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case was different. They had everything to lose and to suffer by a continuance of anarchy ; everything to gain by the re-establishment of order. Always surrounded by violence, and often attacked by it, their only defence was the moral power they could exert. To brute force they could simply oppose the influences of superior knowledge and religion, in their case aided by superstitious terrors.
From mere selfish considerations, and from personal interest, therefore, they were disposed to side with the emperor in his efforts to establish a strong central government, which could defend the weak against the strong.
It would be injustice to the church of that age to suppose that it advocated the cause of peace and civilization solely from interested motives. Whatever zeal there existed for learning and for art was almost confined to the monks and clergy. Amongst them the light of knowledge was not altogether extinguished. It burned, indeed, with a feeble and flickering flame it was almost buriedbut still it did burn. “ Ye are the light of the world," was in one sense true of the church in those chaotic ages; since, dark as it was, the world was darker still. The commission to “ go and teach all nations,” which has been the glory and duty of the church ever since the ascension of its Divine Master, has never been entirely lost sight of. The fact that, in these latter days, Rome has shown herself the implacable foe of education, must not blind us to
the fact, that Charlemagne could find aid in his educational projects only from the clergy. " Whatever reproach," says Mr. Macaulay,
may, at a later period, have been justly thrown on the indolence and luxury of the religious orders, yet, in that age of ignorance and violence, they afforded quiet cloisters and gardens in which the arts of peace could be safely cultivated ; in which gentle and contemplative natures could find an asylum ; in which one brother could employ himself in transcribing the Æneid of Virgil, and another in meditating the Analytic of Aristotle ; in which he who had a genius for art might illuminate a martyrology or carve a crucifix; and in which he who had a turn for natural philosophy might make experiments on the properties of plants and minerals. Had not such retreats been scattered here and there among the huts of a miserable peasantry, and the castles of a ferocious aristocracy, European society would have consisted merely of beasts of burden and beasts of prey. The church has many times been compared by divines to that ark of which we read in the book of Genesis ; but never was the resemblance more perfect than during that evil time when she alone rode, amidst darkness and tempests, on the deluge beneath which all the great works of ancient power and wisdom lay entombed, bearing within her that feeble germ from which a second and more glorious civilization was to spring." To the church, then, Charlemagne was compelled to turn in his
search for men who would or could co-operate with him in his great work. "In bearing this testimony to the merits of the ecclesiastics or that age, it may be proper to remark, that no admirers of these times can point to the services of the clergy in preserving literature as a ground for the revival of mediæval principles. It was because error had not entirely overshadowed the church that it still retained, in some degree, its character as a fosterer of letters. The age of true intellectual progress dates from the era of the Reformation.
Charlemagne was still further influenced in the favour with which he regarded the church hy the conviction, which we have already seen to have been present to his mind both in his military and his legislative policy, that religion was the great agency for civilizing Europe. Into whatever errors men may have fallen in the application of this principle, all history proves that the principle itself is a sound and true one. In every country and clime, from the burning sands of Africa to the perpetual snows of Greenland ; amongst the fierce tribes or ancient Scandinavia and the licentious indolence of Hindostan ; where the Indian yells his war whoop, and where the Negro sinks down in squalid degradation, Christianity has proved the great means of refining and elevating those who were inaccessible to or proof against any other influence. Every form of political organization, of philosophic speculation, of philanthropic endeavour, has been tried and failed ;
but godliness has proved itself to be profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, as well as that which is to come. These motives, together with his own personal religious emotions, made Charlemagne favourably disposed toward the papacy, and will explain much of his conduct with regard to that fallen and apostate church, which would otherwise be inexplicable. We proceed to trace out the history of his connexion and intercourse with it.
At the coronation of Pepin, as king of the Franks, the pope conferred upon him the office of patrician of Rome, thus putting that city under his government and protection. He had, indeed, no right to confer this title. The act was a direct and daring violation of the authority of the emperor of the east, whose subject he was. But as the Romish pontiff had resolved to throw off his allegiance to the old imperial power, he sought to effect his purpose by transferring it to the rising sovereignty of the Franks. That this office was to be no sinecure soon became evident, for Rome being attacked by the Lombards, Stephen, who was then pope,
crossed the Alps to implore in person aid in defence of the city. He was present at the Champ de Mai, in the year 754, and so eloquently pleaded his cause before the assembled warriors, that when he and his suite fell prostrate at the feet of the king, declaring that they would not rise till he promised to come to their succour, the whole people promptly flew to raise them from the earth, and though gene
rally indisposed to such distant and unprofitable expeditions as that into Italy was likely to prove, they yet entered upon the campaign with great ardour. Aistolphus, the Lombard king, was speedily defeated, and compelled to surrender the districts he had overrun. To this territory, the pope had not the slightest shadow of a claim, nor did he so much as pretend any. He was, indeed, proprietor of considerable landed estates, which had been bequeathed to him by the piety or superstition of preceding ages, but further right he had none. The district had been conquered by the Lombards, not from the pope, but from the Greek emperor. Pepin, however, having reconquered the territory, compelled Aistolphus to surrender it, not to its former and rightful sovereign, but " to God and the holy Roman republic," in other words, to the pope. In vain did the emperor protest against this invasion of his rights, and the profanation and prostitution of the sacred name employed to justify it. Pepin replied, that he had acted for the glory of God and the salvation of his soul, and no earthly power should compel him to retract.
This surrender of territory by the Lombards, however, was but nominal. As soon as Pepin had retired from Italy, Aistolphus again took possession of his former conquests. Stephen was, therefore, compelled once more to appeal to his new defenders and allies. His first request for aid had been made as a suppliant clad in sackcloth, but now, finding that he had