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tional remnants of mere Pagan philosophy; for the long succession of the heathen schools had come to an end, and not only the theology but even the law and literature (such as it was) of the age was exclusively in clerical hands. Indeed it cannot surprise us that in that tempestuous scene all the arts and sciences should take shelter in monasteries and churches, the only harbours of refuge from the surrounding barbarism ; for, in proportion as the numbers and ferocity of the invaders increased, so the spiritual and intellectual energies of the world tended to flock towards those more enduring institutions which afforded, not only defence against the enemy, but the most effectual means of repelling the advancing darkness, and shortening the reign of brute force by extending the benefits of a civilizing religion.
If, again, we would adopt the second of the two modes of comparison we have spoken of, and contrast the tribes of earlier with those of later civilization, we have only to turn to the descriptions of the Saxon enemies of Charlemagne, of the inhospitable tribes among whom Boniface laboured and perished", or of the countless bands of marauders, whom the plains of Sclavonia or the islands and peninsulas of the North sent forth to the desolation of more favoured lands. It is by instituting such a parallel as this that we can most satisfactorily ascertain the results of those clerical exertions by which
i See the account (Vita S. Wunebaldi, cc. 12, 13. ap. Canis. Ant. Lect. ii. 129. ed. 1725) of the difficulties experienced at Heidenheim by Wunebald, brother of Boniface's coadjutor Willebald.
the perils of a recurrence to savage life were actually averted from the European lands. And although it is undeniably fitting that we give due weight to the numerous writers who have represented in such strong colours the clerical corruptions of a degenerate age, that we acknowledge the pernicious influences of that system of expiatory offerings and ceremonies by which the too complying or lucre-loving among the priesthood pacified the consciences of their rude disciples, and the avaricious spirit which directed so much of the plunder of suffering lands into the capacious coffers of the Church; yet the most zealous opponents of Romanizing tendencies can hardly assert these to have been the principal and primary results of the collision of idolatry and ignorance with true religion and learning. Indeed, had such been the case, the nations of Germany would have lost as much in moral rectitude as they gained in temporal power by their conquests; for not only was the Church the most active element of society when the Western Empire fell, but it was the only element which could be said to be animated by a living principle or by fixed motives of action. That great corporation continued to exercise all its former privileges when all political bodies had fallen into the last stage of hopeless inanition. Its members rose and ruled above all other dignitaries, alike in the Imperial Court and in the meanest municipality. In a word, it alone was swayed by the settled maxims of a wise tradition, it alone understood what it was to demand and obtain the subjection of the mind.
But the authority and immunities possessed by the priesthood under the Emperors were far below what they attained under the barbarian monarchs. The clergy under the Roman law had, it is true, possessed a full share of peculiar privileges, and as a corporate body they had enjoyed every favour which Imperial piety could suggest; but as individuals they were subject to the very saine obligations and penalties as the laity. But with the German invaders was, as is well known, introduced into civilized Europe a new principle of jurisprudence, which asserted the strict nationality of judicial enactments, so that even the scattered members of each barbarian horde, whether Lombards, Burgundians, or Visigoths, could claim the right of being judged and punished according to the statutes of their ancestors". This custom, which might at first sight have appeared perilous to the unity and stability of the clerical body, proved to be one of its main safeguards, and one of the principal sources of extended priestly influence. For the simple legislation of the invaders was utterly without means of supplying the numerous exigencies of hierarchical government, and the clergy, instead of being partitioned into as many separate churches as there were tribes in the European population, secured for themselves
1 The Life of St Leodger (c. 4. ap. Guizot, Coll. des Mém. ii. 331. Duchesne, Hist. Franc. Scrip. i. 602 c. Paris. 1636) mentions a demand made on King Childeric with reference to his three kingdoms, “ut uniuscujusque patriæ legem vel consuetudinem deberent sicut antiquitus judices conservare.”
undisturbed tranquillity under the provisions of the Roman law*. Thus it came to pass that both as ministers of holy things and as individuals they enjoyed privileges and legal protections to which even the noblest among their conquerors were strangers. Again and again do we find the Germanic legislators asserting broadly the general principle which placed under the statutes of the Theodosian code every member of the clerical body, whatever might be the language he spoke, or the tribe to which he belonged'. That this regulation was universally carried out, in spite of every inconvenience attending it, we may gather from a statute of the Lombard King Liutprand, by which he rules that, if a Lombard, the father of a family, enters the Church, he himself immediately becomes entitled to the privileges of a Roman, while his children continue to live under the enactments of their
* See the remarks of Savigny, Geschichte des Römischen Rechts im Mittelalter. Vol. i. pp. 115–118, and ii. 261.
In proof of the fact that the clergy enjoyed the privileges of the Theodosian Code, Eccard (on Leg. Ripuar. Iviji. 1. ap. Cancian. Leg. Barb. ii. 311) refers to Ludovicus Pius in ' Capit. Excerpt. ex Leg. Langob. c. 5,'“ut omnis ordo Ecclesiarum secundum Legem Romanam vivat: et sic inquirantur vel defendantur res ecclesiasticæ, ut emphiteuseos contractus, unde ecclesia damnum patiatur, non observetur, sed secundum Legem Romanam destruatur et pæna non solvatur. Eadem habentur in ‘Leg. Langob. 11. 1, § 37.' Vide Chartam editam a Durante Doria in ‘Historia familiæ Trinciæ, p. 90:''Anno ab incarnatione Domini nostri 1095, indictione tertia, mense Februarii ; nos Presbyter Acto q. Berardi et Presbyter Joannes q. Joannis, qui professi sumus ex natione nostra legem vivere Langobardorum, sed nunc pro honore sacerdotii nostri videmur vivere legem Romanorum &c.""
forefathers*. The Anglo-Saxon juridical system of our own island appears to have been the only one where the churchman and the layman were distinguished by no difference of legal privilegest, and the fact may be easily accounted for, if we remember how entirely the old Roman customs were swept away by the Saxon conquest, and how completely every trace of British Christianity disappeared from the greater portion of the island.
Here, then, we discover a means of increasing priestly power, which, before the various national codes had been incorporated into systematized local ones, must have made itself universally felt. If the sacerdotal order had been broadly distinguished from the civil powers during the Empire, it was so far more now; for morality, laws, and language, while they combined to keep it separate from the Germanic world around, all tended to draw more closely than ever the bond which united it to the inhabitants of the old municipalities. The laws, which distinguished it from the strangers, identified it in all its interests with the “disjecta membra” of Imperial greatness. The Episcopal seats, unaltered by the change of rulers, conferred upon their occupants all the outward pomp, and far more than the moral influence, of the Roman prefects; for we read of roving hordes having more than once turned away with superstitious self-denial from walls whose only defence lay in the sanctity of their priestly protectors. The annals of Greece have recorded
* Leges Langobardicæ, v. c. 100. ap. Cancian., t. 1. p. 138. + See Palgrave's English Commonwealth, vol. i. p. 164.