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adopts every new-born babe by its mystic rite of baptism; it watches over and teaches every growing child; it regulates the marriage contract, and the solemn rites of burial; it guides, through the confessional, every scruple of conscience, every impulse of devotion, every affection of the heart; it offers or withholds, on its own terms, the soul's peace on earth, and its salvation in eternity.

We see it, in the person of its pontiffs, maintaining conflict or alliance, on equal terms, with the powers of the world. At its will, it lifts up the lowly, or tramples on the proud. To haughty feudal chiefs it dictates its haughtier counsel or command. Upon a rebellious subject it puts the terrible brand of excommunication. Over a stubborn and proud realm it spreads the awful shadow of its interdict. It is a party to all treaties, an accomplice in all state intrigues, a power behind the throne mightier than the throne itself. It courts alliance with sovereign, nobility, or people, as its policy requires. Here it warily concedes, there it imperiously commands; sets its foot on a German emperor's neck, and gives its license of conquest to a Norman duke; protests against an English Magna Charta, and defies the French States General; refuses to own allegiance to any earthly sovereign, and asserts in the name of God its authority to make or unmake kings.

We see it, in the person of its religious orders, penetrating to every nook and hamlet, ruling the popular passion and imagination, no less than the counsel of courts, by its imperious word. It stirs men's minds by its enthusiastic appeal, sends forth its enormous hosts under the banner of the cross to battle in the Holy Land, defends the frontiers of its empire by the fanatic hate it breathes against heretic and infidel. By the same insidious, penetrating might, it arms the invincible valor of its military monks to war with infidel abroad, and the implacable fanaticism of its mendicant monks to hunt down heresy at home; with its right hand upholding the once glorious Order of the Temple, with its left the merciless police of the Inquisition.

We see its matchless skill and power employed in the accumulation of enormous wealth. The terrors of a death-bed, the popular fear of the approaching end of the world, the en

thusiasm that equipped the armies of the Crusaders, and the disorders of their impoverished estates, all are wrought on to fill the treasuries of the Church. It turns its doctrine of Purgatory to profitable account, and sets a fixed price on its masses for the dead. It makes a traffic of penance and indulgences. It seizes lands under forged charters, and claims the administration of intestate estates. It owns half the property of England, and a nearly like proportion of France and Germany. It profits even by the violence of robbers and plunderers. "Those very men who, in the hour of sickness and impending death, showered the gifts of expiatory devotion upon its altars, had passed the sunshine of their lives in sacrilegious plunder." Thus its power is extended and increased in a thousand hidden ways, aiming apparently at an absolute monopoly of men's temporal as well as spiritual estate; - a power employed often in behalf of the enslaved and poor, to loose the heavy burden, and let the oppressed go free; often, to feed the vices and the pride of some bishop-sovereign, and strengthen upon the kingdoms the grasp of the heavy hand of Rome.

We see its pomp of priests, with chant and lighted taper and silver bell, striking the rude mind of ignorant barbarism with awe, as a holy spell or oracle; its hermits, in their dreary and austere seclusion; its trains of pilgrims, with bead and cockle-shell; its palmers, journeying from shrine to shrine, and bearing the fragrant memory of the Holy Land ; its barefoot friars, sworn to beggary, and wrangling whether Jesus and his disciples, in their common treasury, held any goods at all. We see its secluded abbey, in some smiling valley by the water-side, a centre of culture, peace, and religious veneration, almost under the shadow of the frowning castle of some feudal lord; its stately cathedral, looming large amid the dark and lowly dwellings of the city, the daring and vast proportions, the intricate perfection of workmanship, challenging all modern rivalry; its statuary and painting, that from rude beginnings reach gradually the topmost height of sacred Art; its universities, thronged by great armies of

* Hallam.

young men, first the fond care, then the arbiter, at last the invincible rival of the Church itself in the realm of intellect. To these we add the troubled yet stirring story of feudalism, as it slowly shaped itself toward modern monarchy; the gorgeous associations of chivalry, throwing its fitful grace over the barbarism of perpetual strife; the thrilling adventure of the Crusades; the stern devotion and fatal pride of the military orders, that from champions became at last the victims of ecclesiastical policy.

Such is part of the tradition of that wondrous Middle Age, whose memory haunts our imagination, whose monuments impress our eye, whose shadow still alarms our fear, as the most amazing, august, and terrible of human things. Such are some of the features of that unique type of ecclesiastical civilization, whose animating spirit was the Catholic hierarchy, and its executive head the Pope of Rome.

The period covered by Mr. Milman's History includes the rise, the culmination, and the decline of that spiritual empire, which, built on the ruins of Pagan Rome, inherited its destiny of ten centuries' dominion. The history of Latin Christianity, as here exhibited, terminates some sixty years before the time of the Reformation; and so omits that great period of preparation -the era of discoveries and inventions, of the revival of learning, of wars and policies on a grander scale, of the new relations of Christian states growing out of the expulsion of the Moors and the fall of Constantinople—which ushered in the great revolutions of the sixteenth century. These are left, more fitly perhaps, as belonging to the modern world. Visibly, the fabric of the Middle Age perished like a nightvision before the light that dawned in the North. A clearer historical sense sees how it was sapped and undermined, a hundred years earlier, by the Councils that recast the principles of the Papacy, and by the free conscience which the terrors of the Church could no longer silence or overawe. But for great landmarks plainly seen, we still prefer the age and name of Paul, and Gregory, and Hildebrand, and Luther.

Mr. Milman takes the date A. D. 600, the age of Gregory the Great, as marking the time of "the final Christianization of the world," or, more strictly, of the mind of Western Eu

rope. After a century of struggle with barbarism, how faithfully and bravely waged it must have been, and backed by how slender forces surviving from the wreck of the old civilization, we may guess from the pages of Gregory of Tours, the spiritual power of the Church is secure, as against the claims of any known rival; and it sends out its champions to the swift conquests of the outlying Paganism. The noble and touching legends connected with the mission of Augustine in England, of Boniface in Germany, of Anschar in Scandinavia, are among the more familiar memories of this early history. They occupy successively the three succeeding centuries, the seventh, eighth, and ninth, during which the relations of the Church were getting settled with the new powers of the world, and the dignitaries of the Church were getting soiled with the first corruptions of their new secular alliances, and the boundaries of modern states were getting traced, dimly, in the realm of Charlemagne. Stately and grand to see, even at this distance of time, was that first Christian empire of the Franks, yet resting on a treacherous flood of barbarism only half subdued, and soon broken up, by the chafing of that wild tide, into the chaos of fragments which we know as the origin of Feudalism.

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We reckon, from St. Peter's legendary sojourn in the great Babylon of Rome, a full thousand years for the complete growth of the papal power, five hundred years from the complete disappearance of the old Empire before the irresistible flood of barbarism. This latter period of five centuries — which we call the Dark Age by way of distinction from the Middle Age offers, perhaps, as little to detain the careless reader as any equal length of time in all known history. To the Christian student, who traces the divine kingdom founded by the Son of Man in its conflict with sin and death, it is perhaps full as instructive as any. Besides the points we have just touched, it includes the first well-marked struggle between the centralism of Rome and the pride of nationality, represented by the names of Nicolas I. and the great prelate Hincmar, who ranks worthily at the head and origin of the Gallic Church. It includes the gradual attenuating and the final rupture of the vital cord which bound Latin to Greek, Western


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to Eastern Christendom. It includes the story of the great forgery of the "Isidorian Decretals," the most famous and successful falsehood of all history, which by hardy invention made up what was lacking in tradition, and furnished, for six centuries together, the legal or documentary basis of ecclesiastical power. It includes the distinct, clear development of a liberal philosophy by Erigena, and the controversy of divine grace and human will waged in so sorrowful earnest by Gottschalk. It includes the tragical passage, through the disorders of the tenth century, to that most sombre moment of recorded time, when men everywhere believed that the end of the world was close at hand; and the new hope, the grander ambition, that dawned upon them like clear morning out of that night of black despair, when Europe suddenly was "studded with cathedrals," and began to robe itself in the new pomps and splendors of what we know as the Middle Age.

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For near a thousand years the Christian empire has now been advancing towards maturity. And still, in the clash and jar of feudal strife, in the rise and gathering conflicts of the great Western monarchies, in the dependence of bishops on feudal chiefs, and especially in the weakness and corruption of the heads of the Church itself, it might seem as if the structure for which so many ages had been preparing must remain unbuilt, and that grand vision which had rapt the thought of so many generations must pass away as a shadow or a dream. For during this century the Popedom had been at its lowest degradation, — subject to licentious priests and imbecile boys, and the sacrilege of a sinful woman, and a false priest taught in Saracen arts of magic, seated by fraud in St. Peter's chair, —so men were ready to believe; so that for very scandal the strong arm of Otho had interfered, and Rome had become a fief of the German throne. It still required a long and apparently hopeless struggle a war, as Hallam says, of "fraud against force," we should rather say, of ecclesiastical zeal against feudal violence — to vindicate the independence of the Church; a still more hopeless and at length fatal struggle, to vindicate its purity. That struggle marks the third great period of ecclesiastical history.

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