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the end be overthrown, the inevitable day was put off by an instant and vindictive repression of any want of conformity. Despotism in the State and despotism in the Church were upheld by despotism over thought.
From the acts of Pope Gregory the Great, and his organization of the ideas of his age, the paganization of religion in Italy and its alliance with art, I
Origin of the have now to turn to the second topic to which alliance of the this chapter is devoted—the relations assumed papacy and by the papacy with the kings of France, by which the work of Gregory was consolidated and upheld, and diffused all over Europe.
The armies of the Saracens had wrested from Christendom the western, southern, and eastern countries of the Mediterranean; their fleets dominated in results of the
Military that sea.
Ecclesiastical policy had undergone Arabian a revolution. Carthage, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, had disappeared from the Christian system; their bishops had passed away. Alone, of the great episcopal seats, Constantinople and Rome were left. To all human appearance, their fall seemed to be only a question of time.
The disputes of the Bishop of Rome with his Africar and Asiatic rivals had thus come to an untimely end. With them nothing more remained to be done; Independence his communications with the emperor at Con- of the pope. stantinople were at the sufferance of the Mohammedan navies. The imperial power was paralysed. The pope was forced by events into isolation; he converted it into independence.
But independence! how was that to be asserted and maintained. In Italy itself the Lombards seemed to be firmly seated, but they were Arian heretics. Their presence and power were incompatible with his. Already, in a political sense, he was at their mercy.
One movement alone was open to him; and, whether he rightly understood his position or not, the stress of events forced him to make it. It was an alliance with the Franks, who had successfully resisted the Mohammedan power, and who were orthodox.
An ambitious Frank officer had resolved to deprive his sovereign of the crown if the pope would sanctify the deed.
Conditions of his alliance with the Franks.
They came to an understanding. The usurpation was consummated by the one and consecrated by the other. It
was then the interest of the intrusive line of monarchs to magnify their Italian confederate. In the spread of Roman principles lay the consolidation of the new Frankish
power. It became desirable to compel the ignorant German tribes to acknowledge in the pope the vicegerent of God, even though the sword must be applied to them for that purpose for thirty years.
The pope revolted against his Byzantine sovereign on the question of images ; but that was a fictitious issue. He did not revolt against his new ally, who fell into the same heresy. He broke away from a weak and cruel master, and attached himself on terms of equality to a confederate. But from the first his eventual ascendancy was assured. The representative of a system which is immortal must finally gain supremacy over individuals and families, who must die.
Though we cannot undervalue the labours of the monks, who had already nominally brought many portions of
Europe to Christianity, the passage of the centre of the Continent to its Age of Faith, was, in an
enlarged political sense, the true issue of the empire of the Franks. The fiat of Charlemagne put a stamp upon it which it bears to this day. He converted an ecclesiastical fiction into a political fact.
To understand this important event, it is necessary to Three points
describe, 1st, the psychical state of Central for considera- Europe; 2nd, the position of the pontiff and his
compact with the Franks. It is also necessary to determine the actual religious value of the system he represents, and this is best done through, 3rd, the biography
The conversion of Europe.
of the popes.
1st. As with the Arabs, so with the barbarians of The psychical Europe. They pass from their Age of Credulity change of Eu- to their Age of Faith without dwelling long in
the intermediate state of Inquiry. An age of inquiry implies self-investigation, and the absence of an authoritative teacher. But the Arabs had had the Nestorians and the Jews, and to the Germans the lessons of
the monk were impressively enforced by the convincing argument of the sword of Charlemagne.
The military invasions of the south by the barbarians were retaliated by missionary invasions of the north. The aim of the former was to conquer, that of their antagonists to convert, if antagonists those can successes of be called who sought to turn them from their
The monk penetrated through their most gloomy forests unarmed and defenceless; he found his way alone to their fortresses. Nothing touches the heart of a savage so profoundly as the greatness of silent courage. Among the captives taken from the south in war were often high-born women of great beauty and purity of mind, and sometimes even bishops, devout wowho, true to their religious principles, did not men. fail to exert a happy and a holy influence on the tribes among whom their lot was cast. One after another the various nations submitted : the Vandals and Gepidæ in the fourth century; the Goths somewhat earlier; the Franks at the end of the fifth; the Alemanni and Lombards at the beginning of the sixth ; the Bavarians, Hes- Conversion of sians, and Thuringians in the seventh and Europe. eighth. Of these, all embraced the Arian form except the Franks, who were converted by the Catholic clergy. In truth, however, these nations were only Christianized upon the surface, their conversion being indicated by little more than their making the sign of the cross. In all these movements women exercised an extraordinary influence: thus Clotilda, the Queen of the Franks, brought over to the faith her husband Clovis. Bertha, the Queen of Kent, and Gisella, the Queen of Hungary, led the way in their respective countries; and under similar influences were converted the Duke of Poland and the Czar Jarislaus. To women Europe is thus greatly indebted, though the forms of religion at the first were nothing more than the creed and the Lord's prayer.
It has been , truly said that for these conversions three conditions were necessary-a devout female of the court, a national calamity, and a monk. As to the people, they seem to have followed the example of their rulers in blind subserviency, altogether careless as to what the required faith might be.
The conversion of the ruler is naïvely taken by historians as the conversion of the whole people. As might be expected, a faith so lightly assumed at the will or whim of the sovereign was often as lightly cast aside; thus the Swedes, Bohemians, and Hungarians relapsed into idolatry.
Among such apostasies it is interesting to recall that of Conversion of the inhabitants of Britain, to whom Christianity
was first introduced by the Roman legions, and who might boast in Constantine the Great, and his mother Helena, if they were really natives of that country, that they had exercised no little influence on the religion of the world. The biography of Pelagius shows with what acuteness theological doctrines were considered in those remote regions ; but, after the decline of Roman affairs, this --promising state of things was destroyed, and the clergy driven by the pagan invaders to the inacessible parts of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The sight of some English children exposed for sale in the slave-market at Rome suggested to Gregory the Great the attempt of reconverting the island. On his assuming the pontificate ne commissioned the monk Augustine for that after the usual exertion of female influence in the court of King Ethelbert by Bertha, his Frankish princess, and the usual vicissitudes of backsliding, the faith gradually won its way throughout the whole country. A little opposition occurred on the part of the ancient clergy, who retained in their fastnesses the traditions of the old times, particularly in regard to Easter. But this at length disappeared ; an intercourse sprang up with Rome, and it became common for the clergy and wealthy nobles to visit that city.
Displaying the same noble quality which in our own times characterises it, British Christianity did not fail to
exert a proselytizing spirit. As, at the end of the sixth century, Columban, an Irish monk of
Banchor, had gone forth as a missionary, passing through France, Switzerland, and beyond the confines of the ancient Roman empire, so about a century later Boniface, an Englishman of Devonshire, repaired to Germany, under a recommendation from the pope and Charles Martel, and laboured among the Hessians and Saxons, cutting down their sacred oaks, overturning their
Irish and British missionaries.
altars, erecting churches, founding bishoprics, and gaining at last, from the hands of the savages, the crown of martyrdom. In the affinity of their language to those of the countries to which they went, these missionaries from the West found a very great advantage.
It is the glory of Pope Formosus, the same whose body underwent a posthumous trial, that he converted the Bulgarians, a people who came from the banks of the Volga. The fact that this event was brought about by a picture representing the judgment-day shows on what trifling circumstances these successes turned. The Slavians were converted by Greek missionaries, and for them the monk Cyril invented an alphabet, as Ulphilas had done for the Goths. The predatory Normans, who plundered the churches in their forays, embraced Christianity on settling in Normandy, as the Goths, in like circumstances, had elsewhere done. The Scandinavians were converted by St. Anschar.
Thus, partly by the preaching of missionaries, partly by the example of monks, partly by the influence of females, partly by the sword of the Frankish sovereigns, partly by the great name of Rome, Europe was at last nominally converted. The so-called religious wars of Charlemagne, which lasted more than thirty years, and which
Influence of were attended by the atrocities always incident Charlemagne to such undertakings, were doubtless as much, so on these far as he was concerned, of a political as of a "* theological nature. They were the embodiment of the understanding that had been made with Rome by Pepin. Charlemagne clearly comprehended the position and functions of the Church; he never suffered it to intrude unduly on the state. Regarding it as furnishing a bond for uniting not only the various nations and tribes of his. empire, but even families and individuals together, he ever extended to it a wise and liberal protection. His mental condition prevented him from applying its doctrines to the regulation of his own life, which was often blemished by acts of violence and immorality. From the point of view he occupied, he doubtless was led to the conclusion that the maxims of religion are intended for the edification and comfort of those who occupy a humbler sphere, but that