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even Socinian sense. It is not our purpose to follow out the course of this intricate controversy, but simply to state its most prominent facts. The pope tried his usual policy of coercion. Felix being invited to Rome was there imprisoned. In his dungeon he recanted; but on his liberation and return to his diocese, he relapsed into his heretical opinions. Charlemagne now interfered, and employed Alcuin to write to those bishops who had distinguished themselves by their reception and advocacy of the new doctrine. Felix wrote a very able and temperate treatise in reply, in which he professed himself open to conviction, but as yet unconvinced. This having been read to Charlemagne, he requested Alcuin to prepare an answer to it. To this Alcuin said, that for a single individual to take upon himself to pronounce upon a doctrine so novel and important as that now brought under consideration would be inconsistent with Christian humility. He therefore proposed that a copy of the treatise of Felix should be sent to the pope, the patriarch of Aquileia, the bishop of Orleans, and the bishop of Treves, and that each of them should be requested to prepare an answer to it independently of the others. If they agreed in their condemnation of it, and in their arguments against it, this would be strong proof of their common truth and of its falsity ; but if they disagreed, then the language and arguments of each should be tested by an appeal to Scripture and the orthodox fathers. This proposal is very
remarkable, coming from so staunch an advocate of the papacy as Alcuin, implying as it does that even he attributed to the pope no authoritative and decisive voice in matters of faith.
The reply prepared by Alcuin and the other bishops was ultimately read to Charlemagne, who suggested some alterations in it, which were adopted. Felix, however, remained unconvinced by the combined efforts of royal and episcopal reasonings. Charlemagne, therefore, anxious for the restoration of peace and amity to the Frank churches, invited him to a conference with the orthodox bishops, where their differences of doctrine might be calmly and tranquilly discussed.
The proposal was accepted, and the conference held in the palace at Aix la Chapelle in the year 799. The gentle and pious conduct of Alcuin prepared the way for the reception of his arguments. Ultimately Felix confessed himself convinced, * and by his influence upwards of ten thousand persons returned into the bosoin of the church-persons who, if the papal system of persecution had been persisted in, would doubtless have been repelled into the barren and dreary wastes of Arianism. Alcuin, speaking of the affair, modestly says : "Divine
* It is, however, more than questionable whether he ever thoroughly and cordially abandoned the doctrine of Adoptionism. His conviction of its truth seems to have been shaken, and he consented, for the sake of peace, to keep silence upon what he felt to be a doubtful speculation,
grace visiting his heart, he confessed that he had been seduced into an unauthorized and false opinion."
We have dwelt somewhat at large on these two controversies, partly from their intrinsic importance, and partly from the evidence they afford of the deep interest which Charlemagne took in religious truth, and his determination to defend it against the encroachments of superstition on the one hand, and of rationalistic scepticism on the other.
During the course of these events, on the 25th December, 795, Adrian expired. He had filled the papal chair during the whole reign of Charlemagne, who seems to have sincerely lamented his death, and is said to have burst into tears when it was announced to him. On the day after the death of Adrian, Leo III. was elected his successor. Immediately on his accession, the new pontiff despatched legates to Charlemagne bearing the keys and standard of the city in token of allegiance, and at the same time requesting that he would send officers “ to administer the oath to the people of Rome that they would be faithful and submissive to him." This is a sufficient proof of itself that the pope was so far from claiming the sovereignty of Rome, and that the people were so far from admitting it, that both agreed in acknowledging Charlemagne as their temporal prince. Four years
after the elevation of Leo to the pontificate, the discontent of the Romans broke out into violent insurrection against him. On
the 25th April, 799, as the pope was walking at the head of a procession of clergy and penitents, he was seized by a band of conspirators, led on by the canon Pascal and the sacristan Campulus. They threatened to murder the feeble old man who had fallen into their hands, but, touched with pity for his infirmities and reverence for his office, they contented themselves with shutting him up in prison. His escape from their hands, which was effected by the aid of his chamberlain, was magnified into a miracle. It was, moreover, affirmed that his tongue had been cut out and his eyes plucked from their sockets,
but that they were miraculously restored. The tidings of this outrage and the pope's escape, with all the marvellous embellishments, were communicated to Charlemagne, who was at that time assembling his troops at the sources of the Lippe to chastise some of the tribes beyond the Rhine. He despatched officers to receive the pope with due honour, and to bring him to Paderborn, where he awaited his arrival. It was the first time the bishop of Rome had crossed the Rhine or been seen so far northward. Charlemagne received him with due reverence, presented him to the homage of the assembled troops, heard his report of the affair and his protestation of entire innocence of the infamous charges brought against hiin, sent him back to Rome with a sufficient guard to protect him from further outrage, and promised to follow him as speedily as possible, to acquaint himself
with the truth of the case and render justice to both parties.
Having made a rapid tour of his dominions to insure peace during his absence, he reached Rome on the 24th November, 800, and at once convened a court, consisting of the Frank and Roman lords, and as many archbishops, bishops, and abbots as could be assembled. Having announced to them that his principal object in visiting Rome was to investigate the charges against the pope, he was about to proceed with the case when the whole clergy rose and said, that it was not competent for them to sit in judgment upon their ecclesiastical superior. The court was then broken up, and the proceedings stayed. Whether Charlemagne would have proceeded with the lay lords alone in the matter, we caunot tell, as the pope offered to exculpate himself and attest his innocence by oath, which he did in public, standing in the pulpit of St. Peter in the Vatican. The proceedings were thus quashed, and the principal enemies of Leo were either imprisoned or sent into exile.
It was on the occasion of this visit to Rome, and just one month after his arrival, that the pope crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans, as narrated in the first chapter of this volume. Having remained for three months longer, to adjust fully and finally the quarrels between the pope and the people, Charlemagne left Rome for the last time, travelled through Italy, visiting each town of importance in his