Epistles of Gregory VII.; Baronius’s Annals; Dupin’s Ecclesiastical history; Voigt, in his Hildebrand als Gregory VII.; Guizot’s Lectures on Civilization; Sir James Stephens’s article on Hildebrand, in Edinburgh Review; Dugdale’s Mosasticon; Hallam’s Middle Ages; Digby’s Ages of Faith; Jaffe’s Regesta Pontificum Romanorum; Mignet’s series of articles on La Lutte des Papes contre les Empereurs d’Allemagne; M. Villemain’s Histoire de Gregoire VII.; Bowden on the life and Times of Hildebrand; Milman’s Latin Christianity; Watterich’s Romanorum Pontificum ab Aequalibus Conscriptae; Platina’s Lives of the Popes; Stubbs’s Constitutional History; Lee’s History of Clerical Celibacy; Cardinal Newman’s Essays; Lecky’s History of European Morals; Dr. Dollinger’s Church History; Neander’s Church History; articles in Contemporary Review of July and August, 1882, on the Turning Point of the Middle Ages.
A. D. 1091-1153.
One of the oldest institutions of the Church is that which grew out of monastic life. It had its seat, at a remote period, in India. It has existed, in different forms, in other Oriental countries. It has been modified by Brahminical, Buddhistic, and Persian theogonies, and extended to Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. Go where you will in the East, and you see traces of its mighty influence. We cannot tell its remotest origin, but we see everywhere the force of its ideas. Its fundamental principle appears to be the desire to propitiate the Deity by penances and ascetic labors as an atonement for sin, or as a means of rising to a higher religious life. It has sought to escape the polluting influences of demoralized society by lofty contemplation and retirement from the world. From the first, it was a protest against materialism, luxury, and enervating pleasures. It recognized something higher and nobler than devotion to material gains, or a life of degrading pleasure.
In one sense it was an intellectual movement, while in another it was an insult to the human understanding. It attempted a purer morality, but abnegated obvious and pressing duties. It was always a contradiction,—lofty while degraded, seeking to comprehend the profoundest mysteries, yet debased by puerile superstitions.
The consciousness of mankind, in all ages and countries, has ever accepted retribution for sin—more or less permanent—in this world or in the next. And it has equally accepted the existence of a Supreme Intelligence and Power, to whom all are responsible, and in connection with whom human destinies are bound up. The deeper we penetrate into the occult wisdom of the East,—on which light has been shed by modern explorations, monumental inscriptions, manuscripts, historical records, and other things which