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THE INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF
THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST. THE THREE ATTACKS: NORTHERN OR MORAL; WESTERN OR
INTELLECTUAL; EASTERN OR MILITARY.
THE NORTHERN OR MORAL ATTACK ON THE ITALIAN SYSTEM, AND ITS
Reoned by the esentative ny insists on
Geographical Boundaries of Italian Christianity.--Attacks upon it.
reformation in the Papacy.-Gerbert, the representative of these Ideas,
is made Pope.-They are both poisoned by the Italians. Commencement of the intellectual Rejection of the Italian System.-It originates in the Arabian doctrine of the supremacy of Reason over Authority.—The question of Transubstantiation.-Rise and develop
ment of Scholasticism.-Mutiny among the Monks. Gregory VII. spontaneously accepts and enforces a Reform in the Church,
-Overcomes the Emperor of Germany.—Is on the point of establishing a European Theocracy.—The Popes seize the military and monetary Resources of Europe through the Crusades.
The realm of an idea may often be defined by geometrical lines.
If from Rome, as a centre, two lines be drawn, one of which passes eastward, and touches the Asiatic
The geograshore of the Bosphorus, the other westward, and phical boundcrosses the Pyrenees, nearly all those Mediterra- aries of Latin
Christianity. nean 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 it devout attachment to relics and shrines.
I have now to relate how these lines were pushed Porces acting forward on Europe, that to the east by military, upon it. 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 clasp; then, through the convulsive throes of the nations they had inclosed, 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 trying 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 describedthe earnestness of converted Germany and the immoralities of the popes. The Germans insisted on a reformation among eccle
siastics, and that they should lead lives in The Germans insist on a
accordance with religion. This moral attack reform in the was accompanied also by an intellectual one, Papacy.
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.
Whoever compares the tenth and twelfth centuries together cannot fail to remark the great intellectual advance which Europe was making. The ideas occupying the minds of Christian men, their very turn of Reappearance thought, had altogether changed. The earnest- of philosopby. ness 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 Philosophy 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 deal. A detailed analysis of those events shows that there were three directions of pressure upon the three Rome. The pressure from the West and that pressures from the East were Mohammedan. Their re- upon Ro sultant 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 be done for the reformation of the papacy. Its crimes, such as we have related in Chapter XII., Vol. I.,
ITA IN THE WEST.
outraged religious men. To the master-spirit of the Foreign in- movement for accomplishing this end we must
closely look. He is the representative of inreforming the papacy. fluences 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 Life of Ger- scholar in the Abbey of Avrillac, he attracted the bert. attention of his superiors; among others, of the Count of Barcelona, who took him to Spain. There he became a proficient in the mathematics, astronomy, and physics of the Mohammedan schools. He spoke Arabic His Saracen with the fluency of a Saracen. His residence at education. 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
ch. the state of things in Christendom : “ There is es against the not one at Rome, it is notorious, who knows Church.
enough of letters to qualify him for a door-keeper; with what face shall be presume to teach who has never learned ?" He does not hesitate to allude to papal briberies and papal crimes : “If King Hugh's embassadors could have bribed the pope and Crescentius, his affairs had taken a different turn.” He recounts the disgraces and crimes of