Darkness of the Dark Ages:

Being Sketches of Church History from A.D. 500 to the Time of the Reformation.

"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." — John XII. 46.

London: G. Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square, E.C.


What is meant by the Dark Ages?

Chapter 1.
Union of the Eastern and Western Churches, A.D. 518. — Anastasius emperor. — Not one church, but the union of two churches.

Chapter 2.
Justinian Emperor, A.D. 527-565. — He rules the church. — Upholds the Council of Chalcedon, as to the two natures in Christ. — His wife, Theodora, a Monophysite. — Justinian aims to unite the Monophysite party with the orthodox. — The three Chapters. — Fifth general council held, A.D. 553. — Justinian's schemes useless.

Chapter 3.
Benedict and Monasticism. — Becomes popular, and founds monasteries. — Monasticism useless for a holy life. — The monks multiply the copies of scripture. — The prison. — Forgiveness of sins unknown to the monks.

Chapter 4.
Gregory the Great. — Seeks to set things in order. — Description of a service on Easter Sunday at Rome, very unlike that of the Lord's supper in the New Testament. — Gregory's superstition as to relics. — He flatters the cruel emperor Phocas.
Gregory and England. — Anglo-Saxon slaves at Rome. — Gregory sends Augustine to England. — Ethelbert embraces Christianity, A.D. 597. — Augustine made archbishop of Canterbury. — He is succeeded by Laurentius. — Eadbald succeeds Ethelbert, returns to Paganism, and threatens the bishops. — Laurentius said to be whipped by St. Peter for thinking of leaving England. — Eadbald, convinced by this, embraces Christianity. — Edwin, king of Northumberland, converted by a supposed miracle. — All the divisions of the kingdom embrace Christianity. — The invasion of the Danes. — They destroy many of the monasteries, and put the monks to death. — Dunstan becomes archbishop. The rule of Rome submitted to in England.

Chapter 5.
Mahomet. — His childhood. — His mission refused at first. — Persecutes the Jews who had also opposed him. — Poisoned by a Jewess. — Becomes victorious. — Enters Mecca, and destroys the idols. — Acknowledged all over Arabia. — Died A.D. 632. — His personal character. — His creed. — Denies the divinity of Christ. — The god of Mahometans not the God of the Bible. — The conquests, of Mahomet's successors. — They become a scourge of professing Christians in the East.

Chapter 6.
Break Up of the Roman Empire. — The Roman Empire passes away with the conquest of Constantinople. — Resuscitation in times yet to come. — Nebuchadnezzar's image. — The iron and clay. — The ten kingdoms of old. — A warning to those who advocate the supremacy of the people.

Chapter 7.
France Protects Rome. — Stephen II. pope, A.D. 752. — Threatened by the Lombards, he appeals to the French. — Pepin delivers Rome.
Charlemagne. — Leo III. pope. — He is accused to Charles. — The pope not answerable to any human authority. — Charles crowned emperor of Rome.

Chapter 8.
The Worship of Images. — Miracles ascribed to images. — Leo the Isaurian emperor. — John of Damascus and the reported miracle of the restoration of his hand. — Constantine Copronymus emperor. — He calls a council, which condemns images. — Leo. IV. emperor opposes images, but dies soon. — His wife Irene calls a council to restore the worship of images. — Difference between worship and adoration. — An image was adored by the council. — Charlemagne opposes the worship of images. — The Caroline Books. — Leo V. the Armenian emperor opposes images amid opposition. — Michael the Stammerer, emperor. — He allows images, but not to be worshipped. — Theophilus emperor, also against images. — All countries eventually agree with Rome in the adoration of images.

Chapter 9.
Hildebrand, Gregory VII. — His predecessors. — Henry III., of Germany, invited to rescue the Church from its degradation and pollution. — Hildebrand dreaded. — Energetic in his reforms. — His authority over nations.
The Decretals. — Gross forgeries
Gregory and the Married Clergy. — His decrees against marriage everywhere opposed
Gregory and Henry IV. — Gregory disowned by Henry and by his clergy. — Henry excommunicated and dethroned by Gregory. — Henry humbles himself before the pope, and is absolved. — He regains power, and despises the anathema of the pope. — Enters Rome.

Chapter 10.
The Crusades. — Pilgrims to Jerusalem molested and robbed. — Peter the hermit preaches a crusade. — supported by pope Urban II. — Full forgiveness of sins promised to the Crusaders, and absolution pronounced. — They reach Nicaea, and are conquered. — More regular armies follow, and are victorious. — They lay siege to Antioch. — The holy lance discovered. — Antioch taken. — They reach Jerusalem, and take the city. — The Crusades that follow. — Jerusalem had many masters. — Is yet to be blessed and restored to the Jews.

Chapter 11.
The Inquisition. — First judicial death for heresy. — Rome persecutes any deemed heretics. — The inquisition permanently established. — Its tortures. — Its deceptions to entrap its victims. — The Auto-de-Fι.
The Jews and the Moors of Spain. — The Jews treated without mercy — The treaty with the Moors violated. — Cardinal Ximenez's plan of conversion. — The Moors converted or banished
Bartolomι Carranza. — In England. — Made Archbishop of Toledo. — Charges against him. — His arrest. — Released after a long imprisonment.
The Inquisition in India. — The Syrian Christians. — Inquisition at Goa. — Case of M. Dellon. — The English rescue a prisoner.
Spanish America. — The Inquisition established. The Jews persecuted. — Fourteen Protestant Europeans seized. — The circulation of the Bible prohibited. — Spain loses her colonies in Mexico, etc.
The Inquisition Abolished. — Napoleon in Spain. — The Inquisition never established in England.

Chapter 12.
The Waldenses. — Various other names. — Peter Waldo. — Persecution and martyrs. — The decree of pope Lucius III. — Charges against the Waldenses. — Their mode of procedure as hawkers. — Armies raised to annihilate them at Toulouse, etc. — Persecution in Germany. — Echard, a persecutor, converted. — The Waldenses spread over the whole of Europe. — Return of the Waldenses to Piedmont. — At length they are tolerated. — A witness for God during the Dark Ages.

Chapter 13.
England. — William the Conqueror. — Lanfranc reforms the Church. — William not servile to Rome. — William Rufus. — Anselm archbishop. — He retires from England. — Henry I. — Anselm's return. — Oxford and Cambridge Universities. — Henry II. — Martyrs in England. — Thomas a Becket. — Richard. — John surrenders the kingdom to Rome. — Henry III.
Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln. — He successfully opposes the pope
Edward III. — He withstands Rome
Bradwardine. — His work against Pelagius
Wiclif. — The first English Reformer
Scotland. — Struggles against Rome

Chapter 14.
Councils of the Church. — From the Fifth to the Twenty-first General Council of the Church.

Chapter 15.
The Claims of Rome. — The assumptions of Rome examined. — Was Peter ever bishop of Rome? — The kingdom of God not built with the keys given to Peter. — Unity, Catholicity, Holiness, and Apostolicity.

Chapter 16.
Conclusion. — Light springing up. — Few records of godly Christians in the Dark Ages. — Christ will have a glorious Church. — Judgment will fall on apostate Christendom. — The path of the Christian.


The Dark Ages have been said to extend from about A.D. 500 to the time of the Reformation, a period of well-nigh one thousand years.

We would first inquire what is meant by these ages being dark? And then, Did the darkness exist during the whole of that long period? Was it all equally dark? and, if not, when and where was it the darkest?

It is not easy to answer these questions. One must be accustomed to the light, at least in some measure, to be able to judge of the darkness. A blind man can have no idea of the extent of the darkness around him; and one accustomed to a gloomy dungeon, would not consider a place as dark which would distress another who usually lived in a well-lighted room; in the same way that one accustomed to a dirty house, does not understand what a cleanly person sees to find fault with.

It is the same as to moral and spiritual darkness. A person must have some acquaintance with the light of scripture in order to discern the darkness around him.

It is most probable also that the darkness of the Middle Ages — which is another name often given to the same period — was not the same at all places at the same time. The invasion of the barbarians, or of the Saracens may have swept away the light-bearers in one district while they remained undisturbed in other places. A wise and godly man in authority was at times the means of diffusing much light around him; but that light, instead of extending elsewhere, only made more manifest the surrounding gloom.

One thing is clear, that the darkness was caused solely and entirely by man. God's word — the great source of light to this dark world — was in existence, and would, by the blessing of God, have enlightened mankind, had they been willing to be enlightened. But those in authority in the church made it a crime to read the Bible. Thus, alas, during the ages under consideration, it was indeed dark, as it had been when our Lord was on earth: "The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5.)

This is really the secret of the whole matter; and may we not say, that as it was then so it is now to a great extent?

In looking at the history of the church during the above period, we shall see in what the darkness consisted, and also that God had, here and there, His light-bearers who spread abroad the light of the gospel of God as far as in them lay.

We get in scripture itself a graphic description of how persons may be deceived on the subject of their own spirituality. One class is described as saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;" whereas God's scrutinizing eye saw such to be "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." (Rev. 3:17.)

Now we can easily understand that such would wonder what any one could mean by describing them as being in the dark: they had become so thoroughly insensible as to what God calls the light, that they did not discern the darkness, but declared that they had need of nothing,

By the Dark Ages, then, is meant that the state of the professing church had degenerated instead of progressed. There are two ways in which a thing may recede: one, in numbers — quantity; the other, in condition — quality. It is not meant that the numbers of those professing Christianity had decreased; far from it, in places they had wonderfully increased, though in others they had not only decreased, but had been almost destroyed. It is in the reality of the profession that the declension is to be observed.

Not only had profession been adopted where there was merely "a name to live," but the most outrageous and immoral behaviour, together with the most unscrupulous means of obtaining power and riches, was associated with the name of Christ.

Happily there were exceptions. We would fain hope many even of the clergy were such, though unable to stem the torrent of iniquity; and of the people we trust there were thousands who, while mixed up with the professing church, were true to the Lord in private.

As we shall see, the Waldenses were for many long years bright lights amid the surrounding darkness, but, alas! only to be extinguished, as far as those in place and power could do it. How plainly then was the fact evinced that "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Learning also decreased. It seemed as if the mere glimmer of the learned languages and of science was too much for those accustomed to the habit and the love of darkness. Many of the plants then cultivated throve best in the darkest places: the light of God's word killed them outright.

Let us proceed to give some sketches of the period under consideration, and in doing so we shall see whether it is right that the middle ages should be called The Dark Ages.

Chapter 1.

Union of the Eastern and Western Churches, A.D. 518.

In our previous sketches of the history of the church,* we saw that at the close of the fifth century, there was an open rupture between the eastern and western portions of the church. The patriarch of Constantinople and the patriarch of Rome had excommunicated each other as heretics — and this breach had borne much bitter fruit. The West was mostly styled orthodox, because of maintaining the divinity of Christ; and the East was declared to be in error as touching the Person of our Lord.

{*"Persecution and Profession; being Sketches of early Church History to the close of the fifth century."}

Anastasius was emperor in the East. He had opposed the orthodox faith; but in A.D. 517, John of Cappadocia was elected patriarch, though he held orthodox views, and was not molested by Anastasius, who only survived a few months. Justin, the commander of the imperial guards, by a popular confession of faith was supported by the clergy, and was hailed as emperor. Thus Constantinople was now blessed by having emperor, clergy, senate, and many of the people, all professing one faith — that which was considered orthodox.

All now agreed to condemn Nestorius, Eutyches, Severus of Antioch, and all, 'living or dead,' who held communion with them. The canons of the general councils — especially that of Chalcedon, which had been so much disputed — were adopted and canonised afresh.

The next step was to re-instate the names of Macedonius, Euphemius, and Leo the Great of Rome, on the sacred tablets of the church. This is said to have been done by acclamation — so glad were the people in the prospect of peace being restored in the church. The establishment of orthodoxy at the capital was followed by its adoption nearly all over the East.

All this was on one side only. It was the East undoing what had been done there in shielding and supporting the heresy that had made and widened the breach. All were now anxious to know if Rome would be equally willing for reconciliation. The emperor wrote to the patriarch, or pope, as we suppose he must now be called — Hormisdas — in a flattering and reverential tone. John also sent letters, containing his confession of faith, in the terms laid down by Leo the Great. All prayed that Hormisdas would send accredited legates to ratify the union of the two churches.

But Rome stood erect in its dignity. Before anything could be done, the names of Acacius, former patriarch of Constantinople, and Peter Mongus of Alexandria, must be struck out of the list of the faithful, and consigned to oblivion. And then the covenant of peace must be from Rome, not from Constantinople. Legates, bearing the "libellus" or covenant, were despatched to the East, with strict orders to hold no communication with any of the clergy or laity until they had presented the covenant to the emperor, and to request he would give his subscription at once, without any discussion, and make it public that he had done so. As soon as he and the patriarch had signed the covenant, and had erased the hateful names, the legates were at liberty to receive into the orthodox church. "You have renounced heresy," wrote the pontiff; "you have taken upon you the faith of the blessed Peter, knowing that in that faith alone you have salvation: therefore now set your hands to the written covenant herewith sent you for your subscription, that thereby we may be united in one holy communion with each other."

The progress of the legates was a march of triumph. Bishops signed the covenant without waiting for Constantinople. At the metropolis there was no hesitation — no discussion. All were anxious for peace, and everything that Rome required was acceded to, and peace was restored after a rupture of some thirty-five years.

Still the church was not one. Rome was anxious that the East should succumb to the West by subscribing to what Rome had written: this was far from what the East intended; and all that was done was to restore peace between two churches, the East and the West. The patriarch of Constantinople was head of the eastern church, and the pontiff head of the western church. It is important to notice this, because in after times — and in our own times, indeed — the church of Rome (as a mark of being the true church) claims to be the universal church. This is not true of it now, and never was true. The eastern church never acknowledged the pontiff of Rome as the head of the eastern church. As we shall see, Rome strove to claim and to enforce this; but it was always refused. John of Constantinople accepted the title of "oecumenical patriarch" — a title which shewed plainly his independence of Rome.

Neither of them were actuated by the truth of the "one body," as revealed in scripture; nor were they "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit." It was Rome striving for supremacy everywhere; and the East, without acknowledging that supremacy, desirous of peace between the two churches. As to how far either the one or the other was justified in calling itself the church of God, will appear as we proceed.

Chapter 2.

Justinian Emperor, A.D. 527-565.

Glancing at the reign of Justinian, emperor of the East, will give us somewhat of an insight into the state of religion at that time as far as it can be gathered from histories. Justinian is often called Roman emperor; but the West was so over-run by the barbarians, especially the Goths, that he held little more than nominal sway over the West — at times it was really ruled by the Goths.

It will be seen that by wide-spread profession all were regarded as Christians of some sort, except the Jews and a few who still regarded themselves as pagan philosophers. The emperor ruled in the church as well as in the state, and the clergy greatly influenced the acts of the state.

In A.D. 527, Justinian became emperor. He was a moral man, and took much interest in all ecclesiastical questions. He seemed to think that the regulation of such matters was his especial work, for he left the political and military subjects to the management of others. A work of his in Greek, against the Monophysites,* has been published by cardinal Angelo Mai.

{*Those who held that Christ had but one nature, the human nature being absorbed in the divine.}

He was liberal in his gifts for building churches and hospitals, but he has been charged with raising the funds by extortion, bribery, false accusations, and unjust confiscations, altogether regardless of God's being unable to bless such apparent liberality. He spent an enormous sum of money on the re-building of the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, which had been burnt down at the time when Chrysostom was banished, and once after. When the emperor viewed the beautiful building at its dedication (A.D. 544) he thanked God for having permitted him to complete so great a work; but then impiously exclaimed, "O Solomon, I have surpassed thee!" Three years after an earthquake shattered the dome of the church; but Justinian rebuilt it with still increased height and splendour.

To this cathedral were attached, by one of its laws, sixty priests, a hundred deacons, forty deaconesses, ninety subdeacons, a hundred and ten readers, five and twenty singers, and a hundred door-keepers. Alas! how the simplicity of the early worship in the church had become destroyed! It could not be otherwise when it was sought to out-do the outward splendour of the times of Solomon.

Up to this date there were still a few teachers of pagan philosophy at Athens, though they were obliged to pay outward respect to the religion of the state. Justinian ordered the schools to be closed. The philosophers fled to Persia, hoping to find patronage from the king, but were disappointed, and returned to their own land. They lived unmolested to their death, but left no successors. Thus ended pagan philosophy in the midst of Christendom. It had survived some five hundred years after the introduction of Christianity. But it is remarkable how similar the pretended intercourse of these philosophers with higher powers was to the pretended miracles and visions that were then professed in the church!

In the year 529 it was enacted that no pagan or heretic should hold any civil or military office. Such persons were also given three months to decide whether they would abjure their errors, or be banished; or if they remained they were to be deprived of all civil and religious privileges. This produced a great mass of pretended 'conversions.' But some would not yield, and with the greatest infatuation preferred suicide. Thus, in Phrygia some Montanists* actually shut themselves up in their meeting-houses, set fire to the buildings, and perished in the flames.

{*The Montanists were a fanatical sect which arose as early as the second century. They professed to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and were at times thrown into ecstatic trances, especially some of the women.}

Justinian professed to hold with the council of Chalcedon in its principal decision, that there were two natures in Christ; but his wife Theodora* was a zealous Monophysite. Through her influence, Severus, who had been expelled from Antioch, was brought to Constantinople, and Anthimus, an enemy of the council of Chalcedon, was made primate of the eastern church.

{* Theodora had been an actress of doubtful morals, and a law had to be passed before Justinian could legally marry her.}

In the year following (537) the Gothic king compelled Agapetus primate of Rome to visit Constantinople on a political mission, and while there, he put before the emperor the errors of the archbishop, and obtained his deposition on the plea that he had been translated from another see, contrary to the canons. Mennas was then made primate; he called a council, and Anthimus was declared to be a heretic and was excommunicated.

In the meantime Agapetus died at Constantinople, and Vigilius his archdeacon was urged by Theodora to become a candidate for the papacy. The emperor promised his influence and his money if Vigilius would oppose the council of Chalcedon, and communicate with the expelled Anthimus.* But before Vigilius reached Rome, Sylverius, a subdeacon, had been elected.

{*That the emperor should now have apparently turned quite round and opposed the council of Chalcedon, can only be accounted for by the influence of his wife Theodora, and his own desire to bring all to an outward uniformity.}

Justinian had made war against the Goths, and had taken Rome. In the next year Rome was besieged by the Goths. Justinian's general, Belisarius, summoned Sylverius into his presence and charged him with treasonable correspondence with the enemy. This he denied, but written evidence was produced which left no defence. He was stripped of his robes, and sent off by sea. Vigilius was elected, and he paid Belisarius two hundred pounds of gold for his interest!

Here was a most flagrant case of simony, and that too by the pope himself. And his predecessor had been guilty of treason. Such were the men at this age who pretended to hold the sacred office of bishop of Rome, yea, primate of the church universal!

The next act of Justinian was to issue an edict against the doctrines of Origen. Few held with Origen, or cared for his teaching, but the emperor drew up an edict detailing ten heresies drawn from his works. A council was called, and the wishes of the emperor were confirmed. This is a matter now of very little moment, except that it shews how the emperor was the prime mover of that which, if needful, should have been cared for by the church generally.

Justinian still laboured to bring about a union with the Monophysite party and those called orthodox. He determined to write a treatise that should convince the former of their error. While he contemplated this, it was artfully suggested to him that his object would be more easily obtained by condemning certain writings approved at Chalcedon, but which the Monophysites disliked, and which they alleged the orthodox ought also to disavow.

Three articles were especially named to be condemned: 1, The writings and person of Theodore of Mopsuestia; 2, The treatise of Theodoret against Cyril; and 3, a letter written by Ibas, bishop of Edessa, to the Persian bishop Maris. These have been called the "Three Chapters," from the words used in the original;* but may be more rightly termed three articles of the indictment.

{*Tria Kephalaia.}

It has been judged that his wife Theodora was really the instigator of this suggestion. If the emperor fell into the snare, he would really be condemning the council of Chalcedon, without openly appearing to do so; and if he could be brought to issue an edict condemning the three articles, he would, for very shame, be compelled to enforce its reception. Unhappily, Justinian fell into the trap laid for him, and thus kindled a needless flame that burnt long and did much damage.

Between A.D. 543 and 545 the edict was published, and sent forth with the demand that the clergy should sign it. A strange thing, indeed, that an emperor should put forth, on his own authority, an article of faith to which all were required to subscribe. The church had fallen even to this in the sixth century.

To all the orthodox the edict was revolting. It really condemned, as we have seen, the council of Chalcedon, which they considered needful to uphold as a proof of their soundness in the faith.

The four eastern patriarchs were first encountered. Mennas of Constantinople signed reluctantly, and with a promise made to him on oath that if the bishop of Rome did not sign he might withdraw his signature. Ephraim of Antioch, Peter of Jerusalem, and Zoilus of Alexandria, signed, under the threat, imagined if not real, of being deposed if they did not. Most in the East followed the example of the patriarchs, some being gained by threats and others by gifts. Many of them had rich dioceses, and were dependent on the state.

In the West and in Africa there was a good deal of opposition to the edict. It caused a sensation at Rome, and Vigilius was summoned to Constantinople. He had been made pope, principally through the influence of the emperor, but he was surrounded by staunch supporters of the council of Chalcedon. His secretary, Stephen, was at Constantinople, and he had separated from Mennas because of his signing the edict. Dacius, archbishop of Milan, had done the same. All were anxious to see how the pope of Rome would act. He was very reluctant to go to the emperor, but when he could no longer put off his departure he was begged by them at Rome not to sign the edict.

He was under severe threats by Theodora if he did not appear at Constantinople. Indeed, from the first he was under a promise to the empress to carry out her views; and had hitherto played fast and loose, trying to please the empress yet keep in with the orthodox, and be faithful to his convictions, if he really had any. He managed to spend nearly a year on his journey, but arrived at Constantinople in A.D. 547.

He at first refused to sign the condemnation of the Three Chapters. Then he attempted to draw up a compromise, called the Judicatum, namely, to condemn the Three Chapters, but without touching the decisions of the council of Chalcedon. His own clergy compelled him to withdraw his compromise. He asked for a general council.

In A.D. 548 Theodora died, but the emperor had so far committed himself to the line of things he was pursuing, that he would not alter his course. He persecuted those in Africa who refused compliance, and extorted a secret oath from Vigilius to condemn the three articles.

Justinian drew up another edict to the same effect in A.D. 551, calling it a Confession of Faith. Vigilius refused to sign it, though whether it was from conscientious scruples or from fear of the clergy of the West, is not known. Fearing violence, he took shelter in the church of St. Peter. A praetor was sent with a guard to capture him; but he placed himself under the altar and clung to its legs. Regardless of who he was, they attempted to pull him out by his feet, his hair, and even his beard; but he clung so firmly that some part of the altar began to give way, and would have fallen on him had it not been held up by some of the clerks. Very shame caused the officers to desist and let him alone.

He was induced by the promise of a safe-conduct to come forth, but fled again to Chalcedon, and took shelter in the church. At length the emperor, seeing no probability of peace otherwise, consented to call a council, and the pope returned to Constantinople. Vigilius desired it should be held in Sicily or Italy, but the emperor would not consent. After a great deal of contention, the emperor summoned the council to meet at Constantinople. It was called the Fifth General Council.

It met in May, 553. A hundred and sixty-five bishops attended, including all the eastern patriarchs, but only six African bishops. Vigilius did not consider that the western church was at all adequately represented, and he would not attend, though urgently requested to do so by the other patriarchs. Vigilius drew up a paper, with the concurrence of sixteen bishops, endeavouring to make a compromise by condemning the writings which were in question, but without condemning the authors. But the emperor would not receive it. He presented to the council the secret compact he had made with Vigilius, and desired that his name should be erased from the church diptychs (lists of those in communion). The council proceeded without the attendance of the pope.

The council condemned the Three Chapters and pronounced a curse against all who should defend them, or should pretend that they were countenanced by the council of Chalcedon. The persons of Theodoret and Ibas were spared, but Theodore was condemned as well as his writings. The four previous general councils were confirmed; and the edicts of the emperor were approved. As usual, the emperor issued an edict enforcing the decrees of the council.

At the close of the same year, Vigilius, who had now spent some six years at Constantinople, and who did not wish to be a martyr, being condemned by many, and almost a prisoner, wrote a letter of confession to Eutychius, at that time patriarch of Constantinople, confessing that he was wrong. Another letter followed, to the western clergy, to the same import. He was now released by Justinian, and started for Rome, but died on his journey at Syracuse. If he did not believe Justinian to be wrong, why stand out so long? and if he did, why give in at last? His liberty, thus dearly bought, did him no good: God took him from the scene.

We see from this also that the bishop of Rome, or pope, as he is called, was not at that time held in such fear and respect as was afterwards claimed for one who was called the direct successor of the apostle Peter. He was to a great extent the servant of the emperor when the emperor was in power. What a pitiful sight for Christendom to behold a pope cringing beneath an altar, and attempts being made to drag him forcibly away!

Pelagius succeeded Vigilius, but he was unpopular at Rome, and there was in the West great opposition to the Fifth General Council which Pelagius sought to enforce. Persecution followed. Many bishops were banished and imprisoned in convents, and in north Italy some of the bishops broke communion with Rome rather than receive the decrees of the council.

The whole scheme of the emperor was an entire failure. It in no way gained the Monophysite party back to communion with the so-called orthodox church; and in his latter days he is believed to have fallen into the very error he seemed at first so anxious to correct. He died in A.D. 565.

While all this contention was going on in the church between the emperor and the bishops, what was the condition of the mass of Christians who had been led to look up to the bishops? Alas! we know not. We may fain hope that many a one was enabled to maintain the truth in private, unobserved and unmolested by those who were prominent in the disputes. How good to know that the Good Shepherd careth for the sheep, and often leads them beside the still waters, and refreshes their souls notwithstanding all that is passing around them.

Justinian's successor, Justin II. did not trouble himself about ecclesiastical matters: he left the bishops to settle their own disputes.

Chapter 3.

Benedict and Monasticism.

However simply and sincerely monasticism had been commenced, it no sooner became popular than it began to be corrupt. In some places the monks were numerous and rude, and took very prominent parts in the quarrels of the clergy, even to fighting and bloodshed, in their fanatical zeal for any party they upheld.

Justinian had interfered in monasticism as in everything else in the church. He enacted that married people might embrace the monastic life, without the consent of husband or wife; children, without the consent of their parents; slaves, without the consent of their masters, etc.

The monasteries were supposed to be under the control of the bishops, but many were almost if not entirely independent. Sometimes the monks aided the bishop, and sometimes opposed him; being often a powerful body of men.

The revolutions in the West were on the whole favourable to the monks, They were often spared by the conquerors, and many persons resorted to the convents for safety, carrying much of their wealth with them. But this did not contribute to the purity of monasticism.

Benedict (of Nursia, now Norcia) was a reformer. At the age of twelve he was sent with a nurse to Rome for study; but he was soon disgusted with the irregularities of his fellow-students, and at the early age of fourteen, leaving his nurse, he fled from the city, and lived for three years in a cave near Subiaco. No one knew where he was except a monk who had met with him in his flight, and he, taking an interest in the youth, supplied him with food, but only what he could spare from his own allowance. This he took to him occasionally, and lowered it by a string.

At length he was discovered by some shepherds. He sought to instruct these and others who now came to him; and when his fame increased, he was chosen abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood. But he was a reformer, and the monks did not want to be reformed, so they mixed some poison in his drink to get rid of him. Before drinking he made the sign of the cross, as was then customary, and on his doing this, it is said, the cup flew to pieces! He mildly rebuked the monks, reminding them that he had warned them not to elect him as their abbot, as he saw their ways were so unlike his own.

He returned to his solitude; but his renown only increased the more, and monastery after monastery was erected to carry out his rules, each house holding twelve monks and an abbot. Even some members of the Roman nobility placed their children under his care for education.

But persecution again followed him. A monk named Florentius, out of envy, did all he could to ruin his character by calumny, and to cut him off by poison. Again he retired with a few of his followers — whither he knew not. At length he reached Monte Cassino, where on a lofty spot stood a heathen shrine to Apollo, still receiving some sort of worship from the rustics of the neighbourhood. After many warnings from Satan, as is related, he succeeded in destroying the idol and cutting down the grove, and erected a place for private worship, called an oratory, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and St. Martin, which became the germ of a most renowned monastery, and from which others arose.

Benedict now set to work to draw up a set of rules for his houses. He avoided extremes, hoping to have the rules the better carried out if they were moderate, being warned by the mistakes of others who had enacted such strict rules that none attempted to follow them, and even made that an excuse for many indulgences.

A few of his rules may be named. The abbot was to be chosen by the monks, and approved of by the bishop. He was to be cheerfully and implicitly obeyed: he stood "in the place of Christ." He must be addressed as Dominus. They were to call each other brother or father, according to age, and great respect was to be paid to the elder brethren.

Candidates were required to come on probation for a year, and to have the rules read over to them three times during that period, and asked if they resolved to keep them. They had to furnish a written vow of stedfastness, amendment, and obedience, and, on full admission, must give up all their property to the community.

Should a married man who had become a monk return to his wife, he could be forcibly dragged back to the monastery; but this does not appear to have been always enforced.

One thing that especially characterised the Benedictine order was occupation. They were to rise at 2 a.m. for early prayer (matins), to attend eight services daily, and to work seven hours. The Psalms were to be read over every week in their services, and time allowed for the study of the scripture, reading Cassian's "Conferences,"* "Lives of the Saints," and other books which they deemed edifying. At meals a book was to be read aloud, while all others preserved silence. In general the monks were to speak but little.

{* Cassian was a celebrated monk who wrote this work: it was respecting the internal scope and spirit of Monasticism. It touched also on grace, faith, etc.; but was considered unsound by Augustine on these points.}

At dinner there were to be two dishes of pulmentaria, that those who could not relish one might be able to eat the other. It is not certain what was included in the word 'pulmentaria:' vegetables and grain certainly, but some suppose eggs, fish, and birds, because the flesh of four-footed beasts only was forbidden. In addition, uncooked fruit or salad might be eaten. A small measure of wine was allowed to each: Benedict would have preferred none, but feared to make the rule too stringent. A pound of bread was the daily portion, subject to the discretion of the abbot to increase it where needed. Flesh was allowed to the sick. The monks were to sleep ten or twelve in a room, each in a separate bed, with their clothes and girdles on. A light was kept burning. No talking was allowed after the last service of the day, called "compline."*

{* From the Latin completa, so called because it completed the services of the day.}

Each "house" had its garden, mill, well, and bakehouse, so that the monks need go abroad but little. When this was necessary, the abbot must give permission, and the messenger, on his return, was forbidden to relate to others his adventures. The occupation of each was chosen by the abbot, and if any one thought himself handy at any particular work, this work he was not to do.

Extra seclusion and bodily chastisement might be used as punishments.

For some twelve years, Benedict remained head of his system of monasticism, and from time to time sent out men to make known his rules to monks who had no regular organisation, and with the object of founding houses where there were none. This was carried on with spirit and perseverance until Benedictine monks were to be found all over Europe, including England.

He did not attribute any merit to keeping the law, and he denied that man had any power to keep it except he had help from heaven. But as to salvation, nothing is recorded. All is swallowed up in "how to become a good monk," though here and there glimpses are apparent of Benedict's having been beyond the standard of others. For instance, he found a hermit passing his life chained to a rock. He rebuked him, saying, "Brother, be bound only by the chain of Christ."

The reader need scarcely be reminded how contrary monasticism is to Christianity. The plea raised for a monastic life, was that by its means greater holiness was attained; but it is manifest that, however earnest the desire to escape from the corruptions of the world, and indeed of the professing church, holiness is not to be obtained that way. All Christians have their old nature remaining in them, and this being carried by the monks into their cells, they may be as much engaged in serving the flesh there as in the world, and thus have as little practical holiness. Whereas the example of Christ was going about doing good. He also sent his disciples into the world (warning them to keep themselves free from its spirit and ways), and prayed that they might be kept from its evil. (John 17:15, 18.) The Holy Spirit is given to the Christian that he should not follow the promptings of the flesh; and if he walk in the Spirit he will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16-17.) And he that soweth to the Spirit reapeth life everlasting. (Gal. 6:8.)

The monks did good in multiplying the copies of scripture, and it is surprising that Benedict did not enjoin the careful study of the scriptures instead of reading the "Lives of the Saints" with its follies and fables. Alas! the dark ages were setting in.

Among the various monasteries that existed in the sixth century, we read of one near Mount Sinai in Arabia — a small place called the Prison. In this place the monks who had committed any great crime imprisoned themselves. They spent their time in prayer, with every possible self-denial and debasement. Not one single comfort did they allow themselves. In their prayers they did not consider they could ask for or expect entire forgiveness; but they besought that their punishment might not be to the utmost of their deserts. Voluntary punishments continued with many until their death.

How strange that any who called themselves Christians should hope for forgiveness or an abatement of their punishment because of their austerities, instead of turning their eyes to the word of God — where they could have read that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9.)

Yet so little knew they of forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Christ, that the utmost they hoped for was less punishment than they merited for the sin they had committed. Of the true gospel they appear to have been entirely ignorant. And yet these were some of those deemed to be more holy than the mass of the Christians in those days: another proof of the darkness settling over Christendom.

Chapter 4.

Gregory the Great.

We have looked a little at the East, in the sketch of Justinian; we will now look at one of the renowned bishops of the church in the West. Gregory was born at Rome. At first he entered into civil employment, but when about thirty-five years of age, he abandoned the world, and founded several monasteries. One was in his family mansion at Rome, where he lived as a strict ascetic. In this he persevered, though frequently laid low through illness brought on by his severities. He had been ordained deacon, and, on the death of pope Pelagius, he was chosen to succeed him.

He did all he could to avoid the appointment by hiding himself, and by writing a letter to the emperor, begging him not to give his consent. The letter being intercepted and detained, the consent was given, and he was duly installed. An ancient writer says he shrank from the office, "lest the worldly glory which he had before cast away might creep on him under the colour of ecclesiastical government."

He himself, also, compared the church to an "old and violently shattered ship, admitting the waters on all sides — its timbers rotten, shaken by daily storms, and sounding of wreck." This is not a description by an enemy, but by one who loved his church, and had been zealous to serve it.

Things around the pope were indeed discouraging. Italy was held to belong to the emperor at Constantinople but the Lombards had overrun a great part, and threatened the rest. Those in Italy could only look to the emperor, who did not protect them. The inhabitants were wasting away by wars and famines, and Rome itself suffered from storms and inundations. Things were in such a low state that many predicted that the end of the world must be at hand.

Neither were the affairs in the church any brighter: darkness was setting in. The clergy were few, and did not look well after their scattered flocks. The dreaded Lombards were Arians. Schism still reigned in some places because of the "Three Chapters;" and in others the Donatists and Monophysites caused trouble.

Gregory took the reins in hand at once, and energetically laboured to steer the church through its many dangers. Nearly 850 letters tell of the diligence he used to set matters right wherever he thought his aid was needed. He endeavoured to introduce many improvements into the church, both in its organisation and in its practices. He paid special attention to the singing, introducing the mode of chanting which still bears his name. With a whip in hand (long preserved as a relic) he would threaten the choristers if they disobeyed him.

He had, however, other important duties. Preaching was one that he diligently followed, with what success we know not. The distress at Rome was so great that he used a great part of his revenues in supplying the needs of the people.

Rome being threatened by the Lombards, he came to terms with them, without waiting for the court of Constantinople to sanction what he did. The court ridiculed this, but the people were spared the horrors of war, and were glad of his interference.

Gregory had to lament that he was so much taken up with temporal things. He wrote to a friend, "Weep if you love me, for I have so many temporal affairs to attend to in the situation which I occupy, that I find myself almost separated by this dignity from the love of God."

His zeal was very much exercised in ceremonies; the dresses were multiplied, and everything was to be done in a stated order. History records how a service was conducted by Gregory on Easter Sunday, which shews how the simplicity of worship was marred.

The service began by hymns being chanted as the pope walked through the church. He was attended by the chief deacon, while seven attendants preceded, carrying seven candlesticks and the incense. On reaching the altar, "Glory to the Father" was sung, completing the preliminary hymns. The pope then prayed in silence, then kissed the altar and the Gospels. The choir then chanted the "Kyrie Eleison." He then turned to the congregation and repeated alone the "Glory in the highest," and then blessed them. The collect and the epistle were read. A chorister chanted a hymn. The chief deacon, being blessed by the pope, kissed the Gospels, and then read the gospel appointed for the day. The book was then carried by a subdeacon to the whole congregation for each to kiss. The pope then preached his sermon, and another psalm or anthem concluded this part of the service.

The pope then went round the church with two attendants to receive the offerings of the congregation, which at that time consisted of loaves of bread and flasks of wine. The pope and the chief deacon then washed their hands. Bread and wine were now placed on the altar. The choir sang the "Offertory," while the pope received the offerings of the clergy and his own (presented by the chief deacon). Then he and the whole clergy knelt in silent prayer. The choir sang the "Sanctus," and he read the canon.

Then the chief deacon took the chalice and carried it to the pope, who touched the side of it with the host. A prayer and blessing was then said, and after making the sign of the cross three times on the chalice, the bread (consecrated the day before) was placed into it, and it was carried to the congregation to kiss. The choir chanted "Agnus Dei."

The pope then, turning towards the East, partook of the bread and wine. He then put a morsel of the bread of which he had partaken into the chalice, and poured a small portion of the consecrated wine into a vessel full of unconsecrated. This rendered it all consecrated. The bishops and the priests then partook of the bread from the hands of the pope, the chief deacon giving them the wine. The pope then gave the bread to the congregation in the front seats, while the clergy did the same to the other parts of the congregation. The chief deacon followed with the wine which the people partook of through a golden tube. The choir in the meantime chanted appointed psalms.

The pope again approached the altar and prayed and blessed the people; and the deacon dismissed the people with "Ite, missa est!"

We have given this service nearly in full, that the reader may see to what a set of formalities the Lord's supper had fallen in the sixth century. One has only to compare it with the account, given in the New Testament, of how our Lord instituted that memorial of His death, to see how sadly it was smothered in outward ceremonies. The singing was by the choir, trained for such service; the prayers were by the clergy; the people kissed the Gospels and then the cup, and partook of the bread and wine. Oh that men would remember the words of our Lord, "They that worship God, must worship him in spirit and in truth." "The flesh profiteth nothing."

Notice also that at this date the people partook of the wine, which is now denied them in the church of Rome.

Along with the ceremonies introduced by Gregory into the service of the church, reverence towards relics was also fostered. Thus in one of his letters to the empress, who had asked for some relics of St. Paul and St. Peter, he told her they were to be approached even with the greatest fear. He said his predecessor had been troubled by visions, because he had simply desired to try their virtue. He said the relics themselves were never given, but only pieces of linen or stuff which had been placed near the relic; however he would try and send her some filings from the chain of St. Peter, provided the priest appointed was able to obtain them, for the file would not cut unless there was holiness in those who desired the same! Alas, how false must be the religion that needs to be bolstered up, by such falsehoods!

The church of Rome at that time had its earthly possessions in various places. In all these Gregory had his agents to manage the estates, and many of his letters are to these agents, giving them minute instructions as to how things should be managed, so that there should be no damage to the church, and no infringement on the rights of others. He had the income from these estates carefully divided into four equal parts, and given to the bishop, the clergy, the church and its service, and the poor. This supervision contributed to what Gregory lamented as the many earthly things that drew him away from those more heavenly.

One very grievous trial to Gregory was the fact, that the patriarch of Constantinople was styled "universal bishop." So strong was Gregory in condemning this that he himself would not, at that time, be thus styled. Though what made it so irritating to him was that he contended, that the eastern church was dependent on the church of Rome, and nothing that at all clashed with that claim could be tolerated. He wrote to the patriarch, and then to the emperor, respecting the hated title; but with little or no effect — the title was maintained.

Gregory even appealed to the emperor Phocas — a man who had assumed the purple, after slaying six sons of the emperor Mauricius before his eyes, and then putting the emperor to death: he also enticed the late empress and her three daughters from the asylum of a church, upon promise of liberty, but then put them to death. Gregory wrote to this cruel pretender, and his wife Leontia, in the most flattering terms, rejoicing at their accession, and condemning the late emperor, from whose yoke the church was now blessedly free! He exhorted them to protect the afflicted church of St. Peter. "I do not doubt," said he, "that you will take care to oblige and bind him to you by whom you desire to be loosed from your sins."

Gregory did not long survive this shameful flattery of Phocas. He passed away, after suffering much from gout, on March 12, A.D. 604.

Gregory has been held up as being one of the best of the bishops of Rome. He lived at a time when the darkness was only setting in, and yet in writing to various rulers he exhorted them, among other things, to correct the vices of the clergy, and to aim at the conversion of the heathen. A strange thing this, for the rulers to correct the clergy, instead of the clergy being examples to the rulers; and surely it was also the work of the clergy, rather than the rulers, to preach the gospel to the heathen.

Gregory and England.

Soon after Gregory the Great had been made abbot of the monastery at Rome which he had established, he was one day passing through the market-place when he saw some young Anglo-Saxon slaves exposed for sale. He was so struck with their appearance that he was led to inquire respecting their country. The conversation that ensued is thus related:

"Whence come these captives?"

"From the isle of Britain."

"Are the natives of that island Christians?"

"No; they are pagans."

"It is sad that the author of darkness should possess men with such bright faces; but what is the name of that particular nation?"

"They are called Angli."

"And rightly so, for their angel-like faces: they ought to be co-heirs with the angels in heaven. In what province of England did they live?"

"In Deοra."

"They must be freed de Dei irβ (from the anger of God). How is the king of the country called?"


"Surely Hallelujah ought to be sung in his kingdom, to the praise of God who created all things."

Gregory, after gaining the consent of the pope, determined to go to England, and seek the conversion of its inhabitants. He started on his mission, but had not proceeded far when the people of Rome, who had been accustomed to consider him as a saint, compelled him to return.

Though thwarted in his purpose for the time, Gregory did not forget England; and when he became pope, he sought means to send some missionaries to our island.

Augustine, the abbot of his monastery, was chosen by Gregory for this mission. He was a man of ardent piety — one on whom Gregory could rely. Several monks were appointed to accompany Augustine, and after being commended to God by prayer, they set out on their journey. They had, however, only proceeded as far as Provence, when they were overwhelmed with the prospect of the difficulties of such a mission; and, after consultation, Augustine returned to Rome to ask permission of the pope to abandon the enterprise.

But Gregory only the more earnestly exhorted Augustine to persevere, and reminded him of the rewards of heaven if he succeeded. He also gave Augustine letters to the king of Burgundy, and to other princes, and to bishops through whose provinces the missionaries would travel.

Augustine and his party took courage, and again started on their mission — being now forty in number — and at length landed safely on the isle of Thanet. Ethelbert was then king of Kent, the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs. He had married Bertha, a christian princess, daughter of Charibert, king of Paris. Messengers were sent to the king, to announce the arrival of men who had brought tidings of the way in which eternal happiness and glory were to be obtained, with peace and blessing from the true God.

Ethelbert went to meet Augustine where he had landed, and preparations were made by the abbot to impress the king with the dignity of his mission. These things appear to have had a contrary effect, and to have roused his suspicions, for he would not meet Augustine except in the open air, lest he should be brought under some magical power, though this may, however, have been suggested by the pagan priests. The reply of the king was that he could not change the religion of himself and his people without due consideration. But, as they had come from a distance, they might remain, and he would protect them. Any of his people that chose might become converts.

Augustine removed to Canterbury, where Ethelbert held his court, and near which Bertha worshipped in a ruined church. Here the chaste lives and seemly behaviour of the missionaries — together with their lofty message, and the miracles they were supposed to have wrought — gradually won the confidence of the people, and many converts were gained. Ethelbert at length embraced Christianity (A.D. 597), and glad messages were despatched to Rome of the success of the mission.

Augustine was made archbishop of Canterbury, and he proceeded to call a synod of the Saxon and British bishops. Christianity had long before been established in England; but during the wars of the Picts and Scots, and of the Saxons, the British Christians had taken shelter in the more secluded places, especially in Wales.

Augustine seeing the desirability of calling all to the synod, decided to hold it on the confines of the West Saxons, so that all might be able to attend.

Few however attended the first meeting, and Augustine proposed that they should all strive for the conversion of the heathen, that they should submit to the pope, and should adopt a uniformity of ceremony with the Roman church, especially in the celebration of Easter.

The reply was that they were ready to obey the church of God, the pope of Rome, and every godly Christian; but other obedience to any one calling himself pope, or father of fathers, they could not yield.

The synod thus failing in the object Augustine had in view, he proposed that they should prove who was right by a miracle. A blind man was introduced, and the British bishops prayed that he might receive his sight; but he remained blind. Augustine then called on God, and the blind man was soon restored, according to the historian Bede!

The British bishops owned that now they ought to bow to Augustine as to the observation of Easter; but the consent of the elders and people was needed before they could promise entire submission.

Before the next meeting, the British resorted to a hermit, who was reputed to be "holy and wise," for advice as to yielding to the requests of Augustine. The conference is thus recorded:

"Are we bound to desert our traditions at the preaching of Augustine?"

"If he be a man of God, follow him."

"But how shall we be able to make trial thereof?"

"The Lord saith, 'Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.' (Matt. 11:29.) If therefore this Augustine be mild and humble of heart, it is credible that he himself beareth the yoke of Christ, and tendereth the same to be borne of you; but if he is cruel and proud, it appeareth that he is not of God, neither ought ye to heed what he saith."

"But how shall we make discovery hereof?"

"Contrive that he and his may come first into the place of the synod. And if he rise up when you draw near unto him, hear him then obediently, knowing him for a servant of Christ; but if he slighteth you, and vouchsafeth not to rise up unto you (seeing you are more in number), let him be slighted by you."

Armed with these instructions, the British bishops proceeded to the synod. But, alas! Augustine sat in all dignity, and did not rise to greet them. Now they could not be moved to offer submission to one so proud. Augustine then proceeded to threaten them, prophesying that they would be punished by the heathen's swords.

Some while after, Ethelfrid, king of Northumberland, attacked Wales, when an army of monks, some 1200 strong, unarmed, prayed for protection. But Ethelfrid, being told that they were praying against him, ordered their massacre. Only fifty escaped; but this event is placed, by some, subsequent to the death of Augustine.

After this we lose sight of the British Christians for a long time, except that we read, that they who had not withdrawn to secluded places had more or less submitted to the Romish clergy.

Augustine however had prospered. Multitudes of the Anglo-Saxons turned nominal Christians. It is said 10,000 were baptised in one day — baptised as they walked through the river Swale.* He wrought many miracles, according to the Romish historians, some of which are too absurd even to repeat, much less to be believed.

{* Fuller said, "the river Swale, near Richmond in Yorkshire;" but Dr. Heylin said it was a branch of the river Medway, which is divided into East Swale and West Swale and Fuller afterwards agreed with this.}

Gregory had counselled that the heathen temples should not be destroyed, but consecrated for worship, so that the people might be the more easily induced to attend. Festivals also were held at the ancient times, booths erected, animals slain, and the people fed — but consecrated to some saint. Their heathen habits would thus not be so much violated as if all were swept away at once. The new religion, indeed, was to be accommodated to heathen customs! And this was called Christianity!

Augustine was also successful with Sebert, king of Essex, who, with all his kingdom, professed Christianity. After appointing bishops of London and Rochester, he was influential in winning over Redwald, king of East Anglia, who also embraced Christianity. Augustine died about A.D. 605.

Laurentius followed Augustine as Archbishop. He succeeded in bringing the Britons and the Irish to a more precise observance of the Romish ceremonies.

Troubles, however, awaited the church in England. Ethelbert died, and his son Eadbald returned to paganism. Three sons of the king of the East Saxons also returned to paganism. These refused to be baptised, and yet in bravado demanded the Lord's supper, Mellitus, bishop of London, refused them; whereupon he was threatened, but was told that he might depart. He consulted with Justus, bishop of Rochester, and Laurentius; and not wishing to be made martyrs, the two former returned to France, leaving Laurentius only.

Laurentius also resolved to depart; but while passing the last night in church, it is said, he was visited by St. Peter, and rebuked for entertaining the thought of forsaking his flock, and, more than that, the apostle administered so sound a whipping that it left him black and blue!

He went to Eadbald, and threw off his cloak, shewing the marks of his punishment. The king was amazed, and demanded who had dared to chastise so holy a man. The tale was told as above, and this had such an effect on the king that he embraced Christianity. Justus and Mellitus were invited to return. The reader, perhaps, need not be told that it became a ready trick of the monks, when they wanted to prove that they had had a visit from some departed saint, to shew some part of their body still black and blue with the whipping they said they had received from the saint; but this eventually became too common to be believed even by the most devoted Romanist.

Edwin, king of Northumberland, was also converted to Christianity — by a miracle, according to the early historians. Edwin, who had long been a fugitive, took refuge with Redwald king of East Anglia. But his retreat being discovered, Edilfrid, who reigned in Northumberland, demanded his being given up to him. Edwin was exhorted to fly for his life; but he was so tired of fleeing from place to place, that he declared he would not stir though death might await him. He sat in a lonely spot while his fate was being deliberated on. While here, a stranger visited him, and asked what returns he would give if all his wishes were gratified. He declared that he would take that one for his guide who should bring about his restoration to the throne, power, etc. The stranger placed his hand on Edwin's head, and said, "When this sign shall come upon thee, remember this time and the promise thou hast made." And the stranger vanished in a way that led Edwin to believe it was a spirit who had visited him.

Redwald refused to give up his guest. War was the result, but Edilfrid was defeated, and Edwin was placed on the throne — but remained a pagan. He married Ethelberga, daughter of the late Ethelbert. As she was a christian princess, he promised her liberty to make full profession of her religion, and he would embrace the same if he should find on examination it was worthy of adoption. He made promises from time to time, but remained a pagan until one day, Paulinus, a Romish priest who had accompanied Ethelberga, entered his chamber, and placing his hand on his head, asked him if he remembered the time and the promises that had been given to the heavenly visitor. The king fell at his feet, completely conquered. He and thousands of his subjects became Christians. Such is the account given by Bede, and it is now impossible to sort out the true history from that which is mere fable.

In the year 633, Edwin was defeated and slain by Penda, prince of Mercia, and the Northumbrians to a great extent returned to paganism, and Paulinus retired into Kent. Oswald, however, succeeded, and restored Christianity to some extent, by aid of Aidan, a monk from Iona.

Eventually all the divisions of the kingdom embraced Christianity, and Theodore was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury and primate of all England. The attempt, however, to have uniformity everywhere did not succeed. Again the disputes arose as to keeping Easter; and also as to the shaving of the head, called the tonsure. This, indeed, was not uniform in the East and West, and Theodore, who came from the East, had to wait after his appointment four months that his head might be shaved in an orthodox fashion — that of Rome!

A council was called at Whitby by Oswy, king of Northumberland, to settle these disputes. The Romish clergy repeated the worn-out plea that Rome must be right, for the church of Rome had been founded by Peter, and to Peter had been committed the keys of the kingdom. Oswy asked if the giving of the keys to Peter was admitted by the British. They acknowledged that it was true. Then he declared that he must decide for Rome, lest perhaps when he came to the gates of heaven there would be none other there who could admit him!

The British bishops, though silenced, were in no way convinced, and, distressed by the arrogance of the Romish clergy, some resolved to quit the country. Colman and others returned to Ireland.

Iona had long been a seat of learning and of Christianity, from whence missionaries were sent to various parts.

The historian Bede regrets — but which was really an advantage — that these British Christians were ignorant of the decrees of councils, and diligently observed no other works of piety and purity than what they could learn in the prophets, the gospels, and apostolic epistles.

They did not make a gain of godliness, nor set a price upon every act of devotion. Nor did they confine their ministrations to consecrated walls, but, like the apostles, preached and exhorted from village to village, and from house to house.

Those who remained in England gradually conformed to Rome and its doctrines, to the great loss of that simplicity and devotedness taught and practised by the missionaries from Iona.

The church in England became rich, by kings and wealthy persons making over to the church their property, to insure the favour of heaven. Corruption rapidly followed, and monasteries and nunneries became the seats of debauchery. In the council of Cloveshoo, in 747, it was ordered that monasteries should not be turned into places of amusement "for harpers and buffoons." It is recorded that many nobles became abbots, that they might lead easy and jolly lives with companions like themselves.

The invasions of the Danes came at the close of the eighth century, and punished many a dissolute abbot and his monks by death, laying the place of their abode in ruins over them. King Alfred mourned over these desolations.

The renowned Dunstan was born in the year 925, and miracles were not wanting to mark him out as one highly honoured of heaven, according to the historians — miracles, indeed, that cannot now be believed and need not be repeated. He was offered various bishoprics, but declined them, evidently hoping for some higher station; though he said he was visited by St. Peter and St. Paul, and flogged by St. Andrew for rejecting their apostolic society.

He was accused of dishonesty in managing the royal revenues, and had to fly from England, and narrowly escaped his pursuers.

In A.D. 960, on the death of archbishop Odo, Dunstan succeeded. Being supported by king Edgar, he proceeded to carry out his reforms, as he called them. One was that all the clergy should put away their wives, or resign their offices. Some who chose the latter were described as monsters of wickedness! All canons were ordered to become monks.

Miracles, so-called, were resorted to in order to force the clergy to submit to Dunstan. A synod was held at Winchester in the year 977, when the canons who refused to become monks hoped to get the Archbishop to rescind his order. To their astonishment, a crucifix in the wall was heard to exclaim, "Do it not! do it not! you have judged well, and you would do ill to change it." This had but little effect on the canons, who knew too much to be thus deceived, and they would not yield. Dunstan had to resort to harsher measures.

Another synod was held at Calne, and a Scotch bishop named Boernelm was chosen as spokesman for the clergy. Dunstan was pressed by the arguments used, but exclaimed, "I am now growing old, and you endeavour to overcome me. I am more disposed to silence than contention. I confess I am unwilling that you should vanquish me; and to Christ Himself as judge I commit the cause of His church." At these words, the part of the floor on which his opponents stood, gave way and fell, hurting many and killing some, while the other part of the floor stood firm! Who can doubt that this was a diabolical mode of enforcing the will of the archbishop against the desires of the clergy? Dunstan died in A.D. 988.

Here we must leave for the present our sketch of the church in England. Rome had established its dogmas here, with its various corruptions. Penances were imposed on sinners, but the culprit could buy exemptions at a market value: thus a year's fasting could be bought for thirty shillings paid to the church, and sinning became a mere trifle, especially to the rich.

Little is known of the religion in Scotland during this period. The church there is generally believed to have been less under the influence of Rome and to have been purer; but forms and ceremonies made up so much of religion that any deviation from Rome was counted a schism. Margaret, the Anglo-Saxon queen of Malcolm Canmore, was shocked, on going to Scotland, at the differences she saw, and used the influence of her husband to ensure conformity to the ritual of Rome.

Thus was England fast sinking under the thraldom of Rome, with all its high pretensions, and its traditions of men, coupled with its soul-deceiving way of salvation, and the very lowest scale of morality. The dark ages had then set in, but how strange that any Christian should still be entangled in the snares and devices of Rome, now that the dark ages are supposed to have passed!

Chapter 5.


Before we quit the seventh century we must consider the rise of one who, together with his successors, was allowed to become a scourge in Christendom, especially in the East.

Mahomet was born about August 12th, 570. His father, Abdullah, had died a short time previously. When seven days old, his grandfather made a feast, and on the name of the child being asked, he replied it was Mahomet, the Praised One. The guests were astonished at the name, it not being known in the family, and asked the reason. His grandfather replied, "In the hope that my grandson will be praised by God in heaven, and by God's creatures on earth."

As was usual, the infant was committed to a nurse who took him into the desert. When two years old he was brought to his mother, but his nurse begged that she might keep him longer, as her household had prospered while he was there. But soon after, the child was reported to have had a fit. Its nurse was alarmed and thought the child was possessed of a demon, and, lest any calamity should happen to him, she returned with him to his mother. "No, no," exclaimed his mother; "nothing of the kind. The demon has no power over him: a high destiny awaits him." It is thus remarkable that even from his birth he was regarded as destined for some great work.

When about twelve years of age he was taken by his uncle into Syria, and there, while visiting a christian monastery, a monk is said to have fixed his eyes on the youth, and said to his uncle: Convey your nephew home again, and guard him carefully, especially against the Jews; for if they discover certain signs upon him, which I have found out, they will make some attempt upon his life. Know, further, that a glorious future awaits the son of your brother." If true, this also is remarkable, especially as coming from a christian monk.

At about twenty-five years of age, he tended sheep in the neighbourhood of Mecca. He said in after life, "Verily, there hath no prophet been raised up who did not perform the work of a shepherd."

About this time he attracted the attention of a rich widow, named Khadijah, who employed him as her agent to travel on business into Syria. He managed these transactions so well, that she offered her hand in marriage, though she was fifteen years older than himself. It is reported also that one of her servants declared that he had seen two angels shading Mahomet from the heat of the sun!

There can be little doubt that the visits he paid to Syria had great influence over him. He would there come in contact with numerous Christians, and would most likely hear of the subtle questions that still divided the Syrian portion of the church, as to the Person of our Lord, and would see for himself how far many who professed faith in Christ were practically like or unlike their divine Master.

Mahomet would also have met with many Jews, and an inquiring mind would doubtless have sought from them an explanation of Christ's mission, and why they refused Him as their promised Messiah.

For some years Mahomet had been in the habit of retiring to a cave in Mount Hirβ, near Mecca, attended by his family. When he was forty-one years of age, one day his wife missed him, and, on returning, he declared to her that he had had a peculiar dream of an angel visiting him. This had disturbed him, and he had gone out to quiet his mind, when he heard a voice say: "O Mahomet, thou art the apostle of God, and I am Gabriel." He looked up and gazed on the angel until he disappeared.

His wife was his first disciple, then some of his household, and then a few acquaintances, some being men of note. He imposed on his followers that they should believe in one God; in future rewards and punishments; in his being the prophet of God; in practising ablution and offering up prayers, and should promise obedience, He declared that this was not a new religion, but the religion of their ancestor Abraham, restored to its purity.

After three years he had forty adherents, whom he taught privately. He had frequent revelations, he said, from God: these eventually formed the Koran. He determined to make his mission more public, and invited a number of guests; but, except one, they laughed at his pretensions.

He, however, was not silenced, but began now to preach against the gods made of wood and stone. This enraged his countrymen, who would have attacked him but for the protection of his uncle they caused his uncle to attempt to silence him, but Mahomet declared that could they set the sun and moon against him he should not abandon his mission.

Mahomet was urged to prove his mission by miracles, but he appealed to the internal truth of his doctrine, and declared that signs and wonders would lessen the merit of faith and aggravate the sin of unbelief. The only miraculous act he professed — if such it can be called — was a supposed journey by night from Mecca to Jerusalem. Some accounts say it was on an animal, but according to the Koran it may mean simply "in a vision."

Some of his followers being persecuted, they emigrated to Abyssinia, to save their lives. Repeated opposition to the prophet caused his flight in A.D. 622* to Yatreb, the name of which was altered to Medina, the city of the prophet. Some of his disciples had preceded him, and the citizens, among whom the prophet already had some advocates, were ready to receive the outcast. They sallied forth in procession to meet the despised prophet, invested him with the kingly and priestly office, and made his cause their own.

{*It is from this date the Muslims reckon their era.}

This was the beginning of his success, and the revelations he professed to receive sanctioned the use of the sword to put down idolatry. It is to be noted that the Koran is a long succession of revelations, which were made to suit and sanction anything that was thought to be to the interest of the prophet and his mission. For instance, war was prohibited in the sacred month Rajah, during which some of his followers were sent to spy out the enemies of the prophet near Mecca; but a caravan approached, guarded by four men only, and the temptation was too strong to be overcome. It was attacked, and two of the men were killed, and the other two taken prisoners, and the spoils taken to Medina. Mahomet was much disconcerted because of its being done in the sacred month, and in violation of the general truce. A new revelation, however, set it all right. It runs thus: "They will ask thee concerning war in the sacred month: say, To war therein is bad, but to turn aside from the cause of God, and to have no faith in Him, and the sacred temple, and to drive out its people, is worse in the sight of God." (Sur. ii. 214.) After this the booty was appropriated and a ransom accepted for the prisoners.

Various encounters followed without being decisive. At one time the Jews were united with the enemies of Mahomet, and Medina was invested with a large army. But the prophet managed to sow discord among the various chiefs, who one after another left the place, and a truce for ten years was agreed on, but which did not include the Jews, and during that time Mahomet besieged several places inhabited by the Jews, and carried off their property, taking the women and children captives and putting most of the men to death.

At Chaibar, one of the captured places, the prophet nearly lost his life by poison being mixed with his food by a Jewess. He indeed escaped death, but felt the effects of the poison for the rest of his life.

As long, however, as Mecca did not acknowledge the prophet he could not be said to be secure. Its leaders having broken the truce, Mahomet determined to attack the place, and he was now enabled to take with him ten thousand warriors. From some cause the town surrendered after slight resistance, and its inhabitants yielded to the sway of the prophet whom they had previously driven out. He was not revengeful, but forgave his countrymen now converted to his faith. He proceeded at once to destroy their three hundred and sixty idols, and remove every vestige of idolatry. He adorned and consecrated their temple to the worship of God, and betook himself to prayer and devotion, as the pilgrims had formerly done, around the holy shrine, a black stone said to have been originally an altar to the true God.

This victory and another over the hostile fortress of Tayif, left Mahomet supreme ruler, both sacred and earthly, over the whole of Arabia. He then projected trying his strength against the Roman empire as it existed in his day. But his end was approaching, and it was his successors who had more to do with encountering Christianity than the prophet himself.

In the year 632 Mahomet determined to make another devotional pilgrimage to Mecca. After this he addressed his followers: "Listen to my words, and let them sink into your hearts. I leave you a law, to the which if you cleave it will preserve you always from error: a clear and positive law, a book dictated from on high . . . . O my God, have I fulfilled my mission?" A thousand voices answered, "Yes, thou hast fulfilled it." The prophet added, "O my God, hear this testimony."

He returned to his domestic circle, and died after a short illness, on June 8th, 632. A great commotion immediately followed. "How can our apostle be dead?" exclaimed one; "he was to be our witness on the day of judgment." "No," said Omar, one of his chief men; "he is not dead: he is gone to visit his Lord, as Moses aforetime did, when, after an absence of forty days, he re-appeared to his people." But another exclaimed, "Muslims, if ye adore Mahomet, know that Mahomet is dead. If you adore God, God is alive and cannot die. Do you forget that passage in the Koran, 'Mahomet is no more than an apostle: other apostles have already passed away before him;' or that other verse, 'Thou shalt truly die, O Mahomet, and they also shall die'?" This quoting of the Koran quieted the people: it was clearly revealed that the prophet must die. The next question of moment was, who should succeed him? Abu-Bakr was chosen.

As to the personal character of Mahomet it does not stand high; and, as we have seen, he could always get a revelation, pretending that it came from God, to sanction his doings: more than once he sanctioned the assassination of his enemies, this and his having several wives and concubines, was not without shameless unfaithfulness, even to violating his oath.

As to his creed, if it can be said that he had any, it was copied partly from the Old and New Testaments and from various other sources. Of the Lord Jesus he says, "The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God . . . . God is only one God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son." "Infidels now are they who say, God is the Messiah, son of Mary." "God is one; God the eternal; he begetteth not, neither is He begotten; neither is there any One like Him." He may have learnt this from the Arianism of the professing Christians he had met with.

His followers claim for the Koran that it is the latest revelation of the mind of God, and that it had been penned under the immediate inspiration of God. The quotations above given settle at once and without dispute that it in no way came from God. It may have — as scholars declare it has — some sublime passages; but anything that denies the divinity of Christ, cannot be from God.

Another important question is as to God. It sounds reverent to say, "There is only one God," "God is one," "God the eternal," etc.; but is this God they speak of the only true God revealed to us in the scripture? It is not. God is LIGHT, and the Koran is thorough darkness, and in no way reveals the true God, nor the way that a guilty man can approach and be accepted by God. Again, God is LOVE, and the Koran breathes of hatred and vengeance. God is HOLY, but the Koran sanctions lust and impurity. And besides all this, it joins with the declaration of the oneness of God, that Mahomet is His prophet; and as we have seen, he could not possibly have been a prophet of God.

At first Mahomet advocated toleration, but when he was successful, he enforced his mission by the use of the sword, and that without mercy. His religion was an advance upon heathenism, since it turned the thoughts of man to an unseen God instead of serving idols; but the God he revealed, as we have seen, was not the true God. Mahometanism was a deadly enemy to Christianity, though it was doubtless used by God as a scourge of the Eastern church, then sunk in superstition, worldliness, and impurity.

The conquests of the successors of Mahomet were rapid. Palestine, Syria, Egypt, North Africa, the south of Spain, fell under their sway, and they threatened to stable their horses in St. Peter's at Rome, but their onward march was arrested by Charles Martel at the battle of Tours (732), and Europe was saved. But in the ninth century, Persia, Afghanistan, and a large part of India, were made to embrace Mahometanism. In the fifteenth century they conquered Constantinople, and put an end to the Byzantine or Eastern empire (1453).

The once flourishing church in the Eastern empire was now only tolerated by the victors. How humiliating to think that when the Mahometans had cleansed their own land of idolatry, they were met with images and image worship in that which professed to be pure Christianity! And also how sad to think that they should be witnesses of the shameful, immoral conduct of those who should have been examples to the flock. More than once they rebuked the christian rulers for acts that shocked the moral sense of a Mahometan! What greater proof could we need that these things took place when men loved darkness, and won for the times in which they lived the title of "The Dark Ages"?

Chapter 6.

Break Up of the Roman Empire.

As we have referred to the taking of Constantinople by the Mahometans, we will at once add a few remarks as to the Roman empire. With the conquest of Constantinople, the Roman empire may be said to have passed away. Long before this, certain parts of the old empire had ceased to belong to it: Britain perhaps in A.D. 409, and Rome itself in A.D. 476, when Odoacer became king. The empire in the East continued to exist with many changes in its limits; and in the later period of its existence might be called the Greek empire rather than Roman. At the same time a German empire had grown up in the West.

These points are noted because the church was so intimately connected with the empire, and because of the prophecies that allude to a resuscitation of the Roman empire in times yet to come. To those who have not considered this interesting subject, we might point to the great image of Daniel, in conjunction with other prophecies in the same book. We are there told that Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold; then followed a kingdom compared to silver; then one of brass; and lastly one of iron and clay. This latter was to be destroyed by a stone "cut out without hands," to be succeeded by a kingdom "which shall never be destroyed," which the God of heaven would set up.

One word as to the "iron and clay:" perhaps no figure could point out more graphically the existence of the two distinct powers: "the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly brittle" (margin) and may point out what has been called the "imperial," and "the people." At one time the emperor kept the people in fear and trembling; at another time the people — especially the army — made and unmade emperors when they pleased. The "barbarian" element also has been compared to the clay attempting to mingle with that which was truly "Roman." The iron and clay did associate, but "they shall not cleave one to the other, even as iron is not mingled with clay." All over the confines of the old Roman earth the struggle still continues between the royal or imperial and the people.

The question naturally arises, Has the stone yet appeared, or is it yet to appear? There can be no doubt that Christ is the stone, and the question resolves itself into this, Did Christ when He was here begin that work of destruction, as well as introduce the kingdom in power, that is to set it aside?

May we not say, He did not. For the Roman empire became larger and saw its most halcyon days after our Lord had quitted the earth. Whereas the prophecy says that the image is to be destroyed before the stone fills the whole earth.

We are therefore driven to the conclusion, that in some way, and under some form, the Roman empire will be again resuscitated, with its ten toes — its ten horns, which are ten kings — in order that it may be crushed by the advent of that stone which is to do so great a work.

Then the inquiry suggests itself, What kingdoms will form the ten toes? It is not difficult, with a map of the Roman empire at its height of prosperity to pick out ten countries which it then embraced, though those countries may now be subdivided into a greater number of kingdoms.
1. Italia. Now Italy, with Piedmont and Switzerland.
2. Illyricum. Turkey in Europe, and Greece.
3. Asia Minor, now under Turkish rule.
4. Syria. Under Turkish rule.
5. Egypt. Nominally under Turkish rule.
6. North Africa, Tunis, and Tripoli.
7. Mauritania. Morocco and Algiers.
8. Hispania. Spain and Portugal.
9. Gallia. France, Belgium, and Holland.
10. Britannia. Britain.

Now, if the truth of the revival of the Roman empire, as gathered from Daniel, be compared with Revelation 13 and 2 Thessalonians 2, it will be seen that this revival of imperial power will be associated with the Antichrist and be under the influence of Satan (which, indeed, is also pointed out in Daniel 7), and ends in the dire punishment of both Satan and his willing dupes.

We must not here carry the subject farther, except to point out, that there being one great ruling power of this revived empire in no way clashes with the thought of there being ten kings who will give their support to him, and to Antichrist, led on by Satan.

This solemn subject is commended to the student of scripture. It is a solemn warning to those who form part of Christendom, to whom, because they will not now believe the truth, God will send a strong delusion, so that they will believe a lie, being led away by the signs and lying wonders of Antichrist, wrought by the power of Satan.

A warning also to those who are advocating the supremacy of man, regardless of the claims of God. How often have those who advocate the supremacy of the people, and thus raise the passions of men, been the first to fall under the powers they were the means of arousing. Man cannot get his true place unless God is given His: "the powers that be are ordained of God;" though the powers, indeed, may become corrupt, as well as the people. The stone that is coming will destroy the kingdom of iron and clay; but only to raise up a glorious kingdom, in which shall dwell righteousness and peace.

Chapter 7.

France Protects Rome.

Returning to the history of the Roman church, much may be passed over in silence as not being of particular interest. Stephen II. became pope, A.D. 752. It was not at that time an enviable post, because of the Lombards, who under their active king Astolfo, seized on the lands of the church and threatened Rome. Appeals to Constantinople were useless, for although the emperor claimed Italy as a part of his dominions, he did little or nothing to protect its inhabitants.

Stephen turned to France for protection, and hurried in person to visit Pepin, who then reigned. He was received with all humility, Pepin and his noble attendants prostrating themselves to the earth before the pope.

The request was granted. An army was sent against the Lombards, and Astolfo was compelled to shut himself up in the town of Pavia. But as soon as the French troops were withdrawn, he again with fire and sword laid waste the district around Rome, and threatened the city itself.

Appeal was again urgently made to Pepin. We give the words used that the reader may judge of the shocking way in which the pope applied scripture. "I conjure you," he wrote, "by the Lord our God, by His glorious mother, by all the heavenly virtues, and by St. Peter, who has consecrated you a king, to make the spoiler restore to the church of God what he has taken. You will have, at the day of judgment, to give an account of the manner in which you have defended us. It is you whom God has chosen for this great work by His own eternal prescience for those whom He hath predestinated He hath called, and those whom He hath called He hath justified."

Indeed, the letters of Stephen are shocking — for he does not hesitate to call himself, not the successor of Peter, but Peter himself. Over and over again he calls himself, "I, Peter, apostle, called by Christ." He explains that they are to believe that the apostle invites them, for though he is absent in body, he is spiritually present! They were invited also by "our Lady, the mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary." It was to rescue "the holy church of God, in which ye hope to receive eternal life."

Again a French army routed the Lombards, and then arose the question to whom were the estates to be given. The envoy of the emperor claimed them for him. But Pepin, knowing his own power, granted the conquered territory to Stephen and his successors for ever.

This has been taken as the commencement of the temporal dominion of the church, which was added to from time to time though long before, it had lands under its control and a revenue from the same. This made the pope a temporal prince, and was in direct opposition to the word of our Lord, "My kingdom is not of this world: else would my servants fight." The kingdom of the pope was now, at least in part, of this world, and his servants had from time to time to fight for his earthly possession.


This powerful French king was also called in by the successors of Stephen to protect the possessions of the pope. In A.D. 795 Leo III. became pope. He had enemies in Rome, who were offended at his elevation, and watched their opportunity to attack him. Such was the little restraint on the inhabitants of the "holy city," that one day when the pope was in a procession, he was thrown from his horse, and efforts were made to deprive him of his eyes and his tongue. This was not accomplished, but he was dragged into a monastery and again attacked, and left weltering in his blood. But he still retained his sight and his speech. He was able to escape to Charles at Paderborn.

While here, messengers arrived with serious charges against Leo. Charles said he would inquire into them at Rome. When he reached the city, an assembly of archbishops, bishops, etc., was called together to judge of the accusations. But they came to the conclusion, that the successor of St. Peter was not answerable to any human judgment! Leo swore on the Gospels that he was not guilty of the charges.

A memorable incident followed this. On Christmas day — the first day of the ninth century, as it was then reckoned in the West — while Charles knelt at the altar, Leo placed a splendid crown on his head, and the congregation shouted, "Life and victory to Charles, crowned by God emperor of Rome!"

Charles protested against the act, but it is doubted if it were not all pre-arranged and with his consent. This severed Rome from the Greek empire (to which it was nominally attached), and made it a sort of capital of the West.

Charles had many successful wars with the Saxons, but on their chief, Widikind, submitting and being baptised, these wars ceased. Time after time, Charles had induced numbers to be baptised, but no sooner did they feel themselves strong enough to revolt than they again professed the religion of their fathers. Now that peace was proclaimed, it was enacted that death was the penalty against all who refused baptism; against burning the bodies of the dead; against eating flesh in Lent, if done in contempt of Christianity, etc. A tenth of the people's incomes was demanded for the church.

This was making Christians after a new fashion. Alcuin, an Englishman who was settled in France, protested against such conversions. He said the people should be instructed before being baptised; but thousands were forced to become Christians in the above way.

Charles, whose education had been neglected, was anxious for the instruction of his subjects. Amongst those chosen was the above-named Alcuin, who had had a school in England of great repute. On a visit to the continent he met with Charles, who urged him to remain in France and teach. This he was permitted to do, and became teacher to Charles himself, his sons and daughters, and some of his courtiers. He taught theology as well as the sciences.

After being head of this school for fourteen years, he became tired of teaching, and was made abbot of St. Martin at Tours. He took part afterwards in the controversies of the church.

Charles ordered schools to be opened all over his dominions, not forgetting the great need also in this respects of the monks and the clergy. "We have often received," said he, "from different monasteries letters which contained, indeed, many good things, but of which the style was so gross and rude, and so marked with ignorance, that it might reasonably be doubted whether the writers were capable of understanding the holy scriptures."

Charles — or Charlemagne, as he was called after the death of his father — took the lead in all ecclesiastical as well as in temporal matters. He considered it his duty to watch over the spiritual well-being of his people. In spiritual matters he was chief. He considered the pope the highest of bishops, and consulted him, and at times acted on his advice; but when he did, he gave the orders in his own name and not in that of the pope. It was not till later times that all spiritual matters in France were referred to the pope.

Chapter 8.

The Worship of Images.

From early ages, pictures and images had been introduced into churches without, as far as can be gathered, any thought of their being worshipped, But in the dark ages images were not merely treated as works of art, but foolish tales were related respecting them, and believed: some of them had fallen from heaven; others were declared to have been the work of St. Luke the evangelist. Of a picture it was said that Abgarus, king of Edessa, when in correspondence with our Lord, had commissioned a painter to take the portrait of Christ. But the artist was so dazzled by the glory of the countenance that he could not attempt it, whereupon our Saviour Himself impressed His image on a piece of linen and sent it to the king This had been hidden for ages, but was said to have been discovered by a vision. Together with these tales of the origin of the images and pictures, went forth a long list of pretended miracles wrought by them.

It can easily be imagined, that if people, ignorant of the scripture, believed all these things, it would be almost natural that they should pay the highest respect to such images and pictures; and that this respect should gradually merge into veneration and worship. Various things were calculated to encourage this: such as burning lights before them, offering incense in honour of them, adorning them with gems and precious metals. Hands were also placed on them when oaths were taken, and they were even employed as sponsors in baptism! To fall down and reverence them, and then to pray to them naturally followed.

We can well believe that many Christians must and did disagree with all this, and many and severe were the conflicts as to the question of images and their worship. It will be seen that, while the above honours were paid to the images, it was perfectly vain to profess that no worship was intended.

An open rupture took place in the East on this subject, when Leo the Isaurian was emperor (A.D. 718-741). On being freed from his enemies he turned his attention to religion. In the sixth year of his reign he issued an edict, that all Jews and Montanists should be baptised. It is recorded that the Jews submitted, but only mocked at the rite: it was nothing to them. Some of the Montanists, however, full of fanaticism, shut themselves up in their meeting-houses, set them on fire, and perished in the flames, as others had done under Justinian.

The next year (A.D. 724) he issued an edict against images. His motives are not known; he could hardly be influenced by a simple motive to purify the church, because of his general character. The storm it raised was great: parties united together to protect their images. A Saracen army was believed to have been driven off by the influence of the images of the city attacked! Who would dare remove images armed with such power?

A usurper was even selected to supplant the impious emperor; but the usurper was no sooner put down than the emperor issued a decree, that all images should now be destroyed, and the painted walls of the churches should be whitewashed.

He then sought the concurrence of Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople. Germanus reminded the emperor that he had promised to make no innovation in religion. It would appear that in a private interview, Germanus had admitted that images should be abolished; but when pressed, he said to the emperor, "Not in your reign."

"In whose reign, then?" demanded the emperor.

"In that of an emperor named Conon, who will be the forerunner of Antichrist."

"Conon," said the emperor, "is my own baptismal name."

Germanus argued that images were not meant to represent the Trinity, but the Incarnation. That Old Testament prohibitions were no longer in force since Christ appeared in human form, and referred to the reputed Edessan impression of our Lord's countenance, and to the pictures painted by St. Luke. No council had condemned them, and he could make no innovation on the faith. He resigned rather than subscribe the new edict.

The emperor proceeded to carry out his edict. Over the brazen gate of the palace was a noted statue of the Saviour, called the Surety. Many tales were told of this image, and it was much esteemed. A soldier was sent to destroy it; but when, mounted on a ladder, he struck the face with an axe, a number of women who had gathered around, and had intreated him to spare the image, pulled over the ladder and killed the man, and "tore his body to pieces," says an historian. Men now joined the women, and they rushed to the house of the new patriarch, but he took shelter in the palace. The emperor's guards put down the tumult, but not without much bloodshed. Persecution followed, and many were scourged, mutilated, and banished, especially the monks who would not yield to the emperor.

Beyond the dominion of the emperor, some strongly defended images, perhaps none more so than John of Damascus. He wrote against the emperor's edict, and this caused Leo to seek his destruction. He forged a letter in which John offered to deliver up Damascus to the emperor. This was sent to the Caliph of Damascus, who, without staying to hear any defence, cut off John's right hand. This was exposed in the market-place until evening, when John begged that it might be given him, for he suffered great pain while that hung in the air. On receiving his hand he placed it to his arm, and fell down before an image of the Virgin Mary, praying to her to restore it, as he had lost it in the defence of images, and it should be devoted to her service. He then went to sleep, and in the morning the hand was joined to his arm!

Such is the narrative of his historian. Can it be wondered at when such legends were told respecting the images — and believed — that the images should be respected, prayed to, and adored?

This John of Damascus, in defending the use of images, declared that scripture countenanced images by the instructions for making the cherubim! Also by the words of our Lord as to the tribute-money: that which bears Caesar's image is Caesar's, and is to be rendered to him; so that which bears Christ's image is to be rendered to Christ, for it is Christ's. He distinguished between the kind of adoration which should be reserved for God alone, and that which is, for His sake, given to angels, saints, or consecrated things.

He admitted that scripture did not prescribe any veneration for images. Surely this should have been enough for any Christian, especially with the much that is said in scripture against idolatry. And how are poor, simple persons able to distinguish between the kind of worship given to God, and to those images which have been declared able to work miracles?

As Italy was nominally a part of the empire, the edict of Leo was sent thither, but the pope and his clergy would not respect it.

In A.D. 741 Constantine Copronymus succeeded Leo as emperor, and he determined to call a council to settle the question of images. The see of Constantinople was then vacant, and other patriarchs of the East were now under Mahometan rule, so the emperor had to be content with a smaller council of bishops. It met on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus; 338 attended.

The council professed to rest their judgment on the authority of the Fathers, and, relying upon these, they declared all representations made for religious purposes by the art of the painter or sculptor to be presumptuous, pagan, and idolatrous. They, however, declared the lawfulness of invoking the blessed Virgin and the saints.

How strange that so many bishops could meet together on such a subject and not take scripture for their guide! This would have set them right as to invoking the saints, as well as the images. But this was in the dark ages, though, alas! the same thing is done — yea, and images restored in the age that is called enlightened!

Constantine, armed with canons of the council, proceeded to enforce the destruction of images. Most gave way, except the monks, and many of these were cruelly tortured and put to death, and the monasteries turned into barracks. The patriarch gave way to the emperor, but was afterwards treated with the greatest cruelty, and then put to death, on a charge of treason.

In the year 775, while on a military expedition, the emperor was seized with such dreadful pains that he declared that he already felt the pains of hell, and expired. However right the emperor may have been in discountenancing images, there is nothing to justify his cruelty, and nothing to shew that he was really anxious for the purity of the church.

Leo IV. was the next emperor. He was opposed to images, but allowed the banished monks to return. His wife Irene took a contrary course, and privately encouraged the introduction of images. Some were found under her pillow, which roused the emperor: he punished those who had introduced the images, and separated from his wife, though she declared her innocence.

Leo IV. reigned only four and a half years, and his son being only ten years of age, Irene took the reins of government.

Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, suddenly resigned and entered a monastery. When questioned, he declared that his conscience accused him for having opposed the restoration of images. A successor was sought, and he, Tarasius, would only accept the office on condition that a general council should be called to settle the vexed question of images.

This was agreed to, and a council was called to meet at Constantinople. The pope was invited. He appointed two to appear for Rome, and begged the empress to reverse what the former emperor had done in respect to images; but he did not forget to complain that Tarasius had been styled Ecumenical, a title which only belonged to himself.

As the day approached, those who opposed images began to collect, and threatened Tarasius. There were some bishops among them, and some soldiers. Fearing a tumult, Irene told the patriarch to give way, and the Iconoclasts raised shouts of victory. But the empress did not intend to be thwarted. She let things rest a little while, and then disbanded the soldiers and sent them to their homes. Then, in A.D. 787, she called the council together in Nicaea instead of at the capital.

It was an understood thing from the first that the council was not to investigate the question, but simply to restore the images. A great difficulty was how to treat those bishops who had taken part in the last council against images, and of others who had been consecrated by such persons. The monks cried out for rigour against them as the worst of heretics, but the general voice was for leniency.

The way the bishops defended their decision to re-establish images (and they must for very shame say something) sounds curious to our ears. Appeal to scripture was, of course, never thought of. They quoted the Fathers, or more frequently the legends of the miracles wrought by images, to which some of the bishops added marvels from their own experience.

The use made of the Fathers may be judged of by an example. After a passage had been read from Gregory of Nyssa, in which he tells how he had been affected to tears by a picture of the sacrifice of Isaac, a bishop added: "The father had often read the history, but perhaps without ever weeping; yet, as soon as ever he saw a picture he wept."

"If," said another, "so great a doctor was edified and moved even to tears by a picture, how much would it affect lay and unlearned people?"

"If Gregory wept at a painting of Abraham," said another, "what should we do at one of the incarnate Saviour?"

"Should not we too weep," said Tarasius, "if we saw a picture of the crucifixion?" and his words were received with great applause!

Surely this was all solemn trifling: but worse was to follow. The legates of Rome proposed that an image should be brought into the council and receive the adoration of the assembly. This was done the next day! They then proceeded to read the canons of the council of A.D. 754, and one by one they were said to be refuted, in words declared to be dictated by the Holy Ghost!

In conclusion it was decreed that even as the figure on the cross was honoured, so images of the Saviour and blessed Virgin, of angels and of saints, whether painted or mosaic, or any other suitable material, are to be set up for kissing and honourable reverence (proskunesin); but not for real worship (latreian) which belongs to divine nature alone. Incense and lights are to be offered to them, as to the cross, the Gospels, and other holy memorials; "forasmuch as the honour paid to the image passes on to the original, and he who adores an image, adores in it the person of him whom it represents."

This council has been admitted by both the Greeks and the Latins to be the Seventh General Council. It is to be observed that the canon refers only to pictures or flat representations, not images; and to this the Greek church has limited itself to this day.

We thus see how the worship of images was solemnly ordained in a council of the church. It is in vain that we are now told that images are not worshipped. An image was adored in the council itself, and the council itself declared that the veneration paid to an image passed to the person represented. Alas, that scripture should be thus utterly rejected, and men's thoughts set up in place thereof. We also see to how low a standard that which is called worship had fallen in those days. It could be given to a picture of our Lord, or even to one of the saints!

The reader will be interested to learn that the word chosen by the council to designate the sort of worship to be given to images is the word used in Matthew 4:10: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." It is also used in John 4, when our Lord was speaking to the woman of Samaria. Also in Revelation 19:10: "Worship God;" and in other places.

The pope (Adrian) was pleased with the restoration of images, and sent the canons of the council to Charlemagne. But they were ill received in France. The king sent the canons to Alcuin, who was then in England, for his examination. His judgment was against images. Alcuin wrote against them, and four books written by him and others on the subject, were put forth in the name of the king. They are known as "The Caroline Books."

These books boldly called in question the authority of the council, saying it was not universal. They blamed the council for listening to stories of a fabulous character, and refuted in detail all the statements put forth. Still the conclusion went no further than that the worship of images was not to be enforced: images were to be allowed and were not to be broken. A council was now called by Charlemagne, to meet at Frankfort in 794, at which, among other things, the enforced worship of images was condemned; but, as the images were not removed, it is easy to see that the clergy, where so disposed, could encourage their worship.

In the East, however, the question of the restoration of images was not finally settled, notwithstanding that the council of Nice had decided in their favour. Leo V., the Armenian, became emperor in 813, and was opposed to images. He requested the attendance of Nicephorus the patriarch to hear all he had to say in their favour. Nicephorus introduced one, Theodore, an abbot of a famous monastery, who argued that images were not merely for the unlearned, but were necessary for the most advanced Christian; and that a reverence for them was necessary for the right faith in the Incarnation; impiously adding that if images were suppressed "our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain."

Nothing convinced the emperor, and images were again broken, burnt, or covered with dirt. Many who refused to obey were banished. At Christmas, A.D. 814, the emperor went to St. Sophia's church, and all proceeded quietly until a prophecy was read in the lessons for the day from Isaiah 40 against idolatry, when one of the clergy stood forth, and told the emperor that God commanded him, by the prophet's words, to proceed against image-worship.

Nicephorus was displaced and shut up in a monastery; Theodore, who would not be quiet, was cruelly scourged, his wounds being left undressed, and banished. For three years he was confined in an underground dungeon; but his energy seemed to revive, the more he was punished. He wrote or dictated messages to the pope of Rome and others, to oppose the emperor, whom he called a Pharaoh and a Nebuchadnezzar, an enemy of the Saviour and of His Virgin Mother.

Michael "the stammerer," one of the generals, conspired against the emperor; but his plot was discovered, and he was condemned to death. It was the eve of Christmas, 820. He would have been at once executed, but the empress begged the execution might be left until after the festival. The emperor agreed, but told her that her pious scruples might cost her dear. Feeling ill at ease, in the dead of the night the emperor went to see that his enemy was safe. He found Michael and the officer who guarded him, as well as the keeper, all asleep; and he retired again. But there was a slave in the place whom the emperor had not noticed; he recognised the emperor by the purple buskins which he wore, and, on the emperor withdrawing, he awoke the sleepers and told them what he had seen. The officer, knowing that he would be condemned for sleeping, concerted a plan with Michael for immediate action.

On Christmas morning it was usual to begin the earliest service at three o'clock, and one of the gates of the palace was opened at that early hour to admit the clergy and the singers, when some armed conspirators entered also. By mistake they first attacked the chief chaplain, but he, shewing his shaven head, escaped. They then fell upon Leo, and though he defended himself with a large cross from the altar, he was overcome and slain. Before a smith could be obtained to remove the chains of Michael, he was proclaimed emperor, and was crowned the same day!

Theodore, from his dungeon, congratulated the new emperor, and rejoiced that the apostate should thus end his life! He, with others, was recalled, and Theodore had a sort of public triumph.

It is really shocking to see to how low an ebb Christianity had fallen when its loudest advocates could thus rejoice in such a deed of blood as the murder of Leo. But it was then the dark ages!

However, the joy of Theodore was of short duration, for Michael, though allowing images, would have no worship of them. Theodore was again roused to defiance, and was again banished, and died in exile.

Michael wrote to the pope (Paschal) and to Louis the Pious (of France) on the subject of images. This letter shews to what excesses the veneration of images was carried. Besides lights and incense being burned in their honour, hymns and prayers were addressed to them; and in some cases the consecrated bread was placed in the hands of images that it might be received from them!

In the year 829 Theophilus succeeded Michael as emperor, and in every way enforced the orders against images. On his death, 842, all was again changed, and pictures (in the East, rather than statues) were again introduced.

In France the opposition to images on the whole grew weaker, there was an evident desire to be friendly with Rome, and by degrees the doctrines adopted by the Roman church were held by those in France. Thus the question of images was to a certain extent settled. Not, we presume, that all the extreme things mentioned above were enforced; but images were tolerated and reverence paid to them, as may be seen to this day in any Roman Catholic country, if not indeed in our own. The reader will however learn from the above that it was long and strongly opposed in the church; and was only tolerated and enacted during the darkness of the dark ages, though, alas! it survives in times thought to be much more enlightened. It is to be noticed that Rome, at least in respect to images, cannot plead antiquity.

Chapter 9.

Hildebrand, Gregory VII. A.D. 1073-1085.

Perhaps this pope is better known by his real name, Hildebrand. He had been the most influential of the clergy long before he was made pope. Cardinal Hugo Candidus said of him: "He had been for more than a quarter of a century the champion of the Roman church, the restorer of domestic tranquillity, the protector of the poor and the oppressed, and the terror of tyrants."

To shew that such a man was needed, we will glance at a few of his predecessors.

We must not omit to mention pope Joan. It is recorded by Roman historians that a woman was elected pope in the year 855. When young she had a strong affection for a young monk, and, in order to be in his company, she assumed the dress of a man and entered the monastery. On his death, she devoted her mind to study, and being clever, succeeded so well that she was elected pope. She eventually had a child and died. This account was never called in question until the time of the Reformation, when it was repeated by the reformers as against the church of Rome. Certainly the reformers did not invent the story, and why should any Romanist historian do so? It was not deemed worth contradiction until, as we have seen, it was brought as a proof against the holiness of that church.

Several of the popes were elected by open and acknowledged bribery, and some were men of no standing or reputation in the church. Thus John XIX. (1024-1033) was a layman when elected, and was hurried through all the intermediate grades in one day.

His successor, Benedict IX., was elected pope when only ten years of age.* Money overruled all objections.

{* Some say twelve.}

Desiderius, abbot of Monte Cassino, and afterwards pope, declared that "the Italian priesthood, and among them most conspicuously the Roman pontiffs were in the habit of defying all law and all authority . . . . the people sold their suffrages for money to the highest bidder; the priesthood, moved and seduced by avarice and ambition, bought and sold the sacred rights of ordination, and carried on a gainful traffic with the gifts of the Holy Ghost!"

Benedict IX. was so notoriously wicked by acts of "rapine, murder, and every species of felony," that the people of Rome arose and drove him from the city. The office was then sold to Sylvester III. But in three months' time Benedict gained power, and drove away Sylvester, but finding that his own crimes had made him odious to the clergy, he sold the popedom to another who called himself Gregory VI. (A.D. 1044.)

Thus there were three popes at the same time. Gregory found he had made a bad bargain, for Benedict had sold everything he could, and the new pope could scarcely find enough for his support. The roads were beset with robbers, which hindered pilgrims from coming to Rome with their gifts, and scarcely any one was safe in the city itself.

Henry III. of Germany was invited to rescue the church from the dreadful state into which it had fallen. He called a synod in Germany, and addressed the bishops, with a heavy heart: "I speak to you who stand in the place of Christ in that holy church which He hath taken for His bride, and bought with the price of His blood . . . . you have corrupted yourselves by avarice and cupidity; you, whose duty it is to dispense freely the gifts of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, have polluted yourselves by the vile lust of gain. . . . Do we not know of a truth, that all ecclesiastical decrees and orders, from the supreme pontiff himself down to the meanest doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, are already sinking under the load of that damnation which they carry within themselves? Are they not all fattening for the slaughter upon the fruits of this their spiritual felony?" The bishops made no defence, but confessed their sin and asked pardon.

Thus was the church openly rebuked by the emperor, and its leaders could only confess that the charges were too true.

The emperor then proceeded to Italy, and requested Gregory VI. to call a council for the reform of the church. It assembled at Sutri. The first question was that of the three popes. Sylvester was at once deposed, as having no legitimate claim; Benedict had been reckoned as the pope, but as he had twice retired, he was also deposed. Then as to Gregory, who had called the synod, he had bought the office, and the synod resolved that he should depose himself. This he was very loth to do, but was at length constrained to comply.

The emperor then proceeded to Rome, and called for the election of a new pope, a man at least canonically pure. It was soon confessed that there was no such person at Rome; all were polluted by "simony and fornication." The election seemed at a deadlock, when the clergy agreed to delegate all their powers into the hands of the emperor. His election should be theirs. He descended from his throne, and taking Sudger, bishop of Bamberg, by the hand, seated him on the vacant throne amid the hosannas of the people. He took the name of Clement II. (A.D. 1046.) But he lived only a few months.

Several popes followed in rapid succession, until Alexander II. (A.D. 1061) who raised somewhat the papal power. On his death, the people declared Hildebrand to be the right man, and rushed upon him without delay and installed him in the papal chair. The forms of election were hastily gone through, and he chose the title of Gregory VII. (A.D. 1073.)

No sooner was the news of his election spread abroad than the easy-going clergy appealed to the emperor (Henry IV. of Germany) to declare the election void because his sanction had not been obtained. They feared that a man of so much energy as Hildebrand was known to be, would not leave them long at peace where abuses had crept in. They also warned the emperor that, if he suffered such a man to be pope, he himself would surely be made to feel his power.

A message was at once despatched to Rome to protest against the election of Hildebrand. But the newly-elected pope spoke with the greatest humility, declaring that the office had been thrust upon him; he had no personal ambition in the matter, and, indeed, he had delayed his enthronement until he had learned the will of the emperor and his princes.

This so pleased the emperor that he at once sent his affirmation of the election, and the enthronement took place. It was not, however, difficult to see that great and important events must follow this election — events in which the pope and the emperor would be the principal actors.

Gregory confessed that his ambition was to effect a total reformation of the church, of which, indeed, it stood in great need. Simony existed everywhere: the vacant offices of the church were given to favourites or sold to rich applicants, as we have seen, altogether apart from their real fitness for the same. And such men, when elected, cared little for the good of the people over whom they were placed, but sought rather to enrich themselves and their relatives in honours and estates.

The emperor Henry had been badly brought up by his tutors, who had allowed the young man to indulge in folly and sinful pleasures.

The sale of livings had been so shamefully carried on at his court that many a one had good cause to fear when they heard that such a stern disciplinarian as Hildebrand had been chosen pope.

France was ruled by a cruel and greedy tyrant (Philip I.), who was hated and despised by his subjects.

Spain was divided among Saracens and Christians, without any power to repel the aggressions of the pope; while other continental nations were suffering from disorders of various kinds.

All pointed out to Gregory that now, when there was nothing but weakness on every hand, was the time for him to raise the church of Rome to full supremacy, not only over all in the church, but also over kings, and to see that it obtained all it claimed.

One of the first places that engaged Gregory's attention was Spain. Bands of French adventurers had been for some time encouraged by Rome to attack Spain, and whatever places they could seize were to be made over to the church. Now Gregory wrote to the Spanish princes, reminding them that the whole of Spain had been from olden time a part and parcel of the patrimony of St. Peter! And any country that once belonged to the church could never be taken therefrom!

Gregory took no trouble to prove his assertions. He made his demands, and would seek for power to enforce them. Of course all was done in the name and professedly for the welfare of the church of God, though really it was all for the welfare of the church of Rome, based upon what has been called ecclesiastical law. But who made these laws? Well, they were supposed to have been passed at ancient councils, or laid down by former popes. But it is an undeniable fact, that many of these ancient documents are really forgeries, of which we will now say a few words.

The Decretals.

A great deal of the power which the popes claimed as belonging to the church of Rome, was not pretended to be founded on anything in scripture, though they did not neglect the supposed dignity of Peter and of themselves as his successors. Things were asserted and claimed for Rome on the sole authority of the Decretals, or canon law of the church. These are found to be: 1, Answers given by the popes to questions asked 2, Decrees passed by the popes and their cardinals. These, together with the canons of the general councils, formed the canon laws of the church of Rome.

It is easy to see that collections of such laws may have been made from early times, and then have been enlarged from time to time when various questions at issue were considered to be finally settled.

Of course, every collector was anxious to trace back as far as he could the source of each law, and to stamp it with an antiquity that would carry with it its due weight.

Now, in the ninth century, a collection of such laws was made by one known as Pseudo-Isidore (to distinguish him from another Isidore of Spain who also did a similar work) — a collection which professed antiquity for many of its laws, and which covered a wide field of questions touching the authority of the pope, the clergy, and internal ordering of the church, etc.

It was then "the dark ages," and no one thought to question what was put forth with much apparent reverence, and mingled with pious ejaculations. Incidents of persons who lived at various times were interwoven with the laws, which seemed to give a reality to the whole.

To this the popes pointed triumphantly: who could gainsay such antiquity? who could call in question such piety? Men surely would hear, learn, and submit implicitly to such documents.

But, as we have said, the ages were dark, or people would then and there have discovered, at least, glaring errors and mistakes, if they had not ventured to call them falsehoods. There was monstrous ignorance of history, glaring mistakes in chronology, things and people jumbled up together in utter confusion, proving the whole to be unquestionably false. This has since been owned by some honest Roman Catholic writers as well as by Protestant.

What must we think of that church that needed such false decretals to bolster up its supposed authority? The whole was evidently gathered together to uphold the supremacy of the church of Rome, and especially the undisputed authority of the popes personally.

It has been disputed that the middle ages were really dark. Well, what about these false decretals? Could they have been collected by any one but an ignorant man, a man who knew next to nothing of even history and chronology? And then could the popes who used these decretals have been anything but ignorant men to have used such documents bearing falsehood on their very surface? Well, yes, there may be another answer to the question but it is that the one who made the collection, as well as the popes who used it, may have been wicked enough to put forth and use what they knew to be false. Any way, these false decretals prove the ages to have been dark — very dark.

All this is apart from scripture. If people leave the word of God for tradition, the figure used in scripture may well apply to them: it is the blind leading the build, and both fall into the ditch. Happy those who know the sufficiency of the word of God for all that they need, to guide them both in faith and practice. There is nothing "false" there.

But how sad to see intelligent men in the nineteenth century attempting to give the church of Rome that supremacy which it then claimed, and sought to support its claims by that which has been acknowledged by honest Romanists to be shameless forgeries!

Gregory and the Married Clergy.

In the year 1074, Gregory summoned the bishops to a special synod at Rome, and under his influence it was ordained: 1, That priests should not marry; 2, That those who were married should put away their wives, or renounce the priesthood; 3, That for the future no one should be ordained priest who did not promise celibacy.

These things had been enacted before, but, having met with much decided opposition, had been allowed to slumber. Now, however, there was a man of energy on the papal throne, and they were to be enforced everywhere. He threatened with perdition any that should disobey the order. "How," he asks, "shall they obtain pardon for their sins who despise him who openeth and closeth the gates of heaven to whom he pleaseth? Let all such beware how they call down the divine wrath upon their own heads."

Nevertheless there was strong opposition everywhere to the decrees. There were many of the clergy who had wives and children, and they felt they could not violate their pledges to their wives, and, indeed, disobey God, who had said that what God had joined should not be put asunder by man.

In Paris a synod was held on the subject, and it concluded that no obedience should be given to the decree touching the married clergy. Walter, abbot of Pont-Isθre, insisted that the pope, right or wrong, ought to be obeyed; but he was dragged from the hall of meeting, and beaten severely before he could be rescued.

The archbishop of Rouen proceeded to expel the married clergy, but he was assailed with showers of stones, etc., so that he had to fly for his life.

In Normandy it was a recognised thing that the clergy were allowed to marry, and their sons often succeeded to their livings.

In Spain the opposition was also most determined, and as late as the year 1104, pope Paschal II. had to relax the decree in order to avoid a schism.

In England the zealous Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, declined to publish the decree, and later on all that was done was to make it a condition that no more married men should be ordained, nor any allowed to marry after ordination.

In Germany also there was great resistance. The heads of the clergy gave six months for the priests to put away their wives. But all to no purpose, the pope was not obeyed nor the council he had called.

Gregory was all the more urgent, quoting scripture in the most outrageous manner. "To obey is better than sacrifice," he wrote; "see I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms to root out and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant." "The decrees of the fathers, the authority of the canons, demand prompt, unhesitating obedience He whom flesh and blood moveth to doubt or delay is carnal — he is condemned already; he hath no share in the work of the Lord; he is a rotten branch, a dumb dog, a cankered limb, a faithless servant, a time-server, and a hypocrite."

The archbishop of Mainz, thus urged by the pope, called a synod. The clergy protested, and many left the council in anger, and consulted together. He pressed them to return, promising them he would urge the pope to relax his orders. He then proceeded to press them for some tithes; but he was obliged to hurry away, to avoid their violence. They would not give up their wives nor give their money.

Now all this opposition of the clergy to the decree is important, as shewing that the enforced celibacy of the clergy is comparatively a modern innovation. After the existence of the church for more than a thousand years, there was all this determined resistance to this "forbidding to marry." There always had been persons of ascetic habits who had preferred to remain unmarried; but there had been no direct effort to enforce it on all till about the year 952; again in 1012; and later in the year we have been looking at (1074) when it was opposed everywhere. Where, then, is the antiquity of this doctrine — the antiquity which the Romanists claim for all their doctrines and practices? As we have seen, such a claim is a mere myth that will not bear the least investigation. The practice is without the least particle of authority from the scripture — indeed, it is dead against it; for therein a bishop is to be the husband of one wife. (1 Tim. 3:2.) Woe be to those who, with such high pretensions to divine authority, trample under foot the word of God which should be their only guide. Their pretensions in this matter are not even ancient.

Gregory and Henry IV.

The emperor Henry governed his country so badly, that a revolution was the consequence. The people appealed to the pope against the emperor, and the emperor appealed to him also against the revolters.

The austerities of the pope had, however, alienated from himself the affections of many of the clergy. In Rome itself, he had compelled the married clergy to separate from their wives, and had compelled them to live together, throwing all their private property into a brotherhood. This had led many to consider him as their enemy.

He had other enemies near Rome. Cenci, the leader of the Tusculan party, after various collisions with the pope, still waited an opportunity to take revenge upon Gregory, On the eve of the Nativity, the pope usually repaired to the church of St. Mary-the-Greater, attended by many clergy and multitudes of the laity. But on the occasion in question, it rained in torrents, and few attended the pope. Cenci, on learning this from one of his spies, determined to carry off the pope. He disposed of his followers, so that there could be no escape, and then entered the church and seized Gregory, who was slightly wounded in the scuffle.

Gregory is said to have remained perfectly composed while Cenci proceeded to "degrade" him, by stripping him of some of his robes; they then set him on a horse behind one of their party, and carried him off to one of their strongholds.

But before daybreak the whole city was in commotion; altars were stripped of their ornaments, and all religious services stopped, out of sympathy for the pope. All the gates were guarded, to prevent the pope being carried off if still in Rome.

This upset all the plans of the conspirators, who had made a mistake in remaining in the city. The prison was soon discovered, and a most determined attack was made on the place. The gates were burned, and battering-rams soon knocked down the outer walls.

In the meantime, some had gained entrance to the pope, had bound up his wounds and warmed him with additional clothing. An accomplice of Cenci threatened the pope with instant death, when a javelin from without laid the man dead at the pope's feet.

Cenci, feeling all hope of resistance was now vain, fell down at the feet of the pope, confessed the great sin he had committed, and begged for pardon. This was granted, but by way of penance he was ordered to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He started at once on his journey.

The pope, being liberated, proceeded to the same church, and there, in his tattered robes, went on with the mass from where he had left off the day before!

But Cenci and other enemies of the pope, found refuge at the emperor's court, and it became evident that the great conflict for power was to be between Henry IV. and Gregory VII.

Henry had been summoned to Rome by the pope; but instead of going, Henry proceeded to summon a synod of the clergy at Worms. It met on January 24th, 1076. It was called for the express purpose of deposing the pope. Cardinal Hugo Candidus was the emperor's spokesman.

The following charges were said to be proved against the pope: —
1. His inordinate ambition and intolerable pride, whereby flames of dissension had been spread in the church.
2. He had enfeebled the authority of the clergy.
3. He had suffered the name of Christ to be altogether eclipsed by his own.
4. He had twice sworn that he would not accept the papacy.
5. His election was irregular.
6. His conduct towards certain noble females had occasioned a scandal in the church, and decrees of the church had been settled in a small senate of women.
7. His slander and abuse of some of the clergy.
Lastly. For all these things they judged him unworthy of obedience as their apostolic head.

The document was signed by two archbishops and twenty-two bishops. Two other bishops objected that any one should be condemned without being heard. They were told they must resign their livings unless they signed. They gave way, and appended their names.

Henry's chancellor in Italy lost no time in publishing the document, and exhorted the people to join their king (for Henry IV. was still nominally king of Italy) in deposing the pope.

Henry also despatched a letter to the pope, proceeding thus: "Henry, by divine ordinance, king, to the false monk Hildebrand. . . . . Such is the merited salutation to one who, like you, hath dealt out confusion rather than peace, a curse instead of a blessing, to the catholic church. . . . . Hath he not, the blessed, the true pope, Peter, said, 'Fear God, honour the king'? But you dishonour us because you do not fear God. . . . . Now, therefore, seeing that you are smitten by the anathema, and by our judgment, and by the unanimous verdict of our bishops condemned and deposed, descend now from the chair you have usurped. . . . I, Henry, by the grace of God, king, with all my bishops, do command you, Hildebrand, to come down — and again I say, Come down."

The way adopted in delivering the king's letter added to the affront. One of the inferior clergy was sent as messenger. He chose the time when the pope sat in the Lateran, surrounded by the assembled clergy. He began, "My lord the king, and the bishops of the empire, do, by my mouth, command you, Hildebrand, without delay, to resign the chair of Peter; for it is unlawful for you to aspire to so lofty a place without the royal consent and investiture." Turning to the clergy, he said, "You, brethren, are hereby commanded that at the coming feast of Pentecost, you present yourselves before the king, to accept a pope at his hands, for this Hildebrand is not pope, neither is he your shepherd, but a wolf in the fold of the Lord."

The lay brethren rushed upon the king's messenger with drawn swords, and would have slain him then and there, had not the pope quickly wrapped his own mantle round him; thus saving the assembly from the charge of slaying the king's herald.

Gregory calmly addressed the assembled clergy, quoting, "It must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom they come." Again, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Nevertheless, he proceeded to denounce Henry, and to declare him no longer emperor of Germany, saying, "I do hereby, for the honour and defence of the church, on behalf and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and by thy [the synod's] power and authority, inhibit and drive out Henry the king, son of Henry the emperor, from the crown, rule, and government of the kingdoms of Germany and Italy, and do absolve all christian men from the bond of the oath which they have sworn, or may hereafter swear unto him; and I do forbid all men from this time forward to serve or obey him as king."

We see in the above what a false position Henry took in seeking to usurp power in the church, over which he had no true power; while on the other hand, the pope, instead of obeying "the powers that be," acted directly contrary, and sought to dethrone the king, and impiously absolved those who had taken oath to obey their sovereign. Indeed, he did more, for he exhorted to civil war and bloodshed, quoting the passage, "Cursed be he that withholdeth the sword from blood."

The pope's condemnation was sent with all speed to all parts of Germany. As we have said, Henry IV. ruled his kingdom badly, and his Saxon subjects were often at variance with him. These, with all the king's enemies, gladly hailed the popes letters, and began to plot against the emperor. The clergy too began to waver; some indeed had secretly communicated with the pope, declaring that they had signed the resolutions of Worms by compulsion, and that they really sided with the pope. Others waited to see who would be victors in the great struggle.

Henry tried to make light of the pope's curse, but he began to see that some who had held with him were now lukewarm, and others deserted him altogether.

Through the pope's influence it was agreed to convoke a general convention of the estates of the German empire, to consider the question of the emperor and the pope. It assembled at Trebur, but was greatly under the influence of the pope. His legates were to exhort the convention to choose another king if Henry remained impenitent, that is, if he did not submit to the pope, But the pope's legates were not to hold any intercourse with the heads of the nation then assembled, until they had been purified from their defiled influence with their deposed king.

This being done, the impeachment of the king followed — raking up all that could be brought against him. In the meantime, he had his army and his enemies had theirs; but no result followed by the sword. Negotiations were tried; but the assembled nobles declared that as Henry was cut off from the church by "the sword of the apostolic anathema," they could hold no communion with him; the pope had also released them from their oath of obedience.

Henry's cause got worse and worse. Negotiations were opened, notwithstanding the above declaration, and it was proposed that the estates should wait till a year and a day from the time of the papal anathema, and if the king did not submit by that time, the pope should go to Augsburg, and with the estates, choose another king. In the meantime, Henry was to lay aside all signs of royalty.

Henry now saw that it was no use to resist any longer. He sought by all means, before the fatal day arrived, to meet and submit himself to the pope. On the other hand, his enemies sought to prevent his doing so. Henry sent to Rome, by Archbishop Udo of Treves, letters of submission, and a request that he might meet with the pope. The confederates besought the pope not to grant an interview, but to come himself to Germany and dispose of the king's matter.

The pope assured the confederates that he would come to Germany, and proposed to arrive at Mantua, January 8th, 1077. Henry thought that his only chance of success was to post off to Rome before the pope could cross the Alps. The confederates seized some of the passes, to prevent his egress into Italy; Mont Cenis alone remained open to him. By permission of William, duke of Burgundy, he passed into Savoy. There the duchess, his mother-in-law, demanded a grant of estates as her price for letting him pass. The worst part of his journey yet remained. The passes of the Alps were so blocked with snow and ice, that his progress seemed hopeless, but a path was cut by a number of labourers, to whom he promised large rewards, and he reached the summit; but to descend was even worse. His wife and child were wrapped in cow hides, and slid down by the guides. The men slipped down on their hands and knees; but at length the emperor landed with his small party on the plains of Lombardy.

Here many received him joyfully, but on passing into Italy, the pope's party as loudly denounced him. As soon as the pope heard of Henry's arrival in Italy, he thought it best to make himself secure in the strong castle at Canossa, belonging to his devout friend the countess Mathilda.

The clergy who had held with Henry were as anxious to be absolved as was the king. These had passed the Alps and hastened to Canossa, and there, with bare feet and clothed in sackcloth, they begged the pope's pardon. By way of penance, they were placed in solitary confinement, and fed on but one meal of bread and water in twenty-four hours.

Henry used the influence of others to beg the pope to grant him an interview, and he besought the countess Mathilda to intercede for him.

Henry being in Italy was not the same thing as his being in Germany. He had a powerful party in Lombardy, who might gain ascendancy over the pope's followers, and thus make him a prisoner. Still, after all the pope's protestations to the German confederates, he could not without much seeming hesitation grant an interview. At length, however, he agreed to receive him, providing the king would make full confession of his guilt, express repentance for the insults against the apostolic throne, obey in future the papal mandates, etc.

Henry was determined to agree to everything. On the appointed day he presented himself the castle. He was admitted to the first enclosure, where he was divested of all signs of royalty, clothed in a coarse woollen garment, and made to stand barefoot, fasting from morn till sunset. And thus he was kept for three days, waiting for the pope's permission for his admittance, until all were moved to beseech the pope to have pity on the king. The three days were 25th, 26th and 27th of January, 1077 — only six days before the year and a day had run out!

The conditions of absolution were: —
1. That Henry should submit himself to a general synod consisting of all the ecclesiastical and lay princes of the empire, as to whether, by the laws of the church, he was worthy to be their emperor.
2. That till the trial he should lay aside royalty.
3. That he should collect such taxes and revenues only as were necessary for support of him self and family.
4. That until that time his subjects should be absolved from their oaths.
5. That he should dismiss from his council all counsellors objected to by the pope.
6. That in case of acquittal he should in all things be obedient to the holy see.
7. That if he should fail in any of these things his absolution should become void.

The king solemnly pledged his oath to obey these conditions, and he was absolved.

Then followed a solemn and irreverent scene. The pope said, having been accused by the king, he would prove his innocence. Standing before the altar, with a piece of consecrated bread in his hand, he said, "May the body of the Lord, which I now take and receive in witness thereof, either free me from the guilt of the crimes thus laid to my charge, or, if guilty, strike me with sudden death!"

He swallowed part of the bread, and remained alive! A sensation ran through the company at that, which appeared to them, a certain proof of the pope's innocence.

Henry was now invited to give the same proofs of his innocence. But after consulting with his friends, he said he did not know definitely of what he was accused, and thus in his case such a proceeding would have no meaning.

One cannot but be struck with the dreadful profanity of using the bread of the Lord's supper for such a purpose, and that too by one calling himself the successor of Peter. The forbearance of the man of the world should have put the pope to shame.

One can hardly suppose that the pope really thought that Henry could or would fulfil the above conditions. To be emperor, and yet to lay aside all signs of royalty, was ridiculous. Indeed, the conditions seem to have been purposely drawn up so as to keep Henry in check by the proposed synod, while at the same time it might seem as if the pope were acting in good faith towards the confederates.

In fact, the conditions settled nothing, and the confederates soon complained of the way they had been treated. Though a synod had been spoken of, no time had been named for its assembling. Eventually the estates assembled together and chose another emperor — Rudolf of Swabia.

No sooner did Henry leave the pope than in Lombardy he was assailed with reproaches for humbling himself before the pope in the way he had done. Here he could soon have raised an army, but he hastened back to Germany.

We must not follow him in his struggles with his subjects. Rudolf was slain, and when Henry gained power, he marched into Italy to avenge himself on the pope. Henry had assembled another council, and had again deposed the pope, and had appointed Guibert (or Wibert), archbishop of Ravenna, to be pope as Clement III.

Henry's army reached the gates of Rome; but the pope had allied himself with Robert Guiscard. the Norman conqueror of Apulia and Sicily, and the city being well defended, Henry was unable to take it. He tried again the next year (1082) and the year following, but without success.

A council was called of those in Rome in 1083, to try and settle the questions at issue between the pope and Henry. All were desirous of peace, but the pope would not yield, and things remained as they were.

In the next year Henry was invited to enter Rome by some who were dissatisfied with the pope. Henry acceded to the request, took possession of the Lateran and the principal parts of the city. Gregory fled for refuge into the castle of St. Angelo, and Clement III. was proclaimed pope. He crowned Henry in St. Peter's, who was hailed as king by acclamation.

But Robert Guiscard was approaching with his army, and Henry left the city and retired to Tuscany. Guiscard took his place in the city under the pretence of aiding the pope, but his army pillaged the city, and committed many atrocities. They set the city on fire, and carried away many inhabitants and sold them as slaves.

Gregory, on leaving his castle, called another council, in which, for the fourth time, he excommunicated Henry and Guibert. But Henry had now power enough to care nothing for the pope's anathemas.

Gregory, not feeling himself safe in Rome when Guiscard left, went with him to Salerno, but took hostages from Rome to ensure their future submission. The pope died the next year, 1085.

One of the great things contended for by Gregory was that he, and he alone, had power to invest the clergy with authority, and not only at Rome, but in every other place; whereas Henry would not agree to this. The clergy appointed by Rome were too much under Roman influence to serve the emperor. He would appoint his own clergy. If they were dependent on him, he could count on them to serve him and carry out his purposes.

Alas, that the church of God should have thus become a mere citadel, open to the attacks of, and governed by, a merely worldly man, and made to serve his purposes, right or wrong! or, on the other hand, to be ruled and used by such a crafty man as Gregory VII., who did not scruple to depose the emperor when he would not obey his mandates, in direct opposition, as we have seen, to the exhortation to "obey the powers that be" in worldly matters.

The papal chair was vacant for a year, at the expiration of which Victor III. was elected; then in 1088 Urban II., in whose time the Crusades commenced.

Chapter 10.

The Crusades.

Christians had for a long period been induced to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and visit the holy sepulchre.

There was a sort of merit attached to the accomplishment of this object, though it is now difficult to see in what the merit consisted. Some of the best in the church discouraged pilgrimages, knowing well what evils attended the mixing of so many men and women promiscuously together. Others, however, upheld it, and many hundreds made their way yearly to the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem.

While this place was in the custody of the Caliphs of Bagdad, and of those of Egypt, Christians were allowed to come and go as they pleased, and carry on their devotions unhinderedly. The Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid had even sent keys of the sepulchre as a present to Charlemagne. But when, later on, the Turks had conquered Palestine, things were changed. Christians were molested and insulted in various ways, their riches being a great temptation to the needy Turks.

On their return, from time to time, the whole of Europe was stirred by the recital of the insults the christian pilgrims had received.

How wise it would have been to have stayed away, and to have worshipped God at home. There is not a word in the scriptures about taking pilgrimages to Jerusalem or anywhere else. But it had now become popular, either as a test of devotion to the One who had lain in that sepulchre, or in certain cases as a penance for some fault they had committed.

About A.D. 1064, a rumour arose that the last day was near, and some 7000 pilgrims made the journey to Jerusalem but they were repeatedly attacked, and only about 2000 returned! From this arose such a bitter cry for vengeance on their enemies, the Turks, that the whole of Christendom was roused. Pope Sylvester II., about sixty years before, had preached a crusade, but all held back from taking the sword. Now fresh efforts were made to arouse men to action.

Peter the Hermit eventually felt called upon to make this his mission. He had been a soldier in his youth, but when grown up he deserted his wife and entered a monastery, and afterwards became a hermit. He had visited Jerusalem as a pilgrim, and had had his spirit stirred within him when he witnessed the insults and robbery of the pilgrims. He suggested to the patriarch of Jerusalem to apply to Constantinople for redress, but the empire was too feeble to accomplish anything for them. The Christians of the West must be entreated to give aid by their prayers, if not by their arms.

Peter returned to Rome and visited the pope, relating to him the scenes he had witnessed, and repeated the request of the patriarch. He added that in the holy sepulchre he had seen the Saviour Himself in a vision, who had charged him to arouse the Christians of the West to wrest the Holy Land from the infidels.

Pope Urban II. listened to the recital, and then, without committing himself, bid Peter traverse the country and see what effects his preaching would have.

This was Peter's mission — to rouse Christians everywhere to what was called the Holy War. He went mounted on his mule. He was a strange looking man, was short, lean, and of a dark complexion, with a large head and a piercing eye. His dress was very rough, with a thick cord round his waist, his head uncovered, and his feet bare. His speech was rude but earnest, and crowds of the high and low listened to his tales of woes that haunted the feet of the pilgrims, and the shame that would attach to Christians generally if they let the Holy Land remain in the hands of the infidels. He read letters from the patriarch and others, and even, historians say, professed to have had a letter from heaven itself! At times he would weep, sigh, groan, beat his breast, while he kissed the crucifix he carried.

Such appeals gained many to his cause, so that, indeed, he had to restrain some that would have seized arms and at once have followed him to the Holy Land. Alms and gifts were bestowed on him freely, and many sought his advice in their difficulties. These he entered into, and was the means of reconciling enemies, and of reforming the profligate. But nothing was allowed long to hinder his mission — to arouse Christendom to the Holy War. He returned to Rome, and related to Urban his great success.

At this time there were two popes: Urban II. and Clement III., and it appeared to the former that if he took up the cause of the Holy War it might seat him more firmly in the papal chair, and might be the means of again uniting the eastern and the western churches, which would also be to his advantage. He resolved to patronise the movement, or rather become its head.

A council was summoned at Piacenza in 1095: it was attended by 200 bishops, 4000 clergy, and 30,000 laity. It was held in a plain near the city — no building could hold the people. The holy war was set forth, and agreed to: many bound themselves to go forth to release the Holy Land. A few other things were carried also at this council. Heresies were condemned, and curses pronounced on Clement, called the antipope.

But as Italy did not take up the matter with enthusiasm, Urban resolved to agitate the subject in France. A difficulty presented itself, for Philip, king of France, had been excommunicated by some of the clergy for divorcing his wife Bertha and marrying Bertrada, wife of Fulk, count of Anjou. Philip raised the plea that Bertrada was not the true wife of Fulk, because of being related. Urban had restored the king, on his promising to separate from Bertrada, but Philip had not kept his promise.

A council was called to meet at Clermont in Auvergne, in November, 1095. There were fourteen archbishops, two hundred and twenty-five bishops, and about one hundred abbots, with a number of strangers. The villages were filled with occupants, and some had to resort to sleep in tents.

Canons were passed against simony, pluralities, etc., and then it went a step beyond former councils, namely, that no ecclesiastic should swear allegiance to any temporal lord. The great aim was to make the clergy answerable to the pope only, and not to any king or ruler. Philip was again excommunicated, but this caused little commotion now, for men's minds were all anxiously filled with the subject of the holy war.

At length the day arrived when this was to be brought forward. It was done in the marketplace, where Urban ascended a pulpit, and vast throngs surrounded him. He told of the ancient glories of Palestine, on which the feet of the Saviour and His Virgin Mother had trod. God's interest still in the land was also declared to be proved by the miracle, that the lamps of the holy sepulchre were lit from heaven at the season of the Saviour's passion! A miracle, Urban said, that ought to soften all but hearts of flint.

He detailed the hardships, insults, and injuries inflicted on the pilgrims by the cruel children of the Egyptian handmaid, and he appealed to many standing there who had witnessed these atrocities.

He spoke of the encroachments of the Turks on Christendom, and the great fear there was for Constantinople, the treasury of so many famous relics!

"Cast out the bondwoman and her son," he cried; "let all the faithful arm. Go forth, and God shall be with you. . . . Let the famous nation of the Franks display their valour in a cause where death is the assurance of blessedness. Count it joy to die for Christ where Christ died for you. Think not of kindred or home; you owe to God a higher love; for a christian every place is exile, every place is home and country."

Thus spoke Urban, but he went further and told his hearers how easy was the remedy for sin he now proposed: for all penance should be relaxed in favour of those who should go forth to the holy war! Indeed, he began now for the first time to preach the dreadful soul-deceiving error of Indulgences. Full forgiveness of sins was promised, and this without even penance. A writer of the time saw that a new method for the cleansing of sins had been invented. Shame on any one calling himself a Christian to issue so false a thing as indulgences, and this, too, by one claiming for himself to be Christ's vicar or representative on earth!

It is recorded that thousands gave ready adherence to the cause, some calling out as Urban spoke, "It is the will of God;" and this became their war cry. They attached a cross to their breasts, and were thus called Crusaders. To keep up the solemn farce, a cardinal stepped forth and made a confession of sins in the name of all who were to share in the war, and then the pope pronounced absolution on them. This was all a solemn mockery, for there had been no real confession of sins at all. If those carrying on this deception knew no better, it was really the blind leading the blind into the bottomless pit of destruction.

Raymond, the count of Toulouse, was the most prominent of the crusaders. Adhemar, bishop of Le Puy, also declared his intention of joining the army. The festival of the Assumption (August 15th) in the following year was settled as the day the crusaders should set out.

Enthusiasm ran high. Women urged their husbands and their sons to take the cross, and those who refused, unless circumstances prevented, became marked men. Property was sold or mortgaged to raise funds, and workmen sold their tools and utensils; the price of property fell, and the price of horses and arms rose considerably.

Those who took the cross were a motley group, for many in debt took this means of getting release, and even robbers, pirates, and outlaws were said to be among the absolved bearers of the cross. Many had nothing to lose but their lives, and this they would risk in the hope of the spoils they might obtain. Even monks rushed forth to join the army.

Wondrous tales were told of signs of approval from heaven, besides Peter's letter already spoken of, and one monk declared that the cross which he bore on his body had been imprinted there by a miracle. Unfortunately for him, it was afterwards found out that he had been at his wits' end, not knowing how to find the means for his outfit, when he hit upon that pretension, and then he had plenty given him. But, alas, though while among honest men such an act of deception would have ruined a man's character, here it was overlooked, and he was even promoted afterwards to be archbishop of Caesarea!

The movement so rapidly gained adherents that, long before the appointed time, people were eager to set out, and Peter was urged to lead them to the conflict. He could not restrain them, and so crossed the Rhine at Cologne at their head. A knight, named Walter, of Pacy, and his nephew, Walter "the Penniless," were also leaders. These latter went on with the more vigorous of the troops, leaving Peter to follow with the others. Another group was led by a priest named Gottschalk; and another by Count Emicho, a man of known violent and lawless character. Each succeeding company was lower in character than that which had preceded it, the last being quite the refuse of the community, among them being women and mere children, some were without arms, and had no idea of the distance nor of the dangers of the march.

But a new thought struck some of the reckless followers. As they passed through some of the places they were attracted by the wealth of the Jews. Why go so far to attack God's enemies when before their eyes were Jews, than whom no nation is more bitter in enmity to Christ? So they attacked and plundered the Jews, putting some to death. The bishops did what they could to rescue the Jews by permitting a temporary profession of Christianity; but it is recorded that some of the more zealous Jews shut themselves up in their houses, put their children to death, and set fire to their houses, disappointing their enemies by perishing with their property.

No proper provision had been made for feeding these bands, and they were not over-particular in helping themselves by plunder. The later parties had to suffer for the misdeeds of those who had gone before, and the inhabitants of Hungary and Bulgaria were enraged against them. Gottschalk and his party were destroyed in Hungary. Others were turned back on the frontiers, and found their way home as well as they could, to tell a tale of hardship and disappointment.

The elder Walter died at Philippopoli, leaving his nephew and Peter to struggle on with their bands. They eventually reached Constantinople, much reduced in numbers, but yet a formidable army, if such a group can be so called. The emperor Alexius would have been glad of any who could stem the torrent of the Turkish conquests, but he was not a little troubled by such a multitude, whose thefts and disorders disturbed the whole place. Peter somewhat quieted the emperor by his eloquent appeals, and he desired to wait for the later groups; but those with him demanded to be led to the scene of action. The emperor was only too glad to get rid of such a company by carrying them over the Bosphorus.

A battle took place under the walls of Nicaea, then the Turkish capital. Walter the Penniless was killed and most of his followers. An immense pile of their bones was raised as a monument by the Turks. Peter escaped with a few others. These sold their arms to Alexius, and made their way home in any way they could. It has been estimated that not less than half a million of human beings perished in this foolish enterprise.

But meanwhile more regular armies were being enrolled in the various countries of Europe except Spain, which was too much taken up with its internal war with the Saracens. Germany seemed at first to be another exception, for, being opposed to Urban, his preachers had not traversed that country. However, as party after party passed through Germany, though at first laughed at as fanatics, yet in time the Germans also were induced to take the cross, wonderful tales being told them of heaven's approval of the holy war by signs and wonders.

Godfrey of Bouillon, son of Count Eustace of Boulogne, stood forth as leader, together with his brothers Eustace and Baldwin; Hugh of Vermandois, brother of the king of France; the Counts Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Flanders, and Stephen of Blois; and Robert, duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror.

Each party was independent of the others, and this constantly led to disasters. They had agreed to take different routes so as not to overburden any one of the countries intervening, but all were to meet at Constantinople. This again raised the fears of the emperor Alexius, and he managed to get each party to cross the Bosphorus into Asia before others arrived. All had crossed, by Whitsuntide, 1097.

As the crusaders approached Nicaea they saw the huge pile of bones that told the tale of their predecessors. This excited them to revenge, and the siege began in earnest. It lasted from May 14th to June 20th, but when the city was captured it was found to have been made over secretly to Alexius, and no longer belonged to the Turks. A fortnight later an important battle was won at Dorylaeum, attributed, by the Christians, to help being sent direct from heaven. The defeated Sultan retired to safer quarters.

The leaders were in no way united, and Baldwin accepted an invitation to assist a christian prince of Edessa. His subjects had revolted against him, and Baldwin went to his aid; but his subjects threw him over the wall of the city, and Baldwin succeeded in gaining the city and became its ruler.

The rest of the crusaders marched on, and laid siege to Antioch. This lasted eight months, during which they suffered fearfully. By the heavy rains their camp was a swamp, and famine at length greatly enfeebled them. They ate the flesh of horses, dogs, and mice; leather and bark, grass and thistles became their food. Disease also cut off many, and their case was becoming hopeless. Some of the knights slipped away, among them Stephen of Blois: he met Alexius, marching with reinforcements. Stephen said the siege was hopeless, and the emperor turned back. Peter the Hermit also deserted, but was fetched back and compelled to remain. Notwithstanding all these distresses, the licentiousness in the camp was disgraceful, especially as the crusaders were professed Christians. Adhemar, the papal legate, compelled them to remove all the women from the camp, to give up gaming, and to seek deliverance by pious devotions.

As the spring advanced, the condition of the crusaders improved. Provisions were obtained, and by means of a deserter the city was captured, but not the fortress. They did not, however, profit by experience, but wasted their provisions; this soon led to yet greater distresses, for a large force of Turks, under Kerboga prince of Mosul, attacked the place, and no provisions could be brought to them. The famine became so severe that they fed on human flesh! The strong men were enfeebled, and all became careless of life.

In the midst of their distress, a priest of Marseilles, Peter Bartholomes, professed to have a revelation from St. Andrew, that the lance which pierced the side of the Saviour was to be found in the church of St. Peter! A search was set on foot, and after a day's work the head of a lance was found. Now despair was changed to enthusiasm, and all who could rushed out, carrying with them the holy lance.

The Turks were divided among themselves, and this unexpected attack caused them to fly from the place, and the crusaders found abundance of spoil; they again ascribed their victory to warriors from heaven, and were once more in good cheer; but the unburied bodies so tainted the air that some were carried off by disease, and among them the legate Adhemar. The fortress was soon after delivered to them.

News was sent to Rome of the capture of Antioch, and the pope was invited to come himself and take possession of the ancient see of St. Peter. In the meantime, Bohemund was elected prince of Antioch, though he proceeded with the others to Jerusalem.

Doubts afterwards arose as to the holy lance, the discovery of which had led to their late victory — was it likely that a revelation should have been made to such a disreputable man as the priest Peter? Besides, the lance was declared to be of Saracen manufacture, and could not be ancient: Peter must be a deceiver! To settle the question he was required to undergo the ordeal of passing between two burning piles. If he came out unhurt he was innocent; if he was burnt, he was guilty. He was much scorched, but his admirers, seeing him come from the fires, took him to be unhurt, and they thronged around him to obtain pieces of his clothes as relics; but he fell, and, in tearing his clothes off his back, they brought away pieces of his flesh, which led to his death a few days after.

The crusaders tarried at Antioch to regain their strength until March of the next year (1099). They had come to that place 300,000 in number, but were now reduced to 40,000, and even a less number than this were fit for service. Before they reached Jerusalem, news was brought them that the Fatimite Arabs had gained a victory over the Turks, and now possessed Jerusalem, and they were willing to let the pilgrims visit the holy sepulchre unmolested, if the crusaders would retire. But the Christians could not let the place be held by any followers of the false prophet. On June 6th the cry was raised, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" They were indeed in sight of their long-looked-for destination. They would have liked to have trodden the earth around the holy city with unshod feet, but feared the enemy.

A hermit of Mount Olivet pointed out to the eager multitude the various places that corresponded to the scenes of the sacred narratives, and the Christians who had been expelled from Jerusalem, poured into their ears thrilling tales of the Turks' cruelty, and of the profanation of the holy places. The zeal of the crowds led them to attack the place at once, but they were repulsed. Later on, a second and a third attempt were also fruitless.

They now began to suffer from hunger and thirst. The brooks were dried up, and the cisterns had been destroyed, or the water poisoned. Water was brought from a long distance and sold at high prices. Their horses and mules had to be led six miles away to find water.

The crusaders were almost in despair, but Godfrey now raised their hopes by declaring that he had seen on Mount Olivet a warrior from heaven, waving his bright shield as a signal for another attack. It was also said that some of their dead companions were seen in front of their army. Another desperate attack was made, and Jerusalem was taken! It is recorded to have been on a Friday at three o'clock — the same day and hour as the Saviour's death! It was July 15th, 1099.

But now these christian warriors disgraced themselves with lust and slaughter: they spared neither man, woman, nor child. If life was promised by some, it was taken by others; seventy thousand Mussulmans were put to death, the blood running, it is recorded, to the horses' knees. The Jews were burnt in their synagogue.

Happily there were exceptions to this disgraceful conduct. Godfrey, dressed as a pilgrim, repaired to the holy sepulchre and thanked God for giving them possession of the holy city: others did not forget their devotions, but again returned to their revenge, and for three days Jerusalem ran with blood.

Godfrey was chosen king of Jerusalem, but he refused to wear a golden crown where the Saviour had been crowned with thorns: he was content to be called Defender and Baron of the holy sepulchre.

About a month later, a large body of Saracens arrived — too late to save Jerusalem, but too formidable to be despised. Godfrey collected his forces, and was again victorious at the battle of Askelon.

As the victory over their enemies seemed now complete, a large body of the crusaders returned to Europe, after first bathing in the river Jordan. They carried with them palm-branches from Jericho, and any relics they could obtain. Peter the hermit had been permitted to see his mission brought to a successful issue. He also returned, and ended his days in a monastery of his own founding at Huy, near Liege.

Godfrey's dominion was at first confined to Jerusalem and Joppa, with the surrounding territory, but was afterwards extended. The French language was established, and useful laws put forth. Godfrey died, August 17, 1100, and was succeeded by his brother, Baldwin of Edessa. Multitudes of pilgrims now visited Jerusalem, excited by the toils and dangers their brethren had passed through.

Internal disputes arose in Jerusalem. The patriarch had been of the Greek church, now one of the Latin church was chosen, and the Greeks were treated as schismatics; nor were the Latins agreed among themselves, the clergy striving for power over each other, and then over the king.

In reviewing the subject of the crusades, it must not be overlooked that in many there may have been a sincere desire to see the holy land wrested from the power of the infidels. Some were sent on pilgrimages to Jerusalem as a penance, and to them, if they must go, it was of importance that they should be able to go and return unmolested. As to any merit being attached to such a pilgrimage, it was merely a superstitious illusion. We have also seen that the pope, Urban, espoused the cause to further his own ends, and to raise himself in power. This it did, not only in giving him influence all over Europe, but by giving him a footing in the East where otherwise his influence would have been called in question.

The worst feature in the whole thing was the absolution uttered over the heads of the crusaders, leaving them to indulge in every sin and wickedness, with the promise of salvation, because they were engaged in that holy war!

God, indeed, may have overruled it, to stay for a time the further conquests of the Mahometans. Constantinople was, for the time, thus saved. Christendom had been punished by that scourge — a time of repentance was now given them: would they learn wisdom by the chastening they had received, or must God again allow still further punishment? We shall see that more indeed was needed.

A short account of the other crusades, and of Jerusalem itself, may be of interest.

II. The second crusade went forth (1147) because Jerusalem was in danger, in consequence of the conquest of Edessa by the Mahometans. Eugene III. was head of the movement, and Bernard of Clairvaux preached the crusade in France and Germany. He prophesied victory: even God Himself, he said, would smite the infidels. Two large armies went forth under Conrad III. of Germany and Lewis VII. of France. But the emperor at Constantinople (Manuel I.) was more afraid of the crusaders than of the Turks, so he made peace secretly with the latter; and chiefly by his treachery, the German army was wasted in the defiles of Asia Minor. The French also suffered severely. They attacked Damascus, but disease and treachery brought it all to an end. Great indignation filled Germany and France. Bernard, to save his credit as a prophet, declared that the sins of the army had prevented victory.

III. In 1187 Jerusalem was taken by Saladin. Gregory VIII. preached another crusade. Frederic Barbarossa of Germany, Philippe Auguste of France, and Richard I. ( Coeur-de-Leon ) of England, led forth their armies. Frederic Barbarossa was drowned in the Kalykadnus: his son Frederic of Suabia took command. They all met at Acre; but the siege was long, and some three hundred thousand perished ere the place was taken. Philippe Auguste returned to France. Richard, after other conflicts, obtained permission for christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem, and he returned, but was taken prisoner by Duke Leopold of Austria, and sold by him to the emperor, Henry VI., who, to the scandal of the whole christian world, demanded an immense ransom.

IV. This was preached by Innocent III. (1203). It reached Venice, but, unable to pay the heavy sum demanded to transfer the army of twenty thousand, it turned aside to Dalmatia, and won Zara for Venice, and then conquered Constantinople (April 12, 1204), and established a Latin empire under Baldwin of Flanders, one of the leaders of the crusade. They never reached the Holy Land.

The pope was scandalised, and summoned a new army. He was answered by children. Thousands of children, boys and girls, rushed forth to go to the war. They reached Italy, but melted away by hunger, disease, and in the slave-markets.

Other troops were collected by Andrew II. of Hungary and Count William of Holland, but they did not reach the Holy Land. They became a sort of robber band, and went to Egypt where they perished.

V., VI., VII. The failure of the last-named troops was attributed to the emperor Frederic II., who had taken the cross, but refused to go. The pope (Gregory IX.) interfered and compelled him to embark (August 15, 1227), but he soon returned, declaring he was unwell. The pope was much annoyed, and excommunicated him. The next year he embarked again, and was successful. He conquered Palestine, and by a treaty was crowned king of Jerusalem (1229). He returned to Europe, defying the pope and his excommunication.

In 1247 the Turks again overran Palestine and again took Jerusalem.

In the next year, Louis IX. of France reached Cyprus with a large army, and spent the winter there. In 1249 he went to Egypt and conquered Damietta and Mansura; but, on attempting to reach the Holy Land, he suffered severe losses and was compelled to surrender with his army. It cost France most of its wealth to redeem its king and its army in 1254.

Notwithstanding this disaster, Louis would not give up the idea of rescuing the Holy Land from the infidels. He raised another army in 1269, and, followed by the French nobility, he conquered Tunis, but died there, August 24, 1270. His son Philippe III. made peace, and gave up the enterprise. This was the last of the crusades.

Jerusalem has had many masters. In 1799 it was held by the French under Bonaparte; but in 1517 it passed into the hands of the Ottoman Sultan. The pasha of Egypt took possession in 1832. In 1841 it was again restored to the Sultan. It continues thus to this day.

There is a time coming when God will favour Zion, and then again Jerusalem will surely be wrested from the infidels, and put into the possession of — not the Christians, but of God's ancient people the Jews. They are now despised, and have to wail over the desecration of their city but then they shall surely become masters of their own city, though they indeed must be brought through the fire and purified: but, owning Christ as the Messiah, full blessing awaits them, and that in the very city now in the possession of the infidels.

Chapter 11.

The Inquisition.

What is generally called the Inquisition was not the commencement of persecution for what was considered to be heresy. As early as the end of the fourth century, Priscillianus was put to death on this plea. He was condemned first by a council held at Bordeaux, A.D. 384, and then he appealed to the emperor Maximus, who caused his case to be investigated by the prefect. On his report, Maximus ordered him, with six others, who, under torture, had confessed impure practices, to be beheaded. This has been considered to be the first case in the church of persons being judicially put to death for heresy.* A bishop named Ithacius was his principal accuser, and this was at that time considered by Ambrose and others so unbecoming to the office of bishop, that he was excommunicated, and died in exile. So that it is evident that such dealing with heretics did not meet with the approval of some of the best in the church at that time.

{*Priscillianus held a doctrine combining Gnosticism and Unitarianism, with an admixture of astrology.}

The emperor Justinian (A.D. 527-565), in his Code, treats of the Catholic faith, as settled by the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, forbids public disputations upon dogmas, and enacts penalties against heretics, Jews and apostates. Persons were appointed to assist in the prosecution of the guilty, but at that date they were civil officers; and, for a time, cases of heresy were tried in the ordinary courts, and penalties awarded.

As time rolled on, the bishops examined those who were charged with heresy, and if these did not renounce their errors they were handed over to the civil powers for punishment; but the hunting for heretics was not yet general, nor was everything considered to be heresy which deviated from "the Church." As we have seen, the councils were to be the test; but in due course the church became everything.

Pope Alexander III. (A.D. 1159-1181) being driven from Rome by an anti-pope, proceeded to France. King Henry II. of England and Louis VII. of France, held the bridle of the pope as he rode on horseback through the town of Cosne, on the Loire.

There had been a great religious awakening in some parts of France. To crush this, Alexander called a council at Tours, in A.D. 1163. Seventeen cardinals (including Thomas ΰ Becket) and one hundred and twenty-four bishops attended. As its canons may be said to be the first acts of the church of Rome essentially inquisitorial, we will give a part of its decision: —

Because of heresies existing in Toulouse, and elsewhere, "We command the bishops and all the Lord's priests dwelling in those parts, to keep watch, and under peril of anathema, to prohibit that, where followers of that heresy are known, any one in the country shall dare to offer them refuge, or to lend them help. Neither shall there be any dealings with such persons in buying or selling; that, all solace of humanity being utterly lost to them, they may be compelled to forsake the error of their life. And whosoever shall attempt to contravene this order shall be smitten with anathema, as a partaker of their iniquity. But they, if they be taken, shall be thrown into prison by Catholic princes, and be deprived of all their goods." All meetings of heretics were strictly forbidden.

It should be noticed, that not only were those called heretics to be punished, but all their goods were to be forfeited. As we shall see, this became a frightful incentive to greedy priests to bring accusations against the rich, for they themselves shared in the confiscated goods of their victims.

Pope Innocent III. (A.D. 1198-1216) was exceedingly zealous in rooting out any called heretics. He summoned a fourth council of the Lateran in 1215, where new and severe enactments were passed against such as not simply differed from the general councils of the church, but all who differed from the church of Rome, with its errors and superstitions. The bishops were now to be the judges.

In this council it was enacted: "Persons marked with suspicion only, unless they can clear themselves, are to be smitten with the sword of anathema, and shunned by every one. If then they persist for a year in excommunication, they shall be condemned as heretics."

At a council held at Toulouse in 1229, it was ordered that a permanent Inquisition should be established against heretics; but it was not till pope Gregory IX., in 1233, had deprived the bishops of the power of punishing heretics, and entrusted the work to the Dominicans, that it took a permanent form as a separate tribunal. It was called the Holy Inquisition, and its officers Inquisitors of the Faith.

At first it was comparatively simple in its action, and acted as an ordinary court of Justice; but by degrees the Inquisitors extended their powers, and degenerated into tyrants. They not only professed to judge actions and words, but thoughts and intentions. If they wanted to convict an accused person, they would apply torture, and if they could get a confession of even a thought against the church of Rome, it was enough to convict of heresy. And it was always easy to suspect one of heresy, and then to deny that such a one had cleared himself.

Any person was allowed to accuse any of his enemies, and the accused, when he least expected it — at the dead of night sometimes — was aroused by their agents, and dragged off to their prison. Inquiries were useless; the accused would not be told who were his accusers; he must simply reply to the questions asked. Everything was marked by secrecy.

The tortures also were dreadful — too dreadful to be detailed. Joints were dislocated, tender parts of the body scorched, etc., till numbers would confess anything to save themselves such torments.

The property of the condemned being confiscated, was, as we have seen, a great temptation to avaricious men to accuse and convict.

When tortures failed to get the desired confession, other plans were tried. For instance, another person, apparently in great distress, would be put in the same cell; he would profess that he also was an accused person, and he would rate out against the church of Rome and his persecutors, and seek to draw from the accused some response to his suggestions.

Or one would come professedly to console the accused, and to assure him that anything he might confess to him should never be known: indeed, he would use his influence to procure his liberation if he opened his mind to him. Such diabolical snares were only too often successful.

One case is recorded where a mother and two daughters were suspected. One of the daughters was arrested and examined, offered relief if she would confess; but she would confess nothing. The following plan was adopted. The inquisitor ordered her into his presence, and then bid all his attendants to leave the room. When alone, he declared that he had fallen in love with her, and was really anxious to save her. This he repeated day after day with endearing words; but one day he told her that her mother and sister had been arrested, and all was known as to them. If she would confess, he would be able to save them as well as herself. She was thus taken off her guard, and told all. The very next day she was summoned into the presence of others and her confession, thus drawn from her, was used to condemn herself, as well as her mother and sister! Such treachery was not considered any disgrace, but was treated as great cleverness. The end would justify the means.

Those who were condemned to death were often kept waiting for months until more were also ready, that several being burnt to death at one time might strike terror into the hearts of all, and warn them of the danger they ran in differing from the then all-powerful church of Rome.

Auto-de-Fι, Act of Faith, was the name given to these executions. They took place on the Sunday, when people were more at leisure to be present. A procession was led forth from the prison, the victims being dressed in coats, on which there were pictures of flames, with figures of dragons and demons, and huge caps on their heads. Those who were only to do penance were dressed differently: a cross told that they were not to be burnt. If any were 'converted' to the Romish faith just before being led out or at the stake, they had the privilege of being strangled before being burnt!

Some of the victims had gags in their mouths, lest they should speak to the people or reveal any secrets. "This I saw done to a prisoner," says Dr. Geddes, in his account of the Inquisition in Portugal, "presently, after he came out of the gates of the Inquisition, upon his having looked up to the sun which he had not seen for several years, and cried out in a rapture, 'How is it possible for people that behold that glorious body to worship any being but Him that created it?'"

When the place of execution was reached, prayers were offered up, and a sermon preached in praise of the Inquisition and in condemnation of all heretics. Those who were not ' converted ' at the stake were told, by the priests, that they were left to the devil who was at their elbow to carry their souls to perdition.

Even at the execution cruelty reigned; for the victims were often slowly burnt to death. This was witnessed also by Dr. Geddes. He says: "The victims were chained to stakes at the height of about four feet from the ground. A quantity of furze that lay round the stakes was set on fire; by a current of wind it was in some cases prevented reaching above the lowest extremities of the body. Some were thus kept in torture for an hour or two, and were actually roasted, not burnt to death." He also adds that such a sight was witnessed by both sexes with marks of joy and satisfaction. This was not because they were cruel naturally, but it was through their zeal for their religion! Can such religion be that of the Lord Jesus?

The Jews and the Moors in Spain.

One of the dark pictures of the Inquisition is the expulsion of the Jews from Granada in Spain. The Moors, while still in possession of this place, were marked out as victims; but it was thought best to commence with the Jews. An order was obtained from the king of Spain — professedly given reluctantly — that all Jews should become Christians or be banished from the country. Both the king and the Inquisitor wanted money, and here was a rich harvest ready for them.

The charge was that the Jews perverted Christians by their superstition, and idle tales were circulated as to the Jews profaning some of the sacred wafers of the Mass.

Four months were given to the Jews to decide what they would do, and to sell their property if they would not become Christians; but it was cunningly added that they must not carry away "gold, silver, money, or other articles prohibited by the laws of the country."

Rabbi Abarbanel, well known to Hebrew scholars, and much respected and formerly employed by the king himself, sought an interview with the king and queen (Ferdinand and Isabella) at the Alhambra. He implored pity on his nation, and offered to lay down as ransom six hundred thousand crowns of gold. Time after time he came and on his knees besought them: "Regard us, O king, use not thy servants so cruelly. Why do thus to thy servants? Rather exact from us our gold and silver, and all that the house of Israel possesses, if we may remain in the country."

It is said that the queen exhorted the king to resist the appeal. Years before she had tried to convert the Jews to Romanism, and now her heart seemed hardened against them.

The king indeed seemed disposed to yield. An offer of so much money was a temptation. He could keep all that would be given in this way, whereas if it came to confiscation, he would only get a share of the spoil.

But the inquisitor, Torquemada, was on the watch. He rushed into the room, and holding up a crucifix, shouted out, "Judas sold the Son of God once for thirty pieces of silver: your highnesses are going to sell Him the second time for thirty thousand. Here He is! Here you have Him! Sell Him if you will!" And then, flinging the crucifix on the table, he left the room in a rage. The Inquisition conquered. Such 'christian' sovereigns could not be unfaithful to the church. The Jews must be expelled.

Torquemada lost no time in carrying out the edict. Preachers were sent over the country offering baptism to the Jews, or, on their refusal, Christians were forbidden to hold any intercourse with them or give them shelter.

An eye-witness thus describes their distress. "Within the term fixed by the edict the Jews sold and disposed of their property for a mere nothing. They went about begging Christians to buy, but found no purchasers. Fine houses and estates were sold for trifles. A house was exchanged for an ass, and a vineyard given for a little cloth or linen. Although forbidden to carry away gold or silver, they secretly took large quantities in their saddles, and in the halters and harness of their loaded beasts They experienced great trouble and suffered indescribable misfortunes on the roads and country they travelled; some falling, others rising; some dying, others coming into the world; some fainting, others attacked with illness; so that there was not a Christian who did not feel for them, and entreat them to be baptised." All their synagogues were left, and these were turned into places for the Mass, without any compensation.

In some respects the treatment of the Moors was more unjust than that of the Jews; for at the surrender of Granada the religion of the Moors was not to be interfered with. It was really the Inquisition which eventually caused the king to break the treaty.

Don Fray Hernando was desirous to see the Moors converted. He was willing to give up a more lucrative office to live among them. His offer was accepted, and he was consecrated archbishop of Granada.

His gentle spirit and spotless life won the Moors. He caused the scriptures to be translated into Arabic for their use, and set to work to learn the language in his old age. The Mahometans heard him willingly, a few at a time being invited to private houses. And all things looked hopeful.

But such ways of spreading the gospel did not please those who surrounded the king and queen. The Moors must be converted at a faster rate, or banished from the country. The remaining king of the Moors must first be got rid of. He had retired to Alpujarra, as agreed, and lived in retirement. One day he was surprised by a visit from his representative, who came with mules laden with eighty thousand ducats. He was coolly told that his estates had been sold for this amount, and he was advised to leave the country with his wealth while he could. Treachery had brought all this about. Overwhelmed with grief, he left Spain.

The inquisitors now worked upon Ferdinand and Isabella to insist on conversion or emigration. This was contrary to the terms of the surrender, but the Romanists declared that it would not be breaking the compact, inasmuch as it would be giving the Moors something better — better for their souls!

The king hesitated, as well he might. He had hoped that the Moors would become Christians; but he had said they were to be instructed and were not to be oppressed on account of their religion. Influence now had to be brought to bear on the king and queen. Francisco Ximenez, archbishop of Toledo, visited the court at Granada and obtained a royal injunction to remain there and promote the great object in view, but was to use forbearance and guard against tumult. He eventually became head of the Inquisition in Spain, but it is not clear as to how far he was connected with that institution at the time he went to Granada.

His first work was to consult with the mild Hernando, and see what had been done. He was shewn the scriptures in the Arabic tongue, ready to be printed, as well as a version of the Missal, etc. Curiously, as it may seem to us, it is said that Ximenez thought that the Moors would despise Christianity if they understood it. Prayers in the known tongue must not be introduced, and he forbad the versions being printed!

He soon shewed how he could make converts. He invited some of their learned men to conferences, presenting them with a creed, and offered them freedom, rewards, and offices if they would accept the first elements of Christianity themselves, and then teach them to others. The plan was successful; in the mosques these learned men were heard advising the people to embrace Christianity. These efforts were quickly responded to, and in a short time Ximenez had three thousand of the Mahometans ready for baptism. He made them walk past him, and he sprinkled them with a bunch of hyssop as they passed!

Those who would not become christian were persecuted, and many were arrested and imprisoned. At length, as one of his agents was leading away a woman to prison, the people were roused, the woman was rescued and the agent killed. Many now flew to arms, and besieged the Alhambra, where Ximenez took refuge, and he would soon have had to surrender. He was now glad of the services of the mild Hernando, who went to the armed men and was well received. They complained that the articles of capitulation had been violated, arrests had been made illegally, and the Koran burnt. By persuasion peace was restored.

Ferdinand and Isabella were alarmed, and justly blamed Ximenez. He hurried to court, and persuaded the king to treat Granada now as a revolting city, and annul all agreements.

In the meantime the Sultan sent an embassy, demanding that his brethren should not be forced into Christianity. The court gave assurance that there was no force used; but added, as Mahometans could not be loyal to a christian king, the people must become Christians, or they would be sent over to Barbary. Every facility was offered them to sell their property, and royal ships were provided for their voyage. As the Sultan was still to be feared, these things were carried out, the Mahometans faring better than the poor Jews, who had no earthly power to protect them.

Great numbers chose to remain in the country, and were baptised; but were Christians only in name; and for years after they were hunted and persecuted by the Inquisition because they were not zealous Romanists.

For instance, a man, seventy-one years old, was arrested upon the accusation of a woman who had lived in his house years before — arrested because neither he nor his children ate pork nor drank wine, and on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings they used to wash their feet! These things were supposed to point out that he was really a Mahometan at heart. He declared that he was baptised when forty-five years of age; before that time he had never eaten pork nor drank wine and had no taste for either. Being a coppersmith by trade, it was needful to wash thoroughly once a week. He was released with a caution, but was arrested again, and made to witness the burning of others.

The Inquisitors continued their persecutions among the Moriscoes, as christian Moors were called, until they were not only converted, as it was called, but dispersed into various parts of the country, no two families being together, so that they should become mixed with the inhabitants, and be entirely under the influence of the Roman religion.

We must not leave this part of the subject without relating that, in after years, the mild Hernando, though he became confessor to the queen, was himself accused by the Inquisition. His principles of moderation were hated, and his influence with the queen feared. Without doubt, he would have been condemned, but that his case was referred to the pope, who in a council absolved him. He had suffered three years of anxiety, and some of his relatives had been arrested. It is said that his name still stands on the Spanish Index of heretics!

Ximenez remained a violent persecutor, and carried on the enormities of the Inquisition with the utmost rigour.

The New Christians, as converted Jews were called, offered to the king six hundred thousand ducats of gold if he would abandon the secret action of the Inquisition, and allow the names of witnesses to be published. But Ximenez at once opposed it, offering also a large sum of money if the king would not yield. Again the Inquisition was victorious.

Ximenez did not forget that many had fled from Spain to avoid the Inquisition, and had taken refuge in the small state of Oran on the coast of Africa, living in a measure of peace and security. He fitted up ships and embarked at the head of fourteen thousand men, to exterminate the heretics, and soon returned victorious What deeds for one who should have cared for and fed the flock of Christ; for he was still archbishop of Toledo. The Inquisition was established at Oran to deal with all fugitives for the future.

Again and again this man outstepped all bounds of moderation, and protests were frequently made to the king that he was usurping the place of the magistrates in civil causes as well as in church matters; and the king was compelled to check the violent priest as well as he could, for he really had but little power over the Inquisition.

At length Ximenez was made cardinal and head of the Inquisition in Spain, and, on the death of Ferdinand, was regent of Castile. He resisted the pope, and strove to revive the Inquisition into its full power; but was checked by Charles I. (Charles V. as emperor of Germany), and ordered to retire to his archbishopric, where, in enmity with the masses and ill at ease with the church, he died, being eighty years of age (November 8th, 1517).

This is the same Cardinal Ximenez who caused the Complutensian Bible to be printed at great cost. It included the Greek Testament — the first printed (but not the first published). This is to his honour, and has caused some to speak of him as the "learned, liberal, munificent Cardinal Ximenez de Cisneros."

On the other hand, it has been collated from the records that he added some 50,000 victims to those who suffered by the agency of the Inquisition! He is a remarkable instance of zeal, but not according to knowledge. What good such a man might have done had he known the ways of the Lord more perfectly, and have had the cause of Christ at heart, instead of serving so zealously the corrupt church of Rome.

Bartolomι Carranza.

God allowed some who had been prominent in enforcing the rules of the Inquisition to fall themselves under the same power. It was quite right that they should know by experience that which they had made others feel so forcibly. Bartolomι Carranza is a case in point. He was a learned man, filled a chair of philosophy, and also became doctor of theology, and was made examiner to the Inquisition at Valladolid.

Many a case had he examined and scrutinised; and for his zeal and learning was chosen preacher at many an 'Auto-de-Fι.' He preached at the first burning in the city of Valladolid, and saw the patient triumph of a Lutheran over the fear of death, and heard his words, "Do you envy me my happiness?"

In the days of queen Mary of England, Carranza came to England, and laboured incessantly, "convincing heretics and confirming waverers." He assisted also at the condemnation of Cranmer and Martin Bucer. How strange that such an one should himself be suspected of heresy!

He returned to Spain and was chosen archbishop of Toledo, the highest ecclesiastical dignity in Spain. This could but offend those who had hoped to fill that office. It was now called to remembrance that at the Council of Trent, Carranza had insisted that bishops should be compelled to reside in their dioceses. This, too, gave great offence, which was not soon forgotten.

The archbishop published some commentaries on the Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, etc., and these were welcomed by all — except that some at once set to work to discover anything that could be found to condemn the writer. Some thought they could see traces of Lutheranism on the subject of Justification. Inquiries were now diligently made as to all that he had been heard to preach. One had heard him preach before the king in London, where he had spoken of justification by living faith, just as a Lutheran would have preached.

Others had heard him say that the sins of a Christian were as if they had never been, since Christ had made atonement for them all. He had also been heard to exhort the emperor Charles V. when dying to trust to the merits of Christ alone; charges one is glad to hear amid so much darkness.

We thus see incidentally that there was one here and there in the Romish church who knew and taught the way of salvation truly.

These sayings, with a few similar ones, were laid before the heads of the Inquisition, who resolved to proceed against the archbishop. The pope (Paul V.) signed a brief to make him a prisoner. The king was appealed to, and he also assented, but asked that the archbishop's dignity should be respected. Carranza was informed by the king of the suspicions against him, but he seemed to expect nothing more than a severe censure.

It was not considered decent to arrest an archbishop at his palace, so the king requested his sister Juana, who governed Spain in his absence, to invite the archbishop to Valladolid, under the plea of meeting the king there. He was to come as soon as possible, without waiting for his usual cortege, and everything for his public appearance should be provided for him!

The archbishop set out on his journey, stopping at certain places to hold confirmations. Everything was allowed that would lull suspicion.

At Fuente del Sax, a friend called him aside and told him of the rumour that he was about to be arrested. He replied that it was incredible, for the princess herself had invited him. He could call God to witness that he had not fallen into error.

The archbishop had not proceeded far when he found the rumour was only too true: orders had been given for his arrest. If he had attempted to fly now, it would have been taken as a proof of guilt. More than a hundred men had been sworn in to assist if needful so that escape would have been almost impossible.

At Tordelaguna he was allowed to fulfil his duties as archbishop, while those about to arrest him got all things ready. Rodrigo de Castro had taken the message from the princess and had travelled with him, and on Sunday night (August 27th, 1560 or 1561), after supping with the archbishop, had retired on the plea of fatigue. On finding all things were ready, he returned and bade the master of the house where the archbishop lodged to have all the doors unfastened by daybreak.

During the night the governor of the place, and other officials were arrested — none daring to resist the holy office — to prevent any attempt at rescue. They then proceeded to the residence of the archbishop; went upstairs, and knocked at the ante-room where an attendant friar slept. "Who calls?" said the friar. "Open to the holy office," was the reply. The same reply was given at the archbishop's door. "Is Don Diego Ramirez there?" was asked (he was an inquisitor of Toledo). On being told that he was there, the door was at once opened.

Rodrigo entered first and begged the pardon of the archbishop.

Then the Alguacil (arresting officer) said, "Most illustrious senor, I am commanded by the holy office to make you prisoner," and an order was produced from the Inquisitor General.

The archbishop replied that he was subject to the pope and to no other person.

Don Diego stepped forward and produced the brief of the pope. On its being read, the archbishop at once surrendered himself a prisoner. During the next night he was set on a mule and brought to Valladolid.

Here they proceeded to examine him, but he refused to answer. He appealed to the pope. They produced the pope's brief; but that, he said, could not apply to him, for he was not in Spain at the time it was issued. That spoke of "archbishops or other prelates in Spain."

Delay followed delay, and in the meantime the council of Trent (which was sitting at the time) in spite of the protest of the king, appointed a commission to examine the commentaries of the archbishop, and they reported favourably of them. Indeed, it became a question of power — was the court of Rome to rule, or the king and the Inquisition?

At length the pope (now Pius V.) ordered the prisoner to be sent to Rome. The inquisitors could not altogether resist this, but delayed it as long as they could, and actually required security for his re-appearance as their prisoner! He had been a prisoner six years and a quarter before he embarked for Rome, in April, 1567. Some inquisitors sailed with him, to make the most of their case before the pope and his council. But the pope died in 1572, leaving Carranza a prisoner.

Gregory XIII. succeeded, and the case was again gone into, and at length the archbishop was (in April, 1576) set at liberty, after an imprisonment of some sixteen years. He abjured Lutheran articles, and then said Mass as a token of reconciliation with the church; but he was not restored as archbishop; indeed, he was now too old and infirm.

At Rome the Spanish inquisitors were to be seen standing behind the chairs of the cardinals, much mortified at the rebuffs they received; whereas in Spain they had reigned supreme, none daring to question a word they said, or anything that they did.

The story of Carranza gives a vivid picture of how those who abandon the path of truth and justice are at times made to feel the evils they bring to bear on others.

It is recorded that Gregory XIII. placed an inscription over the tomb of Carranza, describing him as a prelate, "illustrious for his birth, his life, his doctrine, his preaching, and his charity." Whereas the Inquisition entered him in the Index of condemnation for his writings: an Index remarkable, inasmuch as it contains the name of Thomas Cranmer, placed there, it is believed, by Carranza himself, who little dreamt that one day his own name would be in the same Index.

In this case we also see a clear proof of the want of unity in the Romish church: one branch of it condemned a man as a heretic, and another branch declared his doctrine to be sound; and at the same time men, clothed with power, were using it in the most shameless way to carry out their own ambitious purposes. Of true Christianity there is not a trace in this persecution.

The Inquisition in India.

A short notice of the Inquisition in Travancore and Malabar must not be omitted, because of the Syrian Christians who were living there, and who claimed to have come from Antioch, and to have had a succession of bishops appointed from thence.

On the Portuguese arriving in the country they were surprised to find upwards of a hundred christian churches; and, as the pope claimed universal supremacy, the Roman catholics said, "These churches belong to the pope;" but the Syrian Christians asked, "Who is the pope? we never heard of him."

They afterwards discovered that the Inquisition had been established at Goa, an island near by, and they could not be allowed to be Christians separated from Rome. A council was called, and one hundred and fifty of the Syrian clergy attended. They were charged with the following. "They had married wives; they owned but two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper; they neither invoked saints nor worshipped images, nor believed in purgatory; and they had no other orders or names of dignity in the church than priest and deacon."

Rome could not allow such christian simplicity as this, and all were ordered to abjure these things, or be suspended. Those near the sea coast reluctantly gave way, but refused to pray in Latin, and persisted in retaining their own language and liturgy. The pope gave way as to the language; and their liturgy, after being 'amended,' was allowed. Those in the interior avoided as far as possible giving way to Rome, and maintained at least a measure of their simplicity.

Goa became a centre of Roman catholicism for India: it had its cathedral, numerous churches, and all the machinery connected with that false system. The Inquisition was in full operation, and existed till as late as 1812, when it was abolished by the request of the British government.

A Frenchman — M. Dellon — who was a prisoner of the Inquisition at Goa, having providentially escaped, published an account of the place of confinement, and of his sufferings. He had incurred the displeasure of a black priest and of a man in authority on the coast of Hindostan; and, having rather freely expressed himself on some of the gross superstitions of Romanism, was seized, put into irons, and shipped off to Goa.

It was January 16th, 1674, when he was led, with other prisoners, to the house of the Inquisition. His chains were taken off, and he was led into a room called "the board of the Holy Office." The Grand Inquisitor of the Indies sat at one end of a long table and a notary at the other.

Dellon, hoping to soften his judge, fell on his knees, but was told to rise. He was asked if he knew the reason of his arrest, and was advised to make a full confession as the only way to obtain an early release. Dellon caught at the idea of release, and told his tale, amid tears and protestations, and again fell on his knees. The Inquisitor rang a silver bell, and an attendant led Dellon away into a gallery, where his trunk was searched, and everything taken from him. He was then led to a cell about ten feet square, and left there by himself. In the evening he had his first meal, which he ate heartily, and afterwards fell asleep. In the morning he learnt that he could not have a book, not even a Breviary: there was no form of religion for those in the cells. His hair was cut short, so that "he did not need a comb."

The cells were arranged in galleries, and four warders were in each gallery. Each cell had two doors. The inner one was grated at the bottom, and open at the top, through which the food was passed. The outer door was opened from six in the morning until eleven (at night we suppose). This was needful in that country, unless it was intended to smother them.

The prisoners had three meals a day — a wholesome but spare diet; physicians attended to the sick; but no confessor attended to the dying: all were treated as heretics.

Silence was strictly enforced. If one of the prisoners dared to utter a cry or offered an audible prayer to God, the warder would run to his cell and beat him cruelly, that the others might fear.

Once in two months the Inquisitor, with a secretary and interpreter, would visit each cell, ask if the prisoner wanted anything, was his food supplied regularly, or had he any complaint against the warders; but woe to the prisoner who complained of the warders, for he was quite at their mercy afterwards. Notes were carefully taken of anything that could be used against the prisoners.

The prisoners were told that they could always have an audience by telling one of the warders. Dellon did thus several times, but had to wait fifteen days before it was granted. When in the presence of the Inquisitor, he was made to lay his hand on a Missal and swear to secrecy, and to tell them the truth. He told them all the unguarded expressions that he had used, as far as he could remember. The Inquisitor told him he had done well in accusing himself so willingly; exhorted him in the name of Jesus Christ to complete his accusation fully, that he might experience the goodness and mercy which that tribunal exercised towards those who shewed true repentance and unforced confession. His confession was read over to him, and he signed. Then he was led back to his dungeon.

In about a fortnight he was again examined. He was told to repeat the Paternoster, Hail Mary, the Creed, commandments of God, commandments of the church, and the Salve Regina. He did all this well, and to their satisfaction. He was then exhorted to confess more without delay, and then conducted back to his cell.

Now his heart sickened. What more could he confess when he had confessed all? In despair, he endeavoured to starve himself, but they forced him to take food. He shed tears day and night. At length he bethought himself of prayer, and he prayed earnestly to the blessed Virgin, who he had been taught was the most merciful and the most ready to send help.

At the end of a month he obtained another audience and confessed that he remembered speaking against the Inquisition; but he was told that this was not what they wanted, and he was sent back to his cell.

He was now filled with despair. He feigned sickness, and was bled several times, and each time dragged off the bandages when alone, in the hopes of bleeding to death. But death fled from him. A Franciscan came to confess him; who tried to comfort him, and begged the Inquisitor to let him have a fellow prisoner. A negro, accused of magic, was sent as a companion; but after five months he was removed, when Dellon again fell into dire despair. He was found one day weltering in his blood and insensible. Restoratives were used, and his wounds bound up. On his restoration he was carried into the presence of the Inquisitor, and lying there — for he could not stand — he was reproached and then ordered to be put into irons. On this being tried, he became so furious that they were compelled to remove the fetters.

After this his examinations were different, for he defended his doctrines as a good catholic from quotations from the Council of Trent and from the scriptures; but this only discovered the ignorance of the Inquisitor. That dignitary had never heard of the scripture that Dellon quoted to prove, as he thought, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Nor was he acquainted with a passage in the decrees of the Council of Trent which declares that images are only to be reverenced on account of the persons whom they represent. The Inquisitor called for a Bible and a copy of the Acts of the Council, and was surprised to find that the passages quoted were actually there.

After a time the monotony and silence of the prison were changed; for now Dellon heard every morning the shrieks of persons under torture, and he afterwards saw many of them, both men and women, who had been lamed or distorted by the rack.

On Sunday, January 11, 1676 — he had now been there two years — he was surprised by the warder declining to receive his linen to be washed, as was usual. He also heard the cathedral bell rung for vespers and matins, which was also unusual. He wondered what was about to happen. They brought him his supper, but he refused it; and to his surprise, instead of insisting that he must have it as usual, they took it away.

He had repeatedly been threatened when before the Inquisitor that he should be burnt, and now he feared that the time had come. He gave himself up for lost, but about midnight he fell asleep.

He had not slept long before he was roused by the noise of an attendant and some warders. They brought a lamp, the first that had shone in that cell since he had been there, and some clothes. He was told to dress himself in the clothes, and be ready when wanted. He put on the trousers and vest — black, striped with white and with bare feet walked out when called.

He was one of about two hundred victims who were made to sit on the floor in a long gallery. dismally lighted up by a few lamps. A number of women were also sitting in another gallery. All were filled with the deepest gloom, none knowing what their fate would be.

In a room not far distant Dellon saw another company, differently dressed, among whom were confessors walking.

About four o'clock servants and warders came and offered bread and figs to the victims. Dellon refused to have any; but the man advised him to have some, saying, "Take your bread; and if you cannot eat it now, put it in your pocket; you will certainly be hungry before you come back." Come back! those words thrilled and cheered him somewhat; for he judged now that he was not to be burnt!

A little before sunrise, the great bell of the cathedral began to toll, and the people of the place ran to see the procession and to line the streets. When it became daylight, and Dellon could see his fellow prisoners, he distinguished about a dozen Europeans among them: the rest were natives of India.

As they approached the door their names were read out, and one of the chief inhabitants of the place was called to attend each prisoner as sponsor. "The General of the Portuguese ships in the Indies" placed himself beside Dellon.

The procession wended its way to the church of St. Francis, the sharp flint stones of the roads cutting many a wound in the feet of the pilgrims. Some were now seen to be dressed differently, their garments being covered with painted flames and devils — these were doomed to be burnt.

A sermon was preached by the provincial of the Augustines. Dellon noted only one sentence of the sermon. It compared the Inquisition to Noah's ark, which had received all sorts of beasts wild, but had sent them out tame! Whatever the poor victims had been before their imprisonment, there could be no doubt as to their being tame now!

The sermon over, the names of the prisoners were read over, with their accusations and their punishments. Dellon's indictment was that he had maintained the invalidity of the baptismos flaminis, or desire to be baptised when there was no one to administer the rite. He had said that images ought not to be adored; and he had called an ivory crucifix a piece of ivory. He had spoken contemptuously of the Inquisition; and above all he had an ill intention. His punishment was a confiscation of his property, banishment from India, and five years' service in the galleys in Portugal, with such penance as the Inquisitor might enjoin.

Dellon's sponsor, who would not speak to him before, now embraced him and called him brother.

On this occasion there were but two to be burnt alive, and four dead bodies (strangled before being burnt, is supposed), and some effigies of the dead; all convicted of heresy must be burnt.

Dellon was sent to Lisbon and worked in a gang of convicts; but by the intervention of the French government he was liberated.

We fear Dellon was not a Christian, and was apparently a fair sort of catholic. He would no doubt never have been molested if he had not, at the first, incurred the hatred of those in authority. But alas! what sort of shepherds were they who could treat such a one in this way! And surely such treatment would have the tendency to make men hate a religion that could only carry on its warfare by the dungeon, the torture, and the flames.

His treatment, bad as it was, was really mild in comparison to what others had to endure. If a catholic was served in this way, how would a simple believer have been treated, who could not have repeated the Hail Mary, etc.!

In the case of M. Dellon the French authorities were not so prompt as they might have been; being catholics, they were perhaps loth to interfere with what the heads of their own religion were doing. Not so the English; for in the seventeenth century, when the English had but some factories in India, the following case occurred.

A Capuchin missioner, named Father Euphrem, arrived at Madras on his way to Pegu, and the English requested him to remain at Madras. They promised him entire liberty in respect to the Roman religion, and to preach and minister to the catholics already settled there. He agreed, and formed an establishment which was afterwards protected by the English Company.

In a sermon this father pointed out the great difference between the worship that should be rendered to the Sovereign Creator, and the honour paid to Mary, who is but a creature. Thereupon some Portuguese accused him before the Inquisition at Goa of having preached against the Mother of God!

The Jesuits, who were secretly Inquisitors also, managed very cleverly to seize the preacher and carry him off to Goa, distant from Madras about two hundred leagues, where he was soon imprisoned in one of the cells.

The English, justly shocked at such a proceeding, undertook to release him. One of their vessels dropped anchor off Goa, and eight or ten determined fellows, well armed, presented themselves at the gate of the Inquisition. Two of them kept guard at the gate, and the others, sword in hand, boldly demanded the Inquisitors to give up instantly Father Euphrem, or they would run them through. He was quickly set at liberty, and carried back to Madras.

In 1808, Dr. Buchanan visited Goa, and found the Inquisition was in existence there, and victims still being persecuted. He was not allowed to visit their dungeons, and his presence was evidently not desirable. He shewed the Inquisitor the above account by M. Dellon, and the Inquisitor could not but own its general accuracy.

But how refreshing to find amid the profound gloom of the dark ages that there was at Malabar and its neighbourhood a company of Christians who had never heard of the pope, and who had maintained, at least to a great extent, the purity and simplicity of Christianity.

Spanish America.

In A.D. 1501 pope Alexander VI. made a pecuniary concession to Ferdinand and Isabella, on consideration that it was their desire "to acquire and recover the islands and countries of the Indies" — South America included — "in order that in them, every condemned sect being cut down, the Most High might be worshipped and revered."

This was followed by "Inquisitors of the Indies and islands of the ocean" being appointed. The Christians in America were not simply fugitives from Europe; many of the natives had been compelled by the Spaniards to be baptised. Of course they were Christians in name only, and still held their heathen feasts when able to do so. On the Inquisition interfering, many of these natives withdrew, renounced Christianity, and joined other native tribes.

The Spanish viceroys had to write home and declare that the place was being ruined by the interference of the Inquisition with the natives, and orders were now sent that the Inquisitors were to deal only with Europeans and their descendants.

This was very galling to the zealous Inquisitors, and they appealed to Philip II. of Spain, who had feasted his eyes on the martyrdoms in England and in Spain. In reply, he ordered that the Inquisition should now have more settled stations. One was installed in Panama (June, 1569), another at Lima (January, 1570), and another at Mexico (August, 1570), with substations in other places,

In 1574, the year that the conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortιs, died, the first Auto de Fι was held at Mexico with all the pomp available. An Englishman and a Frenchman were burned as impenitent Lutherans. Eighty others were at the same time otherwise punished.

Doubtless many who were persecuted in Europe for their faith, cast their eyes to the various colonies as places of refuge; but every precaution was taken by Spain that no such refugees should be found in her colonies. Thus Philip III. ordered: "That no one newly converted to our holy faith, from being Moor or Jew, or his child, shall pass over into our Indies without our express licence." He also ordered, "that no one who has been reconciled, nor the child or grandchild of any one who has publicly worn a sambenito [garment of the condemned], nor the child nor grandchild of a person burnt or condemned as a heretic . . . . shall pass over to the Indies, under penalty of loss of goods . .. . and his person to be placed at our mercy, to be perpetually banished from our Indies; and if he have no property, let them give him one hundred lashes publicly."

Jews were in no way spared by the Inquisition. In a volume published at Mexico, the Inquisitors say they had "celebrated two particular Acts of Faith in the past years, 1646 and 1647, in which, with all attention and good order, were despatched, and went forth to public theatre, seventy-one causes; the greater part of them Jews, observant of the dead and detestable law of Moses!" In 1648 another Act of Faith was held, in which twenty-eight persons were marched to church to be preached to, and then taken back to prison; "and the day following the justice of lashes was executed;" the Inquisitors looking forward to "a more numerous and general Act, for exultation and glory of our holy Catholic faith, punishment and warning of her enemies, edification and instruction of the faithful."

Many painful incidents are recorded. Let one suffice. A Frenchman, Louis Ramι, relates that he saw fourteen protestant European officers taken into custody at Vera Cruz by the Inquisitors. They were solicited to deny their faith. Five who refused were carried to the stake, strangled and burnt. Nine endeavoured to purchase life by renouncing their religion. They were baptised, flattered, and feasted publicly the next day; but on the evening of that same day the perfidious Inquisitors ordered them all to be hanged. Eight died on the scaffold, but the rope broke of the ninth — one, John Morgan — and he escaped. This was declared to be a miracle wrought by God to prove that he was "a good Catholic!"

An extract from a brief of pope Clement XI., dated August, 1709, respecting the word of God, must not be omitted. It was directed to the Inquisitor-general of Spain.

"It has come to the knowledge of our apostleship, that the Holy Bible, translated into an American dialect, has lately been printed in the city of London, according to the depraved doctrine and corrupt sense of Protestants, under whose care and management it is brought to light, for the purpose of being circulated in America. Now if the circulation takes effect, as the heretics desire, it is easy to conjecture what danger will be done to the faithful, to whom the food of holy scripture, sprinkled and infected with much poison, shall be presented under the name of spiritual nourishment. . . . Resolve then that nothing shall be left undone by you that may be necessary to cut short the circulation of depraved books of this kind in America, where not even importation of them should be allowed, lest they be circulated among the faithful."

Thus did Rome seek to exterminate everything that differed from it, and not in Europe only, but in India and South America, doing all it could to hinder the circulation of God's word, which, as we have seen, was too pure a light to be endured by those who loved darkness, yea, even the gross darkness of the dark ages.

God did not allow the above state of things in the South-west to continue. The people longed to be free from the thraldom in which they were held; and though civil and political freedom may have been the chief aim of many, God overruled it to deliver the inhabitants from the power of Rome.

The people clamoured for independence; but the Romish clergy expended the wealth of their churches to keep up the link with old Spain. Ammunition was stored in the houses of priests and bishops, but only to fall into the hands of the inhabitants: and soon the clergy had to fly for their lives; one died, in consequence of his sufferings, in banishment; another had to flee through deep forests and trackless wilds; one lost his reason; another was in prison. Strange reverses for those who had lived in luxury, and had reigned as kings. Mexico rebelled against the viceroy in 1816, and gained its independence in 1821.

Thus did God take from Spain those colonies, from which she, with Rome, sought to keep the holy scriptures, and in which they desired only the supremacy of their false religion, destroying by their prisons and the stake all who would not sanction their pretensions.

The Inquisition Abolished.

To complete our sketch, we add a few words on the abolishing of the Inquisition, though it falls beyond our appointed date.

Napoleon Bonaparte had carried his victories into Spain, and entered Chamartin, a village about a league from Madrid. He established his head-quarters there, and sent his troops to take the capital, and to demand the submission of all public bodies. The Inquisition alone refused. Napoleon wrote on a slip of paper to arrest the Inquisitors, abolish the Inquisition, and sequestrate the revenue. Some escaped, and others were arrested and carried prisoners to Bayonne. Thus was accomplished by the stroke of the pen what some of the best kings of Spain would gladly have done, had they had the power.

Attempts were afterwards made to re-establish the Inquisition, and it was in a measure restored; but it never regained its former power. True members of the Roman catholic church declared it to be inconsistent with the liberties of the people.

The Inquisition was strongest in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. In other places, including England, it was never really established, and as the dark ages passed away before the light of the Reformation, it became extinct everywhere — perhaps lasting the longest in Italy. The date given for the last person burnt by the Inquisition is 1781, though its power was not abolished till 1820.

It has been attempted to shew that among all religions there has been persecution, and in a measure this is true. Protestantism is certainly not free from the charge. But while this is true, it is also certain that in no other religion was there such a system of injustice, tyranny, and secret persecution as existed in the Inquisition, nor anything approaching to it. We have given a few instances of the way in which it was worked, and of some who fell under it. The way in which its victims were tortured — with distinct rules as to how far this was to go for both males and females, often little short of death — is far too dreadful to find a place in our pages. And all this is not what is said of it by its enemies, but what may be gathered from the rules laid down by the various heads of the Inquisition for their subordinates.

If any one still asks for a proof of the existence of "Dark Ages," let the Inquisition be pointed to as one of the darkest blots on that which called itself the church of Christ. Discipline must of course be exercised in the church, and a wicked person must be put out but how contrary is the conduct of the Inquisition, in taking men's lives, to the rebuke of our Lord to His disciples, who asked if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would not receive our Lord on His way to Jerusalem: "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:56.) How true as to the period we are considering is God's sentence on this spiritual Babylon: "In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Dire will be the fall of that system, and sore the punishment of its leaders.

Chapter 12.

The Waldenses.

Here can be no doubt that God has had in the church at all times some — few or many as the case may have been — who were true witnesses for Christ and His truth, at least according to the light they had. It is true that they cannot always be traced, at least at this distance of time, but this in no way denies their existence.

Another thing to be remarked is, that as the church of Rome became more and more corrupt, the persons condemned by that corrupt church were most probably the true followers of Christ. This was remarkably so with the Waldenses.

In the various histories these bore different names, as we shall see, and it is not possible now to discover the real origin of some of those names. If the term "Waldenses" came from Peter Waldo of Lyons, others holding similar doctrines were in existence long before this, and must have been known by other names.

Another term is "Vaudois," which has been traced by some simply to signify, "valley dwellers," because some holding similar truths inhabited the valleys of the Pyrenees.

"Albigenses" is another name, from the city of Albi, and the district Albigeois, between the Garonne and the Rhone, where there were, at one time, many of the same people.

There is much obscurity as to these devout people before the time of Waldo. It is most probable that those who had doubts as to the church of Rome being the true church, and who held the truths of Christianity, remained in communion with that church, and so in a great measure escaped detection and punishment.

An inquisitor, Reinerius Saccho, who lived only eighty years after Waldo, speaks of men, like to the Waldenses, flourishing some five hundred years before the time of that preacher. This is all the more to be rejoiced at, seeing that it proves that God had His secret faithful ones, long before they became sufficiently prominent to provoke persecution.

Peter Waldo was an opulent merchant of Lyons. The gospel had been faithfully preached there in early days, and some remains of its tidings may have been handed down to the then inhabitants, though, in general, Lyons had sunk along with the mass of Christendom.

What is reported to have raised suspicion in the mind of Waldo was, that about the year 1160 the doctrine of transubstantiation came into prominence (though not established as a formal dogma till the time of Innocent III., 1198-1216), and all men were commanded to receive it. Along with this went the falling down and worshipping the Host. This appeared to Waldo to be a species of idolatry, and he felt called upon to oppose it as a gross corruption, but without any thought of separating from the church of Rome.

It is doubtful whether at this time Peter was a true Christian, though he had light enough to see that the above was an innovation. However, God, in His providence, gave him a severe shock. He sat one evening after supper with a party of friends, in cheerful intercourse, when one of the company suddenly fell to the floor a corpse. Peter was startled with the thought of the uncertainty of life: was he prepared? Under the terrors of an awakened conscience, he sought instruction and comfort from the scriptures. But the Bible was only available in the Latin Vulgate. Either he, or some one for him or with him, must translate it into French; and therein he saw what was God's remedy for a guilty conscience, and he found salvation.

As is usual with all true conversions, Peter could not keep his good news to himself, with souls all around him perishing for the lack of knowledge. He gave up his business and sought to do good by distributing his wealth; but when the poor came to him for alms, he would tell them also of the enduring riches of Christ. He obtained copies of the four gospels in French and distributed them, and then sought to explain their meaning. "His kindness to the poor being diffused," says Matthias Illyrius, "his love of teaching and their love of learning growing stronger and stronger, greater crowds came to him, to whom he expounded the scriptures."

To the honour of Waldo, it is recorded that he was the first to put forth the scriptures in one of the modern tongues, wherein men and women could read for themselves what God had written, and compare and weigh what the church was teaching: a blessing that surely cannot be overestimated.

As Waldo became better acquainted with the scriptures, he could not help seeing — as we think all true disciples, desirous of being taught, must see that there was in the scriptures that which totally condemned much of what the church of Rome was teaching, and there was also much in the scripture that the church never attempted to teach at all. He had therefore two things to do: first, to learn and then make known what scripture taught; and secondly, to hold up for condemnation everything that did not agree with the word of God.

This unequivocally condemned much that the church of Rome taught, and exposed many things that its clergy practised. These things could not long be hid from the authorities of church. The archbishop of Lyons threatened him with excommunication and prosecution, as a heretic, if he did not cease his teaching. Waldo declared boldly that he could not be silent on what concerned the salvation of his fellow-creatures.

It was then attempted to arrest him; but he had so many friends in Lyons, both rich and poor — persons whom he had been the means of leading to the Saviour — that be was hidden by them in the city for the space of three years.

Tidings at length reached the pope, Alexander III., who at once anathematised Waldo, and ordered the archbishop to proceed against him with the utmost severity. The preacher was now compelled to leave the city, but many of those who had benefitted by his preaching left too, and this was the means of further spreading the glad tidings wherever these fugitives went.

Waldo himself went to Dauphiny and, with great success, spread the truths he had learned from the scriptures. But he was again obliged to fly, and he went to Picardy: from thence he went to Germany, and eventually to Bohemia, where he laboured, and then peacefully ended his days in the year 1179: he had laboured faithfully for nearly twenty years.

May we not say that he was a forerunner of the reformers? except that we do not read that he separated from the church of Rome. He was driven out by persecution, if he really was separate. But how simple the process of his career! He read the Bible: he learnt the truth: he saw that the way of salvation was not being taught by the church, so he would teach it: he saw that much that the church put forth was either not mentioned in scripture, or was condemned therein, and he would expose its errors. God had indeed raised him up for this good work, and his labours were abundantly blessed, as we shall see.

Many of those taught by Waldo fled to the valleys of Piedmont, where it was hoped they might find a safe asylum. They carried with them the new translation of the Bible. We shall see how they multiplied, and how bitterly they were persecuted by the church of Rome.

In the meantime, the same blessed truths of God's word spread elsewhere. People had friends and relatives, among whom the glad tidings were carried, as well as among traders visiting Lyons. Persecution followed them wherever they were discovered. The bishops of Mentz and Strasburg were very zealous. Thirty-five citizens of Mentz were burned in one fire at Bingen, and eighteen at Mentz itself. Eighty persons were burned to death at Strasburg. It was a renewal of the martyrdom of the second century; but it was worse, for now it was those who professed to be the church putting to death their fellow Christians! This, too, was only the few drops of rain that fell before the deluge of persecution which fell upon the faithful afterwards. How true is the description in holy writ, we again repeat: "In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Rev. 18:24.)

It is not to be wondered at that, when the above-named disciples were driven from place to place, and found for a time a resting-place in the valleys of Piedmont, they should feel themselves driven out of the church of Rome, and should in no way be anxious to renew the connection. Doubtless, too, further light was vouchsafed them as to the true nature of the contest between truth and error, culminating in the only true conclusion, that the church of Rome could not be the true church, though, of course, there might be true saints in it.

Let us, however, see what their enemies said of them. Pope Lucius III. issued a decree against heretics, A.D. 1181. As usual, several were classed together: it said, "We declare all Catharists, Paterines, and those who call themselves 'the Poor of Lyons;' the Pasagines, Josephists, Arnoldists, to lie under a perpetual anathema." The people we are now considering are here called "the Poor of Lyons:" it was those taught at Lyons by Peter Waldo, or those who held the same doctrines. We might, however, take a glance at the titles of others here condemned.

"Catharists" is from a Greek word katharos, pure, and it is a similar term to our word "Puritan." It is not clear to whom the term applied at this date. It might be hurled against all who spoke against the impurities of the church of Rome, though it is supposed by some that it applied to some heretical sect that existed at that time.

"Paterines." The origin of this word is not known; but it was applied generally to denote any who were separated in spirit or in fact from the church of Rome.

"Pasagines" were a sect of the twelfth century, who held that the Jewish rites, except the sacrifices since the destruction of Jerusalem, were binding on Christians. They were also Arians.

"Josephists" cannot now be traced.

"Arnoldists" were the followers of Arnold of Brescia, a young priest, whose only crime was protesting against the abuses and corruptions of the church, and seeking to reform them. He was hunted from place to place, but, in 1155, the emperor, Frederick I., was seeking the friendship of the pope, and this was promised if Arnold was given up to the pope. The emperor yielded, and the reformer was strangled, his body burnt, and his ashes thrown into the Tiber.

It will be seen that it was very unfair to class all these together in one common condemnation. But it was enough if any were found to question the teaching of Rome: she could bear no rivals, good or bad; and she could bear no scrutiny: all must be silenced. It will be seen, too, that such an edict would condemn all dissentients: if the accused did not belong to any of those well-defined companies, it was enough if he dissented from the church of Rome: that was a crime.

We will, however, look at some of the things specially named in this papal decree. A perpetual anathema rested on all who preached publicly or privately without the authority of the apostolic see.

All who held or taught anything concerning the sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, baptism, the remission of sins, matrimony, or any other sacraments of the church, contrary to the teaching of the church of Rome.

All such the church of Rome held to be heretics.

It will be seen that the holy scriptures are not named. The church of Rome was to be supreme and without a rival: all who differed were heretics. The above named items are called "crimes" and must be put down.

We will now look at a more definite charge against the opponents of the church of Rome, and one in which the Waldenses are specially named. It is by Reinerius Saccho. He had been associated with the Waldenses, but had returned to the church of Rome, and been made an Inquisitor and had become their deadly enemy.

He said that the Waldenses deemed themselves to be the true church, and held that the church of Rome was the harlot of Revelation 17

They denied that any true miracles were wrought in the church.

They held that no ordinances of the church introduced since the ascension of Christ were of any value, and should not be observed,

They rejected the feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, etc., of the church of Rome.

They spoke against consecrated churches, churchyards, etc., as inventions of covetous priests to augment their gains.

Some of them held that the baptism of infants was of no avail, because they could not believe.

They rejected the sacrament of confirmation, and instead thereof their teachers laid their hands on the disciples.

They did not believe the body and blood of Christ to be in the sacrament, but only blessed bread, which by a figure only is called the body of Christ.

They said that a priest who was a sinner could not bind or loose any one, being bound himself; and that any good or intelligent layman might absolve another and impose penance.

They rejected extreme unction.

They held it to be an unpardonable sin to betray a heretic.

They held there was no purgatory, and that prayers for the dead were of no use. Offerings made for the dead were only for the clergyman.

They derided all the festivals held in honour of the saints, and worked on holy days.

They did not observe Lent or other fasts.

They did not receive the Old Testament.

They taught such as were eligible among them to commit to memory the words of scripture, so that they might teach others.

Not only the men, but the women also taught among them — privately, it is supposed, by what is said elsewhere.

The same writer charges them with practising uncleanness instead of marriage, and in the book he wrote against them, he says: "Of all the sects that have risen up against the church of Rome, the Waldenses have been the most prejudicial and pernicious, inasmuch as their opposition has been of very long continuance."

It is not now possible to tell what is meant by their not receiving the Old Testament. They had most probably only the New Testament in French and could not read the Latin. Their own documents prove that they did not reject the Old Testament. Neither can it be known what is intended by their despising marriage. It may be that Saccho treated their marriage as null in the sight of the church of Rome, there being no Romish priest among them to celebrate it.

There is also abundant testimony, that their only fault in the eyes of the Roman Catholics was that they judged that church to be impure, and its priests not to be followed.

The king of France was again and again informed of the evil doings of the Waldenses, and was requested to persecute them. He sent more than one person into their midst to learn the truths of these reports, but the replies were always in favour of the Waldenses, except as to their judgment of the church of Rome.

Thus Louis XII. (A.D. 1498-1515) sent his confessor and another to gather information on the spot as to the true state of these people. The archbishop of Ambrun pressed these commissioners to condemn the Waldenses, that he might obtain the goods that would be confiscated. But the commissioners were too upright for this, and the confessor declared before a number of his friends, that he wished that he himself was as good a Christian as the worst in the valley he had visited.

Another describes those he visited, thus "Their clothing is of the skins of sheep, they have no linen. Their houses are built of flint stone, having a flat roof covered with mud. They live on milk and venison, being through constant practice excellent marksmen. One thing is very remarkable, that persons externally so savage and rude, should have so much moral culture. They can all read and write. They know French sufficiently for the understanding of the Bible, and the singing of psalms. You can scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give you an intelligent account of the faith which they profess."

Reinerius Saccho, whom we have already quoted, tells us how industrious the Waldenses were in spreading abroad their tenets. Some would go forth as hawkers with trinkets, articles of dress, etc.; and he thus describes how they proceeded. "Sir, will you please to buy any rings, or seals, or trinkets. Madame, will you look at any handkerchiefs, or pieces of needlework for veils? I can afford them cheap." If after a purchase, the salesman were asked if he had anything more, he would reply, "O yes; I have commodities far more valuable than these, and I will make you a present of them if you will protect me from the clergy." If he were encouraged, he would proceed, "The inestimable jewel I spoke of is the word of God, by which He communicates His mind to man, and which inflames their hearts with love to Him. . . . In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth:" and then he would repeat the first chapter of Luke. At other times, different portions of the gospels would be repeated, their minds being well stored with scripture. If he were further encouraged, he would proceed to repeat such passages as "Woe unto you: ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer them that are entering to go in;" "Woe unto you that devour widows' houses," etc.; and then proceed to state that these passages applied to the Roman priests and monks. They kept away the key of knowledge which he was so desirous of communicating. And yet he, and they who, with him, were seeking to live a holy life, were persecuted by the Romish priests.

It is surprising that such an account should have been put forth by a Roman catholic. He was indeed very blind if he did not see, that the very thing he was condemning was to the praise of those he condemned, and was to his own disgrace. It was simply the Romish church that was held up as the standard. No matter how ignorant or profligate its monks or clergy were they were accounted good Christians: and all else, however holy and true, were to be condemned and persecuted.

Yes, persecution was the portion of these people. They had increased wonderfully and were quietly spreading forth the truths of Christianity. Pope Innocent III. (A.D. 1198-1216) had previously taken the persecution in hand. He had despatched preachers throughout Europe to get volunteers for the putting down of heresy, as it was called. "We exhort you," said they, "that you would endeavour to destroy the wicked heresy of the Albigenses, and do this with more rigour than you would towards the Saracens themselves: persecute them with a strong hand; deprive them of their lands and possessions; banish them, and put catholics in their room." To any who would bear arms for forty days, remission of all their sins and paradise were promised!

Toulouse was then one of the chief seats of the Waldenses (they were here called Albigenses), and this was ruled over by Raymond, the sixth count of Toulouse. He was a wise and humane man, and, though exhorted to persecute the Albigenses he refused, seeing they were peaceable and loyal citizens and good Christians, though he regretted they did not hold with the church of Rome as he did himself.

He was excommunicated by the pope for harbouring the heretics; but he could not be moved to commence the persecution.

About this time, Peter de Chatineau, one of the Inquisition, was murdered, and Raymond was accused of having a hand in the matter. This he strongly denied. It was known that this Peter had been pursuing a gentleman who had turned round and put him to death, and then had fled.

The pope, in order to appear reasonable, proposed that they should seek to win the Albigenses, and that the questions at issue should be discussed. The time of meeting, etc., was agreed on. They were to assemble at Montreal near Carcassonne: it was in the year 1206.

Pastor Arnold Hot was the principal of the Albigenses who attended. He undertook to prove:

1. That the Mass and transubstantiation were idolatrous and unscriptural.

2. That the church of Rome was not the spouse of Christ.

3. That its policy was of a pernicious and wicked tendency.

These points were discussed for some days, but were cut short by the cry, The army of the crusaders is at hand. The pope had not waited for the result of the conference: indeed, it seemed only a device to gain time. Though the soldiers were called crusaders, they were now bearing the cross to root out heresy so-called.

Raymond was alarmed at the news of a hundred thousand men approaching to attack him. He would not, however, persecute his own people, but he submitted to the pope, and delivered seven fortified places up to him.

That, however, did not satisfy the pope. Raymond was required to present himself before the gates of St. Agde. Upwards of twenty archbishops and bishops were there to receive his submission. At the gates he was required to swear upon the holy eucharist and the relics of the saints, that he would obey the command of the holy Roman church. One of the sacred vestments was then thrown over his neck, and he was brought into thee church, where he was scourged with a whip. This was so severe that he was unable to go out by the way he entered, but passed, nearly naked as he was, by the lower gate. He was accounted absolved! though the process was repeated at the sepulchre of St. Peter the martyr, at New Castres.

The poor Albigenses were now at the mercy of the army, led on by the papal legate, and the sword was speedily at work in the cities in which they were known to be. The streets ran with blood and many were burnt alive.

All, however, was not lost. Raymond had a nephew named Roger, who, under his uncle, had governed some of the cities. He was now at Bιziers. Raymond was compelled, as one of the conditions of absolution, to lead on the army to the destruction of his own subjects. He continued only a few days with the army, preferring to go himself to Rome and humble himself before the pope.

Roger, earl of Bιziers, saw it was no use attempting to defend the place against such an army. He therefore went out and threw himself at the feet of the papal legate, telling him there were many in the city true to the catholic faith, and hoped he would not slay the innocent with the guilty. He was told that to save the city the Albigenses must renounce their faith and promise to live according to the Romish church.

The inhabitants were called together, and the conditions were pressed on the Albigenses. They would thus not only save themselves but the catholics too. This was a painful position to be in, but they told their fellow-citizens that they could not renounce their faith they must die first. They left it for the catholics and Roger to make the best terms they could for themselves.

Finding the Albigenses could not be moved from their resolution, the catholics sent out their bishop to the papal legate. He intreated that the catholics who had always been true to the Romish church should not be slain with the Albigenses; and even these he hoped might be gained by kindness.

The answer was short and severe: unless all confessed their sins, and returned to the church, all should share alike. The city was ordered to surrender at discretion. This it did, as resistance was useless, and its inhabitants, 23,000 in number, were indiscriminately put to death, and the city itself destroyed by fire. Caesarius informs us that when the army was about to enter the city, they asked how they were to distinguish catholics from Albigenses. Arnold, abbe of Cisteaux, brutally replied, "Kill them all: the Lord knoweth them, that are his." Even the priests were slain in their robes!

Roger, seeing there was no hope of safety, then made his escape to the city of Carcassonne. Many Albigenses were there, and many others came, telling him of the fate of all in Bιziers. Carcassonne was better fortified, and he determined to make what resistance he could. He called together the inhabitants, and told them the horrible end of those at Bιziers, and that it was plain that the whole was a planned system of robbery under the plea of religion. He was a catholic; but see, said he, how those faithful to the Roman church have been treated at Bιziers. This roused their courage, and all prepared for the defence of the city.

In the meantime more men had joined the army — now 300,000 strong. They advanced towards the town, filled up the ditches with fascines, and assailed the first wall; but they were met with such a stout resistance that the ground was covered with the dead bodies of the assailants.

The next day, scaling ladders were used and the outer wall was taken after a stout resistance, and all who were found outside the city proper were put to death. The upper town was yet secure, and though it was assailed again and again, hundreds of the army were slain. Besides this, the immense army began to be in want of provisions, and had to disperse over the country in search of it. With many the forty days had expired for which they were engaged — they had purchased forgiveness of their sins, as they thought, and as had been promised — and would on no conditions remain any longer: thousands left for their homes.

The papal legate became alarmed, and finding the city could not be so easily taken as he supposed, determined to try what negotiations would do. The king of Arragon had joined the army, and he undertook to meet the earl of Bιziers. He asked the earl why he offered resistance to such an army. He was told what had taken place at Bιziers, and how the catholics had been slain, the priests in their robes, etc. The king had his eyes opened to the fact, that it was not merely a religious war as had been pretended, and reasoned with the papal legate as to his proceedings, and advocated a different course.

But the legate was so enraged that he sent the most defiant reply: he was the pope's legate, and all must submit at discretion: the earl, if he surrendered, would be kept in strict custody. Such terms could not be accepted, and all remained as before.

The legate hit upon another plan. He induced one of the officers of the army to try and entice the earl to come out of the city, promising that the officer should be well recompensed on earth besides the rewards he would have in heaven if he succeeded.

The officer succeeded too well. Under the plea of arranging conditions of peace, and the solemn promise that he should be conducted safely back to the city, the earl came out and met the legate.

After some conversation, in which the earl tried to reason with the legate, and plead for the city, he was told the inhabitants could do as they pleased, but that he was a prisoner. He protested against such perfidy. The officer had pledged himself by oaths and execrations to see him back into the city. It was all of no use. He was thrown into prison and died soon afterwards, not without strong suspicions that he had been poisoned.

The people of Carcassonne no sooner learnt the fate of the earl than all hope left them of defending the city, and escape seemed hopeless as the city was entirely surrounded with their enemies. When despair was seizing them, a rumour arose among some of the older citizens that they remembered a report of a subterraneous passage somewhere in the city which led to the castle of Caberet, a distance of about three leagues: but no one knew where the entrance was. Except those who manned the ramparts, they all now made diligent search, and at length it was whispered about, The entrance is found. Preparations for flight were at once set on foot: food for a few days only must suffice, and, except a few things any could carry about them, all must be left. But this was far better than falling into the hands of such merciless murderers. We may be quite sure that many a thanksgiving ascended to God for this prospect of deliverance, and prayer to Him that it might be crowned with success.

"It was a dismal and sorrowful sight," says their historian, "to witness their removal and departure, accompanied with sighs, tears, and lamentations . . . . betaking themselves to the uncertain event of saving themselves by flight: parents leading their children, and the more robust supporting decrepit old persons; and especially to hear the affecting lamentations of the women."

It would have been an instructive lesson to have known whether the Albigenses bore their trials any differently from the catholics. The former had none on earth to lean on, and we trust they found support from their heavenly Father. The catholics had sought to lean on an earthly reed, but alas, that reed had broken and pierced them to the quick. Such is often the fate of those who put their trust in man even in this life, and as to the future, we shudder to think of the fatal delusion.

God prospered their flight: they reached in safety the castle on the following day, and from thence dispersed themselves wherever God opened a door for their admission.

In the morning after the flight, the army were surprised that not a sound was to be heard from the city: some stratagem was suspected, but on mounting the walls the cry was raised, "The Albigenses are fled." The legate ordered that none of the property should be carried off. It was to be carried to the church, and disposed of for the benefit of the "pilgrims," as the army was called.

The army was now placed under the command of Simon, earl of Montfort. He was cruel and rapacious, and no mercy was given to any of the Albigenses that fell in his way. He was made governor of the whole district, but insolently requested that the earl of Toulouse should make over to him all his territories, as conquered by the catholic army. Raymond refused, and appealed to Philip king of France, his chief.

Simon laid siege to the castle of Minerba (or Minerva) in Narbonne, near Spain. Of this place it was said "No mass has been sung in it for thirty years:" a proof of the spread of the truths held by the Waldenses. Raymond, earl of Termes, defended the place, but on account of the scarcity of water was obliged to surrender. He was exhorted to turn catholic, but he steadily refused, and was thrown into a close prison where he soon died. Efforts were then made to convert his wife, sister, and daughter, and other females of rank. But all stood steadfast in the faith, and were together thrown into one large fire.

There were still the inhabitants. These were now preached to, and exhorted to acknowledge the pope and the church of Rome. But the preacher was interrupted with cries of "We will not renounce our religion: you labour to no purpose, for neither life nor death shall induce us to abandon our profession." On this, the earl and the legate committed one hundred and eighty men and women to the flames.

Castle after castle fell before the army until Raymond began to fear for his dominions, and so, collecting some troops, he opposed the army and gained back much of his loss. But again he was defeated, and persecution was resumed with vigour.

A good deal of what followed, for some twenty years, took more the character of civil rather than religious warfare, though the popes of Rome never lost sight of their one great object, to root out entirely all who differed from the church of Rome, no matter by what name they were called; and for this purpose they were not particular by what means they could induce the various authorities to fight for the catholic church.

Thus, to Louis king of France, the pope wrote, "It is the command of God, who says, If thou shalt hear say in any one of thy cities which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known, thou shalt smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword." Thus shamefully did he pervert the scripture against idolatry to mean the persecution of God's saints.

From 1206 to 1228 the persecution was carried on, with such rigour, that no room was found for those arrested. The archbishops of Aix, Arles, and Narbonne, interceded with those who were pushing on the persecution, and wrote: "It has come to our knowledge that you have apprehended so many of the Waldenses, that it is not only impossible to defray the charges of their subsistence, but also to provide stone and mortar to build prisons for them. We therefore advise you to defer for a while augmenting their number, until the pope be apprised of the great multitudes that have been apprehended, and until he notify what he pleases to have done in this case. Nor is there any reason why you should take offence hereat; for as to those who are altogether impenitent and incorrigible, or concerning whom you may doubt of their relapse or escape, or that, being at large again, they would infect others, you may condemn such without delay."

It has been calculated that as many as a million were put to death in the southern provinces of France, and many fled from the district to other places.

The war that existed between the emperor of Germany (Frederick II.) and the pope (Innocent IV.) gave some breathing-time for the Waldenses, and they rapidly increased.

About the year 1330 a great persecution was set on foot in various parts of Germany by an agent of the Inquisition, named Echard, a Jacobin monk. Vignier, the historian, relates that this man, after inflicting cruelties with great severity and for a length of time upon the Waldenses, was at length induced to examine the causes why these people were separated from the church of Rome. The force of truth was such that it broke down all his prejudices — his own conscience bearing witness that many of the errors and corruptions charged on the church of Rome really existed. Finding that he could not disprove the articles of their faith by the word of God, he confessed that the truth had overcome him, he gave God the glory, and entered into communion with the Waldenses whom he had, like Saul against the Christians, long been engaged in punishing and persecuting unto death.

News of his conversion soon reached some other agents of the Inquisition, and messengers were sent in search of him. He was arrested, conveyed to Heidelberg, and burnt to death. He boldly charged the church of Rome with monstrous and iniquitous proceedings, in putting to death so many innocent persons for no other crime than steadfastly adhering to the cause of Christ, in opposition to the delusions of Antichrist.

Such an instance might well have made the persecutors pause and ask themselves, whether they were really fighting for God or against Him. But no, the persecution raged on furiously by others; and yet the faith increased wonderfully, so that it was said, as an acknowledged fact, that in those days the Waldenses were so numerous that in travelling from Cologne to Milan, the whole extent of Germany, they could lodge every night with persons of their own profession, and that it was a custom among them to affix certain private marks to their signs and gates whereby they made themselves known to one another.

Indeed, the Waldenses had spread over the whole of Europe, carrying the gospel of God and His truth wherever they went — pursued and persecuted everywhere by their relentless enemies, the agents of the church of Rome, until they were rooted out everywhere except in and about Piedmont.

In our short sketches it is impossible to give a complete history of the Waldenses. They took up arms in their own defence, and obtained many victories over small detachments of troops; but whole armies were sent against them, which with fire and sword turned many a fertile "valley into a desert.

This was continued century after century until the Reformation had made good progress; but still these mountaineers were persecuted by the intrigues of the popes and the Inquisition, with the aid sometimes of the kings of France, and at other times by the dukes of Savoy.

Protestant countries protested against such merciless treatment, and from time to time sent money to aid the survivors; but as long as the pope's power continued, the persecution again and again broke out.

Many of the Waldenses, or Vaudois, as they are here called, had fled to Switzerland, and were there scattered over the various cantons, working at anything their hands could find to do to support themselves.

In 1689 most of them resolved to attempt a return to their favourite villages. It appeared a very hazardous enterprise, for some parts of Savoy were held by French troops, and others by those of Piedmont.

Still nothing could daunt their courage nor turn them from their purpose. For two or three months their preparations were quietly and secretly made. They must leave their wives and children behind, and provision was sought for them. Then arms and ammunition were needed for themselves, and money to buy food as they proceeded.

One named Janavel, living at Geneva, was the soul of the movement. He knew the country well through which they would have to pass, and at a meeting held at his house, put forth a plan of the campaign, pointing out which passes needed to be secured, and which avoided, etc. One part of his plan was peculiar, but was found to be very useful, namely, for the Vaudois to seize hostages from some of the principal towns, carry these with them, treating them well, but making their lives depend upon the treatment the Waldenses received from the inhabitants in other places.

The forest of Prangins was the gathering-point. So much preparation, and so many moving about armed, could not but be observed, and in some places they were arrested by the Swiss before they could reach Prangins. Other arrangements were in progress to stop them, but about sunset, from the forest there came forth 1,000 to 1,200 men, who made their way to lake Leman.

Fifteen boats were there ready for them. Their pastor Arnaud made an earnest prayer for divine assistance. The young Lord of Prangins was there out of curiosity, and knelt with the others, but mounted a horse as soon as he could, and rode all night to Geneva, to inform the French of what he had witnessed. A messenger was at once sent off for French troops.

By about two o'clock in the morning all from the forest had crossed the lake, though they expected others to follow. Their first act was again to fall on their knees and earnestly pray for the protection of God, It was August 17th, 1689.

One of their pastors went to a village to seek a guide, when he was seized and carried off. This made them more careful. The small town of Yvoire was summoned to open its gates, or it would be attacked. From thence the lord of the manor and the receiver of taxes were taken as hostages. These, by the good treatment they received, and by the discipline of the troops, were well disposed towards them, and were of great use to the Vaudois.

As they passed along, town after town opened their gates. At St. Joire, the magistrates placed a great cask of wine in the street for their refreshment.

At Cluse the gates were shut, and it appeared as though a passage would not be allowed. The hostages were appealed to, and one of them wrote to a nobleman in the town. He came to the camp, and was detained, while a Vaudois officer went to the town. "Where is your warrant?" was asked. "At the point of our swords," was the reply. They were allowed to pass through, and to buy provisions.

At other places they met with similar treatment — a refusal at first, but then permission.

But they had mountains to pass covered with snow, and they knew there were troops gathering somewhere to oppose them. They had reached the top of the mountain of Tourliers, when they observed some soldiers, and farther on, near Salabertrans, the Vaudois asked a peasant if they would be able to obtain provisions in that place. His reply was, "Go on, go on! they are preparing you a good supper there!"

On reaching the plain, they counted thirty-six bivouac fires, by which they reckoned that there must be an army of over 2,000 men. They proved to be French soldiers, under the command of the Marquis de Larrey.

The Vaudois divided their troops into three companies, and made for the bridge, which was defended by the marquis in person. He was soon wounded, and retired. The fight was desperate, but the Vaudois were victorious. They crossed the bridge, and then destroyed it. The French fled in the greatest disorder. The Vaudois thanked God, and took courage.

On they must go, weary as they were. Some fell down, and went to sleep, but the rear-guard awoke them. Some were missed, and never seen after. They had still to cross the mountain of Sci, when they would reach Pragela, the home of some of their forefathers.

On Sunday morning (August 25th) they reached the top of the mountain, and they fell on their knees, returning thanks to God for having brought them within view of their native place. "O Lord, my God," exclaimed the pastor, "Thou who didst bring back the sons of Jacob from the land of bondage to that of their ancestors. O God of Israel, God of our fathers! be pleased to accomplish and to bless Thy work in us, Thy feeble servants! May the light of the gospel never be extinguished in these mountains, where it has so long shined; and grant that our hands may rekindle and maintain it there. Bless our absent families And to Thee alone, our heavenly Father, with Jesus Thine only Son our Saviour, and the Holy Ghost our Comforter, be honour, praise and glory, now and for ever. Amen."

They had still a mountain to pass, and they received information that an enemy awaited them at the Col Julian. This was found to be true. The soldiers cried out, "Come on, come on, ye devil's barbets! there are more than 3,000 of us, and we hold all the posts." The Vaudois, nothing daunted, climbed up the mountain, and took post after post, the soldiers at last fleeing before them.

They descended the mountain, and then took possession of the villages of L'Aiguille and Sibaoud, and then Bobi. The Catholic priests, who had persecuted them before, now fled away.

On the hill of Sibaoud, they piled their arms and reposed at leisure. It was Sunday, September 1st. The pastor Montoux, having placed an old door on two rocks, mounted it as a pulpit, and preached from Luke 16:16: "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."

They had been a fortnight on their journey, but had yet more to do. They must possess the valley of Lucerna and that of St. Martin; but were still victorious, though they were surrounded by their enemies, and had to fight many battles. They were at length driven to the mountains for protection, because of the French army.

To provide provision was now a great difficulty, for their enemies destroyed all they could. A mill had been dismantled as far back as 1686, and the stone hidden; but some knew where it was to be found. It was soon unearthed and set up, and what corn they could get was ground and bread made. At Pral and Rodoret a remarkable interposition of God favoured them. The inhabitants having been driven away, the corn had not been reaped in the harvest of 1689, and the snow had covered the standing corn; this was now found in good condition, and was reaped by them from February to April, 1690. Thus God provided them a harvest in the winter.

They would no doubt have been obliged to surrender to the French, but Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, had to choose between France and Austria, who, with England and Spain, were now at war. He decided to join Austria, and this saved the Vaudois. An envoy brought them the news that Piedmont was no longer an ally of France, and that Victor Amadeus II. offered the Vaudois provisions and arms if they would join his army. The country was opened up to them, to go where they pleased. They accepted the offer, and became the soldiers of Amadeus. But after a while Amadeus was defeated, and Savoy was made over to France, and again the Vaudois had to fight for their lives and suffer persecution.

There is no doubt that love for their country was the main inducement that led the Vaudois to fight their way back to their native valleys. Others, who had joined the Vaudois, fell back from time to time, despairing of success; but no hardship could daunt the true Vaudois. We cannot justify their using the sword; for our Lord had declared that His kingdom was not of this world, else His servants would have fought; and He further warned His followers, that those who took the sword should perish by the sword.

Napoleon I., having conquered Italy, granted relief and liberty to the Waldenses; but on his fall, Victor Emmanuel I. issued an edict enforcing the old discipline, but on England and Prussia interceding, more mild treatment followed in 1816. In 1831 when Charles Albert ascended the throne, the Jesuits nearly succeeded in revoking the edict of toleration; but the protests of Prussia and Holland were again crowned with success.

From that time they have remained comparatively unmolested; though it is to be feared that they have sunk, more or less, into the general level of Christendom.

In the history of the Waldenses and those: who had a like faith, we see how God raised up in the dark ages companies of faithful men, who had no thought at first of leaving the church of Rome; they only asked for liberty to worship God in simplicity and truth. But this brought them into collision with the clergy, and persecution drove them out of that corrupt church, of the evils of which, with the light of the scriptures, they could not be ignorant. They may be compared to a body of pioneers who went forth to attack the powers of darkness found associated with the church of Rome — before the more regular army of Reformers were called out, who attacked still more powerfully and more successfully those direful deceivers, and brought to light the supremacy of the word of God, and the one glorious doctrine of justification by faith.

Chapter 13.


A.D. 1066 to the Reformation.

Many changes were introduced into the English church at the conquest of England by William duke of Normandy. Vacant places were filled by Normans. It is said that the Anglo-Saxon clergy were so illiterate as to be scarcely able to stammer out the forms of divine service; and that any one who understood grammar was quite an exception: learning as well as religion had fallen into decay. The Norman clergy, however, made no efforts to learn the Anglo-Saxon language, by which to edify their hearers.

The king appointed an able man as primate. Lanfranc had been a professor of laws in his native city of Pavia, and had afterwards opened a school at Avranches; from thence he removed to the monastery of Bec, in Normandy. He had opposed William's marriage with Matilda as being within the forbidden degrees, and had in consequence been ordered out of the country by the duke. But meeting accidentally, a compromise was made, and Lanfranc was despatched to Rome to get from the pope the removal of an interdict under which William's territories had been laid. Lanfranc succeeded, and William urged him on his return to accept the archbishopric of Canterbury. He would have preferred to return to his monastery, but the pope refused his consent. He then accepted William's offer, though Lanfranc was nearly ninety years old, and travelled to Rome to receive the "pall" of his office.

Lanfranc set to work to reform the church in England: vacancies were filled up, but not always by worthy men. The king had to listen to the powerful barons and give places to their favourites. Many of the English were removed simply because they were not Normans. Thus an effort was made to remove Wulstan, the venerable bishop of Winchester, on the plea that he did not understand the French language; and a synod was called to effect it. He is said to have been an illiterate man, but had led a blameless life. He said to the synod that he knew his own unworthiness, but the king his master had called him to the office, "By the authority of the holy see he laid the burden upon me, and with this staff he commanded me to receive the rank of a bishop." Knowing his unworthiness, he would resign the office, but not to them, but to the one who had called him to it. Then walking to the tomb of Edward the Confessor he laid the crozier on his tomb, and took his place among the monks. He was allowed to retain his office, and, at the death of the king, was the only English bishop who had not been removed.

The marriage of the clergy was a difficult point. A council at Winchester ordained that no canon should have a wife, and for the future no married man should be ordained priest or deacon; the rural clergy were allowed to retain their wives.

William was desirous of maintaining relationship with Rome, but he was resolved to be master in England. He not only appointed the bishops and abbots, but invested them also. Lanfranc begged that he might have the investing of the abbots; but the king declared that he meant "to keep all the staves in his own hands." The bishops were not to obey citations to Rome, nor were they to receive any letters from the pope without shewing them to the king; neither was any one to be excommunicated without the king's licence.

This was displeasing to the pope (Hildebrand), but he was anxious not to break with the king. He sent an envoy to England, asking that the king should swear fealty to the pope, and should pay Peter's pence, as his predecessor had done. The king would not swear fealty to the pope: he would pay some pence as alms, but not as a tribute. The pope replied that the money without obedience was worthless. Threats were held out to William; but he paid no regard to them. The pope then cited certain English and Norman bishops to attend a synod at Rome; but no response was made to this, and the pope had to overlook the disobedience. Again and again Lanfranc was summoned to Rome, to confer on matters touching the English church; but he never went.

All this is important, as shewing that England was not wholly under the yoke of Rome at that time, and could manage its own affairs better without the pope's interference than with it.

William was succeeded by William Rufus, who as long as Lanfranc lived was held in restraint, but when the archbishop died (in 1089) he gave way to profligate living, and made free with the revenues of the church, keeping places vacant that he might spend the money. No successor to Lanfranc was appointed for four years. A severe illness was declared to be a judgment on the king, and he now appointed Anselm as archbishop.

Anselm was born in Piedmont, and had settled at Bec. In 1063 he had been made prior, and in 1078, abbot. Here he became very famous by his writings on theology, grammar, etc., and pupils flocked to him from all quarters: many questions were addressed to him, and his answers were valued as oracles from heaven.

He has been accounted the most learned man in theology since Augustine, and has been described as the setter forth of what is called natural theology.

Anselm strongly opposed his own appointment. He much preferred his quiet monastery and time for study, to having to do with such a king as William. He compared the position to a young untamed bull being yoked to an old and feeble sheep: the poor sheep would be dragged to death.

All opposition, however, was useless: being in England at the time he was carried into the king's sick chamber at Gloucester, the crosier was forced into his hands, and notwithstanding his struggles, he was hurried away into a church and hailed as archbishop of Canterbury.

The king recovered, and was now worse than before, and Anselm soon found his position was not a bed of roses. The king still wanted money, and the archbishop learned that he was expected to send to the king a contribution. He sent £500, in the hope that the king would be favourable to the church. The king would at first have received the money; but some about him declared that it was a paltry sum, and was not nearly as much as should have been sent by one receiving such an office. The archbishop said he could not then send more; but it would not be his last gift. The king, however, refused to receive it, and the archbishop distributed it among the poor.

The king was highly displeased, and refused to restore the estates of the church. He also refused a council to be held to reform the disorders among the clergy and monks. When pressed to fill up some vacancies, William replied, "What is that to you? are not the abbeys mine?" "They are yours," was the reply, "to defend and protect as advocate; but they are not yours to invade and devastate."

After various conflicts, Anselm sent two of the clergy to Rome, to inquire which of the rival popes (Clement III. and Urban II.) had the best claim. They judged Urban should be acknowledged as pope, and Anselm requested permission to go to Rome to receive the "pall" of office. The king refused; but Urban, on being acknowledged the true pope, sent a pall for the archbishop. This again was a cause for dispute. William wanted Anselm to receive it from his hands; but he refused. At length the pope's legate laid it on the altar at Canterbury, and the archbishop took it from thence.

After repeated hindrances, Anselm started for Rome (A.D. 1098), but was searched at Dover lest he was carrying money to the pope. At Rome he was received with great distinction, and was spoken of as "the holy man." Envoys were also sent by the king to Rome, and the pope told these that everything must be restored to the archbishop under pain of excommunication; but, by large presents from the king in private, this was averted!

This convinced Anselm that he could not hope for much from the pope, so he retired to Lyons where he remained a year and a half. There he heard of the death of Urban, in July, 1099, and of that of William in 1100.

While abroad, Anselm finished a treatise on the Incarnation, which is said to have been the basis of much that has been written since. He shews that there must be a satisfaction for sin; and the necessity that this satisfaction should be rendered by One who is perfect God and perfect Man.

Henry I. succeeded in England. He invited Anselm to return to his office, and he filled up the vacancies in the church. But a dispute arose at once about investiture. The king claimed it, and the archbishop claimed it as from the pope. Messengers were sent to the pope — Paschal II. now — but he refused to give way to the king, and encouraged the archbishop to resist.

In 1102 a council of the clergy was held in London, attended also by the nobles. The celibacy of the parochial clergy was now, for the first time, agreed on. This met with great opposition in some places. The canons bear evidence of the low state into which religion, discipline, and even morality had fallen during the reign of William Rufus.

Anselm again went to Rome, and messengers also went from the king, respecting investiture — each claiming it as their right. At length a compromise was agreed on — that the king should forego investiture, but that, for the present, bishops and abbots should be permitted to do homage; while those who had been invested by him should be admitted to communion on such terms as the two envoys of the pope should agree. This was a decided victory for Rome.

In the twelfth century learning revived in England. Perhaps to this period may be assigned the establishing of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, though there had been schools at these places and in London, St. Alban's, and elsewhere, long before. In the reign of Richard I. we find the university of Oxford mentioned as being similar to the university of Paris, and as a sort of rival to that renowned seat of learning.

It is recorded that in 1109 three monks went to Cambridge every day, to teach in a barn hired for their use. One taught grammar in the morning; a second, logic at one o'clock; and the third gave lectures on rhetoric at three. The barn was soon found to be too small for the purpose, and places were sought in different parts of the town. This is the description given of the humble state of learning at what became the university of Cambridge.

England was gradually enslaved by Rome. Henry II. strongly opposed the encroachments of the pope, but had to give way. He joined the the French king in persecuting the Cathari of Toulouse, who are believed to have been true Christians, though styled Arians by Rome.

In the reign of Henry II. also, thirty men and women, Germans, were brought before a council of the clergy at Oxford. Gerard, their teacher, declared they were Christians and believed the doctrines of the apostles. But as they did not hold with purgatory, prayers for the dead, nor the invocation of the saints, they were, by the orders of Henry, branded with a hot iron on the forehead, then whipped through Oxford, had their clothes cut off at their girdles, and turned into the open fields. Under heavy penalties no one was allowed to give them shelter or food. They remained calm, and were heard repeating "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." It being winter time, they all perished.

What a sad picture is this of how England was devoted to the dogmas of Rome. The king and the university were thus united to cast out true Christians from the land!

The conflict between Henry and Thomas ΰ Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, must be but briefly touched upon. From the most magnificent of courtiers, Becket, as archbishop, appeared to be the most devoted saint. He adopted the coarsest clothing, and ate the plainest food; daily he washed the feet of the poor; devotedly he paced the cloisters of his cathedral, and spent hours in prayer.

It having been represented to the king that, during the first eight years of his reign, a hundred murders had been committed by the ecclesiastics, Henry called a council of prelates and barons at Clarendon, 1164.

It was therein settled that "all cases whether civil or criminal, in which a clergyman was concerned, should be tried and determined in the king's court; that appeals should be from the archbishop to the king; and that no cause should be carried further than the archbishop's court (that is, not to Rome) without the king's consent; that no archbishop, bishop, or dignified clergy should depart from the kingdom without the king's leave."

Becket promised to agree to the Constitutions of Clarendon, but at a meeting afterwards refused. The king was exasperated, and the clergy begged the archbishop to give way. He promised, if the meeting was adjourned till the resolutions could be put into proper form, he would agree to them. On this being done, he again refused, and imposed a penance on himself for his weakness in having promised to agree to the Constitutions. Pope Alexander III. released him from his oath.

As is well known, Becket rather than give way, fled to the continent, and remained there nearly six years. On being reconciled to the king, he returned; but had sent on before him excommunications against the archbishop of York and the bishops of London and Salisbury. These hastened to lay their complaints before the king, and demanded redress: "We implore it," said they, "both for the sake of royalty and the clergy — for our own repose as well as yours." The king was seized with a fit of fury. "How!" cried he, "a fellow that has eaten my bread — a beggar that first came to my court on a lame horse, dares insult his king and the royal family, and tread upon the whole kingdom, and not one of the cowards I nourish at my table — not one will deliver me from this turbulent priest."

Unhappy words! Four of the king's knights quietly left his presence unobserved, crossed the sea, and murdered the archbishop.

The king was greatly shocked, and fasted for three days. He swore it was not done at his command nor with his knowledge; but as his hasty words may have led to the deed, he afterwards promised to maintain two hundred knights as crusaders for a year; to serve himself for three years against the Saracens or Moors if the pope should require it; to restore the lands and possessions belonging to the friends of the late archbishop; and to allow appeals to be made to the pope; etc. He was then fully absolved.

Becket was accounted a saint; crowds flocked to his tomb to pray, and it was said that many miracles were wrought there. It was declared that "even from his grave he rendered his testimony in behalf of the papacy."

Later on, the king prostrated himself before Becket's tomb, and the bishops, priests, and monks, each bearing a scourge, struck the king's bare shoulders three or five times according to their rank. After this, it is not to be wondered at that Rome became supreme in England.

In the time of Richard, Innocent III. was pope, and he plainly declared that no one was fit to exercise any authority who did not revere and obey the holy see. In a bull he declared that he would not endure the least contempt of himself or of God, whose place he held on earth, but would punish every disobedience without delay, and without respect of persons; and would convince the whole world that he was determined to act as a sovereign. Richard, though the "lion-hearted," had to give way.

His successor, John, had no power over the pope. John having objected to an illegal appointment of an archbishop, Innocent III. laid the kingdom under an interdict. In despair, John proposed to turn Mahometan, but afterwards thought it best to yield to the pope. On May 15, 1213, he laid his crown at the feet of the pope's legate, and made oath that he surrendered the kingdom to Rome.

The indignant barons made John sign the "Magna Charta," but by hired troops he put down the barons, and Rome reigned supreme in England.

In the time of Henry III. the kingdom was still subject to Rome, but a wholesome check was given to Rome by one of the English bishops, now to be named.

Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln.

A few words must be said of bishop Grosseteste, elected A.D. 1235. He was learned above his compeers, and was really zealous to carry out reforms in the church. But he held the mendicant orders in too much favour, and was long deceived by them. At length he found that they needed to be reformed, and he obtained letters to carry this out. But when he set to work to reform them, they appealed to the pope. Innocent IV. was then at Lyons, and Grosseteste travelled there to see him. To his astonishment the case was decided against him. He said, "I relied on your letters and promises, but am entirely disappointed." "What is that to you," was the reply; "you have done your part, and we are disposed to favour them: is your eye evil because I am good?" We trust such profane use of scripture shocked the bishop: he replied in a low tone, "O money, how great is thy power, especially at the court of Rome!" It is a wonder such a scene did not open the eyes of the bishop to the apostasy of Rome.

He returned, but was further shocked by the pope's sending Italians, who knew not a word of English, to fill up vacancies. The pope also insisted that one of his nephews, an Italian youth, should be a canon of Lincoln. Grosseteste, to his honour, positively refused to obey, and wrote an epistle defending himself.

Innocent was indignant. "Who is this old dotard," he exclaimed, "who dares to judge my actions? By Peter and Paul, if I were not restrained by my generosity, I would make him an example and a spectacle to all mankind. Is not the king of England my vassal and my slave? and if I gave the word would he not throw him into prison, and load him with infamy and disgrace?"

The cardinals did all they could to appease the pope. They said that the bishop's epistle was true, and to persecute him would only bring the pope into contempt. He would not listen to their advice, but excommunicated the bishop, and nominated another in his place. As the cardinals had said, the acts of the pope were disregarded, and the bishop remained in the see till his death in 1253.

Innocent desired to take vengeance on the bones of the bishop, but one night, says a monk (Matthew, of Paris), the bishop appeared before him, drew near to the pontiff's bed, and struck him with his crosier, declaring that the Lord would not let him molest him. The pope uttered a cry and lay senseless on his bed. He never had a quiet night after, and when he expired the palace re-echoed with his fearful groans!

Another catholic writer said, "The holy bishop Robert departed this world which he never loved, and which was always to him a place of banishment. He was the open reprover both of my lord the pope and the king, and the censurer of the prelates, the corrector of the monks, the director of the priests, the instructor of the clergy . . . . and lastly he was the scourge of lazy and selfish Romans whom he heartily despised."

Though not clear in all his views of truth, it is to be hoped that he was a true Christian himself, and was able to point out to others the way of salvation. In many respects he was certainly a light shining in this our country during the Dark Ages.

By the above it will be seen, that the pope claimed supremacy over the kings of the earth. He said, "Is not the king of England my vassal and slave?" And in 1191 Celestine III. kicked the crown off the head of the emperor Henry VI. while kneeling, to shew that he could make or unmake an emperor. Alas, for any country to be under such masters! The ages must still have been dark, when such a claim could have been listened to for a moment.

Edward III.

In the reigns of Edward I. and Edward II. things continued much as before, concerning the relations of England with Rome. But under Edward III. a decided stand was made against the assumptions of Rome. He refused to make the annual payment to Rome. He also obtained a parliamentary declaration, that king John had no right to reduce the kingdom to a state of vassalage. He, also obtained a statute against the claims of the pope to appoint successors to vacancies, and outlawed those who should dare to appeal to Rome.

One, Richard Fitzralf, was appointed archbishop of Armagh. He was zealous in opposing the pretensions of the mendicant friars, who absolved people for gross sins in defiance of the clergy. The friars appealed to the pope, and he summoned Fitzralf to Rome, where he was condemned, and died in banishment.

Rome was not only in thorough darkness itself, but would not allow any light to appear elsewhere if it could prevent it.


Bradwardine was confessor to Edward III. He had studied at Oxford, and had gained the distinction of "the profound." He was chosen for the see of Canterbury, but Edward would not part with him till he was elected on a second vacancy, when he let him go. But he died after a few weeks. He has obtained a place in history principally by a large work he wrote, "Concerning the cause of God against Pelagius." The subject is treated in a most orderly manner — with "mathematical accuracy," says his biographer. The work is still in existence.


During the reign of Edward III. lived also the pious Wiclif who strongly opposed the assumptions of the pope, translated the Bible into English, and preached the gospel faithfully. A short account of this early reformer has been given elsewhere.*

{*"Lights and Shadows of the Reformation."}

We have thus seen how slavishly servile the kingdom of England became to Rome in the Dark Ages. And we have seen how Edward III. made a dead stand against the pope's assumptions. Wiclif also opposed the doctrines of Rome, and brought to light the word of God and the gospel of God's grace. All this paved the way and prepared the minds of men for the further revelations of truth that were proclaimed at the Reformation. Indeed, the publication of the word of God in the English language was a great means used in opening men's eyes to the evils of Rome, and to the glorious gospel contained in that message to man — a light indeed that destroyed the Dark Ages. If men now refuse the light, we know from God's word that a still greater darkness awaits them; those who will not now receive the truth, whereby they be saved, and who take pleasure in unrighteousness, will then believe a lie. May the Lord grant that every reader of these pages may take warning, receive Christ as his or her Saviour, and be eternally blessed.


In Scotland, the Anglo-Saxon Margaret, after her marriage with Malcolm III. (Canmore) sought to conform the church there to the church of England, which was under the control of Rome.

Monasteries and abbeys were established all over the country, and were endowed by this king, his successors, and by the nobles.

In the time of king Alexander I. (1107-24) Eadmer, a monk at Canterbury, was chosen bishop of St. Andrew's; and a hot dispute arose as to his consecration, the archbishops of Canterbury and York both claimed it as their prerogative to consecrate him. The Scotch king did not wish it to be from either. Eadmer naturally preferred Canterbury, but the king would not yield. "While I live," said he, "I will not permit the bishop of St. Andrew's to be subject to that see." Eadmer would not break with Canterbury, resigned his office, and returned to England. He afterwards wrote to the king, owning he was wrong. The archbishop of Canterbury also wrote demanding that Eadmer should be re-instated. The king listened to neither, but chose another bishop.

In 1178 a more serious dispute arose as to Rome's authority in Scotland. The See of St. Andrew's being again vacant, the chapter chose one "John, surnamed the Scot;" but the king (now William the Lion) chose his own chaplain, Hugh. John appealed to Rome, and pope Alexander III. annulled the appointment of Hugh, and his legate consecrated John. But the king banished John, and installed Hugh in the bishopric. The pope could not suffer this, and after much disputing, king William was excommunicated and the whole of Scotland was laid under an interdict.

At this juncture the pope died (1181), and William hastened to send ambassadors to the new pope Lucius III., who reversed all that his predecessor had done. John was made bishop of Dunkeld, and peace was restored. The next pope (Clement III.) was also favourable to William, and the church of Scotland was adopted as "the daughter of Rome, by special grace," and was to be subject to no other intermediate power.

In 1225 the Scottish clergy obtained permission from pope Honorius IV. to hold councils in Scotland to settle the affairs of the church. This was a great boon to the church of Scotland, and eventually they did not hesitate to pass canons against the edicts of the pope. Thus when the pope demanded that the Scottish clergy should give a tithe to the king of England, in aid of a proposed crusade, they firmly refused.

It was settled that the above council should meet yearly, the bishops in turn presiding, whose business it was to see that its canons were carried into effect. These canons continued in force until the era of the Reformation, though the bishops and clergy were still in full union with Rome, and for the most part were obedient to its edicts.

Chapter 14.

Councils of the Church.

During the Dark Ages there were many councils held in various places: some were called for party purposes, and are unworthy of the name. We will record only those called "General Councils" by the church of Rome.

V. Held at Constantinople in A.D. 553, against the errors of Origen.

VI. Held at Constantinople in 680, against the Monothelites.

VII. Second Nicene Council in 787, against image breakers.

VIII. Constantinople in 870, against the same, and various heresies.

The above have been already looked at in our Sketches.

IX. First Lateran, in 1123, to settle the right of investiture between the pope and Henry V.

X. Second Lateran, in 1139, called to settle the temporal matters of the ecclesiastics, and restore internal peace in the church. 1,000 fathers of the church attended.

XI.. Third Lateran, in 1179, called to consider the decrees of the antipopes. Popes were to be elected by the cardinals alone. A spiritual war was declared against schismatics and heretics, especially the Vaudois.

XII. Fourth Lateran, in 1215, against the Albigenses and any called heretics. A permanent Inquisition to be established against all suspected persons. The crusades. The dogmas of transubstantiation and auricular confession were established.

XIII. Lyons, in 1245. Called by Innocent IV. to depose the emperor Frederick II.

XIV. Lyons, in 1274. The Procession of the Holy Ghost discussed. The temporary union of eastern and western churches. The various orders of mendicants reduced to four.

XV. Vienne in Dauphine, in 1311-12, to suppress the order of the Knights Templars. This was really a civil matter. Philip king of France, finding the knights too powerful, sought by their suppression to gain both power and riches. The council ordered the suppression of the order, not in a way of justice, but by way of expediency, lest the king of France should be offended. As at other councils, reforms in the church were talked of, but deferred.

XVI. Pisa, in 1409. There were now two popes, Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. The council summoned both to attend, but neither answered. Thirty-eight charges were brought against them, and both were deposed; Alexander V. was elected pope.

XVII. Constance, in 1414-18. Called because there were now three popes. Alexander V. died the year of his election, supposed to have been poisoned, and John XIII. was elected; but the two former popes refused to be deposed — "Was not a pope above a council?" The council deposed John, confirmed the canons of Pisa, and elected Martin V. Wiclif was condemned, and Huss and Jerome sent to the stake.

XVIII. Basil, in 1431-43. Conferences with the Bohemians. Conflict with the pope, Eugenius IV. The power of a council declared to be above that of a pope. Eugenius was deposed, and Felix V. elected in 1439. Eugenius would not submit, and again there were two popes. Felix resigned in 1449. Reformation of the clergy.

XIX. Fifth Lateran, in 1512-17. The "pragmatic sanction" of France (as the edicts of the king were called against the usurpation of the pope in the choice of bishops), suppressed.

XX. Trent, in 1545-63, to condemn the Reformation. At this council was settled what was to be the future doctrine of the church of Rome; and its Catechism is now always appealed to as the standard authority of that church.

XXI. Rome, in 1869-70. Infallibility of the pope declared.

Chapter 15.

The Claims of Rome.

We deem it well, seeing that popery has held such a prominent place in our sketches of church history, and that it not only still exists in this country, but is greatly on the increase, to review, as briefly as possible, what its claims really are, and what those claims are based upon, that the Christian may not only refuse its pretensions, but be able to help any who may be deceived thereby.

We have already seen that it was in the Dark Ages the church of Rome attained its greatest power — it flourished in the darkness, and did all it could to hide the light of God's word, and refuse its circulation.

The popes not only claimed authority over all Christians in every part of the world, but they also maintained that all kings and emperors held their authority from them. We have seen how the popes treated Henry IV. and Henry VI. of Germany, and king John of England.

A step farther, the popes claimed to be owners of all newly-found lands. Alexander VI. granted to the Portuguese a right to certain countries, and to the Spanish other places in the West Indies and the Azores.

Then the popes claimed authority over heaven and hell. By means of pardons, dispensations, and indulgences, they professed to open heaven to any; and by their anathemas they doomed people to the punishment of hell. These are pretensions merely, they had not really this power.

Happily a great number of Christians — simply with the Bible in their hands and its truths engrafted within them — are able to shew that if God's word is true, the doctrines and pretensions of Rome must be altogether wrong and false.

As is well known, Rome lays its claims upon the assumptions: 1, That the apostle Peter was once bishop of Rome; 2, That a certain supremacy was given to Peter over the other apostles; 3, That this supremacy was handed down to the bishops of Rome who succeeded Peter, and from them onward to the present day by what is known as apostolic succession. These three things combined are declared to prove the church of Rome to be the true church, and consequently all others to be false.

We turn to scripture to see what light we can gather on these points; and first as to Peter being the bishop of Rome. On the day of Pentecost (say A.D. 29), "strangers of Rome" are named as being present at Jerusalem; and, as many were converted on that occasion, it may be that when these "strangers" returned to Rome, an assembly there may possibly have been the result. In whatever way the work commenced there we know that, when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, he stated that their faith had been "spoken of throughout the whole world." This would be about A.D. 58.

Thus, during the intervening thirty years the faith had greatly spread in the city so as to have been thus widely known. Rome being the capital of the empire, people would be constantly going and coming, which would largely aid, no doubt, in spreading abroad the faith of the Roman Christians.

Now it seems quite clear that Peter was not at Rome when Paul wrote to the saints there, or he would surely have mentioned his name; neither is there any mention of Peter when Paul arrived at Rome as a prisoner (about A.D. 62); and indeed scripture is quite silent as to Peter ever having been at Rome.

In Acts 12. Peter is at Jerusalem (about A.D. 41); and again in Acts 15 he is also there (about A.D. 50). Then we read of him visiting Antioch (Gal. 2:11), perhaps soon after the council at Jerusalem. All this is entirely opposed to the idea of his having been the founder of the church at Rome, and having resided there as bishop.

Besides he was emphatically apostle to the circumcision, as Paul was apostle to the Gentiles, which would not at all accord with his being settled over any particular church, especially over a Gentile church.

If we turn to the early writers of the church, all is confusion. Some say that Peter was bishop of Antioch. Others, that he was apostle at Rome and was appointed the first bishop there. Some, that he, in conjunction with Paul, founded the church at Rome. There is, however, nothing in the least certain, and in later times it became easy to assert that Peter had been the first bishop of Rome, especially when it was sought to build an immense fabric upon that assumption.

In reference to the second question, as to whether Peter had any supremacy over the other apostles, the supposition is based upon the notable passage in Matthew 16:18-19: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

From our point of view we need not have entered upon this second question, seeing that there is really nothing to link Peter with the church of Rome; and without this link the supremacy of Peter, if proved, would not give precedence to that church. Nevertheless, it may be well to endeavour to learn what the passage is intended to teach.

At the outset it may be admitted that Peter seems to have had a somewhat prominent place among the disciples, inasmuch as in the Gospels he is often mentioned first of the three, "Peter, James and John," though we cannot see that this gave him any supremacy over them.

In the above passage — as has often been pointed out — the words "this rock" may refer to Christ Himself, and not to Peter — indeed, this is the decided judgment of some who are able to refer to the original Greek. They say that it is proved that it does not refer to Peter by the word used for "rock," though this cannot be easily shewn to an English reader. It would be somewhat like this: "Thou art a stone: on this rock I will build my church."

{* The two words are Petros and Petra. The former is always the name of Peter except in John 1:42, where it is translated "a stone;" "Cephas, which is by interpretation a stone." The latter occurs sixteen times, and is always translated in the Authorised Version, rock.}

If we turn to the fathers we find great difference of judgment as to the passage, and nothing that throws any light upon it.

One thing is clear, that the foundation of the church cannot be a mere man, as Peter was: "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:11.) It is true that the saints are said to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and [New Testament] prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone. (Eph. 2:20.) But here, we see, there is no thought of the apostles being separated from the prophets, much less that any one of the apostles was appointed as the foundation.

Further, as to supremacy, we find that at Jerusalem, James — not Peter — had the chief place. At the council at Jerusalem, after Peter and others had spoken, James said, "My sentence is," etc., though they were able to say, "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us." (Acts 15:19, 28.)

Again, at Antioch we find that Paul withstood Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed; clearly proving that Peter then held no such place in the church as has been claimed for him by the church of Rome.

But it will be asked, What about the keys? Were not the keys of the kingdom given to Peter? They were; but this can have nothing to do with the building. People do not build with keys. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and many were admitted thereby. He also was the means used to bring in Cornelius. He himself said at the council at Jerusalem: "God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe." (Acts 15:7.) So that Peter was the instrument by which both Jews and Gentiles were first admitted into the kingdom.

Again, it will be urged that to Peter was given power to bind and loose, and whatsoever he bound or loosed on earth was bound or loosed in heaven. True; but the same power was also given to all the apostles; to them our Lord said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." (John 20:22-23.)

This surely refers to discipline, etc., and not to eternal forgiveness. They were not to take the place of God, who alone can forgive sins; but the apostles had power to bind sin upon an individual, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira.

And further, we learn from the Epistle to the Corinthians that the church has the power — and it is its duty — to put away a wicked person, thus binding sin upon the guilty one. And on his repentance, it has the power to "forgive" such a one (2 Cor. 2:7-10) and restore to communion. And when this is rightly done, the saints being led therein by the Holy Spirit, it is recognised by God in heaven.

In reference to the third point, very few words will suffice. There is no such thought in scripture as a succession of authority. Paul had the authority to delegate Timothy and Titus to appoint elders in every city; but there is not one word about those elders having authority to appoint others.

The apostle Paul, when speaking of his departure, commended the saints to God and to the word of his grace (Acts 20:32), without the least hint that there should be any one in authority, to whom they were to bow.

And this was surely good. Apostasy came in very soon after, and evil doctrines were held by those who claimed such supposed authority, and it was well that Christians could cast themselves on God, refer to the written word, and refuse obedience.

The accounts of the pontiffs also shew plainly that their boasted succession from the apostles is a complete fable. At times the chair was vacant for months or even years; at other times there were two or even three men attempting to reign at once — each one cursing the others, and declaring all their ordinations to be worthless and void. Even Roman Catholic historians are not able to say how the succession should be traced, and differ in their attempts to make out a list. For a time the popes were notoriously wicked men, raised to power through the influence of profligate women. Thus their own historian Baronius confesses that there was "nowhere any mention of clergy electing or afterwards consenting, all canons buried in silence, the decrees of pontiffs suffocated, ancient traditions and old customs in electing the sovereign pontiffs proscribed, and sacred rites and ancient customs utterly extinguished."* He further says that the clergy chosen by these popes were such men as themselves. At Rheims, Count Hugo made his son of five years old archbishop, and took the revenues; then, when some got the upper hand, and consecrated another, there was a fight over it, and councils about it, and two archbishops at the same time.

The same historian says, "Not only was Christ asleep in the ship [alluding to the narrative in the gospels], but there were no disciples who should wake Him up: they were all snoring. What presbyters and cardinal deacons can we suppose should be chosen by these monsters, when nothing is so implanted in nature as that each should beget what is like himself? Who can doubt that they consented in all things to those by whom they were chosen."*

{* Baronius, 912, viii., vii. }

Now remember that this is not a history by a Protestant writer, but by one of Rome's own accredited historians, who surely did not portray the facts darker than they really were. Where, then, in all this was there apostolic succession? In such a succession should we not expect to find at least a few of the true features of Christianity and godliness? whereas here there was not one.

Notice, too, that the historian says, like pope like presbyters, like deacons, etc., and there were no disciples to call upon Christ: all were snoring. Surely this is a vivid picture of the Dark Ages. Men have tried to deny the darkness of those ages because there were Bibles in existence here and there; but what effect could they have if locked up, the light being extinguished as far as these wicked men could do it? At a council held at Toulouse in 1229, the laity were forbidden to have the scriptures in the vulgar tongue, except a psalter, or the like; and it was also forbidden to translate the scriptures.

The doings of these popes were not enacted in some obscure corner of the earth, where there were few to see or to regard what was done. It was at Rome, the head and centre of the catholic religion; and though the whole civilised world was looking on, still these things were done with the most audacious and unblushing effrontery.

This claim, then, of apostolic succession — like all other claims of the Roman catholic church — crumbles into atoms as soon as it is fairly examined.

But notwithstanding all this and much more failure in that church, they still declare that it is that church of which it is said "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." But surely our Lord said this of the church He was going to build. We know from other parts of the word that what man builds may end in failure — be burned up like wood, hay, and stubble. (1 Cor. 3:11-15.) This is in contrast to what our Lord Himself builds, which will of course stand for ever, in spite of all Satan's endeavours to prevent it.

We will further briefly allude to the so-called proofs of the Roman Catholic church being the true church. They are mainly condensed into four, namely, Unity, Catholicity, Holiness, and Apostolicity.

As to unity of faith and practice, it is but a myth. These have been altered again and again to suit circumstances, popes condemning councils, and councils condemning popes; one pontiff again and again undoing what another had done.

As to Catholicity, by which is meant universality — this is also a mere fable. It is not and never was universal. There were always Christians who were separated from it, notably those forming the eastern church, as well as the Waldenses, the Syrian Christians at Malabar, British Christians, etc.

As to Holiness, it surely should be a mark of the true church, but one only blushes to think how barefaced must be the man who can put this forth as a proof that the church of Rome is that true church of God. One has only to read their own best historians (say upon the subject of the celibacy of the clergy) to see that it has been from time to time so scandalous in its unholiness, that many an emperor has had to point it out in unmeasured terms, and call for councils to put a stop to the wickedness.

Apostolicity we have already looked at in connection with their assumption of apostolic succession.

Thus the whole that Rome claims for itself vanishes into the merest pretension, when examined by scripture and credible history. It can only thrive by suppressing the word of God, and by lulling men's consciences by the cry of "The church, the church, believe the church, and that church will secure your salvation." To examine is not faith. You must take it as it is presented to you, though the name it adopts carries a lie on its face — the Roman Holy Catholic Church. As we have seen, it is not holy and it is not catholic. There are more professed Christians on the face of the earth who are not Roman catholics than those belonging to that church. Other parts of our history will also shew that on some points it is fatally heretical.

Chapter 16.


Such are our sketches of the History of the Church during the Dark Ages. Except the history of the Waldenses, the early British church with the missionaries from Iona, and the Syrian Christians of Malabar, there is little recorded but the history of the eastern church till the Saracens conquered Syria, Egypt, and Constantinople; together with the history of the church of Rome.

Toward the close of the Dark Ages, light was springing up in various places, and there became a large army of reformers and of martyrs before the Reformation had well taken root. In most instances those to whom God had given light did not seek to separate from the church of Rome, however clear they were as to its errors and corruptions. Some indeed — like the English bishop Grosseteste — fondly hoped that the church of Rome would reform itself. In their simplicity they thought that abuses had only to be pointed out and they would be renounced. Being Christians themselves they judged of others by themselves, and had often bitterly to learn that the church of Rome was mainly the fold of the unconverted, who had ends and aims quite foreign to the glory of God and the good of the saints.

It is well to be acquainted with the history of the church of Rome during the Dark Ages; it is highly important we should know its character, because of the increase of Romanism in England, and of that form of Ritualism which is already becoming a dangerous stepping-stone to Romanism. It is surprising that any true Christian can have anything to do with the church of Rome, seeing that its pretensions have been so often refuted, and its wickedness so openly exposed. But a fearful judgment awaits spiritual Babylon, as we read in the Revelation.

It is to be regretted that there are so few records during the Dark Ages of Christians who sought to live godly lives amidst the darkness, besides those we have named. We feel sure there were many such; for God does not leave Himself without a witness. History records them not; that called "the church" was what engaged attention, irrespective of the extent to which it had fallen from its high standing; but God's eye saw every God-fearing soul, and these will have a place in His book of remembrance.

It is comforting to turn to scripture and to know that, notwithstanding all the darkness, God knows those that are His, and there is a day coming when our Lord shall present to Himself "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." (Eph. 5:27.) May He hasten it in His own time; but let us all remember the reverse side of God's seal: "Let him that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

Nor must we forget the judgments that are to fall on apostate Christendom, whether Papal or Protestant, as found detailed in God's word, when Antichrist will be fully revealed and be received by those who will not bow to the Lord Jesus Christ nor receive His gospel. (See 2 Thess. 2 and Rev. 16 — xviii.) It is a solemn thing to associate evil in any way with the name of Christ, and many warnings are given in God's word against those who do so.

May our Sketches of the Church be used of God to shew that, amid the Dark Ages, He always had some who were witnesses for their absent Lord, who valued the Holy Scriptures, and were opposed to false doctrine and evil practices wherever found.

Also to shew how fearfully contrary to God persons may be, even living in sin, while at the same time making the highest professions of holiness, and claiming authority in the church. We would also earnestly desire that Christians, being led wholly and solely by the word of God as to what Christianity really is, may separate from evil, and find their place among those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22.)