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HAD S. Augustine a philosophy of history? If so, what is it, and what is its value? These are the questions to which I seek the answer to-day. Here is a paragraph pertinent enough from Archdeacon Cunningham's Hulsean Lectures on 'S. Austin and his Place in the History of Christian Thought' (p. 114).

'He sets before us a philosophy of history--the continuous evolution of the Divine Purpose in human society: he contrasts the earthly polities which change and pass with the eternal City of God which is being manifested in the world: he shows how these two are intermingled, interacting now, but how different they are in their real nature: one is of the earth, centred only in earthly things, while the other, because it has its chief regard fixed on that which is Eternal, gives us the best rule for the things of time. The earthly city, which aimed only at earthly prosperity, failed to attain even that, while the Heavenly City, aiming at an Eternal Reality, supplies the best conditions for earthly good as well. It is in the hope of the final triumph of the City of God that the course of the world becomes intelligible, for then we may see that the rise and fall of earthly empires, the glories of ancient civilisation, the sufferings of men in their ruin, have not been unmeaning or in vain; for they have served to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God.

'Thus it is that for S. Austin, faith in the Holy Catholic Church serves to render history intelligible. This faith was the key of knowledge, for it gave the first philosophy of history worthy the name. . . .

'If we examine it more carefully even now we shall be amply rewarded. We may find new reasons to admire S Austin--the discrimination he occasionally displays in the use of evidence, the marvellous power of combining many isolated facts into a connected system, even though here and there he puts forward opinions which are hard to reconcile with his general position. But we may find greater merits than these: we may turn from the grandest modern account of the evolution of human progress--turn from Hegel himself--to St. Austin and feel that the historical system of the ancient father is more perfect and complete; inasmuch as he had a clearer conception of the beginning, and a more definite perception of the final end towards which the whole Creation moves.'

Stronger praise can be found. An Italian scholar, Professor Billed, wrote a book on Vico and S. Augustine. The object was to show that Augustine was the true originator in the field of the philosophy of history, that Vico but followed in his steps, although by some he is regarded as a pioneer. Dr. Reinkens in his inaugural address as Rector of the University of Breslau develops the theme of S. Augustine's philosophy of history in reference to modern life. He seeks to show that his system is an account of the progress of the world to a rational freedom. This is one side.[1]

Some modern interpreters of S. Augustine set little store by his philosophy of history. H. Schmidt declares that he reduces history to a nullity. Others speak as though the few remarks he made on the topic are not worth considering.[2] They point out how meagre is his picture of the course of the terrene state, how he overlooks almost all history, except Assyria and Rome-- just glancing at Greece and Egypt. True, Augustine mentions the common interpretation of the four monarchies in Daniel, implying that the Church is the fifth. Still there is no consistent effort to take the student through the revolutions of human affairs, and to justify the ways of God to man in the rise and fall of kingdoms such, for instance, as we see in Bossuet's 'Discours sur l'histoire universelle.' To that we may retort that this discourse was implicit in the 'De Civitate Dei.'

What is certain is that S. Augustine was a man historically minded. He set out (he was compelled by the purpose of his apologetic) to be a spectator of all time and all created being. No one who takes the Incarnation seriously can avoid some kind of philosophy of history. That event--if a fact--testifies at once to the importance of human life on earth, and shows its centre. Doubts of Christianity at this moment are largely due to the difficulty felt by many in making the events in Palestine the pivot of human history. The religion of the Incarnation cannot be mere theology-- a system of notions developed from certain metaphysical propositions--nor can it be mere ethics, a code of laws on a theistic basis. It has to do with a life on earth, in which Christians hold that in the fulness of time-- i.e. at the due moment in history--the eternal reality at the heart of things became self-revealed and self-limited in a living earthly person. The issue of this was the fulfilment of the Jewish theocracy in the Christian Church. Augustine moreover approached Christianity emphatically by way of the Church. No one who did that could ignore the problems which it involved. Take a definite historical fact as your centre, take an actual visible society as the special sphere of God's operation, a society which has a past and must have a future on earth; and then you are compelled to some philosophy of history. You cannot, like a sheer Platonist--and Augustine shows leanings that way--treat as of no account the whole development in time and space, as though this world were the dreams of the Absolute in a fit of absence of mind; and then it is the object of the enlightened by some mystical process to get away from those dreams into the reality of day, where there is no change, no growth and no personality. That was the ideal of many. Augustine at one time had it. At times, even as a Christian, he uses expressions which show how greatly Plato and Plotinus contributed to his mental composition. On the whole, his belief in the Church and his sense of immediate reality were too great. A man who does not give way to the temptation of a doctrinaire's system pure and simple, but has so much regard to the actual as S. Augustine, is bound to rest unsatisfied without some philosophy giving history a meaning. Nowadays many seem to think it will be all the same if we leave out the facts, content to breathe the atmosphere created by a former belief in them, and hold that the Christian has to do solely with certain principles.

If the facts of Christ's life on earth be treated as of little account, Christian faith will become either a set of dogmatic propositions, metaphysically grounded, coupled with a not too well-grounded ethical code, inelastic and impracticable, or else a name for certain states of sentimental brooding or elation. Against this danger Augustine fought, as we do now. His sense of Christianity being embedded in fact governs his apologetic, and that despite his love of dialectic, and his acquaintance with current philosophy.

The Dean of Wells in his Commentary on the 'Epistle to the Ephesians' has shown how S. Paul saw in the Incarnation a philosophy of history. So did S. Athanasius.

S. Augustine does but draw this out. By the fifth century the Church had become a great human institution. It was not the preacher of an Interims Ethik, but an important part of the world historical process. That was true, whatever you thought about the Church. It was but natural that a mind like S. Augustine's, sensitive to every prevailing current, should try to look at all history as a great drama, of which the supreme crises are in Eden and Calvary. This much, however, we must concede at the outside to the minimisers. Augustine did not set out to compose a philosophy of history. His purpose was not to comprehend history, but to defend the Catholic Church. Even Hegel was moved by something more than a disinterested concern for the student who is trying to gather up the threads of fact. He wanted to show how his own philosophy of the Absolute could be brought into line with the development of mankind. History proved to Hegel an illustration of the doctrines of the Logic. Incidentally he wanted to justify the Prussian State, in which, as we know, with his lack of humour, he contrived to discern the self-presentation of the Absolute Idea.

However it may be with Hegel, the philosophy of history arose directly out of the method of Augustine's apologetic. It is not individualist. Augustine does not proceed on the method, too often deemed adequate, of taking separate points and arguing from them, in order to affect individual conversions. That is not his object. His purpose is this--to justify the Christians' God against the attacks made upon Him, to remove from the Church the charge of having brought about the ruin of civilisation. Over against the shattered world-order, great in its ruin, he sets another order even greater. He shows that the security and justice and freedom, which pious Romans believed to be guaranteed by the Roman Empire, were not guaranteed, that they never could be guaranteed on earth, that they are a treasure not of the body but of the soul. 'Not dear city of Cecrops, but dear city of God,' the cry of the great Stoic Emperor, has the gist of the whole. The Stoic lived in independence of temporal vicissitude, without help from beyond. 'The Christian belongs to the city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.' 'I'm but a stranger here--Heaven is my home.' Over against Rome, the eternal city, Augustine puts Jerusalem the Golden. This he does not do in abstracto. He takes the two ideas incarnate in two societies. One modern commentator, Scholz, well describes the book as 'Faith and Unbelief, as shown in world-history.' Even if this be not a philosophy of history, strictly so called, it is at least a justification of the Church, historically conceived. This is evident in the opening paragraph. ('De Civitate,' I. 1.)

'That most glorious society and celestial city of God's faithful, which is partly seated in the course of these declining times, wherein "he that liveth by faith" is a pilgrim amongst the wicked; and partly in that solid estate of eternity, which as yet the other part doth patiently expect, until "righteousness be turned to judgment"; being then by the proper excellence to obtain the last victory, and be crowned in perfection of peace, have I undertaken to defend in this work: which I intend unto you (my dearest Marcellinus) as being your due by my promise, and exhibit it against all those that prefer their false gods before this city's founder. The work is great and difficult, but God the Master of all difficulties is our helper. For I know well what strong arguments are required to make the proud know the virtue of humility, by which (not being enhanced by human glory, but endowed with divine grace) it surmounts all earthly loftiness, which totters through the one transitory instability. For the King, the builder of this city, whereof we are now to discourse, hath opened his mind to his people in the Divine Law thus: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." Now this which is indeed only God's, the swelling pride of an ambitious mind affecteth also, and loves to hear this as parcel of his praise.

"Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos."

"To spare the lowly, and strike down the proud."

Wherefore touching the temporal city (which longing after domination, though it hold all the other nations under it, yet in itself is overruled by the one lust after sovereignty) We may not omit to speak whatsoever the quality of our proposed subject shall require or permit.'

These two cities and societies are vague enough, and ill-defined in thought and imagination. Still, however much or little Augustine meant by contemplating all created history as the conflict of two opposed societies, he meant more than some writers such as Reuter and Troeltsch would seem to admit. Clearly, this scheme affords a framework under which the whole of history can be subsumed. You may say that the plan is imperfectly executed. Many people have thought that even of Hegel's explicit 'Philosophy of History.' It did not require the late war to make it seem an odd performance to try and classify all history as a progress towards freedom, and to find that freedom for ever embodied in the Prussian Absolutism.

Faults of construction we may admit. The picture of the two cities was vague. At times Augustine forgets all about it. It seems strange that after stating his object he should go off into an elaborate attack on the morals of popular idolatry. Yet when we think it out, we can see some relevance to the main theme. Augustine would, I suppose, have agreed that these earlier books demonstrate the inadequacy of the Civitas terrena as an ideal. Still it is well to be warned. The reader must put up with a great deal of irrelevance and with the amplification of all sorts of things which have no obvious bearing on the main point. The passage from Vives cited in the last lecture illustrates this (p. 16).

Two presuppositions of any philosophy of history are in the mind of S. Augustine throughout. (1) The unity of the human race, involving, as its corollary, the doctrine of (2) the essential sociability of man. The Civitas Dei,he says, can mean nothing less than the social life of the children of God. That one principle alone, according to Scholz, is a contribution of high value to world-history. [3] Even better than Aristotle did S. Augustine understand that true history begins only with a form of society. Also he emphasises the unity of the human race which is derived by its descent from Adam. This idea lies behind his doctrine of original sin.

The strong sense of providential government of the world which Augustine shares with Vico may be thought to be also essential to the philosophy of history. This view, however, may be doubted.[4] One who was an atheist or a pure agnostic, e.g. Comte, might still have a philosophy of history, provided that he held the two maxims stated above, without any reference to God.

Augustine's conception, which was avowedly derived from the Republic of Plato, that you can best judge of a nation by the analogy of an individual, helped him in some ways. In other it was a drawback. Alike in Plato and S. Augustine such a view may lead to a conception of morals which permits the extremities of persecution. All evil clericalism goes back to Plato.

The 'De Civitate Dei' then is sketchy and incomplete. If we are to justify it as a philosophy of history, in spite of this, we must go further. Augustine's philosophy of history is a philosophy of the time-process as a whole. That is why he is able--as Scholz (p. 138) complains-- to treat world-history as an episode. History according to S. Augustine is not merely terrestrial. It is the whole course of social happenings in time, in relation to a timeless Deity. No one could be more profoundly imbued than was S. Augustine with the doctrine of the timeless reality of God. On that ground he felt the more need of relating this to the world of successive events. Hence his book involves a philosophy of creation and a theodicy, no less than an account of the 'education of the human race.' It is history, as a whole, history from the creation of light until the Last Judgment, that is the justification of God. Only on that tremendous canvas can he paint a picture that shall outmatch the gloomy Velasquez-like portrait of the world as set up for men's imagination by the sack of Rome. On this view much that seems at first sight irrelevant falls into place. Augustine begins, he must begin, with the Creation. The universe was not created in Time. Time and the world are coeval. They are the chosen achievement of God--the divine symphony which not even sin can rob of its beauty.

        'God Himself is the best poet
        And the real is His song.'

Augustine's strong æsthetic tendency, his worship of beauty, comes out in the doctrine that history is in truth a heavenly song--that, in some way or other, the evil in it is overruled by the beauty of the whole-- just as discords are resolved by a skilful composer

'Why rushed the discords in, but that harmony might be prized,' Augustine says in his interesting letter to Marcellinus ('Epist.,' 138):

'God is the unchangeable Governor as He is the unchangeable Creator of mutable things, ordering all events in His providence until the beauty of the completed course of time, the component parts of which are the dispensations adapted to each successive age, shall be finished, like the grand melody of some ineffably rare master of song.'

He lifts creation, before the beginning of earth; the first important event, the true beginning of the two societies, is the sin of Satan. The pride of Lucifer typifies all evil doing; it began among the angels that dichotomy into the two societies which is to last for ever, and as its counterpart set moving the course of redemption.

Augustine seems to have held the view that men are created to fill the gaps in the celestial choir caused by the exclusion of the fallen angels; that the elect are to fill up that number and no more. The devil's first sin was an act of freedom of will like that of Adam. God did not cause it, for evil is negative. It cannot be created. It is the choice of the lower, instead of fidelity to the essential nature of a spiritual being. The nature of all things, even of the devil, is good. It is the will, not the nature, that goes wrong.

We need not follow S. Augustine into the account of the Fall. It is familiar enough. Once more must be emphasised the immense import, in regard to the philosophy of history, of S. Augustine's strong doctrine of original sin. He can compare the whole course of human history to a single individual, and can parallel their several stages. It is true that the comparison is vague; he gives different classifications in different places. In the 'De Catechizandis Rudibus' there are six. Freedom for the race, which was all enclosed in the loins of Adam, was lost in the strict sense by the Fall. Men still have a choice, but only between different kinds of sinful acts. Some are worse than others and will meet with worse torments. Manifold is the hierarchy of hell. With the Fall begins the human part of the Civitas tenena. Yet the coming redemption always holds some. The two societies not only now, but in all ages, have been intermingled. The heavenly city goes back through Shem to Seth; the earthly to Cain. The Hebrew development is treated as the main embodiment of the Civitas Dei. The Civitas tenena develops through Assyria and Rome, though I am not sure that Augustine ever absolutely identifies even the old Roman Empire with the Civitas tenena.

The Civitas Dei began long ago; but in its fulness it came with the spread of the Gospel. There will be a mystical thousand years of the reign of Christ. This is to be followed by the bitterest of all persecutions; and the devil will once again be loosed. After this the establishment of the final goal of the two cities is easy. The goal of the Civitas Dei is the pax œterna, and the visio dei.

Dr. Reinkens argued that the end which the citizens of the heavenly city will reach is true freedom. Hence he can parallel S. Augustine with Hegel, making them both teach that the history of the world is the record of the progress towards rational freedom. I cannot but think that Reinkens is here misled by the wish to make out a historical parallel. It is peace, not freedom, that is the goal. Augustine doubtless thought that freedom (non posse peccare) would only be reached hereafter and would be reached then. But that is not to the purpose. The sack of Rome had been the greatest dramatic violation of the Pax Romana. The sense of security had suffered a shock only to be likened to that which we feel now. As compensation for this lost earthly peace Augustine gives a new security--the peace that passes understanding. He does not promise a new earthly security under the ægis of the Church. On the contrary he agrees that neither religion nor piety can guarantee earthly security, although both are in the hands of God, who gives power, sometimes to the bad in order to teach humility to the good, and sometimes by way of reward to those relatively virtuous. The only genuine security must be that which is beyond the changes and chances of this mortal life. That is the 'saints' everlasting rest'--to be won in the heavenly Jerusalem, the happy home, when the triumph is eternal and warfare is accomplished. Save in figure it does not attach to that partial representative of the Civitas Dei which we see here and now in the Church Militant. That is no more free from perilous conjuncture than is the secular state.

Clearly the conception of redemption through the sacrifice of the Cross, made effective by a visible and sacramental Church, set over against the worldly society, affords some kind of philosophy of history. It runs as a thread through the whole complicated pattern of created being. This it could hardly do if religion were purely individual. The paramount significance of the Church, viewed as the depository and dispenser of grace, is of the essence of this historical philosophy. True, it may be argued, and has been argued, that the predestinarianism of S. Augustine makes the other way, and reduces all to individualism. Augustine is not always consistent. The two conceptions of the sacramental visible Church and the communio sanctorum cross one another in a way that is often perplexing. But this difficulty is not decisive. No one is secure of salvation by baptism or even by communion. But they are conditions sine qua non. Witness Augustine's views on the condition of unbaptised infants. One of his grounds of controversy with Julius of Eclanum was, that the latter was willing to except infants unbaptised from the full penalty--to assign them to a sort of lower court.

The sketch of world-history is the weakest thing in the book. All, however, goes to emphasise his main thesis. History is a unity. No one before or since taught more plainly the solidarity of man. That renegade Englishman, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, in a book once overpraised even in England, condemned all notions of humanity. He said that there was no human race, only races--and preached a new Teutonic Christianity. Now we see this in its first flush of hot-gospelling.' The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century' gives a reinterpretation in the interests of Deutschland über Alles. All is based on a doctrine of the fundamental inequality of races. It is the direct contrary of the doctrine of the 'De Civitate Dei' and Augustine's frequent assertions that proximus homini est omnis homo.

This unity of history is so set forth as to be a theodicy. Augustine thought that the doctrine of original sin, with its accompaniment of arbitrary election, could be reconciled with Divine Justice. All men are ipso jure damned. The few who are saved may rejoice. Those who suffer the last penalty have nothing of which to complain. They go where they naturally belong. Those who escape have no merit, not even a turning of the will, for that is the work of irresistible grace. Certainly this justification may not seem to us satisfactory. Later theories, especially that of Molina, went far away from this. But the point here is that Augustine gave a view of the whole and claimed to justify the ways of God to men.

Also, history is seen as the education of mankind. Augustine was the product of the university and an academic teacher. Strongly imbued as he was with his own sense of experience, he was hardly likely to undervalue the progressive education of mankind in the arts. So distinctly sociable a being could not really despise the social arts. Like all men he was tempted at times to think his own course worthless for what it left out. But that thought is hardly permanent. In the background of his consciousness he was always aware of the possession of culture. Still with his conversion to Christianity and even the earlier conversion to Platonism, the other-worldly doctrine creeps in. All the goods of human life have only a relative value. No earthly good has excellence save, and in so far, as it leads us on. The topic of world-flight is strong in S. Augustine in all his later writings. It is plausible to argue that of this book it is the main theme.

Can that be? Whether he liked it or not--and I rather think he did--Augustine must have known himself to be one of the best educated men of the day. Like a modern Etonian condemning the public schools, yet all the while conscious that they have made him a little different from those who were not there--this attitude, whether social or scientific or religious, has always in it an element of pose. The pessimistic view of all worldly activities is clear enough in the 'De Civitate Dei.' But it is counteracted by that other conception under which he views history as a work of art; in that sublime sense of human power and the beauty of things which was cited in the last lecture. Nobody who felt that, could treat the sights and sounds of earth, the outward beauty of things or even the course and revolutions of family and national life, as a thing of no account. A famous story of S. Bernard relates how he passed by the lake of Geneva and was unaware. S. Augustine has pictured for ever the scene at Ostia, in which took place the conversation with his mother, to which all the ten books of the 'Confessions' are the prologue.

Scholz argues that Augustine's theory of predestination takes all meaning out of history; since everything is preknown, how can there be any real development? Augustine is aware of this difficulty and tries to meet it. [It is, by the way, a difficulty not confined to this doctrine, but to any view which gives history as a whole a meaning. If the world moves to a predetermined end, the real end is in the beginning and it is only an unwinding of a clock.] In the argument against Fatalism Augustine tries to meet this. He denies that the Divine fore-knowledge does away with freedom. Here he was right. Whether the same can be said of the effects of his doctrine of irresistible grace is another matter. It must be conceded that, to S. Augustine, history is the sphere of the revelation under transitory and earthly symbols of the Eternal and Changeless Being. All changes, individual and social, are guided to their appointed end by a Providence, which though infinitely patient is also infinitely powerful. That does not eviscerate history of meaning. Any teleological view of human life is open to the same objection. Augustine's view of the way in which grace changes the human will may or may not be tenable, but it is not determinist. Besides, not only does Augustine make God free. Calvin did that. He makes man free by nature. He never taught that the first sin of Adam was predetermined, or that of Satan. Luther and Calvin did. Moral evil came into the world by the wrong use of a will free from the outset. That is the thesis which he is ever laying down against the Manichæan doctrine. After the one evil act the will is dominated by concupiscence, and that in every member of the race. All that it does has the nature of sin. But even then its acts are not necessitated; a man can choose between ambition and self-indulgence, between the pride of heroism and the meanness of cowardice. Even the doctrine of irresistible grace is not mere fatalism. It does not make world-history the blind working out of a formula--like the obedience of a curve to its equation. His emphasis on miracles, and the positive arguments which he gives for them, form an evidence of this. God's world will move to its end. That is certain. Yet it moves through the reality of concrete and actual persons and societies set in a world of time and space. History is a real, not a phenomenal thing. It is a drama, not a cinema show. He can appeal to history elsewhere (Episi. cxxxvii. 'Ad Volusianum') as serving in its order as an argument for the truth of the Gospel.

'What man might not be moved to faith in the doctrine of Christ by such a remarkable chain of events from the beginning and by the manner in which the epochs of the world are linked together, so that our faith in regard to present things is assisted by what happened in the past, and the record of earlier and ancient things is attested by later and more recent events.'

If we look before and after on this doctrine, we find certain other points to note. The doctrine of the two cities is not original. Indeed the Apocalypse of S. John might well have suggested it. It is almost certain that Augustine took it from Tyconius, the Donatist whom he respected so greatly. In the edition of the 'Rules of Tyconius' by Professor Burkitt we can read all about the two societies, the one of God and the other of the devil. [5]

To Tyconius also is due the interpretation of the millennial kingdom, as exhibited by the Church. Nor does Augustine state his doctrine for the first time in the 'De Civitate Dei.' We find it fairly well developed in the earlier treatise, 'De Catechizandis Rudibus,' and the division of human life into six ages. The main outline is all there. It was reserved for this work to treat it with a vast sweep of imaginative vision, so as to embrace all created existence and to found thereon an enduring apologetic.

Later on Otto of Freising attempted to write a history of the world on the framework laid down by S. Augustine, concluding in precisely the same way with the Last Things. More famous is the work of Bossuet. His 'Discours sur l'histoire universelle' is what it professes to be, an attempt to see history in the light of the Incarnation. He takes it down to Charlemagne and had intended to take it further. The book is not an adaptation of S. Augustine's work. It is primarily historical, just as the former is primarily apologetic. It is far more detailed and better constructed. But like that of S. Augustine, Bossuet's aim was partly practical, and he boasted of a conversation with du Gouet which enabled him to put the argument from the destruction of Jerusalem in a convincing way. Bossuet treats more satisfactorily the course both of profane and sacred history, ending with the establishment of the definitely Catholic Empire in the West. This book, one of its author's greatest, owes much to S. Augustine. M. Hardy wrote a volume, showing how close was this dependence. That is in some degree true of all Bossuet's work. Even Jansenism was hardly more deeply soaked in S. Augustine than was Bossuet, who rarely preaches a sermon without an allusion to him.

Vice's 'Nuova Scienzia' proves a problem. What was the influence of the ' De Civitate Dei' in this-- one of the most original and epoch-making books of modern times? Dr. Billeri in 'Giovanni-Battista Vico e S. Agostino' claims the mastery and originality all for S. Augustine, and boldly transfers to him any honour given to Vico. This treatment is extravagant. The purpose of the two writers is different. Augustine, it cannot be too often repeated, is an apologist. Vico is above all an enquirer. He wants to get a generalised scheme of historical development, and to destroy what may be called the academic superstition. His attitude towards the earlier ages of classical history is curiously like that of Nietzsche. Above all he is anxious to rescue Homer from the imputation of being a teacher of philosophy and morals in the later sense, and to disabuse the reader of the notion that the virtues honoured in the heroic age were those of a settled and peaceful age, with the golden rule, at least in words, for its motto. He is anxious to show that the original development of men started from pure anarchism, with the patriarch ruling his family, as in the case of Polyphemus, through a ruthless aristocracy to a popular government and thence to monarchy (as, e.g. Rome), owing to the dissensions and unwillingness of men to work together and submit to law.

With a strong belief in original sin, he claims that God as the author of nature makes men's vices, lust, cruelty and ambition work together for good, so as to establish a stable and law-abiding society. This is a universal law all over the world. Feudalism in some form or other is the beginning of government, and monarchy comes at the close. Thus Vico is certainly at variance with writers like Filmer who treat monarchy as original, no less than he is with believers in democracy. It is a scheme entirely different from S. Augustine's --so different that at first sight one is disinclined to see any parallel. But we notice (a) his strong belief in the providential ordering of human affairs, (b) his making original sin the beginning of all profane history, (c) his reiterated assertion of the natural sociability of man as the eternal law of his being, (d) his repeated references to the 'De Civitate Dei' and his use of it, further, for his even more repeated use of ' Varro' (whose work we have not in the original). We may compare Vico's belief in Providence with S. Augustine's famous passage on the distribution of kingdoms. Only Vico goes more deeply, for he has the modern scientific spirit and its love of comparative method.

Augustine is mainly concerned with the Church, Vico with the world. It is hard to say how far Vico was prompted by S. Augustine or whether he intended consciously to counter his book. Probably the truer view is that S. Augustine appealed to him by the sweep of his thought and by his vision of world-history; but that, so far as the main idea is concerned, Augustine ranked mainly as one writer among the many whom he cited. [6]

What Professor Flint says in his history of the ' Philosophy of History' is worth citing:

'It must have strongly confirmed Vico in some of his most fundamental convictions--in the belief of Providence in history, of order and law in human affairs, of particular passions and interests being rendered by supreme reason subservient to general ends, of the analogy of the growth of the individual to that of the race, of the futility of Epicurean chance and the Stoic fate, as principles of historical explanation. But his theory of history is by no means a simple continuation of that of Augustine; on the contrary, the differences between them are as profound as their resemblances. Vico does not, like Augustine, look upon history in relation to predestination, the fall, redemption, and the end of the world, but as a manifestation of human nature and of fixed laws. He conceives of Providence very distinctly from St. Augustine.'

Both the 'De Civitate Dei' and the 'Scienzia Nuova' are great books; both suffer from a good deal of bad arrangement. Both are things to be felt rather than learned. In different ways both have had enormous influence on thought. But one is not the child of the other. They are complementary, not contrary.

Notes to Lecture II

[1] Reinkens, Die Geschichtsphilosophie des Heiligen Augustinus (Schaffhausen, 1866), inaugural address as Rector of Breslau University, p. 36.

'Die ganze Verfassung und das ganze Gesetzbuch des himmlischen Staates ist in Einem Wort enthalten, und dies Wort heisst: Freiheit. Denn die Macht des freien Willens ist in dem Menschen dann wie bei den guten Engeln bis zu dem Grade für das Gute in seiner göttlichen Rangordnung gesteigert, dass ihm eine Abweichung von der Ordnung der Liebe nicht mehr möglich ist, ebenso wenig wie ein Rückfall aus dem verklärten Zustand in den unverklärten. Ein Nöthigen in die Ordnung der Liebe durch äussere Gesetze und Befehle unter Androhung von Strafen ist undenkbar in dem Gottesstaate; in seinem ewigen Sabbate existirt auch der Begriff des knechtischen Dienstes nicht mehr. Gott selbst trägt die Krone; aber die Bürger des himmlischen Staates sind von Ihm mitgekrönt: sie herrschen mit Ihm, in dem sie Ihm huldigen, und da sie Ihm loben, empfangen sie Ehre, und die Geehrten erkennen ohne Ueberhebung, dass sie der Ehre würdig sind, und Niemand raubt und Niemand neidet sie ihnen. So wird es sein am Ende ohne Ende; denn welches andere Endziel hatten wir, als zu gelangen in das Reich ohne Ende?'

[2] H. Schmidt's two articles are to be found in the Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie (Gotha, 1861); Des Augustinus Lehre von der Kirche, vi. 197-255; and Origenes und Augustin als Apologeten, vii. 237-281 and viii. 261-325.

[3] H. Scholz, Glaube und Unglaube in der Weltgeschichte, p. 47. 'Wenn es richtig ist dass Geschichtsphilosophie und Soziologie zusammengehören, so ist Augustin der erste gewesen, der diesen Zusammenhang innerlich erfasst und wirksam ausgesprochen hat. Zwar hat schon Aristoteles den Menschen als ζωον πολιτικόν gewürdigt, aber nur um den Staat daraus abzuleiten. . . Augustin hat den Fortschritt zur Geschichte gemacht, und die Möglichkeit des geschicht-lichen Lebens auf den geselligen Zusammenschluss der Individuen gegründet. Er hat erkannt, dass es Geschichte nur da gibt und dass Geschichte erst da beginnt, wo Menschen sind, die sich zu geordnetem Mit- und Aufeinander wirken verbinden. Er hat diesen Zusammenhang nicht nur geahnt, sondern deutlich ausgesprochen: unde Dei civitas . . . vel inchoaretur exortu vel progrederetur excursu vel adprehenderet debitos fines, si non esset socialis vita sanctorum? (xix. 5). Es ist nicht zuviel, wenn mann behauptet, dass Augustin sich durch diesen einen Satz ein bleibendes Verdienst um die Philosophic der Geschichte erworben hat; denn solange es eine Philosophic der Geschichte gibt, wird sie mit diesem Satz beginnen und insofern immer auf Augustin als ihren geistigen Vater zurückblicken dürfen.'

[4] Cf. the following passages. There are many more:

(a) De Civ. Dei, v. i.--' Divina providentia regna constituuntur humana.'

(b) Ibid. v. ii.--' Sed nee exigui et contemptibilis animantis viscera, nee avis pennulam, nee herbae flosculum, nee arboris folium sine suarum partium convenientia et quadam veluti pace dereliquit; nullo modo est credendus regna hominum, eorumque dominationes et servitutes a suis providentiae legibus alienas esse voluisse.'

(c) Ibid. iv. 33.--' Deus igitur ille felicitatis auctor et dator, quia solus est verus Deus, ipse dat regna terrena et bonis et malis. Neque hoc temere et quasi fortuitu, quia Deus est, non fortuna, sed pro rerum ordine ac temporum occulto nobis, notissimo sibi, cui tamen ordini temporum non subditus servit, sed eum ipse tanquam dominus regit moderatorque disponit. Felicitatem vero non dat nisi bonis. Hanc enim possunt et non habere et habere servientes, possunt et non habere et habere regnantes ; quae tamen plena in ea vita erit, ubi nemo jam serviet. Et ideo regna terrena et bonis ab illo dantur et malis ne eius cultores adhuc in provectu animi parvuli haec ab eo munera quasi magnum aliquid concupiscant. Et hoc est sacramentum Veteris Testamenti, ubi occultum erat novum, quod illic promissa et dona terrena sunt, intelligentibus et tune spiritalibus quamvis nondum in manifestatione praedicantibus, et quae illis temporalibus rebus significaretur aeternitas, et in quibus Dei donis esset vera felicitas.'

[5] The Rules of Tyconius, edited by F. C. Burkitt. This should be read to see how close is the parallel. Augustine knew this book and made a lengthy summary of it in the third book of De Doctrina Christiana. Scholz, Glaube und Unglaube in der Weltgeschichte, has much in detail about the dependence of S. Augustine on Tyconius. The topic has been worked out by Hahn, Tyconius Studien, in Bonwetsch und Seeberg, Studien; see vi. 2, also Haussleiter, Prot. Real-Encyclopädie, xx. 851-5.

[6] Nourisson, Philosophie de S. Augustin, ii. 173. 'Sa conception d'une républic éternelle et naturelle, la meilleure possible dans chacune de ses espéces et ordonnée par la Providence divine, n'est qu'une application ou une transformation savante de l'idée mère de la Cité de Dieu.'

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