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THE AGE OF REASON IN EUROPE. 465.
two or three centuries before the conquest. It would be just as well to say that there was no civilization in India before the time of the Macedonian invasion because there exist no historic documents in that country anterior to that event. The Mexicans and Peruvians were not heroes of a romance to whom wonderful events were of common occurrence, whose lives were regulated by laws not applying to the rest of the human race, who could produce results in a day for which elsewhere a thousand years are required. They were men and women like ourselves, slowly and painfully, and with many failures, working out their civilization. The summary manner in which they have been disposed of reminds us of the amusing way in which the popular chronology deals with the hoary annals of Egypt and China. Putting aside the imperfect methods of recording events practiced by the autochthons of the Western world, he who estimates rightly the slowness with which man passes forward in his process of civilization, and collates therewith the prodigious works of art left by those two nations-an enduring evidence of the point to which they had attained-will find himself constrained to cast aside such idle assertions as altogether unworthy of confutation, or even of attention.
CHAPTER XX. APPROACH OF THE AGE OF REASON IN EUROPE. IT IS PRECEDED BY THE RISE OF CRITICISM.
Restoration of Greek Literature and Philosophy in Italy.-Development of Modern Languages and Rise of Criticism.-Imminent Danger to Latin Ideas. Invention of Printing.-It revolutionizes the Communication of Knowledge, especially acts on Public Worship, and renders the Pulpit secondary. THE REFORMATION.-Theory of Supererogation and Use of Indulgences.-The Right of Individual Judgment asserted.-Political History of the Origin, Culmination, and Check of the Reformation.-Its Effects in Italy. Causes of the Arrest of the Reformation.-Internal Causes in Protestantism.-External in the Policy of Rome.-The Counter-Reformation.-Inquisition.-Jesuits.-Secession of the great Critics.- Culmination of the Reformation in America.-Emergence of Individual Liberty of Thought.
IN estimating the influences of literature on the approach of the Age of Reason in Europe, the chief incidents to be considered are of the disuse of Latin as a learned language, the formation of modern tongues from the vulgar dialects, the invention of printing, the decline of the power of the pulpit, and its displacement by that of the press. These, joined to the moral and intellectual influences at that time predominating, led to the great movement known as the Reformation.
466 RISE OF MODERN LANGUAGE.
As if to mark out to the world the real cause of its intellectual degradation, the regeneration of Italy commenced with the exile of the popes to Avignon. During their absence, so rapid was the progress that it had become altogether impossible to make any successful resistance, or to restore the old condition of things on their return to Rome. The moment that the leaden cloud which they had kept suspended over the country was withdrawn, the light from heaven shot in, and the ready peninsula became instinct with life. The unity of the Church, and, therefore, its power, required the use of Latin as a sacred language. Through this Rome had stood in an attitude strictly European, and was enabled to maintain a general international relation. It gave her far more power than her asserted celestial authority, and, much as she claims to have done, she is open to condemnation that, with such a signal advantage in her hands, never again to be enjoyed by any successor, she did not accomplish much more. Had not the sovereign pontiffs been so completely occupied with maintaining their temporalities in Italy, they might have made the whole Continent advance like one man. Their officials could pass without difficulty into every nation, and communicate without embarrassment with each other, from Ireland to Bohemia, from Italy to Scotland. The possession of a common tongue gave them the administration of international affairs, with intelligent allies speaking the same language in all directions. Not, therefore, without cause was the hatred manifested by Rome the restoration of Greek and introduction of Hebrew, and the alarm with which she perceived the modern languages forming out of the aboriginal and vulgar dialects. The prevalence of Latin was the condition of her power, its deterioration the measure of her decay, its disuse the signal of her limitation to a little principality in Italy. In fact, the development of European languages was the instrument of her overthrow. Besides their forming an effectual communication between the low, dissatisfied ecclesiastics and the illiterate populace, there was not one of them that did not display in its earliest productions a sovereign contempt for her. We have seen how it was with the poetry of Languedoc. The rise of the many-tongued European literature was therefore coincident with the decline of papal Christianity. European literature was impossible under the Catholic rule. A grand, and solemn, and imposing religious unity enforced the literary unity which is implied in the use of a single language. No more can a living thought be embodied in a dead language than activity be imparted to a corpse. That principle of stability which Italy hoped to give to Europe essentially rested on the compulsory use of a dead tongue. The first token of intellectual emancipation was the movement.

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