state religion and all legislation which has always prevailed in the East, and the constant existence of a powerful sacerdotal body, exercising some cheeky though precarious and irregular, over the throne itself, grasping at all civil administration, claiming the supreme control of education, stereotyping the lines in which literature and science must move, and limiting the extent to which it shall be lawful for the human mind to prosecute its enquiries.
With these general characteristics rightly felt and understood, it becomes a comparatively easy task to investigate and appreciate the origin, progress, and principles of Oriental empires in general, as well as of the Persian monarchy in particular. And we are thus better enabled to appreciate the repulse which Greece gave to the arms of the East, and to judge of the probable consequences to human civilization, if the Persians had succeeded in bringing Europe under their yoke, as they had already subjugated the fairest portions of the rest of the then known world.
The Greeks, from their geographical position, formed the natural vanguard of European liberty against Persian ambition; and they preeminently displayed the salient points of distinctive national character which have rendered European civilization so far superior to Asiatic. The nations