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Ecclesiastical Empire

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    CHAPTER XIV - THE PAPACY AND THE BARBARIANS

    ANOTHER important and suggestive specification concerning the Ecclesiastical Empire is that “a host was given him ... by reason of transgression.” 1[Page 254] Daniel 3:12. Transgression is simply sin, because “sin is the transgression of the law.” Therefore, this statement in Daniel is in itself the original suggestion from which Paul wrote his expression, “the man of sin.” It was by sin, by reason of transgression by courting the elements of sin and playing into the hands of transgressors, that the man of sin gathered to himself the “host” which gave to him the power that has ever characterized his sway.ECE 254.1

    2. By apostasy in doctrine, in discipline, in philosophy, in rites, the Catholic Church had gathered to herself such a host that she was able to crowd herself upon the Roman State, to its ruin. And, now, still by reason of transgression, she gathers to herself another host—even the host of barbarians—by means of which she will exalt herself to the headship of the world. This is usually spoken of as the conversion of the barbarians; but, by every evidence in the case, it is manifest that such a term is a misnomer. A host gained only by reason, by means, of transgression, could be only a host gathered from the elements of iniquity, by means of iniquity; and the working of the power thus gained could be only the working of iniquity; even as described “the mystery of iniquity.”ECE 254.2

    3. Ever since the time of Constantine, the god and saviour of the Catholics had been the god of battle; and no surer way to the eternal rewards of martyrdom could be taken than by being killed in a riot in behalf of the orthodox faith, or to die by punishment inflicted for such proceeding, as in the case of that riotous monk who attempted to murder Orestes. It was easy, therefore, for the heathen barbarians, whose greatest god was the god of battle, and whose greatest victory and surest passport to the halls of the warrior god, was to die in the midst of the carnage of bloody battle,—it was easy for such people as this to become converted to the god of battle of the Catholics. A single bloody victory would turn the scale, and issue in the conversion of a whole nation.ECE 254.3

    4. As early as A. D. 430, the Huns making inroads into Gaul, severely afflicted the Burgundians, who finding impotent the power of their own god, determined to try the Catholic god. They therefore sent representatives to a neighboring city in Gaul, requesting the Catholic bishop to receive them. The bishop required them to fast for a week, during which time he catechised them, and then baptized them. Soon afterward the Burgundians found the Huns without a leader, and, suddenly falling upon them at the disadvantage, confirmed their conversion by the slaughter of ten thousand of the enemy. Thereupon the whole nation embraced the Catholic religion “with fiery zeal.”—Milman. 2[Page 255] “History of Latin Christianity,” book ii, chap 2, par. 21; Socrates’s “Ecclesiastical History,” book vii, chap 30. Afterward, however, when about the fall of the empire, the Visigoths under Euric asserted their dominion over all Spain, and the greater part of Gaul, and over the Burgundians too, they deserted the Catholic Church, and adopted the Arian faith.ECE 255.1

    5. Yet Clotilda, a niece of the Burgundian king, “was educated” in the profession of the Catholic faith. She married Clovis, the pagan king of the pagan Franks, and strongly persuaded him to become a Catholic. All her pleadings were in vain, however, till A. D. 496, when in their great battle with the Alemanni, the Franks were getting the worst of the conflict, in the midst of the battle Clovis vowed that if the victory could be theirs, he would become a Catholic. The tide of battle turned; the victory was won, and Clovis was a Catholic. Clotilda hurried away a messenger with the glad news to the bishop of Rheims, who came to baptize the new convert.ECE 255.2

    6. But after the battle was over, and the dangerous crisis was past, Clovis was not certain whether he wanted to be a Catholic. He said he must consult his warriors; he did so, and they signified their readiness to adopt the same religion as their king. He then declared that he was convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, and preparations were at once made for the baptism of the new Constantine, Christmas day, A. D. 496. “To impress the minds of the barbarians, the baptismal ceremony was performed with the utmost pomp. The church was hung with embroidered tapestry and white curtains; odors of incense like airs of paradise, were diffused around; the building blazed with countless lights. When the new Constantine knelt in the font to be cleansed from the leprosy of his heathenism, ‘Fierce Sicambrian,’ said the bishop, ‘bow thy neck; burn what thou hast adored, adore what thou hast burned.’ Three thousand Franks followed the example of Clovis.”—Milman. 3[Page 256] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap 2, par. 27.ECE 255.3

    7. The pope sent Clovis a letter congratulating him on his conversion. As an example of the real value of his religious instruction, it may be well to state that some time after his baptism, the bishop delivered a sermon on the crucifixion of the Saviour; and while he dwelt upon the cruelty of the Jews that transaction, Clovis exclaimed, “If I had been there with my faithful Franks, they would not have dared to do it!” “If unscrupulous ambition, undaunted valor and enterprise, and desolating warfare, had been legitimate means for the propagation of pure Christianity, it could not have found a better champion than Clovis. For the first time the diffusion of belief in the nature of the Godhead became the avowed pretext for the invasion of a neighboring territory.”—Milman. 4[Page 256] Id., par. 28. “His ambitious reign was a perpetual violation of moral and Christian duties; his hands were stained with blood in peace as well as in war; and as soon as Clovis had dismissed a synod of the Gallican Church, he calmly assassinated all the princes of the Merovingian race.”—Gibbon. 5[Page 256] “Decline and Fall,” chap 38, par. 6.ECE 256.1

    8. The bishop of Vienne also sent a letter to the new convert, in which he prophesied that the faith of Clovis would be a surety of the victory of the Catholic faith; and he, with every other Catholic in Christendom, was ready to do his utmost to see that the prophecy was fulfilled. The Catholics in all the neighboring countries longed and prayed and conspired that Clovis might deliver them from the rule of Arian monarchs; and in the nature of the case, war soon followed.ECE 256.2

    9. Burgundy was the first country invaded. Before the war actually began, however, by the advice of the bishop of Rheims, a synod of the orthodox bishops met at Lyons; then with the bishop of Vienne at their head, they visited the king of the Burgundians, and proposed that he call the Arian bishops together, and allow a conference to be held, as they were prepared to prove that the Arians were in error. To their proposal the king replied, “If yours be the true doctrine, why do you not prevent the king of the Franks from waging an unjust war against me, and from caballing with my enemies against me? There is no true Christian faith where there is rapacious covetousness for the possessions of others, and thirst for blood. Let him show forth his faith by his good works.”—Milman. 6[Page 257] “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap 2, par. 28.ECE 256.3

    10. The bishop of Vienne dodged this pointed question, and replied, “We are ignorant of the motives and intentions of the king of the Franks; but we are taught by the Scripture that the kingdoms which abandon the divine law are frequently subverted: and that enemies will arise on every side against those who have made God their enemy. Return with thy people to the law of God, and He will give peace and security to thy dominions.”—Gibbon. 7[Page 257] “Decline and Fall,” chap 38, par. 8. War followed, and the Burgundian dominions were made subject to the rule of Clovis, A. D. 500.ECE 257.1

    11. At this time the Visigoths possessed all the southwestern portion of Gaul. They, too, were Arians; and the mutual conspiracy of the Catholics in the Gothic dominions, and the crusade of the Franks from the side of Clovis, soon brought on another holy war. At the assembly of princes and warriors at Paris, A. D. 508, Clovis complained, “It grieves me to see that the Arians still possess the fairest portion of Gaul. Let us march against them with the aid of God; and, having vanquished the heretics, we will possess and divide their fertile province.” Clotilda added her pious exhortation to the effect “that doubtless the Lord would more readily lend His aid if some gift were made;” and in response, Clovis seized his battle-ax and threw it as far as he could, and as it went whirling through the air, he exclaimed, “There, on that spot where my Francesca shall fall, will I erect a church in honor of the holy apostles.” 8[Page 257] Id., par. 11.ECE 257.2

    12. War was declared, and as Clovis marched on his way, he passed through Tours, and turned aside to consult the shrine of St. Martin of Tours, for an omen. “His messengers were instructed to remark the words of the psalm which should happen to be chanted at the precise moment when they entered the church.” And the oracular clergy took care that the words which he should “happen” to hear at that moment—uttered not in Latin, but in language which Clovis understood—should be the following from Psalm 18: “Thou hast girded me, O Lord, with strength unto the battle; thou hast subdued unto me those who rose up against me. Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.” The oracle was satisfactory, and in the event was completely successful. “The Visigothic kingdom was wasted and subdued by the remorseless sword of the Franks.” 9[Page 258] Id., par. 12, and Milman’s “History of Latin Christianity,” book iii, chap 2, par. 29.ECE 257.3

    13. Nor was the religious zeal of Clovis confined to the overthrow of the Arians. There were two bodies of the Franks, the Salians and the Ripuarians. Clovis was king of the Salians, Sigebert of the Ripuarians. Clovis determined to be king of all; he therefore prompted the son of Sigebert to assassinate his father, with the promise that the son should peaceably succeed Sigebert on the throne; but as soon as the murder was committed, Clovis commanded the murderer to be murdered, and then in a full parliament of the whole people of the Franks, he solemnly vowed that he had had nothing to with the murder of either the father or the son; and upon this, as there was no heir, Clovis was raised upon a shield, and proclaimed king of the Ripuarian Franks;—all of which, with a further “long list of assassinations and acts of the darkest treachery,” Gregory, bishop of Tours, commended as the will of God, saying of Clovis that “God thus daily prostrated his enemies under his hands, and enlarged his kingdom, because he walked before him with an upright heart, and did that which was well pleasing in his sight.”—Milman. 10[Page 258] “History of Latin Christianity,” Id., par. 29. Thus was the bloody course of Clovis glorified by the Catholic writers, as the triumph of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity over Arianism.ECE 258.1

    14. In the Spanish peninsula “the Catholics enjoyed a free toleration” under the Arian Visigoths. “During the early reigns, both of the Suevian and Visigothic kings, the Catholic bishops had held their councils undisturbed.”—Milman, 11[Page 259] “History of Latin Christianity,” Vol. ii, book iii, chap 7, par. 24. The Visigoths remained Arian until the reign of Recared, A. D. 568. The last Arian king of Spain was Leovigild, 572-586 A. D., the father and predecessor of Recared. Leovigild’s eldest son, Hermenegild, “was invested by his father with the royal diadem, and the fair principality of Boetica.” He married a daughter of King Sigebert of Austrasia, who was a Catholic. Her mother-in-law fiercely abused her. This caused Hermenegild to cling the closer to her; and by her influence and that of the archbishop of Seville, Hermenegild became a Catholic. Some time after this he rebelled against his father, hoping to raise his principality into an independent kingdom. In the long war that followed, Hermenegild was constantly defeated, and his country, his cities, and at last himself were taken. “The rebel, despoiled of the regal ornaments, was still permitted, in a decent exile, to profess the Catholic religion.” But he still fomented treasons, so that it was necessary to imprison him; and he was finally put to death.ECE 258.2

    15. King Leovigild attributed to the Catholic Church the rebellious course of his son and the purpose to establish an independent kingdom. There can scarcely be any doubt that in this he was correct; because throughout the whole course of the war and all the dealings of the king, in bringing again into subjection his rebellious son, the Catholics counted it persecution; and Hermenegild, about a thousand years afterward, was made, and now is, a Catholic saint. But when Leovigild’s troubles with his son had ended in Hermenegild’s execution, there was nothing that could even be construed to be persecution of the Catholics. When, in 586, Recared ascended the Visigothic throne, he was a Catholic. And, in order to smooth the way to bring the nation over to Catholicism, he “piously supposed” that his father “had abjured the errors of Arianism, and recommended to his son the conversion of the Gothic nation. To accomplish that salutary end, Recared convened an assembly of the Arian clergy and nobles, declared himself a Catholic, and exhorted them to imitate the example of their prince...ECE 259.1

    16. “The Catholic king encountered some difficulties on this important change in the national religion. A conspiracy, secretly fomented by the queen dowager, was formed against his life; and two counts excited a dangerous revolt in the Narbonnese Gaul. But Recared disarmed the conspirators, defeated the rebels, and executed severe justice; which the Arians, in their turn, might brand with the reproach of persecution. Eight bishops, whose names betray their barbaric origin, abjured their errors; and all the books of Arian theology were reduced to ashes, with the house in which they had been purposely collected. The whole body of the Visigoths and Suevi were allured or driven into the pale of the Catholic communion; the faith, at least of the rising generation, was fervent and sincere; and the devout liberality of the barbarians enriched the churches and monasteries of Spain.ECE 259.2

    17. “Seventy bishops, assembled in the council of Toledo, received the submission of their conquerors; and the zeal of the Spaniards improved the Nicene Creed, by declaring the procession of the Holy Ghost, from the Son, as well as from the Father; a weighty point of doctrine, which produced, long afterward, the schism of the Greek and Latin churches. The royal proselyte immediately saluted and consulted Pope Gregory, surnamed the Great a, learned and holy prelate, whose reign was distinguished by the conversion of heretics and infidels. The ambassadors of Recared respectfully offered on the threshold of the Vatican his rich presents of gold and gems: they accepted as a lucrative exchange, the hairs of St. John the Baptist; a cross which inclosed a small piece of the true wood; and a key that contained some particles of iron which had been scraped from the chains of St. Peter.”—Gibbon. 12[Page 260] “Decline and Fall,” chap 37, par. 28.ECE 260.1

    18. Next after the “conversion” of the Visigoths, Gregory the Great could add to the glory of the Church and himself the gaining to Catholicism of the Anglo-Saxons. Before Gregory had become pope, while he was yet only a monk, he was fired with the zeal for the conquest of Angle-land, by the sight of some Anglian youth being sold for slaves in the city of Rome. As he passed by, he saw them, and asked who they were. The slave-dealers answered: “They are Angli.” Gregory exclaimed: “They have an angelic mien, and it becomes such to be coheirs with the angels in heaven.” “Whence are they brought?” asked Gregory. The slave-dealers answered: “They come from the province of Deira.” Gregory exclaimed: “It is well: de ira eruti—snatched from wrath, and called to Christ.” “What is the name of their king?” inquired Gregory. He was told: “Aella.” “Alleluiah!” shouted Gregory. “The praise of God the Creator must be sung in those parts.”ECE 260.2

    19. But Gregory’s personal conquest of Angle-land was prevented by his election to the office of pope, in 587 A. D. Yet this, though preventing his personal visit to the British Isles, only gave him the more power to accomplish it by means of others: he immediately called to the task a monk by the name of Augustine. Augustine, with a band of forty monks, set out on his long journey, recommended by the pope to the favor of the good Catholic sovereigns of France. From among the Franks he obtained interpreters, and “the good offices of Queen Brunehaut, who had at this time usurped the sovereign power in France. This princess, though stained with every vice of treachery and cruelty, either possessed or pretended great zeal for the cause; and Gregory acknowledged that to her friendly assistance was in a great measure owing the success of that undertaking.”—Hume. 13[Page 261] “History of England,” chap 1, par. 38. With these re-enforcements Augustine and his company went forward on their mission. They landed on the isle of Thanet, of the kingdom of Kent, where the first Anglo-Saxons had made their permanent landing 148 years before. Ethelbert was king of Kent: he had married Bertha, the daughter of Charibert, king of France, who was a Catholic; it being specified in the marriage contract that she should be allowed the free exercise of her religion.ECE 261.1

    20. From Thanet, Augustine sent word to the king that he had come “as a solemn embassage from Rome, to offer to the king of Kent the everlasting bliss of heaven: an eternal kingdom in the presence of the true and living God,” and asked for a meeting. The king would not meet them in any house or building, but only in the open air, in the field; “for he had taken precaution that they should not come to him in any house, according to the ancient superstition, lest, if they had any magical arts, they might at their coming impose upon him, and get the better of him.” “Augustine and his followers met the king with all the pomp which they could command, with a crucifix of silver in the van of their procession, a picture of the Redeemer borne aloft, and chanting their litanies for the salvation of the king and of his people. ‘Your words and offers,’ replied the king, ‘are fair; but they are new to me, and as yet unproved, I can not abandon at once the faith of my Anglian ancestors.’ But the missionaries were entertained with courteous hospitality. Their severely monastic lives, their constant prayers, fastings, and vigils, with their confident demeanor, impressed more and more favorably the barbaric mind. Rumor attributed to them many miracles. Before long the king of Kent was an avowed convert, his example was followed by many of his noblest subjects.”—Milman. 14[Page 262] “History of Latin Christianity,” Vol. ii, book iv, chap 3, par. 7. The king as yet used no compulsion to cause his subjects to become Catholics; yet it was made plain that those who did become Catholics were special objects of royal favor.ECE 261.2

    21. Augustine, of course, sent to Gregory the glad news of the conversion of the king. Gregory rewarded him with the archbishopric. He established his see at Canterbury, and thus originated the archbishopric of Canterbury, which has ever held the primacy of all England. The pope also wrote Ethelbert, “enjoining him, in the most solemn manner, to use every means of force as well as of persuasion to convert his subjects; utterly to destroy their temples, to show no toleration to those who adhere to their idolatrous rites.” A bishopric of London was established, and to the new bishop Gregory wrote that the sacred places of the heathen were not to be destroyed, provided they were well built; but were to be cleared of their idols, to be purified by holy water; and the relics of the saints to be “enshrined in the precincts. Even the sacrifices were to be continued under another name. The oxen which the heathen used to immolate to their gods were to be brought in procession on holy days. The huts or tents of boughs, which used to be built for the assembling worshipers, were still to be set up, the oxen slain and eaten in honor of the Christian festival: and thus these outward rejoicings were to train an ignorant people to the perception of true Christian joys.”ECE 262.1

    22. One of these pagan festivals that was then adopted by the Catholic Church, and which to-day holds a large place even in Protestant worship, is the festival of Eostre—Easter. Eostre, or Ostara, was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Accordingly, to her was dedicated “the fourth month, answering to our April—thence called Eostur-monath.” This goddess Eostre, or Ostara, among the Anglo-Saxons, was identical with Ishtar of the Assyrians and Babylonians, and Astarte and Ashtaroth of the Phenicians. The worship of Eostre as of Ishtar, Astarte, and Ashtaroth, was a phase of sun worship. This is indeed suggested by the German form of the word—Ostern—the root of which is Ost, and means the East. From Ost there was derived oster, and osten, which signify “rising,“ from the rising of the sun. This idea of rising was attached specially to the springtime, because then all nature “rises” anew. The source of this rising of nature, was attributed to the sun, which, through his rising at the winter solstice, December 25, in his victory over the powers of darkness and of night, had by the time of Eostur-monath grown so powerful as to cause all nature also to rise. This pagan festival of the sun, and of spring, as in the conception of Eostre, was by Augustine and Rome allowed to stand and still be celebrated: but as the festival of resurrection of Christ. And this pagan festival it is, this festival of Eostre, Ostara, Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtaroth,—the female element in sun worship,—that is still the spring festival of the professed Christian world.ECE 262.2

    23. In the early times of the Christian era Christianity had been planted in Britain, and had continued there ever since, though at this time not in its original purity. In the dreadful slaughters wrought by the Anglo-Saxons in their terrible invasions of the land, the Christians of Britain had had no opportunity to approach the invaders in a missionary way. The wrath of the invaders was upon all the natives alike. To be a Briton was sufficient to incur the full effects of that wrath, without any question as to whether the individual was a Christian or not. Thus, whatever Christianity there was amongst the Britons, was, with the Britons, pushed back into the farthest corners of the land, where the remains of the Britons might still be suffered to exist. The British Christians celebrated the Christian passover according to the original custom, on the fourteenth day of the first month, on whatsoever day of the week it might fall. There were also other matters of discipline in which the Church of Britain differed from the Church of Rome.ECE 263.1

    24. Augustine had not been long in the island before he made inquiries respecting the Christians among the Britons. The Britons likewise were interested to know what this new invasion might mean for them. Communication was opened between them. A conference was arranged, at which “the Romans demanded submission to their discipline, and the implicit adoption of the Western ceremonial on the contested points.” The Britons were not satisfied, and asked for opportunity to consult their own people, and that then there be another conference. This was agreed to.ECE 263.2

    25. In the interval, the British delegates consulted one of their wise men as to what they had better do. He told them: “If the man is of God, follow him.” They asked: “How are we to know that he is of God?” He answered: “Our Lord saith, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart. If, therefore, Augustine is meek and lowly of heart, it is to be believed that he has taken upon himself the yoke of Christ, and offers it to you to take upon yourselves. But if he is haughty and proud, it is manifest that he is not of God, and that we need not regard his words.” Again they asked: “How shall we discern this?” He replied: “Arrange it so that he first arrive with his company at the place of conference; and if, at your approach, he shall rise up to meet you, do you, being then assured that he is the servant of Christ, hear him obediently. But if he shall despise you, and not rise up to you, who are the greater in number, let him also be contemned of you.” 15[Page 264] Knight’s “History of England,” chap 5, par. 12.ECE 264.1

    26. They did so, and so came to the conference. “Augustine sat, as they drew near, in unbending dignity. The Britons at once refused obedience to his commands, and disclaimed him as their metropolitan. The indignant Augustine (to prove his more genuine Christianity) burst out into stern denunciations of their guilt, in not having preached the gospel to their enemies. He prophesied (a prophecy which could hardly fail to hasten its own fulfillment) the divine vengeance by the arms of the Saxons.”—Milman. 16[Page 264] “History of Latin Christianity,” Vol. ii, book iv, chap 3, par. 9. “The vengeance with which they were threatened finally came upon them in the massacre of Bangor. On that terrible day, when Ethelfrith, the Bernician, advanced against the Britons, the monks of Bangor, who had fled to the army headed by the chief of Powis, knelt upon the battlefield, and prayed for the safety of their countrymen. The pagan Saxon ordered the unarmed band to be massacred, ‘for if they are crying to God for my enemies, then they fight against me, though without arms’...The memory of Augustine has been stained by the reproach that he excited this massacre in a spirit of revenge against those who, in the language of Bede, ‘had disdained his counsels for their eternal salvation.’ The fierce prophecy of Augustine, even without his direct intervention, might have had much to do with its cruel accomplishment ...Be that as it may, the spirit of the prophecy was antichristian.”—Knight. 17[Page 265] Id.ECE 264.2

    27. Thus did the religion of Rome enter Britain; and in its own antichristian way it proceeded, until, in a hundred years, the Anglo-Saxons had become Catholic “from one end of the land to the other.” And even then it continued in its own native way; for it is the truth that two hundred years later “the Saxons, though they had been so long settled in the island, seem not as yet to have been much improved beyond their German ancestors, either in arts, civility, knowledge, humanity, justice, or obedience to the laws. Even Christianity, though it opened the way to connections between them and the more polished states of Europe, had not hitherto been very effectual in banishing their ignorance or softening their barbarous manners. As they received that doctrine through the corrupted channels of Rome, it carried along with it a great mixture of credulity and superstition, equally destructive to the understanding and to morals. The reverence toward saints and relics seems to have almost supplanted the adoration of the Supreme Being. Monastic observances were esteemed more meritorious than the active virtues; the knowledge of natural causes was neglected from the universal belief of miraculous interpositions and judgments; bounty to the Church atoned for every violence against society; and the remorses for cruelty, murder, treachery, assassination, and the most robust vices were appeased, not by amendment of life, but by penances, servility to the monks, and an abject and illiberal devotion.”—Hume. 18[Page 265] “History of England,” chap 1, par. 7 from end.ECE 265.1

    28. Before Augustine had set foot on British soil, the Christianity of the Britons and of the Irish had been carried by them into Germany to the wild tribes of the native forests. A hundred years after Augustine entered England, Boniface, a Saxon monk, went on a mission to Germany, to bring the pagan and heretic Germans into the Catholic fold. He was not at once so successful as he expected to be, and, after about two years, he returned to England. But shortly he decided to go to Rome, that he might have the sanction and blessing of the pope upon his mission to the Germans.ECE 265.2

    29. Gregory II was pope at the time. He readily sanctioned Boniface’s enterprise, “bestowed upon him ample powers, but exacted an oath of allegiance to the Roman see. He recommended him to all the bishops and all orders of Christians, above all to Charles Martel, who, as mayor of the palace, exercised royal authority in that part of France. He urged Charles to assist the missionary by all means in his power in the pious work of reclaiming the heathen from the state of brute beasts. And Charles Martel faithfully fulfilled the wishes of the pope. ‘Without the protection of the prince of the Franks,’ writes the grateful Boniface, ‘I could neither rule the people, nor defend the priests, the monks, and the handmaids of God, nor prevent pagan and idolatrous rites in Germany.’ And the pope attributes to the aid of Charles the spiritual subjugation of a hundred thousand barbarians by the holy Boniface.”ECE 266.1

    30. Boniface again went to Rome, where he was ordained bishop in 723 A. D. He went again to Germany and remained there till about 740 A. D., when he again went to Rome, and was made an archbishop by Gregory III, “with full powers as representative of the apostolic see.” He established his throne at Mentz,—Mainz, or Mayence. “Boniface ruled the minds of the clergy, the people, and the king. He held councils, and condemned heretics.” In short, he aimed fairly to be a pope in his own dominion, for he “even resisted within his own diocese, the author of his greatness,” the pope himself. 19[Page 266] Milman’s “History of Latin Christianity,” book iv, chap 5, pars. 18-27.ECE 266.2

    31. The work of Boniface and Charles Martel was carried to completion by St. Lebuin and Charlemagne. “The Saxon wars of Charlemagne, which added almost the whole of Germany to his dominions, were avowedly religious wars. If Boniface was the Christian, Charlemagne was the Mohammedan, apostle of the gospel. The declared object of his invasions, according to his biographer, was the extinction of heathenism: subjection to the Christian faith, or extermination. Baptism was the sign of subjugation and fealty; the Saxons accepted or threw it off according as they were in a state of submission or revolt.”ECE 266.3

    32. The first expedition of Charlemagne against the Saxons, was in 772, and was brought about thus: Among the missionaries who had passed from England into Germany, to Catholicize the heathen, was St. Lebuin. He arranged to attend the annual diet of all the Saxon tribes, which was held on the Weser. At the same time, Charlemagne held his diet, or Field of May, at Worms. “The Saxons were in the act of solemn worship and sacrifice, when Lebuin stood up in the midst, proclaimed himself the messenger of the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and denounced the folly and impiety of their idolatries. He urged them to repentance, to belief, to baptism, and promised as their reward temporal and eternal peace. So far the Saxons seemed to have listened with decent or awe-struck reverence; but when Lebuin ceased to speak in this more peaceful tone, and declared that, if they refused to obey, God would send against them a mighty and unconquerable king, who would punish their contumacy, lay waste their land with fire and sword, and make slaves of their wives and children, the proud barbarians broke out into the utmost fury; they threatened the dauntless missionary with stakes and stones: his life was saved only by the intervention of an aged chieftain. The old man insisted on the sanctity which belonged to all ambassadors, above all the ambassadors of a great God.”—Milman. 20[Page 267] “History of Latin Christianity,” Vol. ii, book v. chap 1, pars. 7, 9.ECE 266.4

    33. Charlemagne immediately assembled his army at Worms, crossed the Rhine, and invaded Saxony. And thus began a war of thirty-three years, in the execution of his terrible purpose that “these Saxons must be Christianized or wiped out.” “The acts and language of Charles show that he warred at once against the religion and the freedom of Germany ...Throughout the war Charlemagne endeavored to subdue the tribes as he went on, by the terror of his arms; and terrible indeed were those arms! On one occasion, at Verdun-on-the-Allier, he massacred in cold blood four thousand brave warriors who had surrendered.”ECE 267.1

    34. Into the “converted” barbarians, the Catholic system instilled all of its superstition, and its bigoted hatred of heretics and unbelievers. It thus destroyed what of generosity still remained in their minds, while it only intensified their native ferocity; and the shameful licentiousness of the papal system likewise corrupted the purity, and the native respect for women and marriage which had always been a noble characteristic of the German nations.ECE 267.2

    35. When such horrible actions as those of Clovis were so lauded by the chiefest of the clergy as the pious acts of orthodox Catholics, it is certain that the clergy themselves were no better than were the bloody objects of their praise. Under the influence of such ecclesiastics, the condition of the barbarians after their so-called conversion, could not possibly be better, even if it were not worse than before. To be converted to the principles and precepts of such clergy was only the more deeply to be damned. In proof of this it is necessary only to touch upon the condition of Catholic France under Clovis and his successors. This is strictly proper, because from the day of the “conversion” of Clovis, France has always been counted by Rome as the eldest and most devoted “son of the Church.” The Catholic system in France, therefore, is strictly representative.ECE 268.1

    36. “It is difficult to conceive a more dark and odious state of society than that of France under her Merovingian kings, the descendants of Clovis, as described by Gregory of Tours. In the conflict or coalition of barbarism with Roman Christianity, barbarism has introduced into Christianity all its ferocity, with none of its generosity or magnanimity; its energy shows itself in atrocity of cruelty and even of sensuality. [Roman] Christianity has given to barbarism hardly more than its superstition and its hatred of heretics and unbelievers. Throughout, assassinations, parricides, and fratricides intermingle with adulteries and rapes.ECE 268.2

    37. “The cruelty might seem the mere inevitable result of this violent and unnatural fusion; but the extent to which this cruelty spreads throughout the whole society almost surpasses belief. That King Chlotaire should burn alive his rebellious son with his wife and daughter, is fearful enough; but we are astounded, even in these times, that a bishop of Tours should burn a man alive to obtain the deeds of an estate which he coveted. Fredegonde sends two murderers to assassinate Childebert, and these assassins are clerks [clerics]. She causes the archbishop of Rouen to be murdered while he is chanting the service in the church; and in this crime a bishop and an archdeacon are her accomplices. She is not content with open violence; she administers poison with the subtlety of a Locusta or a modern Italian, apparently with no sensual design, but from sheer barbarity.ECE 268.3

    38. “As to the intercourse of the sexes, wars of conquest, where the females are at the mercy of the victors, especially if female virtue is not in much respect, would severely try the more rigid morals of the conqueror. The strength of the Teutonic character, when it had once burst the bonds of habitual or traditionary restraint, might seem to disdain easy and effeminate vice, and to seek a kind of wild zest in the indulgence of lust, by mingling it up with all other violent passions, rapacity and inhumanity. Marriage was a bond contracted and broken or the slightest occasion. Some of the Merovingian kings took as many wives, either together or in succession, as suited either their passions or their politics.ECE 269.1

    39. The papal religion “hardly interferes even to interdict incest. King Chlotaire demanded for the fisc the third part of the revenue of the churches; some bishops yielded; one, Injuriosus, disdainfully refused, and Chlotaire withdrew his demands. Yet Chlotaire, seemingly unrebuked, married two sisters at once. Charibert likewise married two sisters: he, however, found a churchman—but that was Saint Germanus—bold enough to rebuke him. This rebuke the king (the historian quietly writes), as he had already many wives, bore with patience. Dagobert, son of Chlotaire, king of Austrasia, repudiated his wife Gomatrude for barrenness, married a Saxon slave Mathildis, then another, Regnatrude; so that he had three wives at once, besides so many concubines that the chronicler is ashamed to recount them. Brunehaut and Fredegonde are not less famous for their licentiousness than for their cruelty. Fredegonde is either compelled, or scruples not of her own accord, to take a public oath, with three bishops and four hundred nobles as her vouchers, that her son was the son of her husband Chilperic.ECE 269.2

    40. “The Eastern rite of having a concubine seems to have been inveterate among the later Frankish kings: that which was permitted for the sake of perpetuating the race, was continued and carried to excess by the more dissolute sovereigns for their own pleasure. Even as late as Charlemagne, the polygamy of that great monarch, more like an Oriental sultan (except that his wives were not secluded in a harem), as well as the notorious licentiousness of the females of his court, was unchecked, and indeed unreproved, by the religion of which he was at least the temporal head, of which the spiritual sovereign placed on his brow the crown of the Western Empire.”ECE 269.3

    41. “The religious emperor, in one respect, troubled not himself with the restraints of religion. The humble or grateful Church beheld meekly, and almost without remonstrance, the irregularity of domestic life, which not merely indulged in free license, but treated the sacred rite of marriage as a covenant dissoluble at his pleasure. Once we have heard, and but once, the Church raise its authoritative, its comminatory voice, and that not to forbid the king of the Franks from wedding a second wife while his first was alive, but from marrying a Lombard princess. One pious ecclesiastic alone in his dominions, he a relative, ventured to protest aloud. Charles repudiated his first wife to marry the daughter of Desiderius; and after a year repudiated her to marry Hildegard, a Swabian lady. By Hildegard he had six children. On her death he married Fastrada, who bore him two; a nameless concubine, another. On Fastrada’s death he married Liutgardis, a German, who died without issue. On her decease he was content with four concubines.”—Milman. 21[Page 270] Id., Vol. ii, book v, chap 1, par. 5.ECE 270.1

    42. “The tenure of land implying military service, as the land came more and more into the hands of the clergy, the ecclesiastic would be embarrassed more and more with the double function; till at length we arrive at the prince bishop, or the feudal abbot, alternately unite the helmet and the miter on his head, the crozier and the lance in his hand: now in the field and in front of his armed vassals, now on his throne in the church in the midst of his chanting choir.”—Milman. 22[Page 270] Id., book iii, chap 2, pars. 33-37.ECE 270.2

    43. In the seventh century “the progress of vice among the subordinate rulers and ministers of the Church was truly deplorable: neither bishops, presbyters, deacons, nor even the cloistered monks, were exempt from the general contagion; as appears from the unanimous confession of all the writers of this century that are worthy of credit. In those very places that were consecrated to the advancement of piety and the service of God, there was little to be seen but spiritual ambition, insatiable avarice, pious frauds, intolerable pride, and supercilious contempt of the natural rights of the people, with many other vices still more enormous.”—Mosheim. 23[Page 271] “Ecclesiastical History,” cent. vii, part ii, chap 2, par. 3.ECE 270.3

    44. In the eighth century it was worse. “That corruption of manners which dishonored the clergy in the former century, increased, instead of diminishing, in this, and discovered itself under the most odious characters, both in the Eastern and Western provinces .... In the Western world Christianity was not less disgraced by the lives and actions of those who pretended to be the luminaries of the Church, and who ought to have been so in reality by exhibiting examples of piety and virtue to their flock. The clergy abandoned themselves to their passions without moderation or restraint: they were distinguished by their luxury, their gluttony, and their lust; they gave themselves up to dissipations of various kinds, to the pleasures of hunting, and, what seemed still more remote from their sacred character, to military studies and enterprises. They had also so far extinguished every principle of fear and shame, that they became incorrigible; nor could the various laws enacted against their vices by Carloman, Pepin, and Charlemagne, at all contribute to set bounds to their licentiousness, or to bring about their reformation.” 24[Page 271] Id., cent. viii, part ii, chap 2, par. 1.ECE 271.1

    45. Carloman was obliged to enact severe laws against “the whoredom of the clergy, monks, and nuns.” Charlemagne had to enact laws against “clergymen’s loaning money for twelve per cent interest;” against their “haunting taverns;” against their “practicing magic;” against their “receiving bribes to ordain improper persons;” against “bishops, abbots, and abbesses keeping packs of hounds, or hawks, or falcons;” against “clerical drunkenness,” “concubinage,” “tavernhaunting,” and “profane swearing.” 25[Page 271] Id., Murdock’s translation, in the notes. But all this was in vain; for abundant and indisputable evidence demonstrates that in the next century the deplorable condition was even worse. Thus did the papacy for the barbarians whom she “converted;” and such as she could not thus corrupt she destroyed.ECE 271.2

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