The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
Histoire de la Civilisation Française, Par Alfred Rambaud. — Chapitre IV. — Gaule Chrétienne
Histoire de la Civilisation Française, Par Alfred Rambaud.
Christianity was introduced into Gaul in the first century of the Christian era. According to a legend, which for the matter of that appears apocryphal, the great Apostle Saint Paul had appeared in the Roman Province. Christianity, which consoled the disinherited by shewing to them in the kingdom of heaven a compensation for present miseries, was from the very first in great favour among the Plebeian classes of the Empire. However, although the two essential dogmata of Druidism, the unity of God and the immortality of the Soul, reappear in the new religion, it spread slowly enough in Gaul. It was introduced first in the towns of the South, by some missionaries who came from Italy or from Asia. The lirst Gaulish church was that of Lyon, Christianity was soon persecuted by the Emperors. The reasons for this persecution are easy to comprehend.
I. If the religion of Christ had been a religion like the others, if it had limited itself to revealing a new god, the Romans would have given it the same reception as they gave to all the rest : they would have placed the statue of Jesus in their Pantheon, between Teutates and Mercury. But the God of the Christians was the "jealous God"; He came to destroy all the gods, and His followers saw in the Ancient Divinities nothing but vain idols or wicked demons. Christian zeal considered all the other worships as an outrage upon the majesty of the only God. It felt a holy wrath against their temples and their statues. It considered it an honour sometimes like Polyeuctes to profane and overturn them.
II. The Christian denied the divinity of the Emperor, which was the base of the whole political system : he did not believe in the Eternity of the Capitol, nor in the Goddess of Victory; he refused to take part in the ceremonies consecrated by the laws of the State and to take on the altars the oath imposed on the officials, the soldiers, and the citizens; he abstained from meat consecrated by the priests, avoided the festivals, the theatres, the circus, and regarded the world with pity and disgust. Certain Christians in their hatred of the auspices and other practices which consecrated the standards even refused Military Service. Others asked themselves if it was not a sin to pay imposts to an idolatrous Emperor.
III. Finally as they formed "Churches" or assemblies closed to the profane, the Christians fell under the stroke of the laws which forbad page iv secret associations. You see there why not only the bad Emperors like Nero and Domitian, but even the best like Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, and Au relian, persecuted them. It is especially in the second and third centuries that the persecutions raged. This was the heroic age of Gaulish Christianity. Then, tortured in the prisons, delivered to the beasts in the circus, the "Athletes of Christ," these Martyrs who bore witness to Him, rose to the rank of Saints. The Gaulish cities had in them celestial Patrons, as in the great Roman lords they had their terrestrial patrons. Whole nations formed their clientèles. The most ancient churches of our contry are consecrated to them. Such were, among a host of others, Pothinus, first bishop, and Irenæus, second bishop of Lyon; Symphorian, who was martyred at Autun; Trophime, at Arles; Benignus, at Dijon; Satuninus or Serninus, at Toulouse; Martial, at Limoges; Victor, at Marseille; Ferréol and Ferjeux, beheaded at Besançon; Quentin, who gave his name to the capital of the Vermandois; Denys and his companions, executed near to Paris, on the Mount of the Martyrs which we have made Montmartre; Crispinus and Crispinianus, two noble Romans who became shoemakers in order to propagate more surely the Faith among the artisans, and who, executed at Soissons, became Saints Crispin and Crispinian. In spite of the persecutions a moment arrived when the Christians attained such numbers that Constantine, Emperor among the Gauls, thought it useful to support himself on them. He vanquished Maximus, Emperor in Italy, at the Milvian Bridge near to Rome. This battle in which he hoisted a flag surmounted by the Cross, the Labarvm, made sure the triumph of the Christians (312).
Triumph of Christianity over Paganism. Instead of proscribed the Christian religion soon became the official religion. In its turn it proscribed the gods and the rites of Rome. At Rome the Emperor Gratian had the statue of Victory taken away from the Senate and renounced the title of Sovran Pontiff of the ancient religion. The Christian Firmicus excited the emperors to destroy the temples and the altars of the gods. "Take away, pillage without fear the ornaments of the temples; melt these gods and make money of them; collect all the goods of the pontiffs into your estate; after the overthrow of the temples you will be more agreeable to God." They did not content themselves with words. Everywhere the hammer smote upon the temples and the statues, the hatchet upon the sacred trees. About 360, Saint Martin, formerly a soldier and later on Bishop of Tours, conducted these undertakings energetically: under his blows numerous monuments perished in Poitou, Touraine, and Burgundy. In 400, Saint Exupère overset in the neighburhood of Bayeux the idol of Belen, placed upon Mont Phoenus. At Autun, Saint Sulpice put an end to the worship of Cybele. In the towns the rites of pagnism disappeared, rapidly enough; they were kept up much longer in the heart of the contry. In fact the first Christian Societies were formed in the towns; the Church was installed in the place where the Curia had been. Thence its moral influence strove, as the administrative influence of the Curia had done, to radiate into the contry; but as the first bishops and the first presbyters went but little out of the town, the influence exercised over the villages was feeble. It was not possible in the first centuries page v to think of establishing temples there or pastors at a permanent post. From time to time some zealous Christian, some ardent Missionary set out from the city and traversed the contry and the "villæ" of the nobles, preaching to the farmers, and to the slaves, "the good newsexhorting them to break their idols; but this mission-work left but a feeble trace upon the hard heads of the contry-folk. You see there from the word Paganus or peasant the words Pagan and Paganism have been formed. It was not everything to have chased away the great gods of Olympus and abolished the official sacrifices. A Paganism more tenacious than that was that which was kept up in the rural superstitions, in the most ordinary usages of life and in the very expressions of the language. Saint Germain, before the reform of his morals, scandalized the Christians, his co-religionists, by suspending on a great pear tree which was in the middle of Auxerre, the heads of the deer which he had killed in the chase. The council of Auxerre, in 586, stated that the Peasants continued to venerate bushes, trees, stones, fountains, and lakes. In vain during the eighth century did the councils fulminate against the practices of idolatry. The Church found a method of overcoming the difficulty; she placed statues of our Lady in the hollows of the great oaks of the Druids; she planted crosses on the rocks, on the heights consecrated to the gods; she blessed the sacred lakes and the springs which healed and gave them the names of the Saints, In the Haute-Saône, there was the fountain of Saint Adrian which continued to attract pilgrims. Lake Helenus, in the Lozère, became the lake of Saint Andéol. The Mountains dedicated to Belen, to Apollo, to the divers god of the sun, were sanctified by Saint George and Saint Michael, who like them had overcome dragons. The temples of Venus or Minerva, of Bélisana or Ardiura, were purified by the invocation of the Mother of God. Everywhere the Saints took the place of the gods. The pagan festivals were replaced by the Christian Festivals which coud be celebrated at the same date. Instead of the "judgement of the dead," there was All Saints day and All Souls. In the winter solstice they celebrated the feast of Noel, and the Yule log is a souvenir of the fires lighted in honour of the sun-god. Instead of the Februa the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin was celebrated. The clay on which they performed the lottery of the kings* became the fête of the Magi-Kings. The fires in honour of Belen will be those of Saint John. Saint Mamert, in the fifth century, founds the Rogations; Saint Medard, in the sixth crowns the Rose-Queens : these were so many Gaulish or Roman usages which became Christian. But Paganism resists on other points : for centuries the Councils struggled in vain against the feast of the New Years gifts on the first of January, which they caused to be preceded by a fast of three days, and against the follies of the Carnival, which as they were to be followed by the Lent will be none the less extravagant for that reason. The Church succeeded better in its campaign against Cremation, a practice which was connected with the worship of fire. Little by little the Christians had begun to distinguish themselves from page vi the Pagans, by adopting Inhumation, which was the only mode of sepulture in use among the Jews. Cremation which, even among the pagans had been practised concurrently with Inhumation, disappeared with the Roman Paganism, and it will not be the Franks who will re-establish it for it is precisely their custom to bury their dead, The Church did not succeed in changing the Pagan Names of the Months and Days. She obtained only as Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustin had already demanded that the "day of the sun" should become the "day of the Lord" that is to say "the Lords day". The edicts of Constantine, the law of the Visigoths, the Council of Orléans in 538, forbid its profanation by any servile work. But almost directly there was need of reaction against another usage, for certain Gauls inspired with some old superstition, believed that on this day to take the cattle to the fields, even to prepare their food, were things to bring ill luck. As soon as it is sought to hallow the Lords day it is also necessary to condemn those who stand idle on the day of Jupiter that is to say on Thursday : the council of Narbonne in 589 ordains that work be done on that day as on the others. After the Gaulish Druids, after the Roman Flamens, there still remains a world of sorcerers, magicians, soothsayers, who pretend to divine the future by dreams, rods, the flight of birds, basins filled with water, &c. The Church proscribes all these practices which seem to her diabolic; but superstition dies hard, and it is the very books of the Church herself that it is going to utilise. People consult their destiny by opening the Bible or the Gospel at hazard and by meditating on the first verse which presents itself to their eyes. This is what is called "the Lots of the Saints." These lots the Church also proscribes and the Council of Vannes in 465 dismisses the Clergy who lend their services to these follies.
Struggle against the Heresies. Since the outset the Church had not only to fight against idolatry; she had to convoke the first Councils against the "Heresies" which menaced her unity : against that of Arius, who denied the Divinity of Jesus; against that of the "Perfect," who rejected all the Sacraments, even Baptism; against that of Pelagius, a Monk of Great Britain, who sustained on the free will of man doctrines which seemed incompatible with the dogma of original sin; against that of the "Manicæans," who admitted the existence of two Gods, equal and both eternal, the good and the evil principle; against that of the "Gnostics," who in the Trinity would only see the Holy Spirit, and abandoned themselves to their free inspiration. At that time to the Martyr-Bishops of the first centuries succeeded the Doctor-Bishops of the fourth and fifth centuries, who gained their saint-ship by striving against the heresies by their word and by their writings. Christian Gaul prided itself on the great names of Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers; Saint Germain, Bishop of Auxerre; Saint Ambrose, a very great lord, son of the prefect of the Gauls, and Bishop of Milan. In 385, at the instance of two Spanish Bishops and at the order of the usurper, Maximus, the Gnostic Priscilian and several of his companions were beheaded, in spite of the protests of Saint Martin. This is the lirst execution of heretics which our history presents.
Organization of the Church. The Church fixed its dogmata at the Council of Nikæa in 325, and promulged the Symbol of the page vii Apostles. She fixed at the same time her organization. She had only for the matter of that to take for a model the Roman organization and to enter into its outlines. Each of the Gaulish cities formed a Diocese, or "administration," having at its head a Bishop; the cities of one same province formed a Metropole, at the head of which the "Metropolitan" Bishop had his place, taking, in the eighth century, the title of "Archbishop." There were, then, in Gaul seventeen Metropoles and seventeen Metropolitans, as there had been seventeen Provinces and seventeen Governors : at Mayence, Cologne, Trèves, Rheims, for old Belgium; at Lyon, Sens, Rouen, Tours, Bourges, Bordeaux, Besançon, for old Celtica; at Eauze, tor old Aquitane; at Narbonne, Aix, Arles, Vienne, Moutiers de Taran taise, for old Roman Provence. These ecclesiastical divisions survived the Roman administrative divisions, conserved the same limits and lasted on with such tenacity that Paris, until 1622, had only a Bishop, and remained dependent on the Metropole of Sens, Just as above the seventeen Governors there was elevated the Prefect of the Gauls, the Church had a Primate of the Gauls, and the cities of Arles, Vienne, and Lyon, which had been by turns the residence of the Prefect, disputed also among themselves for the Primatial See. The Emperor is not forgotten in the organization of the Church : just as he had been the Sovran Pontiff of the Pagan religion, he remained the Political Chief of the Christian Church. He was voluntarily called The "Bishop of the External Affairs" that is to say of temporal affairs. The successors of Constantine even tried to interfere with dogma and some Emperors fell into heresy and favoured the Arians. But the Church, by its very essence, escaped a too direct domination on the part of the Chief of the State; submitting to his authority for the "external things," she refused him all interference in the domain of the Faith and the Conscience. The greatest intellectual and social progress which she has realised in the world is precisely the Separation of the Temporal and the Spiritual Power, for their conjunction is the very essence of despotism.
The Bishops, The Hierarchy. Primitively the Bishop and the Presbyters were less distinguished than now from the simple Laity. The Greek word Episcopos, that is to say Bishop signifies a superintendent, an inspector. The Greek word Presbyteros that is to say Presbyter, signifies old man, a senior. The Bishop and the presbyters were the first of the faithful, charged with instructing them, with guiding them and giving them a good example. Marriage was not forbidden to all the Clergy. In the fourth century, Saint Hilary, when he was nominated Bishop of Poitiers, was married : he separated himself from his wife. From the first times a sacred Character, an indelible mark, tended to separate the Clergy from the Laity :—The Unction by the Holy Chrism, the Sacrament of Ordination. A Sacerdotal Order was reconstituted in Gaul. When the Christian Pastors were rare and the faithful but few in number, there was scarcely more than one Church for the whole of a city, and it was over this that the Bishop presided. Since the fourth century certain towns have had several Churches; in the contry even Oratories began to be built, where the Presbyters of the town came sometimes to celebrate the Offices : but it is not till much later that veritable Churches were founded page viii there. These Churches became then the centre of a subdivision of the Diocese : the Parish. The most important took the name of "Plebeian," and their titular Priest the same name. On these Churches depended the secondary Churches, called "Succursales." Then, about the twelfth century, the Presbyters of the Plebeian Churches and those of the Succursales took without distinction the name of Curates, because they had the care (cura) of Souls. The title of "Cathedral" Church has always been reserved for that where the Chair (Cathedra) of a Bishop is set up. Originally the Bishops had no superior on earth; they were subject only to Jesus Christ; they often bore the title of Sovran Pontiffs; the Bishop of Rome only claimed over the others a simple Primacy of honour. Until the fifth century the Bishop was the "Presbyter par excellence"; he alone had the plenitude of the Sacer-dotium; he only accorded to his Presbyters the right to preach, to instruct the people of his diocese, to prepare them for the reception of the Sacraments which he alone coud administer. Then the number of Christians becoming more and more numerous he authorised them to hear confessions, to baptize, to distribute the Eucharist, but only with Hosts consecrated by him. In time they obtained the right to celebrate the Mass and to administer all the Sacraments, except Confirmation, Ordination, and Extreme Unction; later on at last they coud confer even the Extreme Unction; but the Holy Chrism of which they made use in this circumstance had to come from the Bishop. The Bishop always preserved his authority over them, watching so that they coud not quit their post, controlling their conduct. At Easter, at Christmas, at Pentecost, it was at the Bishops Church only that the faithful were bound to hear Mass. The distinction, since the origin of Gaulish Christianity is plainly established between the Clergy or Churchmen, and the Laity or ordinary believers. The Clergy rose to the Full Orders or remained in Minor Orders. Full Orders confer an indelible character, an irrevocable engagement : They are the Presbyterate, the Diaconate, and later on the Subdiaconate. Minor Orders necessitate also the Tonsure : but those who are invested with them can afterwards renounce the clerical life : such are the Acolyth, replaced afterwards by the Subdeacon, the Lector, the Exorcist who delivers the possessed, the Porter. Until the fifth century when the Councils began to prohibit this usage, there were Deaconesses, whom the Bishop consecrated by the imposition of his hands and who fulfilled an office analogous to that of the Deacons: they coud touch the sacred vessels. From the fifth century onwards appeared the Canons, Presbyters who live around the Bishop, who are bound down to a rule called canon (whence the word canonical and canonic). Later, after the reform of which Chrodegand, Bishop of Metz, in 760 took the initiative in his diocese, they formed the Chapter of the Cathedral Church.
First Monasteries. Finally by the side of this Clergy which" is called Secular because it lives in the ordinary world or "Sæculum, a Regular Clergy begins to be established, subject to a "Regula or rule, devoting themselves entirely to prayer, to study, to manual work, preserving in their first fervour the traditions of Christian renunciation. The first Monasteries only obey the rule of their house and have no Common rule : they are especially associations of Laymen page ix who have retired from the world. Saint Martin founded those of Ligugé near to Poitiers, and of Marmoutiers, on the Loire; Saint Honorat founded that of Lerins in an iland of Provence (Ile Saint Honorat). It was from Ligugé and from Lerins that these two Saints afterwards went forth to become Bishops, the one of Tours, the other of Arles. The monastery of Saint Victor founded about the same epoch by Cassian near Marseille was not less illustrious.
Liberty in the Church : Elections, Assemblies. The Church has not only the power which gives organization; she has also that which gives liberty. The Elective Principle, banished from the Roman State, reappears in the Christian Church. This Bishop, already so powerful, is elected by the concourse of the three orders of the City : the Clergy, the Curia, the People. Often the candidates were numerous, the canvassings ardent. Some essayed to gain the electors by promises and would willingly have put the Episcopal Throne up to public auction : the others by their friends had their merits vaunted and those of their rivals defamed; some went even so far as to hire armed bands to intimidate the electors. The candidate was called on to give a sort of profession of faith; a scrutiny of his past conduct was made, and if he had held any public office, especially a financial one, he had to swear that he had not derived from his charge an illicit profit, that he had sent in his accounts, that his administration had been approved. Sometimes the Election took place by Ballot, sometimes also by Acclamation; when the merit of the candidate appeared above comparison. In the life of Saint Germain, one sees that he had been designated in advance by his predecessor Saint Amator for the see of Auxerre. Also "all the Clergy, the Nobility, the People of the towns and that of the contry proved to be united in one same sentiment. He alone made resistance and had even brought some people to prevent his election : but these also declared themselves in favour of him." Saint Martin was elected, at the moment when no one expected it by a sudden reaction of the electoral body, enlightened suddenly by the reading of a verse of the Psalter. With the Elective Principle, the Church had adopted that of Public Discussion. It was in the solemn assemblies of her Councils after a debate between all parties that she defined her dogmata and fixed her constitution. She had her Œcumenical Councils, at which the Bishops to the whole of Christendom assisted, and her Provincial Councils where the Bishops of a district met together. Those Provincial States which Honorius had vainly tried to institute in the Empire, the Church had founded within herself.
|1.||The voluntary oblations of the people some weekly, others monthly. The first consisted in the Bread and Wine which the Faithful had to bring who took part in the Eucharist. The second were the Gifts in Money or in Kind which the Richest of the Faithful poured every Month into the Treasury of the Church, and which were in part applied to the relief of the Poor in part distributed among the Clergy;|
|2.||The Firstfruits of the Fruits of the Earth which served also for the support of the Clergy;|
|3.||The Tithes, offerings at first voluntary and spontaneous on the part page x of the Faithful, rendered obligatory in the fifth century by the second Council of Mâcon. It was otherwise only an obligation of the conscience; no Christian Emperor sanctioned it by a law;|
|4.||The Revenues of the Lands and other Properties of the Churches. These especially in the time of the persecutions possessed little Landed Property: the Treasury seized it. With the Period of Peace the Ecclesiastical Domains tended to increase; the Emperor Maximin in 313, had the Lands seized by the Treasury restaured to them. Constantine assigned to the Church the goods of the Confessors and Martyrs who died without kin. Theodosius II. and Valentinian III. conceded to the Churches and to the Monasteries the goods of the Clergy or Monks who died without heirs. Over and over again the State abandoned to them the Property Personal or Real which had formed the endowment of the Pagan Temples;|
|5.||The Christian Emperors constituted a sort of Budget of Public Worship : Constantine accorded to the needy members of the Clergy Supplies or Pensions; he enjoined the Governors to reserve from the revenues of their Province a certain sum for the maintenance of the Clergy. For all that the Roman Imperial epoch is not that of the great riches of the Church; the Christian Emperors, even in their liberalities maintain a greater reserve than the Barbarian Kings will do. It is visible that they fear to constitute a great Ecclesiastical Estate, exempt from taxes, and so to diminish the revenues of the State. They even take measures to limit the Legacies or the Gifts to which the piety of the Faithful might have led them, to the detriment of their families or ot the State.|
Privileges of the Church. The Christian Emperors shewed themselves more liberal in the matter of Privileges than in the matter of Endowments. They accorded to the Church some precious immunities. A Law of Theodosius II, conferred upon the Christian Sanctuaries the Right of Asylum which certain pagan temples had enjoyed. In order that the Clergy should not be deterred from the worship due to the Divinity, Constantine had given them Personal Immunity, that is to say had set them free from Municipal Honours, in other words from Curial Servitude, His successors, Constance, Valentinian, Theodosius, had set them free from Sordid Charges, "Munera Sordida," such as compulsory Labour on the Roads and Bridges, carting &c. : Theodosius II. set them free not only from Military Service, but from the Tax in money which was its Ransom. Constantine gave them besides Real Immunity that is to say that he exempted from All Taxes the Ecclesiastical Properties which provided for the maintenance of the Clergy; but when the Ecclesiastical Properties commenced to extend, this immunity so burdensome to the Treasury underwent some Restrictions. His son Constance dispensed the inferior Clergy who made their living by some industry from the Commercial Taxes. The most important of the privileges conceded to the Church are the Judicial Privileges. Constantine forbad the Imperial Judges from recognising the Crimes committed by the Clergy against the Faith and Morals : the Bishop was the only competent Judge. "you are," said he to the Bishops, "gods constituted by the true God; go and discuss your Canons among you, for it is not suitable that we should page xi judge gods." In Civil Causes, if there was a suit between two Clerks the Bishop was still competent. Now the number of those who accepted the Tonsure, without intending the clerical life, merely to profit by the advantages of clergydom, became day by day more considerable. The Judicial practice of the Bishop increased proportionately. A good many of the Laity in their suits against the Clergy, preferred from religious scruples to take the Bishop for umpire instead of dragging them before the tribunals. Even in the Lawsuits between one another the Laity remembered the words of Saint Paul; "when any of you has a difference with another does he dare to appeal for trial before the infidels rather than before the Saints?" The believers therefore had recourse to the Arbitration of the Bishop rather than appear before the Magistrates. The Bishop then was for Christian Society a Justice of the Peace in the proper sense of the word. Then the Prelates took upon themselves the suits concerning Widows, Orphans, the Poor, who formed the natural Clients of the Church. They intervened in the nomination of Tutors and Guardians, kept their Certificates in their Church and were as it were the Notaries of the Community. All cases concerning the Christian Conscience, about Marriages, Divorces, Wills, went to them as a matter of course.
The Church Tends to Take the Place of the Roman State. In proportion as the Roman State declines, the Christian Church developes its means of action. That which makes the feebleness of the former makes the strength of the latter, Some Historians have thought that the legal authority ot the Bishop in the City outside his moral authority as Pastor of Souls came from the Citizens conferring upon him by Election the charge of "Defender of the City," instituted by Valentinian. The people in defiance of the Aristocracy of the City, and the Curial Class, would have given their suffrages to the Bishop, generally a stranger to the rivalries of Class and the intrigues of Cliques. As Defender of the City, the Bishop would have become an official personage, a Magistrate of the State. Again another origin is assigned to the Legal Authority of the Bishop : in the Pagan epoch there was in almost every City a Flamen. The Christian Bishop would have inherited his position. Like him he sits in the Curia : soon his counsels there become preponderant for all tlie questions of Justice, Taxes, and Public Works, that is to say in all those which interested the Poor, He even takes Precedence of the Defender of the City when this Official stands by his side. The Bishop of course judged according to the Roman Law; but there already began to be formed together with the decisions of the Councils a Law especially Ecclesiastic, called the "Law Canonical" or "Canon Law," which augmented later on by the Decisions of the Popes, was bound to take a great development in the Middle Age. A first collection of Canon Law was about 530 drawn up in Latin by a certain Dionysius the Little. Thus the Christian Church covered Gaul and the Empire with the network of its Administration. In the Provinces she had her Metropolitans; in the Cities her Bishops; in the Pagi, or "Pays," she began to have her Curates. Her Hierarchy from the Porter of the Church to the Primate of the Gauls was as strongly constituted as the sacred Imperial Hierarchy. She had her Provincial States, her Estates General. At the same time, thanks to page xii the principle of Elections, she recruited herself among the Masses She drew thence a Popularity and a Force which were lacking to the lay administration. Her Bishops sometimes like Saint Martin or Saint Loup, brought from the depth of the Monasteries the prestige of a superhuman virtue; sometimes like Saint Hilary or Sidonius Apellinaris borrowed from the celebrity of their Family an Aristocratic Eclat which was not without its effect upon the people. The Bishops alone had full liberty for speaking and writing : they are almost the only Orators and the only Men of Letters at the End of the Empire. The Bishop is the first Civil Magistrate of his City, at the same time that he is its Spiritual Pastor. The tribunals of the Church count as many people amenable to them as those of the Prince; her Treasury is filled with the volantary Gifts of the Faithful, while the Public Treasury in spite of the zeal of the exactors remains empty. In a word the Church, at the end ol the fourth century is a State provided with all the essential Organs of a State, constituted at the expense of the Roman State but otherwise as healthy and full of life as the Empire. Let the Empire of Rome fall, the Christian Church will remain upright. She will fill the Interregnum produced by the Invasions. In the panic caused by the Barbarians, the Bishops contrived to take the place abandoned by the Officials in their flight. They will not be embarrassed either how to maintain order it the anarchy or how to employ the resources of diplomacy in face of the invaders. If need be to repulse them they will lead the people of their Diocese to the combat.
Effect of the Church Upon the Barbarians. The grand rôle of the Bishops begins when the invasions begin. Saint Didier dies while trying to protect the inhabitants of Langres against the King of the Vandals; Saint Loup obtains Attilas consent to spare Troyes; Saint Aignan conducts against him the defense of Orleans, When, the Burgundians establish themselves in the Valley of the Rhône, the Visigoths in the basin of the Garonne, the Franks on the borders of the Escaut, it is the interest of the Catholic Bishops which decides the future of Gaul. Their choice is soon made between the conquerors. The Burgundians and the Visigoths are more powerful than the Franks; they are more civilised; they have over them the advantage of being Christians yes but they are heretical Christians, Arians. That which makes the fortune of the Franks is that they are still Pagans and that by consequence they can be gained to Catholicism. A watchword runs through all Gaul : an invisible hand takes Clovis the pagan by the hand and smooths all obstacles before his path. The Bishops, Chiefs of the Catholic Populations, Official Defenders and Plenipotentiaries of the Gaulish Cities, prepare the coming of that horde of pillagers which will become The most Christian Nation of the Franks. After the victory of Clovis over the last Roman Soldiers (486) Saint Remy opens up a negotiation with him under pretext of reclaiming a precious vase. He gets married to the only Catholic Princess in Gaul (493). after his Victory over the Alamans (496) they baptize him. Look what hands threaten beforehand the powerful realms of the Burgundians and the Visigoths. Saint Avitus, Bishop of Vienne, writes to the Neophyte King:—"When you fight we conquer." The Bishops of Arles and of Langres summon him against the Burgundians. Those of Rodez and page xiii Tours summon him against the Visigoths; he of Bearn raises the Mountaineers of his diocese upon the rear of the Heretical Army and dies with his weapons in his hand; he of Toulouse opens to the Franks the Gates of his Episcopal town and accepts the spoils of the Arian Churches. The Relics of Saint Martin of Tours have declared for Clovis; from the Cathedral of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, a mysterious glimmer has illuminated his march; a White Roe has pointed out to him the Ford of the Vienne. He marches to his Victory surrounded by a train of Miracles. When the two Heretical Kingdoms have succumbed (500 and 507), behold in the north-west of Gaul, the powerful Armorican Confederation which has resisted all the efforts of the barbarian hordes, submits to Clovis almost without combat. It was then certainly as Chief of the Catholic Party that Clovis who only commanded some thousands of men was able to found in Gaul the First Kingdom of the Francs. It was he who fought, but it was the Bishops who conquered.
Works to Consult : Guizot, "Hist : dela Civilisation en Europe" and "Hist :de la Civilisation en France," vol : I. Renan, "Marcus Aurelius." Aubé, "Les Persecutions de l'Eglise" and "Les Chretiens dans l'Empire Romain." Montalembert, Hist : des Moines d'Occident. Beugnot, Hist : de la Destruction du Paganisme en Occident. Amédeé Thierry, "Récite de l'Hist : Romaine au 5e siècle" (Sidoine Apollinaire). Lecoy de la Marche, "Saint Martin." Martigny, "Dictionnaire des Antiquités Chrétiennes. Alzog, "Hist: de l'Eglise. De Broglie, "L'Eglise et l'Empire Romain au 9e Siècle."
Christianity Tis in Charity.
At the Press of Francis Jonathan Ashelford in the parish of Saint Helier in the Ale of Persen on the Feast of Saint Augustin, Bishop, in the near of our Ford eighteen hundred and eighty six.page break
This translation made by Edward Spencer Dodgson, formerly Commensal of the Two Saint Mary Winton Colleges, in The Hôtel Dieu, at Aix-en-Provence, in January, 1886, from the First Edition printed in Paris, 1885, was written out by him there on the 26th of that month.
The consent of the Author to its publication was given in the following words "Monsieur je donne bien volontiers mon consentement à la traduction et à la publication du chapitre de ma Civilisation Française que vous avez bien voulu choisir. Agréez, je vous prit, mes meilleurs sentiments. Alfred Rambaud, Professeur à la Faculté des Lettres de Paris, Conseiller Général du Doubs, Paris, 8 Fev: 1886."
The Translator believes that his divergence from modern custom in the spelling of certain English words will be sanctioned by those readers who know the history of the language of King Alfred and Geoffrey Chaucer, of John Ruskin and Cardinal Newman. The first syllable of "contry" "is pronounced to rime not with those of "county" or "foundry," but with those of" "honey" and "money." The omission of the intruding and silent "l" of "could" does not alter its pronunciation. The restauration of the old spelling of "restore" has the advantage of distinguishing it from the word meaning "to store again."