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RATIONALISM IN EUROPE.

VOL. I.

OF THE

RISE AND INFLUENCE

OF THE SPIRIT OF

RATIONALISM IN EUROPE.

BY
W. E. H. LECKY, M.A.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,

443 & 445 BROADWAY.

1866.

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INTRODUCTION,

DURING the fierce theological controversies that accompanied and followed the Reformation, while a judicial spirit was as yet unknown, while each party imagined itself the representative of absolute and necessary truth in opposition to absolute and fatal error, and while the fluctuations of belief were usually attributed to direct miraculous agency, it was natural that all the causes of theological changes should have been sought exclusively within the circle of theology. Each theologian imagined that the existence of the opinions he denounced was fully accounted for by the exertions of certain evil-minded men, who had triumphed by means of sophistical arguments, aided by a judicial blindness that had been cast upon the deluded. His own opinions, on the other hand, had been sustained or revived by apostles raised for the purpose, illuminated by special inspiration, and triumphing by the force of theological arguments. As long as this point of view continued, the position of the theologian and of the ecclesiastical historian was nearly the same. Each was confined to a single province, and each, recognising a primitive faith as his ideal, had to indicate the successive innovations upon its purity. But

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