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*#* The Portrait of Gibbon, intended to accompany this volume, not being ready in time, will be given in the next. The binder is recommended to place it here.
DECLINE AND FALL
By EDWARD GIBBON, Esq.
WITH VARIORUM NOTES,
INCLUDING THOSE OF
GUIZOT, WENCK, SCHKEITEK, & HUGO.
WITH FUBTHEB ILLUSTKATIOH& 'JftOM 'jr^E 4103X.' SESEirtf JSOTTBCES,
"Bt "'" ''•*-•-•
AN ENGLISH Crt-ORciM-MAN/''
HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN,
THE NEW YORK
ASTQA, LENOX AND TN.BEN FOUNDATION*. 1909
PRINTED BY HARRISON AND SONS, LONDON GAZETTE DIHCI, ST. MAHTIN's LAKE.
No Christian reader of Gibbon's " florid page" will be able, or will desire, to suppress a deep feeling of sorrow that the mind which could plan and compose the most valuable History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, could find no rest in the truths of Christianity ;—that faith was wanting to consecrate, as it were, a work of consummate skill, industry, and learning ;— and that Englishmen have thus been deprived of the boast of having in him an historian, who, whilst he could with a masterly hand trace the changes or the ruins of various kingdoms, was able fully to appreciate the privileges of that kingdom which cannot be moved. Now, the student of events and revolutions affecting the fortunes of the mightiest empire which ever existed, is compelled to consult, and cannot fail to admire, an author whose penetration, eloquence, and research, raise him to one of the highest places in literature; but whose want of belief in revealed Religion, lowers him in our confidence and esteem. It is not, therefore, surprising that some should shrink from reading, and some from recommending a writer, who, according to the observation of the keen and unprejudiced critic, Porson,* "often mocks where he cannot readily find an occasion to insult our religion; which, he ,hotep Fo cordially, that he might seem to revenge some perisnal injury*" • • ,•
The feeling of regret, that an"authoi justly tulcgizid. for his great attainments, was chilled by *a .baneful scepticism, will also be accompanied with a feeling of distrust For many will be induced to fear that he, who could not understand the force, and was determined not to conceal ;his? disregard; of the evidences of the Divine origin of the Gospel, must be. lookftd u'oon with suspicion, when he professes to examine and weigh the evidences of various occurrences which his well-chosen and extensive subject brought before him. It is natural to have some hesitation in bowing to the authority of an historian who can neither estimate the character, nor sympathize with the sufferings of the Church's early martyrs; and who will not be persuaded that no cause, but the cause of truth, could make such patient and devoted disciples; that no power, less than the power of the Spirit of God could deliver the religion of His Son out of the hand of enemies, and ensure
* Preface to Ms Letter! to Archdeacon TravU. VOL. I. b