New Humanism or Medieval Period a - RR160D7a
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Almighty God our Heavenly Father we come to Thee mindful again of all Thy blessings of the week past. We thank Thee that we live, move and have our being in Thee. And so our Father, we come again to study the things that are of Thee. Give us grace to see Thy hand in times past, times present and times to come. Knowing that indeed the government is on Thy shoulders who doest all things well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Our subject tonight is the New Humanism or the Medieval Period. We dealt with the frontier era, the so-called Dark Ages last time and it is important for us that the significance of the fall of Rome was enormous. It was the collapse of urban civilization, cities disappeared. There were towns here and there but cities disappeared. Moreover in spite of many claims by various peoples that they had a great history the greatness of the peoples of Europe developed subsequently as a result of Christianity. The Germanic and other tribes who took over Europe at that time were, we would have to say, savages. Now it is commonplace now to claim that the Germanic tribes were advanced peoples and very noble but we know from the records of that time that many of the Germanic tribes practiced cannibalism. Now this is not something you read about very often but they did, which tells us how backward and savage they were. Their ability to do things was very meager and limited, the Visigoths for example, began to imitate some of the people they conquered and farmed but their lack of any sound knowledge of farming led them very quickly to exhaust the soil and lay waste the country. Then too, the people led a very hand to mouth kind of existence. For example, here from a French scholar, he says, concerning what happened after the fall of Rome: [00:02:57]
“Many a province was reduced to desolation from the...
“Many a province was reduced to desolation from the movement of troops at war, all of them barbarians even though not in very large numbers. Those who were for the Goths were pursued by Byzantium while those who with the Byzantines in their term paid dearly for it. During such times of catastrophe worse even than what had been called the Great Invasion, the links that held a society together got broken. Families were torn apart, cities, even Rome, ruined, looted, abandoned, weeds invaded the untilled soil. Peasants from a [unknown] bereft of everything came and died in the [unknown] where they had hoped to survive. Many also died in Tuscany and the [unknown], the mountaineers, made their bread from acorns and felt victims to scurvy. People ate nettles, dogs, rats, excrement. In Rome the too numerous dead lay around unburied. Even the vultures found nothing to eat for the corpses reduced to skeletons had no more flesh for them to feed on. “
Now this was the condition of Europe. And I said last week how the monks were the ones who built up civilization, men coming together who had dedicated themselves wholly to the service of God. And they established the monasteries where they worked, they very quickly created wealth, just by their labor. They became the source of charity and wealth flowed, he says, in waves through the hands of the clergy and the monks because people began to give to them. They very quickly became like a state, each monastery with a wide radius of influence. They would buy up land as they accumulated wealth and the serfs because serfdom comes from Roman times, they would free the serfs and very often give them land. And the amount of charity they gave away was enormous so that the work of the monks was a tremendous factor in making civilization possible. [00:05:57]
Then of course Charlemagne did a great deal to make...
Then of course Charlemagne did a great deal to make their work possible throughout the north of Europe. Very often you read some very ugly things about Charlemagne because they tell us how viscous he was in giving the Saxons their choice, finally, between lining up at the side of a river and going in in huge numbers, thousands upon thousands, to be baptized, or else putting their head down on a block and having it chopped up. And they of course chose to be baptized. Why did Charlemagne do this? Well he was dealing with the Saxon peoples, a very savage people, that believed in human sacrifice and every kind of unspeakable abomination. And every time he went in and conquered them he no sooner got out of the country than they would rebel and go back to their pagan practices like the natives in the jungle of Africa. So finally he took advantage of the fact that they were inclined to be superstitious and they were afraid of the God of Charlemagne and his power and they felt that if the water of baptism were sprinkled upon them they would then have the wrath of that God against them if they violated His laws. So Charlemagne figured that’s the way to get them. Line them up and give them their choice of being baptized or getting their head chopped off. Well they chose to be baptized and then they were afraid of the God of the Christians since they had been baptized in His name that His wrath could be upon them if they went back to human sacrifices and all their pagan practices. Now that’s how he civilized them and they became a great people as a result of Charlemagne’s work. Charlemagne himself was of a Germanic tribe; Charlemagne is the French from of Karl the Great. He was one of the Germanic tribes who had settled in what we now call France and had long previously been converted. Now the frontier era, the so-called Dark Ages really ended with the Crusades and the beginning of the Crusades. The Crusades began with a call to go out and conquer the Holy Land from the unbelievers. [00:08:54]
And Pope Urban the Second at the council of Claremont...
And Pope Urban the Second at the council of Claremont preached a sermon in 955 summoning the faithful all over Europe to go to the Holy Land instead of fighting with each other and to quote from his sermon:
“And so we bid you brethren, refrain your murderous hands from killing your brethren. As soldiers of the faith turn your hand against foreign nations and under Jesus Christ your leader as a Christian army, an army invincible, better than the Israelites of old, ye shall do battle for your Jerusalem and attack and expel the Turks there who are worse than the Jesuits. Let it be a noble thing with you to die for Christ in that city where Christ died for you. If it should happen that you die first consider that as dying on the way provided that Christ shall find you in His army God pays the penny whether for the first or for the sixth hour. It is a horrible thing, horrible indeed that you should raise violent hands against Christians but a singular good thing to weld the sword against Saracens because it is a charity to lay down our lives for the brethren. Be not anxious for the morrow, be sure that they that fear God lack nothing nor do they that love Him truly. The wealth of your enemies shall be yours, you shall plunder their treasures, you shall either return home victorious or red with your own blood you shall win the eternal reward. You have to serve a captain whose bread cannot fail nor whose pain never runs short. Life is short but labor is but light that brings you the crown that fadeth not away. Let us say then with the authority of the prophets gird thee with thy sword upon thy thigh oh thou most mighty men and gird yourselves and be valiant men for it is better for us to die in battle than to look upon the evils of our nation and the holy place. Let not yourselves therefore be softened by the seductive attractions of women or of your own affairs and so prevented from going and let not the hardships that you will have to endure deter you from staying. And you my brethren and fellow bishops, fellow priests and joint heirs with Christ make this known among the churches committed to your charge and preach the way to Jerusalem everywhere with open mouth. Let them confess their ignorance of their sinful ways and confidently implore from Christ speedy forgiveness. You who are going shall have us for your beadsmen; let us have you for our warriors on behalf of the people of God. It is our part to pray and your part to take up arms against the Amalekites. We like Moses will lift up unwearied hands in prayer to heaven and you brave warriors drawn will yield a sword against Amalek. Amen.”
Well, of course, the Crusades were anything but the...
Well, of course, the Crusades were anything but the idealistic thing that he hoped that they would be, once they got into action. And very quickly the men who went went because they figured there were realms to conquer there and if they couldn’t conquer them from the Muslims they would conquer them from the Christians. And so the conduct of the Crusaders was something as bad as that of the Muslims. And it was an ugly protracted thing that lasted over several centuries. Here is a complaint from some of the eastern Christians, the Greek Church which was the Church of Byzantium and of other areas:
“How then shall the church of the Greeks, however troubled with afflictions and persecutions, return to the unity of the church and to devotion to the apostolic seat [This is their answer when they are told unite with them], when they have seen in the Latins nothing but an example of perdition so that now and quite rightly they detest them more than dogs. For the Latins who are believed to have sought not the things that are their own but the things that are of Christ died at the swords which they should have used against the heathen and the blood of Christians, spared neither religion, age nor sex. Committed incest, adultery and fornication before the eyes of men and exposed married women and even virgins dedicated to God to the lewd lusts of youth. It was not enough to seize the wealth of emperors and to dash to pieces the spoils of princes and of humbler folk, but they must lay violent hands against the treasures of churches and worst of all their furniture. Stripping the silver ornamentation of the altars, breaking them to pieces and violating the sanctuaries and carrying off the crosses and relics.”
At one time the crusaders actually sacked Constantinople, the capitol of Byzantium. So the crusades were a very ugly thing in many respects. But they marked the beginning of the strictly medieval period, if we use that term. Now there are a number of errors with regard to the middle ages, one is to see it as a church dominated and church oriented period. It was not an era controlled or created by the church although the church waged constant war to try to gain control of Christian society. [00:15:00]
Again it is seen as a period of stagnation as though...
Again it is seen as a period of stagnation as though it was dead and things were stagnant. On the contrary, it was a period of tremendous vitality and initiative. In those days people thought nothing about traveling all the way across Europe into China. Then, as though it were a period dominated by old men, old monks, old priests and so on, on the contrary, never in the history of the world has it been more dominated by youth. In fact the number of people who were in their twenties who were the powerful figures throughout the medieval period is enormous. So, we must not see it as stagnant or aged or church oriented. However, there were three great powers each seeking to dominate the Christian civilization that had developed over the previous centuries during the so-called dark ages or the frontier era. First of all there was the church. The church very definitely was seeking to dominate every institution progressively as Rome gained more and more power over the other areas, originally of course, the various churches were independent of Rome. The Church in England was not under Rome until the Council of Whitely when through royal power it was controlled, it was captured. Now, the claims of the church were very clearly set forth by Pope Boniface in his book Unum Sanctum in 1302 and this sets forth the idea of the church dominating everything. This is what Boniface said:
“We are obliged by the faith to believe and hold and we do firmly believe and sincerely confess that there is one holy catholic and apostolic church. And that outside this church there is neither salvation nor remission of sins in which church there is one lord, one faith, one baptism. At the time of the flood there was one ark of Noah symbolizing the one church. This was completed in one cubit and had one, namely Noah, as helmsmen and captain outside which all things on earth we read were destroyed. Of this one and only church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster. Namely Christ and Christ’s victor is Peter and Peter’s successor for the Lord said to Peter feed my sheep. My sheep, he said, in general, not these or those sheep wherefore he is understood to have committed them all to him. Therefore if the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to Peter and his successors they necessarily confess that they are not of Christ’s sheep. For the Lord says in John there is one fold and one shepherd. And we learn from the words of the gospel that in this church and in her power are two swords, the spiritual and the temporal.” [00:18:50]
And he goes on to develop this point that both church...
And he goes on to develop this point that both church and state are an entirely under the pope so that the pope must rule the governments of Europe as well as all the churches. Moreover, what he was doing as were the other popes was to say that the kingdom of God and the church are identical. Now according to scripture the term kingdom of God means everything. God rules in church, in state, in school, in family, in business and every area so that wherever God rules in the hearts of men there is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God cannot be equated with the church. The church is simply one aspect of the kingdom of God. Moreover, the attitude of the papacy increasingly became that the church is an extension of the incarnation, that is, a part of Jesus Christ himself and His incarnation. Now at the same time they developed the doctrine of the merits of the saints, or rather, they picked it up from the Pharisees and Judaism which still had it in their midst. Now in 1343 you have the doctrine of the treasury of merits defined by the Vatican. To quote:
“The only begotten son of God who was made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood entered once for all into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us. Not by corruptible gold and silver but by the precious blood of His own very lamb, incontaminant and immaculate, He redeemed us. On the altar of the cross, He the innocent was sacrificed, and as well-known shed no mere drop of blood, no that because of its union with the word would have sufficed for the redemption of the whole human race but copiously poured forth such a stream that from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head no health was found in him. Thence in order for the compassion shown by so great an infusion might not be rendered useless, vain or superfluous, he inquired a treasury for the church militant. Desiring as a pious father to lay up a treasury for his sons that so there might be an infinite treasury for mankind, that those who make use of it might be made friends of God. This treasure he entrusted to blessed Peter who bears the keys of heaven and to his successors and vicars on earth to be dispensed to the faithful for their salvation and for proper and reasonable causes. Sometimes for an entire and sometimes for partial remission of the penalty due for temporal sins, to be applied out of compassion for persons who are truly penitent and have made their confession. As an aid to the accumulation of this treasure contribution is known to have been made by the merits of the blessed Mother of God and all the elect from the righteous man to the last and we should not fear its consumption or diminution as well because of the infinite merits of Christ as a foresaid as also because the greater the number of those who turn to righteousness by means of its application, so much the more it increases the accumulation of merit.” Unquote. [00:22:54]
Now what he said there that when Christ died on the...
Now what he said there that when Christ died on the cross it was such a wonderful work that it stored up so much merit in heaven like a treasury in a bank and of course the virgin Mary stored up a lot of merit and all the saints from the first man on has stored up merit so it’s there in the bank of heaven and all you need to do is to ask that some of these merits be applied to your credit when you sin and the church through Peter and the Pope will apply these merits to your credit, you see. So if you sin you ask, well I’ve got three adulteries and one theft to my credit, will you put so many merits from Peter and Christ and the mother of God to my credit. Now you can see what was developing, the church was steadily forsaking the gospel. Now the state was a second institution seeking to control civilization in this era and the state also said in the form of the Holy Roman Empire that it was the kingdom of God on earth. And so, it quarreled with the church because both church and state were saying we represent God and Christ, we are the extension of the incarnation. The Emperor Fredrick the Second, for example, of the [unknown] said that God and the emperor are one. So that he identified himself with God and Christ just as surely as Innocent the Third who was the Pope at that time said he was Christ’s representative and vicar on earth and when he spoke, God was speaking through him. The third agency or institution that claimed power was the university. In particular the University of Paris at this period and the university claimed to be a law unto itself as reason incarnate as it were and it was at this time you had the beginnings of the doctrine of academic freedom developed. The idea that the university and the professor is a law unto himself and that no one can control him because the university is above church and state and beyond the punishment of either, it is reason incarnate. [00:25:45]
Divine reason manifested on earth...
Divine reason manifested on earth. So you had three institutions claiming they were beyond the law, virtually God on earth. And Dr. Nesbit, one of the few really outstanding sociologists of our day who was at the University of California at Riverside until this year and is now at Arizona has said that the university today is the last medieval institution in our midst and the students are in the process of destroying it. And he is right of course. Now at the same time you had also the revival of Aristotle’s philosophy. So instead of the word of God, revelation, you had natural law instead of God’s law and you had reason as prior to revelation. So that because for Aristotle man is a rational political animal man was not seen as a religious creature but as a political animal, a rational political animal to be defined in terms of the state rather than in terms of God. Moreover, reason was the means of understanding everything in this world and all you used revelation for was things connected with the other world. So really you didn’t try to understand creation in terms of the bible. You see this was the same attitude that some of the liberals in the church today have. You use science and reason to understand creation so you become an evolutionist because the Bible speaks only about God and about heaven. Well if that’s all the bible talks about it doesn’t really talk about anything. Because what it tells us about God is is about God incarnate, about God revealing himself in history, in the natural world. So of course they end up ultimately with the death of God when they take that tactic. Now, I’m going to read again at some length from the document of the period with commentaries by Eileen Power in a book which was published some few years ago in 1924 first, it’s called Medieval People. [00:28:40]
And in the thirteen hundreds we have a document, a...
And in the thirteen hundreds we have a document, a very interesting one, it’s a husband who is away very often on business, he’s a business man who travels a great deal. And whenever he’s away on business he writes a long letter to his wife, to educate her. Well why would he have to educate his wife? Well she asked for it. It was a very happy, very affectionate marriage. She was just fifteen years old. He was over sixty. Now, that seems rather shocking to us today but that was surprisingly common at that time. Surprisingly common. She came from a very good family but her parents and relatives were dead and she was an orphan and he had married her. And, now this was not unusual, once in a while you could find an old man to do this who’d be a stinker and stipulate in his will that she could not remarry. But what they very often did was to take a good girl and marry her, an older widower, and prepare her to manage their estate and find a good husband. So here’s this couple, very much in love, and he is writing these letters at her request to educate her and meanwhile he’s also preparing her for a second husband because he says I’m not going to be around forever and I want you to do me the honor of making a wise choice when you remarry, someone who can manage my estate well. So this is a very practical attitude and you cannot understand the Middle Ages and this is why I picked this to read at some length if you don’t realize there was this strong vein of down to earth practicality. And this is why you had these marriages, very commonly. And no one thought anything about it, it was assumed that well, he’s marrying her because he wants a good woman to handle his estate, look around for a fine young man who can manage it with him to the greater glory of God. So now let’s see, he writes: [00:31:18]
“You being the age of fifteen years and in the week...
“You being the age of fifteen years and in the week that you and I were wed, did pray me to be indulgent to your youth and to your small and ignorant service, until you had seen and learned more; to this end you promised me to give all heed and to set all care and diligence to keep my peace and my love, as you spoke full wisely, and as I well believe, with other wisdom than your own, beseeching me humbly in our bed, as I remember, for the love of God not to correct you harshly before strangers nor before our own folk, but rather each night, or from day to day, in our chamber, to remind you of the unseemly or foolish things done in the day or days past, and chastise you, if it pleased me, and then you would strive to amend yourself according to my teaching and correction, and to serve my will in all things, as you said. And your words were pleasing to me, and won my praise and thanks, and I have often remembered them since. And know, dear sister, (That was the term used in those days very commonly between husband and wife) that all that I know you have done since we were wed until now and all that you shall do hereafter with good intent, was and is to my liking, pleaseth me, and has well pleased me, and will please me. For your youth excuses your unwisdom and will still excuse you in all things as long as all you do is with good intent and not displeasing to me. And know that I am pleased rather than displeased that you tend rose_trees, and care for violets, and make chaplets, and dance, and sing: nor would I have you cease to do so among our friends and equals, and it is but good and seemly so to pass the time of your youth, so long as you neither seek nor try to go to the feasts and dances of lords of too high rank, for that does not become you, nor does it sort with your estate, nor mine.”
In other words, we’re well to do but don’t get any social pretentions, enjoy yourself but not with social ambitions. Then Eileen Powers adds while he has not forgotten her request that he would teach and correct her in private and so he writes a little book at her request but it was a big book before he had finished to show her how to comfort herself for he is sorry for this child for has for so long had neither father nor mother and was far from kinswoman who might counsel her. ‘for having me only’ he says ‘for whom you have been taken from your kinfolk and from the land of your birth. He has often deliberated the matter and now is here is, quote, “An easy general introduction to the whole art of being a wife, a house wife and a perfect lady. One characteristic reason apart from his desire to help her and to be comfortable himself for he was set in his ways he gives for his trouble and recurs to from time to time surely this strangest ever given by a husband for instructing his wife, he is old, he says, and must die before her and is positively essential that she should do him credit with her second husband whether for reflection upon him if she accompanied his successor to mass with a collar that was, quote, crumpled, or if she knew not how to keep fleas from the blankets or how to order a supper for twelve in Lent. It is characteristic of the Ménagier's reasonableness and solid sense that he regards his young wife's second marriage with equanimity. One of his sections is headed "that you should love your husband (whether myself or another) after the ensample of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel." [00:35:43]
And wife, that you should remember your promise to...
And wife, that you should remember your promise to me to take the order of widowhood as you may be, no, excuse me, I’m quoting out of context here. The plan of the book, in three sections, containing nineteen principle articles is most exhausting. The first section deals with religious and moral duties. In the wors of the husband:
“The first section of the three is necessary to gain the love of God and the salvation of your soul, and also to win the love of your husband and to give you in this world that peace which should be in marriage. And because these two things, namely the salvation of your soul and the comfort of your husband, be the two things most chiefly necessary, therefore are they here placed first.”
Then follows a series of article telling the lady how to say her morning prayer when she rises, how to bear herself at church and at what form to make her confession to the priest, together with a long and somewhat alarming discourses upon the seven deadly sins which assuredly never entered in to her sweet little head to commit, and another on the corresponding virtues. But the greater part of the section deals with the all-important subject of a wife’s duty to her husband. She is to be loving, humble, obedient, careful and thoughtful for his person. Silent regarding his secrets and patient if he be foolish and allow his heart to stray toward other women. The whole section is illustrated by a series of stories culled from the bible, from the common stock of antidotes and most interesting of all, from the husband’s own experience. [00:37:15]
At one point he gives instructions how to mend, air...
At one point he gives instructions how to mend, air and clean dresses and furs, get out grease spots, keep fleas out of the house, look after wine and superintend the management of a farm. Because he had a fair sized estate involving a great many kinds of work and she had to learn how to manage all these things. At one point he breaks off addressing his wife thus:
“Here I will leave you to rest or to play and will speak no more to you. And while you disport yourself elsewhere I will speak to master John the steward who looks after our possessions so that if there is anything wrong with any of our horses whether for the plow or for riding or if it necessary to buy or exchange a horse he may know a little of that it behooves him to know in this matter.”
And so there are some pages of advice on the good points of a horse for the steward so she can turn this over to him and give him his instructions for his steward. How to deal with horse trading because he doesn’t figure she isn’t going to learn too much there. Then the third section of his book, this is written over a long period of time as a series of letters when he’s on a sales trip, was intended to contain three parts. First of all a number of parlor games for indoor amusement, you see, he thinks of everything. Secondly a treatise on hawking, the favorite outdoor amusement of ladies, and thirdly, a list of amusing riddles and games of an arithmetical kind. Unfortunately he never finished this section of the book but there’s a great deal of interesting material. So there’s hardly any area of life that he did not touch. He was also a very particular on how she was to dress: [00:40:16]
“Know dear sister that if you wish to follow my advice...
“Know dear sister that if you wish to follow my advice you will have great care and regard for what you do and I can afford to do according to our estate. Have a care that you be honestly clad without new devices and without too much or too little frivolry. And before you lead your chamber and house take care that the collar of your shift and of your blanchet, coat and surcoat do not hang out one over the other as happens with certain drunken, foolish or witless women who have no care for their honor or for the honesty of their estates or their husbands [General laughter] and who walk with roving eyes and with head horribly reared up like a lion, the hair straggling out of their wimples and their shifts and coats crumpled the one upon the other and who walk mannishly and bear themselves uncouthly before folk without shame.”
Now one of the things he was saying was don’t let your slip show. [Laughter]
“And if one speaks to them about it excuse themselves on the grounds of their industry and humility, saying that they are so diligent hardworking and humble that they care not for themselves. But they lie. They care so much for themselves that if they were in honorable company never would they be willing that men should wait less upon them than upon the wiser ladies of like lineage nor that they should have fewer salutations, bows, reverences and speeches than the rest but rather they desire more and they are unworthy of it for they know not how to maintain their own honorable fame. Nay nor the fame of their husbands and of their lineage which they bring to shame. Therefore fair sister have a care that your hair, wimple, kerchief and hood and all the rest of your attire be well arranged and decently ordered. That none who see you can laugh or mock at you but that all the others may find in you the example of fair and simple and decent array.” [00:42:24]
And so on. He gives her advice how to behave in church and how to behave at parties and so on. Now this I think is too choice to pass up so I’ll read one more section.
“Wherefore, fair sister, if you have another husband after me, know that you should think much of his person, for after that a woman has lost her first husband and marriage, she commonly findeth it hard to find a second to her liking, according to her estate, and she remaineth long while all lonely and disconsolate and the more so still if she lose the second. Wherefore love your husband's person carefully, and I pray you keep him in clean linen, for that is your business, and because the trouble and care of outside affairs lieth with men, so must husbands take heed, and go and come, and journey hither and thither, in rain and wind, in snow and hail, now drenched, now dry, now sweating, now shivering, ill-fed, ill-lodged, ill-warmed and ill-bedded.”
A salesman’s lot was not too good in those days nor a business man’s, apparently, on the road.
“And naught harmeth him, because he is upheld by the hope that he hath of the care which his wife will take of him on his return, and of the ease, the joys and the pleasures which she will do him, or cause to be done to him in her presence; to be unshod before a good fire, to have his feet washed and fresh shoes and hose, to be given good food and drink, to be well served and well looked after, well bedded in white sheets and nightcaps, well covered with good furs, and assuaged with other joys and desports, privities, loves and secrets whereof I am silent. And the next day fresh shirts and garments. Certes, fair sister, such services make a man love and desire to return to his home and to see his goodwife, and to be distant with others. Wherefore I counsel you to make such cheer to your husband at all his comings and stayings, and to persevere therein; and also be peaceable with him, and remember the rustic proverb, which saith that there be three things which drive the goodman from home, to wit a leaking roof, a smoky chimney and a scolding woman. And therefore, fair sister, I beseech you that, to keep yourself in the love and good favour of your husband, you be unto him gentle, and amiable, and debonnair.”