Islam - The Frontier Age b - RR160B6b
The media player is loading...
Yes, here. HE’s describing something of the work of these monks. The place where he governed show how frugal he and his predecessors were, for there were very few houses besides the church found at their departure, indeed no more than were barely sufficient for their daily residence. They also had no money but cattle for if they received any money from rich persons they immediately gave it to the poor. There being no need for gathering money or provide houses for the entertainment of the great men of the world, for such never resorted to the church except to pray and hear the word of God. The king himself when opportunity offered came only with five or six servants and having performed his devotions in the church departed. But if they happened to take a repast there they were satisfied with only the plain and daily food of the brethren and required no more. For the whole care of these teachers was to serve God, not the world, to feed the soul not the belly. For this reason the religious habit was that at time great reverations. So that where so ever any clergymen or monk happened to come he was joyfully received by all persons as God’s servant. And if they chanced to meet him upon the way they ran to him and bowing, were glad to be signed with his hand or blessed with his mouth. [00:03:15]
Great attention was also paid to their exhortations...
Great attention was also paid to their exhortations and on Sundays they flocked eagerly to the church or to the monasteries not to feed their bodies but to hear the word of God. And if a priest had come into a village the inhabitants flocked together to hear from him the word of life for the priest and clergymen went into the villages on no other account than to preach, baptize, visit the sick and in a few words to take care of souls and they were so free from worldly things than none of them received lands and possessions for building monasteries unless they were compelled to do so by the temporal authorities which custom was for some time after observed in all the churches of the north [unknown]. Now the priests at that time were married, during most of the middle ages they were married, but the monks were not of course and so they could come and go. And even among the most savage of pagans they very quickly established their power. The venerable [unknown] said they would run to these monks when they saw them coming to be blessed or to take their problems to them, why? Because these men wandering here, there and everywhere would apply the law of God to the problems as men encountered them, to the disputes among men, and as a result their presence everywhere was welcomed. And any wealth they had was given for the use of the people. They took care of the poor, they established schools later to educate the young, they established hospitals, they would keep moving on, always. The monks therefore were an instrument created by God of tremendous power in that era. After that era they became more or less useless as after the year of 1000 approximately the churches were established, civilization, that is urban life, had developed, there was a stable society more or less and the monk except as a reforming influence from time to time was less needed. But in the days after the fall of Rome the monk was a tremendous importance. [00:06:03]
And of all the monks the most important were those...
And of all the monks the most important were those from Scotia. In those days Scotia was not Scotland it was Ireland, except for the north of Ireland, that was known as Scotia. And the Irish monks were the teachers of Greek and Hebrew to Europe. They had the closest contact with Byzantium, with Armenia and with Assyria, so the Christian countries of that part of the world. And in their cemeteries you find that they had monks from those countries in their orders as well, so that the inscriptions in many areas will have inscriptions in languages that are anything but Gaelic. Their dedication, their work, everything they did was done with such an intense dedication, especially the Irish monks, that they were the civilizers of Europe. Now in the text I quote on page 129 the kind of work they did as they copied manuscripts of the bible. You wonder how anyone with the naked eye could do the work they did, page 129, the second paragraph. The illuminated manuscripts of Ireland, especially the Book of Kells, were without equal in the Western World. The fine and accurate detail is such that a tradition arose that angels did the work because later generations said how could a human being do such detailed and fine work. Westwood has said of one manuscript ‘I have counted in a small space measuring scarcely three quarters of an inch by less than a half an inch in width (now that’s less than the upper part of your thumb) not fewer than a hundred and fifty eight interlacements of a slender ribbon like pattern formed of white lines edged by black ones upon a black background’. Now consider the eyesight and the fine hand required to do that. This was the kind of thing that these Irish monks were doing. They brought a mastery to everything, whether it was teaching, whether it was missionary work, or whether it was the artwork in their manuscripts. It was almost unbelievable in its character. [00:09:00]
Let me read further from James Westfall Thompson, this...
Let me read further from James Westfall Thompson, this little note about these Irish monks:
What the Irish monasteries represented in this whole cultural development is well expressed by an American scholar. There were schools all the way from kindergarten to university, hospitals, hotels, publishing houses, libraries, law courts, art academies and conservatories of music. There were houses of refuge, places of pilgrimage, marts for barter and exchange, incidentally the Jews have used them as a storage place for goods that they didn’t dare keep in their homes. They had a working agreement with them; they would work very closely with them. They knew nobody would rob the church except occasionally some marauding king but in normal circumstances that was the safest place. Marts for barter and exchange, centers of culture, social centers, newspaper offices and distilleries. A score of other public and practical things were there, garrisons, granaries, orphan asylums, frontier forts, post office, saving bank and general store for surrounding agriculture districts. We carelessly imagine the early monasteries as houses of chant and ritual whereas they were the best oiled machines for the advancement of science, the living accelerators of human thinking, precedent to the university eras.
Now this is a very important thing to understand and of course one of the weaknesses of men is that when man finds that something works he thinks it’s the only thing that’ll work. This has been one of the weaknesses of the Church of Rome. It continues trying to make things work because they once worked, the monks were in that period the greatest instrument of their day. After the year 1000 their importance waned and since the Reformation their influence and importance has been a minor one in relationship to the amount of money that they have cost. Tracts were a tremendously important thing in the last century and Protestants used tracts to remarkable advantage and millions upon millions of people throughout the western world were reached with the use of tracts. But tracts don’t have their same value today. But we still continue publishing reams of tracts. [00:12:19]
They have only a minor value now as compared to the...
They have only a minor value now as compared to the last century. In other words to be a pioneer you have to recognize that in a particular age, a particular thing is necessary. So that if we are going to be pioneers in a time that needs reconstruction we have to think specifically in terms of what is needed in our time. Otherwise we are living in terms of the past. Today one of the key answers is the Christian school movement but we need to develop other answers in other fields to be pioneers for our day. The importance of the monks was all the more to be emphasized because many of the top clergy as well as the rulers were only nominally Christians. For example here is a famous bishop, Gregory of Tours, let me say parenthetically first one of the real problems in this era with regard to the clergy was simony, that is, the buying and selling of offices. This continued until fairly recent times, in fact, this was the problem in the Church of England after the Reformation, the monarchy made bishops and important deanships and the like political thumbs. So that many of the, well, the overwhelming majority of churches in England of any consequence had as their deans or their rectors or their bishop a man who never saw the church. He was living in London and was very often a profuligent man, morally derelict. It was a political reward for him. Now, because of this the majority of the clergy of any consequence were worthless and this is what Gregory of Tours said. He himself an indication that not all bishops were bad but some of his portraits throw a glaring light on the life of [unknown] Gael, what is now France.
“Salonius of Embrun and Sagittarius of Gap were a precious pair of bishops. They went about armed not with the heavenly cross but with a helm and mail shirt of the world and are said to have slain many of the foe with their own hands [these are direct quotes from Gregory of Tours]. They passed most of their nights in feasting and drinking so that while the clergy were celebrating [unknown] in the cathedral church they were calling for fresh cups in keeping up their libations. No word was there of God upon their lips nor did they remember the order of the services. Not till the return of dawn did they rise up from the banquet. Then they put on soft garments and all bedrowsed and sunk in wine slept in until the third hour of the day. Nor did there fail them women to whom to be defiled. When they arose they took a bath and lay down to feast anew, leaving the table at evening they were soon greedy for their supper again in which lasted until the morning light. Thus they did day after day. Bishop [unknown] was over much addicted to wine and often was so grossly drunken that he could not stir a step.” [00:16:27]
Then he says at late as the ...
Then he says at late as the 8th century [unknown] complained to the pope of the Frankish or French clergy. Quote:
“Religion is trodden underfoot. [unknown] are given to greedy laymen or unchastened public clerics. All their crimes do not prevent their attaining to the priesthood. At last rising in rank as they increase in sin they become bishops and those of them who can boast that they are not adulterers or fornicators are drunkards given to the chase and soldiers who do not shrink from shedding Christian blood.”
Because of this kind of situation the monks in particular had an important role to fill. Feudalism was the life of the day and I think perhaps the best way of defining feudalism is again to turn to Thompson and Thompson tells us and I quote:
“This process of decentralization when completed, power slipping from the hands of the monarch to the hands of private persons, when monarchy had become little more than a name is called feudalism.“
It was thus a radical decentralization of society. The idea of sovereignty was virtually unknown, it belonged to God, not to man. Now during that era of course there was a great deal of corruption. There were many, many rulers and lords who were degenerate and we know what the bishops are like because I read about their conduct just now. But because of the decentralization there was the possibility of reform whenever men gave their tithe money to monks or priests who were a reforming element, because of the tithe the reform was constant and there was progress. Now one thing more before we conclude and have questions, it was not only an age of pioneers, a frontier age where the foundations of western liberty were laid down, it was also an age of invention. [00:19:06]
I have a great deal, incidentally, to say about the...
I have a great deal, incidentally, to say about the origins of constitutionalism in this feudal era in the chapter which is very important. I won’t go into it now. But until the industrial revolution no era had the introduction of more inventions than the so called dark ages. This is an important fact. It was indeed an age of pioneering, of the development of new ideas, new thought, new ways of doing things, and as a result the progress was very great. We owe a great deal to the frontier age. Our liberties come from it. Today we are trying to overthrow that era, to wipe out everything that it gave us. And it is interesting that one historian, a catholic, liberal catholic, who is now in this country, has said that there is more hope of a revival in this country because the United States is closer to the middle ages than Europe. Now what did he mean by that? Well when I wrote This Independent Republic I said that our federalism is derived from feudalism. The decentralization of society, the emphasis on the local government. It seemed ridiculous to many people at the time and I had a lot of negative results on it, in fact I just got a letter from a student I had never heard of a couple days ago and he sent me a copy of his term paper in which, which was about me. [General Laughter] Not entirely friendly and this was one of the things that he felt was so ridiculous, that I thought America had a feudal heritage. But we do! And this is why the possibility of doing something is better here. We have that background via puritanism. Local self-government, the centrality of the county in our social order, a county, coming from the word count, a local unit of rule as the basic government. And our law structure still has so many feudal aspects to it, the Christian feudal kind of law that a catholic historian feels that there is more hope here in this country and that if there is a renewal of western civilization it’ll have to come out of this country. [00:22:20]
This makes it doubly important for us to remember we...
This makes it doubly important for us to remember we are pioneers if we apply the faith to a collapsing world in terms of reconstruction. Let us pray.
Almighty God our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast called us to be pioneers and has given us the blessed assurance that we shall conquer in Christ. That greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Teach us therefore so to walk that we may ever triumph in Thee and where so ever we establish ourselves there is Thy conquered ground. Bless us to this purpose in Jesus’s name, Amen.
And now questions about any aspect of our two chapters, yes?
[Rushdoony] Well the Arabic people do claim and with some reason that they are descendants of Ishmael, yes. And of course one of the things they particularly resent is that they are backward and the Jews who are a related people, if they have Jewish blood in them, are so far in advance. This is one of the very painful problems for them over there. A scholar who was there not too long ago and who is on the Chalcedon mailing list who is very distressed about the conflict between Jew and Arab, he feels and he has lectured to Jews and Arabs alike on this, and he has said, it is a mistake for the two of you to fight, you should work together because you are being exploited by the two superpowers, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. Each is using you for their own ends and as long as you are hostile to each other you will only serve their ends and your only possibility of escaping being their victims is to become friends. Well but one of the things that hampers this friendship is that it is an unequal one. They are backward. Yes? [00:25:22]
[Rushdoony] I don’t know…of course that’s done with political offices now very much. But it was one of the corrupting practices which prevailed throughout the middle ages and well into the modern era. Yes?
[Rushdoony] Well that’s a problem that not even the government of Israel likes to deal with. Technically a Jew is somebody who is descended from Abraham. But the sad fact is that none of them can prove it. In every country they have converts so that you see when the Jews went into Russia or Germany or Poland or Switzerland or France or whatever country many peoples who did not want to become Christians when they saw the old religions collapsing would become Jews. So which among the Jews is a blood Jew or a religious Jew? So how are you going to define a Jew today? As a religious group or as a racial group? Some emphasize the religious aspect and others the racial aspect and it really is neither because a lot of Jews have no religious faith at all and most synagogues are empty. On the other hand if you define it racially you are really in trouble. Now technically in Israel you are a Jew if your mother was. This is also led to some problems because some are very bitter about the fact that because their mother happened to be a German who married their father they are automatically not a Jew, but that is the law in Israel. And of course it’s been the law for a while now in Jewish communities everywhere so that’s technically true also here in this country. And yet the families don’t like it, you see, so they have a problem, shall we define it religiously or racially, and they can’t really do either. [00:28:00]
[Rushdoony] Yes! Well it’s this, shall we define it religiously or racially and they can’t define it either way so they are in limbo as it were. What is a Jew is an unanswerable question today. Yes?
[Rushdoony] That’s the British Israelite position which of course I think is without any foundation. And the idea rests on the myth that the ten northern tribes were lost physically, they were not. They were right there in Jerusalem and in Judea at the time that our Lord was crucified. They were the Galileans, the ten northern tribes, they weren’t up in Denmark or in England or elsewhere as some have claimed. Now there were Jews and Israelites scattered throughout India on business so you could find them in England and elsewhere at that period. But these traitors were particularly Jews because the Galileans or the ten northern tribes had more or less become indifferent to the law and it was the Jews in particular who were faithful to the law and were the ones that applied it. We know a great deal about who they were, we have their documents. They were clearly Jews, refugees from Judea. Yes?
[Rushdoony] Well, yes, they feel that they do but the thing is that their argument is never stood up anywhere in terms of meeting the evidences of people who differ with them. When they are in their own circles they sound very convincing. Now, there are evidences of the Jews and the northern tribes, the Israelites as they call them, in England, in Germany, Denmark, everywhere. And that’s true! You can find evidences of them in Japan but you can also find evidences of them in Africa and none of the British Israelites claim the Negroes and yet the evidences of the Jews throughout the African tribes is very great, in fact, it’s better than the evidences for them among the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The witch doctors of the African tribes almost certainly were Israelites. [00:31:52]
Almost certainly, they were a superior element, they...
Almost certainly, they were a superior element, they actually are a hereditary group who list to this day are somewhat to this day are somewhat lighter of complexion in spite of all the interbreeding with others there. Well, to this identity people claim that the Africans are theirs, no. You see it proves too much. I can show you evidences that say any number of peoples could be found in any number of countries. For example, I’m an Arminian, you can go to Ireland and you can find so much of Armenia, the language, the traces in Ireland, you could say they are an Arminian people. You can say the same thing for the people of central Europe and Germany. Why as a matter of fact up until World War 1 they were talking Arminian in some parts of Germany and Poland and Hitler’s tank General Hanz Guderian, that name is obvious, it’s Arminian, you see. For the same case you can take, say, the Germans, and you can turn up Germans with Genghis Kan and [unknown] and so on. So it just depends on the case you’re trying to prove. It doesn’t make, you see, the Chinese Germans or the Chinese Armenians for the Armenians were over there too any more than finding stray examples of these peoples in Europe, in the British Isles makes them Israelites. For example, one of the points they make, the identity people is that the Scythians were ostensibly one of the tribes, Issachar, Saca peoples, Scythians. And therefore the Scythians as the tribe of Issachar went through Russia up through Germany and wound up in Scotland and England and so on. Well first of all you very definitely can trace these Saca peoples, the Scythians, into Scotland. [00:34:22]
Wandering groups of them, they left their marks in...
Wandering groups of them, they left their marks in the language very definitely. No mistaking that, they left relics from, oh, outer Mongolia and inner Mongolia all the way across Scotland. People in those days were nomadic you see and they moved around more. They were an advanced people, their goal to sculpture and all have been uncovered in some places in central Asia is fabulous. But, the case breaks down first of all in that the people of Scotland in spite of the influx of Scythians were not Scythians. Some of them came in and were incorporated. Second, the Scythians were not the tribe of Issachar. They were a separate people of whom we have a record long before the so called ten tribes were lost. So you see by taking these linguistic coincidences Saca, Issachar, they make a case which seems very reasonable to people like Britain supposedly coming from Beret, covenant. So the British man is the covenant man. But these are just coincidences of words and you can find these coincidences in various other languages all over the world. So the case is simply weak when it is examined by scholars.
[Rushdoony] No, uh, because you see in the New Testament you can encounter people if you go through and check the references to the Israelites, you find people of these various tribes. Simeon, Benjamin, Saint Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin. Alright, you can find Levi, you can find Dan, you can find all various peoples identified with these different tribes but most of the time these other peoples are called Galileans, the northerners. [00:37:29]
[Rushdoony] Oh, well, very simple. During the so called Dark Ages most of these Israelites either became Judeans, that is, they united themselves as Simeon had done and Benjamin had done centuries before. You see, Simeon just moved south and became a part of Judea. And these northerners either united themselves or they just dropped out and became pagans totally. Lost all context with the faith. But they didn’t drift around and become other peoples and the idea that Anglo-Saxon peoples are descended from them is a myth. There isn’t one serious scholar who believes it and of course what this does as in the hands of Armstrong and his group and others they end up saying salvation is by race not by grace and this becomes blasphemy, a fearful blasphemy. Some of these people are very well meaning and I know one or two of their clergy and I think very highly of them although I disagree with them. They are very kindly well-meaning men. Some of them are good at certain points of the law in emphasizing the law, but basically, to say that salvation is by race rather than grace is blasphemy. And this is the thing that damns the Pharisees before God. They were going to reduce everything to race and actually it was a theory in our Lord’s day that the Pharisees propounded that the merit of Abraham was such that any Jew to the end of time, any Israelite to the end of time let me say, if he called upon Abraham’s name would be saved because the works of Abraham were so great they would save every Jew and Israelite to the end of time. [00:39:57]
[Rushdoony] Oh yes. This has been reprinted, it’s James Westfall Thompson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe, 300-1500.James Westfall Thompson and Edgar Nathaniel Johnson but it’s basically Thompson’s work. Let’s see, we have time for just one or two more quick questions. Someone who hasn’t…yes?
[Rushdoony] It’s a secular, socialistic state. It’s socialistic, it has no religious position and this is why the orthodox Jews weep at the Wailing Wall. Because Zionism should mean a religious stand, it should stand for the city of God and it’s a secular socialistic state.
[Rushdoony] I don’t know anything about that. Yes?
[Rushdoony] Yes, Mormonism, you see, is a kind of Phariseeism and it is related to British Israelism and it yet again makes salvation a racial matter. This is why they are having problems with the Negro situation because they hold that a Negro cannot be saved. Yes?
[Unintelligible Question] [00:43:03]
[Rushdoony] It doesn’t make much sense to me...
[Rushdoony] It doesn’t make much sense to me. You want to say yes, the Jews today are a secular humanistic people, well and good. But why do you have to try and create a mythical Israelite when what God says emphatically in His word that the Israel of God is the people of God who believe in Him. Now that’s all we need! So why do we have to try and find a bloodline back there as though blood meant anything, this is to become a Pharisee. This is why Mormonism, British Israelism, is a kind of revived Phariseeism. It emphasizes race and it does lead to a deformation of the gospel. We don’t need that, we have the truth of God, the scripture, so why do we have try and hunt up some mythical Israelites and try and trace our ancestry to them?
[Rushdoony] Of course they are but do you have to be?
[Rushdoony] They aren’t claiming to be.
[Rushdoony]Well our answer to that is that the sons of Abraham are those who are the sons by faith. That’s our answer, alright, why do we have to go into the racial question? We become guilty of the same thing. Most people who oppose the Jews end up by becoming no different than the Jews.
[Rushdoony] I would disagree with that, I think the group trying to tear down Christianity more than anyone else is the clergy, the so called Christian clergy. They are the ones who are doing more damage in, say the last ten years, than the Jews and Muslims have done in the last two thousand. When you consider what the clergy are doing, how they are taking the name of the Lord in vain, how in the name of Christ they are teaching the new morality, what I cited a few weeks ago, a professor not too far from here in a major educational institution said on our campus, it’s the religious centers….