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THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST. THE THREE ATTACKS:
EASTERN OR MILITARY.
THE NORTHERN OR MORAL ATTACK ON THE ITALIAN SYSTEM, AND ITS
THE realm of an idea may often be defined by geometrical The geo, lines.
of Latin If from Rome, as a centre, two lines be drawn, one of which
Christipasses eastward, and touches the Asiatic shore of the Bos. anity. phorus, the other westward, and crosses the Pyrenees, nearly all those Mediterranean countries lying to the south of these lines were living, at the time of which we speak, under the dogma, “ There is but one God, and Mohammed is his prophet;" but the countries to the north had added to the orthodox conception of the Holy Trinity the adoration of the Virgin, the worship of images, the invocation of saints, and a devout attachment to relics and shrines. I have now to relate how these lines were pushed forward Forces act
ing upon it. on Europe, that to the east by military, that to the west by intellectual force. On Rome, as on a pivot, they worked ; now opening, now closing, now threatening to curve round at their extremes and compress paganizing Christendom in their
Origin of the Reformation. clasp; then, through the convulsive throes of the nations they had enclosed, receding from one another and quivering throughout their whole length, but receding only for an instant, to shut more closely again.
It was as if from the hot sands of Africa invisible arms were put forth, enfolding Europe in their grasp, and struggling to join their hands to give to paganizing Christendom a fearful and mortal compression. There were struggles and resistances, but the portentous hands clasped at last. Historically, we call the pressure that was then made the Reformation.
Not without difficulty can we describe the convulsive struggles of nations so as to convey a clear idea of the forces acting upon them. I have now to devote many, perhaps not uninteresting, certainly not uninstructive, pages to these events.
In this Chapter I begin that task by relating the consequences of the state of things heretofore described—the earnestness of converted Germany and the immoralities of the Popes. The Germans insisted on a reformation
among ecclesiastics, on a reform and that they should lead lives in accordance with religion.
This moral attack was accompanied also by an intellectual one, arising from another source, and amounting to a mutiny in the Church itself. In the course of centuries, and particularly during the more recent evil times, a gradual divergence of theology from morals had taken place, to the dissatisfaction of that remnant of thinking men who here and there, in the solitude of monasteries, compared the dogmas of theology with the dictates of reason. Of those, and the number was yearly increasing, who had been among the Arabs in Spain, not a few
had become infected with a love of philosophy. Reappear Whoever compares the tenth and twelfth centuries together philoso cannot fail to remark the great intellectual advance which phy.
Europe.was making. The ideas occupying the minds of Christian men, their very turn of thought, had altogether changed. The earnestness of the Germans, commingling with the knowledge of the Mohammedans, could no longer be diverted from the misty clouds of theological discussion out of which Philo
The Germans insist
of the Papacy.
sophy emerged, not in the Grecian classical vesture in which she had disappeared at Alexandria, but in the grotesque garb of the cowled and mortified monk. She timidly came back to the world as Scholasticism, persuading men to consider, by the light of their own reason, that dogma which seemed to put common sense at defiance—transubstantiation. Scarcely were her whispers heard in the ecclesiastical ranks when a mutiny against authority arose; and since it was necessary to combat that mutiny with its own weapons, the Church was compelled to give her countenance to Scholastic Theology.
Lending himself to the demand for morality, and not altogether refusing to join in the intellectual progress, a great man, Hildebrand, brought on an ecclesiastical reform. He raised the Papacy to its maximum of power, and prepared the way for his successors to seize the material resources of Europe through the Crusades.
Such is an outline of the events with which we have now to The three deal. A detailed analysis of those events shows that there
Rome, were three directions of pressure upon Rome. The pressure from the West and that from the East were Mohammedan. Their resultant was a pressure from the North : it was essentially Christian. While those were foreign, this was domestic. It is almost immaterial in what order we consider them; the manner in which I am handling the subject leads me, however, to treat of the Northern pressure first, then of that of the West, and on subsequent pages of that of the East.
It had become absolutely necessary that something should Foreign in. be done for the reformation of the Papacy. Its crimes, such reforming
the Papacy. as we have related in Chapter XII., outraged religious men. To the master-spirit of the movement for accomplishing this end we must closely look. He is the representative of influences that were presently to exert a most important agency. In the train of the Emperor Otho III., when he resolved to put a stop to all this wickedness, was Gerbert, a French ecclesiastic, born in Auvergne. In his boyhood, while a scholar Life of in the Abbey of Avrillac, he attracted the attention of his superiors; among others, of the Count of Barcelona, who took
him into Spain. There he became a proficient in the mathe
matics, astronomy, and physics of the Mohammedan schools. Flis Sara.. He spoke Arabic with the fluency of a Saracen. His resi
dence at Cordova, where the khalif patronized all the learning and science of the age, and his subsequent residence in Rome, where he found an inconceivable ignorance and immorality, were not lost upon his future life. He established a school at Rheims, where he taught logic, music, astronomy, explained Virgil, Statius, Terence, and introduced what were at that time regarded as wonders, the globe and the abacus. He laboured to persuade his countrymen that learning is far to be preferred to the sports of the field. He observed the stars through tubes, invented a clock, and an organ played by steam. He composed a work on Rhetoric. Appointed Abbot of Bobbio, he fell into a misunderstanding with his monks, and had to retire first to Rome, and then to resume his school at Rheims. In the political events connected with the rise of Hugh Capet, he was again brought into prominence. The speech of the Bishop of Orleans at the Council of Rheims, which was his composition, shows us how his Mohammedan education had led him to look upon the state of things in
Christendom: “There is not one at Rome, it is notorious, who proaches against the knows enough of letters to qualify him for a door-keeper; with
what face shall he presume to teach who has never learned ?” He does not hesitate to allude to Papal briberies and Papal crimes: “If King Hugh's ambassadors could have bribed the Pope and Crescentius, his affairs had taken a different turn." He recounts the disgraces and crimes of the pontiffs,-how John XII. had cut off the nose and tongue of John the Cardinal; how Boniface had strangled John XIII.; how John XIV. had been starved to death in the dungeons of the Castle of St. Angelo. He demands, “ To such monsters, full of all infamy, void of all knowledge, human and divine, are all the priests of God to submit-men distinguished throughout the world for their learning and holy lives? The pontiff who so sins against his brother-who, when admonished, refuses to hear the voice of counsel—is as a publican and a sinner.” With a prophetic inspiration of the accusations of the Refor
mation, he asks, “Is he not Anti-Christ?” He speaks of him
the Man of Sin,” “the Mystery of Iniquity.” Of Rome he says, with an emphasis doubtless enforced by his Mohammedan experiences, "She has already lost the allegiance of the East; Alexandria, Antioch, Africa, and Asia are separate from her; Constantinople has broken loose from her; the interior of Spain knows nothing of the Pope.” He says,
“ How do your enemies say that, in deposing Arnulphus, we should have waited for the judgment of the Roman bishop? Can they say that his judgment is before that of God which our synod pronounced ? The Prince of the Roman bishops and of the apostles themselves proclaimed that God must be obeyed rather than men; and Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles, announced anathema to him, though he were an angel, who should preach a doctrine different from that which had been delivered. Because the pontiff Marcellinus offered incense to Jupiter, must therefore all bishops sacrifice ?” In all this there is obviously an insurgent spirit against the Papacy, or rather against its iniquities.
In the progress of the political movements Gerbert was ap. His ecclesipointed to the archbishopric of Rheims. On this occasion, it is not without interest that we observe his worldly wisdom. It was desirable to conciliate the clergy,—perhaps it might be done by the encouragement of marriage. He had lived in the polygamic court of the khalif, whose family had occasionally boasted of more than forty sons and forty daughters. Well then may he say, “I prohibit not marriage. I condemn not second marriages. I do not blame the eating of flesh.” His election not only proved unfortunate, but, in the tortuous policy of the times, he was removed from the exercise of his episcopal functions and put under interdict. The speech of the Roman legate, Leo, who presided at his condemnation, gives us an insight into the nature of his offence, of the intention of Rome to persevere in her ignorance and superstition, and is an amusing example of ecclesiastical argument: “Because the vicars of Peter and their disciples will not have for their teachers a Plato, a Virgil, a Terence, and the rest of the herd of philosophers, who soar aloft like the birds of the air,
astical ad vancement.