers, and what method shall we adopt ourselves; the answer to the second depending in some measure on the answer to the first, as we may profit by the failures as well as the successes of our predecessors, without any annoyance on our part, since by standing on the shoulders of a giant, even a pigmy may see further.

§ 144. By method is hero meant such a distribution or arrangement of a subject as is neither accidental, i. e. determined by causes independent of the writer's will and judgment; nor arbitrary, i. e. determined by his will alone; but rational, i. e. determined by an act of judgment, and for which a reason can be given.

§ 145. Method is essential to all science, even in the widest sense, because it enters into the very definition or idea of science, as rational or systematic knowledge; but is especially important in those sciences which do not rest on demonstration, mathematical or moral, and which do not therefore dictate their own method, as geometry and logic do.

§ 146. The choice of a good method is especially important in historical studies, because there are so many ways in which the same facts may be stated, without any variation from substantial truth, as appears, not only from the usages of historical composition, but also from the usages of common life, no two men commonly adopting the same form or order in relating the most trivial incident.

§ 147. But while this makes the choice of a good method indispensable in all history, there is nothing in the nature of Ecclesiastical History in particular, requiring a method wholly peculiar to itself, by assuming which necessity, historians of the church have not only hindered the progress of their readers, but gratuitously planted a great gulf between this part of history and every other.

§ 148. The rudest and crudest form of historical composition is the anecdotic; in which the materials are arranged at random, or as they come to the historian's knowledge, or occur to his mind in the act of writing.

§ 149. The first step towards a rational method . is the chronological arrangement of events in the order of their occurrence, which distinguishes chronicles or annals, both from anecdotes on one hand, and from history properly so called upon the other.

§ 150. But this step, though essential, is not sufficient of itself, since it does not bring together things which belong together, or have an affinity arising from their very nature; and yet this is the very end of method.

§ 151. The next step towards a rational method is the topical arrangement, or the combination of things mutually similar or akin, whether contemporaneous and successive or not.

§ 152. But neither is this sufficient of itself , without regard to chronological order, because this order is essential to history, and if neglected, the materials, however well arranged as topics, become wholly confused, or lose their historical character and bearing.

§ 153. These two methods therefore—and there seems to be no other not reducible to these—are both essential, not apart but together, and must be combined in order to produce a history; and as this combination may exist in different proportions and be exhibited in various shapes, it still remains a question how it may be best effected.

§ 154. In answering this question, great use may be made of previous experience, or the history of the efforts which have been made to solve this problem. (See § 143.)

§ 155. In tracing this history, however, we need not go very far back, since the use of method, properly so called in Ecclesiastical History, is a matter of comparatively recent date.

§ 156. The ancient writers of Ecclesiastical History seldom rise above the simple chronological arrangement, and are often wholly arbitrary or fortuitous in their arrangement, as may be seen from the example of Eusebius and his followers.

§ 157. The first genuine attempt at the solution of this problem was made by the Magdeburg Centuriators, who exhibit for the first time, a combined chronological and topical arrangement on the largest scale. (See §§ 97-101.)

§ 158. The chronical arrangement of this great work is by centuries, for which the singular reason is assigned, that there is really a cycle or complete revolution of events in every hundred years; a theory never, perhaps, generally current, or long since exploded.

§ 159. The topical arrangement under each century consists of fifteen heads or rubrics, with a prefatory summary or general view, making sixteen in all—viz.: 1. General view. 2. Extent of the church. 3. Its external condition. 4. Doctrines. 5. Heresies. 6. Kites. 7. Polity. 8. Schisms. 9. Councils. 10. Bishops and Doctors. 11. Heretics. 12. Martyrs. 13. Miracles. 14. Jews. 15. Other religions. 16. Political changes affecting the condition of the church.

§ 160. The fourth category, that of doctrine, is subdivided into more than fifty heads, the mere titles of which fill eleven folio columns, and constitute the framework of a body of divinity, as full

and methodical as that of Tertullian.

§ 161. The extent and minuteness of this topic shows or confirms, what is certain otherwise, that the immediate purpose of this great work was polemical or controversial; to promote which, great minuteness of specification was required, in order to assail the Church of Rome at as many salient points as possible.

§ 162. It appears from the preface or prospectus of the work, prefixed to the first Century, that the method was not framed by induction from a detailed survey of the materials, but constructed a priori, as a framework, in or under which the materials, when collected, were to be digested.

§ 163. It appears from the same preface, and from an inspection of the work itself, that this provisional arrangement was originally framed with reference to the early centuries, though afterwards extended, for the sake of uniformity, to all the others, without any change whatever, so that under each, down to the thirteenth, we find the rubric of miracles long after they had ceased, and that of martyrs when there were no persecutions, except so far as the historians were tempted to admit factitious or imaginary miracles and martyrs, for - the very sake of filling up their pigeon-holes or niches.

§ 1G4. The three facts stated in the last three paragraphs suffice to show that the arrangement of the Centuries, though admirably suited to a temporary purpose, was neither suited nor intended to be made perpetual, but is expressly represented by its authors as a first draught in an untried field, admitting and requiring subsequent amendment.

§ 165. And yet this cumbersome and complicated system has given character to subsequent historiography, especially in Germany, the later changes being not of principle, but form, and all contributing together to give this part of history a character peculiar to itself, and to divorce it from all others.

§ 106. The real merit of the plan of the Centuriators is its adaptation to its immediate purpose, and its convenience, even now, as a book: of reference in polemic theology, arising from the fulness and minuteness of its subdivisions, aided by a very complete index to each Century.

§ 167. But however useful when referred to as a dictionary, it was made almost useless as a book to be continuously read, by the very circumstances just referred to, and by the dispersion of facts belonging to the same subject under different anddistaut heads; e. g. the history of an important heresy might be divided between No. 4 (doctrine), No. 5 (heresies), No. 8 (schisms), No. 9 (councils), No. 10 (bishops and doctors), No. 11 (heretics), and No. 15 (civil or political events, which would include the action of the government in all its changes).

§ 168. The influence of this great work on method was naturally less in other churches, and we find accordingly some Komish writers adopting a much simpler plan, such as the biographical arrangement of Tillemont, who groups all incidents, as far as possible, around certain names or persons; an arrangement highly useful in imparting life and individual interest to dry details, and, therefore, often revived since, among the rest, by Rudelbach and Bohringer of late years, but defective as a form of general history, because some topics cannot be reduced to it without an artificial violence, sufficient to condemn it as an aid to the understanding or the memory.

§ 169. But besides these foreign variations, changes became necessary in the mode of treating Ecclesiastical History, even in Germany, and in the Lutheran church, required by the gradual decline of the old controversial spirit, or rather by the new forms in which it revealed itself, as well as by a gradual change, if not improvement, in the public taste.

§ 170. This change of method was almost insensible, and spread through many generations, but may be said to have attained its first development and elimination in the Institutiones of Mosheim. (See §§ 118-120).

§ 171. This change, however, though apparently so great, is not so much a change of principle as of detail aud outward form, consisting in the simplification of what was complex, and the embellishment of what was rugged and -uncouth, without departing from the essential features of the older methods.

§ 172. He retains the centurial arrangement, not as founded in the nature of things (see § 158), but as commonly preferred and universally familiar, and improves it by distributing the centuries in four groups, which may be regarded as the form of the modern periodologies.

§ 173. In his topical method he retains the rubrical arrangement, but reduces the number of divisions, and adopts a more symmetrical adjustment, throwing the whole under the two heads of External and Internal History, dividing the former into Prosperous and Adverse changes; the first including all additions to the area of Christianity, and friendlyrelations to the state and to society; the latter all contractions of the field by conquest, persecution, or apostasy; while under the internal head he groups, 1st, the history of learning, education, and philosophy; 2d, Church government and teachers; 3d, theology, didactic, biblical, polemic, moral; 4th, rites and ceremonies; 5th, heresies and schisms.

§ 174. That this is really the old Magdeburg method, in a somewhat improved shape, is evident not only from its very form, but from its practical effects, as we still have heresies and heretics, doctrine and doctors, theologians and theology, divided from each other in a very artificial inconvenient manner, so that the author is compelled in some parts of his work to abandon his own method as unmanageable, even by himself.

§ 175. It was not to be expected that the new impulse given to historical inquiry by the sceptical criticism (§§ 122-124), would leave the method of ecclesiastical historiography unchanged; and accordingly we find new methods multiplying very fast within the last half century.

§ 176. But what is truly strange is that the Germans, even in the act of making all things new, should have retained the rubrical arrangement, at least in its essential principle, and made a thorough change only in the chronological arrangement of the subject.

§ 177. This change consists in discarding the centurial arrangement altogether, as a framework of the history, and substituting periods of unequal length, determined by important points or epochs, without any reference to the centuries at all.

§ 178. The only change in the topical arrangement is a formal one, consisting in a further improvement upon Mosheim's plan in point of clearness and simplicity, and the reduction of the heads to the smallest possible number that can be reconciled with the rubrical principle at all, which principle is still retained and rigorously carried out.

§ 179. These modern methods vary from each other in detail, but the essential type is that afforded by Neander, who reduces all the topics to four heads or classes: 1. The enlargement and contraction of the area of Christendom, including its relations to the state and to society. 2. Its organization, government, and discipline. 3. Its doctrines, controversies, heresies, and theologians. 4. Christian life, including worship, with its rites and forms, and practical religion as exemplified in the lives of its professors. The most important topic added by some modern church historians is that of Art as auxiliary to religion, including Poetry, Music, Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture, so far as they have been enlisted in the sendee of the church.

§ 180. This latest form of ecclesiastical historiography appears to be regarded as the ultimatum of improvement, not only by the Germans who invented it, but by their imitators and disciples elsewhere, who sometimes apologize for using a less scientific and more popular arrangement, like that employed in secular or general history; as if this resemblance were a necessary evil, and not the greatest possible advantage, and the strongest recommendation of the method which exhibits it. (Quote as an example the last paragraph of Eobertson's preface.)

§ 181. It may, therefore, seem presumptuous, without any such apology, to question the perfection of this modern and fashionable system, so far as it is really a new one, by objecting, not (only) to its details, but to its principle, and more especially to its beginning at the wrong end in its process of improvement, retaining the rubrical arrangement notwithstanding its acknowledged inconveniences, and making a thorough alteration only in the chronical arrangement, which "was far less objectionable and defective.

§ 182. The objection made by this school to the old centurial arrangement is that it is arbitrary and mechanical; a singular contrast to the doctrine of the Magdeburg Centuriators, who supposed it to be founded in the nature of the subject and the providential laws which govern the succession of events (§ 158), a doctrine which however was abandoned (if it ever had been current) by, or before, Mosheim. (§172.)

§ 183. The fact alleged may be admitted, but with two qualifications, which materially influence its force as an objection; first, that as all chronological divisions are expedients to assist the memory, not arising necessarily from something in the nature of the subject, but the fruit of "art and man's device ;" however rational and well-contrived, their being contrived at all subjects them to the charge of being arbitrary, and to some degree mechanical or formal.

§ 184. The second qualifying circumstance is really included in the first, but may be separately stated, namely, that the same charge lies against the very methods of division and arrangement which it is proposed to substitute for the centurial; since every periodology that has ever been proposed is, after all, an artificial framework, which requires some effort of the understanding to insert it in its proper place, and still more effort of the memory to keep it there.

§ 185. Sometimes this vague charge is made more specific, by alleging that the centurial arrangement absurdly presupposes all the various series of events, and sequences of causes and effects, to be simultaneuosly wound up at the end of every hundred years; wbereas the threads are of unequal length, and while one falls short of the century another overruns into the next.

§ 186. But besides the false reproach thus cast upon the old arrangement, which (except in the case of the Magdeburg Centuriators) purports to be only an approximation and a practical convenience (§§ 172-182), this plausible objection quietly ignores the fact, that the very same thing may be said with equal truth, though not true to the same extent, of every periodical arrangement that can be imagined; for, however nearly such divisions may approach to trie ideal standard, it will not be seriously alleged that any of them has succeeded in making all the threads of history coincident in their commencement and their termination, so that nothing overruns the mark or falls short of it.

§ 187. That this is peculiarly the case with the centuries, as being more numerous and uniform, is true; but this difference of degree may be outweighed by peculiar advantages of other kinds; such as perfect uniformity of length, requiring no repeated effort of the understanding or the memory to retain or to recall them; and their universal use, not only making them still more familiar, but maintaining the connection between this and other kinds of history, which all peculiar methods tend to weaken and destroy.

§ 188. Another qualifying circumstance in favour of the old arrangement is, that even those who are most zealous for the Periods, and against the Centuries, are after all obliged to make the latter the substratum of their own plans, not only by referring particular events to such and such a century, but by ascribing to whole centuries, as such, a definite distinctive character; so that instead of superseding the old method by a new and better one, they often spoil both by confounding and entangling them together.

§ 189. All this would be true if the modern German school had succeeded in uniting upon some one scheme or system of great periods to supersede the centuries; but how much more when the results are so endlessly diversified, that there seems ground to fear that the process of invention will defeat itself, by making all points salient and every notable event an epoch.

§ 190. JSTor is it merely the diversity and number of the modern periodical arrangements that detracts from their utility, but also their exclusive character, when made the framework of a general church history; in consequence of which, he who follows Gieseler's method cannot make use of JSTeander's, even in the way of reference, without trouble and confusion, 6ince the same event which stands at the beginning of a period in one, may stand at the conclusion of a different period, in another; to say nothing of the general dislocation and distortion which result from the comparison or simultaneous use of methods so unlike and so exclusive of each other.

§ 191. While these objections may be made to the entire change introduced into the chronical arrangement of Church History by the modern German school, there are others, of a very different nature, to the partial change effected in the topical or rubrical arrangement, over and above the general objection which has been already stated (§ 181), that it is a partial change and not a total one.

§ 192. The essence of the rubrical arrangement, common to the earliest and latest German churchhistorians, is the practice of pursuing every topic, whether there be few or many, through the whole of every period, whether long or short, and then beginning with the next until the schedule is completed, the divisions and the titles being absolutely uniform in every case.

§ 193. To this essential feature of the system invented by the Magdeburg Centuriators, and adhered to even by their harshest critics, notwithstanding endless variations in detail, and vast improvements in simplicity and symmetry of form, there are various objections, which may however be reduced to three, drawn from History, Analogy, and Experience.

§ 194. The historical objection to the rubrical arrangement, as above described (§ 192), is that it originated with the Magdeburg Centuriators, and •was generated in the violent polemic fermentations of that age, a genesis which raises a presumption adverse to its permanent utility, since every age must have its own mode of assailing error and defending truth, even when the truth and error are unchanged, and since the world has long ceased to regard Church History as a mere offensive weapon or defensive armour in religious warfare.

§ 195. If this objection be well founded, the mere formal changes which have been made in the rubrical arrangement, however valuable in themselves or in relation to some other standard, do not remove the ground of the objection, since an increase of simplicity and symmetry detracts from the original efficiency of this contrivance, which arose in a large measure from the very features which are thus removed, without relieving its defects and inconveniences, considered as a means to other ends.

§ 196. But as the origin of this plan could afford no good reason for condemning and rejecting it, if in itself good, an additional objection may be drawn from the analogy of history and historiography in general, to wit, that the method now in question is peculiar to Church History (except so far as its example affected the practice of the secular historians), having never been found necessary or expedient by historians of any other class or period, ancient or modern, sacred or profane; a circumstance not only very strong, as a presumptive proof, at least, that it is equally unnecessary elsewhere, but a key to the otherwise inexplicable difference of form and method, between this one kind of history and every other. (§ 147.)

§ 197. Even this peculiarity of form, however, would be quite as insufficient as its mere historical extraction, to condemn the method, if it were not open to the practical objection, that instead of exciting greater interest in this important study, it has seemed to make it less attractive, and instead of aiding the memory, which some have made a reason for adopting it, has tantalized and weakened it, by endless repetition of the same monotonous and lifeless forms under which the actual variety of history is lost or hidden, like soldiers in a uniform, or mummers in a masquerade.

§ 198. One fact may be considered certain, however it may be explained, to wit, that no such method, or at least no such extensive and detailed application of it, would be tolerated in any field of history where a less artificial arrangement has become familiar; as, for instance, in the history of" the American and French Revolutions, or, what is nearly the same thing, the lives of Washington and Bonaparte, in writing which, although the materials are so abundant and the phases or aspects of the subject so diversified, the thought of dividing the whole matter into periods, and then going through or over each in several successive journeys, first collecting all the military facts, then the political, and then the personal or private, has happily never occurred to any of the eminent historians, by whom these two great themes have been successively handled, from Marshall to Irving, and from Scott to Thiers.

§ 199. On the strength of these considerations, drawn from history, analogy, and practical effects, it may not be unlawful, after all, to attempt another movement in advance, by improving, if possible, on both parts of the method now in vogue, to wit, its Chronological and Topical arrangement; especially as this change is proposed, at least in the first instance, only as a limited experiment, confined, both in its good and bad effects, to the classes of a single institution, and indeed to the instructions of a single teacher.

§ 200. With respect to the Topical part of the system, the proposed change is to set aside the rubrical arrangement altogether, as a framework running through the history and determining its whole form, and to substitute a natural arrangement of the topics, by combining a general chronological order with a due regard to the mutual relative importance of the topics themselves; so that what is prominent at one time may be wholly in the background at another, instead of giving all an equal prominence at all times, by applying the same scheme or formula to all alike.

§ 201. This natural method, so called to distinguish it from every artificial or conventional arrangement, far from being new, is recommended by the practice and example of the best historians in every language and in every age; affording a presumptive, if not a conclusive, proof both of its theoretical consistency and of its practical efficiency and usefulness, and at the same time a convenient means of keeping this and other parts of universal history in mutual connection and agreement with each other.

§ 202. With respect to the Chronical division and arrangement, the change proposed is neither to add one more to the exclusive schemes already extant, nor to retain any one of them exclusively of all the rest, but simply to avail ourselves of all of them, so far as they can be combined, both as intrinsically valuable aids in historical study, and as a means of making all the most important systems of Church History alike and simultaneously available.

§ 203. In order to accomplish this design, the chronological arrangement must be, as far as possible, separated from topical details; so that instead of two conflicting methods crossing each other, and dividing the whole subject upon different and often inconsistent principles, there may be still two methods, and the same two, but distinctly and successively presented, not promiscuously mingled, both in the foundation and the superstructure of the history, considered as a building, but the one (the chronological division) underlying the other (the topical division), as a basis underlies the superstructure; or, to use another architectural analogy, the one affording, as a framework, both the space and the form into which the other, as material, is to be arranged and built.

§ 204. This idea can be realized, if realized at all, only by taking two successive views or surveys of the whole field; one more general, the other more particular; one conducted on a chronical, the other on a topical arrangement; or in other words, by making the chronological division of the subject introductory, and prior to the topical details, which may then be treated in the form and order which experience may indicate as most convenient, without any subdivision or restriction, except such as may be suggested by the nature, or the subject, or the taste and inclination of the writer.

§ 205. The two modes of division and arrangement being thus retained, but sundered, we obtain not only an exemption from the irksome and injurious necessity of breaking oft in the examination of a topic because some imaginary line is reached, and must not be overleaped till every other topic has been brought up to the same mark, but also the opportunity of placing side by side as many chronological arrangements as we please, not only to compare them once for all, but to retain them and employ them, both as aids in the study of the subject, and as keys to the respective systems which they represent, and of which they are constituent elements or component parts.

§ 206. The difference between the method here proposed, and that which it is meant to supersede, may be illustrated by the actual division of a literal field or tract of land by a system of walls aud ditches, which of course excludes every other system of the same kind, since the combination of the two, and still more of many, would cut up the supposed field into irregular and useless parts; whereas any number of such systems may be drawn on paper, or even marked upon the surface of the ground, without interference or collision, and perhaps with great facilities of mutual comparison and combination.

§ 207. It is proposed then to divide the course of history before us into two unequal parts, the first and lesser part consisting of a general survey of the whole field, and of the various ways in which it has been or may be divided and subdivided, distributed and arranged, for the purpose of a more detailed examination; the second and larger part containing this detailed examination itself, in the natural order of its topics, unrestricted by the previous chronological divisions, but with all the advantage of assuming and referring to them, as a means of fixing dates, and of comparing the positions occupied by any given topic or event in different schemes or systems of Church Histoiy.

§ 208. The first of these surveys, although the least thorough and extensive, derives great relative importance from the use which we propose to make of it, as the foundation or the framework of the other, the completeness and success of which must therefore be dependent, in a great degree, upon the clearness and precision of this introductory and general view.

§ 209. The confusion and complexity which must arise from an attempt to look at various periodologies at once, may be avoided by surveying them successively and seriatim, just as the face of any country may be studied, with the aid of skeleton or outline maps, by confining the attention first to one physical feature, such as mountains, with the natural divisions which they form or mark out, then proceeding to another, such as streams and water-courses; then superadding the political distinctions and designations; or as one previously familiar with all these, may use a railway map of the same region without difficulty or confusion.

§ 210. But in order to pursue this gradual process with advantage, it is important to begin right, i. e. not with what is complex and obscure, which would defeat the end at once, but with that which is comparatively simple, i. e. exhibiting the smallest number of dividing lines and consequent divisions, so that from these we may proceed almost insensibly to those of a more minute and complex character.

§ 211. Another most desirable condition, if attainable, in such a primary division of the subject, is that it be not only simple in itself, but familiar from extensive use and general application.

§ 212. If these two qualities could only be had separately and apart, it might be hard to choose between a simple method little known, and one more complex but extensively familiar.

§ 213. By a happy coincidence, however, both conditions may be said to meet in one mode of arranging and distributing Church History, to wit, the division into three great periods, the Ancient, Middle, and Moder n Ages.

§ 214. The simplicity of this mode speaks for itself, while its previous and general familiarity appears in the first instance, from its use in common parlance and in general usage, which have few expressions more familiar than that of "Middle Ages," implying both the others; and then from its adoption by all modern church historians, either tacitly and indirectly, as by Mosheim, Gieseler, and Neander, or avowedly and formally, as by Guerickc, Hase, [Niedner], Kurtz, and Schaff.

§ 215. The. reality and usefulness of these divisions are entirely independent of precision in their boundaries; as the latter may be variable and doubtful, while the former are self-evident and palpable; just as a surveyor, before running a line or measuring a foot, may obtain, from an elevated point in the tract to be surveyed, a perfectly distinct impression of its principal features,—water, woodland, meadow, tillage,—not only in themselves, but in their relative position and general comparative extent; or as the student of ancient geography may learn as much as can be known, or need be known, as to the relative position of the tribes of Israel, and the states of Greece, without any bounding lines at all, which can only be assigned by guess; as the modern geographer or politician readily distinguishes between the northern, eastern, middle, southern, western States of the American Union, though the lines of demarcation may be variously drawn; as no man doubts the real difference between childhood, youth, maturity, and old age; or between morning, evening, twilight, night; or between the seasons of the year; although he cannot positively draw the line or fix the point where any one of these divisions ceases and the next begins.

§ 216. The conclusion to be drawn from these analogies is, that even if we were without any definite boundaries whatever between these three great divisions of the field of history, the divisions themselves might be distinctly marked and usefully employed, the difference lying not in the edges, but the central map, or rather in the whole extent, as the prismatic colours of the rainbow may be perfectly distinguishable, although they appear to fade into each other by a vanishing and almost imperceptible transition.

§ 217. Hie case however is not really so bad as we have here assumed, there being a tolerably well defined limit, especially between the Middle Ages and the Modern, which are universally agreed to be divided by the Reformation, excepting only some extreme ultramontane Papists, such as Postel (§ 136), who makes the Reformation a mere subdivision in one of his great periods, extending from the fall of the Greek Empire to the close of the Council of Trent. (§ 317.)

§ 218. There is less unanimity in reference to the boundary between the First and Middle Ages, because the transition there is not effected by a great revolution (religious, intellectual, and social), which is always definite in date, because sudden in its outbreak, however long its causes may have been in operation; but by a plurality of changes which reached their height, or attained maturity at different, although not at distant, points of time, just as different fruits ripen in succession, and yet all belong to the same season; so that by making one or another of these changes prominent, we gain a somewhat different line of demarcation.

§ 219. Although, for reasons which have just been stated (§§ 215, 216), it is not absolutely necessary to decide between these various boundaries, it may be well to gain a general knowledge of them, by beginning with extremes, i. e. with the earliest and latest limits of the Ancient period, which have been proposed, and then proceeding to the intermediate lines, or those which have been drawn between them.

§ 220. The earliest limits which have been assigned to the Ancient Period or First Age of Church History are, the beginning of the fourth century (Thiele), when persecution ceased, and the church became united with the state; and the close of the same century, when the empire was finally divided into two, and about to be flooded with, barbarians (Koeppen), both which make the First Age too short in proportion to the others for any practical purpose. Nearly coincident with this is Milman's ancient period, to the abolition of paganism in the empire.

§ 221. The latest limit -which has been assigned to the same period is the close of the tenth century, the period of the greatest darkness and the most extreme depression; but this is open to an opposite objection.

§ 222. Midway between these two extremes is the close of the seventh century, after the sixth oecumenical council, which 6eems to have been independently selected as the boundary by several historians of very different schools, such as Alzog (§ 136), Kurtz (§ 135), and Palmer (§ 142), who assigns as a reason, that the equilibrium was now disturbed, the heresies being no longer counterbalanced by the " holy oecumenical councils," nor the losses of the church at home by gains abroad.

§ 223. On either side of this mean line two others have been drawn, which arc still more extensively adopted ; first, the end of the sixth century, regarded by many of the older writers as the close of the ancient period and of the series of Church Fathers, and substantially adopted by Neander and his school, because the hierarchy was there complete in the person of the first pope, Gregory the Great. (Guericke, Jacobi, Schaff, Robertson, Hawkins.)

§ 224. Hase, and Kurtz in his earlier works, draw the line at the close of the eighth century, when the centre of gravity was transferred from the Roman to the German side, as represented by Charlemagne and his successors. (Mosheim, "Waddington, Lindner, Friek.)

§ 225. Amidst these variations as to precise boundaries, it still remains true that the three great periods are distinct and distinguishable; and while the choice seems to lie between the last two lines, it may be well to retain both, as distinct but compatible divisions, and to look rather at the great characteristic feature, than at the precise bounds of the periods in question.

§ 226. As an aid to the memory, more useful than agreeable to good taste, the three great Periods or Ages may be designated by single words as the periods of Formation, Deformation, and Reformation, or perhaps in better English, as the Forming, Deforming, and Reforming periods, a nomenclature not merely arbitrary, but founded on the mutual relations of the periods, since Reformation implies previous Corruption, and Corruption original formation.

§ 227. But as every period Las more than one face or aspect, and cannot therefore be exhaustively described in one word, the tliree ages may be more precisely though less pointedly distinguished as (I.) the period of Formation and Discipline (not ecclesiastical, but providential); (II.) the period of Consolidation and Corruption (or Petrifaction and Putrefaction), the cessation of activity, however brilliant in appearance (like the reign of Solomon compared with that of David), often coinciding with incipient corruption; (III.) the period of Reformation and Division, the same principle which wrought the one, tending, when pushed to an extreme, to work the other.

§ 228. It would be easy to multiply descriptions of the three great periods or ages, founded upon partial views, and more especially on single aspects of their relative condition, some of which are ingenious and just in theory, though not always practically useful or available.

§ 229. Such is Schaff's description of the first age as that in which the subjective and objective, or the individual and aggregate, constituents of all church history, were held in equilibrio, or kept in due proportion to each other, not so much by a deliberate and conscious effort, as by providential causes; and when these ceased to operate, one of the elements became predominant, and brought to view a new phase of the history.

§ 230. Thus in the Middle Ages, the objective was predominant, the right of private judgment and the sense of personal responsibility being merged in the authority and absolving power of the Church (which is the fatal spell of popery, entirely independent of her ceremonies and external form); while in the third, or present period, the scales are reversed, and the subjective is preponderant, the right of private judgment and the sense of personal responsibility having (among Protestants) almost entirely superseded the authority of the Church.