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redemption of captives. Even the austerities practised by some of the clergy, and by those who had commenced the monastic life, would arrest the attention, and enthral the admiration of Barbarians, to whom self-command, endurance, strength of will, would appear kindred and noble qualities.” Nor must the fact of an elaborate ritual," con- Symboli
cal characsidered as a means of impressing by symbolic ter of the
ritual of the forms, or words, the deep-seated truths of the Church, Christian Faith on an unlettered people, be omitted from a review of the spiritual influences exercised at this period by Christianity. If not religion in the highest sense, such modes of representation were the preparation for it. § 10. The privilege of asylum or sanctuary, Example
of Chrisclaimed by the Christian Church in the Middle tian in
fluence in Ages, and recognized accordingly in most Barbaric the priviCodes, though familiar in the history of Greece, sanctuary. was confined by Roman legislation to the protection of slaves.' It may be cited and selected as an example of the intrinsic influence asserted by Christianity over the most savage of its converts. While it appealed to the innate reverence for holy places congenial to the Teutonic mind, it exercised a restraint on the most violent and fatal passions, based on a strictly spiritual principle. No crime, it taught, is so heavy that it may not be pardoned
1 “Christianity offered itself, and was accepted by the German tribes as a law and as a discipline, as an ineffable, incomprehensible mystery, ..... Ritual observance is a taming, humiliating process : it is submission to law: it is the acknowledgment of spiritual inferiority: it implies self-subjection, self-conquest, self-sacrifice. It is not religion in its highest sense, but it is the preparation for it.” Ritter (Christliche Philos., I. 40), ap. Milman, I, 376. Dorner (Hist. Protest. Th., I. 17) makes the same remark as to canonical law. An all-embracing spiritual kingdom was thus opposed to physical force and warlike ambition.
2 C. F. Hermann (Gr. Antiq., II. p. 44) remarks that this privilege belonged mainly to the oldest Temples; and hence infers that it was a relic of the restraint imposed by religion in the earliest and most savage periods. Similarly the Hebrew Cities of Refuge are connected with the primeval practices of “ blood-money,” and a "revenger of blood."
by the individual man out of the love and fear of Not at first God and in imitation of His mercy. Nor at first
was it abused, when sufficiently controlled by the higher law of the community. It was in the same manner that the Papacy itself, despite the vices,
1 See Gaius, i. 53. Digest, 48, Tit. 19, s. 28, $ 7. Gibbon (c. xx.) speaks roughly of “the ancient privilege of sanctuary as transferred to the Christian Temples.” But the laws of Charlemagne, as also of the Anglo-Saxons, required the Church to surrender persons convicted of capital crimes. Cf. Robertson (C. H., II. 228).
2 “ How must this right,” says Hallam,“ have enhanced the venera-
All the souls that were, were forfeit once,
Found out the remedy.
ambition, and greed of those who sat in St. Peter's Analogy
of appeals seat, fulfilled, out of the very arrogance of its pre- to the
рарасу. tensions, a function of undoubted spiritual benefit in those rude and turbulent ages. It was a tribunal of appeal for the helpless, a refuge from overwhelming tyranny, as the impersonation of the power of the Gospel, before which the crowned monarch and the lawless baron trembled and gave way. “Speaking God's testimonies even before kings it was not ashamed.” And the same reflection is suggested when there is taken into account of the
system of the vast system of spiritual authority exercised peniten
tials, exin the practice of confession, absolution, excommu- com nication, and interdict, in the recognition of the duty of penance, in the existence and usage of Penitentials as a part of Christian law. However rude, humiliating, harsh the discipline enjoined, however tending to corrupt itself through pecuniary substi
interests, plunge Europe in desolating wars, perpetuate strife in states, set sons in arms against their fathers, fathers against sons : it was still proclaiming a higher ultimate end. It was something that there was a tribunal of appeal, before which the lawless aristocracy trembled. There was a perpetual provocation, as it were, to the Gospel,” &c. Milman, L. Chr., III. 441.
1 " The medieval popes almost always belonged to a far higher grade of civilization than their opponents. Whatever may have been their faults, they represented the cause of moral restraint, of intelligence, and of humanity, in an age of physical force, ignorance, and barbarity.”— Lecky, H. Rat., II. 155. Christianity, it must be remembered, must be judged by the evils it has prevented as well as by its positive benefits.
? On the change from public to private confession and penance, with its consequences, see Gieseler, II. pp. 68–70, and p. 318. In the Western Church this important difference was introduced by Leo the Great. Compare Hooker, E. P., VI. iv.
tution; it yet exhibited the power and quality of a Religion which would not be defied or evaded, to restrain, out of no worldly considerations, the licentiousness, inhumanity, and lawlessness of men. What no human law could effect, it secured by
spiritual constraint and the “ terrors of the Lord.” aint Though unsafely lodged in the hands of a fallible exercised by spiritual priesthood, in a low condition of culture, and des
tined later to corruption from their corporate and individual covetousness, it still performed its part; rescuing society from moral anarchy, and bringing home to the ignorant and wanton the direct administration of God. Where conscience, as a re
straint, would have been powerless, its authority in Distinc- the person of the priest was obeyed. The particutempora! lar influences of medieval Christianity hitherto tual power adduced are instances of its general tendency to
detach the spiritual from the temporal power, one of its greatest benefits to mankind; and to operate within the just limits of Religion, the hopes and fears of a future life. In this manner the authority of conscience, freedom of thought, individual independence and accountability, were preserved in ways unsuspected, it is true, by the champions themselves of ecclesiastical privileges.' Thus the
1 “Les sociétés,” says M. Littré very profoundly, "ne sont pas comme un individu qui en une extrémité peut se dire, que faire ? et qui dirige des efforts déterminés vers un but déterminé; mais elles ont des impulsions et des instincts produits par les forces intrinsèques qu'elles se sentent."
et des instincts ors un but détermineure, que fai
Inquisition itself, amid all its iniquities, by holding observable the civil power to be incapable of pronouncing on out medie
val Cathoreligious belief, actually became the advocate of licism. toleration. The importance of this element in medieval Catholicism has been honourably admitted by some who in other respects are no partial judges of the working of Christian institutions." I shall cite (though not in the present Lecture) but two other examples of the true character and intensity of the influence of Christianity during this stage of European progress, which will conclude this portion of our subject. Thus far we have Actual seen the services, the triumphs, the potency of our of Chrisholy Religion in establishing itself upon the ruins the reconof Paganism, in laying the foundations of our Sfectiery modern civilization. We have seen also that it was destined in the wisdom of an overruling Providence to survive persecution from without, internal heresy and division, the revivals of heathenism, and the flood of barbaric invasion. But not only did it survive: it proved itself indispensable to the advance of mankind, socially, politically, intellectually. Under its shadow learning revived; sen- No reason timent softened and became refined; the arts
out for conexpanded, knowledge and thought progressed.? uthaves
become 1 M. Comte and Mr. J. S. Mill, both indeed after M. Guizot, who has chan irrefragably established this fact. Sec Phil. Pos., V. 229; Mill's Dissert., II. 243.
2 “But still, it will be asked, would not all this result of Christianity have been just the same without the peculiar doctrines ?"_Mozley,