168 EMANATION AND ABSORPTION.
ble appearance of material things, for there is reason to believe that matter is nothing more than forces filling space. Democritus raised us to the noble thought that, small as it is, a single atom may constitute a world. The doctrine of Emanation has thus a double interpretation. It sets forth the universe either as a part of the substance of God, or as an unsubstantial something proceeding from him: the former a conception more tangible and readily grasped by the mind; the latter of unapproachable sublimity, when we recall the countless beautiful and majestic forms which Nature on all sides presents. This visible world is only the shadow of God. In the farther consideration of this doctrine of the issue, forthcoming, or emanation of the universe from God, and its return into or absorption by him, an illustration may not be without value. Out of the air, which may be pure and tranquil, the watery vapor often comes forth in a visible form, a misty fleece, perhaps no larger than the hand of a man at first, but a great cloud in the end. The external appearance the forthcoming form presents is determined by the incidents of the times; it may have a pure whiteness or a threatening blackness; its edges may be fringed with gold. In the bosom of such a cloud the lightning may be pent up, from it the thunder may be heard; but, even if it should not offer these manifestations of power, if its disappearance should be as tranquil as its formation, it has not existed in vain. No cloud ever yet formed on the sky without leaving an imperishable impression on the earth, for while it yet existed there was not a plant whose growth was not delayed, whose substance was not lessened. And of such a cloud, whose production we have watched, how often has it happened to us to witness its melting away into the untroubled air. From the untroubled air it came, and to the pure untroubled air it has again returned. Now such a cloud is made up of countless hosts of microscopic drops, each maintaining itself separate from the others, and each, small though it may be, having an individuality of its own. The grand aggregate may vary its color and shape; it may be the scene of unceasing and rapid interior movements of many kinds, yet it presents its aspect unchanged, or changes tranquilly and silently, still glowing in the light that falls on it, still casting its shadow on the ground. It is an emblem of the universe according to the ancient doctrine, showing us how the visible may issue from the invisible, and return again thereto; that a drop too small for the unassisted eye to see may be the representative of a world. The spontaneous emergence and disappearance of a cloud is the emblem of a transitory universe issuing forth and disappearing, again to be succeeded by other universes, other like creations in the long lapse of time.
GREEK PHILOSOPHICAL CONCLUSIONS-THE SOUL. 169 (3.) Of the nature of the soul. From the material quality assigned to the soul by the early Ionian schools, as that it was air, fire, or the like, there was a gradual passage to the opinion of its immateriality. To this, precision was given by the assertion that it had not only an affinity with, but even is a part of God. Whatever were the views entertained of the nature and attributes of the Supreme Being, they directly influenced the conclusions arrived at respecting the nature of the soul. Greek philosophy, in its highest state of development, regarded the soul as something more than the sum of the moments of thinking. It held it to be a portion of the Deity himself. This doctrine is the necessary corollary of Pantheism. It contemplated a past eternity, a future immortality. It entered on such inquiries as whether the number of souls in the universe is constant. As upon the foregoing point, so upon this, there was a complete analogy between the decision arrived at in Grecian and that in Indian philosophy. Thus the latter says, "I am myself an irradiated manifestation of the supreme BRAHM." " Never was there a time in which I was not, nor thou, nor these princes of the people, and never shall I not be; henceforth we all are." Viewing the soul as merely a spectator and stranger in this world, they regarded it as occupying itself rather in contemplation than in action, asserting that in its origin it is an immediate emanation from the Divinity-not a modification nor a transformation of the Supreme, but a portion of him; "its relation is not that of a servant to his master, but of a part to the whole." It is like a spark separated from a flame; it migrates from body to body, sometimes found in the higher, then in the lower, and again in the higher tribes of life, occupying first one, then another body, as circumstances demand. And, as a drop of water pursues a devious career in the cloud, in the rain, in the river, a part of a plant, part of an animal, but sooner or later inevitably finds its way back to the sea from which it came, so the soul, however various its fortunes may have been, sinks back at last into the divinity from which it emanated. Both Greeks and Hindus turned their attention to the delusive phenomena of the world. Among the latter many figuratively supposed that what we call visible nature is a mere illusion befalling the soul, because of its temporary separation from God. In the Buddhist philosophy the world was thus held to be a creature of the imagination. But among some in those ancient, as among others in more modern times, it was looked upon as having a more substantial condition, and the soul a passive mirror in which things reflected themselves, or perhaps it might, to some extent, be the partial creator of its own forms. But, however that may be, its final destiny is a perfect repose after its absorption in the Supreme.
170 ORIENTAL ANALOGY TO THAT CONCLUSION.
On this third topic of ancient philosophy an illustration may not be without use. As a bubble floats upon the sea, and, by reason the nature of its form, reflects whatever objects may be present, whether the clouds in the sky, or the stationary and moving things on the shore, nay, even to a certain extent depicts the sea itself on which it floats, and from which it arose, offering these various forms not only in shapes resembling the truth in the proper order of light and shade, the proper perspective, the proper colors, but, in addition thereto, tincturing them all with a play of hues arising from itself, so it is with the soul. From a boundless and unfathomable sea the bubble arose. It does not in any respect differ in nature from its source. From water it came, and mere water it ever is. It gathers its qualities, so far as external things are concerned, only from its form, and from the circumstances under which it is placed. As the circumstances to which it is exposed vary, it floats here and there, merging into other bubbles it meets, and emerging from the collected foam again. In such migrations it is now larger, now less; at one moment passing into new shapes, at another lost in a coalescence of those around it. But whatever these its migrations, these its vicissitudes, there awaits it an inevitable destiny, an absorption, a reincorporation with the ocean. In that final moment, what is it that is lost? what is it that has come to an end? Not the essential substance, for water it was before it was developed, water it was during its existence, and water it still remains, ready to be re-expanded again. Nor does the resemblance fail when we consider the general functions discharged while the bubble maintained its form. In it were depicted in their true shapes and relative magnitudes surrounding things. It hence had a relation to Space. And, if it was in motion, it reflected in succession the diverse objects as they passed by. Through such successive representations it maintained a relation to Time. Moreover, it imparted to the images it thus produced a coloration of its own, and in all this was an emblem of the Soul. For Space and Time are the outward conditions with which it is concerned, and it adds thereto abstract ideas, the product of its own nature. But when the bubble bursts there is an end of all these relations. No longer is there any reflection of external forms, no longer any motion, no longer any innate qualities to add. In one respect the bubble is annihilated, in another it still exists. It has returned to that infinite expanse in comparison with which it is altogether insignificant and imperceptible. Transitory, and yet eternal: transitory, since all its relations of a special and individual kind have come to an end; eternal in a double sense-the sense of Platonism-since it was connected with a past of which there was no beginning, and continues in a future to which there is no end. (4.) Of the possibility of a criterion of truth. An absolute criterion
THE CRITERION OF TRUTH. 171
of truth must at once accredit itself, as well as other things. At a very early period in philosophy the senses were detected as being altogether unreliable. On numberless occasions, instead of accrediting, they discredit themselves. A stick, having a spark of fire at one end, gives rise to the appearance of a circle of light when it is turned round quickly. The rainbow seems to be an actually-existing arch until the delusion is detected by our going to the place over which it seems to rest. Nor is it alone as respects things for which there is an exterior basis or foundation, such as the spark of fire in one of these cases, and the drops of water in the other. Each of our organs of sense can palm off delusions of the most purely fictitious kind. The eye may present apparitions as distinct as the realities among which they locate themselves; the ear may annoy us with the continual repetition of a murmuring sound, or parts of a musical strain, or articulate voices, though we well know that it is all a delusion; and in like manner, in their proper way, in times of health, and especially in those of sickness, will the other senses of taste, and touch, and smell practice upon us their deceptions. This being the case, how shall we know that any information derived from such unfaithful sources is true? Pythagoras rendered a great service in telling us to remember that we have within ourselves a means of detecting fallacy and demonstrating truth. What is it that assures us of the unreality of the fiery circle, the rainbow, the spectre, the voices, the crawling of insects upon the skin? Is it not reason? To reason may we not then trust? With such facts before us, what a crowd of inquiries at once presses upon our attention-inquiries which even in modern times, have occupied the thoughts of the greatest metaphysicians. Shall we begin our studies by examining sensations or by examining ideas? Shall we say with Descartes that all clear ideas are true? Shall we inquire with Spinoza whether we have any ideas independent of experience? With Hobbes, shall we say that all our thoughts are begotten by and are the representatives of objects exterior to us; that our conceptions arise in material motions pressing on our organs, producing motion in them, and so affecting the mind; that our sensations do not correspond with outward qualities; that sound and noise belong to the bell and the air, and not to the mind, and, like color, are only agitations occasioned by the object in the brain; that imagination is a conception gradually dying away after the act of sense, and is nothing more than a decaying sensation; that meniory is the vestige of former impressions, enduring for a time; that forgetfulness is the obliteration of such vestiges; that the succession of thought:is not indifferent, at random, or voluntary, but that thought follows thought in a determinate and predestined sequence; that whatever we imagine is finite, and hence
172 UNCERTAINTIES OF PHILOSOPHY.
we can not conceive of the infinite, nor think of any thing not subject to sense? Shall we say with Locke that there are two sources of our ideas, sensation and reflection; that the mind can not know things directly, but only through ideas? Shall we suggest with Leibnitz that reflection is nothing more than attention to what is passing in the mind, and that between the mind and the body there is a sympathetic synchronism? With Berkeley shall we assert that there is no other reason for inferring the existence of matter itself than the necessity of having some synthesis for its attributes; that the objects of knowledge. are ideas and nothing else; and that the mind is active in sensation? Shall we listen to the demonstration of Hume, that, if matter is an unreal fiction, the mind is not less so, since it is no more than a succession of impressions and ideas; that our belief in causation is only the consequence of habit; and that we have better proof that night is the cause of day, than of thousands of other cases in which we persuade ourselves that we know the right relation of cause and effect: that from habit alone we believe the future will resemble the past? Shall we infer with Condillac that memory is only transformed sensation, and comparison double attention; that every idea for which we can not find an exterior object is destitute of significance; that our innate ideas come by development, and that reasoning and running are learned together. With Kant shall we conclude that there is but one source of knowledge, the union of the object and the subject-but two elements thereof, space and time; and that they are forms of sensibility, space being a form of internal sensibility, and time both of internal and external, but neither of them having any objective reality; and that the world is not known to us as it is, but only as it appears? I admit the truth of the remark of Posidonius that a man might as well be content to die as to cease philosophizing; for, if there are contradictions in philosophy, there are quite as many in life. In the light of this remark, I shall therefore not hesitate to offer a few suggestions respecting the criterion of human knowledge, undiscouraged by the fact that so many of the ablest men have turned their attention to it. In this there might seem to be presumption, were it not that the advance of the sciences, and especially of human physiology, has brought us to a mere elevated point of view, and enabled us to see the state of things much more distinctly than was possible for our predecessors. I think that the inability of ancient philosophers to furnish a true solution of this problem was altogether owing to the imperfect, and, indeed, erroneous idea they had of the position of man. They gave too much weight to his personal individuality. In the mature period of his life they regarded him as isolated, independent, and complete in himself. They forgot that this is only a momentary
INCREASE OF INTELLECT IN THE INDIVIDUAL. 173.
phase in his existence, which, commencing from small beginnings, exhibits a continuous expansion or progress. From a single cell, scarcely more than a step above the inorganic state, not differing, as we may infer both from the appearance it offers and the forms through which it runs in the earlier stages of life, from the cell out of which any other animal or plant, even the humblest, is derived, a passage is made through form after form in a manner absolutely depending upon surrounding physical conditions. The history is very long, and the forms are very numerous, between the first appearance of the primitive trace and the hoary aspect of seventy years. It is not correct to take one moment in this long procession and make it a representative of the whole. It is not correct to say, even if the body of the mature man undergoes unceasing changes to an extent implying the reception, incorporation, and dismissal of nearly a ton and a half of material in the course of a year, that in this flux of matter there is not only a permanence of form, but, what is of infinitely more importance, an unchangeableness in his intellectual powers. It is not correct to say this; indeed, it is wholly untrue. The intellectual principle passes forth in a career as clearly marked as that in which the body runs. Even if we overlook the time antecedent to birth, how complete is the imbecility of his early days! The light shines upon his eyes, he sees not; sounds fall upon his ear, he hears not. From these low beginnings we might describe in succession the successive re-enforcements through infancy, childhood, and youth to maturity. And what is the result to which all this carries us? Is it not that, in the philosophical contemplation of man, we are constrained to reject the idea of personality, of individuality, and to adopt that of a cycle of progress; to abandon all contemplation of his mere substantial form, and consider his abstract relation? All organic forms, if compared together and examined from one common point of view, are found to be constructed upon an identical scheme. It is as in some mathematical expression containing constants and variables; the actual result changes accordingly as we assign successively different values to the variables, yet in those different results, no matter how numerous they may be, the original formula always exists. From such a universal conception of the condition and career of man, we rise at once to the apprehension of his relations to others like himself-that is to say, his relations as a member of society. We perceive, in this light, that society must run a course the counterpart of that we have traced for the individual, and that the appearance of isolation presented by the individual is altogether illusory. Each individual man drew his life from another, and to another man he gives rise, losing, in point of fact, his aspect of connections. individuality when these are considered. One epoch in life is not all life. The mature individual can not be disen-
174 CONNECTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL WITH THE RACE.
tangled from the multitudinous forms through which he has passed; and, considering the nature of his primitive conception and the issue of his reproduction, man can not be separated from his race. By the aid of these views of the nature and relationship of man, we can come to a decision respecting his possession of a criterion of truth. In the earliest moments of his existence he can neither feel nor think, and the universe is to him as though it did not exist. Considering the progress of his sensational powers-his sight, hearing, touch, etc.-these, as his cycle advances to its maximum, become, by nature or by education, more and more perfect; but never, at the best, as the ancient philosophers well knew, are they trustworthy. And so of his intellectual powers. They, too, begin in feebleness and gradually expand. The mind alone is no surer reliance than the organs of sense alone. If any doubt existed on this point, the study of the phenomena of dreaming is sufficient to remove it, for dreaming manifests to us how wavering and unsteady is the mind in its operations when it is detached from the solid support of the organs of sense. How true is the remark of Philo the Jew, that the mind is like the eye; for, though it may see all other objects, it can not see itself, and therefore can not judge of itself. And thus we may conclude that neither are the senses to be trusted alone, nor is the mind to be trusted alone. In the conjoint action of the two, by reason of the mutual checks established, a far higher degree of certainty is attained to; yet even in this, the utmost vouchsafed to the individual, there is not, as both Greeks and Indians ascertained, an absolute sureness. It was the knowledge of this which extorted from them so many melancholy complaints, which threw them into an intellectual despair, and made them, by applying the sad determination to which they had come to the course of their daily life, sink down into indifference and infidelity. But yet there is something more in reserve for man. Let him cast off the clog of individuality, and remember that he has race connections -connections which, in this matter of a criterion of truth, indefinitely increase his chances of certainty. If he looks with contempt on the opinions of his childhood, with little consideration on those of his youth, with distrust on those of his manhood, what will he say about the opinions of his race? Do not such considerations teach us that, through all these successive conditions, the criterion of truth is ever advancing in precision and power, and that its maximum is found in the unanimous opinion of the whole human race? Upon these principles I believe that, though we have not, philosophically speaking, any absolute criterion of truth, we rise by degrees to higher and higher certainties along an ascending scale which becomes more and more exact. I think that metaphysical writers who have treated on this point have been led into error
THE MAXIMUM OF CERTAINTY. 175
from an imperfect conception of the true position of man; they have limited their thoughts to a single epoch of his course, and have not taken an enlarged and philosophical view. In thus declining the Oriental doctrine that the individual is the centre from which the universe should be regarded, and transferring our stand-point to a more comprehensive and solid foundation, we imitate, in metaphysics, the course of astronomy when it substituted the heliocentric for the geocentric point of view, and the change promises to be equally fertile in sure results. If it were worth while, we might proceed to enforce this doctrine by an appeal to the experience of ordinary life. How often, when we distrust our own judgment, do we seek support in the advice of a friend. How strong is our persuasion that we are in the right when public opinion is with us. For this even the Church has not disdained to call together Councils, aiming thereby at a surer means of arriving at the truth. The Council is more reliable than an individual, whoever he may be. The probabilities increase with the number of consenting intellects, and hence I come to the conclusion that in the unanimous consent of the entire human race lies the human criterion of truth-a criterion, in its turn, capable of increased precision with the diffusion of enlightenment and knowledge. For this reason, I do not look upon the prospects of humanity in so cheerless a light as they did of old. On the contrary, every thing seems full of hope. Good auguries may be drawn for philosophy from the great mechanical and material inventions which multiply the means of intercommunication, and, it may be said, annihilate terrestrial distances. In the intellectual collisions that must ensue, in the melting down of opinions, in the examinations and analyses of nations, truth will come forth. Whatever cannot stand that ordeal must submit to its fate. Lies and imposture, no matter how powerfully sustained, must prepare to depart. In that supreme tribunal man I may place implicit confidence. Even though, philosophically, it is far from absolute, it is the highest criterion vouchsafed to him, and from its decision he has no appeal. In delivering thus emphatically my own views on this profound topic perhaps I do wrong. It is becoming to speak with humility on that which has been glorified by the great writers of Greece, of India, of Alexandria, and, in latter times, of Europe. In conclusion, I would remark that the view here presented of the results of Greek philosophy is that which offers itself to me after a long and careful study of the subject. It is, however, the affirmative, not the negative result; for we must not forget that if, on the one hand, the pantheistic doctrines of the Nature of God, Universal Animation, the theory of Emanation, Transmutation, Absorption, Transmigration, etc., were adopted, on the other there was by no means an insignificant tendency to atheism and utter infidelity.
176 APPLICATION OF PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLE.
Even of this negative state a corresponding condition occurred in the Buddhism of India, of which I have previously spoken; and, indeed, so complete is the parallel between the course of mental evolution in Asia and Europe, that it is difficult to designate a matter of minor detail in the philosophy of the one which can not be pointed out in that of the other. It was not without reason, therefore, that the Alexandrian philosophers, who were profoundly initiated in the detail of both systems, came to the conclusion that such surprising coincidences could be only accounted for upon the admission that there had been an ancient revelation, the vestiges of which had descended to their time. In this, however, they judged erroneously; the true explanation consisting in the fact that the process of development of the intellect of man, and the final results to which he arrives in examining similar problems, are in all countries the same. It does not fall within my plan to trace the application of these philosophical principles to practice in daily life, yet the subject is of such boundless interest that perhaps the reader will excuse a single paragraph. It may seem to superficial observation that, whatever might be the doctrinal resemblances of these philosophies, their application was very different. In a general way, it may be asserted that the same doctrines which in India led to the inculcation of indifference and quietism, led to Stoic activity in Greece and Italy. If the occasion permitted, I could, nevertheless, demonstrate in this apparent divergence an actual coincidence; for the mode of life of man is chiefly determined by geographical conditions, his instinctive disposition to activity increasing with the latitude in which he lives. Under the equinoctial line he has no disposition for exertion, his physiological relations with the climate making quietism most agreeable to him. The philosophical formula which, in the hot plains of India, finds its issue in a life of tranquillity and repose, will be interpreted.in the more bracing air of Europe by a life of activity. Thus, in later ages, the monk of Africa, willingly persuading himself that any intervention to improve Nature is a revolt against the providence of God, spent his worthless life in weaving baskets and mats, or in solitary meditation in the caves of the desert of Thebais; but the monk of Europe encountered the labors of agriculture and social activity, and thereby aided, in no insignificant manner, in the civilization of England, France, and Germany. These things, duly considered, lead to the conclusion that human life, in its diversities, is dependent upon and determined by primary conditions in all countries and climates essentially the same.
THE OLD EUROPEANS. 177
CHAPTER VIII. DIGRESSION ON THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES OF ROME. PREPARATION FOR RESUMING THE EXAMINATION OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS OF EUROPE.
Religious Ideas of the primitive Europeans. The Form of their Variations is determined by the Influence of Rome.-Necessity of Roman History in these Investigations. Rise and Development of Roman Power, its successive Phases, territorial Acquisitions.-Becomes Supreme in the Mediterranean.- Consequent Demoralization of Italy.-Irresistible Concentration of Power.-Development of Imperialism.-Eventual Extinction of the true Roman Race. Effect on the intellectual, religious, and social Condition of the Mediterranean Countries.-Produces homogeneous Thought. - Imperialism prepares the Way for Monotheism. - Momentous Transition of the Roman World in its religious Ideas. Opinions of the Roman Philosophers.- Coalescence of the new and old Ideas.-Seizure of Power by the Illiterate, and consequent Debasement of Christianity in Rome. FROM the exposition given in the preceding pages of the intellectual progress of Greece, we now turn, agreeably to the plan laid down, to an examination of that of all Europe. The movement in that single nation is typical of the movement of the entire continent. The first European intellectual age hat of Credulity-has already, in part, been considered in Chapter II., more especially so far as Greece was concerned. I propose now, after some necessary remarks in conclusion of that topic, to enter on the description of the second European age that of Inquiry. For these remarks, what has already been said of Greece prepares the way. Mediterranean Europe was philosophically and socially in advance of the central and northern countries. The wave of civilization passed from the south to the north; in truth, it has hardly yet reached its extreme limit. The adventurous emigrants who in remote times had come from Asia left to the successive generations of their descendants a legacy of hardship. In the struggle for life, all memory of an Oriental parentage was lost; knowledge died away; religious ideas became debased; and the diverse populations sank into the same intellectual condition that they would have presented had they been proper autochthons of the soil. The religion of the barbarian Europeans was in many respects like that of the American Indians. They recognized a Great Spirit-omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. In the earliest
178 THEIR PRIESTHOOD AND WORSHIP.
times they made no representation of him under the human form, nor had they temples; but they propitiated him by sacrifices, offering animals, as the horse, and even men, upon rude altars. Though it was believed that this great spirit might sometimes be heard in the sounds of the forests at night, yet, for the most part, he was too far removed from human supplication, and hence arose, from the mere sorcerous ideas of a terrified fancy, as has been the case in so many other countries, star worship-the second stage of comparative theology. The gloom and shade of dense forests, a solitude that offers an air of sanctity, and seems a fitting resort for mysterious spirits, suggested the establishment of sacred groves and holy trees. Throughout Europe there was a confused idea that the soul exists after the death of the body; as to its particular state there was a diversity of belief. As among other people also, the offices of religion were not only directed to the present benefit of individuals, but also to the discovery of future events by various processes of divination and augury practiced among the priests. Although the priests had thus charge of the religious rites, they do not seem to have been organized in such a manner as to be able to act with unanimity, or to pursue a steady system of policy. A class of female religious officials-prophetesses-joined in the ceremonials. These holy women, who were held in very great esteem, prepared the way for the reception of Mariolatry. In the stead of temples, rock-altars, cromlechs, and other rustic structures were used among the Celtic nations by the Druids, who were at the same time priests, magicians, and medicine-men. Their religious doctrines, which recall in many particulars those of the Rig-Veda, were perpetuated from generation to generation by the aid of songs. -The essential features of this system were its purely local form and its want of a well-organized hierarchy. Even the Celts offer no exception, though they had a subordination from the arch-Druid downward. This was the reason of the weakness of the old faith, and eventually the cause of its fall. When the German nations migrated to the south in and their warlike expeditions, they left behind them their consecrated groves and sacred oaks, hallowed by immemorial ages. These objects the devotee could not carry with him, and no equivalent substitutes could be obtained for them. In the civilized countries to which they came they met with a very different state of things; a priesthood thoroughly organized and modeled according to the ancient Roman political system; its objects of reverence tied to no particular locality; its institutions capable of universal action; its sacred writings easy of transportation any where; its emblems movable to all countries-the cross on the standards of its armies, the crucifix on the bosom of its saints. In the midst of the noble architecture of Italy and the splendid remains of those Romans who had once given laws to the world, in the
ROMAN HISTORY. 179
midst of a worship distinguished by the magnificence of its ceremonial and the solemnity of its mysteries, people whose faith taught' them to regard the present life as offering only a transitory occupation, and not for a moment to be weighed against the eternal existence hereafter-an existence very different from that of the base transmigration of Druidism or the drunken Paradise of Woden, where the brave solace themselves with mead from cups made of the skulls of their enemies killed in their days upon earth. The European age of inquiry is therefore essentially connected with Roman affairs. It is distinguished by the religious direction it took. In place of the dogmas of rival philosophical schools, we have now to deal with the tenets of conflicting sects. The whole of those unhappy times displays the organizing and practical spirit characteristic of Rome. Greek democracy, tending to the decomposition of things, led to the Sophists and Skeptics. Roman imperialism, ever constructive, sought to bring unity out of discords, and draw the line between orthodoxy and heresy by the authority of councils like that of Nicea. Following the ideas of St. Augustine in his work, "The City of God," I adopt, as the most convenient termination of this age, the sack of Rome by Alaric. This makes it overlap the age of Faith, which had, as its unmistakable beginning, the foundation of Constantinople. Greek intellectual life displays all its phases completely, but not so with that of the Romans, who came to an untimely end. They were men of violence, who disappeared in consequence of their own conquests and crimes. The consumption of them by war bore, however, an insignificant proportion to that fatal diminution, that mortal adulteration occasioned by their merging in the vast mass of humanity with which they came in contact. I approach the consideration of Roman affairs, which is thus the next portion of my task, with no little diffidence. It is hard to rise to a point of view sufficiently elevated and clear, where the extent of dominion is so great geographically, and the reasons of policy are obscured by the dimness and clouds of so many centuries. Living in a social state the origin of which is in the events now to be examined, our mental vision can hardly free itself from the illusions of historical perspective, or bring things into their just proportions and position. Of a thousand acts, all of surpassing interest and importance, how shall we identify the master ones? how shall we discern with correctness the true relation of the parts of this wonderful phenomenon of empire, the vanishing events of which glide like dissolving views into each other? Warned by the example of those who have permitted the shadows of their own imagination to fall upon the scene, and have mistaken them for a part thereof, I shall endeavor to apply the test of com-
180 THE LEGENDARY TIME.
mon sense to the facts of which it will be necessary to treat; and, believing that man has ever been the same in his mode of thought and motives of action, I shall judge of past occurrences in the same way as of those of our own times. In its entire form the Roman power consists of two theocracies, with a military domination intercalated. The first of these theocracies corresponds to the fabulous period of the kings; the military domination to the time of the republic and earlier Caesesars; the second theocracy to that of the Christian emperors and the popes. The first theocracy is so enveloped in legends and fictions that it is impossible to give a satisfactory account of it. The biographies of the kings offer such undeniable evidence of being mere romances, that, since the time of Niebuhr, they have been received by historians in that light. But during the reigns of the pagan emperors it was not safe in Rome to insinuate publicly any disbelief in such honored legends as those of the wolf that suckled the foundlings; the ascent of Romulus into heaven; the nymph Egeria; the duel of the Horatii and Curiatii; the leaping of Curtius into the gulf on his horse; the cutting of a flint with a razor by Tarquin; the Sibyl and her books. The modern historian has, therefore, only very little reliable material. He may admit that the Romans and Sabines coalesced; that they conquered the Albans and Latins; that thousands of the latter were transplanted to Mount Aventine and made plebeians, these movements being the origin of the castes which long afflicted Rome, the vanquished people constituting a subordinate class; that at first the chief occupation was agriculture, the nature of which is not only to accustom men to the gradations of rank, such as the proprietor of the land, the overseer, the laborer, but also to the cultivation of religious sentiment, and even the cherishing of superstition; that, besides the more honorable occupations in which the rising state was engaged, she had, from the beginning, indulged in aggressive war, and was therefore perpetually liable to reprisal-one of her first acts was the founding of the town of Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, on account of piracy; that, through some conspiracy in the army, indicated in the legend of Lucretia, since armies have often been known to do such things, the kings were expelled, and a military domination, fancifully called a republic, but consisting of a league of some powerful families, arose. Throughout the regal times, and far into the republican, the chief domestic incidents turn on the strife of the upper caste or patricians with the lower or plebeians, manifesting itself in the latter asserting their right to a share in the lands conquered by their valor; by the extortion of the Valerian law; by the admission of the Latins and Hernicans to conditions of equality; by the transference of the election of tribunes from the centuries to the tribes; by the repeal of the law prohibiting the
GROWTH OF ROME. 181
marriage of plebeians with patricians, and by the eventual concession to the former of the offices of consul, dictator, censor, and praetor. In these domestic disputes we see the origin of the Roman necessity for war. The high caste is steadily diminishing in number, low caste as steadily increasing. In imperious pride, the patrician fills his private jail with debtors and delinquents; he usurps the lands that have been conquered. Insurrection is the inevitable consequence, foreign war the only relief. As the circle of operations extends, both parties see their interest in a cordial coalescence on equal terms, and jointly tyrannize exteriorly. The geographical dominion of Rome was extended at first with infinite difficulty. Up to the time of the capture of the city by the Gauls a doubtful existence was maintained in perpetual struggles with the adjacent towns and chieftains. There is reason to believe that in the very infancy of the republic, in the contest that ensued upon the expulsion of the kings, the city was taken by Porsenna. The direction in which her influence first spread was toward the south of the peninsula. Tarentum, one of the southern states, brought over to its assistance Pyrrhus the Epirot. He did little in the way of assisting his allies-he only saw Rome from the Acropolis of Praeneste; but from him the Romans learned the art of fortifying camps, and caught the idea of invading Sicily. Here the rising republic came in contact with the Carthaginians, and in the conflict that ensued discovered the military value of Spain and Gaul, from which the Carthaginians drew an immense supply of mercenaries and munitions of war. The advance to. greatness which Rome now made was prodigious. She saw that every thing turned on the possession of the sea, and with admirable energy built a navy. In this her expectations were more than realized. The assertion is quite true that she spent more time in acquiring a little earth in Italy than was necessary for subduing the world after she had once got possession of the Mediterranean. From the experience of Agathocles she learned that the true method of controlling Carthage was by invading Africa. The principles involved in the contest, and the position of Rome at its close, are shown by the terms of the treaty of the first Punic War-that Carthage should evacuate every island in the Mediterranean, and pay a fine of three millions of dollars. In her devotion to the acquisition of wealth Carthage had become very rich; she had reached a high state of cultivation of art; yet her prosperity, or rather the mode by which she had attained it, had greatly weakened her, as also had the political anomaly under which she was living, for it is an anomaly that an Asiatic people should place itself under democratic forms. Her condition in this respect was evidently the consequence of her original subordinate position as a Tyrian trading station, her rich men having for
182 THE PUNIC WAR.
long been habituated to look to the mother city/ for distinction. As in other commercial states, her citizens became soldiers with reluctance, and hence she had often to rely on mercenary troops. From her the Romans received lessons of the utmost importance. She confirmed them in the estimate they had formed of the value of naval power; taught them how to build ships properly and handle them; how to make military roads. The tribes of Northern Italy were hardly included in the circle of Roman dominion when a fleet was built in the Adriatic, and, under the pretense of putting down piracy, the seapower of the Illyrians was extinguished. From time immemorial the Mediterranean had been infested with pirates; man-stealing had been a profitable occupation, great gains being realized by ransoms of the captives, or by selling them at Delos or other slave-markets. At this time it was clear that the final mastery of the Mediterranean turned on the possession of Spain, the great silver-producing country. The rivalry for Spain occasioned the second Punic War. It is needless to repeat the well-known story of Hannibal, how he brought Rome to the brink of ruin. The relations she maintained with surrounding communities had been such that she could not trust to them. Her enemy found allies in many of the Greek towns in the south of Italy. It is enough for us to look at the result of that conflict in the treaty that closed it. Carthage had to give up all her ships of war except ten triremes, to bind herself to enter into no war without the consent of the Roman people, and to pay a war-fine of ten millions of dollars. Rome now entered, on the great scale, on the policy of disorganizing states for the purpose of weakening them. Under pretext of an invitation from the Athenians to protect them from the King of Macedon, the ambitious republic secured a footing in Greece, the principle developed in the invasion of Africa of making war maintain war being again resorted to. There may have been truth in the Roman accusation that the intrigues of Hannibal with Antiochus, king of Syria, occasioned the conflict between them and that monarch. Its issue was a prodigious event in the material aggrandizement of Rome it was the cession of all his possessions in Europe and those of Asia north of Mount Taurus, with a war-fine of fifteen millions of dollars. Already were seen the effects of the wealth that was pouring into Italy in the embezzlement of the public money by the Scipios. The resistance of Perses, king of Macedon, could not restore independence to Greece; it ended in the annexation of that country, Epirus, and Illyricum. The results of this war were to the last degree pernicious to the victors and the vanquished; the moral greatness of the former is truly affirmed to have disappeared, and the social ruin of the latter was so complete that for long marriage was replaced by concubinage. The policy and practices of
THE REPUBLIC TRANSFORMED INTO THE EMPIRE. 183.
Rome now literally became infernal; she forced a quarrel upon her old antagonist Carthage, and the third Punic War resulted in the utter destruction of that city. Simultaneously her oppressions in Greece provoked revolt, which was ended by the sack and burning of Corinth, Thebes, Chalcis, and the transference of the plundered statues, paintings, and works of art to Italy. There was nothing now in the way of the conquest of Spain except the valor of its inhabitants. After the assassination of Viriatus, procured by the Consul Caepio, and the horrible siege of Numantia, that country was annexed as a province. Next we see the gigantic republic extending itself over the richest parts of Asia Minor, through the insane bequest of Attalus, king of Pergamus. The wealth of Africa, Spain, Greece, and Asia was now concentrating in Italy, and the capital was becoming absolutely demoralized. In vain the Gracchi attempted to apply a remedy. The Roman aristocracy was intoxicated, insatiate, irresistible. The middle class was gone; there was nothing but profligate nobles and a diabolical populace. In Asia Minor the midst of inconceivable corruption, the Jugurthine War served only to postpone for a moment an explosion which was inevitable. The Servile rebellion in Sicily broke out; it was closed by the extermination of a million of those unhappy wretches: vast numbers of them were exposed, for the popular amusement, to the wild Social war beasts in the arena. It was followed closely by the revolt of the Italian allies, known as the Social War-this ending, after the destruction of half a million of men, with a better result, in the extortion of the freedom of the city by several of the revolting states. Doubtless it was the intrigues connected with these transactions that brought the Cimbri and Teutons into Italy, and furnished an opening for the rivalries of Marius and Sylla, who, in turn, filled Rome with slaughter. The same spirit broke out under the gladiator Spartacus: it was only checked for a time by resorting to the most awful atrocities, such as the crucifixion of prisoners, to appear under another form in the conspiracy of Catiline. And now it was plain that the contest for supreme power lay between a few leading men. It found an issue in the first triumvirate-a union of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar, who usurped the whole power of the senate and people, and bound themselves by oath to permit nothing to be done without their unanimous consent. Affairs then passed through their inevitable course. The death of Crassus and the battle of Pharsalia left Caesar the master of the world. At this moment nothing could have prevented the inevitable result. The dagger of Brutus merely removed a man, but it left the fact. The battle of Actium reaffirmed the destiny of Rome, and the death of the republic was illustrated by the annexation of Egypt. The circle of conquest around the Mediterranean was complete; the function of the republic was discharged: it did not pass away prematurely.
184 THE ROMAN SLAVE SYSTEM.
From this statement of the geographical career of Rome, we may turn to reflect on the political principles which inspired her. From a remote antiquity wars had been engaged in for the purpose of Obtaining a supply of labor, the conqueror compelling those whom he had spared to cultivate his fields and serve him as slaves. Under a system of transitory military domination, it was more expedient to exhaust a people at once by the most unsparing plunder than to be content with a tribute periodically paid, but necessarily uncertain in the vicissitudes of years. These elementary principles of the policy of antiquity were included by the Romans in their system with modifications and improvements. The republic, during its whole career, illustrates the observation that the system on which it was founded included no conception of the actual relations of man. It dealt with him as a thing, not as a being endowed with inalienable rights. Recognizing power as its only measure of value, it could never accept the principle of the equality of all men in the eye of the law. The subjugation of Sicily, Africa, Greece, was quickly followed by the depopulation of those countries, as Livy, Plutarch, Strabo, and Polybius testify. Can there be a more fearful instance than the conduct of Paulus _Emilius, who, at the conquest of Epirus, murdered or carried into slavery 150,000 persons? At the taking of Thebes whole families were thus disposed of, and these not of the lower, but of the respectable kind, of whom it has been significantly said that they were transported into Italy to be melted down. In Italy itself the consumption of life was so great that there was no possibility of the slaves by birth meeting the requirement, and the supply of others by war became necessary. To these slaves the the laws were atrociously unjust. Tacitus has recorded that on the occasion of the murder of Pedanius, after a solemn debate in the senate, the particulars of which he furnishes, the ancient laws were enforced, and four hundred slaves of the deceased were put to death, when it was obvious to every one that scarcely any of them had known of the crime. The horrible maxim that not only the slaves within a house in which a master was murdered, but even those within a circle supposed to be measured by the reach of his voice, should be put to death, shows us the small value of the life of these unfortunates, and the facility with which they could be replaced. Their vast numbers necessarily made every citizen a soldier; the culture of the land and the manufacturing processes, the pursuits of labor and industry, were as signed to them with contempt. The relation of the slave in such a social system is significantly shown by the fact that the courts estimated the amount of any injury he had received by the damage his master had thereby sustained. To such a degree had this system been developed, that slave labor was actually cheaper than animal
THE ROMAN WAR SYSTEM. 185
labor, and, as a consequence, much of the work that we perform by cattle was then done by men. The class of independent hirelings, which should have constituted the chief strength of the country, disappeared, labor itself becoming so ignoble that the poor citizen could not be an artisan, but must remain a pauper-a sturdy beggar, expecting from the state bread and amusements. The personal uncleanness and shiftless condition of these lower classes were the true causes of the prevalence of leprosy and other loathsome diseases. Attempts at sanitary improvement were repeatedly made, but they so imperfectly answered the purpose that epidemics, occurring from time to time, produced a dreadful mortality. Even under the CGesars, after all that had been done, there was no essential amendment. The assertion is true that the Old World never recovered from the great plague in the time of M.Antoninus, brought by the army from the Parthian War. In the reign of Titus ten thousand persons died in one day in Rome. The slave system bred that thorough contempt for trade which animated the Romans. They never grudged even the Carthaginians a market. It threw them into the occupation of the demagogue, making them spend their lives, when not engaged in war, in the intrigues of political factions, the turbulence of public elections, the excitement of lawsuits. They were the first to discover that the privilege of interpreting laws is nearly equal to that of making them; and to this has been rightly attributed their turn for jurisprudence, and the prosperity of advocates among them. The disappearance of the hireling class was the immediate cause of the downfall of the republic and the institution of the empire, for the aristocracy were left without any antagonist, and, therefore, without any restraint. They broke up into factions, involving the country in civil war by their struggles with each other for power. The political maxims of the republic, for the most part, rejected the ancient system of devastating a vanquished state by an instant, unsparing, and crushing plunder, which may answer very well where the tenure is expected to be brief, but does not accord with the formula subdue, retain, advance. Yet depopulation was the necessary incident. Italy, Sicily, Asia Minor, Gaul, Germany, were full of people, but they greatly diminished under Roman occupation. Her maxims were capable of being realized with facility through her military organization, particularly that of the legion. In some nations colonies are founded for commercial purposes, in others for getting rid of an excess of population: the Roman colony implies the idea of a garrison and an active military intent. Each legion was, in fact, so constructed as to be a small but complete army. In whatever country it might be encamped, it was in quick communication with the head-quarters at Rome; and this not metaphorically, but materially, as was shown
186 ROMAN COINAGE.
by the building of the necessary military roads. The idea of permanent occupation, which was thus implied, did not admit the expediency of devastating a country, but, on the contrary, led to the encouragement of provincial prosperity, because the greater the riches the greater the capacity for taxation. Such principles were in harmony with the conditions of solidity and security of the Roman power, which proverbially had not risen in a single day-was not the creation of a single fortunate soldier, but represented the settled policy of many centuries. In the act of conquest Rome was inhuman; she tried to strike a blow that there would never be any occasion to repeat; no one was spared who by possibility might inconvenience her; but, the catastrophe once over, as a general thing, the vanquished had no occasion to complain of her rule. Of course, in the shadow of public justice, private wrong and oppression were often concealed. Her officers accumulated enormous fortunes, which have never since been equaled in Europe, through injustice and extortion. Sometimes the like occurred in times of public violence; thus Brutus made Asia Minor pay five years' tribute at once, and shortly after Antony compelled it to do it again. The extent to which recognized and legitimate exactions were carried is shown by the fact that upon the institution of the empire the annual revenues were about two hundred millions of dollars. The comparative value of metals in Rome is a significant political indication. Bullion rapidly increased during the Carthaginian wars. At the opening of the first Punic War silver and copper were 1 to 960; at the second Punic War the ratio had fallen, and was 1 to 160; soon after there was another fall, and it became 1 to 128. The republic debased the coinage by reducing its weight, the empire by alloying it. The science, art, and political condition of nations are often illustrated by their coinage. An interesting view of the progress of Europe might be obtained from a philosophical study of its numismatic remains. The simplicity of the earlier ages is indicated by the pure silver, such as that coined at Crotona B.C. 600 the reign of Philip of Macedon by the native unalloyed gold. A gradual decline in Roman prosperity is more than shadowed forth by the gradual deterioration of its money; for, as evil times befell the state, the emperors were compelled to utter a false coinage. Thus, under Vespasian, A.D. 69, the silver money contained about one fourth of its weight of copper; under Antoninus Pius, A.D. 138, more than one third; under Commodus, A.D. 180, nearly one half; under Gordian, A.D. 236, there was added to the silver more than twice its weight of copper: Nay, under Gallienus, a coinage was issued of copper, tin, and silver, in which the two first metals exceed the last by more than two hundred times its weight. It shows to what a hopeless condition the state had come.
THE SOCIAL DEPRAVITY. 187
The Roman demagogues, as is the instinct of their kind, made political capital by attacking industrial capital. They lowered the rate of interest, prohibited interest, and often attempted the abolition of debts. The concentration of power and increase of immorality proceeded with an equal step. In its earlier ages, the Roman dominion was exercised by a few thousand persons; then it passed into the hands of some score families; then it was sustained for a moment by individuals, and at last was seized by one man, who became master of 120 millions. As the process went on, the virtues which had adorned the earlier times disappeared, and in the end were replaced by crimes such as the world had never before witnessed and never will again. An evil day is approaching when it becomes recognized in a community that the only standard of social distinction is wealth. That day was soon followed in Rome by its unavoidable consequence, a government founded upon two domestic elements, corruption and terrorism. No language can describe the state of that capital after the civil wars. The accumulation of power and wealth gave rise to a universal depravity. Law ceased to be of any value. A suitor must deposit a bribe before a trial could be had. The social fabric was a festering mass of rottenness. The people had become a populace; the aristocracy was demoniac; the city was a hell. No crime that the annals of human wickedness can show was left unperpetrated: remorseless murders; the betrayal of parents, husbands, wives, friends; poisoning reduced to a system; adultery degenerating into incests, and crimes that Dissoluteness of can not be written. Women of the higher class were so lascivious, depraved, and dangerous, that men could not be compelled to contract matrimony with them; marriage was displaced by concubinage; even virgins were guilty of inconceivable immodesties; great officers of state and ladies of the court, of promiscuous baths and naked exhibitions. In the time of Caesar it had become necessary for the government to interfere, and actually put a premium on marriage. He gave rewards to women who had many children; prohibited those who were under forty-five years of age, and who had no children, from wearing jewels and riding in litters, hoping by such social disabilities to correct the evil. It went on from bad to worse, so that Augustus, in view of the general avoidance of legal marriage and resort to concubinage with slaves, was compelled to impose penalties on the unmarried-to enact that they should not inherit by will except from relations. Not that the Roman women refrained from the gratification of their desires; their depravity impelled them to such wicked practices as can not be named in a modern book. They actually reckoned the years, not by the consuls, but by the men they had lived with. To be childless, and therefore without the natural restraint of a family, was looked upon as a singular felicity. Plutarch correctly touched the point when he said
188 COMPARATIVE MORALITY OF THE PROVINCE.
that the Romans married to be heirs and not to have heirs. Of offenses that do not rise to the dignity of atrocity, but which excite our loathing, such as gluttony and the most debauched luxury, the annals of the times furnish disgusting proofs. It was said, "They eat that they may vomit, and vomit that they may eat." At the taking of Perusium, three hundred of the most distinguished citizens were solemnly sacrificed at the altar of Divus Julius by Octavian! Are these the deeds of civilized men, or the riotings of cannibals drunk with blood? The higher classes on all sides exhibited a total extinction of moral principle; the lower were practical atheists. Who can peruse the annals of the emperors without being shocked at the manner in which men died, meeting their fate with the obtuse tranquillity that characterizes the beasts? A centurion with a private mandate appears, and forthwith the victim opens his veins and dies in a warm bath. At the best, all that was done was to strike at the tyrant. Men despairingly acknowledged that the system itself was utterly past cure. That in these statements I do not exaggerate, hear what Tacitus says: "The holy ceremonies of religion were violated; adultery reigning without control; the adjacent islands filled with exiles; rocks and desert places stained with clandestine murders, and Rome itself a theatre of horrors, where nobility of descent and splendor of fortune marked men out for destruction; where the vigor of mind that aimed at civil dignities, and the modesty that declined them, were offenses without distinction; where virtue was a crime that led to certain ruin; where the guilt of informers and the wages of their iniquity were alike detestable; where the sacerdotal order, the consular dignity, the government of provinces, and even the cabinet of the prince, were seized by that execrable race as their lawful prey; where nothing was sacred, nothing safe from the hand of rapacity; where slaves were suborned, or by their own malevolence excited against their masters; where freemen betrayed their patrons, and he who had lived without an enemy died by the treachery of a friend." But, though these were the consequences of the concentration of power and wealth in the city of Rome, it was otherwise in the expanse of the empire. The effect of Roman domination was the cessation of all the little wars that had heretofore been waged between adjacent people. They exchanged independence for peace. Moreover, and this, in the end, was of the utmost importance to them all, unrestricted commerce ensued, direct trade arising between all parts of the empire. The Mediterranean nations were brought closer to each other, and became common inheritors of such knowledge as was then in the world. Arts, sciences, improved agriculture, spread among them; the most distant countries could boast of noble roads, aqueducts, bridges,
PRODUCTION OF HOMOGENEOUS THOUGHT. 189
and great works of engineering. In barbarous places, the legions that were intended as garrisons proved to be foci of civilization. For the provinces, even the wickedness of Rome was not without some good. From one quarter corn had to be brought; from another, clothing; from another, luxuries; and Italy had to pay for it all in coin. She had nothing to export in return. By this there was a tendency to equalization of wealth in all parts of the empire, and a perpetual movement of money. Nor was the advantage altogether material; there were conjoined intellectual results of no little value. Superstition and the amazing credulity of the old times disappeared. In the first Punic War, Africa was looked upon as a land of monsters; it had serpents large enough to stop armies, and headless men. Sicily had its Cyclops, giants, enchantresses; golden apples grew in Spain; the mouth of Hell was on the shores of the Euxine. The marches of the legions and the voyages of merchants made all these phantasms vanish. It was the necessary consequence of her military aggrandizement that the ethnical element which really constituted Rome should expire. A small nucleus of men had undertaken to conquer the Mediterranean world, and had succeeded. In doing this they had diffused themselves over an immense geographical surface, and necessarily became lost in the mass with which they mingled. On the other hand, the deterioration of Italy was insured by the slave system, and the ruin of Rome was accomplished before the barbarians touched it. Whoever inquires the cause of the fall of the Roman empire will find his answer in ascertaining what had become of the Romans. The extinction of prodigies and superstitious legends was occasioned by increased travel through the merging of many separate nations into one great empire. Intellectual communication attends material communication. The spread of Roman influence around the borders of the Mediterranean produced a tendency to homogeneous thought eminently dangerous to the many forms of faith professed by so many different people. After Tarquin was expelled the sacerdotal class became altogether subordinate to the military, whose whole history shows that they regarded religion as a mere state institution, without any kind of philosophical significance, and chiefly to be valued for the control it furnished over vulgar minds. It presented itself to them in the light of a branch of industry, from which profit might be made by those who practiced it. They thought no more of concerning themselves individually about it than in taking an interest in any other branch of lucrative trade. As to any examination of its intellectual basis, they were not sophists, but soldiers, blindly following the, prescribed institutions of their country with as little question as its military commands. For these reasons, throughout the time of the republic, and
190 IMPERIALISM PRECEDES MONOTHEISM.
also under the early emperors, there never was much reluctance to the domestication of any kind of worship in Rome. Indeed, the gods of the conquered countries were established there to the gratification of the national vanity. From this commingling of worship in the city, and intercommunication of ideas in the provinces, the most important events arose. For it very soon was apparent that the political unity which had been established over so great a geographical surface was the forerunner of intellectual, and therefore religious unity. Polytheism became practically inconsistent with the Roman empire, and a tendency arose for the introduction of some form of monotheism. Apart from the operations of Reason, it is clear that the recognition by so many nations of one emperor must soon be followed by the acknowledgment of one God. There is a disposition for uniformity among people who are associated by a common political bond. Moreover, the rivalries of a hundred priesthoods imparted to polytheism an intrinsic weakness; but monotheism implies centralization, an organized hierarchy, and therefore concentration of power. The different interests and collisions of multitudinous forms of religion sapped individual faith; a diffusion of practical atheism, manifested by a total indifference to all ceremonies, except so far as they were shows, was the result, the whole community falling into an unbelieving and godless state. The form of superstition through which the national mind had passed was essentially founded upon the recognition of an incessant intervention of many divinities determining human affairs; but such a faith became extinct by degrees among the educated. How was it possible that human reason should deal otherwise with all the contradictions and absurdities of a thousand indigenous and imported deities, each asserting his inconsistent pretensions. A god who in his native grove or temple has been paramount and unquestioned, sinks into insignificance when he is brought into a crowd of compeers. In this respect there is no difference between gods and men. Great cities are great levelers of both. He who has stood forth in undue proportions in the solitude of the country, sinks out of observation in the solitude of a crowd. The most superficial statement of philosophy among the Romans, if philosophy it can be called, shows us how completely religious sentiment was effaced. The presence of skeptical thought is seen in the explanations of Terentius Varro, B.C. 110, that the anthropomorphic gods are to be received as mere emblems of the forces of matter; and the general tendency of the times may be gathered from the poem of Lucretius: his recommendations that the mind should be emancipated from the fear of the gods; his insinuations against the immortality of the soul; his setting forth Nature as the only God to be worshiped. In Cicero we see how feeble and wavering a
ROMAN PHILOSOPHY-LUCRETIUS-CICERO. 191
guide to life in a period of trouble philosophy had become, and how one who wished to stand in the attitude of chief thinker of his times was no more than a servile copyist of Grecian predecessors, giving to his works not an air of masculine and independent thought, but aiming at present effect rather than a solid durability; for Cicero addresses himself more to the public than to philosophers, exhibiting herein his professional tendency as an advocate. Under a thin veil he hides an undisguised skepticism, and, with the instinct of a placeman, leans rather to the investigation of public concerns than to the profound and abstract topics of philosophy. As is the case with superficial men, he sees no difference between the speculative and the exact, confusing them together. He feels that it is inexpedient to communicate truth publicly, especially that of a religious kind. Doubtless herein we shall agree when we find that he believes God to be nothing more than the soul of the world; discovers many serious objections to the doctrine of Providence; insinuates that the gods are only poetical creations; is uncertain whether the soul is immortal, but is clear that the popular doctrine of punishment in the world to come is only an idle fable. It was the attribute of the Romans to impress upon every thing a practical character. In their philosophy we continually see this displayed, along with a striking inferiority in original thought. Quintus Sextius admonishes us to pursue a virtuous life, and, as an aid thereto, enjoins an abstinence from meat. In this opinion many of the Cynical school acquiesced, and some, it is said, even joined the Brahmans. In the troublous times of the first Csesars, men had occasion to derive all the support they could from philosophy; there was no religion to sustain them. Among the Stoics there were some, as Seneca, to whom we can look back with pleasure. Through his writings he exercised a considerable influence on subsequent ages, though, when we attentively read his works, we must attribute this not so much to their intrinsic value as to their happening to coincide with the prevalent tone of religious thought. He enforces the necessity of a cultivation of good morals, and yet he writes against the religion of his country, its observances, and requirements. Of a far higher grade was Epictetus, at once a slave and a philosopher, though scarcely to classed as a true Stoic. He considers man as a mere spectator of God and his works, and teaches that every one who can no longer bear the miseries of life is, upon just deliberation, and a conscientious belief that the gods will not disapprove, free to commit suicide. His maxim is that all have a part to play, and he has done well who has done his best-that he must look to conscience as his guide. If Seneca said that time alone is our absolute and only possession, and that nothing else belongs to man, Epictetus taught that his thoughts are all that man has any power over, every thing else being beyond his control.
192 MAXIMUS TYRIUS-GALEN. M.
Aurelius Antoninus, the emperor, did not hesitate to acknowledge his thankfulness to Epictetus, the slave, in his attempt to guide his life according to the principles of the Stoics. He recommends every man to preserve his daemon free from sin, and prefers religious devotions to the researches of physics, in this departing to some extent from the original doctrines of the sect; but the evil times on which men had fallen led them to seek support in religious consolations rather than in Maximus Tyrius. philosophical inquiries. In A.D. 146, we discover a corresponding sentiment, enveloped, it is true, in an air of Platonism, and countenancing an impression that the worship of images and sanctuaries are unnecessary for those who have a lively remembrance of the view they once enjoyed of the divine, though excellent for the Alexander of vulgar, who have forgotten their past. Alexander of Aphrodisia exhibits the tendency, which was becoming very prevalent, to combine Plato and Aristotle. He treats upon Providence, both absolute and contingent; considers its bearings upon religion, and shows a disposition to cultivate the pious feelings of the age. Of Galen, the physician, I shall have to speak subsequently. It is sufficient to remark that he asserts experience to be the only source of knowledge; lays great stress on the culture of mathematics and logic, observing that he himself should have been a Pyrrhonist had it not been for geometry. In the teleological doctrine of physiology he considers that the foundations of a true theology must be laid. The physicians of the times exerted no little influence on the promotion of such views; for the most part they embraced the Pantheistic doctrine. As one of them, Sextus Empiricus may be mentioned; his works, still remaining, indicate to us the tendency of this school to materialism. Such was the tone of thought among the cultivated Romans; and to this philosophical atheism among them was added an atheism of indifference among the vulgar. But, since man is so constituted that he can not live for any length of time without a form of worship, it is evident that there was great danger, whenever events should be ripe for the appearance of some monotheistic idea, that it might come in a base aspect. At a much later period than that we are here considering, one of the emperors expressed himself to the effect that it would be necessary to give liberty for the exercise of a sound philosophy among the higher classes, and provide a gorgeous ceremonial for the lower; he saw how difficult it is, by mere statesmanship, to co-ordinate two such requirements, in their very nature contradictory. Though polytheism had lost all intellectual strength, the nations who had so recently parted with it could not be expected to have ceased from all disposition to an animalization of religion and corporealization of God. In a certain sense the emperor was only a more remote and more majestic form of the conquered and vanished kings, but, like them,
POLITICAL BOUNDARIES OF THE NEW OPINIONS. 193.
he was a man. There was danger that the theological system, thus changing with the political, would yield only expanded anthropomorphic conceptions. History perpetually demonstrates that nations cannot be permanently modified except by principles or actions conspiring with their existing tendency. Violence perpetrated upon them may pass away, leaving, perhaps, in a few generations, no vestige of itself. Even Victory is conquered by Time. Profound changes alone ensue when the operating force is in unison with the temper of the age. International peace among so many people once in conflict-peace under the auspices of a great overshadowing power; the unity of sentiment and brotherhood of feeling fast finding its way round the Mediterranean shores; the interests of a vast growing commerce, unfettered through the absorption of so many little kingdoms into one great republic, were silently bringing things to a condition that political force could be given to any religious dogma founded upon sentiments of mutual regard and interest. Nor could it be otherwise than that among the great soldiers of those times one would at last arise whose practical intellect would discover the personal advantages that must accrue from putting himself in relation with the universally prevailing idea. How could he better find adherents from the centre to the remotest corner of the empire? And, even if his own personal intellectual state should disable him from accepting in its fullness the special form in which the idea had become embodied, could there be any doubt, if he received it, and was true to it as a politician, though he might decline it as a man, of the immense power it would yield him in return a power sufficient, if the metropolis should resist, or be otherwise unsuited to his designs, to enable him to found a rival to her in a more congenial place, and leave her to herself, the skeleton of so much glory and of so much guilt. Thus, after the event, we can plainly see that the final blow to Polytheism was the suppression of the ancient independent nationalities round the Mediterranean Sea; and that, in like manner, Monotheism was the result of the establishment of an imperial government in Rome. But the great statesmen of those times, bounded by the limits who were at the general point of view, must have foreseen that, in whatever form the expected change came, its limits of definition would inevitably be those of the empire itself, and that wherever the language of Rome was understood the religion of Rome would prevail. In the course of ages, an expansion beyond those limits might ensue wherever the state of things was congenial. On the south, beyond the mere verge of Africa, nothing was to be hoped for-it is the country in which man lives in degradation and is happy. On the east there were great unsubdued and untouched monarchies, having their own types of
194 CONDUCT OF THE EDUCATED ROMAN.
civilization, and experiencing no want in a religious respect. But on the north there were nations who, though they were plunged in hideous barbarism, filthy in an equal degree in body and mind, polygamists, idolaters, drunkards out of their enemies' skulls, were yet capable of an illustrious career. For these there was a glorious participation in store. Except the death of a nation, there is no event in human history more profoundly solemn than the passing away of an ancient religion, though religious ideas are transitory, and creeds succeed one another with a periodicity determined by the law of continuous variation of human thought. The intellectual epoch at which we have now arrived has for its essential characteristic such a succession of change-the abandonment of a time-honored but obsolete system, the acceptance of a new and living one; and, in the incipient stages, opinion succeeding opinion in a well-marked way, until at length, after a few centuries of fusion and solution, there crystallized on the remnant of Roman power, as on a nucleus, a definite form, which, slowly modifying itself into the Papacy, served the purposes of Europe for more than a thousand years throughout its age of Faith. In this abandonment, the personal conduct of the educated classes very powerfully assisted. They outwardly conformed to the ceremonial bf the times, reserving their higher doctrines to themselves, as something beyond vulgar comprehension. Considering themselves as an intellectual aristocracy, they stood aloof, and, with an ill-concealed smile, consented to the transparent folly around them. It had come to an evil state when authors like Polybius and Strabo apologized to their compeers for the traditions and legends they ostensibly accepted, on the ground that it is inconvenient and needless to give popular offense, and that those who are children in understanding must, like those who are children in age, be kept in order by bugbears. It had come to an evil state when the awful ceremonial of former times had degenerated into a
Pageant, played off by an infidel priesthood and unbelieving aristocracy; when oracles were becoming mute, because they could no longer withstand the sly wit of the initiated; when the miracles of the ancients were regarded as mere lies, and of contemporaries as feats of legerdemain. It had come to an evil pass when even statesmen received it as a maxim that " when the people have advanced in intellectual culture to a certain point, the sacerdotal class must either deceive them or oppress them, if it means to keep its power." In Rome, at the time of Augustus, the intellectual classes-philosophers and statesmen-had completely emerged from the ancient modes of thought. To them, the national legends, so jealously guarded by the populace, had become mere fictions. The miraculous conception of Rhea Sylvia by the god Mars, an event from
INFLUENCE OF THE ILLITERATE CLASSES. 195
which their ancestors had deduced with pride the celestial origin of the founder of their city, had dwindled into a myth; as a source of actual reliance and trust, the intercession of Venus, that emblem of female loveliness, with the father of the gods in behalf of her human favorites, was abandoned; the Sibylline books, once believed to contain all that was necessary for the prosperity of the republic, were suspected of an origin more sinister than celestial; nor were insinuations wanting that from time to time they had been tampered with to suit the expediency of passing interests, or even that the true ones were lost and forgeries put in their stead. The Greek mythology was to them, as it is to us, an object of reverence, not because of any inherent truth, but for the sake of the exquisite embodiments it can yield in poetry, in painting, in marble. The existence of those illustrious men who, on account of their useful lives or excellent example, had, by the pious ages of old, been sanctified or even deified, was denied, or, if admitted, they were regarded as the exaggerations of dark and barbarous times. It was thus with JEsculapius, Bacchus, and Hercules. And as to the various forms of worship, the multitude of sects into which the pagan nations were broken up offered themselves as a spectacle of imbecile and inconsistent devotion altogether unworthy of attention, except so far as they might be of use to the interests of the state. Such was the position of things among the educated. In one sense they had passed into liberty, in another they were in bondage. Their indisposition to encounter those inflictions with which their illiterate contemporaries might visit them may seem to us surprising: they acted as if they thought that the public was a wild beast that would bite if awakened too abruptly from its dream; but their pusillanimity, at the most, could only postpone for a little an inevitable day. The ignorant classes, whom they had so much feared, awoke spontaneously in due season, and saw in the clear light how matters stood. Of the Roman emperors there were some whose intellectual endowments were of the highest kind; yet, though it must have been plain to them, as to all who turned their attention to the matter, in what direction society was drifting, they let things take their course, and no one lifted a finger to guide. It may be said that the genius of Rome manifested itself rather in physical than in intellectual operations; but in her best days it was never the genius of Rome to abandon great events to freedmen, eunuchs, and slaves. By such it was that the ancient gods were politically cast aside, while the government was speciously yielding a simulated obedience to them, and hence it was not at all surprising that, soon after the introduction of Christianity, its pure doctrines were debased by a commingling with ceremonies of the departing creed. It was not to be expected that the popular mind could spontaneously extricate itself from the vicious circle in
196 CONSEQUENT DEBASEMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEA.
which it was involved. Nothing but philosophy was competent to deliver it, and philosophy failed of its duty at the critical moment. The classical scholar need scarcely express his surprise that the Ferise Augusti were continued in the Church as the Festival St. Petri in the vincula; that even to our own times an image of the holy Virgin was carried to the river in the same manner as in the old times was that of Cybele, and that many pagan rites still continue to be observed in Rome. Had it been in such incidental particulars only that the vestiges of paganism were preserved, the thing would have been of little moment; but, as all who have examined the subject very well know, the evil was far more general and far more profound. When it was announced to the Ephesians that the Council of that place, headed by Cyril, had decreed that the Virgin should be called "the Mother of God," with tears of joy they embraced the knees of their bishop; it was the old instinct peeping out; their ancestors would have done the same for Diana. If Trajan, after ten centuries, could have revisited Rome, he would, without difficulty, have recognized the drama, though the actors and scenery had all changed; he would have reflected how great a mistake had been committed in the legislation of his reign, and how much better it is, when the intellectual basis of a religion is gone, for a wise government to abstain from all compulsion in behalf of what has become untenable, and to throw itself into the new movement so as to shape the career by assuming the lead. Philosophy is useless when misapplied in support of things which common sense has begun to reject; she shares in the discredit which is attaching to them. The opportunity of rendering herself of service to humanity once lost, ages may elapse before it recurs again. Ignorance and low interests seize, the moment, and fasten a burden on man which the struggles of a thousand years may not suffice to cast off. Of all the duties of an enlightened government, this of allying itself with Philosophy in the critical moment in which society is passing through so serious a metamorphosis of its opinions as is involved in the casting off of its ancient investiture of Faith, and its assumption of a new one, is the most important, for it stands connected with things that outlast all temporal concerns.
RISE OF CHRISTIANITY. 197
CHAPTER IX. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF INQUIRY. THE PROGRESSIVE VARIATION OF OPINIONS CLOSED BY THE INSTITUTION OF COUNCILS AND THE CONCENTRATION OF POWER IN A PONTIFF. RISE, EARLY VARIATIONS, CONFLICTS, AND FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OF CHRISTIANITY.
Rise of Christianity.-Distinguished from ecclesiastical Organization.-It is demanded by the deplorable Condition of the Empire.- Its brief Conflict with Paganism.- Character of its first Organization.- Variations of Thought and Rise of Sects: their essential Difference in the East and West. The three primitive Forms of Christianity: the Judaic Form, its Endthe Gnostic Form, its End-the African Form, continues. Spread of Christianity from Syria. Its Antagonism to Imperialism; their Conficts.-Position of Affairs under Dioclesian.-The Policy of Constantine.-He avails himself of the Christian Party, and through it attains supreme Power.-His personal Relations to it. The Trinitarian Controversy. tory of Arius.-The Council of Nicea. The Progress of the Bishop of Rome to Supremacy.-The Roman Church; its primitive subordinate Position. Causes of its increasing Wealth, Influence, and Corruptions.-Stages of its Advancement through the Pelagian, Nestorian, and Eutychian Disputes. Rivalry of the Bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Rome. Necessity of a Pontiff in the West and ecclesiastical Councils in the East.-Nature of those Councils and of pontifical Power. The Period closes at the Capture and Sack of Rome by Alaric.-Defense of that Event by St. Augustine.-Criticism on his Writings. Character of the Progress of Thought through this Period.-Destiny of the three great Bishops. FROM the decay of Polytheism and the decline of philosophy, from the moral and social disorganization of the Roman empire, I have now to turn to the most important of all events, the rise of Christianity. I have to show how a variation of opinion proceeded and reached its culmination; how it was closed by the establishment of a criterion of truth, under the form of ecclesiastical councils, and a system developed which supplied the intellectual wants of Europe for nearly a thousand years. The reader, to whom I have thus offered a representation of the state of Roman affairs, must now prepare to look at the consequences thereof. Together we must trace out the progress of Christianity, examine the adaptation of its cardinal principles to the wants of the empire, and the variations it exhibited-a task supremely difficult, for even sincerity and truth will sometimes offend. For my part, it is my intention to speak with veneration on this great topic, and yet with liberty, for freedom of thought and expression is to me the first of all earthly things.
198 PROPITIOUS CONDITION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
But, that I may not be misunderstood, I here, at the outset, emphatically distinguish between Christianity and ecclesiastical organizations. The former is the gift of God; the latter are the product of human exigencies and human invention, and therefore open to criticism, or, if need be, to condemnation. From the condition of the Roman empire may be indicated the principles of any new system adapted to its amelioration. In the reign of Augustus, violence paused only because it had finished its work. Faith was dead; morality had disappeared. Around the shores of the Mediterranean the conquered nations looked at one another-partakers of a common misfortune, associates in a common lot. Not one of them had found a god to help her in her day of need. Europe, Asia, and Africa were tranquil, but it was the silence of despair. Rome never considered man as an individual, but only as a thing. Her way to political greatness was pursued utterly regardless of human suffering. If advantages accrued to the conquered under her dominion, they arose altogether from incident, and never from her purposed intent. She was no self-conscious, deliberate civilizer. Conquest and rapine, the uniform aim of her actions, never permitted her, even at her utmost intellectual development, to comprehend the equal rights of all men in the eye of the law. Unpitying in her stern policy, few were the occasions when, for high state reasons, she stayed her uplifted hand. She might, in the wantonness of her power, stoop to mercy; she never rose to benevolence. When Syria was paying one third of its annual produce in taxes, is it surprising that the Jewish peasant sighed for a deliverer, and eagerly listened to the traditions of his nation that a temporal " Messiah, a king of the Jews" would soon come? When there was announced the equality of all men before God, "who maketh the sun to shine on the good and the evil, and sendeth his rain on the just and the unjust," is it surprising that men looked for equal rights before the law? Universal equality means universal benevolence; it substitutes for the impersonal and easily-eluded commands of the state the dictates of an ever-present conscience; it accepts the injunction, " Do unto others as you would they should do to you." In the spread of a doctrine two things are concerned-its own intrinsic nature, and the condition of him on whom it is intended to act. The spread of Christianity is not difficult to be understood. Its antagonist, Paganism, presented inherent weakness, infidelity, and a cheerless prospect; a system, if that can be called so, which had no ruling idea, no principles, no organization; caring nothing for proselytes; its rival pontiffs devoted to many gods, but forming no political combination; occupying themselves with directing public worship and foretelling future events, but not interfering in domestic life; giving itself no
EARLY ORGANIZATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY. 199
concern for the lowly and unfortunate; not recognizing, or, at the best, doubtfully admitting a future life; limiting the hopes and destiny of man to this world; teaching that temporal prosperity may be selfishly gained at any cost, and looking to suicide as the relief of the brave from misfortune. On the other side was Christianity, with its enthusiasm and burning faith; its rewards in this life, and everlasting happiness or damnation in the next; the precise doctrines it by degrees gathered of sin, repentance, pardon; the efficacy of the blood of the Son of God; its proselyting spirit; its vivid dogmas of a resurrection from the dead, the approaching end of the world, the judgment-day. Above all, in a worldly point of view, the incomparable organization it soon attained, and its preaching in season and out of season. To the needy Christian the charities of the faithful were freely given; to the desolate, sympathy. In every congregation there were prayers to God that he would listen to the sighing of the prisoner and captive, and have mercy on those who were ready to die. For the slave and his master there was one law and one hope, one baptism, one Savior, one Judge. In times of domestic bereavement the Christian slave doubtless often consoled his pagan mistress with the suggestion that our present separations are only for a little while, and revealed to her willing ear that there is another world-a land in which we rejoin our dead. How is it possible to arrest the spread of a faith which can make the broken heart leap with joy? At its first organization Christianity embodied itself in a form of communism, the merging of the property of the disciples into a common stock, from which the necessary provision for the needy was made. Such a system, carried out rigorously, is, however, only suited small numbers and a brief period. In its very nature it is impracticable on the great scale. Scarcely had it been resorted to before such troubles as that connected with the question of the Hebrew and Greek widows showed that it must be modified. By this relief or maintenance out of the funds of the Church, the spread of the faith among the humbler classes was greatly facilitated. In warm climates, where the necessities of life are small, an apparently insignificant sum will accomplish much in this way. But, as wealth accumulated, besides this inducement for the poor, there' were temptations for the ambitious: luxurious appointments and a splendid maintenance, the ecclesiastical dignitaries becoming more than rivals for those of the state. From the modification which the primitive organization thus underwent, we may draw the instructive conclusion that the special forms of embodiment which the Christian principle from time to time has assumed, and of which many might be mentioned, were, in reality, of only secondary importance. The sects of the early
200 ITS THREE CHIEF PRIMITIVE FORM.
ages have so totally died away that we hardly recall the meaning of their names, or determine their essential dogmas. From fasting, penance, and the gift of money, things which are of precise measurement, and therefore well suited to intellectual infancy, there may be perceived an advancing orthodoxy up to the highest metaphysical ideas. Yet it must not be supposed that new observances and doctrines, as they emerged, were the disconnected inventions of ambitious men. If rightly considered, they are, in the aggregate, the product of the uniform progression of human opinions. Those authors who have treated of the sects of earlier times will point out to the curious reader how, in the beginning, the Church was agitated by a lingering attachment to the Hebrew rites, and with difficulty tore itself away from Judaism, which for the first ten years was paramount in it; how then, for several centuries, it became engrossed with disputes respecting the nature of Christ, and creed after creed arose therefrom; to the Ebionites he was a mere man; to the Docetes, a phantasm; to the Jewish Gnostic, Cerinthus, possessed of a twofold nature; how, after the spread of Christianity, in succeeding ages, all over the empire, the intellectual peculiarities of the East and West were visibly impressed upon it-the East filled with speculative doctrines, of which the most important were those brought forward by the Platonits of Alexandria, for the Platonists, of all philosophical sects, furnished most converts; the West, in accordance with its utilitarian genius, which esteems the practical and disparages the intellectual, singularly aided by propitious opportunity, occupying itself with material aggrandizement and territorial power. The vanishing point of all Christian sectarian ideas of the East was in God, of those of the West in Man. Herein consists the essential difference between them. The one was rich in doctrines respecting the nature of the Divinity, the other abounded in regulations for the improvement and consolation of Humanity. For long there was a tolerance, and even liberality toward differences of opinion. Until the Council of Nicea, no one was accounted a heretic if only he professed his belief in the Apostles' Creed. A very astute ecclesiastical historian, referring to the early contaminations of Christianity, makes this remark: "A clear and polluted fountain, fed by secret channels with the dew of Heaven, when it grows a large river, and takes a long and winding course, receives a tincture from the various soils through which it passes." Thus influenced by surrounding circumstances, the primitive modifications of Christianity were three-Judaic Christianity, Gnostic Christianity, African Christianity. Of these, the first consisted of contaminations from Judaism, from
JUDAIC CHRISTIANITY. 201
which true Christianity disentangled itself with extreme difficulty at the cost of dissensions among the apostles themselves. From the purely Hebrew point of view of the early disciples, who surrendered with reluctance their expectation that the Savior was the long-looked-for temporal Messiah, the King of the Jews, under which name he suffered, the faith gradually expanded, including successively proselytes of the Gate, the surrounding Gentiles, and at last the whole world, irrespective of nation, climate, or color. With this truly imperial extension, there came into view the essential doctrines on which it was based. But Judaic Christianity, properly speaking, soon came to an untimely end. It was unable to maintain itself against the powerful apostolic influences in the bosom of the Church, and the violent pressure exerted by the unbelieving Jews, who exhibited toward it an inflexible hatred. Moreover, the rapid advance of the new doctrines through Asia Minor and Greece offered a tempting field for enthusiasm. The first preachers in the Roman empire were Jews; for the first years circumcision and conformity to the law of Moses were insisted on; but the first council determined that point, at Jerusalem, probably about A.D. 49, in the negative. The organization of the Church, originally modeled upon that of the Synagogue, was changed. In the beginning the creed and the rites were simple; it was only necessary to profess belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, and baptism marked the admission of the convert into the community of the faithful. James, called the brother of our Lord, as might, from his relationship, be expected, occupied the position of headship in the Church. The names of the bishops of the Church of Jerusalem, as given by Eusebius, succeed to James, the brother of Christ, in the following order: Simeon, Justus, Zaccheus, Tobias, Benjamin, John, Matthew, Philip, Simeon, Justus, Levi, Ephraim, Joseph, and Judas. The names are indicative of the nationality. It was the boast of this Church that it was not corrupted with any heresy until the last Jewish bishop, a boast which must be received with some limitation, for very early we find traces of two distinct parties in Jerusalem-those who received the account of the miraculous conception and those who did not. The Ebionites, who were desirous of tracing our Savior's lineage up to David, did so according to the genealogy given in the Gospel of St. Matthew, and therefore they would not accept what was said respecting the miraculous conception, affirming that it was apocryphal, and in' obvious contradiction to the genealogy in which our Savior's line was traced up through Joseph, who, it would thus appear, was not his father. They are to be considered as the national or patriotic party. Two causes seem to have been concerned in arresting the spread of conversion among the Jews: the first was their disappointent as respects the temporal power of the Messiah; the second,
202 GNOSTIC AND PLATONIC CHRISTIANITY.
the prominence eventually given to the doctrine of the Trinity. Their jealousy of any thing that might touch the national doctrine of the unity of God became almost a fanaticism. Judaic Christianity may be said to have virtually ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; its last trace, however, was the dispute respecting Easter, which was terminated by the Council of Nicea. The conversion of the Jews had ceased before the reign of Constantine. The second form, Gnostic Christianity, had reached its full development within a century after the death of Christ; it maintained an active influence through the first four centuries, and gave birth, during that time, to many different subordinate sects. It consisted essentianity ingrafting Christianity upon Magianism. It made the Savior an emanated intelligence, derived from the eternal, self-existing mind; this intelligence, and not the Man-Jesus, was the Christ, who thus, being an impassive phantom, afforded to Gnosticism no idea of an expiatory sacrifice, none of an atonement. It was arrested by the reappearance of pure Magianism in the Persian empire under Ardeschir Babhegan; not, however, without communicating to orthodox Christianity an impression far more profound than is commonly supposed, and of which indelible traces may be perceived in our day. The third form, African or Platonic Christianity, arose in Alexandria. Here was the focus of those fatal disputes respecting the Trinity, a word which does not occur in the Holy Scriptures, and which, it appears, had been first introduced by Theophilus, the Bishop of Antioch, the seventh from the apostles. In the time of Hadrian Christianity had become diffused all over Egypt and had found among the Platonizing philosophers of the metropolis many converts. These men modified the Gnostic idea to suit their own doctrines, asserting that the principle from which the universe originated was something emitted from the supreme mind, and capable of being drawn into it again, as they supposed was the case with a ray and the sun. This ray, they affirmed, was permanently attached to our Savior, and hence he might be considered as God. Thus, therefore, there were in his person three parts, a body, a soul, and the logos; hence he was both God and man. But, as a ray is inferior to the sun, it seemed to follow that the Christ must be inferior to the Father. In all this it is evident that there is something transcendental, and the Platonizing Christians, following the habit of the Greek philosophers, considered it as a mysterious doctrine; they spoke of it as " meat for strong men," but the popular current doctrine was "milk for babes." Justin Martyr, A.D. 132, who had been a Platonic philosopher, believed that the divine ray, after it was attached to Christ, was never withdrawn from him, or ever separated from its source. He offers two illustrations of his idea. As speech (logos), going forth from one man,
ANTAGONISM OF CHRISTIANITY AND IMPERIALISM. 203.
enters into another, conveying to him meaning, while the same meaning remains in the person who speaks, thus the logos of the Father continues unimpaired in himself, though imparted to the Christ; or, as from one lamp another may be lighted without any loss of splendor, so the divinity of the Father is transferred to the Son. This last illustration subsequently became very popular, and was adopted into the Nicene Creed. " God of God, Light of Light." It is obvious that the intention of this reasoning was to preserve intact the doctrine of the unity of God, for the great body of Christians were at this time monarchists, the word being used in its theological acceptation. Thus the Jewish and Gnostic forms both died out, but the African, Platonic, or Alexandrian was destined to be perpetuated. The manner in which this occurred can only be understood by a study of the political history of the times. To such facts as are needful for the purpose, I shall therefore with brevity allude. From its birthplace in Judea Christianity advanced to the conquest of the Roman world. In its primitive form it received an urgency from the belief that the end of all things was close at hand, and the earth was on the point of being burnt up by fire. From the civil war it had waged in Judea, it emerged to enter on a war of invasion and foreign annexation. In succession, Cyprus, Phrygia, Galatia, and all Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, were penetrated. The persecutions of Nero, incident on the burning of Rome, did not for a moment retard its career; during his reign it rapidly spread, and in every direction Petrine and Pauline, or Judaizing and Hellenizing churches were springing up. The latter gained the superiority, and the former passed away. The constitution of the churches changed, the congregations gradually losing power, which became concentrated in the bishop. By the end of the first century the episcopal form was predominant, and the ecclesiastical organization so imposing as to command the attention of the emperors, who now began to discover the mistake that had hitherto been made in confounding the new religion with Judaism. Their dislike to it, soon manifested in measures of repression, was in consequence of the peculiar attitude it assumed. As a body, the Christians not only kept aloof from all the amusements of the times, avoiding theatres and public rejoicings, but in every respect constituted themselves an empire within the empire. Such a state of things was altogether inconsistent with the established government, and its certain inconveniences and evils were not long in making themselves felt. The triumphant march of Christianity was singularly facilitated by free intercommunication over the Mediterranean, in consequence of that sea being in the hands of one sovereign power. The Jewish and Greek merchants afforded it a
204 EARLY PERSECUTION.
medium; their trading towns were its posts. But it is not to be supposed that its spread was without resistance; for at least the first century and a half the small farmers and land laborers entertained a hatred to it, looking upon it as a peculiarity of the trading communities, whom they ever despised. They persuaded themselves that the earthquakes, inundations, and pestilences were attributable to it. To these incitements was added a desire to seize the property of the faithful confiscated by the law. Of this the early Christians unceasingly and bitterly complained. But the rack, the fire, wild beasts were unavailingly applied. Out of the very persecutions themselves advantages arose. Injustice and barbarity bound the pious but feeble communities together, and repressed internal dissent. In several instances there can be no doubt, however, that persecution was brought on by the defiant air the churches assumed as they gathered strength. To understand this, we have only to peruse such documents as the address of Tertullian to Scapula. Full of intolerant spirit, it accuses the national religion of being the cause of all the public calamities, the floods, the fires, the eclipses; it denounces the vengeance of God on the national idolatry. As was the opinion of the Christians at that time, it acknowledges the reality of the pagan gods, whom it stigmatizes as demons, and proclaims its determination to expel them. It warns its opponents that they may be stricken blind, devoured by worms, or visited with other awful calamities. Such a sentiment of scorn and hatred, gathering force enough to make itself politically felt, was certain to provoke persecution. That Decius, A.D. 250, was chiefly aimed against the clergy, not even the bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome escaping. Eight years after occurred that in which Sextus, the Bishop of Rome, and Cyprian of Carthage perished. Under Dioclesian it had become apparent that the self-governed Christian corporations every where arising were altogether incompatible with the imperial system. If tolerated much longer, they would undoubtedly gain such strength as to become politically quite formidable. There was not a town, hardly a village in the empire-nay, what was indeed far more serious, there was not a legion in which these organizations did not exist. The uncompromising and inexorable spirit animating them brought on necessarily a triple alliance of the statesmen, the philosophers, and the polytheists. These three parties, composing or postponing their mutual disputes, cordially united to put down the common enemy before it should be too late. It so fell out that the conflict first broke out in the army. When the engine of power is affected, it behooves a prince to take heed. The Christian soldiers in some of the legions refused to join in the time-honored solemnities for propitiating the gods. It was in the winter A.D. 302-3. The
THEIR POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES. 205
emergency became so pressing that a council was held by Dioclesian and Galerius to determine what should be done. The difficulty of the position may perhaps be appreciated when it is understood that even the wife and daughter of Dioclesian himself were adherents of the new religion. He was a man of such capacity and enlarged political views that, at the second council of the leading statesmen and generals, he would not have been brought to give his consent to repression if it had not been quite clear that a conflict was unavoidable. His extreme reluctance to act is shown by the express stipulation he made that there should be no sacrifice of life. It is scarcely necessary to relate the events which ensued; how the Church of Nicomedia was razed to the ground; how an ominous retaliation was exacted by setting fire to the imperial palace; how an edict was openly insulted and torn down; how the Christian officers in the army were compelled to resign and, as Eusebius, an eye-witness, relates, a vast number of martyrs suffered in Armenia, Syria, Mauritania, Egypt, and elsewhere. So resistless was the march of events that not even the emperor himself could stop the persecution. The Christians were given over to torture, the fire, wild beasts, beheading; many of them, in the moment of condemnation, simply returning thanks to God that he had thought them worthy to suffer. The whole world was filled with admiration. The greatness of such holy courage could have no other result. An internecine conflict between the disputants seemed to be inevitable. But, in the dark and bloody policy of the times, the question was settled in an unexpected way. To Constantine, who had fled from the treacherous custody of Galerius, it naturally occurred that, if he should ally himself to the Christian party, conspicuous advantages must forthwith accrue to him. It would give him in every corner of the empire men and women ready to encounter fire and sword; it would give him partisans, not only animated by the traditions of their fathers, but-for human nature will even in the religious assert itself-demanding retribution for the horrible barbarities and injustice that had been inflicted on themselves; it would give him, and this was the most important of all, unwavering adherents in every legion of the army. He took his course. The events of war crowned him with success. He could not be otherwise than outwardly true to those who had given him power, and who continued to maintain him on the throne. But he never conformed to the ceremonial requirements of the Church till the close of his evil life. The attempt to make an alliance with this great and rapidly growing party was nothing new. Maximin tried it, but was distrusted. Licinius, foreseeing the policy that Constantine would certainly pursue, endeavored to neutralize it by feebly reviving the persecution, A.D. 316, thinking thereby to conciliate the pagans. The aspirants for em-
206 CONSTANTINE THE-GREAT.
pire at this moment so divided the strength of the state that, had the Christian party been weaker than it actually was, it so held the balance of power as to be able to give a preponderance to the candidate of its choice. Much more, therefore, was it certain to prevail, considering its numbers, its ramifications, its compactness. As to its strength, force, and argument, and persuasion had alike proved ineffectual against it. To the reign of Constantine the Great must be referred the commencement of those dark and dismal times which oppressed Europe for a thousand years. It is the true close of the Roman empire, the beginning of the Greek. The transition from one to the other is emphatically and abruptly marked by a new metropolis, a new religion, a new code, and, above all, a new policy. An ambitious man had attained to imperial power by personating the interests of a rapidly growing party. The unavoidable consequences were a union between the Church and State; a diverting of the dangerous classes from civil to ecclesiastical paths, and the decay and materialittion of religion. This, and not the reign of Leo the Isaurian, as some have said, is the true beginning of the Byzantine empire; it is also the beginning of the age of Faith in Europe, though I consider the age of Inquiry as overlapping this epoch, and as terminating with the military fall of Rome. Ecclesiastical authors have made every thing hinge on the conversion of Constantine and the national establishment of Christianity. The medium through which they look distorts the position of objects, and magnifies the subordinate and collateral into the chief. Events had been gradually shaping themselves in such a way that the political fall of the city of Rome was inevitable. The Romans, as a people, had disappeared, being absorbed among other nations; the centre of power was in the army. One after another, the legions put forth competitors for the purple-soldiers of fortune, whose success could never remove low habits due to a base origin, the coarseness of a life of camps-who found no congeniality in the elegance and refinement of those relics of the ancient families which were expiring in Rome. They despised the military decrepitude of the superannuated city; her recollections they hated. To such men the expediency of founding a new capital was an obvious device; or, if indisposed to undertake so laborious a task, the removal of the imperial residence to some other of the great towns was an effectual substitute. It was thus that the residence of Dioclesian at Nicomedia produced such disastrous consequences in a short time to Rome. After Constantine had murdered his son Crispus, his nephew Licinius, and had suffocated in a steam-bath his wife Fausta, to whom he had been married twenty years, and who was the mother of three of his sons, the public abhorrence of his crimes could no longer be concealed. A pasquinade, comparing his reign to that- of
HIS RELIGIOUS POLICY. 207
Nero, was affixed to the palace gate. The guilty emperor, in the first burst of anger, was on the point of darkening the tragedy, if such a thing was possible, by a massacre of the Roman populace who had thus insulted him. It is said that his brothers were consulted on this measure of vengeance. The result of their council was even more deadly, for it was resolved to degrade Rome to a subordinate rank, and build a metropolis elsewhere. Political conditions thus at once suggested and rendered possible the translation of the seat of government: the temporary motive was the vengeance of a great criminal. Perhaps, also, in the mental occupation incident to such an undertaking, the emperor found a refuge from the accusations of conscience. But it is altogether erroneous to suppose that either at this time, or for many years subsequently, he was a Christian. His actions are not those of a devout convert; he was no proselyte, but a protector; never guiding himself by religious principles, but now giving the most valuable support to his new allies, now exhibiting the impartiality of a statesman for both forms of faith. In his character of Pontifex Maximus he restored pagan temples, and directed that the haruspices should be consulted. On the festival of the birthday of the new city he honored the statue of Fortune. The continued heathen sacrifices and open temples seemed to indicate that he intended to do no more than place the new religion on a level with the old. His recommendation to the Bishop of Alexandria and to Arius of the example of the philosophers, who never debated profound questions before ignorant audiences, and who could differ without hating one another, illustrates the indifferentism of his personal attitude, and yet he clearly recognized his obligations to the party that had given him power. This conclusion is confirmed by the works of Constantine himself. They must be regarded as far better authority than the writings of religious polemics. A medal was struck, on which was impressed his title of "God," together with the monogram of Christ. Another represented him as raised by a hand from the sky while seated in the chariot of the Sun. But more particularly the great porphyry pillar, a column 120 feet in height, exhibited the true religious condition of the founder of Constantinople. The statue on its summit mingled together the Sun, the Savior, and the Emperor. Its body was a colossal image of Apollo, whose features were replaced by those of Constantine, and round the head, like rays, were fixed the nails of the cross of Christ recently discovered in Jerusalem. The position of a patron assumed by Constantine may be remarked in many of the incidents of his policy. The edict of Milan gave liberty both to Pagans and Christians; but his necessity for in some degree showing a preponderance of favor for the latter obliged him to issue a
208 HIS CIVIL POLICY.
rescript exempting the clergy from civil offices. It was this also which led him to conciliate the bishops by the donation of large sums of money for the restitution of their churches and other purposes, and to exert himself, often by objectionable means, for destroying that which they who were around him considered to be heresy. A better motive, perhaps, led him to restore those Christians who had been degraded; to surrender to the legal heirs the confiscated estates of martyrs, or, if no heirs were to be found, to convey them to the Church; to set at liberty those who had been condemned to the mines; to recall those who had been banished. If, as a tribute to the Christians, who had sustained him politically, he made the imperial treasury responsible for many of their losses; if he caused costly churches to be built not only in the great cities, but even in the Holy Land; if he vindicated the triumphant position of his supporters by forbidding any Jew to have a Christian slave; if he undertook to enforce the decisions of councils by means of the power of the state; if he forbade all schism in the Church, himself determining the degrees of heresy under the inspirations of his clerical entourage, his vacillations show how little he was guided by principle, how much by policy. After the case of the Donatists had been settled by repeated councils, he spontaneously recalled them from banishment; after he had denounced Arius as "the very image of the Devil," he, through the influence of court females, received him again into favor; after the temple of Aesculapius at AEgae had been demolished, and the doors and roofs of others removed, the pagans were half conciliated by perceiving that no steady care was taken to enforce the obnoxious decrees, and that, after all, the Christians would have to accept the intentions of the emperor for deeds. In a double respect the removal of the seat of empire was important to Christianity. It rendered possible the assumption of power by the bishops of Rome, who were thereby secluded from imperial observation and inspection, and whose position, feeble at first, under such singularly auspicious circumstances was at last developed into papal supremacy. In Constantinople, also, there were no pagan recollections and interests to contend with. At first the new city was essentially Roman, and its language Latin; but this was soon changed for Greek, and thus the transference of the seat of government tended to make Latin in the end a sacred tongue. Constantine knew very well where Roman power had for many years lain. His own history, from the time of his father's death and his exaltation by the legions at York, had taught him that, for the perpetuation of his dynasty and system, those formidable bodies must be disposed of. It was for this reason, and that no future commander might do what himself and so many of his predecessors had done, that he reduced the strength of the legion from 6000 to 1500 or
REVOLT OF THE DONATISTS. 209
1000 men. For this reason, too, he opened to ambition the less dangerous field of ecclesiastical wealth and dignity, justly concluding that, since the clergy came from every class of society, the whole people would look to the prosperity of the Church. By exempting the priesthood from burdensome municipal offices, such as the decurionate, he put a premium on apostasy from paganism. The interest he personally took in the Trinitarian controversy encouraged the spreading of theological disputation from philosophers and men of capacity to the populace. Under the old polytheism heresy was impossible, since every man might select his god and his worship; but under the new monotheism it was inevitable-heresy, a word that provokes and justifies a black catalogue of crimes. Occupied in those exciting pursuits, men took but little heed of the more important political changes that were in progress. The eyes of the rabble were easily turned from the movements of the government by horse-racing, theatres, largesses. Yet already this diversion of ambition into new fields gave tokens of dangers to the state in future times. The Donatists, whom Constantine had attempted to pacify by the Councils of Rome, Arles, and Milan, maintained a more than religious revolt, and exhibited the bitterness that may be infused among competitors for ecclesiastical spoils. These enthusiasts assumed to themselves the title of God's elect, proclaimed that the only true apostolical succession was in their bishops, and that whosoever denied the right of Donatus to be Bishop of Carthage should be eternally damned. They asked, with a truth that lent force to their demand, "What has the emperor to do with the Church, what have Christians to do with kings, what have bishops to do at court?" Already the Catholic party, in preparation of their commencing atrocities, ominously inquired, "Is the vengeance of God to be defrauded of its victims?" Already Constantine, by bestowing on the Church the right of receiving bequests, had given birth to that power which, reposing on the influence that always attaches to the possession of land, becomes at last overwhelming when it is held by a corporation which may always receive and can never alienate, which is always renewing itself and can never die. It was by no miraculous agency, but simply by its organization, that the Church attained to power; an individual who must die, and a family which must become extinct, had no chance against a corporation whose purposes were ever unchanged, and its life perpetual. But it was not the state alone which thus took detriment from her connection with the Church; the latter paid a full price for the temporal advantages she received in invoking civil intervention in her affairs. After a retrospect of a thousand years, well did the pious Fratricelli loudly proclaim their conviction that the fatal gift of a Christian emperor had been the doom of true religion. From the rough soldier who accepted the purple at York, how great
210 THE TRINITARIAN CONTROVERSY.
the change to the effeminate emperor of the Bosphorus, in silken robes stiffened with threads of gold, with a diadem of sapphires and pearls, and false hair stained of various tints; his steps stealthily guarded by mysterious eunuchs flitting through the palace, and streets full of spies, and an ever-watchful police. The same man who approaches us as the Roman imperator retires from us as the Asiatic despot. In the last days of his life, he put aside the imperial purple, and, assuming the customary white garment, prepared for baptism, that the sins of his long and evil life might all be washed away. Since complete purification can thus be only once obtained, he was desirous to procrastinate that ceremony to the last moment. Profoundly politic, even in his relations with heaven, he thenceforth reclined on a white bed, took no farther part in worldly affairs, and, having thus insured a right to the continuance of that prosperity in a future life which he had enjoyed in this, expired, A.D. 337. In a theological respect, among the chief events of this emperor's reign are the Trinitarian controversy and the open materialization of Christianity. The former, commencing among the Platonizing ecclesiastics of Alexandria, continued for ages to exert a formidable influence. From time immemorial, as we have already related, the Egyptians had been familiar with various trinities, different ones being worshiped in different cities, the devotees of each exercising a peaceful toleration toward those of others. But now things were greatly changed. It was the settled policy of Constantine to divert ambition from the state to the Church, and to make it not only safer, but more profitable to be a great ecclesiastic than a successful soldier. A violent competition for the chief offices was the consequence-a competition, the prelude of that still greater one for episcopal supremacy. We are now again brought to a consideration of the variations of opinion which marked this age. It would be impossible to give a description of them all. I therefore-propose to speak only of the prominent ones. They are a sufficient guide in our investigation; and of the Trinitarian controversy first. For some time past dissensions had been springing up in the Church. Even out of persecution itself disunion had arisen. The martyrs who had suffered for their faith, and the confessors who had nobly avowed it, gained a worthy consideration and influence, becoming the intermedium of reconciliation of such of their weaker brethren as had apostatized in times of peril by authoritative recommendations to "the peace of the Church." From this abuses arose. Martyrs were known to have given the use of their names to " a man and his friends;" nay, it was even asserted that tickets of recommendation had been bought for money; and as it was desirable that a uniformity of discipline should obtain in all the churches, so that he who was excom-
ARIUS, HIS HERESY. 211
municated from one should be excommunicated from all, it was necessary that these abuses should be corrected. In the controversies that ensued, Novatus founded his sect on the principle that penitent apostates should, under no circumstances, be ever again received. Besides this dissent on a question of discipline, already there were abundant elements of dispute, such as the time of observance of Easter, the nature of Christ, the millennium upon earth, and rebaptism. Already, in Syria, Noetus, the Unitarian, had foreshadowed what was coming; already there were Patripassians; already Sabellianism existed. But it was in Alexandria that the tempest burst forth. There lived in that city a presbyter of the name of Arius, who, on occasion of a vacancy occurring, desired to be appointed bishop. But one Alexander supplanted him in the coveted dignity. Both relied on numerous supporters, Arius counting among his not less than seven hundred virgins of the Mareotic nome. In his disappointment he accused his successful antagonist of Sabellianism, and, in retaliation, was anathematized. It was no wonder that, in such an atmosphere, the question quickly assumed a philosophical aspect. The point of difficulty was to define the position of the Son in the Holy Trinity. Arius took the ground that there was a time when, from the very nature of sonship, the Son did not exist, and a time at which he commenced to be, asserting that it is the necessary condition of the filial relation that a son must be posterior in time to his father. But this assertion evidently might imply subordination or inequality among the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The partisans of Alexander raised up their voices against such a blasphemous lowering of the Redeemer; the Arians answered.them that, by exalting the Son in every respect to an equality with the Father, they impugned the great truth of the unity of God. The new bishop himself edified the giddy citizens, and perhaps, in some degree, justified his appointment to his place by displaying his rhetorical powers in public debates on the question. The Alexandrians, little anticipating the serious and enduring results soon to arise, amused themselves, with characteristic levity, by theatrical representations of the contest upon the stage. In the theatre of Alexandria many of the corruptions of Christianity originated. The passions of the two parties were roused; the Jews and Pagans, of whom the town was full, exasperated them by their mocking derision. The dissension spread; the whole country became convulsed. In the hot climate of Africa, theological controversy soon ripened into political disturbance. In all Egypt there was not a Christian man, and not a woman, who did not proceed to settle the nature of the unity of God. The tumult rose to such a pitch that it became necessary for the emperor to interfere. Doubtless, at first, he congratulated himself on such a course of events. It was better that the provinces should be
212 THE COUNCIL OF NICEA.
fanatically engaged in disputes than secretly employed in treason against his person or conspiracies against his policy. A united people is an inconvenience to one in power. Nevertheless, to compose the matter somewhat, he sent Hosius, the Bishop of Cordova, to Alexandria; but, finding that the remedy was altogether inadequate, he was driven at last to the memorable expedient of summoning the Council Nicea, A.D. 325. It attempted a settlement of the trouble by a condemnation of Arius, and the promulgation of authoritative articles of belief as set forth in the Nicene Creed. As to the main point, the Son was declared to be of the same substance with the Father-a temporizing and convenient, but, as the event proved, a disastrous ambiguity. The Nicene Council, therefore, settled the question by evading it, and the emperor enforced the decision by the banishment of Arius. "I am persecuted," Arius plaintively said, "because I have taught that the Son had a beginning and the Father had not." It was the influence of the court theologians that had made the emperor his personal enemy. Constantine, as we have seen, had looked upon the dispute, in the first instance, as altogether frivolous, if he did not, in truth, himself incline to the assertion of Arius, that, in the very nature of the thing, a father must be older than his son. The theatrical exhibitions at Alexandria in mockery of the question were calculated to confirm him in his opinion; his judgment was lost in the theories that were springing up as to the nature of Christ; for on the Ebionitish, Gnostic, and Platonic doctrines, as well as on the new one that "the logos" was made out of nothing, it equally followed that the current opinion must be erroneous, and that there was a time before which the Son did not exist. But, as the contest spread through churches and even families, Constantine had found himself compelled to intervene. At first he attempted the position of a moderator, but soon took ground against Arius, advised to that course by his entourage at Constantinople. It was at this time that the letter was circulated in which he denounced Arius as the image of the Devil. Arius might now have foreseen what must certainly occur at Nicea. Before that council was called every thing was settled. No contemporary for a moment supposed that it was an assembly of simple-hearted men, anxious, by a mutual comparison of thought, to ascertain the truth. Its aim was not to compose such a creed as would give unity to the Church, but one so worded that the Arians would be compelled to refuse to sign it, and so ruin themselves. To the creed was attached an anathema precisely defining the point of dispute, and leaving the foreordained victims no chance of escape. The original Nicene Creed differed in some essential particulars from that now current under that title. Among other things,
THE DEATH OF ARIUS. 213.
. the fatal and final clause has been dropped. Thus it ran: "The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not; and that before he was begotten he was not, and that he was made out of nothing, or out of another substance or essence, and is created, or changeable, or alterable." The emperor enforced the decision of the council by the civil power; he circulated letters denouncing Arius, and initiated those fearful punishments unhappily destined in future ages to become so frequent, by ordaining that whoever should find a book of Arius and not burn it should actually be put to death. It might be thought that, after such a decisive course, it would be impossible to change, and yet in less than ten years Constantine is found agreeing with the convict Arius. A presbyter in the confidence of Constantia, the emperor's sister, had wrought upon him. Athanasius, now Bishop of Alexandria, the representative of court favor, the other party, is deposed and banished. Arius is invited to Constantinople. The emperor orders. Alexander, the bishop of that city, to receive him into communion to-morrow. It is Saturday. Alexander flies to the church, and, falling prostrate, prays to God that he will interpose and save his servant from being forced into this sin, even if it should be by death. That same evening Arius was seized with a sudden and violent illness as he passed along the street, and in a few moments he was found dead in a house, whither he had hastened. In Constantinople, where men were familiar with Asiatic crimes, there was more than a suspicion of poison. But when Alexander's party proclaimed that his prayer had been answered, they forgot what then that prayer must have been, and that the difference is little between praying for the death of a man and compassing it. The Arians affirmed that it was the intention of Constantine to have called a new council, and have the creed rectified according to his more recent ideas; but, before he could accomplish this, he was overtaken by death. So little efficacy was there in the determination of the Council of Nicea, that for many years afterward creed upon creed appeared. What Constantine's new creed would have been may be told from the fact that the Consubstantialists had gone out of power, and from what his son Constantius soon after did at the Council of Ariminium. So far, therefore, from the Council of Nicea ending the controversies afflicting religion, they continued with increasing fury. The sons and successors of Constantine set an example of violence in these disputes; and, until the barbarians burst in upon the empire, the fourth century wore away in theological feuds. Even the populace, scarcely emerged from paganism, set itself up for a judge on questions from their very nature incapable of being solved; and to this
214 GROWTH OF CHURCH POWER.
the government gave an impetus by making the profits of public service the reward of sectarian violence. The policy of Constantine began to produce its results. -Mental activity and ambition found their true field in ecclesiastical affairs. Orthodoxy triumphed, because it was more in unison with the present necessity of the court, while asserting the-predominance of Christianity, to offend as little as might be the pagan party. The heresy of Arius, though it might suit the monotheistic views of the educated, did not commend itself to that large mass who had been so recently pagan. Already the elements of dissension were obvious enough; on one side there was an illiterate, intolerant, unscrupulous, credulous, numerous body, on the other a refined, better-informed, yet doubting sect. The Emperor Constantius, guided by his father's latest principles, having sided with the Arian party, soon found that under the new system a bishop would, without hesitation, oppose his sovereign. Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, as the head of the orthodox party, became the personal antagonist of the emperor, who attempted, after vainly using physical compulsion, to resort to the celestial weapons in vogue by laying claim to Divine inspiration. Like his father, he had a celestial vision; but, as his views were Arian, the orthodox rejected without scruple his supernatural authority, and Hilary of Poictiers wrote a book to prove that he was Antichrist. The horrible bloodshed and murders attending these quarrels in the great cities, and private life of both high and low degree, clearly showed that Christianity, through its union with politics, had fallen into such a state that it could no longer control the passions of men. The personal history of the sons of Constantine is an awful relation of family murders. Religion had disappeared, and theology had come in its stead. Even theology had gone mad. But in the midst of these disputes worldly interests were steadily kept in view. At the Council of Ariminium, A.D. 359, an attempt was made to have the lands belonging to the churches exempt from all taxation; but, to his credit, the emperor steadfastly refused. Macedonius, the Bishop of Constantinople, who had passed over the slaughtered bodies of three thousand people to take possession of his episcopal throne, exceeded even Arius himself in heresy by not only asserting the inferiority of the Son to the Father, but by absolutely denying the divinity of the Holy Ghost. As the fruits of these broils, two facts appear: 1st, that there is a higher law, which the faithful may obey, in opposition to the law of the land, when it suits their views; the law of God, as expounded by the bishop, who can eternally punish the soul, must take precedence of the law of Caesar, who can only kill the body and seize the goods; 2d, that there is a supremacy in the Bishop of Rome, to whom Athanasius, the leader of the orthodox, by twice visiting that city,
ORIGIN OF THE PAPACY. 215
submitted his cause. The significance of these facts becomes conspicuous in later ages. Things were evidently shaping themselves for a trial of strength between the imperial and ecclesiastical powers, heretofore allied. They were about to quarrel over their booty. We have now to consider this asserted supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, and how it came to be established as a political fact. We must also turn from the Oriental variations of opinion to those of the West. Except by thus enlarging the field to be traversed, we can gain no perfect conception of the general intellectual tendency. For long after its introduction to Western Europe, Christianity was essentially a Greek religion. Its Oriental aspect had become Hellenized. Its churches had, in the first instance, a Greek organization, conducted their worship in that tongue, and composed their writings in it. Though it retained much of this foreign aspect so long as Rome continued to be the residence, or was more particularly under the eye of the emperors, it was gradually being affected by the influences to which it was exposed. On Western Europe, the questions which had so profoundly agitated the East, such as the nature of God, the Trinity, the cause of evil, had made but little impression, the intellectual peculiarity of the people being unsuited to such exercises. The foundation of Constantinople, by taking off the political pressure, permitted native peculiarities to manifest themselves, and Latin Christianity emerged in contradistinction to Greek. Yet still it cannot be said that Europe owes its existing forms of Christianity to a Roman origin. It is indebted to Africa for them. We live under African domination. I have now with brevity to relate the progress of this interesting event; how African conceptions were firmly established in Rome, and, by the time that Greek Christianity had lost its expansive power and ceased to be aggressive, African Christianity took its place, extending to the North and West, and obtaining for itself an organization copied from that of the Roman empire; sacerdotal praetors, proconsuls, and a Caesar; developing its own jurisprudence, establishing its own magistracy, exchanging the Greek tongue it had hitherto used for the Latin, which, soon becoming a sacred language, conferred upon it the most singular advantages. The Greek churches were of the nature of confederated republics; the Latin Church instinctively tended to monarchy. Far from assuming an attitude of conspicuous dignity, the primitive bishops of Rome led a life of obscurity. In the earliest times, the bishops of Jerusalem, of whom James, the brother of our Lord, was the first, are spoken of as the head of the Church, and so regarded even in Rome itself. The controversy respecting Easter, A.D. 109, shows,
216 ITS GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT.
however, how soon the disposition for Western supremacy was exhibited. Victor, the Bishop of Rome, requiring the Asiatic bishops to conform to the view of his Church respecting the time at which the festival of Easter should be observed, and being resisted therein by Polycrates, the Bishop of Ephesus, on behalf of the Eastern churches, the feud continuing until the determination of the Council of Nicea. It was not in Asia alone that the growth of Roman supremacy was resisted. There is no difficulty in selecting from ecclesiastical history proofs of the same feeling in many other quarters. Thus, when the disciples of Montanus, the Phrygian, who pretended to be the Paraclete, had converted to their doctrines and austerities the Bishop of Rome, and Tertullian, the Carthaginian, on the former backsliding from that faith, the latter denounced him as a Patripassian heretic. Yet, for the most part, a good understanding obtained not only between Rome and Carthage, but also among the Gallic and Spanish churches, who looked upon Rome as conspicuous and illustrious, though no more than equal to themselves. At the Council of Carthage St. Cyprian said, "None of us ought to set himself up as a bishop of bishops, or pretend tyrannically to restrain his colleagues, because each bishop has a liberty and power to act as he thinks fit, and can no more be judged by another bishop than he can judge another. But we must all wait for the judgment of Jesus Christ, to whom alone belongs the power to set us over the Church, and to judge of our actions." Rome by degrees emerged from this equality, not by the splendid talents of any illustrious man, for among her early bishops none rose above mediocrity, but partly from her political position, partly from the great wealth she soon accumulated, and partly from the policy she happened to follow. Her bishop was not present at the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325, nor at that of Sardica, A.D. 345; perhaps on these occasions, as on others of a like kind subsequently, the immediate motive of his standing aloof was the fear that he might not receive the presidency. Soon, however, was discerned the advantage of the system of appearing by representatives. Such an attitude, moreover, offered the opportunity of frequently holding the balance of power in the fierce conflicts that soon arose, made Rome a retreat for the discomfited ecclesiastic, and her bishop apparently an elevated and unbiased arbiter on his case. It was thus that Athanasius, in' his contests with the emperor, found a refuge and protector. With this elevated position in the esteem of strangers came also domestic dignity. The prodigal gifts of the rich Roman ladies had already made the bishopric to be sought after by those who esteem the ease and luxuries of life as well as by the ambitious. Fierce contests arose on the occurrence of vacancies. At the election of Damasus, one hundred and thirty of the slain lay in the basilica of Sisinnius: the competitors had called in the
NECESSITY FOR A SUPREME PONTIFF. 217
aid of a rabble of gladiators, charioteers, and other ruffians; nor could the riots be ended except by the intervention of the imperial troops. It was none too soon that Jerome introduced the monastic system at Rome: there was need of a change to austerity; none too soon that a law against legacy-hunting on the part of the clergy was enacted: it had become a public scandal; none too soon that Jerome struggled for, the patronage of the rich Roman women; none too soon that this stern fanatic denounced the immorality of the Roman clergy, when even the Bishop Damasus himself was involved in a charge of adultery. It became clear, if the clergy would hold their ground in public estimation against their antagonists the monks, that celibacy must be insisted on. The doctrine of the pre-eminent value of virginity was steadily making progress; but it cost many years of struggle before the monks carried their point, and the celibacy of the clergy was compelled. It had long been seen by those who hoped for Roman supremacy that there was a necessity for the establishment of a definite and ascertained doctrine-a necessity for some apostolic man, who might be the representative of a criterion of truth. The Eastern system of deciding by councils was in its nature uncertain. The councils themselves had no ascertained organization. Experience had shown that they were too much under the control of the court at Constantinople. This tendency to accept the republican decisions of councils in the East, and monarchical ones by a supreme pontiff in the West, in reality, however, depended on a common sentiment entertained by reflecting men every where. Something must be done to check the anarchy of opinion. To show how this tendency was satisfied, it will be sufficient to select, out of the numberless controversies of the times, a few leading ones. A clear light is thrown upon the matter by the history of the Pelagian, Nestorian, and Eutychian heresies. Their chronological period is from about A.D. 400 to A.D. 450. Pelagius was a British monk, who, about the first of those dates, passed through Western Europe and Northern Africa, teaching the doctrines that Adam was by nature mortal, and that, if he had not sinned, he nevertheless would have died; that the consequences of his sin were confined to himself, and did not affect his posterity; that new-born infants are in the same condition as Adam before his fall; that we are at birth as pure as he was; that we sin by our own free will, and in the same manner may reform, and thereby work out our own salvation; that the grace of God is given according to our merits. He was repelled from Africa by the influence of St. Augustine, and denounced in Palestine from the cell of Jerome. He specially insisted on
218 THE PELAGIAN HERESY.
this, that it is not the mere act of baptizing by water that washes away sin, but that it can only be removed by good works. Infants are baptized before it is possible that they could have sinned. On the contrary, Augustine resisted these doctrines, resting himself on the words of Scripture that baptism is for the remission of sins. The case of children compelled that father to introduce the doctrine of original sin as derived from Adam, notwithstanding the dreadful consequences if they die unbaptized. In like manner also followed the doctrines of predestination, grace, atonement. Summoned before a synod at Diospolis, Pelagius was unexpectedly acquitted of heresy-an extraordinary decision, which brought Africa and the East into conflict. Under these circumstances, perhaps without a clear foresight of the issue, the matter was referred to Rome as arbiter or judge. In his decision, Innocent I., magnifying the dignity of the Roman see and the advantage of such a supreme tribunal, determined in favor of the African bishops. But scarcely had he done this when he died, and his successor, Zosimus, annulled his judgment, and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be orthodox. Carthage now put herself in an attitude of resistance. There was danger of a metaphysical or theological Punic war. Meantime the wily Africans quietly procured from the emperor an edict denouncing Pelagius as a heretic. Through the influence of Count Valerius the faith of Europe was settled; the heresiarchs and their accomplices were condemned to exile and forfeiture of their estates; the contested doctrine that Adam was created without any liability to death was established by law; to deny it was a state crime. Thus it appears that the vacillating papacy was not yet strong enough to exalt itself above its equals, and the orthodoxy of Europe was forever determined by an obscure court intrigue. Scarcely was the Pelagian controversy disposed of when a new heresy appeared. Nestorius, the Bishop of Antioch, attempted to distinguish between the divine and human nature of Christ; he considered that they had become too much confounded, and that "the God" ought to be kept separate from "the Man." From hence it followed that the Virgin Mary should not be regarded as the "mother of God," but only the " mother of Christ-the God-man." Called by the Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the episcopate of Constantinople, A.D. 427, Nestorius was very quickly plunged by the intrigues of a disappointed faction of that city into disputes with the populace. Let us hear the Bishop of Constantinople himself; he is preaching in the great metropolitan church, setting forth, with all the eloquence of which language is capable, the attributes of the illimitable, the everlasting, the Almighty God. " And can this God have a mother? The heathen notion of a god born of a mortal mother is
THE NESTORIAN HERESY. 219
directly confuted by St. Paul, who declares the Lord to be without father and without mother. Could a creature bear the uncreated?" He thus insisted that what was born of Mary was human, and the divine was added after. At once the monks raised a riot in the city, and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, espoused their cause. Beneath the outraged orthodoxy of Cyril lay an ill-concealed motive, the desire of the Bishop of Alexandria to humble the Bishop of Constantinople. The uproar commenced with sermons, epistles, addresses. Instigated by the monks of Alexandria, the monks of Constantinople took up arms in behalf of "the mother of God." Again we remark the eminent position of Rome. Both parties turn to her as an arbiter. Pope Celestine assembles a synod. The Bishop of Constantinople is ordered by the Bishop of Rome to recant, or hold himself under excommunication. Italian supremacy is emerging through Oriental disputes, yet not without a struggle. Relying on his influence at court, Nestorius resists, excommunicates Cyril, and the emperor summons a council to meet at Ephesus. To that council Nestorius repaired, with sixteen bishops and some of the city populace. Cyril collected fifty, together with a rabble of sailors, bath-men, and women of the baser sort. The imperial commissioner with his troops with difficulty repressed the tumult of the assembly. The rescript was fraudulently read before the arrival of Syrian bishops. In one day the matter was completed; the Virgin's party triumphed, and Nestorius was deposed. On the arrival of the Syrian ecclesiastics, a meeting of protest was held by them. A riot, with much bloodshed, occurred in the Cathedral of St. John. The emperor was again compelled to interfere; he ordered eight deputies from each party to meet him at Chalcedon. In the mean time court intrigues decided the matter. The emperor's sister was in after times celebrated by the party of Cyril as having been the cause of the discomfiture of Nestorius: "the Holy Virgin of the court of the Heaven had found an ally of her own sex in the holy virgin of the emperor's court." But there were also other very efficient auxiliaries. In the treasury of the chief eunuch, which some time after there was occasion to open, was discovered an acknowledgment of many pounds of gold received by him from Cyril, through Paul, his sister's son. Nestorius was abandoned by the court, and eventually exiled to an Egyptian oasis. An edifying legend relates that his blasphemous tongue was devoured by worms, and that from the heats of an Egyptian desert he escaped only into the hotter torments of Hell. So, again, in the affair of Nestorius as in that of Pelagius, Africa triumphed, and the supremacy of Rome, her ally or confederate, was be coming more and more distinct. A very important result in this gradual evolution of Roman supreme-
220 THE EUTYCHIAN HERESY.
acy arose from the affair of Eutyches, the Archimandrite of a convent of monks at Constantinople. He had distinguished himself as a leader in the riots occurring at the time of Nestorius and in other subsequent troubles. Accused before a synod held in Constantinople of denying the two natures of Christ, of saying that if there be two natures there must be two Sons, Eutyches was convicted, and sentence of excommunication passed upon him. This was, however, only the ostensible cause of his condemnation; the true motive was connected with a court intrigue. The chief eunuch, who was his godson, was occupied in a double movement to elevate Eutyches to the see of Constantinople, and to destroy the authority of Pulcheria, the emperor's sister, through Eudocia, the emperor's wife. On his condemnation, Eutyches appealed to the emperor, who summoned, at the instigation of the eunuch, a council to meet at Ephesus. This was the celebrated "Robber Synod," as it was called. It pronounced in favor of the orthodoxy of Eutyches, and ordered his restoration, deposing the Bishop of Constantinople, Flavianus, who was his rival, and at the synod had been his judge, and also Eusebius, who had been his accuser. A riot ensued, in which the Bishop of Constantinople was murdered by the Bishop of Alexandria and one Barsumas, who beat him with their fists amid cries of "Kill him! kill him!" The Italian legates made their escape from the uproar with difficulty. The success of these movements was mainly due to Dioscorus, the Bishop of Alexandria, who thus accomplished the overthrow of his rivals of Antioch and Constantinople. An imperial edict gave force to the determination of the council. At this point the Bishop of Rome intervened, refusing to acknowledge the proceedings. It was well that Alexandria and Constantinople should be perpetually struggling, but it was not well that either should become paramount. Dioscorus thereupon broke off communion with him. Rome and Alexandria were at issue. In a fortunate moment the emperor died; his sister, the orthodox Pulcheria, the friend of Leo, married Marcian, and made him emperor. A council was summoned at Chalcedon. Leo wished it to be in Italy, where no one could have disputed his presidency. As it was, he fell back on the ancient policy, and appeared by representatives. Dioscorus was overthrown, and sentence pronounced through against him, in behalf of the council, by one of the representatives of Leo. It set forth that "Leo, therefore, by their voice, and with the authority of the council, in the name of the Apostle Peter, the Rock and foundation of the Church, deposes Dioscorus from his episcopal dignity, and excludes him from all Christian rites and privileges." But, perhaps that no permanent advantage might accrue to Rome
RIVALRY OF ROME, CONSTANTINOPLE, AND ALEXANDRIA. 221
from the eminent position she was attaining in these transactions, when most of the prelates had left the council, a few, who were chiefly of the diocese of Constantinople, passed, among other canons, one to the effect that the supremacy of the Roman see was not in right of its descent from St. Peter, but because it was the bishopric of an imperial city. It assigned, therefore, to the Bishop of Constantinople equal civil dignity and ecclesiastical authority. Rome ever refused to recognize the validity of this canon. In these contests of Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria for supremacy-for, after all, they were nothing more than the rivalries of ambitious placemen for power-the Roman bishop uniformly came forth the gainer. And it is to be remarked that he deserved to be so; his course was always dignified, often noble; theirs exhibited a reckless scramble for influence, an unscrupulous resort to bribery, court intrigue, murder. Thus the want of a criterion of truth, and a determination to arrest a spirit of inquiry that had become troublesome, led to the introduction of councils, by which, in an authoritative manner, theological questions might be settled. But it is to be observed that these councils did not accredit themselves by the coincidences of their decisions on successive occasions, since they often contradicted one another, nor did they sustain those decisions only with a moral influence arising from the understanding of man, enlightened by their investigations and conclusions. Their human character is clearly shown by the necessity under which they labored of enforcing their arbitrary conclusions by the support of the civil power. The same necessity which, in the monarchical East, led thus to the republican form of a council, led in the democratic West to the development of the autocratic papal power; but in both it was found that the final authority thus appealed to had no innate or divinely derived energy. It was altogether helpless against any one disposed to resist it except by the aid of military or civil compulsion. It was impossible that any other opinion could be entertained of the character of these assemblages by men of practical ability who had been concerned in their transactions. Gregory of Nazianzen, one of the most pious and able men of his age, and who, during a part of its sittings, was president of the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, refused subsequently to attend any more, saying that he had never known an assembly of bishops terminate well; that, instead of removing evils, they only increased them, and that their strifes and lust of power were not to be described. A thousand years later, AEneas Sylvius, Pope Pius II., speaking of another council, observes that it was not so much directed by the Holy Ghost as by the passions of men. Notwithstanding the contradictions and opposition they so frequently
NATURE OF ECCLESIASTICAL COUNCIL.
exhibit, there may be discerned in the decisions of these bodies the traces of an affiliation indicating the continuous progression of thought. Thus, of the four ecumenical councils that were concerned with the facts spoken of in the preceding pages, that of Nicea determined the Son to be of the same substance with the Father; that of Constantinople, that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal to the Father; that of Ephesus, that the two natures of Christ make but one person; and that of Chalcedon, that these natures remain two, notwithstanding their personal union. But that they failed of their object in constituting a criterion of truth is plainly demonstrated by such simple facts as that, in the fourth century alone, there were thirteen councils adverse to Arius, fifteen in his favor, and seventeen for the semi-Arians-in all, forty-five. From such a confusion, it was necessary that the councils themselves must be subordinate to a higher authority-a higher criterion, able to give to them or refuse to them authenticity. That the source of power, both for the council in the East and the papacy in the West, was altogether political, is proved by almost every transaction in which they were concerned. In the case of the papacy, this was well seen in the contest between Hilary the Bishop of Arles, and Leo, on which occasion an edict was issued by the Emperor Valentinian denouncing the contumacy of Hilary, and setting forth that, "though the sentence of so great a pontiff as the Bishop of Rome did not need imperial confirmation, yet that it must now be understood by all bishops that the decrees of the apostolic see should henceforth be law, and that whoever refused to obey the citation of the Roman pontiff should be compelled to do so by the moderator of the province." Herein we see the intrinsic nature of papal power distinctly. It is allied with physical force. In the midst of these theological disputes occurred that great event which I have designated as marking the close of the age of Inquiry. It was the fall of Rome. In the Eastern empire the Goths had become permanently settled, having laws of their own, a magistracy of their own, paying no taxes, but contributing 40,000 men to the army. The Visigoths were spreading through Greece, Spain, Italy. In their devastations of the former country, they had spared Athens for the sake of her recollections. The Eleusinian mysteries had ceased. From that day Greece never saw prosperity again. Alaric entered Italy. Stilicho, the imperial general, forced him to retreat. Rhadogast made his invasion. Stilicho compelled him to surrender at discretion. The Burgundians and Vandals overflowed Gaul; the Suevi, Vandals, and Alans overflowed Spain. Stilicho, a man worthy of the old days of the republic, though a Goth, was murdered by the emperor his master. Alaric appeared before Rome. It was 619 years since she had felt the presence
THE FALL OF ROME. 223.
of a foreign enemy, and that was Hannibal. She still contained 1780 senatorial palaces, the annual income of some of the owners of which was $800,000. The city was eighteen miles in circumference and contained above a million of people-of people, as in old times, clamorous for distributions of bread, and wine, and oil. In its conscious despair, the apostate city, it is said, with the consent of the pope, offered sacrifice to Jupiter, its repudiated, and, as it now believed, its offended god. A million of dollars, together with many costly goods, were paid as a ransom. The barbarian general retired. He was insulted by the emperor from his fastness at Ravenna. Altercations and new marches ensued; and at last, for the third time, Alaric appeared before Rome. At midnight on the 24th of April, A.D. 410, eleven hundred and sixty-three years from the foundation of the city, the Salarian gate was opened to him by the treachery of slaves; there was no god to defend her in her dire extremity, and Rome was sacked by the Goths. Has the Eternal City really fallen! was the universal exclamation throughout the empire when it became known that Alaric had taken Rome. Though paganism had been ruined in a national sense, the true Roman ethnical element had never given it up, but was dying out with it, a relic of the population of the city still adhering to the ancient faith. Among this were not wanting many of the aristocratic families and philosophers, who imputed the disaster to the public apostasy, and in their shame and suffering loudly proclaimed that the nation was justly punished for its abandonment of the gods of its forefathers, the gods who had given victory and empire. It became necessary for the Church to meet this accusation, which, while it was openly urged by thousands, was doubtless believed to be true by silent, and timid, and panic-stricken millions. With the intention of defending Christianity, St. Augustine, one of the ablest of the fathers, solemnly devoted thirteen years of his life to the composition of his great work entitled " The City of God." It is interesting for us to remark the tone of some of these replies of the Christians to their pagan adversaries.' For the manifest deterioration of Roman manners, and for the impending dissolution of the state, paganism itself is responsible. Our political power is only of yesterday; it is in no manner concerned with the gradual development of luxury and wickedness, which TheChristian has been going on for the last thousand- years. Your ances- reply tors made war a trade; they laid under tribute and enslaved the adjacent nations; but were not profusion, extravagance, dissipation, the necessary consequences of conquest? was not Roman idleness the inevitable result of the filling of Italy with slaves? Every hour rendered wider that bottomless gulf which separates immense riches from abject poverty. Did not the middle class, in which reside the virtue and
224 PAGAN ACCUSATION AND CHRISTIAN REPLY.
strength of a nation, disappear, and aristocratic families remain in Rome, whose estates in Syria or Spain, Gaul or Africa, equaled, nay, even exceeded in extent and revenue illustrious kingdoms, provinces for the annexation of which the republic of old had decreed triumphs? Was there not in the streets a profligate rabble living in total idleness, fed and amused at the expense of the state? We are not answerable for the grinding oppression perpetrated on the rural populations until they have been driven to despair, their numbers so diminishing as to warn us that there is danger of their being extinguished. We did not suggest to the Emperor Trajan to abandon Dacia, and neglect that policy which fixed the boundaries of the empire at strong military posts. We did not suggest to Caracalla to admit all sorts of people to Roman citizenship, nor dislocate the population by a wild pursuit of civil offices or the discharge of military duties. We did not crowd Italy with slaves, nor make those miserable men more degraded than the beasts of the field, compelling them to labors which are the business of the brutes. We have taught and practiced a very different doctrine to that. We did not nightly put into irons the population of provinces and cities reduced to bondage. We are not responsible for the inevitable insurrections, poisonings, assassinations, vengeance. We did not bring on that state of things in which a man having a patrimony found it his best interest to abandon it without compensation and flee. We did not demoralize the populace by providing them food, games, races, theatres; we have been persecuted because we would not set our feet in a theatre. We did not ruin the senate and aristocracy by sacrificing every thing, even ourselves, for the Julian family. We did not neutralize the legions by setting them to fight against one another. We were not the first to degrade Rome; Dioclesian, who persecuted us, gave the example by establishing his residence at Nicomedia. As to the sentiment of patriotism of which you vaunt, was it not destroyed by your own emperors? When they had made Roman citizens of Gauls and Egyptians, Africans and Huns, Spaniards and Syrians, how could they expect that such a motley crew would remain true to the interests of an Italian town, and that town their hated oppressor. Patriotism depends on concentration; it cannot bear diffusion. Something more than such a worldly tie was wanted to bind the diverse nations together; they have found it in Christianity. A common language imparts community of thought and feeling; but what was to be expected when Greek is the language of one half of the ruling classes, and Latin of the other? we say nothing of the thousand unintelligible forms of speech in use throughout the Roman world. The fall of the senate anteceded, by a few years, the origin of Christianity; you will not surely say that we were the inciters of the usurpations of the Caesars? What have we had to do with the army, that engine of violence, which in ninety-two years gave you thirty-two
THE WORKS OF ST. AUGUSTINE. 225
emperors and twenty-seven pretenders to the throne? We did not suggest to the Praetorian Guards to put up the empire at auction.' Can you really wonder that all this should come to an end? We do not wonder; on the contrary, we thank God for it. It is time that the human race had rest. The sighing of the prisoner, the prayer of the captive, are heard at last. Yet the judgment has been tempered with mercy. Had the pagan Rhadogast taken Rome, not a life would have been spared, no stone left on another. The Christian Alaric, though a Goth, respects his Christian brethren, and for their sakes you are saved. As to the gods, those daemons in whom you trust, did they always save you from calamity? How long did Hannibal insult them? Was it a goose or a god that saved the Capitol from Brennus? Where were the gods in all the defeats, some of them but recent, of the pagan emperors? It is well that the purple Babylon has fallen, the harlot who was drunk with the blood of nations.' In the place of this earthly city, this vaunted mistress of the world, whose fall closes a long career of superstition and sin, there shall arise "the City of God." The purifying fire of the barbarian shall remove her heathenish defilements, and make her fit for the kingdom of Christ. Instead of a thousand years of that night of crime, to which in your despair you look back, there is before her the day of the millennium, predicted by the prophets of old. In her regenerated walls there shall be no taint of sin, but righteousness and peace; no stain of the vanities of the world, no conflicts of ambition, no sordid hunger for gold, no lust of glory, no desire for domination, but holiness to the Lord.' Of those who in such sentiments defended the cause of the new religion St. Augustine was the chief. In his great work, "the City of God," which may be regarded as the ablest specimen of the early Christian literature, he pursues this theme, if not in the language, at least in the spirit here presented, and through a copious detail of many books. On the later Christianity of the Western churches he has exerted more influence than any other of the fathers. To him is due much of the precision of our views on original sin, total depravity, grace, predestination, election. In his early years St. Augustine had led a frivolous and evil life, plunging into all the dissipations of the gay city of Carthage. Through the devious paths of Manichaeism, astrology, and skepticism, he at last arrived at the truth. It was not, however, the fathers, but Cicero, to whom the good change was due; the writings of that great orator won him over to a love of wisdom, weaning him from the pleasures of the theatre, the follies of divination and superstition. From his Manichaean errors, however, he was snatched by Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who baptized him, together with his illegitimate son Adeodatus. In his writings we may, without difficulty,
226 CRITICISM ON ST. AUGUSTINE'S WORK.
recognize the vestiges of Magianism, not as regards the duality of God, but as respects the division of mankind-the elect and lost; the kingdoms of grace and perdition, of God and the devil; answering to the Oriental ideas of the rule of light and darkness. From Ambrose, St. Augustine learned those high Trinitarian doctrines which were soon enforced in the West. In his philosophical disquisitions on Time, Matter, Memory, this farfamed writer is, however, always unsatisfactory, often trivial. His doctrine that Scripture, as the Word of God, is capable of a manifold meaning, led him into many delusions, and exercised, in subsequent ages, a most baneful influence on true science. Thus he finds in the Mosaic account of the creation proofs of the Trinity; that the firmament spoken of therein is the type of God's word; and that there is a correspondence between creation itself and the Church. His numerous books have often been translated, especially his Confessions, a work that has delighted and edified fifty generations, but which must, after all, yield the palm, as a literary production, to the writings of Bunyan, who, like Augustine, gave himself up to all the agony of unsparing personal examination and relentless self-condemnation, anatomizing his very soul, and dragging forth every sin into the face of day. The ecclesiastical influence of St. Augustine has so completely eclipsed his political biography that but little attention has been given to his conduct in the interesting time in which he lived. Sismondi recalls to his disadvantage that he was the friend of Count Boniface, who invited Genseric and his Vandals into Africa; the bloody consequences of that conspiracy can not be exaggerated. It was through him that the count's name has been transmitted to posterity without infamy. Boniface was with him when he died, at Hippo, August 28th, A.D. 430. When Rome thus fell before Alaric, so far from the provincial Christians bewailing her misfortune, they actually gloried in it. They critically distinguished between the downfall of the purple pagan harlot and the untouched city of God. The vengeance of the Goth had fallen on the temples, but the churches had been spared. Though in subsequent and not very distant calamities of the city these triumphant distinctions could scarcely be maintained, there can be no doubt that that catastrophe singularly developed papal power. The abasement of the ancient aristocracy brought into relief the bishop. It has been truly said that, as Rome rose from her ruins, the bishop was discerned to be her most conspicuous man. Most opportunely, at this period Jerome had completed his Latin translation of the Bible. The Vulgate henceforth became the ecclesiastical authority of the West. The influence of the heathen classics, which that austere anchorite had in early life admired, but had vainly attempted to free himself from by unremitting nocturnal flagellations, appears in this great version. It
ANALOGY BETWEEN ECCLESIASTICAL AND CIVIL PROGRESS. 227
came at a critical moment for the West. In the politic non-committalism of Rome, it was not expedient that a pope should be an author. The Vulgate was all that the times required. Henceforth the East might occupy herself in the harmless fabrication of creeds and of heresies; the West could develop her practical talent in the much more important organization of ecclesiastical power. Doubtless not without interest will the reader of these
Pages remark how closely the process of ecclesiastical events resembles that of civil. In both there is an irresistible tendency to the concentration of power. As in Roman history we have seen a few families, and, indeed, at last, one man grasp the influence which in earlier times was disseminated among the people, so in the Church the congregations are quickly found in subordination to their bishops, and these, in their turn, succumbing to a perpetually diminishing number of their compeers. In the period we are now considering, the minor episcopates, such as those of'Jerusalem, Antioch, Carthage, had virtually lost their pristine force, every thing having converged into the three great sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Rome. The history of the time is a record of the desperate struggles of the three chief bishops for supremacy. In this conflict Rome possessed many advantages; the two others were more immediately under the control of the imperial government, the clashing of interests between them more frequent, their rivalry more bitter. The control of ecclesiastical power was hence perpetually in Rome, though she was, both politically and intellectually, inferior to her competitors. As of old, there was a triumvirate in the world destined to concentrate into a despotism. And, as if to remind men that the principles involved in the movements of the Church are of the same nature as those involved in the movements of the state, the resemblances here pointed out are sometimes singularly illustrated in trifling details. The Bishop of Alexandria was not the first triumvir who came to an untimely end on the banks of the Nile; the Roman pontiff was not the first who consolidated his power by the aid of Gallic legions.
228 THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST.
CHAPTER X. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF FAITH. AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST.
Consolidation of the Byzantine System, or the Union of Church and State.-The consequent Paganization of Religion and Persecution of Philosophy. Political Necessity for the Enforcement of Patristicism, or Science of the Fathers.-Its peculiar Doctrines. Obliteration of the Vestiges of Greek Knowledge by Patristicism. The Libraries and Serapion of Alexandria.-Destruction of the latter by Theodosius. Death of Hypatia.-Extinction of Learning in the East by Cyril, his Associates and Successors.
THE policy of Constantine the Great inevitably tended to the paganization of Christianity. An incorporation of its pure doctrines with decaying pagan ideas was the necessary consequence of the control that had been attained by unscrupulous politicians and placemen. The faith, thus contaminated, gained a more general and ready popular acceptance, but at the cost of a new lease of life to those ideas. So thorough was the adulteration that it was not until the Reformation, a period of more than a thousand years, that a separation of the true from the false could be accomplished. Considering how many nations were involved in these events, and the length of time over which they extend, a clear treatment of the subject requires its subdivision. I shall therefore speak, 1st, of the Age of Faith in the East; 2nd, of the Age of Faith in the West. The former was closed prematurely by the Mohammedan conquest; the latter, after undergoing slow metamorphosis, passed into the European Age of Reason during the pontificate of Nicolas V. In this and the following chapter I shall therefore treat of the age of Faith in the East, and of the catastrophe that closed it. I shall then turn to the Age of Faith in the West-a long but an instructive story. The paganization of religion was in no small degree assisted by the influence of the females of the court of Constantinople. It soon manifested all the essential features of a true mythology and hero-worship. Helena, the empress-mother, superintended the building of monumental churches over the reputed places of interest in the history of our Savior-those of his birth, his burial, his ascension. A vast and ever-increasing crowd of converts from paganism, who had become such from worldly considerations, and still hankered after won-
PAGANIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY. 229
ders like those in which their forefathers had from time immemorial believed, lent a ready ear to assertions which, to more hesitating or better instructed minds, would have seemed to carry imposture on their very face. A temple of Venus, formerly erected on the site of the Holy Sepulchre, being torn down, there were discovered, in a cavern beneath, three crosses, and also the inscription written by Pilate. The Savior's cross, being by miracle distinguished from those of the thieves, was divided, a part being kept at Jerusalem and a part sent to Constantinople, together with the nails used in the crucifixion, which were also fortunately found. These were destined to adorn the head of the emperor's statue on the top of the porphyry pillar. The wood of the cross, moreover, displayed a property of growth, and hence furnished an abundant supply for the demands of pilgrims, and an unfailing source of pecuniary profit to its possessors. In the course of subsequent years there was accumulated in the various churches of Europe, from this particular relic, a sufficiency to have constructed many hundred crosses. The age that could accept such a prodigy, of course found no difficulty in the vision of Constantine and the story of the Labarum. Such was the tendency of the times to adulterate Christianity with the spirit of paganism, partly to conciliate the prejudices of worldly converts, partly in the hope of securing its more rapid spread. There is a solemnity in the truthful accusation which Faustus makes to Augustine: "You have substituted your agapae for the sacrifices of the pagans; for their idols your martyrs, whom you serve with the very same honors. You appease the shades of the dead with wine and feasts; you celebrate the solemn festivals of the Gentiles, their calends and their solstices; and as to their manners, those you have retained without any alteration. Nothing distinguishes you from the pagans except that you hold your assemblies apart from them." As we have seen in the last chapter, the course of political affairs had detached the power of the state from the philosophical and polytheistic parties. Joined to the new movement, it was not long before it gave significant proofs of the sincerity of its friendship by commencing an active persecution of the remnant of philosophy. It is to be borne in mind that the direction of the proselytism, which was thus leading to important results, was from below upward through society. As to philosophy, its action had been in the other direction; its depository in the few enlightened, in the few educated; its course, socially, from above downward. Under these circumstances, it was obvious enough that the prejudices of the ignorant populace would find, in the end, a full expression; that learning would have no consideration shown to it, or be denounced as mere magic; that philosophy would be looked upon as a vain, and therefore sinful pursuit. When once a political aspirant has bidden with the multitude for power, and still de-
230 PERSECUTION OF PHILOSOPHY.
pends on their pleasure for effective support, it is no easy thing to refuse their wishes or hold back from their demands. Even Constantine himself felt the pressure of the influence to which he was allied, and was compelled to surrender his friend Sopater, the philosopher, who was accused of binding the winds in an adverse quarter by the influence of magic, so that the corn-ships could not reach Constantinople; and the emperor was obliged to give orders for his decapitation to satisfy the clamors in the theatre. Not that such requisitions were submitted to without a struggle, or that succeeding sovereigns were willing to make their dignity tacitly subordinate to ecclesiastical domination. It was the aim of Constantine to make theology a branch of politics; it was the hope of every bishop in the empire to make politics a branch of theology. Already, however, it was apparent that the ecclesiastical party would, in the end, get the upper hand, and that the reluctance of some of the emperors to obey its behests was merely the revolt of individual minds, and therefore ephemeral in its nature, and that the popular wishes would be abundantly gratified as soon as emperors arose who not merely, like Constantine, availed themselves of Christianity, but absolutely and sincerely adopted it. Julian, by his brief but ineffectual attempt at the restoration of paganism, scarcely restrained for a moment the course of the new doctrines now strengthening themselves continually in public estimation by incorporating ideas borrowed from paganism. Through the reign of Valentinian, who was a Nicenist, and Valens, who was an Arian, things went on almost as if the episode of Julian had never occurred. The ancient gods, whose existence no one seems ever to have denied, were now thoroughly identified with daemons; their worship was stigmatized as the practice of magic. Against this crime, regarded by the laws as equal to treason, a violent persecution arose. Persons resorting to Rome for the purposes of study were forbidden to remain there after they were twenty-one years of age. The force of this persecution fell practically upon the old religion, though nominally directed against the black art, for the primary function of paganism was to foretell future events in this world, and hence its connection with divination and its punishment as magic. But the persecution, though directed at paganism, struck also at what remained of philosophy. A great party had attained to power under circumstances which compelled it to enforce the principle on which it was originally founded. That principle was the exaction of unhesitating belief, which, though it will answer very well for the humbler and more numerous class of men, is unsuited for those of a higher intellectual grade. The policy of Constantine had opened a career in the state, through the Church, for men of the lowest rank. Many of such had already attained to the highest dignities. A
EXTINCTION OF PAGANISM. 231
burning zeal rather than the possession of profound learning animated them. But eminent position once attained, none stood more in need of the appearance of wisdom. Under such circumstances, they were tempted to set up their own notions as final and unimpeachable truth, and to denounce as magic, or the sinful pursuit of vain trifling, all the learning that stood in the way. In this the hand of the civil power assisted. It was intended to cut off every philosopher. Every manuscript that could be seized was forthwith burned. Throughout the East, men in terror destroyed their libraries, for fear that some unfortunate sentence contained in any of the books should involve them and their families in destruction. The universal opinion was that it was right to compel men to believe what the majority of society had now accepted as the truth, and, if they refused, it was right to punish them. No one was heard in the dominating party to raise his voice in behalf of intellectual liberty. The mystery of things above reason was held to be the very cause that they should be accepted by Faith; a singular merit was supposed to appertain to that mental condition in which belief precedes understanding. The death-blow to paganism was given by the Emperor Theodosius, a Spaniard, who, from the services he rendered in this particular, has been rewarded with the title of " The Great." From making the practice of magic and the inspection of the entrails of animals capital offenses, he proceeded to the prohibition of sacrifices, A.D. 391, and even the entering of temples. He alienated the revenues of many temples, confiscated the estates of others, some he demolished. The vestal virgins he dismissed, and any house profaned by incense he declared forfeited to the imperial exchequer. When once the property of a religious establishment has been irrevocably taken away, it is needless to declare its worship a capital crime. But not only did the government thus constitute itself a thorough auxiliary of the new religion, it also tried to secure it from its own dissensions. Apostates were deprived of the right of bequeathing their own property. Inquisitors of faith were established; they were at once spies and judges, the prototypes of the most fearful tribunal of modern times. Theodosius, to whom the carrying into effect of these measures was due, found it, however, more expedient for himself to institute living emblems of his personal faith than to rely on any ambiguous creed. He therefore sentenced all those to be deprived of civil rights, and to be driven into exile, who did not accord with the belief of Damasus, the Bishop of Rome, and Peter, the Bishop of Alexandria. Those who presumed to celebrate Easter on the same day as the Jews he condemned to death. "We will," says he, in his edict, "that all who embrace this creed be called catholic Christians"-the rest are heretics. Impartial history is obliged to impute the origin of these tyrannical
and scandalous acts of the civil power to the influence of the clergy, and to hold them responsible for the crimes. The guilt of impure unscrupulous women, eunuchs, parasites, violent soldiers in possession of absolute power, lies at their door. Yet human nature can never, in any condition of affairs, be altogether debased. Though the system under which men were living pushed them forward to these iniquities, the individual sense of right and wrong sometimes vindicated itself. In these pages we shall again and again meet this personal revolt against the indefensible consequences of system. It was thus that there were bishops who openly intervened between the victim and his oppressor, who took the treasures of the Church to redeem slaves from captivity. For this a future age will perhaps excuse Ambrose, the Archbishop of Milan, the impostures he practiced, remembering that, face to face, he held Theodosius the Great to an accountability for the massacre of seven thousand persons, whom, in a fit of vengeance, had murdered in the circus of Thessalonica, A.D. 390, and inexorably compelled the imperial culprit, to whom he and all his party were under such obligations, to atone for his crime by such penance as may be exacted in this world, teaching his sovereign "that though he was of the Church and in the Church, he was not above the Church;" that brute force must give way to intellect, and that even the meanest human being has rights in the sight of God. Political events had thus taken a course disastrous to human knowledge. A necessity had arisen that they to whom circumstances had given the control of public faith should also have the control of public knowledge. The moral condition of the world had thus come into antagonism to scientific progress. As had been the case many ages before in India, the sacred writings were asserted to contain whatever was necessary or useful to man to know. Questions in astronomy, geography, chronology, history, or any other branch which had hitherto occupied or amused the human mind, were now to be referred to a new tribunal for solution, and there remained nothing to be done by the philosopher. A revelation of science is incompatible with any farther advance; it admits no employment save that of the humble commentator. The early ecclesiastical writers, or fathers, as they are often called, came thus to be considered not only as surpassing all other men in piety, but also as excelling them in wisdom. Their dictum was looked upon as final. This eminent position they held for many centuries; indeed, it was not until near the period of the Reformation that they were deposed. The great critics who appeared at that time, by submitting the Patristic works to a higher analysis, comparing them with one another and showing their mutual contradictions, brought them all to their proper level. The habit of even so much as quoting them went out of
PATRISTIC DOCTRINES. 233.
use, when it was perceived that not one of these writers could represent the necessary credentials to entitle him to speak with authority on any scientific fact. Many of them had not scrupled to express their contempt of the things they thus presumed to judge. Thus Eusebius says: "It is not through ignorance of the things admired by philosophers, but through contempt of such useless labor, that we think so little of these matters, turning our souls to the exercise of better things." In such a spirit Lactantius holds the whole of philosophy to be " empty and false." Speaking in reference to the heretical doctrine of the globular form of the earth, he says: " Is it possible that men can be so absurd as to believe that the crops and the trees on the other side of the earth hang downward, and that men have their feet higher than their heads? If you ask them how they defend these monstrosities? how things do not fall away from the earth on that side? they reply that the nature of things is such, that heavy bodies tend toward the centre like the spokes of a wheel, while light bodies, as clouds, smoke, fire, tend from the centre to the heavens on all sides. Now I am really at a loss what to say of those who, when they have once gone wrong, steadily persevere in their folly, and defend one absurd opinion by another." On the question of the antipodes, St. Augustine asserts that "it is impossible there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of the earth, since no such race is recorded by Scripture among the descendants of Adam." Patristicism, or the science of the fathers, was thus essentially founded on the principle that the Scriptures contain all knowledge permitted to man. It followed, therefore, that natural events may be interpreted by the aid of texts, and that all philosophical doctrines must be moulded to the standard of orthodoxy. It asserted that God made the world out of nothing, since to admit the eternity of matter leads to Manicheism. It taught that the earth is a plane, and the sky a vault above it, in which the stars are fixed, and the sun, moon, and planets perform their motions, rising and setting; that these bodies are altogether of a subordinate nature, their use being to give light to man; that still higher and beyond the vault of the sky is heaven, the abode of God and the angelic hosts; that in six days the earth, and all that it contains, was made; that it was overwhelmed by a universal deluge, which destroyed all living things save those preserved in the ark, the waters being subsequently dried up by the wind; that man is the moral centre of the world; for him all things were created and are sustained; that, so far from his ever having shown any tendency to improvement, he has fallen both in wisdom and worth, the first man, before his sin, having been perfect in body and soul: hence Patristicism ever looked backward, never forward; that through that sin death came into the world; not even any animal had died previously, but all had been immortal. It utterly rejected the idea of the government of the world
234 CRITICISM ON PATRISTICISM.
by law, asserting the perpetual interference of an instant Providence on all occasions, not excepting the most trifling. It resorted to spiritual influences in the production of natural effects, assigning to angels the duty of moving the stars, carrying up water from the sea to form rain, and managing eclipses. It affirmed that man had existed but a few centuries upon earth, and that he could continue only a little longer, for that the world itself might be every moment expected to be burned up by fire. It deduced all the families of the earth from one primitive pair, and made them all morally responsible for the sin committed by that pair. It rejected the doctrine that man can modify his own organism as absolutely irreligious, the physician being little better than an atheist, but it affirmed that cures might be effected by the intercession of saints, at the shrines of holy men, and by relics. It altogether repudiated the improvement of man's physical state; to increase his power or comfort was to attempt to attain what Providence had denied; philosophical investigation was an unlawful prying into things that God had designed to conceal. It declined the logic of the Greeks, substituting miracle-proof for it, the demonstration of an assertion being supposed to be given by a surprising illustration of something else. A wild astronomy had thus supplanted the astronomy of Hipparchus; the miserable fictions of Eusebius had subverted the chronology of Manetho and Eratosthenes; the geometry of Euclid and Apollonius was held to be of no use; the geography of Ptolemy a blunder; the great mechanical inventions of Archimedes incomparably surpassed by the miracles worked at the shrines of a hundred saints. Of such a mixture of truth and of folly was Patristicism composed. Ignorance in power had found it acceptable to have a false and unprogressive science, forgetting that sooner or later the time must arrive when it would be impossible to maintain stationary ideas in a world of which the affairs are ever advancing. A failure to include in the system thus imposed upon men any provision for intellectual progress was the great and fatal mistake of those times. Each passing century brought its incompatibilities. A strain upon the working of the system soon occurred, and perpetually increased in force. It became apparent that, in the end, the imposition would be altogether unable to hold together. On a future
Page we shall see what were the circumstances under which it at last broke down. The wonder-worker who prepares to exhibit his phantasmagoria upon the wall; knows well how much it adds to the delusion to have all lights extinguished save that which is in his own dark lantern. I have now to relate how the last flickering rays of Greek learning, were put out; how Patristicism, aided by her companion Bigotry, attempted to lay the foundations of her influence in security.
THE LIBRARIES OF ALEXANDRIA. 235
In the reign of Theodosius the Great, the pagan religion and pagan knowledge were together destroyed. This emperor was restrained by no doubts, for he was very ignorant, and, it must be admitted, was equally sincere and severe. Among his early measures we find an order that if any of the governors of Egypt so much as entered a temple he should be fined fifteen pounds of gold. He followed this by the destruction of the temples of Syria. At this period the Archbishopric of Alexandria was held by one Theophilus, a bold, bad man, who had once been a monk of Nitria. It was about A.D. 390. The Trinitarian conflict was at the time composed, one party having got the better of the other. To the monks and rabble of Alexandria the temple of Serapis and its library were doubly hateful, partly because of the Pantheistic opposition it shadowed forth against the prevailing doctrine, and partly because within its walls sorcery, magic, and other dealings with the devil had for ages been going on. We have related how Ptolemy Philadelphus commenced the great library in the aristocratic quarter of the city named Bruchion, and added various scientific establishments to it. Incited by this example, Eumenes, King of Pergamus, established out of rivalry a similar library in his metropolis. With the intention of preventing him from excelling that of Egypt, Ptolemy Epiphanes prohibited the exportation of papyrus, whereupon Eumenes invented the art of making parchment. The second great Alexandrian library was that established by Ptolemy Physcon at the Serapion, in the adjoining quarter of the town. The library in the Bruchion, which was estimated to contain 400,000 volumes, was accidentally, or, as it has been said, purposely burned during the siege of the city by Julius Caesar, but that in the Serapion escaped. To make amends for this great catastrophe, Marc Antony presented to Cleopatra the rival library, brought for that purpose from Pergamus. It consisted of 200,000 volumes. It was within the Bruchion that the Museum was originally connected; but after the conflagration thereof, the remains of the various surviving establishments were transferred to the Serapion, which therefore was, at the period of which we are speaking, the greatest depository of human knowledge in the world. The pagan Roman emperors had not been unmindful of the great trust they had thus inherited from the Ptolemies. The temple of Serapis was universally admitted to be the noblest religious structure in the world, unless perhaps the patriotic Roman excepted that of the Capitoline Jupiter. It was approached by a vast flight of steps; was adorned with many rows of columns; and in its quadrangular portico-a matchless work of skill-were placed most exquisite statues. On the sculptured walls of its chambers, and upon ceilings, were paintings of unapproachable excellence. Of the value of these works of art the Greeks were no incompetent judges.
236 THE SERAPION.
The Serapion, with these its precious contents, perpetually gave umbrage to the Archbishop Theophilus and his party. To them it was a reproach and an insult. Its many buildings were devoted to unknown, and therefore unholy uses. In its vaults and silent chambers the populace believed that the most abominable mysteries were carried on. There were magical brazen circles and sun-dials for fortune-telling in its porch; every one said that they had once belonged to Pharaoh or the conjurors who strove with Moses. Alas! no one of the ferocious bigots knew that with these Eratosthenes had in the old times measured the size of the earth, and Timocharis had determined the motions of the planet Venus. The temple, with its pure white marble walls, and endless columns projected against a blue and cloudless Egyptian sky, was to them a whited sepulchre full of rottenness within. In the very sanctuary of the god it was said that the priests had been known to delude the wealthiest and most beautiful Alexandrian women, who fancied that they were honored by the raptures of the god. To this temple, so well worthy of their indignation, Theophilus directed the attention of his people. It happened that the Emperor Constantius had formerly given to the Church the site of an ancient temple of Osiris, and, in digging the foundation for the new edifice, the obscene symbols used in that worship chanced to be found. With more zeal than modesty, Theophilus exhibited them to the derision of the rabble in the market-place. The old Egyptian pagan party rose to avenge the insult. A riot ensued, one Olympius, a philosopher, being their leader. Their head-quarters were in the massive building of the Serapion, Alexandria from whence issuing forth they seized whatever Christians they could, compelled them to offer sacrifice, and then killed them on the altar. The dispute was referred to the emperor, in the mean time the pagans maintaining themselves in the temple-fortress. In the dead of the night, Olympius, it is said, was awe-stricken by the sound of a clear voice chanting among the arches and pillars the Christian Alleluiah. Either accepting, like a heathen, the omen, or fearing a secret assassin, he escaped from the temple and fled for his life. On the arrival of the rescript of Theodosius the pagans laid down their arms, little expecting the orders of the emperor. He enjoined that the building should forthwith be destroyed, intrusting the task to the swift hands of Theophilus. His work was commenced by the pillage and dispersal of the library. He entered the sanctuary of the god-that sanctuary which was the visible sign of the Pantheism of the East, the memento of the alliance between hoary primeval Egypt and free-thinking Greece, the relic of the statesmanship of Alexander's captains. In gloomy silence the image of Serapis confronted its assailants. It is in such a moment that the value of a religion is tried; the god who cannot defend himself is a convicted sham. The-
DESTRUCTION OF THE LIBRARIES. 237
ophilus, undaunted, commands a veteran to strike the image with his battle-axe. The helpless statue offers no resistance. Another blow rolls the head of the idol on the floor. It is said that a colony of frightened rats ran forth from its interior. The kingcraft, and priestcraft, and solemn swindle of seven hundred years is exploded in a shout of laughter; the god is broken to pieces, his members dragged through the streets. The recesses of the Serapion are explored. Posterity is edified by discoveries of the frauds by which priests maintain their power. Among other wonders, a car with four horses is seen suspended near the ceiling by means of a magnet laid on the roof, which being removed by the hand of a Christian, the imposture fell to the pavement. The historian of these events, noticing the physical impossibility of such things, has wisely said that it is more easy to invent a fictitious story than to support a practical fraud. But the gold and silver contained in the temple were carefully collected, the baser articles being broken in pieces or cast into the fire. Nor did the holy zeal of Theophilus rest until the structure was demolished to its very foundations-a work of no little labor-and a church erected in the precincts. It must, however, have been the temple more particularly which experienced this devastation. The building in which the library had been contained must have escaped, for, twenty years subsequently, Orosius expressly states that he saw the empty cases or shelves. The fanatic Theophilus pushed forward his victory. The temple at Canopus next fell before him, and a general attack was made on all similar edifices in Egypt. Speaking of the monks and of the worship of relics, Eunapius says: "Whoever wore a black dress was invested with tyrannical power; philosophy and piety to the gods were compelled to retire into secret places, and to dwell in contented poverty and dignified meanness of appearance. The temples were turned into tombs for the adoration of the bones of the basest and most depraved of men, who had suffered the penalty of the law, and whom they made their gods." Such was the end of the Serapion. Its destruction stands forth an enduring token of the state of the times. In a few years after this memorable event the Archbishop Theophilus had gone to his account. His throne was occupied by his nephew, St. Cyril, who had been expressly prepared for that holy and responsible office by a residence of five years among the monks of Nitria. He had been presented to the fastidious Alexandrians with due precautions, and by them acknowledged to be an effective and fashionable preacher. His pagan opponents, however, asserted that the clapping of hands and encores bestowed on the more elaborate passages of his sermons were performed by persons duly arranged in the congregation, and paid for their trouble. If doubt remains as to his intellectual en
238 ST. CYRIL AND HYPATIA.
dowments, there can be none respecting the qualities of his heart. The three parties into which the population of the city was divided-Christian, Heathen, and Jew-kept up a perpetual disorder by their disputes. Of the last it is said that the number was not less than forty thousand. The episcopate itself had become much less a religious than an important civil office, exercising a direct municipal control through the Parabolani, which, under the disguise of city missionaries, whose duty it was to seek out the sick and destitute, constituted in reality a constabulary force, or rather actually a militia. The unscrupulous manner in which Cyril made use of this force, diverting it from its ostensible purpose, is indicated by the fact that the emperor was obliged eventually to take the appointments to it out of the archbishop's hands, and reduce the number to five or six hundred. Some local circumstances had increased the animosity between the Jews and the Christians, and riots had taken place between them in the theatre. These were followed by more serious conflicts in the streets; and the Jews, for the moment having the advantage over their antagonists, outraged and massacred them. It was, however, but for a moment; for, the Christians arousing themselves under the inspirations of Cyril, a mob sacked the synagogues, pillaged the houses of the Jews, and endeavored to expel those offenders out of the city. The Prefect Orestes was compelled to interfere to stop the riot; but the archbishop was not so easily disposed of. His old associates, the Nitrian monks, now justified the prophetic forecast of Theophilus. Five hundred of those fanatics swarmed into the town from the desert. The prefect himself was assaulted, and wounded in the head by a stone thrown by one of them, Ammonius. The more respectable citizens, alarmed at the turn things were taking, interfered, and Ammonius, being seized, suffered death at the hands of the lictor. Cyril, undismayed, caused his body to be transported to the Coesareum, laid there in state, and buried with unusual honors. He directed that the name of the fallen zealot should be changed from Ammonius to Tlaumasius, or "the Wonderful," and the holy martyr received the honors of canonization. In these troubles there can be no doubt that the pagans sympathized with the Jews, and therefore drew upon themselves the vengeance of Cyril. Among the cultivators of Platonic philosophy whom the times had left there was a beautiful young woman, Hypatia, the daughter of Theon the mathematician, who not only distinguished herself by her expositions of the Neo-Platonic and Peripatetic doctrines, but was also honored for the ability with which she commented on the writings of Apollonius and other geometers. Each day before her door stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. Her aristocratic audiences were more than a rival to those attending upon the preaching of the archbishop, and
THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA. 239
perhaps contemptuous comparisons were instituted between the philosophical lectures of Hypatia and the incomprehensible sermons of Cyril. But if the archbishop had not philosophy, he had what on such occasions is more valuable-power. It was not to be borne that a heathen sorceress should thus divide such a metropolis with a prelate; it was not to be borne that the rich, and noble, and young should thus be carried off by the black arts of a diabolical enchantress. Alexandria was too fair a prize to be lightly surrendered. It could vie with Constantinople itself. Into its streets, from the yellow sand-hills of the desert, long trains of camels and countless boats brought the abundant harvests of the Nile. A ship-canal connected the harbor of Eunostos with Lake Mareotis. The harbor was a forest of masts. Seaward, looking over the blue Mediterranean, was the great light-house, the Pharos, counted as one of the wonders of the world; and to protect the shipping from the north wind there was a mole three quarters of a mile in length, with its drawbridges, a marvel of the skill of the Macedonian engineers. Two great streets crossed each other at right angles -one was three, the other one mile long. In the square where they intersected stood the mausoleum in which rested the body of Alexander. The city was full of noble edifices-the palace, the exchange, the Cxesareum, the halls of justice. Among the temples, those of Pan and Neptune were conspicuous. The visitor passed countless theatres, churches, temples, synagogues. There was a time before Theophilus when the Serapion might have been approached on one side by a slope for carriages, on the other by a flight of a hundred marble steps. On these stood the grand portico with its columns, its checkered corridor leading round a roofless hall, the adjoining porches of which contained the library, and from the midst of its area arose a lofty pillar visible afar off at sea. On one side of the town were the royal docks, on the other the Hippodrome, and on appropriate sites the Necropolis, the market-places, the gymnasium, its stoa being a stadium long; the amphitheatre, groves, gardens, fountains, obelisks, and countless public buildings with gilded roofs glittering in the sun. Here might be seen the wealthy Christian ladies walking in the streets, their dresses embroidered with Scripture parables, the Gospels hanging from their necks by a golden chain, Maltese dogs with jeweled collars frisking round them, and slaves with parasols and fans trooping along. There might be seen the ever-trading, ever-thriving Jew, fresh from the wharves, or busy concocting his loans. But, worst of all, the chariots with giddy or thoughtful pagans hastening to the academy of Hypatia, to hear those questions discussed which have never yet been answered, "Where am I?" "What am I?" "What can I know?"-to hear discourses on antenatal existence, or, as the vulgar asserted, to find out the future by the aid of the black art, soothsaying by Chaldee talismans engraved on precious stones, by incantations
240 DEATH OF HYPATIA AND SUPPRESSION OF SCIENCE.
with a glass and water, by moonshine on the walls, by the magic mirror, the reflection of a sapphire, a sieve, or cymbals; fortune-telling by the veins of the hand, or consultations with the stars. Cyril at length determined to remove this great reproach, and overturn what now appeared to be the only obstacle in his way to uncontrolled authority in the city. We are reaching one of those moments in which great general principles embody themselves in individuals. It is Greek philosophy under the appropriate form of Hypatia; ecclesiastical ambition under that of Cyril. Their destinies are about to be fulfilled. As Hypatia comes forth to her academy, she is assaulted by Cyril's mob-an Alexandrian mob of many monks. Amid the fearful yelling of these barelegged and black-cowled fiends she is dragged from her chariot, and in the public street stripped naked. In her mortal terror she is haled into an adjacent church, and in that sacred edifice is killed by the club of Peter the Reader. It is not always in the power of him who has stirred up the worst passions of a fanatical mob to stop their excesses when his purpose is accomplished. With the blow given by Peter the aim of Cyril was reached, but his merciless adherents had not glutted their vengeance. They outraged the naked corpse, dismembered it, and, incredible to be said, finished their infernal crime by scraping the flesh from the bones with oyster-shells, and casting the remnants into the fire. Though in his privacy St. Cyril and his friends might laugh at the end of his antagonist, his memory must bear the weight of the righteous indignation of posterity. Thus, in the 414th year of our era, the position of philosophy in the intellectual metropolis of the world was determined; henceforth Alexandrian science must sink into obscurity and subordination. Its public existence will no longer be tolerated. Indeed, it may be said that from this period for some centuries it altogether disappeared. The leaden mace of bigotry had struck and shivered the exquisitely tempered steel of Greek philosophy. Cyril's acts passed unquestioned. It was now ascertained that throughout the Roman world there must be no more liberty of thought. It has been said that these events prove Greek philosophy to have been a sham, and, like other shams, it was driven out of the world when it was detected, and that it could not withstand the truth. Such assertions might answer their purposes very well, so long as the victors maintained their power in Alexandria, but they manifestly are of inconvenient application after the Saracens had captured the city. However these things may be; an intellectual stagnation settled upon the place, an invisible atmosphere of oppression, ready to crush down, morally and physically, whatever provoked its weight. And so for the next two dreary and weary centuries things remained, until oppression and force were ended by a foreign invader. It was well for the world that the Arabian conquerors avowed their true argument, the scimitar, and made
END OF THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST. 241
no pretensions to superhuman wisdom. They were thus left free to pursue knowledge without involving themselves in theological contradictions, and were able to make Egypt once more illustrious among the nations of the earth-to snatch it from the hideous fanaticism, ignorance, and barbarism into which it had been plunged. On the shore of the Red Sea once more a degree of the earth's surface was to be measured, and her size ascertained -but by a Mohammedan astronomer. In Alexandria the memory of the illustrious old times was to be recalled by the discovery of the motion of the sun's apogee by Albategnius, and the third inequality of the moon, the variation, by Aboul Wefa; to be discovered six centuries later in Europe by Tycho Brahe. The canal of the Pharaohs from the Nile to the Red Sea, cleared out by the Ptolemies in former ages, was to be cleared from its sand again. The glad desert listened once more to the cheerful cry of the merchant's camel-driver instead of the midnight prayer of the monk.
CHAPTER XI. PREMATURE END OF THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST. THE THREE ATTACKS, VANDAL, PERSIAN, ARAB.
THE VANDAL ATTACK leads to the Loss of Africa.-Recovery of that Province by Justinian after great Calamities. THE PERSIAN ATTACK leads to the Loss of Syria and Fall of Jerusalem.-The true Cross carried away as a Trophy.-Moral Impression of these Attacks. THE ARAB ATTACK.-Birth, Mission, and Doctrines of Mohammed.-Rapid Spread of his Faith in Asia and Africa.-Fall of Jerusalem.-Dreadful Losses of Christianity to Mohammedanism.- The Arabs become a learned Nation. Review of the Koran.-Reflections on the Loss of Asia and Africa by Christendom.
I HAVE now to describe the end of the age of Faith in the East. The Byzantine system, out of which it had issued, was destroyed by three attacks: 1st, by the Vandal invasion of Africa; 2d, the by the military operations of Chosroes, the Persian king; 3d, by Mohammedanism. Of these three attacks, the Vandal may be said, in a military sense, to have been successfully closed by the victories of Justinian, but, politically, the cost of those victories was the depopulation and ruin of the empire, particularly in the south and west. The second, the Persian attack, though brilliantly resisted in its later years by the Emperor Heraclius, left, throughout the East, a profound moral impression, which proved final and fatal in the Mohammedan attack. No heresy has ever produced such important political results as that of Arius. While it was yet a vital doctrine, it led to the infliction of
242 THE VANDAL ATTACK.
unspeakable calamities on the empire, and, though long ago forgotten, has blasted permanently some of the fairest portions of the globe. When Count Boniface, incited by the intrigues of the patrician AEtius, invited Genseric, the King of the Vandals, into Africa, that barbarian found in the discontented sectaries his most effectual aid. In vain would he otherwise have attempted the conquest of the country with the 50,000 men he landed from Spain, A.D. 429. Three hundred Donatist bishops, and many thousand priests, driven to despair by the persecutions inflicted by the emperor, carrying with them that large portion of the population who were Arian, were ready to look upon him as a deliverer, and therefore to afford him support. The result was the loss of Africa to the empire. It was nothing more than might be expected that Justinian, when he found himself firmly seated on the throne of Constantinople, should make an attempt to retrieve these disasters. The principles which led him to his scheme of legislation; to the promotion of manufacturing interests by the fabrication of silk; to the reopening of the ancient routes to India, so as to avoid transit through the Persian dominions; to his attempt at securing the carrying trade of Europe for the Greeks, also suggested the recovery of Africa. To this important step he was urged by the Catholic clergy. In a sinister but suitable manner, his reign was illustrated by his closing the schools of philosophy at Athens, ostensibly because of their affiliation to paganism, but in reality on account of his detestation of the doctrines of Aristotle and Plato; by the abolition of the consulate of Rome; by the extinction of the Roman senate, A.D. 552; by the capture and recapture five times of the Eternal City. The vanishing of the Roman race was thus marked by an extinction of the instruments of ancient philosophy and power. The indignation of the Catholics was doubtless justly provoked by the atrocities practiced in the Arian behalf by the Vandal kings of Africa, who, among other cruelties, had attempted to silence some bishops by cutting out their tongues. To carry out Justinian's intention of the recovery of Africa, his general Belisarius sailed at midsummer, A.D. 533, and in November he had completed the reconquest of the country. This was speedy work, but it was followed by fearful calamities; for in this, and the Italian wars of Justinian, likewise undertaken at the instance of the orthodox clergy, the human race visibly diminished. It is affirmed that in the African campaign five millions of the people of that country were consumed; that during the twenty years of the Gothic War Italy lost fifteen millions; and that the wars, famines, and pestilences of the reign of Justinian diminished the human species by the almost incredible number of one hundred millions.
THE PERSIAN ATTACK. 243.
It is therefore not at all surprising that in such a deplorable condition men longed for a deliverer, in their despair totally regardless who he might be or from what quarter he might come. Ecclesiastical partisanship had done its work. When Chosroes II., the Persian monarch, A.D. 611, commenced his attack, the persecuted sectaries of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt followed the example of the African Arians in the Vandal invasion, and betrayed the empire. The revenge of an oppressed heretic is never scrupulous about its means of gratification. As might have been expected, the cities of Asia fell before the Persians. They took Jerusalem by assault, and with it the cross of Christ; ninety thousand Christians were massacred; and in its very birthplace Christianity was displaced by Magianism. The shock which religious men received through this dreadful event can hardly now be realized. The imposture of Constantine bore a bitter fruit; the sacred wood that had filled the world with its miracles was detected to be a helpless counterfeit, borne off in triumph by deriding blasphemers. All confidence in the apostolic powers of the Asiatic bishops was lost; not one of them could work a wonder for his own salvation in the dire extremity. The invaders overran Egypt as far as Ethiopia; it seemed as if the days of Cambyses had come back again. The Archbishop of Alexandria found it safer to flee to Cyprus than to defend himself by spiritual artifices or to rely on prayers. The Mediterranean shore to Tripoli was subdued. For ten years the Persian standards were displayed in view of Constantinople. At one time Heraclius had determined to abandon that city, and make Carthage the metropolis of the empire. His intention was defeated by the combination of the patriarch, who dreaded the loss of his position; of the aristocracy, who foresaw their own ruin; and of the people, who would be deprived of their largesses and shows. Africa was more truly Roman than any other of the provinces; it was there that Latin was last used. But when the vengeance of the heretical sects was satisfied, they found that they had only changed the tyrant without escaping the tyranny. The magnitude of their treason was demonstrated by the facility with which Heraclius expelled the Persians as soon as they chose to assist him. In vain, after these successes, what was passed off for the true cross was restored again to Jerusalem-the charm was broken. The Magian fire had burnt the sepulchre of Christ, and the churches of Constantine and Helena; the costly gifts of the piety of three centuries were gone into the possession of the Persian and the Jew. Never again was it possible that faith could be restored. They who had devoutly expected that the earth would open, the lightning descend, or sudden death arrest the sacrilegious invader of the holy places, and had seen that nothing of the kind ensued, dropped at once into dismal
disbelief. Asia and Africa were already morally lost. The scimitar of the Arabian soon cut the remaining tie. Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born at Mecca, in Arabia, the man who, of all others has exercised the greatest influence upon the human race-Mohammed, by Europeans surnamed " the Impostor." He raised his own nation from Fetichism, the adoration of a meteoric stone, and from the basest idol-worship; he preached a monotheism which quickly scattered to the winds the empty disputes of the Arians and Catholics, and irrevocably wrenched from Christianity more than half, and that by far the best half of her possessions, since it included the Holy Land, the birthplace of our faith, and Africa, which had imparted to it its Latin form. That continent, and a very large part of Asia, after the lapse of more than a thousand years, still remain permanently attached to the Arabian doctrine. With the utmost difficulty, and as if by miracle, Europe itself escaped. Mohammed possessed that combination of qualities which more than once has decided the fate of empires. A preaching soldier, he was eloquent in the pulpit, valiant in the field. His theology was simple: " There is but one God." The effeminate Syrian, lost in Monothelite and Monophysite mysteries; the Athanasian and Arian, destined to disappear before his breath, might readily anticipate what he meant. Asserting that everlasting truth, he did not engage in vain metaphysics, but applied himself to improving the social condition of his people by regulations respecting personal cleanliness, sobriety, fasting, prayer. Before all other works he esteemed almsgiving and charity. With a liberality to which the world had of late become a stranger, he admitted the salvation of men of any form of faith provided they were virtuous. To the declaration that there is but one God, he added, and Mohammed is his Prophet." Whoever desires to know whether the event of things answered to the boldness of such an announcement, will do well to examine a map of the world in our own times. He will find the marks of something more than an imposture. To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a messenger of God. Like many of the Christian monks, Mohammed retired to the solitude of the desert, and, devoting himself to meditation, fasting, and prayer, became the victim of cerebral delusion. He was visited by supernatural appearances, mysterious voices accosting him as the Prophet of God; even the stones and trees joined in the whispering. He himself suspected the true nature of his malady, and to his wife Chadizah he expressed a dread that he was becoming insane. It is related that, as they sat alone, a shadow entered the room. " Dost thou see aught?" said Chadizah, who, after the manner of Arabian matrons, wore her veil. "I do." said the prophet. Whereupon she uncovered her face
HIS OPPOSITION TO THE EASTERN CHURCHES. 245
and said, "Dost thou see it now?" "I do not." "Glad tidings to thee, 0 Mohammed!" exclaimed Chadizah: "it is an angel, for he has respected my unveiled face; an evil spirit would not." As his disease advanced, these spectral illusions became more frequent; from one of them he received the divine commission. "I," said his wife, "will be thy first believer;" and they knelt down in prayer together. Since that day nine thousand millions of human beings have acknowledged him to be a prophet of God. Though, in the earlier part of his career, Mohammed exhibited a spirit of forbearance toward the Christians, it was not possible but that bitter animosity should arise, as the sphere of his influence extended. He appears to have been unable to form any other idea of the Trinity than that of three distinct gods; and the worship of the Virgin Mary, recently introduced, could not fail to come into irreconcilable conflict with his doctrine of the unity of God. To his condemnation of those Jews who taught that Ezra was the Son of God, he soon added bitter denunciations of the Oriental churches because of their idolatrous practices. The Koran is full of such rebukes: "Verily, Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the apostle of God." " Believe, therefore, in God and his apostles, and say not that there are three gods. Forbear this; it will be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from Him that he should have a son." " In the last day, God shall say unto Jesus, 0 Jesus, son of Mary! hast thou ever said to men, Take me and my mother for two gods beside God? He shall say, Praise be unto thee, it is not for me to say that which I ought not." Mohammed disdains all metaphysical speculations respecting the nature of the Deity, or of the origin and existence of sin, topics which had hitherto exercised the ingenuity of the East. He casts aside the doctrine of the superlative value of chastity, asserting that marriage is the natural state of man. To asceticism he opposed polygamy, permitting the practice of it in this life, and promising the most voluptuous means for its enjoyment in Paradise hereafter, especially to those who had gained the crowns of martyrdom or of victory. Too often, in this world, success is the criterion of right. The Mohammedan appeals to the splendor and rapidity of his career as a proof of the divine mission of his apostle. It may, however, be permitted to a philosopher, who desires to speak of the faith of so large a portion of the human race with profound respect, to examine what were some of the secondary causes which led to so great a political result. From its most glorious seats Christianity was forever expelled: from Palestine, the scene of its most sacred recollections; from Asia Minor, that of its first churches; from Egypt, whence issued the great doctrine of Trinitarian orthodoxy; from Carthage, who imposed her belief on Europe.
246 CAUSES OF MOHAMMED'S SUCCES.
It is altogether a misconception that the Arabian progress was due to the sword alone. The sword may change an acknowledged national creed, but it cannot affect the consciences of men. Profound though its argument is, something far more profound was demanded before Mohammedanism pervaded the domestic life of Asia and Africa, before Arabic became the language of so many different nations. The explanation of this political phenomenon is to be found in the social condition of the conquered countries. The influences of religion in them had long ago ceased; it had become supplanted by theology-a theology so incomprehensible that even the wonderful capabilities of the Greek language were scarcely enough to meet its subtle demands; the Latin and the barbarian dialects were out of the question. How was it possible that unlettered men, who with difficulty can be made to apprehend obvious things, should understand such mysteries? Yet they were taught that on those doctrines the salvation or damnation of the human race depended. They saw that the clergy had abandoned the guidance of the individual life of their flocks; that personal virtue or vice were no longer considered; that sin was not measured by evil works, but by the degrees of heresy. They saw that the ecclesiastical chiefs of Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria were engaged in a desperate struggle for supremacy, carrying out their purposes by weapons and in ways revolting to the conscience of man. What an example when bishops are concerned in assassinations, poisonings, adulteries, blindings, riots, civil war; when patriarchs and primates are excommunicating and anathematizing one another in their rivalries for earthly power, bribing eunuchs with gold, and courtesans and royal females with concessions of episcopal love, and influencing the decisions of councils asserted to speak with the voice of God by those base" intrigues and sharp practice resorted to by demagogues in their packed assemblies! Among legions of monks, who carried terror into the imperial armies and riot into the great cities, arose hideous clamors for theological dogmas, but never a voice for intellectual liberty or the outraged rights of man. In such a state of things, what else could be the result than disgust or indifferentism? Certainly men could not be expected, if a time of necessity arose, to give help to a system that had lost all hold on their hearts. When, therefore, in the midst of the wrangling of sects, in the incomprehensible jargon of Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Monothelites, Monophysites, Mariolatrists, and an anarchy of countless disputants, there sounded through the world, not the miserable voice of the intriguing majority of a council, but the dread battle-cry, " There is but one God," enforced by the tempest of Saracen armies, is it surprising that the hubbub was hushed? Is it surprising that all Asia and Africa
THE SARACEN CONQUESTS. 247
fell away? In better times patriotism is too often made subordinate to religion; in those times it was altogether dead. Scarcely was Mohammed buried when his religion manifested its inevitable destiny of overpassing the bounds of Arabia. The prophet himself had declared war against the Roman empire, and, at the head of 30,000 men, advanced toward Damascus, but his purpose was frustrated by ill health. His successor, Abu-Bekr, the first khalif, attacked both the Romans and the Persians. The invasion of Egypt occurred A.D. 638, the Arabs teing invited by the Copts. In a few months the Mohammedan general Amrou wrote to his master, the khalif, "I have taken Alexandria, the great city of the West." Treason had done its work, and Egypt was thoroughly subjugated. To complete the conquest of Christian Africa, many attacks were nevertheless required. Abdallah penetrated nine hundred miles to Tripoli, but returned. Nothing more was done for twenty years, because of the disputes that arose about the succession to the khalifate. Then Moawiyah sent his lieutenant, Akbah, who forced his way to the Atlantic, but was unable to hold the long line of country permanently. Again operations were undertaken by Abdalmalek, the sixth of the Ommiade dynasty, A.D. 698; his lieutenant, Hassan, took Carthage by storm and destroyed it, the conquest being at last thoroughly completed by Musa, who enjoyed the double reputation of a brave soldier and an eloquent preacher. And thus this region, distinguished by its theological acumen, to which modern Europe owes so much, was forever silenced by the scimitar. It ceased to preach and was taught to pray. In this political result-the Arabian conquest of Africa-there can be no doubt that the same element which exercised in the Vandal invasion so disastrous an effect, came again into operation. But, if treason introduced the enemy, polygamy secured the conquest. In Egypt the Greek population was orthodox, the natives were Jacobites, more willing to accept the Monotheism of Arabia than to bear the tyranny of the orthodox. The Arabs, carrying out their policy of ruining an old metropolis and erecting a new one, dismantled Alexandria; and thus the patriarchate of that city ceased to have any farther political existence in the Christian system, which for so many ages had been disturbed by its intrigues and violence. The irresistible effect of polygamy in consolidating the new order of things soon became apparent. In little more than a single generation the children of the north of Africa were speaking Arabic. During the khalifates of Abu-Bekr and Omar, and within twelve years after the death of Mohammed, the Arabians had reduced thirty-six thousand fortified places in Persia, Syria, Africa, and had destroyed four thousand churches, replacing them with fourteen hundred mosques. In a few years they had extended their rule a
248 THE FALL OF JERUSALEM.
thousand miles east and west. In Syria, as in Africa, their early successes were promoted in the most effectual manner by treachery. Damascus was taken after a' siege of a year. At the battle of Aiznadin, A.D. 633, Kalid, " the Sword of God," defeated the army of Heraclius, the Romans losing fifty thousand men; and this was soon followed by of the fall of the great cities, Jerusalem, Antioch, Aleppo, Tyre, Tripoli. On a red camel, which carried a bag of corn and one of dates, a wooden dish, and a leather water-bottle, the Khalif Omar came from Medina to take formal possession of Jerusalem. He entered the Holy City riding by the side of the Christian patriarch Sophronius, whose capitulation showed that his confidence was completely lost. The successor of Mohammed and the Roman emperor both correctly judged how important in the eyes of the nations was the possession of Jerusalem. A belief that it would be a proof of the authenticity of Mohammedanism led Omar to order the Saracen troops to take it at any cost. The conquest of Syria and the seizure of the Mediterranean ports gave to the Arabs the command of the sea. They soon took Rhodes and Cyprus. The battle of Cadesia and sack of Ctesiphon, the metropolis of Persia, decided the fate of that kingdom. Syria was thus completely reduced under Omar, the second khalif; Persia under Othman, the third. If it be true that the Arabs burned the library of Alexandria, there was at that time danger that their fanaticism would lend itself to the Byzantine system; but it was only for a moment that the khalifs fell into this evil policy. They very soon became distinguished patrons of learning. It has been said that they overran the domains of science as quickly as they overran the realms of their neighbors. It became customary for the first dignities of the state to be held by men distinguished for their erudition. Some of the maxims current show how much literature was esteemed. "The ink of the doctor is equally valuable with the blood of the martyr." "Paradise is as much for him who has rightly used the pen as-for him who has fallen by the sword." " The world is sustained by four things only: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave." Within twenty-five years after the death of Mohammed, under Ali, the fourth khalif, the patronage of learning had become a settled principle of the Mohammedan system. Under the khalifs of Bagdad this principle was thoroughly carried out. The cultivators of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and general literature abounded in the court of Almansor, who invited all philosophers, offering them his protection, whatever their religious opinions might be. His successor, Alraschid, is said never to have traveled without a retinue of a hundred learned men. This great sovereign issued an edict that no mosque should be built unless there was a school attached to it. It was he who
SARACEN CULTIVATION OF SCIENCE.
confided the superintendence of his schools to the Nestorian Masue. His successor, Almaimon, was brought up among Greek and Persian mathematicians, philosophers, and physicians. They continued his associates all his life. By these sovereigns the establishment of libraries was incessantly prosecuted, and the collection and copying of manuscripts properly organized. In all the great cities schools abounded; in Alexandria there were not less than twenty. As might be expected, this could not take place without exciting the indignation of the old fanatical party, who not only remonstrated with Almaimon, but threatened him with the vengeance of God for thus disturbing the faith of the people. However, what had thus been commenced as a matter of profound policy soon grew into a habit, and it was observed that whenever an emir managed to make himself independent, he forthwith opened academies. The Arabs furnish a striking illustration of the successive phases of national life. They first come before us as fetich worshipers, having their age of credulity, their object of superstition being the black stone in the temple at Mecca. They pass through an age of inquiry, rendering possible the advent of Mohammed. Then follows their age of faith, the blind fanaticism of which quickly led them to overspread all adjoining countries; and at last comes their period of maturity, their age of reason. The striking feature of their movement is the quickness with which they passed through these successive phases, and the intensity of their national life. This singular rapidity of national life was favored by very obvious circumstances. The long and desolating wars between Heraclius and Chosroes had altogether destroyed the mercantile relations of the Roman and Persian empires, and had thrown the entire Oriental and African trade into the hands of the Arabs. As a merchant Mohammed himself makes his first appearance. The first we hear in his history are the journeys he has made as the factor of the wealthy Chadizah. In these expeditions with the caravans to Damascus and other Syrian cities, he was brought in contact with Jews and men of affairs, who, from the nature of their pursuits, were of more enlarged views than mere Arab chieftains or the petty tradesmen of Arab towns. Through such agency the first impetus was given. As to the rapid success, its causes are in like manner so plain as to take away all surprise. It is no wonder that in fifty years, as Abderrahman wrote to the khalif, not only had the tribute from the entire north of Africa ceased, through the population having become altogether Mohammedan, but that the Moors boasted an Arab descent as their greatest glory. For, besides the sectarian animosities on which I have dwelt as facilitating the first conquest of the Christians, and the dreadful shock that had been given by the capture of the Holy City, Jerusalem, the in
250 THE POLICY OF THE SARACEN.
suiting and burning the sepulchre of our Savior, and the carrying away of his cross as a trophy by the Persians, there were other very powerful causes. For many years the taxation imposed by the Emperors of Constantinople on their subjects in Asia and Africa had been not only excessive and extortionate, but likewise complicated. This the khalifs replaced by a simple, well-defined tribute of far less amount. Thus, in the case of Cyprus, the sum paid to the khalif was only half of what it had been to the emperor; and, indeed, the lower orders were never made to feel the bitterness of conquest; the blows fell' on the ecclesiastics, not on the population, and between them there was but little sympathy. In the eyes of the ignorant nations the prestige of the patriarchs and bishops was utterly destroyed by their detected helplessness to prevent the capture and insult of the sacred places. On the payment of a trifling sum the conqueror guaranteed to the Christian and the Jew absolute security for their worship. An equivalent was given for a price. Religious freedom was bought with mqpey. Numerous instances might be given of the scrupulous integrity with which the Arab commanders complied with their part of the contract. The example set by Omar on the steps of the Church of the Resurrection was followed by Moawiyah, who actually rebuilt the church of Edessa for his Christian subjects; and by Abdulmalek, who, when he had commenced converting that of Damascus into a mosque, forthwith desisted on finding that the Christians were entitled to it by the terms of the capitulation. If these things were done in the first fervor of victory, the principles on which they depended were all the more powerful after the Arabs had become tinctured with Nestorian and Jewish influences, and were a learned nation. It is related of Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, and the fourth successor in the khalifate, that he gave himself up to letters. Among his sayings are recorded such as these: " Eminence in science is the highest of honors;" "H e dies not who gives life to learning;" "The greatest ornament of a man is erudition." When the sovereign felt and expressed such sentiments, it was impossible but that a liberal policy should prevail. Besides these there were other incentives not less powerful. To one whose faith sat lightly upon him, or who valued it less than the tribute to be paid, it only required the repetition of a short sentence acknowledging the unity of God and the divine mission of the prophet, and he forthwith became, though a captive or a slave, the equal and friend of his conqueror. Doubtless many thousands were under these circumstances carried away. As respects the female sex, the Arab system was very far from being oppressive; some have even asserted that "the Christian women found in the seraglios a delightful retreat." But above all, polygamy acted most effectually in consolidating the conquests; the large families that were raised-some are mentioned of more
DISINTEGRATION OF THE ARAB SYSTEM. 251
than one hundred and eighty children-compressed into the course of a few years events that would otherwise have taken many generations for their accomplishment. These children gloried in their Arab descent, and, being taught to speak the language of their conquering fathers, became to all intents and purposes Arabs. This diffusion of the language was sometimes expedited by the edicts of the khalifs; thus Alwalid I. prohibited the use of Greek, directing the Arabic to be employed in its stead. If thus without difficulty we recognize the causes which led to the rapid diffusion of the Arab power, we also without difficulty recognize those which led to its check and eventual dissolution. Arab conquest implied, from the scale on which it was pursued, the forthgoing of the whole nation. It could only be accomplished, and in a temporary manner sustained, by an excessive and incessant drain of the native Arab population. That immobility, or, at the best, slow progress the nation had for so many ages displayed, was at an end, society was moved to its foundations, a fanatical delirium possessed it, the greatest and boldest enterprises were entered upon without hesitation, the wildest hopes or passions of men might be speedily gratified, wealth and beauty were the tangible rewards of valor in this life, to say nothing of Paradise in the next. But such an outrush of a nation in all directions implied the quick growth of diverse interests and opposing policies. The necessary consequence of the Arab system was subdivision and breaking up. The circumstances of its growth rendered it certain that a decomposition would take place in the political, and not, as has been in the case of the ecclesiastical Roman system, in the theological direction. All this is illustrated both in the earlier and later Saracenic history. War makes a people run through its phases of existence fast. It would have taken the Arabs many thousand years to have advanced intellectually as far as they did in a single century, had they, as a nation, remained in profound peace. They did not merely shake off that dead weight which clogs the movement of a nation-its inert mass of common people; they converted that mass into a living force. National progress is the sum of individual progress; national immobility the result of individual quiescence. Arabian life was run through with rapidity, because an unrestrained career was opened to every man; and yet, quick as the movement was, it manifested all those unavoidable phases through which, whether its motion be swift or slow, humanity must unavoidably pass. Arabian influence, thus imposing itself on Africa and Asia by military successes, and threatening even Constantinople, rested essentially on an intellectual basis, the value of which it is needful
252 REVIEW OF THE KORAN.
for us to consider. The Koran, which is that basis, has exercised a great control over the destinies of mankind, and still serves as a rule of life to a very large portion of our race. Considering the assorted origin of this book-indirectly from God himself-we might justly expect that it would bear to be tried by any standard that man can apply, and vindicate its truth and excellence in the ordeal of human criticism. In our estimate of it we must constantly bear in mind that it does not profess to be successive revelations made at intervals of ages and on various occasions, but a complete production delivered to one man. We ought, therefore, to look for universality, completeness, perfection. We might expect that it would present us with just views of the nature and position of this world in which we live, and that, whether dealing with the spiritual or the material, it would put to shame the most celebrated productions of human genius, as the magnificent mechanism of the heavens and the beautiful living forms of the earth are superior to the vain contrivances of man. Far in advance of all that has been written by the sages of India or the philosophers of Greece on points connected with the origin, nature, and destiny of the universe, its dignity of conception and excellence of expression should be in harmony with the greatness of the subject with which it is concerned. We might expect that it should propound with authority, and definitively settle those all-important problems which have exercised the mental powers of the ablest men of Asia and Europe for so many centuries, and which are at the foundation of all faith and all philosophy; that it should distinctly tell us in unmistakable language what is God, what is the world, what is the soul, and whether man has any criterion of truth; that it should explain to us how evil can exist in a world the Maker of which is omnipotent and altogether good; that it should reveal to us in what the affairs of men are fixed by Destiny, in what by free-will; that it should teach us whence we came, what is the object of our continuing here, what is to become of us hereafter. And, since a written word claiming a divine origin must necessarily accredit itself even to those most reluctant to receive it, its internal evidences becoming stronger and not weaker with the strictness of the examination to which they are submitted, it ought to deal with those things that may be demonstrated by the increasing knowledge and genius of man, anticipating therein his conclusions. Such a work, noble as may be its origin, must not refuse, but court the test of natural philosophy, regarding it not as an antagonist, but as its best support. As years pass on, and human science becomes more exact and more comprehensive, its conclusions must be found in unison therewith. When occasion arises, it should furnish us at least the foreshadowings of the great truths discovered by astronomy and geology, not offering for them the wild fictions
REVIEW OF THE KORAN. 253.
of earlier ages, inventions of the infancy of man. It should tell us how suns and worlds are distributed in infinite space, and how, in their successions, they come forth in limitless time. It should say how far the dominion of God is carried out by law, and what is the point at which it is his pleasure to resort to his own good Providence or his arbitrary will. How grand the description of this magnificent universe written by the Omnipotent hand! Of man it should set forth his relations to other living beings, his place among them, his privileges, and responsibilities. It should not leave him to grope his way through the vestiges of Greek philosophy, and to miss the truth at last, but it should teach him wherein true knowledge consists, anticipating the physical science, physical power, and physical well-being of our own times, nay, even unfolding for our benefit things that we are still ignorant of. The discussion of subjects, so many and so high, is not outside the scope of a work of such pretensions. Its manner of dealing with them is the only criterion it can offer of its authority to succeeding times. Tried by such a standard, the Koran altogether fails. In its philosophy it is incomparably inferior to the writings of Chakia Mouni, the founder of Buddhism; in its science it is absolutely worthless. On speculative or doubtful things it is copious enough; but in the exact, where a test can be applied to it, it totally fails. Its astronomy, cosmogony, physiology, are so puerile as to invite our mirth if the occasion did not forbid. They belong to the old times of the world, the morning of human knowledge. The earth is firmly balanced in its seat by the weight of the mountains; the sky is supported over it like a dome, and we are instructed in the wisdom and power of God by being told to find a crack in it if we can. Ranged in stories, seven in number, are the heavens, the highest being the habitation of God, whose throne-for the Koran does not reject Assyrian ideas-is sustained by winged animal forms. The shooting stars are pieces of redhot stone thrown by angels at impure spirits when they approach too closely. Of God the Koran is full of praise, setting forth, often in not unworthy imagery, his majesty. Though it bitterly denounces those who give him any equals, and assures them that their sin will never be forgiven; that in the judgment-day they must answer the fearful question, "Where are my companions about whom ye disputed?" though it inculcates an absolute dependence on the mercy of God, and denounces as criminals all those who make a merchandise of religion, its ideas of the Deity are altogether anthropomorphic. He is only a gigantic man living in a paradise. In this respect, though exceptional passages might be cited, the reader rises from a perusal of the 114 chapters of the Koran with a final impression that they have given him low and unworthy thoughts; nor is it surprising that one of the Mohammedan sects reads it in such a way as to find no difficulty in asserting that,
254 REVIEW OF THE KORAN.
"from the crown of the head to the breast God is hollow, and from the breast downward he is solid; that he has curled black hair, and roars like a lion at every watch of the night." The unity asserted by Mohammed is a unity in special contradistinction to the Trinity of the Christians, and the doctrine of a divine generation. Our Savior is never called the Son of God, but always the son of Mary. Throughout there is a perpetual acceptance of the delusion of the human destiny of the universe. As to man, Mohammed is diffuse enough respecting a future state, speaking with clearness of a resurrection, the judgment-day, Paradise, the torment of hell, the worm that never dies, the pains that never end; but, with all this precise description of the future, there are many errors as to the past. If modesty did not render it unsuitable to speak of such topics here, it might be shown how feeble is his physiology when he has occasion to allude to the origin or generation of man. He is hardly advanced beyond the ideas of Thales. One who is so unreliable a guide as to things that are past, can not be very trustworthy as to events that are to come. Of the literary execution of his work, it is, perhaps, scarcely possible to judge fairly from a translation. It is said to be the oldest prose composition among the Arabs, by whom Mohammed's boast of the unapproachable excellence of his work is almost universally sustained; but it must not be concealed that there have been among them very learned men who have held it in light esteem. Its most celebrated passages, as those on the nature of God, in Chapters II., XXIV., will bear no comparison with parallel ones in the Psalms and Book of Job. In the narrative style, the story of Joseph, in Chapter XII., compared with the same incidents related in Genesis, shows a like inferiority. Mohammed also adulterates his work with many Christian legends, derived probably from the apocryphal gospel of St. Barnabas; he mixes with many of his own inventions the scripture account of the temptation of Adam, the Deluge, Jonah and the whale, enriching the whole with stories like the later Night Entertainments of his country, the seven sleepers, Gog and Magog, and all the wonders of genii, sorcery, and charms. An impartial reader of the Koran may doubtless be surprised that so feeble a production should serve its purpose so well. But the theory of religion is one thing, the practice another. The Koran abounds in excellent moral suggestions and precepts; its composition is so fragmentary that we cannot turn to a single
Page without finding maxims of which all men must approve. This fragmentary construction yields texts, and mottoes, and rules complete in themselves, suitable for common men in any of the incidents of life. There is a perpetual insisting on the necessity of prayer, an inculcation of mercy, almsgiving, justice, fasting, pilgrimage, and other good works; institu-
REVIEW OF THE KORAN. 255
tions respecting conduct both social and domestic, debts, witnesses, marriage, children, wine, and the like; above all, a constant stimulation to do battle with the infidel and blasphemer. For life as it passes in Asia, there is hardly a condition in which passages from the Koran can not be recalled suitable for instruction, admonition, consolation, encouragement. To the Asiatic and to the African, such devotional fragments are of far more use than any sustained theological doctrine. The mental constitution of Mohammed did not enable him to handle important philosophical questions with the well-balanced ability of the great Greek and Indian writers, but he has never been surpassed in adaptation to the spiritual wants of humble life, making even his fearful fatalism administer thereto. A pitiless destiny is awaiting us; yet the prophet is uncertain what it may be. " Unto every nation a fixed time is decreed. Death will overtake us even in lofty towers, but God only knoweth the place in which a man shall die." After many an admonition of the resurrection and the judgment-day, many a promise of Paradise and threat of hell, he plaintively confesses, "I do not know what will be done with you or me hereafter." The Koran thus betrays a human, and not a very noble intellectual origin. It does not, however, follow that its author was, as is so often asserted, a mere impostor. He reiterates again and again, I am nothing more than a public preacher. He defends, not always without acerbity, his work from those who, even in his own life, stigmatized it as a confused heap of dreams, or, what is worse, a forgery. He is not the only man who has supposed himself to be the subject of supernatural and divine communications, for this is a condition of disease to which any one, by fasting and mental anxiety, may be reduced. In what I have thus said respecting a work held by so many millions of men as a revelation from God, I have endeavored to speak with respect, and yet with freedom, constantly bearing in mind how deeply to this book Asia and Africa are indebted for daily guidance, how deeply Europe and America for the light of science. As might be expected, the doctrines of the Koran have received many fictitious additions and sectarian interpretations in the course of ages. In the popular superstition angels and genii largely figure. The latter, being of a grosser fabric, eat, drink, propagate ism. their kind, are of two sorts, good and bad, and existed long before men, having occupied the earth before Adam. Immediately after death, two greenish, livid angels, Monkir and Nekkar, examine every corpse as to its faith in God and Mohammed; but the soul, having been separated from the body by the angel of death, enters upon an intermediate state, awaiting the resurrection. There is, however, much diversity of opinion as, to its precise disposal before the judgment-day: some think that it hovers near the grave; some, that it sinks into the well Zemzem;
256 POPULAR MOHAMMEDANISM.
some, that it retires into the trumpet of the Angel of the Resurrection; the difficulty apparently being that any final disposal before the day of judgment would be anticipatory of that great event, if, indeed, it would not render it needless. As to the resurrection, some believe it to be merely spiritual, others corporeal; the latter asserting that the coccycis, or last bone of the spinal column, will serve, as it were, as a germ, and that, vivified by a rain of forty days, the body will sprout from it. Among the signs of the approaching resurrection will be the rising of the sun in the West. It will be ushered in by three blasts of a trumpet: the first, known as the blast of consternation, will shake the earth to its centre, and extinguish the sun and stars; the second, the blast of examination, will annihilate all material things except Paradise, hell, and the throne of God. Forty years subsequently, the angel Israfil will sound the blast of resurrection. From his trumpet there will be blown forth the countless myriads of souls who have taken refuge therein or lain concealed. The day of judgment has now come. The Koran contradicts itself as to the length of this day; in one place making it a thousand, in another fifty thousand years. Most Mohammedans incline to adopt the longer period, since angels, genii, men, and animals have to be tried. As to men, they will rise in their natural state, but naked; white winged camels, with saddles of gold, awaiting the saved. When the partition is made, the wicked will be oppressed with an intolerable heat, caused by the sun, who, having been called into existence again, will approach within a mile, provoking a sweat to issue from them, which, according to their demerits, will immerse them from the ankles to the mouth; but the righteous will be screened by the shadow of the throne of God. The judge will be seated in the clouds, the books open before him, and every thing in its turn called on to account for its deeds. For the greater dispatch, the angel Gabriel will hold forth his balance, one scale of which hangs over Paradise and one over hell. In these all works are weighed. As soon as the sentence is delivered, the assembly, in a long file, will pass over the bridge Al-Sirat. It is as sharp as the edge of a sword, and laid over the mouth of hell. Mohammed and his followers will successfully pass the perilous ordeal; but the sinners, giddy with terror, will drop into the place of torment. The blessed will receive their first taste of happiness at a pond which is supplied by silver pipes from the river Al-Cawthor. The soil of Paradise is of musk. Its rivers tranquilly flow over pebbles of rubies and emeralds. From tents of hollow pearls, the Houris, or girls of Paradise, will come forth, attended by troops of beautiful boys. Each saint will have eighty thousand servants and seventy-two girls. To these, some of the more merciful Mussulmans add the wives they have had upon earth; but the grimly orthodox assert that hell is already nearly filled with women. How should it be otherwise when they are not permitted to pray in a
MOHAMMEDAN SECTS. 257
mosque upon earth? I have not space to describe the silk brocades, the green clothing, the soft carpets, the banquets, the perpetual music and songs. From the glorified body all impurities will escape, not as they did during life, but in a fragrant perspiration of camphor and musk. No one will complain I am weary; no one will say I am sick. From the contradictions, puerilities, and impossibilities indicated in the preceding paragraphs, it may be anticipated that the faith of Mohammed has been broken into many sects. Of such it is said that not less than seventy-three may be numbered. Some, as the Sonnites, are guided by traditions; some occupy themselves with philosophical difficulties, the existence of evil in the world, the attributes of God, absolute predestination and eternal damnation, the invisibility and non-corporeality of God, his capability of local motion: these and other such topics furnish abundant opportunity for sectarian dispute. As if to show how the essential principles of the Koran may be departed from by those who still profess to be guided by it, there are, among the Shiites, those who believe that Ali was an incarnation of God; that he was in existence before the creation of things; that he never died, but ascended to heaven, and will return again in the clouds to judge the world. But the great Mohammedan philosophers, simply accepting the doctrine of the oneness of God as the only thing of which man can be certain, look upon all the rest as idle fables, having, however, this political use, that they furnish contention, and therefore occupation to disputatious sectarians, and consolation to illiterate minds. Thus settled on the north of Africa the lurid form of the Arabian crescent, one horn reaching to the Bosphorus and one pointing beyond the Pyrenees. For a while it seemed that the portentous meteor would increase to the full, and that all Europe would be enveloped. Christianity had lost forever the most interesting countries over which her influence had once spread, Africa, Egypt, Syria, with the Holy Land, Asia Minor, Spain. She was destined, in the end, to lose in the same manner the metropolis of the East. In exchange for these ancient and illustrious regions, she fell back on Gaul, Germany, Britain, Scandinavia. In those savage countries, what were there to be offered as substitutes for the great capitals, illustrious in ecclesiastical history, forever illustrious in the records of the human race -Carthage, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople? It was an evil exchange. The labors, intellectual and physical, of which those cities had once been the scene; the preaching, and penances, and prayers so lavishly expended in them, had not produced the anticipated, the asserted result. In theology and morality the people had pursued a descending course. Patriotism was extinct. They surrendered the state to preserve their sect; their treason was rewarded by subjugation.
258 THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST.
From these melancholy events we may learn that the principles on which the moral world is governed are analogous to those which obtain in the physical. It is not by incessant divine interpositions, which produce breaches in the continuity of historic action; it is not by miracles and prodigies that the course of events is determined; but affairs follow each other in the relation of cause and effect. The maximum development of early Christianity coincided with the boundaries of the Roman empire; the ecclesiastical condition depended on the political, and, indeed, was its direct consequence and issue. The loss of Africa and Asia was, in like manner, connected with the Arabian movement, though it would have been easy to prevent that catastrophe, and to preserve those continents to the faith by the smallest of those innumerable miracles of which Church history is full, and which were often performed on unimportant and obscure occasions. But not even one such miracle was vouchsafed, though an angel might have worthily descended. I know of no event in the history of our race on which a thoughtful man may more profitably meditate than on the loss of Africa and Asia. It may remove from his mind many erroneous ideas, and lead him to take a more elevated, a more philosophical, and, therefore, more correct view of the course of earthly events.
CHAPTER XII. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST.
The Age of Faith in the West is marked by Paganism.-The Arabian military Attacks produce the Isolation and permit the Independence of the Bishop of Rome. GREGORY THE GREAT organizes the Ideas of his Age, materializes Faith, allies it with Art, rejects Science, and creates the Italian Form of Religion. An Alliance of the Papacy with France diffuses that Form-Political History of the Agreement and Conspiracy, of the Frankish Kings and the Pope-The resulting Consolidation of the new Dynasty in France, and Diffusion of Roman Ideas.-Conversion of Europe. The Value of the Italian Form of Religion determined from the papal Biography. FROM the Age of Faith in the East, I have now to turn to the Age of Faith in the West. The former, as we have seen, ended prematurely through a metamorphosis of the populations by military operations, conquests, polygamy; the latter, under more favorable circumstances, gradually completed its predestined phases, and, after the lapse of many centuries, passed into the Age of Reason. If so many recollections of profound interest cluster round Jerusalem, "the Holy City" of the East, many scarcely inferior are connected with Rome, " the Eternal City" of the West. The Byzantine system, which, having originated in the policy of an
POLITICAL EVENTS PRECEDING IT. 259
ambitious soldier struggling for supreme power, and in the devices of ecclesiastics intolerant of any competitors, had spread itself all over the eastern and southern portions of the Roman empire, and, with its hatred of human knowledge and degraded religious ideas and practices, had been adopted at last even in Italy. Not by the Romans, for they had ceased to exist, but by the medley of Goths and half-breeds, the occupants of that peninsula. Gregory the Great is the incarnation of the ideas of this debased population. That evil system, so carefully nurtured by Constantine and cherished by all the Oriental bishops, had been cut down by the axe of the Vandal, the Persian, the Arab, in its native seats, but the offshoot of it that had been planted in Rome developed spontaneously with unexpected luxuriance, and cast its dark shadow over Europe for many centuries. He who had known what religion was in the apostolic days, might look with boundless surprise on what was now ingrafted upon it, and was passing under its name. In the last chapter we have seen how, through the Vandal invasion, Africa was lost to the empire-a dire calamity, for, of all the the provinces, it had been the least expensive and the most productive; it yielded men, money, and, what was perhaps of more importance, corn for the use of Italy. A sudden stop-
page of the customary supply rendered impossible the usual distributions in Rome, Ravenna, Milan. A famine fell upon Italy, bringing in its train an inevitable diminution of the population. To add to the misfortunes, Attila, the King of the Huns, or, as he called himself, "the Scourge of God," invaded the empire. The battle of Chalons, the convulsive deaththroe of the Roman empire, arrested his career, A.D. 451. Four years after this event, through intrigues in the imperial family, Genseric, the Vandal king, was invited from Africa to Rome. The atrocities which of old had been practiced against Carthage under the auspices of the senate were now avenged. For fourteen days the Vandals sacked the city, perpetrating unheard-of cruelties. Their ships, brought into the Tiber, enabled them to accomplish their purpose of pillage far more effectually than would have been possible by any land expedition. The treasures of Rome, with multitudes of noble captives, were transported to Carthage. In twenty-one years after this time, A.D. 476, the Western Empire became extinct. Thus the treachery of the African Arians not only brought the Vandals into the most important of all the provinces, so far as Italy was concerned; it also furnished an instrument for the ruin of Rome. But hardly had the Emperor Justinian reconquered Africa when he attempted the subjugation of the Goths now holding possession of Italy. His general Belisarius captured Rome, Dec. 10, A.D. 556. In the military operations ensuing with Vitiges,
260 CONTEMPORARY STATE OF EUROPE.
Italy was devastated, the population sank beneath the sword, pestilence, famine. In all directions the glorious remains of antiquity were destroyed; statues, as those of the Mole of Adrian, were thrown upon the besiegers of Rome. These operations closed by the surrender of Vitiges to Belisarius at the capture of Ravenna. But, as soon as the military compression was withdrawn, revolt broke out. Rome was retaken by the Goths; its walls were razed; for forty days it was deserted by its inhabitants, an emigration that in the end proved its ruin. Belisarius, who had been sent back by the emperor, re-entered it, but was too weak to retain it. For four years Italy was ravaged by the Franks and the Goths. At last Justinian sent the eunuch Narses with a well-appointed army. The Ostrogothic monarchy was overthrown, and the emperor governed Italy by his exarchs at Ravenna. But what was the cost of all this? We may reject the statement previously made, that Italy lost fifteen millions of inhabitants, on the ground that such computations were beyond the ability of the survivors, but, from the asserted number, we may infer that they had passed through a horrible catastrophe. In other directions the relics of civilization were fast disappearing; the valley of the Danube had relapsed into a barbarous state; the African shore had become a wilderness; Italy a hideous desert; and the necessary consequence of the extermination of the native Italians by war, and their replacement by barbarous adventurers, was the falling of the sparse population of that peninsula irito a lower psychical state. It was ready for the materialized religion that soon ensued. An indelible aspect was stamped on the incoming Age of Faith. The East and the West had equally displayed the imbecility of ecclesiastical rule. Of both, the Holy City had fallen; Jerusalem had been captured by the Persian and Arab, Rome had been sacked by the Vandal and the Goth. But, for the proper description of the course of affairs, I must retrace my steps a little. In the important political events coinciding with the death of Leo the Great, and the constitution of the kingdom of Italy by the barbarian Odoacer, A.D. 476-490, the bishops of Rome seem to have taken but little interest. Doubtless, on one side, they perceived the transitory nature of such incidents, and, on the other, clearly saw for themselves the road to lasting spiritual domination. The Christians every where had long expressed a total carelessness for the fate of old Rome; and in the midst of her ruins the popes were incessantly occupied in laying deep the foundations of their power. Though it mattered little to them who was the temporal ruler of Italy, they were vigilant and energetic in their relations with their great competitors, the bishops of Constantinople and Alexandria. It had become clear that Christendom must have a head; and that headship, once defi-
RELATIONS OF ROME TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 261
nitely settled, implied the eventual control over the temporal power. Of all objects of human ambition, that headship was best worth struggling for. Steadily pursuing every advantage as it arose, Rome inexorably insisted that her decisions should be carried out in Constantinople itself. This was the case especially in the affair of Acacius, the bishop of that city, who, having been admonished for his acts by Felix, the Bishop of Rome, was finally excommunicated. A difficulty arose as to the manner in which the process should be served; but an adventurous monk fastened it to the robe of Acacius as he entered the church. Acacius, undismayed, proceeded with his services, and, pausing deliberately, ordered the name of Felix, the Bishop of Rome, to be struck from the roll of bishops in communion with the East. Constantinople and Rome thus mutually excommunicated one another. It is in reference to this affair that Pope Gelasius, addressing the emperor, says: " There are two powers which rule the world, the imperial and pontifical. You are the sovereign of the human race, but you bow your neck to those who preside over things divine. The priesthood is the greater of the two powers; it has to render an account in the last day for the acts of kings." This is not the language of a feeble ecclesiastic, but of a pontiff who understands his power. The conquest of Italy by Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, A.D. 493, gave to the bishops of Rome an Arian sovereign, and presented to the world the anomaly of a heretic appointing God's vicar the upon earth. There was a contested election between two material candidates, whose factions, emulating the example of the East, filled the city with murder. The Gothic monarch ordered that he who had most suffrages, and had been first consecrated, should be acknowledged. In this manner Symmachus became pope. Hormisdas, who succeeded Symmachus, renewed the attempt to compel the Eastern emperor, Anastasius, to accept the degradation of Acacius and his party, and to enforce the assent of all his clergy thereto, but in vain. On the accession of Justin to the imperial throne, Rome at last carried her point; all her conditions were admitted; the schism was ended in the humiliation of the Bishop of Constantinople, it was said, through the orthodoxy of the emperor. But very soon began to appear unmistakable indications that for this religious victory a temporal equivalent had been given. Conspiracies were detected in Rome against Theodoric, the Gothic king; and rumors were whispered about that the arms of Constantinople would before long release Italy from the heretical yoke of the Arian. There can be no doubt that Theodoric detected the treason. It was an evil reward for his impartial equity. At once he disarmed the population of Rome. From being a merciful sovereign, he exhibited an
262 EFFECT OF THE RECONQUEST OF ITALY.
awful vengeance. It was in these transactions that Boethius, the philosopher, and Symmachus, the senator, fell victims to his wrath. The pope, John, himself was thrown into prison, and there miserably died. In his remonstrances with Justin, the great barbarian monarch displays sentiments far above his times, yet they were the sentiments that had hitherto regulated his actions. "To pretend to a dominion over the conscience is to usurp the prerogative of God. By the nature of things, the power of sovereigns is confined to political government. They have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace. The most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates himself from part of his subjects because they believe not according to his belief." Theodoric had been but a few years dead-his soul was seen by an orthodox hermit carried by devils into the crater of the volcano of Lipari, which was considered to be the opening into hell-when the invasion of Italy by Justinian showed how well-founded his suspicions had been. Rome was, however, very far from receiving the advantages she had expected; the inconceivable wickedness of Constantinople was brought into Italy. Pope Sylverius, who was the son of Pope Hormisdas, was deposed by Theodora, the emperor's wife. This woman, once a common prostitute, sold the papacy to Vigilius for two hundred pounds of gold. Her accomplice, Antonina, the unprincipled wife of Belisarius, had Sylverius stripped of his robes and habited as a monk. He was subsequently banished to the old convict island of Pandataria, and there died. Vigilius embraced Eutychianism, and, it was said, murdered one of his secretaries, and caused his sister's son to be beaten to death. He was made to feel what it is for a bishop to be in the hands of an emperor; to taste of the cup so often presented to prelates at Constantinople; to understand in what estimation his sovereign held the vicar of God upon earth. Compelled to go to that metropolis to embrace the theological views which Justinian had put forth, thrice he agreed to them, and thrice he recanted; he excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, and was excommunicated by him. In his personal contests with the imperial officials, they dragged him by his feet from a sanctuary with so much violence that a part of the structure was pulled down upon him; they confined him in a dungeon, and fed him on bread and water. Eventually he died an outcast in Sicily. The immediate effect of the conquest of Italy was the reduction of the popes to the degraded condition of the patriarchs of Constantinople. Such were the bitter fruits of their treason to the Gothic king. The success of Justinian's invasion was due to the clergy; in the ruin they brought upon their country, and the relentless tyranny they drew upon themselves, they had their reward. In the midst of this desolation and degradation the Age of Faith was
GREGORY THE GREAT. 263.
gradually assuming distinctive lineaments in Italy. Pagaization, which had been patronized as a matter of policy in the East, became a matter of necessity in the West. To a man like Gregory the Great, born in a position which enabled him to examine things from a very general point of view, it was clear that the psychical condition of the lower social stratum demanded concessions in accordance with its ideas. The belief of the thoughtful must be alloyed with the superstition of the populace. Accordingly, that was what actually occurred. For the clear understanding of these events I shall have to speak, 1st, of the acts of Pope Gregory the Great, by whom the ideas of the age were organized and clothed in a dress suited to the requirements of the times; 2d, of the relations which the papacy soon assumed with the kings of France, by which the work of Gregory was consolidated, and upheld, and diffused all over Europe. It adds not a little to the interest of these things that the influences thus created have outlasted their original causes, and, after the lapse of more than a thousand years, though moss-covered and rotten, are a stumbling-block to the progress of nations. Gregory the Great was the grandson of Pope Felix. His patrician parentage and conspicuous abilities had attracted in early life the attention of the Emperor Justin, by whom he was appointed prefect of Rome. Withdrawn by the Church from the splendors of secular life, he was sent, while yet a deacon, as nuncio to Constantinople. Discharging the duties that had been committed to him with singular ability and firmness, he resumed the monastic life on his return, with daily increasing reputation. Elected to the papacy by the clergy, the senate, and people of Rome, A.D. 590, with well-dissembled resistance he implored the emperor to reject their choice, and, on being refused, escaped from the city hidden in a basket. It is related that the retreat in which he was concealed was discovered by a celestial hovering light that settled upon it, and revealed to the faithful their reluctant pope. It was during a time of pestilence and famine. Once made supreme pontiff, this austere monk in an instant resumed the character he had displayed at Constantinople, and exhibited the qualities of a great statesman. He regulated the Roman liturgy, the calendar of festivals, the order of processions, the fashions of sacerdotal garments; he himself officiated in the canon of the mass, devised many solemn and pompous rites, and invented the chant known by his name He established schools of music, administered the Church revenues' with precision and justice, and set an example of almsgiving and charity for such was the misery of the times that even Roman matrons had to accept the benevolence of the Church. He authorized the alienation of Church property for the redemption of slaves, laymen as well as ecclesiastics.
264 INCREASE OF SUPERSTITION.
An insubordinate clergy and a dissolute populace quickly felt the hand that now held the reins. He sedulously watched the inferior pastors, dealing out justice to them, and punishing all who offended with rigorous severity. He compelled the Italian bishops to acknowledge him as their metropolitan. He extended his influence to Greece; prohibited simony in Gaul; received into the bosom of the Church Spain, now renouncing her Arianism; sent out missionaries to Britain, and converted the pagans of that country; extirpated heathenism from Sardinia; resisted' John, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had dared to take the title of universal bishop; exposed to the emperor the ruin occasioned by the pride, ambition, and wickedness of the clergy, and withstood him on the question of the law prohibiting soldiers from becoming monks. It was not in the nature of such a man to decline the regulation of political affairs: he nominated tribunes, and directed the operations of troops. No one can shake off the system that has given him power; no one can free himself from the tincture of the times of which he is the representative. Though in so many respects Gregory was far in advance of his age, he was at once insincere and profoundly superstitious. With more than Byzantine hatred he detested human knowledge. His oft-expressed belief that the end of the world was at hand, was perpetually contradicted by his acts, which were ceaselessly directed to the foundation of a future papal empire. Under him was sanctified that mythologic Christianity destined to become the religion of Europe for many subsequent centuries, and which adopted the adoration of the Virgin by images and pictures soon to adorn magnificent churches built to her glory; the efficacy of the remains of martyrs and relics; stupendous miracles wrought at the shrines of saints; the perpetual interventions of angels and devils in sublunary affairs; the truth of legends far surpassing in romantic improbability the stories of Greek mythology; the localization of heaven a few miles above the air, and of hell in the bowels of the earth, with its portal in the crater of Lipari. Gregory himself was a sincere believer in miracles, ghosts, and the resurrection of many persons from the grave, but who, alas! had brought no tidings of the secret wonders of that land of deepest shade. He made these wild fancies the actual, the daily, the practical religion of Europe. Participating in the ecclesiastical hatred of human learning, and insisting on the maxim that "Ignorance is the of mother of devotion," he expelled from Rome all mathematical studies, and burned the Palatine library founded by Augustus Caesar. It was valuable for the many rare manuscripts it contained. He forbade the study of the classics, mutilated statues, and destroyed temples. He hated the very relics of classical genius; pursued with vindictive fanaticism the writings of Livy, against whom he
CORRUPTIONS OF CHRISTIANITY.
was specially excited. Well has it been said that "he was as inveterate an enemy against learning a' ever lived;" that "no lucid ray ever beamed on his superstitious soul." He boasted that his own works were written without regard to the rules of grammar, and censured the crime of a priest who had taught that subject. It was his aim to substitute for the heathen writings others which he thought less dangerous to orthodoxy; and so well did he succeed in rooting out of Italy her illustrious pagan authors, that when one of his successors, Paul I., sent to Pepin of France "what books he could find," they were "an antiphonal, a grammar, and the works of Dionysius the Areopagite." He was the very incarnation of the Byzantine principle of ignorance. If thus the misfortunes that had fallen on Italy had given her a base population, whose wants could only be met by a paganized religion, the more fortunate classes all over the empire had long been tending in the same direction. Whoever will examine the progress of Christian society from the earlier ages, will find that there could be no other result than a repudiation of solid learning and an alliance with art. We have only to compare the poverty and plainness of the first disciples with the extravagance reached in a few generations. Cyprian complains of the covetousness, pride, luxury, and worldly-mindedness of Christians, even of the clergy and confessors. Some made no scruple to contract matrimony with heathens. Clement of Alexandria bitterly inveighs against "the vices of an opulent and luxurious Christian community-splendid dresses, gold and silver vessels, rich banquets, gilded litters and chariots, and private baths. The ladies kept Indian birds, Median peacocks, monkeys, and Maltese dogs, instead of maintaining widows and orphans; the men had multitudes of slaves." The dipping three times at baptism, the tasting of honey and milk, the oblations for the dead, the signing of the cross on the forehead on putting on the clothes or the shoes, or lighting a candle, which Tertullian imputes to tradition without the authority of Scripture, foreshadowed a thousand pagan observances soon to be introduced. As time passed on, so far from the state of things improving, it became worse. Not only among the frivolous class, but even among historic personages, there was a hankering after the ceremonies of the departed creed, a lingering attachment to the old rites, and, perhaps, a religious indifference to the new. To the age of Justinian these remarks strikingly apply. Boethius was, at the best, only a pagan philosopher; Tribonian, the great lawyer, the author of the Justinian Code, was suspected of being an atheist. In the East, the splendor of the episcopal establishments extorted admiration even from those who were familiar with the imperial court. The well-ordered trains of attendants and the magnificent banquets in the bishops' palaces are particularly praised. Extravagant views of
266 ALLIANCE OF TIE PAPACY WITH ART.
the pre-eminent value of celibacy had long been held among the more devout, who conceded a reluctant admission even for marriage itself. "I praise the married state, but chiefly for this, that it provides virgins," had been the more than doubtful encomium of St. Jerome. Among the clergy, who under the force of this growing sentiment found it advisable to refrain from marriage, it had become customary, as we learn from the enactments and denunciations against the practice, to live with "sub-introduced women," as they were called. These passed as sisters of the priests, the correctness of whose taste was often exemplified by the remarkable beauty of their sinful partners. A of law of Honorius put an end to this iniquity. The children arising from these associations do not appear to have occasioned any extraordinary scandal. At weddings it was still the custom to sing hymns to Venus. The cultivation of music at a very early period attracted the attention of many of the great ecclesiastics-Paul of Samosata, Arius, Chrysostom. In the first congregations probably all the worshipers joined in the hymns and psalmody. By degrees, however, more skillful performers had been introduced, and the chorus of the Greek tragedy made available under the form of antiphonal singing. The Ambrosian chant was eventually exchanged for the noble Roman chant of Gregory the Great, which has been truly characterized as the foundation of all that is grand and elevated in modern music. With the devastation that Italy had suffered the Latin language was becoming extinct. But Roman literature had never been converted to Christianity. Of the best writers among the Fathers, not one was a Roman; all were provincials. The literary basis was the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, the poetical imagery being, for the most part, borrowed from the prophets. In historical compositions there was a want of fair dealing and truthfulness to us almost incredible; thus Eusebius naively avows that in his history he shall omit whatever might tend to the discredit of the Church, and magnify whatever might conduce to her glory. The same principle was carried out in numberless legends, many of them deliberate forgeries, the amazing credulity of the times yielding to them full credit, no matter how they might outrage common sense. But what else was to be expected of generations that could believe that the tracks of Pharaoh's chariot-wheels were still impressed on the sands of the Red Sea, and could not be obliterated either by the winds or the waves? He who ventured to offend the public taste for these idle fables brought down upon himself the wrath of society, and bore the brand of an infidel. In the interpretation of the Scriptures, and, indeed, in all commentaries on authors of repute, there was a constant indulgence in fanciful mystification and the detection of concealed meanings, in the extracting of which
ART TYPES OF THE SAVIOR AND VIRGIN. 267
an amusing degree of ingenuity and industry was often shown; -but these hermeneutical writings, as well as the polemical, are tedious beyond endurance; of the latter, the energy of their vindictive violence is not sufficient to redeem them. The relation of the Church to the sister arts, painting and sculpture, was doubtless fairly indicated at a subsequent time by the second Council of Nicea, A.D. 787; their superstitious use had been resumed. Sculpture has, however, never forgotten the preference that was shown to her sister. To this day she is a pagan, emulating therein the example of the noblest of the sciences, Astronomy, who bears in mind the great insults she has received from the Church, and tolerates the name of no saint in the visible heavens; the new worlds she discovers are dedicated to Uranus, or Neptune, or other Olympian divinities. Among the ecclesiastics there had always been many, occasionally some of eminence, who set their faces against the connection of worship with art; thus Tertullian of old had manifested his displeasure against Hermogenes on account of the two deadly sins into which he had fallen, painting and marriage; but Gnostic Christianity had approved, as Roman Christianity was now to approve, of their union. To the Gnostics we owe the earliest examples of our sacred images. The countenance of our Savior, along with those of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, appears on some of their engraved gems and seals. Among the earlier fathers-Justin Martyn and Tertullian-there was the impression that the personal appearance of our Lord was ungainly; that he was short of stature; and, at a later period Cyril says, mean of aspect "even beyond the ordinary race of men." But these unsuitable delineations were generally corrected in the fourth century, it being then recognized that God could not dwell in an humble form or low stature. The model eventually received was perhaps that described in the spurious epistle of Lentulus to the Roman senate: " He was a man of tall and well-proportioned form; his countenance severe and impressive, so as to move the beholders at once with love and awe. His hair was of an amber color, reaching to his ears, with no radiation, and standing up from his ears clustering and bright, and flowing down over his shoulders, parted on the top according to the fashion of the Nazarenes. The brow high and open; the complexion clear, with a delicate tinge of red; the aspect frank and pleasing; the nose and mouth finely formed; the beard thick, parted, and of the color of the hair; the eyes blue, and exceedingly bright." Subsequently the oval countenance assumed an air of melancholy, which, though eminently suggestive, can hardly be considered as the type of manly beauty. At first the cross was without any adornment; it next had a lamb at the foot; and eventually became the crucifix, sanctified with the form of the dying Savior. Of the Virgin Mary, destined in later times to
268 PAPAL CONSOLIDATION AND INTOLERANCE.
furnish so many transcendentally beautiful types of female loveliness, the earliest representations are veiled. The Egyptian sculptors had thus depicted Isis; the first form of the Virgin and child was the counterpart of Isis and Horus. St. Augustine says her countenance was unknown; there appears, however, to have been a very early Christian tradition that in complexion she was a brunette. Adventurous artists by degrees removed the veil, and next to the mere countenance added a full-grown figure like that of a dignified Roman matron; then grouped her with the divine child, the wise men, and other suggestions of Scripture. While thus the papacy was preparing for an alliance with art, it did not forget to avail itself of the vast advantages within its reach by interfering in domestic life-an interference which the social demoralization of the time more than ever permitted. A prodigious step in power was made by assuming the cognizance of marriage, and the determination of the numberless questions connected with it. Once having discovered the influence thus gained, the papacy never surrendered it; some of the most important events in later history have been determined by its action in this matter. Perhaps even a greater power accrued from its assumption of the cognizance of wills, and of questions respecting the testamentary disposal of property. Though in many respects, at the time we are now considering, the papacy had separated itself from morality, had become united to Monachism, and was preparing for a future alliance with political influences and military power; though its indignation and censures were less against personal wickedness than heresy of opinion, toward which it was inexorable and remorseless, a good effect arose from these assumptions upon domestic life, particularly as regards the elevation of the female sex. The power thus arising was re-enforced by a continually increasing rigor in the application of penitential punishments. As in the course of years the intellectual basis on which that power rested became more doubtful, and therefore more open to attack, the papacy became more sensitive and more exacting. Pushed on by the influence of the lower population, it fell into the depths of anthropomorphism, asserting for the Virgin and the saints such attributes as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence. Everywhere present, they could always listen to prayer, and, if necessary, control or arrest the course of Nature. As it was certain that such doctrines must in 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
POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE OF THE PAPACY. 269
with art, I have now to consider the second topic to which this chapter is devoted-the relations assumed 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 that sea. Ecclesiastical policy had undergone 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 African and Asiatic rivals had thus come to an untimely end. With them nothing more remained to be done; his communications with the emperor at Constantinople were at the sufferance of the Mohammedan navies. The imperial power was paralyzed. The pope was forced by events into isolation; he converted it into independence. But independence! how was it 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 take 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. 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 from his Byzantine sovereign on the question of images; but that was a fictitious issue. He did not revolt from 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 ascendency was assured. The representative of a system that is immortal must finally gain supremacy over individuals and families, who must die. Though we can not undervalue the labors of the monks, who had already nominally brought many portions of Europe to Christianity, the
270 CHRISTIANIZATION OF EUROPE.
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 describe, 1st, the psychical state of Central Europe; 2d, 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, 3d, the biography of the popes. 1st. As with the Arabs, so with the barbarians of Europe. They pass from their Age of Credulity 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 illustrated 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 be called who sought to turn them from their evil ways. The monk penetrated through their most gloomy forests unarmed and defenseless; 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, who, true to their religious principles, did not 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 Gepid3e 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, Hessians, and Thuringians in the seventh and 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 thus Europe is greatly indebted, though the forms of religion at the first were nothing more than the creed and the Lord's prayer. It has
CONVERSION OF ENGLAND. 271
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 naively 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 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 history 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 inaccessible 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, he commissioned the monk Augustine for that purpose; and 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 characterizes it, British Christianity did not fail to exert a proselyting 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 labored among the Hessians and Saxons, cutting down their sacred oaks, overturning their 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
272 ECCLESIASTICAL POLICY OF CHARLEMAGNE.
posthumous trial, to have 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 for more than thirty years, and which were attended by the atrocities always incident to such undertakings, were doubtless as much, so 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 were intended for the edification and comfort of those who occupied a humbler sphere, and that for a prince it is only necessary to maintain appropriate political relations with the Church. To him baptism was the sign, not of salvation, but of the subjugation of people; and the foundation of churches and monasteries, the institution of bishoprics, and increase of the clergy, a more trustworthy means of government than military establishments. A priest must necessarily lean on him for support, a lieutenant might revolt. If thus Europe, by its conversion, received from Rome an immense benefit, it repaid the obligation at last by infusing into Latin Christianity what was sadly needed a higher moral tone. Earnestness is the attribute of savage life. That divorce between morality and faith which the southern nations had experienced was not possible among these converts. If, by communicating many of their barbarous and pagan conceptions to the Latin faith, they gave it a tendency to develop itself in an idolatrous form, their influence was not one of unmitigated evil, for while they lowered the standard of public belief, they elevated that of private life. In truth, the contamination
CHARLES MARTEL CHECKS THE SARACENS. 273.
they impressed is often overrated. The infusion of paganism into religion was far more due to the people of the classical countries. The inhabitants of Italy and Greece were never really alienated from the idolatries of the old times. At the best, they were only Christianized on the surface. With many other mythological practices, they forced image-worship on the clergy. But Charlemagne, who in this respect may be looked upon as a true representative of Frankish and German sentiment, totally disapproved of that idolatry. 2nd. From this consideration of the psychical revolution that had occurred in Central Europe, I have, in the next place, to investigate the position of the papacy and its compact with the Franks. Scarcely had the Arabs consolidated their conquest of Africa when they passed into Spain, and quickly, as will be related in a subsequent chapter, subjugating that country, prepared to overwhelm Position of Europe. It was their ambition and their threat to preach the unity of God in Rome. They reached the centre of France, but were beaten in the great battle at Tours by Charles Martel, the Duke of the Franks, A.D. 732. That battle fixed the religious destiny of Europe. The Saracens did not, however, give up their attempt. Three years afterward they returned into Provence, and Charles was himself repulsed. But by this time their power had expanded too extensively for consolidation. It was already giving unmistakable tokens of decomposition. Scarcely indeed had Musa, the conqueror of Spain, succeeded in his expedition, when he was arrested at the head of his army and ordered to give an account of his doings at Damascus. It was the occurrence of such disputes among the Saracens in Spain that constituted the true check to their conquest of France. Charles Martel had permitted Chilperic II. and Thierry IV. to retain the title of king; but his foresight of approaching events seems to be indicated by the circumstance that after the death of the latter he abstained from appointing any successor. He died A.D. 741, leaving a memory detested by the Church of his own country on account of his having been obliged to appropriate from its property sufficient for the payment of his army. He had taken a tithe from the revenues of the churches and convents for that purpose. The ignorant clergy, alive only to their present temporal interests, and not appreciating the great salvation he had wrought out for them, could never forgive him. Their inconceivable greed could not bear to be taxed even in its own defense. "It is because Prince Charles," says the Council of Kiersi to one of his descendants, "was the first of all the kings and princes of the Franks who separated and dismembered the goods of the Church; it is for that sole cause that he is eternally damned. We know, indeed, that St. Eucherius, Bishop of Orleans, being in prayer, was carried up into the world
274 COMPACT OF PEPIN AND THE POPE.
of spirits, and that among the things which the Lord showed to him, he beheld Charles tormented in the lowest depths of hell. The angel who conducted him, being interrogated on this matter, answered him that, in the judgment to come, the soul and body of him who has taken, or who has divided the goods of the Church, shall be delivered over, even before the end of the world, to eternal torments by the sentence of the saints, who shall sit together with the Lord to judge him. This act of sacrilege shall add to his own sins the accumulated sins of all those who thought that they had purchased their redemption by giving for the love of God their goods to holy places, to the lights of divine worship, and to the alms of the servants of Christ." This amusing but instructive quotation strikingly shows how quickly the semibarbarian Frankish clergy had caught the methods of Rome in the defense of temporal possessions. Pepin, the son of Charles Martel, introduces us to an epoch and a policy resembling in many respects that of Constantine the Great; for he saw that by an alliance with the Church it would be possible for him to displace his sovereign and attain to kingly power. A thorough understanding was entered upon between Pepin and the pope. Each had his needs. One wanted the crown of France, the other liberation from Constantinople and the Lombards. Pepin commenced by enriching the clergy with immense gifts, and assigning to the bishops seats in the assembly of the nation. In thus consolidating ecclesiastical power he occasioned a great social revolution, as was manifested by the introduction of the Latin and the disuse of the Frankic on those occasions, and by the transmuting of military reviews into theological assemblies. Meantime the Pope Zachary, on his part, made ready to accomplish his engagement, the chaplain of Pepin being the intermedium of negotiation. On the demand being formally made, the pope decided that "he should be king who really possessed the royal power." Hereupon, in March, A.D. 752, Pepin caused himself to be raised by his soldiers on a buckler and proclaimed King of the Franks. To give solemnity to the event, he was anointed by the bishops with oil. The deposed king, Childeric, was shut up in the convent of St. Omer. Next year Pope Stephen II., driven to extremity, applied to Pepin for assistance against the Lombards. It was during these transactions that he fell upon the device of enforcing his demand by a letter which he feigned to have been written by St. Peter to the Franks. And now visiting France, the pope, as an earnest of his friendship, and as the token of his completion of the contract, in the monastery of St. Denis, placed, with his own hands, the diadem on Pepin's brow, and anointed him, his wife, and children, with " the holy oil," thereby reviving the Jewish system of creating kings by anointment, and imparting to his confederate "a divine right." Pepin now
CHARLEMAGNE THE EMPEROR OF THE WEST. 275
finally defeated the Lombards, and assigned a part of the conquered territory to the pope. Thus, by a successful soldier, two important events had been accomplished-a revolution in France, attended by a change of dynasty, and a revolution in Christendom-the Bishop of Rome had become a temporal sovereign. To the hilt of the sword of France the keys of St. Peter were henceforth so firmly bound that, though there have been great kings, and conquerors, and statesmen who have wielded that sword, not one to this day has been able, though many have desired, to wrench the encumbrance away. Charlemagne, on succeeding his father Pepin, thoroughly developed his policy. At the urgent entreaty of Pope Stephen III. he entered Italy, subjugated the Lombards, and united the crown of Lombardy to that of France. Upon the pagan Saxons burning the church of Deventer,.he commenced a war with them which lasted thirty-three years, and ended in their compulsory Christianization. As the circle of his power extended, he every where founded churches and established bishoprics, enriching them with territorial possessions. To the petty sovereigns, as they successively succumbed, he permitted the title of counts. True to his own and his father's understanding with the pope, he invariably insisted on baptism as the sign of submission, punishing with appalling barbarity any resistance, as on the occasion of the revolt, A.D. 782, when, in cold blood, he beheaded in one day 4500 persons at Verden. Under such circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that clerical influence extended so fast; yet, rapid as was its development, the power of Charlemagne was more so. In the church of St. Peter at Rome, on Christmas-day, A.D. 800, Pope Leo III., after the celebration of the holy mysteries, suddenly placed on the head of Charlemagne a diadem, amid the acclamations of the people, "Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God, the great and pacific Emperor of the Romans." His head and body were anointed with the holy oil, and, after the example of the Csesars, the pontiff himself saluted or adored him. In the coronation oath Charlemagne promised to maintain the privileges of the Church. The noble title of "Emperor of the West" was not inappropriate, for Charlemagne ruled in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary. An inferior dignity would not have been equal to his deserts. His princely munificence to St. Peter was worthy of the great occasion, and even in his minor acts he exhibited a just appreciation of his obligations to the apostle. He proceeded to make in his dominions such changes in the Church organization as the Italian policy required, substituting, for instance, the Gregorian for the Ambrosian chant, and, wherever his priests resisted, took from them by force their antiphonaries; and, as an example to insubordinates, at the request of the pope burnt some of the singers along with their books.
276 ACTS OF CHARLEMAGNE.
The rapid growth of the power of Charlemagne, his overshadowing pre-eminence, and the subordinate position of the pope, who had really become his Italian lieutenant, are strikingly manifested.by the event of image-worship in the West. On this, as we shall in another chapter see, the popes had revolted from their iconoclastic sovereigns of Constantinople. The second Council of Nicea had authorized image-worship, but the good sense of Charlemagne was superior to such idolatry. He openly expressed his disapproval, and even dictated a work against it-the Carolinian books. The pope was therefore placed in a singular dilemma, for not only had image-worship been restored at Constantinople, and the original cause of the dispute removed, but the new protector, Charlemagne, had himself embraced iconoclasm. However, it was not without reason that the pope at this time avoided the discussion, for a profitable sale of bones and relics, said to be those of saints, but in reality obtained from the catacombs of Rome, had arisen. To the barbarian people of the north these gloomy objects proved more acceptable than images of wood, and the traffic, though contemptible, was more honorable than the slave-trade in vassals and peasant children which had been carried on with Jews and Mohammedans. Like all the great statesmen of antiquity, who were unable to comprehend the possibility of a highly civilized society without the existence of slavery, Charlemagne accepted that unfortunate condition as a political necessity, and attempted to draw from it as much benefit as it was capable of yielding to the state. From certain classes of slaves he appointed, by a system of apprenticeship, those who should be devoted to the mechanical arts and to trade. It was, however, slavery and warfare which, during his own life, by making the possession of property among small proprietors an absolute disadvantage, prepared the way for that rapid dissolution of his empire so quickly occurring after his death. Yet, though Charlemagne thus accepted the existence of slavery as a necessary political evil, the evidences are not wanting that he was desirous to check its abuses wherever he could. When the Italian dukes accused Pope Adrian of selling his vassals as slaves to the Saracens, Charlemagne made inquisition into the matter, and, finding that transactions of the kind had occurred in the port of Civita Vecchia, though he did not choose to have so infamous a scandal made public, he ever afterward withdrew his countenance from that pope. At that time a very extensive child slave-trade was carried on with the Saracens through the medium of the Jews, ecclesiastics as well as barons selling the children of their serfs. Though he never succeeded in learning how to write, no one better than Charlemagne appreciated the value of knowledge. He labored assiduously for the elevation and enlightenment of his people. He collected
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together learned men; ordered his clergy to turn their attention to letters; established schools of religious music; built noble palaces, churches, bridges; transferred, for the adornment of his capital, Aix-la-Chapelle, statues from Italy; organized the professions and trades of his cities, and gave to his towns a police. Well might he be solicitous that his clergy should not only become more devout, but more learned. Very few of them knew how to read, scarcely any to write. Of the first half of the eighth century, a period of great interest, since it includes the invasion of France by the Saracens, and their expulsion, there is nothing more than the most meagre annals; the clergy understood much better the use of the sword than that of the pen. The schools of Charlemagne proved a failure, not through any fault of his, but because the age had no demand for learning, and the Roman pontiffs and their clergy, as far as they troubled themselves with any opinion about the matter, thought that knowledge was of more harm than good. The private life of Charlemagne was stained with great immoralities and crimes. He indulged in a polygamy scarcely inferior to that of the khalifs, solacing himself with not less than nine wives and many concubines. He sought to increase the circle of the former, or perhaps it should be said, considering the greatness of his statesmanship, to unite the Eastern and Western empires together by a marriage with the Empress Irene. This was that Irene who put out the eyes of her own son in the porphyry chamber at Constantinople. His fame extended into Asia. The Khalif Haroun al Raschid, A.D. 801, sent him from Bagdad the keys of our Savior's sepulchre as a mark of esteem from the Commander of the Faithful to the greatest of Christian kings. However, there was doubtless as much policy as esteem in this, for the Asiatic khalifs perceived the advantage of a good understanding with the power that could control the emirs of Spain. Always bearing in mind his engagement with the papacy, that Roman Christianity should be enforced upon Europe wherever his influence could reach, he remorselessly carried into execution the penalty of death that he had awarded to the crimes of, 1, refusing baptism; 2, false pretense of baptism; 3, relapse to idolatry; 4, the murder of a priest or bishop; 5, human sacrifice; 6, eating meat in Lent. To the pagan German his sword was a grim, but a convincing missionary. To the last he observed a savage fidelity to his bond. He died A.D. 814. Such was the compact that had been established between the Church and the State. As might be expected, the succeeding transactions exhibit an alternate preponderance of one and of the other, and the degradation of both in the end. Scarcely was Charlemagne dead ere the imbecile character of his son and successor, Louis the
278 EVENTS AFTER HIS DEATH.
Pious, gave the Church her opportunity. By the expulsion of his father's numerous concubines and mistresses, the scandals of the palace were revealed. I have not the opportunity to relate in detail how this monarch disgracefully humiliated himself before the Church; how, under his weak government, the slave-trade greatly increased; how every shore, and, indeed, every country that could be reached through a navigable river, was open to the ravages of pirates, the Northmen extending their maraudings even to the capture of great cities; how, in strong contrast with the social decomposition into which Europe was falling, Spain, under her Mohammedan rulers, was becoming rich, populous, and great; how, on the east, the Huns and Avars, ceasing their ravages, accepted Christianity, and, under their diversity of interests, the nations that had been bound together by Charlemagne separated into two divisions-French and German-and civil wars between them ensued; how, through the folly of the clergy, who vainly looked for protection from relics instead of the sword, the Saracens ranged uncontrolled all over the south, and came within a hair's-breadth of capturing Rome itself; how France, at this time, had literally become a theocracy, the clergy absorbing every thing that was worth having; how the pope, trembling at home, nevertheless maintained an external power by interfering with domestic life, as in the quarrel with King Lothaire II. and his wife; how Italy, France, and Germany became, as Africa and Syria had once been, full of miracles; how, through these means the Church getting the advantage, John VIII. thought it expedient to assert his right of disposing of the imperial crown in the case of Charles the Bald (the imperial supremacy that Charlemagne had obtained in reality implied the eventual supremacy of the pope); how an opportunity occurring for reconstructing the empire of the West under Charles the Fat was thwarted by the imbecility of that sovereign, an imbecility so great that his nobles were obliged to depose him; how, thereupon, a number of new kingdoms arose, and Europe fell, by an inevitable necessity, into a political chaos; how, since there was thus no protecting government, each great landowner had to protect himself, and the rightfulness of private war became recognized; how, through this evil state, the strange consequence ensued of a great increase in the population, it becoming the interest of every lord to raise as many peasants as he could, offering his lands on personal service, the value of an estate being determined by the number of retainers it could furnish, and hence arose the feudal system; how the monarchical principle, once again getting the superiority, asserted its power in Germany in Henry the Fowler and his descendants, the three Othos; how, by these great monarchs, the subjection of Italy was accomplished, and the morality of the German clergy vindicated by their attempts at the reformation of the papacy, which fell to the last degree of degradation, becoming, in the end, an appanage of the Counts
DEPLORABLE CONDITION OF EUROPE. 279
of Tusculum, and, shameful to be said, in some instances given by prostitutes to their paramours or illegitimates, in some to mere boys of precociously dissolute life; before long, A.D. 1044, it was actually to be sold for money. We have now approached the close of a thousand years from the birth of Christ; the evil union of the Church and state, their rivalries, their intrigues, their quarrels, have produced an inevitable result, doing the same in the West that they had done in the East: disorganizing the political system, and ending in a universal social demoralization. The absorption of small properties into large estates steadily increased the number of slaves; where there had once been many free families, there was now found only a rich man. Even of this class the number diminished by the same process of absorption, until there were sparsely scattered here and there abbots and counts with enormous estates worked by herds of slaves, whose numbers, since sometimes one man possessed more than 20,000 of them, might deceive us, if we did not consider the vast surface over which they were spread. Examined in that way, the west of Europe proves to have been covered with forests, here and there dotted with a convent or a town.' From those countries, once full of the splendid evidences of Roman civilization, mankind was fast disappearing. There was no political cause, until at a later time, when the feudal system was developed, for calling men into existence. Whenever there was a partial peace, there was no occasion for the multiplication of men beyond the intention of extracting from them the largest possible revenue, a condition implying their destruction. Soon even the necessity for legislation ceased; events were left to take their own course. Through the influence of the monks the military spirit declined; a vile fetichism of factitious relics, which were working miracles in all directions, constituted the individual piety. Whoever died without bequeathing a part of his property to the Church, died without confession and the sacraments, and forfeited Christian burial. Trial by battle, and the ordeals of fire and boiling water, determined innocence or guilt in those accused of crimes. Between places at no great distance apart intercommunication ceased, or, at most, was carried on as in the times of the Trojan War, by the peddler traveling with his packs. In these deplorable days there was abundant reason to adopt the popular expectation that the end of all things was at hand, and that the year 1000 would witness the destruction of the world. Society was dissolving, the human race was disappearing, and with difficulty the melancholy ruins of ancient civilization could be traced. Such was the issue of the second attempt at the union of political and ecclesiastical power. In a former chapter we saw what it had been in the East, now we have found what it was in the West. Inaugurated in selfishness, it strengthens
280 LIVES OF THE POPE.
itself by violence, is perpetuated by ignorance, and yields, as its inevitable result, social ruin. And while things were thus going to wreck in the state, it was no better in the Church. The ill-omened union between them was bearing its only possible fruit, disgrace to both-a solemn monition to all future ages. 3d. This brings me to the third and remaining topic I proposed to consider in this chapter, to determine the actual religious value of the system in process of being forced upon Europe, using, for the purpose, that which must be admitted as the best test-the private lives of the popes. To some it might seem, considering the interests of religion alone, desirable to omit all biographical reference to the popes; but this cannot be done with justice to the subject. The essential principle of the papacy, that the Roman pontiff is the vicar of Christ upon earth, necessarily obtrudes his personal relations upon us. How shall we understand his faith unless we see it illustrated in his life? Indeed, the unhappy character of those relations was the inciting cause of the movements in Germany, France, and England, ending in the extinction of the papacy as an actual political power, movements to be understood only through a sufficient knowledge of the private lives and opinions of the popes. It is well, as far as possible, to abstain from burdening systems with the imperfections of individuals. In this case they are inseparably interwoven. The signal peculiarity of the papacy is that, though its history may be imposing, its biography is infamous. I shall, however, forbear to speak of it in this latter respect more than the occasion seems necessarily to require; shall pass in silence some of those cases which would profoundly shock my religious reader, and therefore restrict myself to the ages between the middle of the eighth and the middle of the eleventh centuries, excusing myself to the impartial critic by the apology that these were the ages with which I have been chiefly concerned in this chapter. On the death of Pope Paul I., who had attained the pontificate A.D. 757, the Duke of Nepi compelled some bishops to consecrate Constantine, one of his brothers, as pope; but more legitimate electors subsequently, A.D. 768, choosing Stephen IV., the usurper and his adherents were severely punished; the eyes of Constantine were put out; the tongue of the Bishop Theodorus was amputated, and he was left in a dungeon to expire in the agonies of thirst. The nephews of Popetdrian seized his successor, Pope Leo III., A.D. 795, in the street, and, forcing him into a neighboring church, attempted to put out his eyes and cut off his tongue; at a later period, this pontiff trying to suppress a conspiracy to depose him, Rome became the scene of a rebellion, murder, and conflagration. His successor, Stephen V.,
LIVES OF THE POPES. 281
A.D. 816, was ignominiously driven from the city; his successor, Paschal I., was accused of blinding and murdering two ecclesiastics in the Lateran Palace; it was necessary that imperial commissioners should investigate the matter, but the pope died, after having exculpated himself by oath before thirty bishops. John VIII., A.D. 872, unable to resist the Mohammedans, was compelled to pay them tribute; the Bishop of Naples, maintaining a secret alliance with them, received his share of the plunder they collected. Him John excommunicated, nor would he give him absolution unless he would betray the chief Mohammedans and assassinate others himself. There was an ecclesiastical conspiracy to murder the pope; some of the treasures of the Church were seized; and the gate of St. Pancrazia was opened with false keys, to admit the Saracens into the city. Formosus, who had been engaged in these transactions, and excommunicated as a conspirator for the murder of John, was subsequently elected pope, A.D. 891; he was succeeded by Boniface VI., A.D. 896, who had been deposed from the diaconate, and again from the priesthood, for his immoral and lewd life. By Stephen VII., who followed, the dead body of Formosus was taken from the grave, clothed in the papal habiliments, propped up in a chair, and tried before a council, and the preposterous and indecent scene completed by cutting off three of the fingers of the corpse and casting it into the Tiber; but Stephen himself was destined to exemplify how low the papacy had fallen: he was thrown into prison and strangled. In the course of five years, from A.D. 896 to A.D. 900, five popes were consecrated. Leo V., who succeeded in A.D. 904, was in less than two months thrown into prison by Christopher, one of his chaplains, who usurped his place, and who, in his turn, was shortly expelled from Rome by Sergius III., who, by the aid of a military force, seized the pontificate, A.D. 905. This man, according to the testimony of the times, lived in criminal intercourse with the celebrated prostitute Theodora, who, with her daughters Marozia and Theodora, also prostitutes, exercised an extraordinary control over him. The love of Theodora was also shared by John X.: she first gave him the archbishopric of Ravenna, and then translated him to Rome, A.D. 915, as pope. John was not unsuited to the times; he organized a confederacy which perhaps prevented Rome from being captured by the Saracens, and the world was astonished and edified by the appearance of this warlike pontiff at the head of his troops. By the love of Theodora, as was said, he had maintained himself in the papacy for fourteen years; by the intrigues and hatred of her daughter Marozia he was overthrown. She surprised him in the Lateran Palace; killed his brother Peter before his face; threw him into prison, where he soon died, smothered, as it was asserted, with a pillow. After a short interval Marozia made her own son pope as John XI., A.D. 931. Many affirmed that Pope Sergius was his father, but she herself inclined to at
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tribute him to her husband Alberic, whose brother Guido she subsesequently married. Another of her sons, Alberic, so called from his supposed father, jealous of his brother John, cast him and their mother Marozia into prison. After a time Alberic's son was elected pope, A.D. 956; he assumed the title of John XII., the amorous Marozia thus having given a son and a grandson to the papacy. John was only nineteen years old when he thus became the head of Christendom. His reign was characterized by the most shocking immoralities, so that the Emperor Otho I. was compelled by the German clergy to interfere. A synod was summoned for his trial in the Church of St. Peter, before which it appeared that John had received bribes for the consecration of bishops, that he had ordained one who was but ten years old, and had performed that ceremony over another in a stable; he was charged with incest with one of his father's concubines, and with so many adulteries that the Lateran Palace had become a brothel; he put out the eyes of one ecclesiastic and castrated another, both dying in consequence of their injuries; he was given to drunkenness, gambling, and the invocation of Jupiter and Venus. When cited to appear before the council, he sent word that "he had gone out hunting;" and to the fathers who remonstrated with him, he threateningly remarked "that Judas, as well as the other disciples, received from his master the power of binding and loosing, but that, as soon as he proved a traitor to the common cause, the only power he retained was that of binding his own neck." Hereupon he was deposed, and Leo VIII. elected in his stead, A.D. 963; but subsequently getting the upper hand, he seized his antagonists, cut off the hand of one, the nose, finger, tongue of others. His life was eventually brought to an end by the vengeance of a man whose wife he had seduced. After such details it is almost needless to allude to the annals of succeeding popes: to relate that John XIII. was strangled in prison; that Boniface VII. imprisoned Benedict VII., and killed him by starvation; that John XIV. was secretly put to death in the dungeons of the Castle of St. Angelo; that the corpse of Boniface was dragged by the populace through the streets. The sentiment of reverence for the sovereign pontiff, nay, even of respect, had become extinct in Rome; throughout Europe the clergy were so shocked at the state of things, that, in their indignation, they began to look with approbation on the intention of the Emperor Otho to take from the Italians their privilege of appointing the successor of St. Peter, and confine it in his own family. But his kinsman, Gregory V., whom he placed on the pontifical throne, was very soon compelled by the Romans to fly; his excommunications and religious thunders were turned into derision by them; they were too well acquainted with the true nature of those terrors; they were living behind the scenes. A terrible punishment awaited the Anti-pope John
CONCLUSION DRAWN FROM THE PAPAL BIOGRAPHIES. 283.
XVI. Otho returned into Italy, seized him, put out his eyes, cut off his nose and tongue, and sent him through the streets mounted on an ass, with his face to the tail, and a wine-bladder on his head. It seemed impossible that things could become worse; yet Rome had still to see Benedict IX., A.D. 1033, a boy of less than twelve years, raised to the apostolic throne. Of this pontiff, one of his successors, Victor III., declared that his life was so shameful, so foul, so execrable, that he shuddered to describe it. He ruled like a captain of banditti rather than a prelate. The people at last, unable to bear his adulteries, homicides, and abominations any longer, rose against him. In despair of maintaining his position, he put up the papacy to auction. It was bought by a presbyter named John, who became Gregory VI., A.D. 1045. More than a thousand years had elapsed since the birth of our Savior, and such was the condition of Rome. Well may the historian shut the annals of those times in disgust; well may the heart of the Christian sink within him at such a catalogue of hideous crimes. Well may he ask, Were these the vicegerents of God upon earth-these, who had truly reached that goal beyond which the last effort of human wickedness can not pass? Not until several centuries after these events did public opinion come to the true and philosophical conclusion-the total rejection of the divine claims of the papacy. For a time the evils were attributed to the manner of the pontifical election, as if that could by any possibility influence the descent of a power which claimed to be supernatural and under the immediate care of God. The manner of election was this. The Roman ecclesiastics recommended a candidate to the College of Cardinals; their choice had to be ratified by the populace of Rome, and, after that, the emperor must give his approval. There were thus to be brought into agreement the machinations of the lower ecclesiastics, the intrigues of the cardinals, the clamors of the rabble of Rome, and the policy of the emperor. Such a system must inevitably break to pieces with its own incongruities. Though we may wonder that men failed to see that it was merely a human device, we can not wonder that the emperors perceived the necessity of taking the appointments into their own hands, and that Gregory VII. was resolved to confine it to the College of Cardinals, 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 development 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.
284 ARABIAN PASSAGE TO THE AGE OF REASON.
CHAPTER XIII. DIGRESSION ON THE PASSAGE OF THE ARABIANS TO THEIR AGE OF REASON. INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL IDEAS THROUGH THE NESTORIANS AND JEW.
The intellectual Development of the Arabians is guided by the Nestorians and the Jews, and is in the medical Direction. The Basis of this Alliance is theological. Antagonism of the Byzantine System to scientific Medicine.-Suppression of the Asclepions.Their Replacement by Miracle-cure.-The resulting Superstition and Ignorance. Affiliation of the Arabians with the Nestorians and Jews. 1st. The Nestorians, their Persecutions, and the Diffusion of their sectarian Ideas.-They inherit the old Greek Medicine. Sub-digression on Greek Medicine.- The Asclepions. Philosophical Importance of Hippocrates, who separates Medicine fromn Religion.-The School of Cnidos.-Its Suppression by Constantine. Sub-digression on Egyptian Medicine. -It is founded on Anatomy and Physiology.-Dissections and Vivisections.- The great Alexandrian Physicians. 2d. The Jewish Physicians.-Their Emancipation from Superstition.-They found Colleges and promote Science and Letters. The contemporary Tendency to Magic, Necromancy, the Black Art.-The Philosopher's Stone, Elixir of Life, etc. The Arabs originate scientific Chemistry. - Discover the strong Acids, Phosphorus, etc. - Their geological Ideas. - Apply Chemistry to the Practice of Medicine.-Approach of the Conflict between the Saracenic material and the European supernatural System.
THE military operations of the Arabians, described in Chapter XI., overthrew the Byzantine political system, prematurely 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 from 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 changed their appearance. Great philosophers, physicians, 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
FOREIGN TEACHERS OF THE ARABIANS. 285
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 teachers of the Saracens were the Nestorians and the Jews. It has been remarked that Arabian science emerged out of medicine, and that in its cultivation physicians took the lead, 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 been submitted to two influences. In Asia it had been exposed to the Nestorians, in Africa to the Jews, both of whom had suffered persecution at the hands of the Byzantine government, apparently 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 at 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; 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 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;
286 BYZANTINE OPPOSITION TO MEDICINE.
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 ecclesiastical influence, had declared themselves the enemies of worldly 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 in the chief cities, and richly endowed with money and lands. In 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 upon 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. But, noble as were these charities, they labored under an essential defect in having substituted for educated physicians well-meaning but unskillful ecclesiastics. The destruction of the Asclepions was not attended by any suitably extensive measures for insuring professional education. The sick who were 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 _Esculapius. The worshipers remained, though the name of the divinity was changed.
SUBSTITUTION OF MIRACLE-CURE. 287
Scarcely were the Asclepions closed, the schools of philosophy prohibited, the libraries dispersed or destroyed, learning 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 to Archimedes, Hipparchus, Euclid, Herophilus, Eratosthenes? who to 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. Never Was a more disastrous policy adopted than the Byzantine suppression of profane learning. It is scarcely possible now to realize the mental degradation produced when that system was at its height. Many of the noblest philosophical and scientific works of antiquity disappeared from the language in which they had been written, and were only recovered, for the use of later and better ages, from translations which the Saracens had made into Arabic. The insolent assumption of wisdom by those who held the sword crushed every intellectual aspiration. Yet, though triumphant for a time, this policy necessarily contained the seeds of its own ignominious destruction. An inevitable day must come when so grievous a wrong to the human race must be exposed, and execrated, and punished-a day in which the poems of Homer would once more be read, the immortal statues of the Greek sculptors find worshipers, and the demonstrations of Euclid a consenting intellect. But that unfortunate, that audacious policy of usurpation once entered upon, there was no going back. He who is infallible must needs be immutable. In its very nature the action implied compulsion, compulsion implied the possession of power, and the whole policy insured an explosion the moment that the means of compression should be weak. It is said that when the Saracens captured Alexandria, their victorious general sent to the khalif to know his pleasure respecting the library. The answer was in the spirit of the age. " If the books are confirmatory of the Koran, they are superfluous; if contradictory, they are pernicious. Let them be burnt." At this moment, to all human appearance, the Mohammedan autocrat was on the point of joining
288 CAUSES OF THIS POLICY.
in the evil policy of the Byzantine sovereign. But fortunately it was but the impulse of a moment, rectified forthwith, and a noble course of action was soon pursued. The Arab incorporated into his literature the wisdom of those he had conquered. In thus conceding to knowledge a free and unembarrassed career, and, instead of repressing, encouraging to the utmost all kinds of learning, did the Koran take any harm? It was a high statesmanship which, almost from the beginning of the impulse from Mecca, bound down to a narrow, easily comprehended, and easily expressed dogma the exacted belief, and in all other particulars let the human mind go free. In the preceding paragraphs I have criticised the course of events, condemning or applauding the actions and the actors as circumstances seem to require, herein following the usual course, which implies that men can control affairs, and that the agent is to be held responsible for his deed. We have, however, only to consider the course of our own lives to be satisfied to 1hw limited an extent such is the case. We are, as we often say, the creatures of circimstances. In that expression there is a higher philosophy than might at first sight appear. Our actions are not the pure and unmingled results of our desires; they are the offspring of many various and mixed conditions. In that which seems to be the most voluntary decision there enters much that is altogether involuntary-more, perhaps, than we generally suppose. And, in like manner, those who are imagined to have exercised an irresponsible and spontaneous influence in determining public policy, and thereby fixing the fate of nations, will be found, when we understand their position more correctly, to have been the creatures of circumstances altogether independent and irrespective of them -circumstances which they never created, of whose influence they only availed themselves. They were placed in a current which drifted them irresistibly along. From this more accurate point of view we should therefore consider the course of these events, recognizing the principle that the affairs of men pass forward in a determinate way, expanding and unfolding themselves. And hence we see that the things of which we have spoken as though they were matters of choice were, in reality, forced upon their apparent authors by the necessity of the times. But, in truth, they should be considered as the presentations of a certain phase of life which nations in their onward course sooner or later assume. In the individual, how well we know that a sober moderation of action, an appropriate gravity of demeanor, belong to the mature period of life; a change from the wanton willfulness of youth, which may be ushered in, or its beginning marked, by many accidental incidents: in one perhaps by domestic bereavements, in another by the loss of fortune, in a third by ill health. We are correct enough in imputing to such trials the "10%">
CULTIVATION OF SCIENCE BY THE NESTORIANS. 289
change of character, but we never deceive ourselves by supposing that it would have failed to take place had those circumstances not occurred. There runs an irresistible destiny in the midst of all these vicissitudes. We may therefore be satisfied that, whatever may have been the particular form of the events of which we have had occasion to speak, their order of succession was a matter of destiny, and altogether beyond the reach of any individual. We may condemn the Byzantine\monarchs, or applaud the Arabian khalifs-our blame and our praise must be set at their proper value. Europe was passing from its Age of Inquiry to its Age of Faith. In such a transition the predestined underlies the voluntary. There are analogies between the life of nations and that of an individual, who, though he may be in one respect the maker of his own fortunes for happiness or for misery, for good or for evil, though he remains here or goes there, as his inclinations prompt, though he does this or abstains from that, as he chooses, is nevertheless held fast by an inexorable fate-a fate which brought him into the world involuntarily so far as he was concerned, which presses him forward through a definite career, the stages of which are absolutely invariable-infancy, childhood, youth, maturity, old age, with all their characteristic actions and passions, and which removes him from the scene at the appointed time, in most cases against his will. So also it is with nations; the voluntary is only the outward semblance, covering, but hardly hiding the predetermined. Over the events of life we may have a control, but none whatever over the law of its progress. There is a geometry that applies to nations, an equation of their curve of advance. That no mortal man can touch. We have now to examine in what manner the glimmering lamp of knowledge was sustained when it was all but ready to die out. By the Arabians it was handed down to us. The grotesque forms of some of those who took charge of it are not without interest. They exhibit a strange mixture of the Neoplatonist, the Pantheist, the Mohammedan, the Christian. In such untoward times, it was perhaps needful that the strongest passions of men should be excited and science stimulated by inquiries for methods of turning lead into gold, or of prolonging life indefinitely. We have now to deal with the philosopher's stone, the elixir vitae, the powder of projection, magical mirrors, perpetual lamps, the transmutation of metals. In smoky caverns under ground, where the great work is stealthily carried on, the alchemist and his familiar are busy with their alembics, curcubites, and pelicans, maintaining their fires for so many years that salamanders are asserted to be born in them. Experimental science was thus restored, though under a very strange aspect, by the Arabians. Already it displayed its connection with medicine-a connection derived from the influence of the Nestorians
290 NESTORIAN TEACHERS OF THE SARACEN.
and the Jews. It is necessary for us to consider briefly the relations of each, and of the Nestorians first. In Chapter IX. we have related the rivalries of Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, and Nestorius, the Bishop of Constantinople. The theological point of their quarrel was whether it is right to regard the Virgin Mary as the mother of God. To an Egyptian still tainted with antique superstition, there was nothing shocking in such a doctrine. His was the country of Isis. St. Cyril, who is to be looked upon as a mere ecclesiastical demagogue, found his purposes answered in adopting it without any scruple. But in Greece there still remained traces of the old philosophy. A recollection of the ideas of Plato had not altogether died out. There were some by whom it was not possible for the Egyptian doctrine to be received. Such, perhaps, was Nestorius, whose sincerity was finally approved by an endurance of persecutions, by his sufferings, and his death. He and his followers, insisting on the plain inference of the last verse of the first chapter of St. Matthew, together with the fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth verses of the thirteenth of the same Gospel, could never be brought to an acknowledgment of the perpetual virginity of the new queen of heaven. We have described the issue of the Council of Ephesus: the Egyptian faction gained the victory, the aid of court females being called in, and Nestorius, being deposed from his office, was driven, with his friends, into exile. The philosophical tendency of the vanquished was soon indicated by their actions. While their leader was tormented in an African oasis, many of them emigrated to the Euphrates, and founded the Chaldaean Church. Under its auspices the college at Edessa, with several connected schools, arose. In these were translated into Syriac many Greek and Latin works, as those of Aristotle and Pliny. It was the Nestorians who, in connection with the Jews, founded the medical college of Djondesabour, and first instituted a system of academical honors which has descended to our times. It was the Nestorians who were not only permitted by the khalifs the free exercise of their religion, but even entrusted with the education of the children of the great Mohammedan families, a liberality in striking contrast to the fanaticism of Europe. The Khalif Alraschid went so far as even to place all his public schools under the superintendence of John Masue, one of that sect. Under the auspices of these learned men the Arabian academies were furnished with translations of Greek authors, and vast libraries were collected in Asia. Through this connection with the Arabs, Nestorian missionaries found means to disseminate their form of Christianity all over Asia, as far as Malabar and China. The successful in-
HISTORY OF GREEK MEDICINE. 291
trigues of the Egyptian politicians at Ephesus had no influence in those remote countries, the Asiatic churches of the Nestorian and Jacobite persuasions outnumbering eventually all the European Christians of the Greek and Roman churches combined. In later times the papal government has made great exertions to bring about an understanding with them, but in vain. The expulsion of this party from Constantinople was accomplished by the same persons and policy concerned in destroying philosophy in Alexandria. St. Cyril was the representative of an illiterate and unscrupulous faction that had come into the possession of power through intrigues with the females of the imperial in court, and bribery of eunuchs and parasites. The same spirit that had murdered Hypatia tormented Nestorius to death. Of the contending parties, one was respectable and with a tincture of learning, the other ignorant, and not hesitating at the employment of brute force, deportation, assassination. Unfortunately for the world, the unscrupulous party carried the day. By their descent, the Nestorians had become the depositaries of the old Greek medical science. Its great names they revered. They collected, with the utmost assiduity, whatever works remained on medical topics, whether of a Greek or Alexandrian origin, from the writings of Hippocrates, called, with affectionate veneration by his successors, " The Divine Old Man," down to those of the Ptolemaic school. Greek medicine arose in the temples of ~Esculapius, whither the sick were in the habit of resorting for the assistance of the god. It does not appear that any fee was exacted for the celestial advice; but the gratitude of the patient was frequently displayed by optional gifts, and votive tablets presented to the temple, setting forth the circumstances of the case, were of value to those disposed to enter on the study thereof. The Asclepions thus became both hospitals and schools. They exercised, from their position, a tendency to incorporate medical and ecclesiastical pursuits. At this time it was universally believed that every sickness was due to the anger of some offended god, and especially was this supposed to be the case in epidemics and plagues. Such a paralyzing notion was necessarily inconsistent with any attempt at the relief of communities by the exercise of sanitary measures. In our times it is still difficult to remove from the minds of the illiterate classes this ancient opinion, or to convince them that under such visitations we ought to help ourselves, and not expect relief by penance and supplications, unless we join therewith rigorous personal, domestic, municipal cleanliness, fresh air, and light. The theological doctrine of the nature of disease indicated its means of cure. For Hippocrates was reserved
292 REVIEW OF HIPPOCRATE.
the great glory of destroying them both, replacing them by more practical and material ideas, and, from the votive tablets, traditions, and other sources, together with his own admirable observations, compiling a body of medicine. The necessary consequence of his great success was the separation of the pursuits of the physician from those of the priest. Not that so great a revolution, implying the diversion of profitable gains from the ancient channel, could have been accomplished without a struggle. We should reverence the memory of Hippocrates for the complete manner in which he effected that object. Of the works attributed to Hippocrates, many are doubtless the production of his family, his descendants, or his pupils. The inducements to literary forgery in the times of the Ptolemies, who paid very high prices for books of reputation, has been the cause of much difficulty among critics in determining such questions of authorship. The works indisputably written by Hippocrates display an extent of knowledge answering to the authority of his name; his vivid descriptions have never been excelled, if indeed they have ever been equaled. The Hippocratic face of the dying is still retained in our medical treatises in the original terms, without any improvement. In his medical doctrine, Hippocrates starts with the postulate that the body is composed of the four elements. From these are formed the four cardinal humors. He thinks that the humors are liable to undergo change; that health consists in their right constitution and proper adjustment as to quantity; disease in their impurities and inequalities; that the disordered humors undergo spontaneous changes or coction, a process requiring time, and hence the explanation of critical days and critical discharges. The primitive disturbance of the humors he attributed to a great variety of causes, chiefly to the influence of surrounding physical circumstances, such as heat, cold, air, water. Unlike his contemporaries, he did not impute all the afflictions of man to the anger of the gods. Along with those influences of an external kind, he studied the special peculiarities of the human system, how it is modified by climate and manner of life, exhibiting different predispositions at different seasons of the year. He believed that the innate heat of the body varies with the period of life, being greatest in infancy and least in old age, and that hence morbific agents affect us with greater or less facility at different times. For this reason it is that the physician should attend very closely to the condition of those in whom he is interested as respects their diet and exercise, for thereby he is able not only to regulate their general susceptibility, but also to exert a control over the course of their diseases. Referring diseases in general to the condition or distribution of the humors, for he regards inflammation as the passing of blood into parts not previously containing it, he considers that so long as those liquids
REVIEW OF HIPPOCRATES. 293
occupy the system in an unnatural or adulterated state, disease continues; but as they ferment or undergo coction, various characteristic symptoms appear, and, when their elaboration is completed, they are discharged by perspiration or other secretions, by alvine dejections, etc. But where such a general relief of the system is not accomplished, the peccant humors may be localized in some particular organ or special portion, and erysipelatous inflammation, mortification, or other such manifestations ensue. It is in aiding this elimination from the system that the physician may signally manifest his skill. His power is displayed much more at this epoch than by the control he can exert over the process of coction. Now may he invoke the virtues of the hellebores, the white and the black; now may he use elaterium. The critical days which answer to the periods of the process of coction are to be watched with anxiety, and the correspondence of the state of the patient with the expected condition which he ought to show at those epochs ascertained. Hence the physician may be able to predict the probable course of the disease during the remainder of its career, and gather true notions as to the practice it would be best for him to pursue to aid Nature in her operations. It thus appears that the practice of medicine in the hands of Hippocrates had reference rather to the course or career of disease nature of than to the special nature thereof. Nothing more than this masterly conception is wanted to impress us with his surprising scientific power. He watches the manner in which the humors are undergoing their fermenting coction, the phenomena displayed in the critical days, the aspect and nature of the critical discharges. He does not attempt to check the process going on, but simply to assist the natural operation. When we consider the period at which Hippocrates lived, B.C. 400, and the circumstances under which he had studied medicine, we can not fail to admire the very great advance he made. His merit is conspicuous in rejecting the superstitious tendency of his times by teaching his disciples to impute a proper agency to physical causes. He altogether discarded the imaginary influences then in vogue. For the gods he substituted, with singular felicity, impersonal Nature. It was the interest of those who were connected with the temples of AEsculapius to refer all the diseases of men to supernatural agency; their doctrine being that every affliction should be attributed to the anger of some offended god, and restoration to health most certainly procured by conciliating his power. So far, then, as such interests were concerned, any contradiction of those doctrines, any substitution of the material for the supernatural, must needs have met with reprehension. Yet such opposition seems in no respect to have weighed with this great physician, who developed his theory and pursued his practice without giving himself any
294 THE HIPPOCRATIC SCHOOL AND ITS RIVAL.
concern in that respect. He bequeathed an example to all who should succeed him in his noble profession, and taught them not to hesitate in encountering the prejudices and passions of the present for the sake of the truth, and to trust for their reward in the just appreciation of a future age. With such remarks we may assert that the medical philosophy of Hippocrates is worthy of our highest admiration, since it exhibits the scientific conditions of deduction and induction. The theory itself is compact and clear; its lineaments are completely Grecian. It presents, to one who will contemplate it with a due allowance for its times, the characteristic quick-sightedness, penetration, and power of the Greek mind, fully vindicating for its author the title which has been conferred upon him by his European successors-the Father of Medicine-and perhaps inducing us to excuse the enthusiastic assertion of Galen, that we ought to reverence the words of Hippocrates as the voice of God. The Hippocratic school of Cos found a rival in the school of Cnidos, which offered not only a different view of the nature of disease, but also taught a different principle for its cure. The Cnidians paid more particular attention to the special symptoms in individual cases, and pursued a less active treatment, declining, whenever they could, a resort to drastic purgatives, venesection, or other energetic means. As might be expected, the professional activity of these schools called into existence many able men, and produced many excellent works: thus Philiston wrote on the regimen for persons in health; Diodes on hygiene and gymnastics; Praxagoras on the pulse, showing that it was a measure of the force of disease. The Asclepion of Cnidos continued until the time of Constantine, when it was destroyed along with many other pagan establishments. The union between the priesthood and the profession was gradually becoming less and less close; and, as the latter thus separated itself, divisions or departments arose in it, both as regards subjects, such as pharmacy, surgery, etc., and also as respects the position of its cultivators, some pursuing it as a liberal science, and some as a mere industrial occupation. In those times, as in our own, many who were not favored with the gifts of fortune were constrained to fall into the latter ranks. Thus Aristotle, than whom few have ever exerted a greater intellectual influence upon humanity, after spending his patrimony in liberal pursuits, kept an apothecary's shop at Athens. Aristotle the druggist, behind his counter, selling medicines to chance customers, is Aristotle the great writer, whose dictum was final with the schoolmen of the Middle Ages. As a general thing, however, the medical professors were drawn from the philosophical class. Outside of these divisions, and though in all ages continually repudiated by the profession,
EGYPTIAN MEDICINE. 295
yet continually hovering round it, was a host of impostors and quacks, as there will always be so long as there are weak-minded and shallow men to be deluded, and vain and silly women to believe. When the Alexandrian Museum was originated by Ptolemy, Philadelphus, its studies were arranged in four faculties-literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine. These divisions are, however, to be understood comprehensively: thus, under the faculty of medicine were included such subjects as natural history. The physicians who received the first appointments were Cleombrotus, Herophilus, and Erasistratus; among the subordinate professors was Philo-Stephanus, who had charge of natural history, and was directed to write a book on Fishes. The elevated ideas of the founder cannot be better illustrated than by the manner in which he organized his medical school. It was upon the sure basis of anatomy. Herophilus and his colleagues were authorized to resort to the dissection of the dead, and to ascertain, by that only reliable method, the true structure of the human body. The strong hand of Ptolemy resolutely carried out his design, though in a country where popular sentiment was strongly opposed to such practices, hitherto unheard of in the world. To touch a corpse in Egypt was an abomination. Nor was it only this great man's intention to ascertain the human structure; he also took measures to discover the mode in which its functions are carried forward, the manner in which it works. To this end he authorized his anatomists to make vivisections both of animals, and also criminals who had been condemned to death, herein finding for himself that royal road in physiology which Euclid once told him, at a dinner in the Museum, did not exist in geometry, and defending the act from moral criticism by the plea that, as the culprits had already forfeited their lives to the law, it was no injury to make them serviceable to the interests of humanity. Herophilus had been educated at Cos; his pathological views were those known as humoralism; his treatment active, after the manner of Hippocrates, upon whose works he wrote commentaries. His original investigations were numerous; they were embodied, with his peculiar views, in treatises on the practice of medicine; on obstetrics; on the eye; on the pulse, which he properly referred to contractions of the heart. He was aware of the existence of the lacteals, and their anatomical relation to the mesenteric glands. Erasistratus, his colleague, was a pupil of Theophrastus and Chrysippus: he, too, cultivated anatomy. He described the structure of the heart, its connections with the arteries and veins, but fell into the mistake that the former vessels were for the conveyance of air, the latter for that of blood. He knew that there are two kinds of nerves, those of motion and those of sensation. He referred all fevers to inflammatory states, and in his practice differed
296 THE ALEXANDRIAN SCHOOL.
from the received methods of Hippocrates in observing a less active treatment. By these physicians the study of medicine in Alexandria was laid upon the solid foundation of anatomy. Besides them there were many other instructors in specialties; and, indeed, the temple of Serapis was used for a hospital, the sick being received into It, and persons studying medicine admitted for the purpose of familiarizing themselves with the appearance of disease, precisely as in such institutions at the present time. Of course, under such circumstances, the departments of surgery and pharmacy received many improvements, and produced many able men. Among these improvements may be mentioned new operations for lithotomy, instruments for crushing calculi, for reducing dislocations, etc. The active commerce of Egypt afforded abundant opportunity for extending the materia medica by the introduction of a great many herbs and drugs. The medical school of Alexandria, which was thus originally based upon dissection, in the course of time lost much of its scientific spirit. But the influence of the first teachers may be traced through many subsequent ages. Thus Galen divides the profession in his time into HIerophilians and Erasistratians. Various sects had arisen in the course of events, as the Dogmatists, who asserted that diseases can only be treated correctly by the aid of a knowledge of the structure and functions, the action of drugs, and the changes induced in the affected parts; they insisted, therefore, upon the necessity of anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, and pathology. They claimed a descent from Hippocrates. Their antagonists, the Empirics, ridiculed such knowledge as fanciful or unattainable, and relied on experience alone. These subdivisions were not limited to sects; they may also be observed under the form of schools. Even Erasistratus himself, toward the close of his life, through some dispute or misunderstanding, appears to have left the Museum and established a school at Smyrna. The study of the various branches of medicine was also pursued by others out of the immediate ranks of the profession. Mithridates, king of Pontus, thus devoted himself to the examination of poisons and the discovery of antidotes. What a fall from this scientific medicine to the miracle-cure which soon displaced it! What a descent from Hippocrates and the great Alexandrian physicians to the shrines of saints and the monks! To the foregoing sketch of the state of Greek medicine in its day of glory, I must add an examination of the same science among the Jews subsequently to the second century; it is necessary for the proper understanding of the origin of Saracen learning. In philosophy the Jews had been gradually emancipating themselves
THE JEWISH PHYSICIANS. 297
from the influence of ancient traditions; their advance in this direction is shown by the active manner in which they aided in the development of Neo-platonism. After the destruction of Jerusalem all Syria and Mesopotamia were full of Jewish schools; but the great philosophers, as well as the great merchants of the nation, were residents of Alexandria. Persecution and dispelion, if they served no other good purpose, weakened the grasp of the ecclesiastic. Perhaps, too, repeated disappointments in an expected coming of a national temporal Messiah had brought those who were now advanced in intellectual progress to a just appreciation of ancient traditions. In this mental emancipation their physicians took the lead. For long, while their pursuits were yet in infancy, a bitter animosity had been manifested toward them by the Levites, whose manner of healing was by prayer, expiatory sacrifice, and miracle; or, if they descended to less supernatural means, by an application of such remedies as are popular with the vulgar every where. Thus, to a person bitten by a mad dog, they would give the diaphragm of a dog to eat. As examples of a class of men soon to take no obscure share in directing human progress may be mentioned Hannina, A.D. 205, often spoken of by his successors as the earliest of Jewish physicians; Samuel, equally distinguished as an astronomer, accoucheur, and oculist, the inventor of a collyrium which bore his name; Rab, an anatomist, who wrote a treatise on the construction of the body of man as ascertained by dissections, thereby attaining such celebrity that the people, after his death, used the earth of his grave as a medicine; Abba Oumna, whose study of insanity plainly shows that he gave a material interpretation to the national doctrine of possession by devils, and replaced that strange delusion by the scientific explanation of corporeal derangement. This honorable physician made it a rule never to take a fee from the poor, and never to make any difference in his assiduous attention between them and the rich. These men may be taken as a type of their successors to the seventh century, when the Oriental schools were broken up in consequence of the Arab military movements. In the Talmudic literature there are all the indications of a transitional state, so far as medicine is concerned; the supernatural seems to be passing into the physical, the ecclesiastical is mixed up with the exact: thus a rabbi may cure disease by the ecclesiastical operation of laying on of hands; but of febrile disturbances, an exact, though erroneous explanation is given, and paralysis of the hind legs of an animal is correctly referred to the pressure of a tumor on the spinal cord. Some of its aphorisms are not devoid of amusing significance: " Any disease, provided the bowels remain open; any kind of pain, provided the heart remain unaffected; any kind of uneasiness, provided the head is not attacked; all manner of evils, except it be a bad woman." At first, after the fall of the Alexandrian school, it was all that the
298 THEIR POSITION AMONG THE ARAB.
Jewish physicians could do to preserve the learning that had descended to them. But when the tumult of Arabic conquest was over, we find them becoming the advisers of crowned heads, and exerting, by reason of their advantageous position, their liberal education, their enlarged views, a most important influence on the intellectual progress of humai4ty. Maser Djaivah, physician to the Khalif Moawiyah, was distinguished at once as a poet, a critic, a philosopher; Kalid translated many books from Greek; Haroun, a physician of Alexandria, whose Pandects, a treatise unfortunately now lost, are said to have contained the first elaborate description of the small-pox and method of its treatment. Isaac Ben Emran wrote an original treatise on poisons and their symptoms, and others followed his example. The Khalif Al Raschid, who maintained political relations with Charlemagne by means of Jewish envoys, set that monarch an example by which indeed he was not slow to profit, in actively patronizing the medical college at Djondesabour, and founding a university at Bagdad. He prohibited any person from practicing medicine until after a satisfactory examination before one of those faculties. In the East the theological theory of disease and of its cure was fast passing away. Of the school at Bagdad, Joshua ben Nun is said to have been the most celebrated professor, the school itself actively promoting the translation of Greek works into Arabic-not alone works of a professional, but also those of a general kind; In this manner the writings of Plato and Aristotle were secured; indeed, it is said and that almost every day camels laden with volumes were entering the gates of Bagdad. To add to the supply, the Emperor Michael III. was compelled by treaty to furnish Greek books. The result of this intellectual movement could be no other than a diffusion of light. Schools arose in Bassora, Ispahan, Samarcand, Fez, Morocco, Sicily, Cordova, Seville, Granada. Through the Nestorians an; the Jews the Arabs thus became acquainted with the medical science of Greece and Alexandria; but to this was added other knowledge of a more sinister kind, derived from Persia, or perhaps remotely from Chaldee sources, the Nestorians having important Church establishments in Mesopotamia, and the Jews long familiar with that country; indeed, from thence their ancestors originally came. More than once its ideas had modified their national religion. This extraneous knowledge was of an astrological or magical nature, carried into practice by incantations, amulets, charms, and talismans. Its fundamental principle was that the planetary bodies exercise an influence over terrestrial things. As seven planets and seven metals were at that time known-the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, being the planets of astrology-a due allotment was made.
NECROMANCY AND MAGIC. 299
Gold was held sacred to the sun, silver to the moon, iron to Mars, etc. Even the portions of time were in like manner dedicated: the seven: days of the week were respectively given to the seven planets of astrology. The names imposed on those days, and the order in which they occur, are obviously connected with the Ptolemaic hypothesis of astronomy, each of the planets having an hour assigned to it in its order of occurrence, and the planet ruling the first hour of each day giving its name to that day. Thus arranged, the week is a remark able instance of the longevity of an institution adapted to the wants of man. It has survived through many changes of empire, has forced itself on the ecclesiastical system of Europe, which, unable to change its idolatrous aspect, has encouraged the vulgar error that it owes its authenticity to the Holy Scriptures, an error too plainly betrayed by the pagan names that the days bear, and also by their order of occurrence. It was unknown to the classical ancients and to the inspired penmen. These notions of dedicating portions of matter or of time to the supernatural were derived from the doctrine of a universal spirit or soul of the world, extensively believed in throughout the East. It underlies, as we have seen in Chapter III., all Oriental theology, and is at once a very antique and not unphilosophical conception. Of this soul the spirit of man was by many supposed to be a particle like a spark given off from a flame. All other things, animate or inanimate, brutes, plants, stones, nay, even natural forms, rivers, mountains, cascades, grottoes, have each an indwelling and animating spirit. Amulets and charms, therefore, did not derive their powers from the material substance of which they consisted, but from this indwelling spirit. In the case of man, his immaterial principle was believed to correspond to his personal bodily form. Of the two great sects into which the Jewish nation had been divided, the Pharisees accepted the Assyrian doctrine; but the Sadducees, who denied the existence of any such spirit, boasted that theirs was the old Mosaic faith, and denounced their antagonists as having been contaminated at the time of the Babylonish captivity, before which catastrophe, according to them, these doctrines were unheard of in Jerusalem. In Alexandria, among the leading men there were many adherents to these opinions. Thus Plotinus wrote a book on the association of daemons with men, and his disciple Porphyry proved practically the possibility of such an alliance; for, repairing to the temple of Isis along with Plotinus and a certain Egyptian priest, the latter, to prove his supernatural power, offered to raise up the spirit of Plotinus himself in a visible form. A magical circle was drawn on the ground, surrounded with the customary astrological signs, the invocation commenced, the spirit appeared, and Plotinus stood face to face with his own soul. In this successful experiment it is needless to inquire how far the necromancer depended upon
800 THE BLACK ART.
optical contrivances, and how far upon an alarmed imagination. Perhaps there was somewhat of both; but if thus the spirit of a living man could be called up, how much more likely the souls of the dead. In reality, these wild doctrines were connected with Pantheism, which was secretly believed in every where; for, though, in a coarse mode of expression, a distinction seemed thus to be made between matter and spirit, or body and soul, it was held by the initiated that matter itself is a mere shadow of the spirit, and the body a delusive semblance of the soul. In the eighth century, many natural facts of a surprising and unaccountable description, well calculated to make a profound impression upon those who witnessed them, had accumulated. They were such as are now familiar to chemists. Vessels tightly closed were burst open when tormented in the fire, apparently by some invisible agency; intangible vapors condensed into solids; from colorless liquids gaudy precipitates were suddenly called into existence; flames were disengaged without any adequate cause; explosions took place spontaneously. So much that was unexpected and unaccountable justified the title of "the occult science," "the black art." From being isolated marvels unconnected with one another, these facts had been united. The Chaldee notions of a soul of the world, and of indwelling spirits, had furnished a thread on which all these pearls, for such they proved to be, might be strung. With avidity-for there is ever a charm in the supernatural-did the Arabs receive from their Nestorian and Jewish medical instructors these mystical interpretations along with true knowledge. And far from resting satisfied with what their masters had thus delivered, they proceeded forthwith to improve and extend it for themselves. They submitted all kinds of substances to all kinds of operations, greatly improving the experimental processes they had been taught. By exposing various bodies to the fire, they found it possible to extract from them more refined portions, which seemed to concentrate in themselves the qualities appertaining in a more diffuse way to the substances from which they had been drawn. These, since they were often invisible at their first disengagement, yet capable of bursting open the strongest vessels, and sometimes of disappearing in explosions and flames, they concluded must be the indwelling spirit or soul of the body, from which the fire had driven them forth. It was the Chaldee doctrine realized. Thus they obtained the spirit of wine, the spirit of salt, the: spirit of nitre. We still retain in commerce these designations, though their significance is lost. When first introduced they had a strictly literal meaning. Alchemy, with its essences, quintessences, and spirits, was Pantheism materialized. God was seen to be in every thing, in the abstract as well as the concrete, in numbers as well as realities.
Anticipating what will have hereafter to be considered in detail, I may here remark that it was not the Mohammedan alone who delivered himself up to these mystic delusions; Christendom was prepared for them also. In its opinion, the earth, the air, the sea, were full of invisible forms. With more faith than even by paganism itself were the supernatural powers of the images of the gods accepted, only it was imputed to the influence of devils. The lunatic was troubled by a like possession. If a spring discharged its waters with a periodical gushing of carbonic acid gas, it was agitated by an angel; if an unfortunate descended into a pit and was suffocated by the mephitic air, it was by some daemon who was secreted; if the miner's torch produced an explosion, it was owing to the wrath of some malignant spirit guarding a treasure, and whose solitude had been disturbed. There was no end to the stories, duly authenticated by the best human testimony, of the occasional appearance of such spirits under visible forms; there was no grotto or cool thicket in which angels and genii had not been seen; no cavern without its daemons. Though the names were not yet given, it was well understood that the air had its sylphs, the earth its gnomes, the fire its salamanders, the water its undines; to the day belonged its apparitions, to the night its fairies. The foul air of stagnant places assumed the visible form of daemons of abominable aspect; the explosive gases of mines, took on the shape of pale-faced, malicious dwarfs, with leathery ears hanging down to their shoulders, and in garments of gray cloth. Philosophical conceptions can never be disentangled from social ideas; the thoughts of man will always gather a tincture from the intellectual medium in which he lives. In Christendom, however, the chief application of these doctrines was to the relics of martyrs and saints. As with the amulets and talismans of Mesopotamia, these were regarded as possessing supernatural powers. They were a sure safeguard against evil spirits, and an unfailing relief in sickness. A singular force was given to these mystic ideas by the peculiar direction they happened to take. As there are veins of water in the earth, and apertures through which the air can gain access, an analogy was inferred between its structure and that of an animal, leading to an inference of a similarity of functions. From this came the theory of the development of metals in its womb under the influence of the planets, the pregnant earth spontaneously producing gold and silver from baser things after a definite number of lunations. Already, however, in the doctrine of the transmutation of metals, it was perceived that to Nature the lapse of time is nothing to man, it is every thing. To Nature, when she is transmuting a worthless into a better metal, what signify a thousand years? To man, half a century embraces the period of his intellectual activity. The aim of the cultivator
302 PHILOSOPHER'S STONE AND ELIXIR OF LIFE.
of the sacred art should be to shorten the natural term; and, since we observe the influence of heat in hastening the ripening of fruits, may we not reasonably expect that duly regulated degrees of fire will answer the purpose? by an exposure of base material in the furnace for a proper season, may we not anticipate the wished-for event? The Emperor Caligula, who had formerly tried to make gold from orpiment by the force of fire, was only one of a thousand adepts pursuing a similar scheme. Some trusted to the addition of a material substance in aiding the fire to purge away the dross of the base body submitted to it. From this arose the doctrine of the powder of projection and the philosopher's stone. This doctrine of the possibility of transmuting things into forms essentially different steadily made its way, leading, in the material direction, to alchemy, the art of making gold and silver out of baser metals, and in theology to transubstantiation. Transmutation and transubstantiation were twin sisters, destined for a worldwide celebrity; one became allied to the science of Mecca, the other to the theology of Rome. While thus the Arabs joined in the pursuit of alchemy, their medical tendencies led them simultaneously to cultivate another ancient delusion, the discovery of a universal panacea or elixir which should cure all diseases and prolong life forever. The mystical experimenters for centuries had been ransacking all nature, from the yellow flowers which are sacred to the sun, and gold his emblem and representative on earth, down to the vilest excrements of the human body. As to gold, there had gathered round that metal many fictitious excellencies in addition to its real values; it was believed that in some preparation of it would be found the elixir vitae. This was the explanation of the unwearied attempts at making potable gold, for it was universally thought that if that metal could be obtained in a dissolved state, it would constitute the long-sought panacea. Nor did it seem impossible so to increase the power of water as to impart to it new virtues, and thereby enable it to accomplish the desired solution. Were there not natural waters of very different properties? were there not some that could fortify the memory, others destroy it; some re-enforce the spirits, some impart dullness, and some, which were highly prized, that could secure a return of love? It had been long known that both natural and artificial waters can permanently affect the health, and that instruments may be made to ascertain their qualities. Zosimus, the Panopolitan, had described in former times the operation of distillation, by which it may be purified; the Arabs called the apparatus for conducting that experiment an alembic. His treatise on the virtues and composition of waters was conveyed under the form of a dream, in which there flit before us fantastically white-haired priests
GUNPOWDER, GREEK FIRE, AND INCOMBUSTIBLE MEN. 303
sacrificing before the altar; caldrons of boiling water, in which there are walking about men a span long; brazen-clad warriors in silence reading leaden books, and sphinxes with wings. In such incomprehensible fictions knowledge was purposely, and ignorance conveniently concealed. The practical Arabs had not long been engaged in these fascinating but wild pursuits, when results of very great importance began to appear. In a scientific point of view, the discovery of the strong acids laid the true foundation of chemistry; in a political point of view, the invention of gunpowder revolutionized the world. There were several explosive mixtures. Automatic fire was made from equal parts of sulphur, saltpetre, and sulphide of antimony, finely pulverized and mixed into a paste, with equal parts of juice of the black sycamore and liquid asphaltum, a little quick-lime being added. It was directed to keep the material from the rays of the sun, which would set it on fire. Of liquid or Greek fire we have not a precise description, since the knowledge of it was kept at Constantinople as a state secret. There is reason, however, to believe that it contained sulphur and nitrate of potash mixed with naphtha. Of gunpowder, Marcus Grecus, whose date is probably to be referred to the close of the eighth century, gives the composition explicitly. He directs us to pulverize in a marble mortar one pound of sulphur, two of charcoal, and six of saltpetre. If some of this powder be tightly rammed in a long narrow tube closed at one end, and then set on fire, the tube will fly through the air: this is clearly the rocket. He says that thunder may be imitated by folding some of the powder in a cover and tying it up tightly: this is the cracker. It thus appears that fire-works preceded fire-arms. To the same author we are indebted for receipts for making the skin incombustible, so that we may handle fire without being burnt. These, doubtless, were received as explanations of the legends of the times, which related how miracle-workers had washed their hands in melted copper, and sat at their ease in flaming straw. Among the Saracen names that might be mentioned as cultivators of alchemy, we may recall El-Rasi, Ebid Durr, Djafar or Geber, Toghrage, who wrote an alchemical poem, and Dschildegi, one of whose works bears the significant title of " The Lantern." The definition of alchemy by some of these authors is very striking: the science of the balance, the science of weight, the science of combustion. To one of these chemists, Djafar, our attention may for a moment be drawn. He lived toward the end of the eighth century, and is honored by Rhases, Avicenna, and Kalid, the great Arabic physicians, as their master. His name is memorable in chemis-
304 DISCOVERY OF NITRIC AND SULPHURIC ACID.
try, since it marks an epoch in that science of equal importance to that of Priestley and Lavoisier. He is the first to describe nitric acid and aqua regia. Before him no stronger acid was known than concentrated vinegar. We cannot conceive of chemistry as not possessing acids. Well, then, may Roger Bacon speak of him as the magister magistrorum. He has perfectly just notions of the nature of spirits or gases, as we call them; thus he says, "Oh, son of the doctrine, when spirits fix themselves in bodies, they lose their form; in their nature they are no longer what they were. When you compel them to be disengaged again, this is what happens: either the spirit alone escapes with the air, and the body remains fixed in the alembic, or the spirit and body escape together at the same time." His doctrine respecting the nature of the metals, though erroneous, was not without a scientific value. A metal he considers to be a compound of sulphur, mercury, and arsenic, and hence he infers that transmutation is possible by varying the proportion of those ingredients. He knows that a metal, when calcined, increases in weight, a discovery of the greatest importance, as eventually brought to bear in the destruction of the doctrine of Phlogiston of Stahl, and which has been imputed to Europeans of a much later time. He describes the operations of distillation, sublimation, filtration, various chemical apparatus, water-baths, sand-baths, cupels of bone-earth, of the use of which he gives a singularly clear description. A chemist reads with interest Djafar's antique method of obtaining nitric acid by distilling in a retort Cyprus vitriol, alum, and saltpetre. He sets forth its corrosive power, and shows how it may be made to dissolve even gold itself, by adding a portion of sal ammoniac. Djafar may thus be considered as having solved the grand alchemical problem of obtaining gold in a potable state. Of course, many trials must have been made on the influence of this solution on the animal system, respecting which such extravagant anticipations had been entertained. The disappointment that ensued was doubtless the cause that the records of these trials have not descended to us. With Djafar may be mentioned Rhazes, born A.D. 860, physician-in-chief to the great hospital at Bagdad. To him is due the first description of the preparation and properties of sulphuric acid. He obtained it, as the Nordhausen variety is still made, by the distillation of dried green vitriol. To him are also due the first indications of the preparation of absolute alcohol, by distilling spirit of wine from quick-lime. As a curious discovery made by the Saracens may be mentioned the experiment of Achild Bechil, who, by distilling together the extract of urine, clay, lime, and powdered charcoal, obtained an artificial carbuncle, which shone in the dark "like a good moon." This was phosphorus.
ARABIAN SCIENTIFIC WORKS. 305
And now there arose among Arabian physicians a correctness of thought and breadth of view altogether surprising. It might almost be supposed that the following lines were written by one of our own contemporaries; they are, however, extracted from a chapter on the origin of mountains. This author was born of Avicenna. in the tenth century. "Mountains may be due to two different causes. Either they are effects of upheavals of the crust of the earth, such as might occur during a violent earthquake, or they are the effect of water, which, cutting for itself a new route, has denuded the valleys, the strata being of different kinds, some soft, some hard. The winds and waters disintegrate the one, but leave the other intact. Most of the eminences of the earth have had this latter origin. It would require a long period of time for all such changes to be accomplished, during which the mountains themselves might be somewhat diminished in size. But that water has been the main cause of these effects is proved by the existence of fossil remains of aquatic and other animals on many mountains." Avicenna also explains the nature of petrifying or incrusting waters, and mentions aerolites, out of one of which a sword-blade was made, but he adds that the metal was too brittle to be of any use. A mere catalogue of some of the works of Avicenna will show the then existing state of the Arabian mind: 1. On the Utility and Advantage of of Science; 2. Of Health and Remedies; 3. Canons of Physic; 4. On Astronomical Observations; 5. Mathematical Theorems; 6. On the Arabic Language and its Properties; 7. On the Origin of the Soul and Resurrection of the Body; 8. Demonstration of Collateral Lines on the Sphere; 9. An Abridgment'of Euclid; 10. On Finity and Infinity; 11. On Physics and Metaphysics; 12. An Encyclopedia of Human Knowledge, in 20 vols., etc., etc. The perusal of such a catalogue is sufficient to excite profound attention when we remember what was the contemporaneous state of Europe. The pursuit of the elixir made a well-marked impression upon Arab experimental science, confirming it in its medical application. At the foundation of this application lay the principle that it is possible to relieve the diseases of the human body by purely material means. As the science advanced it gradually shook off its fetichisms, the spiritual receding into insignificance, the material coming into bolder relief. Not, however, without great difficulty was a way forced for the great doctrine that the influence of substances on the constitution of man is altogether of a material kind, and not at all due to any indwelling or animating spirit; that it is of no kind of use to practice incantations over drugs, or to repeat prayers over the mortar in which medicines are being compounded, since the effect will be the same, whether such has been done or not; that there is no kind of efficacy in amulets, no virtue in charms; and that, though saint-relics may U
806 AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST.
serve to excite the imagination of the ignorant, they are altogether beneath the attention of the philosopher. This last sentiment it was which brought Europe and Africa into intellectual collision. The Saracen and Hebrew physicians had become thoroughly materialized. Throughout Christendom the practice of medicine was altogether supernatural. It was in the hands of ecclesiastics; and saint-relics, shrines, and miracle-cures were a source of boundless profit. On a subsequent
Page I shall have to describe the circumstances of the conflict that ensued between material philosophy on one side, and supernatural jugglery on the other; to show how the Arab system gained the victory, and how, out of that victory, the industrial life of Europe arose. The Byzantine policy inaugurated in Constantinople and Alexandria was, happily for the world, in the end overthrown. To that future
Page I must postpone the great achievements of the Arabians in the fullness of their Age of Reason. When Europe was hardly more enlightened than Caffraria is now, the Saracens were cultivating and even creating science. Their triumphs in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, proved to be more glorious, more durable, and therefore more important than their military actions had been.
CHAPTER XIV. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST (Continued). IMAGE-WORSHIP AND THE MONK.
Origin of IMAGE-WORSHIP.-Inutility of Images discovered in Asia and Africa during the Saracen Wars. Rise of Iconoclasm. The Emperors prohibit Image-worship. The Monks, aided by court Females, sustain it.-Final Victory of the latter. Image-worship in the West sustained by the Popes. - Quarrel between the Emperor and the Pope. The Pope, aided by the Monks, revolts and allies himself with the Franks. THE MONKS.-History of the Rise and Development of Monasticism.-Hermits and Ccenobites. -Spread of Monasticism from Egypt over Europe.-Monk Miracles and Legends.-Hzumanization of the monastic Establishments.-They materialize Religion, and impress their Ideas on Europe.
THE Arabian influence, allying itself to philosophy, was henceforth productive of other than military results. To the loss of Africa and Asia was now added a disturbance impressed on Europe itself, ending in the decomposition of Christianity into two forms, Greek and Latin, and in three great political events-the emancipation of the popes from the emperors of Constantinople, the usurpation of power by a new dynasty in France, the reconstruction of a Roman empire in the West.
It was the dispute respecting the worship of images which led to those great events. The acts of the Mohammedan khalifs and of the iconoclastic or image-breaking emperors occasioned that dispute. Nothing could be more deplorable than the condition of southern Europe when it first felt the intellectual influence of the Arabians. Its old Roman and Greek populations had altogether disappeared; the races of half-breeds and mongrels substituted for them were immersed in fetichism. An observance of certain ceremonials constituted a religious life; there seems to have been no perception of morality. A chip of the true cross, some iron filings from the chain of St. Peter, a tooth or bone of a martyr, were held in adoration; the world was full of the stupendous miracles which these medicines had performed. But especially were painted or graven images of holy personages supposed to be endowed with such powers. They had become objects of actual worship. The facility with which the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, had given an aristocratic fashion to this idolatry, showed that the old pagan ideas had never really died out, and that the degenerated populations received with approval the religious conceptions of their great predecessors. The early Christian fathers believed that painting and sculpture were forbidden by the Scriptures, and that they were therefore wicked arts; and, though the second Council of Nicea asserted that the use of images had always been adopted by the Church, there are abundant facts to prove that the actual worship of them was not indulged in until the fourth century, when, on the occasion of its occurrence in Spain, it was condemned by the Council of Illiberis. During the fifth century the practice of introducing images into churches increased, and in the sixth it had become prevalent. The common people, who had never been able to comprehend doctrinal mysteries, found their religious wants satisfied in turning to these effigies. With singular obtuseness, they believed that the saint was present in his image, though hundreds of the same kind were in existence, and each having an equal and exclusive right to the spiritual presence. The doctrine of invocation of departed saints, which assumed prominence in the fifth century, was greatly strengthened by these graphic forms. Pagan idolatry had reappeared. At first the simple cross was used as a substitute for the amulets and charms of remoter times; it constituted a fetich able to expel evil spirits, and even Satan himself. This being, who had become singularly debased from what he was in the noble Oriental fictions, was an imbecile and malicious, though not a malignant spirit, affrighted not only at pieces of wood framed in the shape of a cross, but at the form thereof made with the finger in the air. A subordinate daemon was supposed to possess every individual at his birth, but this was cast out by baptism. When, in the course of time, the cross
308 CONTINUANCE OF THE OLD IDOLATRIES.
became a crucifix, offering a representation of the dying Redeemer, it might be supposed to have gathered increased virtue; and soon, in addition to that adorable form, were introduced images of the Virgin, the apostles, saints, and martyrs. The ancient times seemed to have come back again, when these pictures were approached with genuflexions, luminaries, and incense. The doctrine of the more intelligent was that they were aids to devotion, and that, among people to whom the art of reading was unknown, they served the useful purpose of recalling sacred events in a kind of hieroglyphic manner. But among the vulgar, and monks, and women, they were believed to be endowed with supernatural power. Of some, the wounds could bleed; of others, the eyes could wink; of others, the limbs could be raised. In ancient times, the statues of Minerva could brandish spears, and those of Venus could weep. In truth, the populations of the Greek and Latin countries were no more than nominally converted and superficially Christianized. The old traditions and practices had never been forgotten. A tendency to idolatry seemed to be the necessary incident of in the climate. Not without reason have the apologists of the clergy affirmed that image-worship was insisted upon by the people, and that the Church had to admit ideas that she had never been able to eradicate. After seven hundred years of apostolic labor, it was found that the populace of Greece and Italy were apparently in their old state, and that actually nothing at all had been accomplished; the new-comers had passed into the track of their extinct predecessors. It is often said that the restoration of image-worship was owing to the extinction of civilization by the Northern barbarians. But this is not true. In the blood of the German nations the taint of idolatry is but small. In their own countries they gave it little encouragement, and, indeed, hastened quickly to its total rejection. The sin lay not with them, but with the Mediterranean people. Nor are those barbarians to be held accountable for the so-called extinction of civilization in Italy. The true Roman race had prematurely died; it came to an untimely end in consequence of its dissolute, its violent life. Its civilization would have spontaneously died with it had no barbarian been present; and, if these intruders produced a baneful effect at first, they compensated for it in the end. As, when fresh coal is added to a fire that is burning low, a still farther diminution will ensue, perhaps there may be a risk of entirely putting it out, but in due season, if all goes well, the new material will join in the contagious blaze. The savages of Europe, thrown into the decaying foci of Greek and Roman light, perhaps did for a time reduce the general heat; but, by degrees, it spread throughout their mass, and the bright flame of modern civilization was the result. Let those who
lament the intrusion of these men into the classical countries, reflect upon the result which must otherwise have ensued-the last spark would soon have died out, and nothing but ashes have remained. Three causes gave rise to Iconoclasm, or the revolt against image worship: 1st, the remonstrances and derision of the Mohammedans; 2d, the good sense of a great sovereign, Leo the Isaurian, who had risen by his merit from obscurity, and become the founder of a new dynasty at Constantinople; 3d, the detected inability of these miracle-working idols and fetiches to protect their worshipers or themselves against an unbelieving enemy. Moreover, an impression was gradually making its way among the more intelligent classes that religion ought to free itself from such superstitions. So important were the consequences of Leo's actions, that some have been disposed to assign to his reign the first attempt at making policy depend on theology; and to this period, as I have elsewhere remarked, they therefore refer the commencement of the Byzantine empire. Through one hundred and twenty years, six emperors devoted themselves to this reformation. But it was premature. They were overpowered by the populace and the monks, by the bishops of Rome, and by a superstitious and wicked woman. It had been a favorite argument against the pagans how little their gods could do for them when the hour of calamity came, when their statues and images were insulted and destroyed, and hence how vain was such worship, how imbecile such gods. When Africa and Asia, which were full of relics and crosses, pictures and images, fell before the Mohammedans, those conquerors retaliated the same logic with no little effect. There was hardly one of the fallen towns which had not some idol for its protector. Remembering the stern objurgations of the prophet against this deadly sin, prohibited at once by the commandment of God and repudiated by the reason of man, the Saracen khalifs had ordered all the Syrian images to be destroyed. Amid the derision of the Arab soldiery and the Destruction tears of the terror-stricken worshipers, those orders were remorselessly carried into effect, except in some cases where the temptation of an enormous ransom induced these avengers of the unity of God to swerve from their duty. Thus the piece of linen cloth on which it was feigned that our Savior had impressed his countenance, and which was the palladium of Edessa, was carried off by the victors at the capture of that town, and subsequently sold to Constantinople at the profitable price of twelve thousand pounds of silver. This picture, and also some other celebrated ones, it was said, possessed the property of multiplying themselves by contact with other surfaces, as in modern times we multiply photographs. Such were the celebrated images " made without hands."
310 THE ICONOCLASTIC EMPEROR.
It was currently asserted that the immediate origin of Iconoclasm was due to the Khalif Yezed, who had completed the destruction of the Syrian images, and to two Jews, who stimulated Leo the Isaurian to his task. However that may be, Leo published an edict, A.D. 726, prohibiting the worship of images. This was followed by another directing their destruction, and the whitewashing of the walls of churches ornamented with them. Hereupon the clergy and the monks rebelled; the emperor was denounced as a Mohammedan and a Jew. He ordered that a statue of the Savior in that part of the city called Chalcopratia should be removed, and a riot was the consequence. One of his officers mounted a ladder and struck the idol with an axe upon its face; it was an incident like that enacted some centuries before in the temple of Serapis at Alexandria. The sacred image, which had often arrested the course of Nature and worked many miracles, was now found to be unable to protect or to avenge its own honor. A rabble of women interfered in its behalf; they threw down the ladder and killed the officer; nor was the riot ended until the troops were called in and a great massacre perpetrated. The monks spread the sedition in all parts of the empire; they even attempted to proclaim a new emperor. Leo was every where denounced as a Mohammedan infidel, an enemy of the Mother of God; but with inflexible resolution he persisted in his determination as long as he lived. His son and successor, Constantine, pursued the same iconoclastic policy. From the circumstance of his accidentally defiling the font from which he was being baptized, he had received the suggestive name of Copronymus. His subsequent career was asserted by the monks to have been foreshadowed by his sacrilegious beginnings. It was publicly asserted that he was an atheist. In truth, his biography, in many respects, proves that the higher classes in Constantinople were largely infected with infidelity. The patriarch deposed upon oath that Copronymus had made the most irreligious confessions to him, as that our Savior, far from being the Son of God, was, in his opinion, a mere man, born of his mother in the common way. The truth of these accusations was perhaps, in a measure, sustained by the revenge that the emperor took on the' patriarch for his indiscreet revelations. He seized him, put out his eyes, caused him to be led through the city mounted on an ass, with his face to the tail, and then, as if to show his unutterable contempt for all religion, with an exquisite malice appointed him to his office again. If such was the religious condition of the emperor, the higher clergy were but little better. A council was summoned by Constantine, A.D. 754, at Constantinople, which was attended by 388 bishops. It asserted for itself the position of the seventh general council. It. unanimously decreed that all visible symbols of Christ,
RESISTANCE TO ICONOCLASM. 311
except in the Eucharist, were blasphemous or heretical; that imag eworship was a corruption of Christianity and a renewed form of paganism; it directed all statues and paintings to be removed from the churches and destroyed, and degraded every ecclesiastic and excommunicated every layman who should be concerned in setting them up again. It concluded its labors with prayers for the emperor who had extirpated idolatry and given peace to the Church. But this decision was by no means quietly received. The monks rose in an uproar; some raised a clamor in their caves, some from the tops of their pillars; one, in the church of St. Mammas, insulted the emperor to his face, denouncing him as a second apostate Julian. Nor could he deliver himself from the plague by the scourging, strangling, and drowning of individuals. In his wrath, Copronymus, plainly discerning that it was the monks on one side and the government on the other, determined to strike at the root of the evil, and to destroy monasticism itself. He drove the holy men out of their cells and cloisters; made the consecrated virgins marry; gave up the buildings for civil uses; burnt pictures, idols, and all kinds of relics; degraded the patriarch from his office, scourged him, shaved off his eyebrows, set him for public derision in the circus in a sleeveless shirt, and then beheaded him. Already he had consecrated a eunuch in his stead. Doubtless these atrocities strengthened' the bishops of Rome in their resolve to seek a protector from such a master among the barbarian kings of the West. Constantine Copronymus was succeeded by his son, Leo the Chazar, who, during a short reign of five years, continued the iconoclastic policy. On his death his wife Irene seized the government, ostensibly in behalf of her son. This woman, pre-eminently wicked and superstitious beyond her times, undertook the restoration of images. She caused the patriarch to retire from his dignity, appointed one of her creatures, Tarasius, in his stead, and summoned another council. In this second Council of Nicea that of Constantinople was denounced as a synod of fools and atheists, the worship of images was pronounced agreeable to Scripture and reason, and in conformity to the usages and traditions of the Church. Irene, saluted as the second Helena, and set forth by the monks as an exemplar of piety, thus accomplished the restoration of image-worship. In a few years this ambitious woman, refusing to surrender his rightful dignity to her son, caused him to be seized, and, in the porphyry chamber in which she had borne him, put out his eyes. Constantinople, long familiar with horrible crimes, was appalled at such an unnatural deed. During the succeeding reigns to that of Leo the Armenian, matters remained without change; but that emperor resumed the policy of Leo the Isaurian. By an edict he prohibited
312 IMAGE-WORSHIP IN THE WEST.
image-worship, and banished the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had admonished him that the apostles had made images of the Savior and the Virgin, and that there was at Rome a picture of the Transfiguration, painted by order of St. Peter. After the murder of Leo, his successor, Michael the Stammerer, showed no encouragement to either party. It was affirmed that he was given to profane jesting, was incredulous as to the resurrection of the dead, disbelieved the existence of the devil, was indifferent whether images were worshiped or not, and recommended the patriarch to bury the decrees of Constantinople and Nicea equally in oblivion. His successor and son, however, observed no such impartiality. To Saracenic tastes, shown by his building a palace like that of the khalif; to a devotion for poetry, exemplified by branding some of his own stanzas on his image-worshiping enemies; to the composition of music and its singing by himself as an amateur in the choir; to mechanical knowledge, displayed by hydraulic contrivances, musical instruments, organs, automatic singing-birds sitting in golden trees, he added an abomination of monks and a determined iconoclasm. Instead of merely whitewashing the walls of the churches, he adorned them with pictures of beasts and birds. Iconoclasm had now fairly become a struggle between the emperors and the monks. Again, on the death of Theophilus, image-worship triumphed, and triumphed in the same manner as before. His widow, Theodora, alarmed by the monks for the safety of the soul of her husband, purchased absolution for him at the price of the restoration of images. Such was the issue of Iconoclasm in the East. The monks proved stronger than the emperors, and, after a struggle of 120 years, the images were finally restored. In the West far more important consequences followed. To Italy was devoutly attached. When the first edict Image-worship of Leo was made known by the exarch, it produced a rebellion, of which Pope Gregory II. took advantage to suspend the tribute paid by Italy. In letters that he wrote to the emperor he defended the popular delusion, declaring that the first Christians had caused pictures to be made of our Lord, of his brother James, of Stephen, and all the martyrs, and had sent them throughout the world; the reason that God the Father had not been painted was that his countenance was not known. These letters display a most audacious presumption of the ignorance of the emperor respecting common Scripture incidents, and, as some have remarked, suggest a doubt of the pope's familiarity with the sacred volume. He points out the difference between the statues of antiquity, which are only the representations of phantoms, and the images of the Church, which have approved
FINAL SEPARATION OF THE GREEK AND LATIN CHURCHES. 313
themselves, by numberless miracles, to be the genuine forms of the Savior, his mother, and his saints. Referring to the statue of St. Peter, which the emperor had ordered to be broken to pieces, he declares that the Western nations regard that apostle as a god upon earth, and ominously threatens the vengeance of the pious barbarians if it should be destroyed. In this defense of images Gregory found an active coadjutor in a Syrian, John of Damascus, who had witnessed the rage of the khalifs against the images of his own country, and whose hand, having been cut off by those tyrants, was miraculously rejoined to his body by an idol of the Virgin to which he prayed. But Gregory was not alone in his policy, nor John of Damascus in his controversies. The King of the Lombards, Luitprand, also perceived the advantage of putting himself forth as the protector of images, and of appealing to the Italians, for their sake, to expel the Greeks from the country. The pope acted on the principle that heresy in a sovereign justifies withdrawal of allegiance, the Lombard that it excuses the seizure of possessions. Luitprand accordingly ventured on the capture of Ravenna. An immense booty, the accumulation of the emperors, the Gothic kings, and the exarchs, which was taken at the storm of the town, at once rewarded his piety, stimulated him to new enterprises of a like nature, and drew upon him the attention of his enemy the emperor, whom he had plundered, and of his confederate the pope, whom he had overreached. This was the position of affairs. If the Lombards, who were Arians, and therefore heretics, should succeed in extending their sway all over Italy, the influence and prosperity of the papacy must come to an end; their action on the question of the images was altogether of an ephemeral and delusive kind, for all the Arian nations preferred a simple worship like that of primitive times, and had never shown any attachment to the adoration of graven forms. If, on the other hand, the pope should continue his allegiance to Constantinople, he must be liable to the atrocious persecutions so often and so recently inflicted on the patriarchs of that city by their tyrannical master; and the breaking of that connection in reality involved no surrender of any solid advantages, for the emperor was too weak to give protection from the Lombards. Already had been experienced a portentous difficulty in sending relief from Constantinople, on account of the naval superiority of the Saracens in the Mediterranean. For the taxes paid to the sovereign no real equivalent was received;.but Rome, in ignominy, was obliged to submit, like an obscure provincial town, to the mandates of the Eastern court. Moreover, in her eyes, the emperor, by reason of his iconoclasm, was a heretic. But if alliance with the Lombards and allegiance to the Greeks were equally inexpedient, a third course was possible. A mayor of the palace of the Frankish kings
314 ALLIANCE OF THE LATIN CHURCH WITH FRANCE.
had successfully led his armies against the Arabs from Spain, and had gained the great victory of Tours. If the Franks, under the influence of their climate or the genius of their race, had thus far shown no encouragement to images, in all other respects they were orthodox, for they had been converted by Catholic missionaries; their kings, it was true, were mere phantoms, but Charles Martel had approved himself a great soldier; he was, therefore, an ambitious man. There was Scripture authority for raising a subordinate to sovereign power; the prophets of Israel had thus, of old, with oil anointed kings. And if the sword of France was gently removed from the kingly hand that was too weak to hold it, and given to the hero who had already shown that he could smite terribly with it-if this were done by the authority of the pope, acting as the representative of God, how great the gain to the papacy! A thousand years might not be enough to separate the monarchy of France from the theocracy of Italy. The resistance which had sprung up to the imperial edict for the destruction of images determined the course of events. The pope rebelled, and attempts were made by the emperor to seize or assassinate him. A fear that the pontiff might be carried to Constantinople, and the preparations making to destroy the images in the churches, united all Italy. A council was held at Rome, which anathematized the Iconoclasts. In retaliation, the Sicilian and other estates of the Church were confiscated. Gregory III., who in the mean time succeeded to the papacy, continued the policy of his predecessor. The emperor was defied. A fleet, which he fitted out in support of the exarch, was lost in a storm. With this termination of the influence of Constantinople in Italy came the imminent danger that the pope must acknowledge the supremacy of the Lombards. In his distress Gregory turned to Charles Martel. He sent him the keys of the sepulchre of St. Peter, and implored his assistance. The die was cast. Papal Rome revolted from her sovereign, and became indissolubly bound to the barbarian kingdoms. To France a new dynasty was given, to the pope temporal power, and to the west of Europe a fictitious Roman empire. The monks had thus overcome the image-breaking emperors, a result which proves them to have already become a formidable power in the state. It is necessary, for a proper understanding of the great events with which henceforth they were connected, to describe their origin and history. In the iconoclastic quarrel they are to be regarded as the representatives of the common people in contradistinction to the clergy; often, indeed, the representatives of the populace, infected with all its instincts of superstition and fanaticism. They are the upholders of miracle
HISTORY OF MONASTICISM. 315
cures, invocation of saints, worship of images, clamorous asserters of a unity of faith in the Church-a unity which they never practiced, but which offered a convenient pretext for a bitter persecution of heresy and paganism, though they were more than half pagan themselves. It was their destiny to impress on the practical life of Europe that mixture of Christianity and heathenism engendered by political events in Italy and Greece. Yet, while they thus co-operated in subsequent great affairs, they themselves exhibited, in the most signal improvement manner, the force of that law of continuous variation of opinion and habits to which all enduring communities of men must submit. Born of superstition, obscene in their early life, they end in luxury, refinement, learning. Theirs is a history to which we may profitably attend. From very early times there had been in India zealots who, actuated by a desire of removing themselves from the temptations of society and preparing for another life, retired into solitary places. Such also were the Essenes among the Jews, and the Therapeutae in Egypt. Pliny speaks of the blameless life of the former when he says, "They are the companions of palms;" nor does he hide his astonishment at an immortal society in which no one is ever born. Their example was not lost upon more devout Christians, particularly after the influence of Magianism began to be felt. Though it is sometimes said that the first of these hermits were Anthony and Paulus, they doubtless are to be regarded as only having rendered themselves more illustrious by their superior sanctity among a crowd of worthies who had preceded them or were their contemporaries. As early as the second and third centuries the practice of retirement had commenced among Christians; soon after it had become common. The date of Hilarion is about A.D. 328, of Basil A.D. 360. Regarding prayer as the only occupation in which man may profitably engage, they gave no more attention to the body than the wants of nature absolutely demanded. A little dried fruit or bread for food, and water for drink, was sufficient for its support; occasionally a particle of salt might be added, but the use of warm water was looked upon as betraying a tendency to luxury. The incentives to many of their rules of life might excite a smile, if it were right to smile at the acts of earnest men. Some, like the innocent Essenes, who would do nothing whatever on the Sabbath, observed the day before as a fast, rigorously abstaining from food and drink, that nature might not force them into sin on the morrow. For some, it was not enough, by the passive means of abstinence, to refrain from fault or reduce the body to subjection, though starvation is the antidote for desire; the more active, and, perhaps, more effectual operation of periodical flagellations and bodily torture were added. Ingenuity was taxed to find new means of personal infliction. A hermit who
316 HERMITS, AERIAL AND SOLITARY.
never permitted himself to sleep more than an hour without being awakened endured torments not inferior to those of the modern fakir, who crosses his arms on the top of his head, and keeps them there for years, until they are wasted to the bone, or suspends himself to a pole by means of a hook inserted in the flesh of his back. Among the Oriental sects there are some who believe that the Supreme Being is perpetually occupied with the contemplation of himself, and that the nearer man can approach to a state of total inaction the more will he resemble God. For successive years the Indian sage never raises his eyes from his navel; absorbed in the profound contemplation of it, his perennial reverie is unbroken by any outward suggestions, the admiring by-standers administering, as chance offers, the little food and water that his wants require. Under the influence of similar ideas, in the fifth century, St. Simeon Stylites, who in his youth had often been saved from suicide, by ascending a column he had built, sixty feet in height, and only one foot square at the top, departed as far as he could from earthly affairs, and approached more closely to heaven. Upon this elevated retreat, to which he was fastened by a chain, he endured, if we may believe the incredible story, for thirty years the summer's sun and the winter's frost. From afar the passer-by was edified by seeing the motionless figure of the holy man, with outstretched arms like a cross, projected against the sky, in his favorite attitude of prayer, or expressing his thankfulness for the many mercies of which he supposed himself to be the recipient by rapidly striking his forehead against his knees. Historians relate that a curious spectator counted twelve hundred and forty-four of these motions, and then abstained through fatigue from any farther tally, though the unwearied exhibition was still going on. This "most holy aerial martyr," as Evagrius calls him, attained at last his reward, and Mount Telenissa witnessed a vast procession of devout admirers accompanying to the grave his mortal remains. More commonly, however, the hermit declined the conspicuous notoriety of these "holy birds," as they were called by the profane, and, retiring to some cave in the desert, despised the comforts of life, and gave himself up to penance and prayer. Among men who had thus altogether exalted themselves aboye the wants of the flesh, there was no toleration for its lusts. The sinfulness of the marriage relation, and the pre-eminent value of chastity, followed from their principles. If it was objected to such practices that by their universal adoption the human species would soon be extinguished, and no man would remain to offer praises to God, these zealots, remembering the temptations from which they had escaped, with truth replied that there would always be sinners enough in the world to avoid that disaster, and that out of their evil works good would be brought. St. Jerome
MENTAL CONDITION OF HERMITS. 317
offers us the pregnant reflection that, though it may be marriage that fills the earth, it is virginity that replenishes heaven. If they were not recorded by many truthful authors, the extravagancies of some of these enthusiasts would pass belief. Men and women ran naked upon all fours, associating themselves with the beasts of the field. In the spring season, when the grass is tender, the grazing hermits of Mesopotamia went forth to the plains, sharing with the cattle their filth and their food. Of some, notwithstanding a weight of evidence, the stupendous biography must tax their admirers' credulity. It is affirmed that St. Ammon had never seen his own body uncovered; that an angel carried him on his back over a river which he was obliged to cross; that at his death he ascended to heaven through the skies, St. Anthony being an eye-witness of the event-St. Anthony, who was guided to the hermit Paulus by a centaur; that Didymus never spoke to a human being for ninety years. From the Jewish anchorites, who of old sought a retreat beneath the shade of the palms of Engaddi, who beguiled their weary hours in the chanting of psalms by the bitter waters of the Dead Sea; from the philosophic Hindu, who sought for happiness in bodily inaction and mental exercise, to these Christian solitaries, the stages of delusion are numerous and successive. It would not be difficult to present examples of each step in the career of debasement. To one who is acquainted with the working and accidents of the human brain, it will excite no surprise that an asylum for those hermits who had become hopelessly insane was instituted at Jerusalem. The biographies of these recluses, for ages a source of consolation to the faithful in their temptations, are not to be regarded as mere works of fiction, though they abound in supernatural occurrences, and are the forerunners of the dsemonology of the Middle Ages. The whole world was a scene of dsemoniac adventures, of miracles and wonders. So far from being mere impostures, they relate nothing more than may be witnessed at any time under similar conditions. In the brain of man, impressions of whatever he has seen or heard, of whatever has been made manifest to him by his other senses, nay, even the vestiges of his former thoughts, are stored up. These traces are most vivid at first, but, by degrees, they decline in force, though they probably never completely die out. During our waking hours, while we are perpetually receiving new impressions from things that surround us, such vestiges are overpowered, and cannot attract the attention of the mind. But in the period of sleep, when external influences cease, they present themselves to our regard, and the mind, submitting to the delusion, groups them into the fantastic forms of dreams. By the use of opium and other drugs which can blunt our sensibility to passing events, these phantasms may be made to emerge. They also offer themselves in the delirium of fevers and in the hour of death.
318 EXPLANATION OF THEIR TEMPTATION.
It is immaterial in what manner or by what agency our susceptibility to the impressions of surrounding objects is benumbed, whether by drugs or sleep, or disease, as soon as their force is no greater than that of forms already registered in the brain, these last will emerge before us, and dreams or apparitions are the result. So liable is the mind to practice deception on itself, that with the utmost difficulty it is aware of the delusion. No man can submit to long-continued and' rigorous fasting without becoming the subject of these hallucinations; and the more he enfeebles his organs of sense, the more vivid is the exhibition, the more profound the deception. An ominous sentence may perhaps be incessantly whispered in his ear; to his fixed and fascinated eye some grotesque or abominable object may perpetually present itself. To the hermit, in the solitude of his cell, there doubtless often did appear, by the uncertain light of his lamp, obscene shadows of diabolical import; doubtless there was many an agony with fiends, many a struggle with monsters, satyrs, and imps, many an earnest, solemn, and manful controversy with Satan himself, who sometimes came as an aged man, sometimes with a countenance of horrible intelligence, and sometimes as a female fearfully beautiful. St. Jerome, who, with the utmost difficulty, had succeeded in extinguishing all carnal desires, ingenuously confesses how sorely he was tried by this last device of the enemy, how nearly the ancient flames were rekindled. As to the reality of these apparitions, why should a hermit be led to suspect that they arose from the natural working of his own brain? Men never dream that they are dreaming. To him they were terrible realities; to us they should be the proofs of insanity, but not of imposture. If, in the prison discipline of modern times, it has been found that solitary confinement is a punishment too dreadful for the most hardened convict to bear, and that, if persisted in, it is liable to end in insanity, how much more quickly must that unfortunate condition have been induced when the trials of religious distress and the physical enfeeblement arising from rigorous fastings and incessant watchings were added. To the dreadful ennui which precedes that state, one of the ancient monks pathetically alludes when he relates how often he went forth and returned to his cell, and gazed on the sun as if he hastened too slowly to his setting. And yet such fearful solitude is but of brief duration. Even though we fly to the desert we cannot be long alone. Cut off from social converse, the mind of man engenders companions for itself-companions like the gloom from which they have emerged. It was thus that to St. Anthony appeared the Spirit of Fornication, under the form of a lascivious negro boy; it was thus that multitudes of demons of horrible aspect cruelly beat him nearly to death, the brave old man defying them to the last, and telling them that he did not wish to be spared one of their blows; it was thus that in the night,
CEREBRAL SIGHT, OR INVERSE VISION. 319
with hideous laughter, they burst into his cell, under the form of lions, serpents, scorpions, asps, lizards, panthers, and wolves, each attacking him in its own way; thus that when, in his dire extremity, he lifted his eyes for help, the roof disappeared, and amid beams of light the Savior looked down; thus it was with the enchanted silver dish that Satan gave him, which, being touched, vanished in smoke; thus with the gigantic bats and centaurs, and the two lions that helped him to scratch a grave for Paul. The images that may thus emerge from the brain have been classed by physiologists among the phenomena of inverse vision, or cerebral sight. Elsewhere I have given a detailed investigation of their nature (Human Physiology, p. 401), and, persuaded that they have played a far more important part in human thought than is commonly supposed, have thus expressed myself: " Men in every part of the world, even among nations the most abject and barbarous, have an abiding faith not only in the existence of a spirit that animates us, but also in its immortality. Of these there are multitudes who have been shut out from all communion with civilized countries, who have never been enlightened by revelation, and who are mentally incapable of reasoning out for themselves arguments in support of those great truths. Under such circumstances, it is not very likely that the uncertainties of tradition, derived from remote ages, could be any guide tothem, for traditions soon disappear except they be connected with the wants of daily life. Can there be, in a philosophical view, any thing more interesting than the manner in which these defects have been provided for by implanting in the very organization of every man the means of constantly admonishing him of these facts-of recalling them with an unexpected vividness before him even after they have become so faint as almost to die out? Let him be as debased and benighted a savage as he may, shut out from all communion with races whom Providence has placed in happier circumstances, he has still the same organization, and is liable to the same physiological incidents as ourselves. Like us, he sees in his visions the fading forms of landscapes which are perhaps connected with some of his most grateful recollections, and what other conclusion can he possibly derive from these unreal pictures than that they are the foreshadowings of another land beyond that in which his lot is cast. Like us, he is revisited at intervals by the resemblances of those whom he has loved or hated while they were alive, nor can he ever be so brutalized as not to discern in such manifestations suggestions which to him are incontrovertible proofs of the existence and immortality of the soul. Even in the most refined social conditions we are never able to shake off the impressions of these occurrences, and are perpetually drawing from them the same conclusions as did our uncivilized ancestors. Our more elevated condition of life in no
320 DEVELOPMENT OF EREMITISM INTO MONASTICISM.
respect relieves us from the inevitable consequences of our own organization any more than it relieves us from infirmities and disease. In these respects, all over the globe we are on an equality. Savage or civilized, we carry within us a mechanism intended to present to us mementoes of the most solemn facts with which we can be concerned, and the voice of history tells us that it has ever been true to its design. It wants only moments of repose or sickness, when the influence of external things is diminished, to come into full play, and these are precisely the moments when we are best prepared for the truths it is going to suggest. Such a mechanism is in keeping with the manner in which the course of nature is fulfilled, and bears in its very style the impress of invariability of action. It is no respecter of persons. It neither permits the haughtiest to be free from its monitions, nor leaves the humblest without the consolation of a knowledge of another life. Liable to no mischances, open to no opportunities of being tampered with by the designing or interested, requiring no extraneous human agency for its effect, but always present with each man wherever he may go, it marvelously extracts from vestiges of the impressions of the past overwhelming proofs of the reality of the future, and gathering its power from what would seem to be a most unlikely source, it insensibly leads us, no matter who or where we may be, to a profound belief in the immortal and imperishable, from phantoms that have scarcely made their appearance before they are ready to vanish away." From such beginnings the monastic system of Europe arose- that system which presents us with learning in the place of ferocious ignorance, with overflowing charity to mankind in the place of malignant hatred of society. The portly abbot on his easy-going palfrey, his hawk upon his fist, scarce looks like the lineal descendant of the hermit starved into insanity. How wide the interval between the monk of the third and the monk of the thirteenth century-between the caverns of Thebais and majestic monasteries hiding the relics of ancient learning, the hopes of modern philosophy-between the butler arranging his well-stocked larder, and the jug of cold water and crust of bread. A thousand years had turned starvation into luxury, and alas! if the spoilers of the Reformation are to be believed, had converted visions of loveliness into breathing and blushing realities, who exercised their charms with better effect than of old their phantom sisters had done. The successive stages to this end may be briefly described. Around the cell of some eremite like Anthony, who fixed his retreat on Mount Colzim, a number of humble imitators gathered, emulous of his austerities and of his piety. A similar sentiment impels them to observe stated hours of prayer. Necessity for supporting the body indicates some pursuit of idle industry, the plaiting of mats or
SPREAD OF MONASTICISM. 321
making of baskets. So strong is the instinctive tendency of man to association, that even communities of madmen may organize. Hilarion is said to have been the first who established a monastic community. Perhaps it may have been so. He went into the desert when he was only fifteen years old. Eremitism thus gave birth to Coenobitism, and the evils of solitude were removed. Yet still there remained rigorous anchorites who renounced their associated brethren as they had renounced the world, and the monastery was surrounded by their circle of solitary cells-a Laura, it was called. In Egypt, the sandy deserts on each side of the rich valley of the river offered great facilities for such a mode of life: that of Nitria was full of monks, the climate being mild, and the wants of man satisfied with ease. It is said that there were at one time in that country of these religious recluses not less than seventy-six thousand males and twenty-seven thousand females. With countless other uncouth forms, under the hot sun of that climate they seemed to be spawned from the mud of the Nile. As soon as from some celebrated hermitage a monastery had formed, the associates submitted to the rules of brotherhood. Their meal, eaten in silence, consisted of bread and water, oil, and a little salt. The bundle of papyrus which had served the monk for a seat by day, while he made his baskets or mats, served him for a pillow by night. Twice he was roused from his sleep by the sound of a horn to offer up his prayers. The culture of superstition was compelled by inexorable rules. A discipline of penalties, confinement, fasting, whipping, and, at a later period, even mutilation, was inflexibly administered. From Egypt and Syria monachism spread like an epidemic. It was first introduced into Italy by Athanasius, assisted by some of the disciples of Anthony; but Jerome, whose abode was in Palestine, is celebrated for the multitude of converts he made to a life of retirement. Under his persuasion, many of the high-born ladies of Rome were led to the practice of monastic habits, as far as was possible, in secluded spots near that city, on the ruins of temples, and even in the Forum. Some were induced to retreat to the Holy Land, after bestowing their wealth for pious purposes. The silent monk insinuated himself into the privacy of families for the purpose of making proselytes by stealth. Soon there was not an unfrequented island in the Mediterranean, no desert shore, no gloomy valley, no forest, no glen, no volcanic crater, that did not witness exorbitant selfishness made the rule of life. There were multitudes of hermits on the desolate coasts of the Black Sea. They abounded from the freezing Tanais to the sultry Tabenn6. In rigorous personal life and in supernatural power the West acknowledged no inferiority to the East; his admiring imitators challenged even the desert of Thebais to produce the equal of Martin of Tours. The solitary anchorite was soon supplanted by the coenobitic establishment, X
322 EASTERN AND WESTERN MONK.
the monastery. It became a fashion among the rich to give all that they had to these institutions for the salvation of their own souls. There was now no need of basket-making or the weaving of mats. The brotherhood increased rapidly. Whoever wanted to escape from the barbarian invaders, or to avoid the hardships of serving in the imperial army -whoever had become discontented with his worldly affairs, or saw in those dark times no inducements in a home and family of his own, found in the monastery a sure retreat. The number of these religious houses eventually became very great. They were usually placed on the most charming and advantageous sites, their solidity and splendor illustrating the necessity of erecting durable habitations for societies that were immortal. It often fell out that the Church laid claim to the services of some distinguished monk. It was significantly observed that the road to ecclesiastical elevation lay through the monastery porch, and often ambition contentedly wore for a season the cowl, that it might seize more surely the mitre. Though the monastic system of the East included labor, it was greatly inferior to that of the West in that particular. The Oriental monk, at first making selfishness his rule of life, and his own salvation the grand object, though all the world else should perish, in his maturer period occupied his intellectual powers in refined disputations of theology. Too often he exhibited his physical strength in the furious riots he occasioned in the streets of the great cities. He was a fanatic and insubordinate. On the other hand, the Occidental monk showed far less disposition for engaging in the discussion of things above reason, and expended his strength in useful and honorable labor. Beneath his hand the wilderness became a garden. To a considerable extent this difference was due to physiological peculiarity, and yet it must not be concealed that the circumstances of life in the cases were not without their effects. The old countries of the East, with their wornout civilization and worn-out soil, offered no inducements comparable with the barbarous but young and fertile West, where to the ecclesiastic the most lovely and inviting lands were open. Both, however, coincided in this, that they regarded the affairs of life as presenting perpetual interpositions of a providential or rather supernatural kind angels and devils being in continual conflict for the soul of every man, who might become the happy prize of the one or the miserable prey of the other. These spiritual powers were perpetually controlling the course of nature and giving rise to prodigies. The measure of holiness in a saint was the number of miracles he had worked. Thus, in the life of St. Benedict, it is related that when his nurse Cyrilla let fall a stone sieve, her distress was changed into rejoicing by the prayer of the holy child, at which the broken parts came together and were made whole; that once, on receiving his food in a basket, let down to his otherwise
MIRACLES OF THE MIDDLE AGES. 323
inaccessible cell, the devil vainly tried to vex him by breaking the rope; that once Satan, assuming the form of a blackbird, nearly blinded him by flapping his wings; that once, too, the same tempter appeared as a beautiful Roman girl, to whose fascinations, in his youth, St. Benedict had been sensible, and from which he now hardly escaped by rolling himself among thorns. Once, when his austere rules and severity excited the resentment of the monastery over which he was abbot, the brethren-for monks have been known to do such things-attempted to poison him, but the cup burst asunder as soon as he took it into his hands. When the priest Florentius, being wickedly disposed, attempted to perpetrate a like crime by means of an adulterated loaf, a raven carried away the deadly bread from the hand of St. Benedict. Instructed by the devil, the same ecclesiastic drove from his neighborhood the holy man, by turning into the garden of his monastery seven naked girls; but scarcely had the saint taken to flight, when the chamber in which his persecutor lived fell in and buried him beneath its ruins, though the rest of the house was uninjured. Under the guidance of two visible angels, who walked before him, St. Benedict continued his journey to Monte Casino, where he erected a noble monastery; but even here miracles did not cease; for Satan bewitched the stones, so that it was impossible for the masons to move them until they were released by powerful prayers. A boy, who had stolen from the monastery to visit his parents, was not only struck dead by God for his fault, but the consecrated ground threw forth his body when they attempted to bury it, nor could it be made to rest until the consecrated bread was laid upon it. Two garrulous nuns, who had been excommunicated by St. Benedict for their perverse prating, chanced to be buried in the church. On the next administration of the sacrament, when the deacon commanded all those who did not communicate to depart, the corpses rose out of their graves and walked forth from the church. Volumes might be filled with such wonders, which edified the religious for centuries, exacting implicit belief, and being regarded as of equal authority with the miracles of the Holy Scriptures. Though monastic life rested upon the principle of social abnegation, monasticism, in singular contradiction thereto, contained within itself the principle of organization. As early as A.D. 370, St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, incorporated the hermits and coenobites of his diocese into one order, called after him the Basilian. One hundred and fifty years later, St. Benedict, under a milder rule, o rganized those who have passed under his name, and found for them occupation in suitable employments of manual and intellectual labor. In the ninth century, another Benedict revised the rule of the order, and made it more austere.. Offshoots soon arose, as those of Clugni, A.D. 900; the Carthusians, A.D. 1084; the Cistercians, A.D. 1098. A favorite pursuit among
324 CIVILIZING AGENCY OF THE MONK.
them being literary labor, they introduced great improvements in the copying of manuscripts; and in their illumination and illustration are found the germs of the restoration of painting and the invention of cursive handwriting. St. Benedict enjoined his order to collect books. It has been happily observed that he forgot to say any thing about their nature, supposing that they must all be religious. The Augustinians were founded in the eleventh century. They professed, however, to be a restoration of the society founded ages before by St. Augustine. The influence to which monasticism attained may be judged of from the boast of the Benedictines that "Pope John XXII., who died in 1334, after an exact inquiry, found that, since the first rise of the order, there had been of it 24 popes, near 200 cardinals, 7000 archbishops, 15,000 bishops, 15,000 abbots of renown, above 4000 saints, and upward of 37,000 monasteries. There have been likewise, of this order, 20 emperors and 10 empresses, 47 kings and above 50 queens, 20 sons of emperors, and 48 sons of kings; about 100 princesses, daughters of kings and emperors; besides dukes, marquises, earls, countesses, etc., innumerable. The order has produced a vast number of authors and other learned men. Their Rabanus set up the school of Germany. Their Alcuin founded the University of Paris. Their Dionysius Exiguus perfected ecclesiastical computation. Their Guido invented the scale of music; their Sylvester, the organ. They boast to have produced Anselm, Ildefonsus, and the Venerable Bede." We too often date the Christianization of a community from the conversion of its sovereign, but it is not in the nature of things that that should change the hearts of men. Of what avail is it if a barbarian chieftain drives a horde of his savages through the waters of a river by way of extemporaneous or speedy baptism? Such outward forms are of little moment. It was mainly by the monasteries that the peasant class of Europe were pointed the way to civilization. The devotions and charities; the austerities of the brethren; their absterious meal; their meagre clothing, the cheapest of the country in which they lived; their shaven heads, or the cowl which shut out the sight of sinful objects; the long staff in their hands; their naked feet and legs; their passing forth on their journeys by twos, each a watch upon his brother; the prohibitions against eating outside of the wall of the monastery, which had its own mill, its own bake-house, and whatever was needed in an abstemious domestic economy; their silent hospitality to the wayfarer, who was refreshed in a separate apartment; the lands around their buildings turned from a wilderness into a garden, and, above all, labor exalted and ennobled by their holy hands, and celibacy, forever, in the eye of the vulgar, a proof of separation from the world and a sacrifice to heaven-these were the things that arrested the attention of the barbarians of Europe, and led them on to civilization.
ULTIMATE EFFECTS OF MONASTICISM. 325
In our own material age, the advocates of the monastery have plaintively asked,Where now shall we find an asylum for the sinner who is sick of the world-for the man of contemplation in his old age, or for the statesman who is tired of affairs? It was through the leisure procured by their wealth that the monasteries produced so many cultivators of letters, and transmitted to us the literary relics of the old times. It was a fortunate day when the monk turned from the weaving of mats to the copying of manuscripts-a fortunate day when he began to compose those noble hymns and strains of music which will live forever. From the " Dies Irs" there rings forth grand poetry even in monkish Latin. The perpetual movements of the monastic orders gave life to the Church. The Protestant admits that to a resolute monk the Reformation was due. With these pre-eminent merits, the monastic institution had its evils. Through it was spread that dreadful materialization of religion which, for so many ages, debased sacred things; through it that worse than pagan apotheosis, which led to the adoration-for such it really was-of dead men; through it were sustained relics and lying miracles, the belief in falsehoods so prodigious as to disgrace the common sense of man. The apostles and martyrs of old were forgotten; nay, even the worship of God was forsaken for shrines that could cure all diseases, and relics that could raise the dead. Through it was developed that intense selfishness which hesitated at no sacrifice either of the present or the future, so far as this life is concerned, in order to insure personal happiness in the next-a selfishness which, in the delusion of the times, passed under the name of piety; and the degree of abasement from the dignity of a man was made the measure of the merit of a monk.