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gating the moral government of the Deity, and subjecting the political institutions of men to a most rigid examination; they mutually reflected additional light on each other. The subjugation of sacerdotal power stimulated the people to endeavour to get rid of all social and public grievances; and the sacred writings afforded them examples without number, where efforts of this description were fully and unequivocally sanctioned by the divine countenance and command.

Up to the period of the termination of the fourteenth century, we have traced, in the preceding volume, the gradual formation of the ultra-montane doctrines of the catholic church—that it ought to be considered as the sole arbiter of what was politically good and expedient in every country where its power and influence were formally recognised and established. The subordinate political principles involved in the discussion of this general axiom of social philosophy had been fully developed; and every argument, and every illustration, had been employed which the most subtile and able minds, during many centuries, had been able to suggest. This dogma of christian supremacy was one of the infallible canons of the faith of mankind; and it was not only firmly rooted in their minds as a speculative truth, but its practical fruits were everywhere present to the senses, in all civil ordinances and rules of law, and the modes and customs of social life. The political power of the papacy was an ever present reality in the minds of men. It had battles to fight, controversies to settle, enemies to silence, and new converts to strengthen; but notwithstanding all these things were going on in the bosom of the speculation of the early days of Greece and Rome; and the establishment of printing multiplied, to an indefinite extent, the mental labours of authors and politicians of every grade and cast.

The causes of this change have been commonly ascribed, by most English writers, to the gradual influence of several circumstances which took place at this period in the history of Europe. Most of the monarchical institutions had been vastly upon the increase for a century, in consolidating and augmenting their absolute power over the people; and this had obtained such a pitch in many countries, and had directly led to so many and such grievous acts of cruelty and political oppression, that a spirit of opposition was kindled amongst the mass of the people, and this vented itself in the publication of works breathing a decided hatred to tyrannical rulers of all grades, and showing the justice and policy of dethroning them, and even putting them to a violent death. In many of the treatises that will come before us we shall find that no terms were kept with despotic kings or rulers; but the doctrines of open rebellion and direct and speedy vengeance were uncompromisingly advocated and enforced. The existence of these productions must be taken as an infallible proof that the majority of the people of Europe were suffering great political hardships and wrongs; and that the ordinary exercise of monarchical power was regulated by no principles of justice and equity.

The Reformation was a momentous political element; it gave a powerful and new impulse to the popular mind throughout the whole of Europe. The transition was quite easy and natural, from investi

gating the moral government of the Deity, and subjecting the political institutions of men to a most rigid examination; they mutually reflected additional light on each other. The subjugation of sacerdotal power stimulated the people to endeavour to get rid of all social and public grievances; and the sacred writings afforded them examples without number, where efforts of this description were fully and unequivocally sanctioned by the divine countenance and command.

Up to the period of the termination of the fourteenth century, we have traced, in the preceding volume, the gradual formation of the ultra-montane doctrines of the catholic church—that it ought to be considered as the sole arbiter of what was politically good and expedient in every country where its power and influence were formally recognised and established. The subordinate political principles involved in the discussion of this general axiom of social philosophy had been fully developed; and every argument, and every illustration, had been employed which the most subtile and able minds, during many centuries, had been able to suggest. This dogma of christian supremacy was one of the infallible canons of the faith of mankind; and it was not only firmly rooted in their minds as a speculative truth, but its practical fruits were everywhere present to the senses, in all civil ordinances and rules of law, and the modes and customs of social life. The political power of the papacy was an ever present reality in the minds of men. It had battles to fight, controversies to settle, enemies to silence, and new converts to strengthen; but notwithstanding all these things were going on in the bosom of the church, it was still gaining ground as a political engine, embracing within its sweeping range everything in the shape of independent thought and public opinion on matters of secular interest and importance ; and one generation of able and studious men passed to the tomb after another, without ever having the slightest conception that such a thing as a political science could exist, beyond the pale of the clerical hierarchy. But the extreme length to which the doctrine of papal civil supremacy had been pushed, naturally created a reaction against it. The reason of men felt the dogma revolting to common sense. Opposition to it, however, did not altogether take its rise from purely political sources, for it was materially assisted by questions and disputes, both as to religious doctrine and ritual. These formed the spark which ignited the inflammable materials promiscuously strewed about throughout the kingdoms of Europe. Hence we find that the first regular attacks on the power of Rome were of a theological cast; but these were soon followed by another series of a decidedly political and civil character.

Throughout the entire mass of political writings, comprised in the period of history now under consideration, there are two grand doctrines pervading nearly the whole of them, like the leading arteries in the animal body, conveying life and energy to the whole frame. These are, liberty of conscience, and the right of resistance to constituted authorities; the one aiming a direct blow at the power of the church, and the other at all regularly constituted governments, and civil communities. These two ideas, possessing a certain logical and philosophical relation to each other, were the mainsprings of the Reformation, and the prolific source of ninety-nine out of every hundred of the political treatises which made their appearance, at this time, in the several countries of Europe. Not but what there were other weighty principles of polity scattered up and down the entire range of literature; but these had little or no hold on the public mind, nor did they influence its practical movements in any perceptible degree. Everything was concentrated in the two prominent doctrines of liberty of thought, and a right to make changes in a government when a nation willed them; and the varied illustrations these two tenets received, the enthusiasm imparted to their discussion, and the struggles of life and death made for their establishment, present one of the most instructive and interesting displays of the mind of man, during the whole range of his earthly history

It cannot fail, we conceive, to prove of advantage to the general reader, to have a bird's eye view of the leading arguments on these two grand doctrines, and of the opposite tenets by which they were combatted. This is rendered an almost indispensable arrangement, when the number of the works on these questions is taken into consideration. From the first dawn of the Reformation in Great Britain, to the year 1668, there are not less than one thousand distinct publications, in the English language, on the rights of conscience, and the lawfulness of civil resistance, including, of coursė, other works which take the opposite side of the argument. Therefore, it is beyond the scope of this treatise to give even a simple enumeration of these several literary productions, much less epitomes

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