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Human origin of Papacy.


Human Origin of the Papacy. nals, to the exclusion of the emperor, the Roman people, and even of the rest of Christendom,—an attempt in which he succeeded.

No one can study the developement of the Italian ecclesiastical power without discovering how completely it depended on human agency, too often on human passion and intrigues ; how completely wanting it was of any mark of the Divine construction and care,—the offspring of man, not of God, and therefore bearing upon it the lineaments of human passions, human virtues, and human sins.





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HE military operations of the Arabians, described in Chap- Importance ter XI., overthrew the Byzantine political system, prema

Arabians. turely closing the Age of Faith in the East; their intellectual procedure gave rise to an equally important result, being destined, in the end, to close the Age of Faith in the West. The Saracens not only destroyed the Italian offshoot, they also impressed characteristic lineaments on the Age of Reason in Europe.

Events so important make it necessary for me to turn aside fron the special description of European intellectual advancement, and offer a digression on the passage of the Arabians to their Age of Reason. It is impossible for us to understand their action in the great drama about to be performed unless we understand the character they had assumed,

In a few centuries the fanatics of Mohammed had altogether Their intelchanged their appearance.

Great philosophers, physicians, gress. mathematicians, astronomers, alchemists, grammarians, had arisen among them. Letters and science, in all their various departments, were cultivated.

A nation stirred to its profoundest depths by warlike emigration, and therefore ready to make, as soon as it reaches a period of repose, a rapid intellectual advance, may owe the path in which it is about to pass to those who are in the position of pointing it out, or of officiating as teachers. The ers were the teachers of the Saracens were the Nestorians and the Jews.

lectual pro

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Nestorians and Jews.

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Extension of Arabian Power. Their sci. It has been remarked that Arabian science emerged out of gress was

medicine, and that in its cultivation physicians took the lead, through

its beginnings being in the pursuit of alchemy. In this Chapter I have to describe the origin of these circumstances, and therefore must consider the state of Greek and Egyptian medicine, and relate how, wherever the Byzantine system could reach, true medical philosophy was displaced by relic- and shrine-curing; and how it was, that while European ideas were in all directions reposing on the unsubstantial basis of the supernatural, those of the Saracens were resting on the solid foundation of a material support.

When the Arabs conquered Egypt, their conduct was that of bigoted fanatics; it justified the accusation made by some against them, that they burned the Alexandrian library for the purpose of heating the baths. But scarcely were they settled in their new dominion when they exhibited an extraordinary change. At once they became lovers and zealous cultivators of learning.

The Arab power had extended in two directions, and had with Nes- been submitted to two influences. In Asia it had been ex

posed to the Nestorians, in Africa to the Jews, both of whom had suffered persecution at the hands of the Byzantine government, apparently for the same opinion as that which had now established itself by the sword of Mohammed. The doctrine of the unity of God was their common point of contact. On this they could readily affiliate, and hold in common detestation the Trinitarian power of Constantinople. He who is suffering the penalties of the law as a heretic, or who is pursued by judicial persecution as a misbeliever, will readily consort with others reputed to cherish similar infidelities. Brought into unison in Asia with the Nestorians, and in Africa with the Alexandrian Jews, the Arabians became enthusiastic admirers of learning.

Not that there was between the three parties thus coalescing

a complete harmony of sentiment in the theological direction ; tral ground for though the Nestorians and the Jews were willing to accept

one half of the Arabian dogma, that there is but one God, they could not altogether commit themselves on the other, that Mohammed is his Prophet. Perhaps estrangement on this point

Causes of their union

torians and Jews.

Medicine becomes their neu


Byzantine Opposition to Medicine.

375 might have arisen, but fortunately a remarkable circumstance opened the way for a complete understanding between them. Almost from the beginning the Nestorians had devoted themselves to the study of medicine, and had paid much attention to the structure and diseases of the body of man; the Jews for long had produced distinguished physicians. These medical studies presented, therefore, a neutral ground, on which the three parties could intellectually unite in harmony; and so thoroughly did the Arabians affiliate with these their teachers, that they acquired from them a characteristic mental physiognomy. Their physicians were their great philosophers; their medical colleges were their foci of learning. While the Byzantines obliterated science in theology, the Saracens illuminated it by medicine. When Constantine the Great and his successors, under eccle- Byzantine

suppression siastical influence, had declared themselves the enemies of of mediworldly learning, it became necessary for the clergy to assume the duty of seeing to the physical as well as the religious condition of the people. It was unsuited to the state of things that physicians, whose philosophical tendencies inclined them to the pagan party, should be any longer endured. Their education in the Asclepions imparted to them ideas in opposition to the new events. An edict of Constantine suppressed those establishments, ample provision being, however, made for replacing them with others more agreeable to the genius of Christianity. Hospitals and benevolent organizations were founded Substitu

tion of pubin the chief cities, and richly endowed with money and lands. lic chariIn these merciful undertakings the empress-mother, Helena, was distinguished, her example being followed by many highborn ladies. The heart of women, which is naturally open to the desolate and afflicted, soon gives active expression to its sympathies when it is sanctified by a gentle Christian faith. In this, its legitimate direction, Christianity could display its matchless benevolence and charities. Organizations were introduced


the most extensive and varied scale: one had charge of foundlings, another of orphans, another of the poor. We have already alluded to the parabolani, or visitors, and of the manner in which they were diverted from their original intent.


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But, noble as were these charities, they laboured under an essential defect in having substituted for educated physicians well-meaning but unskilful ecclesiastics. The destruction of

the Asclepions was not attended by any suitably extensive meaGradual sures for ensuring professional education. The sick who were miracle

placed in the benevolent institutions were, at the best, rather under the care of kind nurses than under the advice of physicians; and the consequences are seen in the gradually increasing credulity and imposture of succeeding ages, until at length there was an almost universal reliance on miraculous interventions. Fetiches, said to be the relics of saints, but no better than those of tropical Africa, were believed to cure every disorder. To the shrines of saints crowds repaired, as they had at one time to the temples of Æsculapius. The worshippers

remained, though the name of the divinity was changed. Closing of Scarcely were the Asclepions closed, the schools of philosoof medicine phy prohibited, the libraries dispersed or destroyed, learning and philo- branded as magic or punished as treason, philosophers driven

into exile and as a class exterminated, when it became apparent that a void had been created which it was incumbent on the victors to fill. Among the great prelates, who was there to stand in the place of those men whose achievements had glorified the human race ? Who was to succeed Archimedes, Hipparchus, Euclid, Herophilus, Eratosthenes ? who, Plato and Aristotle? The quackeries of miracle-cure, shrine-cure, relic-cure, were destined to eclipse the genius of Hippocrates, and nearly two thousand years to intervene between Archimedes and Newton, nearly seventeen hundred between Hipparchus and Kepler. A dismal interval of almost twenty centuries parts Hero, whose first steam-engine revolved in the Serapion, from James Watt, who has revolutionized the industry of the world. What a fearful blank! Yet not a blank, for it had its products,-hundreds of patristic folios filled with obsolete speculation, oppressing the shelves of antique libraries,

enveloped in dust, and awaiting the worm. Its deplora Never was a more disastrous policy adopted than the By

zantine suppression of profane learning. It is scarcely possible now to realize the mental degradation produced when that

ble results.

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