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propagation of the faith. The Merovingian kings, and their successors, Charlemagne and the Othos, extended, by their laws and victories, the dominion of the cross. England produced the apostle of Germany; and the evangelic light was gradually diffused from the neighbourhood of the Rhine, to the nations of the Elbe, the Vistula, and the Baltic."1
Motivesof The different motives which influenced the theirfaith. reason, or the passions, of the barbarian converts, cannot easily be ascertained. They were often capricious and accidental: a dream, an omen, the report of a miracle, the example of some priest, or hero, the charms of a believing wife, and, above all, the fortunate event of a prayer, or vow, which, in a moment of danger, they had addressed to the God of the Christians.1 The early prejudices of education were insensibly erased by the habits of frequent and familiar society; the moral precepts of the gospel were protected by the extravagant virtues of the monks; and a spiritual theology was supported by the visible power of relics, and the pomp of religious worship. But the rational and ingenious mode of persuasion, which a Saxon bishop"1 suggested to a popular saint, might sometimes be employed by the missionaries, who laboured for the conversion of infidels. Admit, (says the sagacious disputant) whatever they are pleased to assert of the fabulous and carnal genealogy of their gods and goddesses, who are propagated from each other. From this principle deduce their imperfect nature and human infirmities, the assurance they were born, and the probability that they will die. At what time, by what means, from what cause, were the eldest of the gods or goddesses produced? Do they still continue, or have they ceased, to propagate? If they have ceased, summon your antagonist to declare the reason of this strange alteration. If they still continue, the number of gods must become infinite; and shall we not risk, by the indiscreet worship of some impotent deity, to excite the resentment of his jealous superior? The visible heavens and earth, the whole system of the universe, which may be conceived by the mind, is it created or eternal? If created, how, or where, could the gods themselves exist before the creation? If eternal, how could they assume the empire of an independent and pre-existing world? Urge these arguments with temper and moderation; insinuate, at seasonable intervals, the truth and beauty of the Christian revelation; and endeavour to make the unbelievers ashamed, without making them angry. This metaphysical reasoning, too refined perhaps for the barbarians of Germany, was fortified by the grosser weight of authority and popular consent. The advantage of temporal prosperity had deserted the Pagan cause, and passed over to the service of Christianity. The Romans themselves, the most powerful and enlightened nation of the globe, had renounced their ancient superstition; and, if the ruin of their empire seemed to accuse the efficacy of the new faith, the disgrace was already retrieved by the conversion of the victorious Goths. The valiant and fortunate barbarians, who subdued the provinces of the west, successively received, and reflected, the same edifying example. Before the age of Charlemagne, the Christian nations of Europe might exult in the exclusive possession of the temperate climates, of the fertile lands, which/ produced corn, wine, and oil; while the savage idolaters, and their helpless idols, were confined to the extremities of the earth, the dark and frozen regions of the north."
k Mosheim has slightly sketched the progress of Christianity in the North, from the fourth to the fourteenth century. The subject would afford materials for an ecclesiastical. and even philosophical, history.
1 To 8uch a cause has Socrates (lib. 7. c. 30.) ascribed the conversion of the Burgundians, whose Christian piety is celebrated by Orosius. (lib. 7. c. 19.)
• See ail original and curious epistle from Daniel, the first bishop of Winchester (Beda, Hist. Kccles. Anglorum, lib. 5. c. 18. p. 203. edit. Smith), to St. Boniface, who preached the gospel among the savages of 1 lcs.su and I huringia. Enistol'. Bonifacii, 67. in the Maxima Bibliotheca Patrum, tom. \3. p. 93. » • • •
"The sword of Charlemagne added weight to the argument; but when Daniel wrote this epistle (A. D. 723.) the Mahometans, who reigned from India to Spain, might lave retorted it against the Christians.
Effects of Christianity, which opened the gates of heatheircon- yen to the barbarians, introduced an important change in their moral and political condition. They received, at the same time, the use of letters, so essential to a religion whose doctrines are contained in a sacred book: and, while they studied the divine truth, their minds were insensibly enlarged by the distant view of history, of nature, of the arts, and of society. The version of the Scriptures into their native tongue, which had facilitated their conversion, must excite, among their clergy, some curiosity to read the original text, to understand the sacred liturgy of the church, and to examine, in the writings of the fathers, the chain of ecclesiastical tradition. These spiritual gifts were preserved in the Greek and Latin languages, which concealed the inestimable monuments of ancient learning. The immortal productions of Virgil, Cicero, and Livy, which were accessible to the Christian barbarians, maintained a silent intercourse between the reign of Augustus, and the times of Clovis and Charlemagne. The emulation of mankind was encouraged by the remembrance of a more perfect state; and the flame of science was secretly kept alive, to warm and enlighten the mature age of the western world. In the most corrupt state of Christianity, the barbarians might learn justice from the law, and mercy from the gospel; and if the knowledge of their duty was insufficient to guide their actions, or to regulate their passions, they were sometimes restrained by conscience, and frequently punished by remorse. But the direct authority of religion was less effectual, than the holy communion which united them with their Christian brethren in spiritual friendship. The influence of these sentiments contributed to secure their fidelity in the service, or the alliance of the Romans, to alleviate the horrors of war, to moderate the insolence of conquest, and to preserve, in the downfal of the empire, a perVol. iv. 2 E
mauent respect for the name and institutions of Rome. In the days of Paganism, the priests of Gaul and Germany reigned over the people, and controlled the jurisdiction of the magistrates; and the zealous proselytes transferred an equal, or more ample measure of devout obedience, to the pontiffs of the Christian faith. The sacred character of the bishops was supported by their temporal possessions; they obtained an honourable seat in the legislative assemblies of soldiers and freemen; and it was their interest, as well as their duty, to mollify, by peaceful counsels, the fierce spirit of the barbarians. The perpetual correspondence of the Latin clergy, the frequent pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem, and the growing authority of the popes, cemented the union of the Christian republic; and gradually produced the similar manners, and common jurisprudence, which have distinguished, from the rest of mankind, the independent, and even hostile, nations of modern Europe.
They ate But the operation of these causes was checked Selwau" an(i retarded by the unfortunate accident, which heresy, infused a deadly poison into the cup of salvation. Whatever might be the early sentiments of Ulphilus, his connexions with the empire and the church were formed during the reign of Arianism. The apostle of the Goths subscribed the creed of Rimini; professed with freedom, and perhaps with sincerity, that the Son was not equal, or con-substantial to the Father;" communicated these errors to the clergy and people; and infected the barbaric world with a heresy/ which the great Theodosius proscribed and ex
• The opinions of Ulphilus and the Goths inclined to Semi-Arianism, since they •would not say that the Son was a creature, though they held communion with those who maintained that heresy. Their apostle represented the whole controversy as a question of trifling moment, which had been raised by the passions of the clergy. Theodoret, Iib. 4. c. 37.
P The Arianism of the Goths has been imputed to the emperor Valens.— "Itaque justo Dei judicio ipsi eam vivum incenderunt, qui propter eam etiam mortui, vitio erroris arsuri sunt." Orosius, lib. 7. c. 33. p. 554. This cruel sentence is confirmed by Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. 6. p. 604—610.) who coolly ob
tinguished among the Romans. The temper and understanding of the proselytes were not adapted to metaphysical subtleties; but they strenuously maintained, what they had piously received, as the pure and genuine doctrines of Christianity. The advantage of preaching and expounding the Scriptures in the Teutonic language, promoted the apostolic labours of Ulphilas and his successors ; and they ordained a competent number of bishops and presbyters, for the instruction of the kindred tribes. The Ostrogoths, the Burgundians, the Suevi, and the Vandals, who had listened to the eloquence of the Latin clergy,q preferred the more intelligible lessons of their domestic teachers; and Arianism was adopted as the national faith of the warlike converts, who were seated on the ruins of the western empire. This irreconcilable difference of religion was a perpetual source of jealousy and hatred; and the reproach of barbarian was imbittered by the more odious epithet of heretic. The heroes of the north, who had submitted, with some reluctance, to believe that all their ancestors were in hell,r were astonished and exasperated to learn, that they themselves had only changed the mode of their eternal condemnation. Instead of the smooth applause, which Christian kings are accustomed to expect from their loyal prelates, the orthodox bishops and their clergy were in a state of opposition to the Arian courts; and their indiscreet opposition frequently became criminal, and might sometimes be dangerous." The pulpit, that safe and sacred organ of sedition, resounded
serves, '' un seul homme entraioa dans 1'enfer un nombre infini de Septentrionaux,' &c. Salvian- (de Guhem. Dei, lib. 5. p. 150, 151.) pities and excuses their involuntary error.
q Orosius affirms, in the year 416, (lib. 7. o. 41. p. 580.) that the churehes of Ohrist (of the Catholics) were filled with Huns, Suevi, Vandals, Bargundians.
'Radbod, king of the Frisons, was so much scandalized by this rash declaration of a missionary, that he drew back his foot after he had entered the baptismal funt. See Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. 9. p. 167.
• The Epistles of Sidonius, bishop of Clermont, under the Visigoths, and of Avjtus, bishop of Vienna, under the Burgnndians, explain, sometimes in dark hints, the general dispositions of the Catholics. The history of Clovis and Theodoric will suggest some particular facts.