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the birds of the air come and lodge therein. His doctrine grew exceedingly-the vallies of Piedmont were in time filled with his disciples, and while midnight darkness sat enthroned over almost every portion of the globe the WALDENSES, which is only another name for the inhabitants of these vallies, preserved the gospel among them in its native purity, and rejoiced in its glorious light.
Claude continued his labours at Turin at least twenty years, for he was alive in eight hundred and thirty-ninebut we have no documents existing that enable us to trace out the operation of his principles in the formation of independent churches, in a state of separation from the world; and it is very probable that during the life of this venerable man, but few attempts of this kind were made. The Catholic writers, particularly Genebrard in his Chronology, and also Rorenco, have explicitly owned, that “the vallies of Piedmont, which belonged to the bishoprick of Turin, preserved the opinions of Claude in the ninth and tenth centuries;" and, in the account of the PATERINES, which we shall soon arrive at, we shall see how extensively they spread not only in Piedmont, but throughout the neighbouring country of the Milanese. " It is admitted,” says Mr. Robinson, " that if the Waldenses had reasoned consequentially on the principles of their master, they would, after his death, have dissented, but there is no evidence that they did reason so." He, therefore, is of opinion, that some considerable time elapsed (probably half a century) before they broke off all communion with the established church.
It will no doubt appear a matter of surprise to some, that an opposer so zealous and intrepid as Claude certainly was, should have escaped the fury of the church of Rome. But it should be remembered, that the despotism of that wicked court had not yet arrived at its ple
nitude of power and intolerance. To which may be added as another very probable reason, that some of the European monarchs viewed the domineering influence of the bishops of Rome with considerable jealousy, and gladly extended their protection to those whose labours had a tendency to reduce it; such was at this time the case with the court of France in regard to Claude. It is, nevertheless, sufficiently manisest, that this great man held his life in continual jeopardy. “In standing up,” says be, “ for the confirmation and defence of the truth, I am become a reproach to my neighbours, to that degree, that those who see us do not only scoff at us, but point at us one to another. But God, the father of mercies, and author of all consolation, hath comforted us in all our afliictions, that we may be able, in like manner, to comfort those that are cast down with sorrow and affliction. We rely upon the protection of him who hath armed and fortified us with the armour of righteousness and of faith, the tried shield of our salvation."
The state of the Catholic Church from the ninth to the
twelfth century. A. D. 800-1200.
The ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian æra, are universally allowed to form the lowest point of depression to which the profession of the religion of Jesus was reduced in regard to darkness and superstition. It will not, therefore, be necessary to detain the reader long from subjects of a more pleasing nature, by dwelling very minutely upon the state of things during this period.
• Collection of his Works, tom. i. quoted by Dr. Allis, p. 72.
The fact is acknowledged by the papists themselves; by Caranza, Genebrard, Baronius, and others, who describe the tenth century as a monstrous age. The language of the latter writer indeed is so remarkable, that it deserves to be quoted. Alluding to Psalm xliv. 23. he says, “Christ was then, as it would appear, in a deep sleep, and the ship was covered with waves; and wbat seemed worse, when the Lord was thus asleep, there were no disciples, by their cries to awaken him, being themselves all fast asleep.” It may not, however be without its use to take a rapid glance at the proceedings of the court of Rome, and mark the stages by which the antichristian power arrived at its zenith.
On entering upon this subject, there is one remarkable circumstance which merits the reader's notice as he proceeds, for the fact is worthy of his attention. It has fallen to our lot, through the good providence of God, to see this monstrous power, which for a succession of ages tyrannized over the bodies and souls of men, virtually annihilated by the power of France. What the reader should particularly remark is, that it was by the aid of that same power, in a very especial manner, that the “ Man of Sin” was elevated to his throne. It can scarcely be necessary to recall to his recollection the intrigues between the popes and French monarchs, of which I have given a short detail in a former section.* The sequel will appear to be quite in character; but we must go back a little to trace the subject in order.
On the death of Pepin, king of France, in the year 763, his dominions were divided between his two sons, Charles and Carloman, the latter of whom dying two years afterwards, Charles became sole monarch of that country. In his general character, he somewhat resembled our English Alfred, and is deservedly ranked
See page 423.
amongst the most illustrious sovereigns that have appeared--a rare instance of a monarch, who united his own glory with the happiness of his people. In private life he was amiable; an affectionate father, a fond husband, and a generous friend. Though engaged in many wars, he was far from neglecting the arts of peace, the welfare of his subjects, or the cultivation of his own mind. Government, morals, religion, and letters, were his constant pursuits. He frequently convened the national assemblies, for regulating the affairs both of church and state. His attention extended to the most distant corner of his empire, and to all ranks of men. His house was a model of economy, and his person of simplicity and true grandeur. “For shame," he would say to some of his nobles, who were more finely dressed than the occasion required, “learn to dress like men, and let the world judge of your rank by your merit, not your dress. Leave silks and finery to women, or reserve them for those days of pomp and ceremony when robes are worn for show, not use.” He was fond of the company of learned men, and assembled them from all parts of Europe, forming in his palace a kind of royal academy, of which he condescended to become a member, and of which he made Alcuin, our learned countryman,* the head; at the same time honouring him as his companion and particular favourite. “The dignity of his person, the length of his
For the honour of our country, I bere record a few particulars cob. cerning Alcuin. He was born in the north of England, and educated at York, under the direction of Archbishop Egbert, whom in his letters be frequently styles his beloved master, and the clergy of York the compa. nions of his youthful studies. Being sent on an embassy by Offa, king of Mercia, to the emperor Charlemagne, his talents and bis virtues sa won upon the latter, that he contracted a high esteem for him, and a mutual friendship ensued. Charles earnestly solicited, and at length prerailed opon him to settle in his court and become his preceptor in the sciences. He accordingly instructed that prince in rhetoric, logic, matbe
reign, the prosperity of his arms, the vigour of his government, and the reverence of distant nations, distinguish Charles from the royal crowd: and Europe dates a new æra from his restoration of the western empire."*
But with all these amiable traits in the character of Charles the Great (or Charle-magne, as he is usually
matics, and divinity, and was treated with so much kindness and familisrity by the emperor, that by way of eminence, the courtiers called him "the emperor's delight."
Alcuin having passed many years in the most intimate familiarity with Charlemagne, at length, with great difficulty, obtained leave to retire to his Abbey of St. Martins at Tours. Here he kept up a constant corre spondence with the emperor, and their letters erince their mutual regard for religion and learning, and their anxiety to promote them in the most munificent manner. In one of these letters, which Dr. Henry has translated, there is a passage which throws some light on the learning of the times. * The employments of your Alcuin,” says he to the emperor; “ in his retreat, are suited to his hamble sphere, but they are neither inglorions Dor enprofitable. I spend my time in the halls of St. Martin, in teaching some of the noble yonths under my care the intricacies of grammar, and inspiring them with a taste for the learning of the ancients ; in describing to others the order and revolutions of those shining orbs which adorn the azure vanlt of heaven ; and, in explaining to otise rs the mysteries of divine wisdom, which are contained in the holy scriptures; saiting my instructions to the views and capacities of my scholars, that I may train up many to be ornaments to the church of God and tv the court of your imperial majesty. In doing this, I find a great want of several things, par. ticularly of those excellent books in all arts and sciences, which I enjoyed in my native country, through the expense and care of my great master Egbert. May it, therefore, please your majesty, animated wiih the most ardent love of learning, to permit me to send some of your young gentle men into England, to procure for us thase books which we want, and transplant the flowers of Britain into Franco, trat their fragrance may no longer be contined to York, but may perfume the palaces of Turs." Charlemagne often solicited Alcuin to return to court, but he escnsed kimself, and remained at Teurs until his death, May 19, 844. He understood the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew laugnages et fremely well; was au excellent orator, philosopher, and mathemaucian. His works, which consist of 58 treaties, homilies, commentaries, lei.ers, poenis, &c. are comprised in 9 vols. folio.
* Gibbon, vol. is. ch. 49.