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or marry publicly? Ask them further, whether he is to be considered as having renounced the world whom we see daily, by all sorts of means, labouring to increase his possessions, sometimes employing threats of eternal flames, sometimes promises of everlasting blessedness; in the name of God, or of some saint, despoiling simple men of their property, to the infinite prejudice of the lawful heirs, who are often driven by poverty into crime.” To
repress the military habits of the prelates it was decreed :: “Henceforth let no priest engage in war, but let two or three chosen bishops attend the army, with a certain number of priests, to adıninister the rites of religion. What victory can be hoped for when the priests are at one hour administering the eucharist to Christians, and at the next slaying with their own wicked hands those who had received it, and to whom they ought to have been preaching Christ?”
While he thus endeavoured to check the rapacity, violence, and sloth of the clergy, he at the same time boldly protested against the superstitious practices they were introducing, as the following enactment will show :-“ Let no man suppose that God is to be prayed to in three languages * only, for God may be prayed to in every language, and man is heard in them if he ask just things.” (A.D. 794.) “Let care
* Probably the Greek, Latin, and German. The Romish church has since that time still further restricted the language of prayer to one of these.
be taken not to venerate the memory of doubtful martyrs or of false saints. Let no chapels be dedicated to the honour of such. (A.D. 789.)
Charlemagne, in his ecclesiastical legislation, did not rest satisfied with endeavouring to repress what was wrong; he addressed himself with equal wisdom and energy to the more difficult task of fitting the priesthood of his day for the discharge of their arduous and responsible duties. Especially did he seek to prompt them to a more diligent and efficient ministry of the word. This was the more important, as the Romish church had begun to regard religion as a mere round of ceremonial observances, and to teach that the sacraments were efficacious in procuring salvation apart from the state of feeling of the communicant. Hence it was deemed sufficient for the priest to recite the words of the service, though both himself and his hearers were ignorant of their meaning ; and to perform the prescribed rite, though insensible to its spiritual import and signifi
As a consequence of this reliance upon the mere words or ceremonies of religious services, the office of preaching became either altogether neglected, or so negligently performed as to be almost useless. Such is the inevitable consequence of the doctrine of sacramental salvation. By making religion consist in something else than the intelligent reception of the truth by faith, it puts into the background that preaching of the cross which seems “ to men foolishness," but which is still the
means by which “it hath pleased God to save them that believe.” It is by no external ordinance, whether of human or Divine institution, that the sinner is saved. We are "justified by faith," and "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is not by the utterance of certain mystical and ill understood words to the ear, nor the performance of a ceremonial, however dazzling or solemn, to the eye, but the intelligent appreciation and believing reception of spiritual truth, that the great ends of the gospel and the church are to be attained.
This the clear and vigorous mind of Charlemagne distinctly perceived. He therefore required that “
every priest should be able not only to recite the offices of devotion, but to expound them in plain and common language." The synod of Cloveshove enacted, that “the priest, at bis ordination, should be made to translate into the vulgar tongue of the people among whom he ministered, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the forms for the adininistration of baptism and the Lord's supper, and to explain them in the same; and that the priest should seek to understand the spiritual meaning of all the services and rites, so as not to be a dumb and senseless instrument while praying to God for the sins of the people, and exercising that ministry by which they were to attain everlasting life.” In this enactment we have a striking illustration of the ignorance of the clergy of that day, since so little was
required of them as necessary to the due discharge of their office.
In order to render to the above and similar decrees effective, it was ordered that “ schools should be established for the purpose of giving instruction in general learning, but most especially in the exposition of the Scriptures ; that thus a ministry might be trained up, of whom Christ would indeed say, “Ye are the salt of the earth ; ye are the lights of the world.""
Whilst means were employed to train and educate the religious teachers of the people, the practical duties of their office were kept steadily before them. One capitulary says, “Let preaching be always performed in such a manner that the common people may be able to understand it thoroughly." The rules laid down by Chrodegang, bishop of Mentz, for the regulation of the clergy of his diocese, were adopted by the emperor, and issued under his sanction and authority. They ordered that “ the word of salvation should be preached at least twice in every month, and, whenever possible, on every sabbath and festival, and this must be done in such a way that all may understand it. Let the bishops, too, in their visitations of their dioceses, preach to the people whenever they have the opportunity, for the advantage of those who rarely hear the word of God." The bishops and clergy were likewise ordered “ to provide persons who could preach to the people in a fit and intelligible manner whenever they were absent from their
charges." Another clause provides that these enactments take effect, not in the towns only, but also in villages and country places.
In carrying out these decrees into practical fulfilment, there was a very important difficulty to be met and provided for. We have seen that the clergy were so ignorant and illiterate, that a special law was needed requiring them to be able to expound the simplest forms of the church, and this was the utmost that could be demanded from them. How then, could, they be expected to preach adequately and intelligently? To meet this case a new Homilarium, or Sermon Book, was ordered to be prepared, the one already in existence being very defective, and, in many respects, objectionable. The preparation of this volume was entrusted to Paul Warnefried, (or Paulus Diaconus, as he is often styled,) under the superintendence of Alcuin and the emperor himself.
The royal ordinance appointing these homilies to be read in the churches, affords an interesting illustration of the feelings of Charlemagne in the matter. It is among the capitularies of the year 788.
“ Charles, by the aid of God, king of the Franks and Lombards, and prince of the Romans, to the ministers of religion throughout our dominions : Having it very near our heart that the state of the churches should more and more advance toward perfection, and being desirous of restoring, by assiduous care, the cultivation of letters, which have almost entirely