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and open conflict with each other, as yet either repose peaceably side by side, or if they do occasionally fence, it seems but in sport, and with buttons on their foils. The popes are loyal subjects, and the emperors are bent on increasing the power of the priesthood and its chiefs as a moral and civilizing influence. There are as yet no Hildebrands on the one side, and no Henrys and Frederics on the other. In this age were forged the Decretals, that famous arsenal of the papacy. Yet though designed in the first instance to favour the metropolitans, rather than the See of Peter, it is one of these, the great Hinomar of Rheims, who explodes the fraud. On the other hand we find Hincmar denouncing as a heretic Gottschalk, the Predestinarian, the forerunner of Wycliffe and Calvin, who, strangely enough, is vindicated by the bishops of Rome. In the bosom of the same monastery of Corvey, a tranquil controversy breaks out between an unfledged Aquinas, Paschasius Radbert, the inventor of Transubstantiation, and brother Ratramnus, an undeveloped Zwingli, its opponent. It was in this convent, and under its abbot Paschasius, that Anschar was trained; yet it would not be safe to assume that the pupil agreed with his teacher on this question, since it seems pretty certain that the founder of the Tridentine theology was for a long time in the minority. Rome which had spurned the yoke of the Iconoclast Greek emperors, tamely submits to the prohibition of image worship throughout the Frank dominions; and the Karoline books, written by Karl the Great's own court divines against the abuse, acquire the force of law in St. Peter's itself. Spain, afterwards fertile in inquisitors and Jesuits, now produces a great Reformer, Claude, subsequently bishop of Turin, who dies in the communion of the Church, without having encountered any serious persecution. He, too, as well as Gottschalk, and other heralds of the dawn on the one hand, and Paschasius Radbert, Pope Nicholas L., and their coadjutors in the work of darkness on the other hand, was a contemporary of Anschar. We see that it is a time which bears two manner of peoples in its womb.
We observe the same startling dualism in the Christian missions of that age. In Karl the Great's Saxon wars, and in other too similar instances in which he and his immediate successors did not scruple to offer their foes the alternative of baptism or the sword, we see antedated all the following Cainish struggles for the armed propagation of the faith, which are the peculiar infamy of the Church that boasts of being the One Spouse of the Lamb. But there is also, happily, a brighter page. There is one of the Karolingian missions which admirably foreshadows the Protestant type of evangelization, and it is the more worthy of attention, because it is the only considerable exception which meets us in that age to the dreary uniformity of the rule of furcible conversion.
This honourable exception is Anschar's Scandinavian mission. The bleak and barren soil of those jagged Norse Peninsulas which he sowed with the seed of the Gospel, was not first watered with blood. Yet it is a cheering fact, which strikes at the root of many a plausible apology
for the more military method then in vogue, that it throve none the less. Doubtless the crop thus planted was of slower growth than elsewhere. But what of that? It was never eradicated, and the hardy exotic could only thus have become acclimatized on those inhospitable and storm-swept shores. How else, but by the law of kindness, could those fierce Vikings, whose home was on the thundering main, have been subdued ? At a later period, long after the death of their Apostle, when Christianity having mounted the throne, persecution was unwisely and wickedly waged against the pagan minority, the dissidents emigrated en masse to Iceland, and there maintained for some time longer the outraged religion of Odin. And, surely, if in the homesteads of those daring pirates, whose name was the terror of Christendom from Sicily to the Hebrides, and who in Anschar's own time laid waste the capitals of his sovereign, Paris and Aix, the Gospel needed no carnal weapons to open the way for its approach, it could have done without them anywhere. Like the Apostle of the North, its ambas sadors might have fallen asleep without seeing the full fruits of their toils and sufferings, but in due season the harvest would have been garnered, if by other hands.
As already hinted, Anschar, like so many others of the greatest heroes of the faith, was dedicated to God from the womb, and was the child of many prayers. In his fifth year, however, he lost his godly mother. After her death he dreamt he saw her in the bright train of the Queen of Heaven, and heard her ask him whether he was willing to come to his mother. On the pious child's expressing his earnest longing to do so : “ Renounce then," said she, “the vanities of the world, and let your only endeavour be, how you may best please God, and belong wholly to Him." Already had his parents placed him in the monastery of Corvey, near Amiens. Attached to the convent was a flourishing school under Paschasius Radbert, afterwards abbot of this ancient and celebrated Benedictine house. Anschar was his most diligent pupil, and his thirst for the religious life keeping pace with his intellectual growth, he in due time received the tonsure, cheerfully surrendering the long hair of the Frankish freeman, in token of his having become the servant of the Lord. Meanwhile, his inward feelings and aspirations were still reflected in the forms of his excitable imagination. Voices from the upper sphere continued to call him thither. He saw shining fingers beckoning him home to the world of light when he should have finished, like a hireling reaper, his day's work in the missionary harvest, and won the martyr's crown. On one occasion, for instance, he thought he mingled with the bright throng around the throne on high, and he states what he witnessed as follows:-“ All the ranks of the heavenly host, standing round in exultation, drew joy from the fountain of light. The light was immeasurable, so that I could trace neither beginning nor end to it. And although I could see far and
• The Edda belongs to Iceland, and is the record of the expiring faith of these pagan pilgrim fathers.
near, yet I could not discern that which was embraced within that immeasurable light. I saw nothing but its outward shining, yet I believed that He was there, of whoin St. Peter says, that even the angels desire to behold Him. He himself was, in a certain sense, in all, and all around Him were in Him. He encompassed them from without, and supplying their every want, inspired and guided them from within. In every direction alike He was all. There was neither sun nor moon to give light there, nor any appearance of heaven or earth. But the brightness of the transparent ether was such, that instead of being in the least oppressive, it refreshed the eye, satisfying the souls of all with inexpressible bliss. And from the midst of that immeasurable light, a heavenly voice addressed me, saying, “Go, and return to me again, crowned with martyrdom.'” Two years afterwards, whilst wrestling in prayer as was his wont, he had another of these visions. He thought the Redeemer appeared to him, and bade him confess his sins that he might obtain absolution. He said, “ Lord, Thou knowest all things ; not a thought is hidden from Thee." But the Lord answered, “It is true that I know all things; yet for all that it is my will that men should confess to Me their sins, that they may be forgiven." Upon this the young estatico confessed his sins, and Christ assured Him they were forgiven, which filled him with unutterable joy. On another occasion, after receiving a fresh assurance from the Saviour of the forgiveness of his sins, his devout gratitude overflowed in the inquiry, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do ???. upon which he thought he heard Christ saying to him, “Go, preach the word of God to the tribes of the heathen.” We have, evidently, here a heart deeply stirred by the Spirit of God, if the form of the young Christian Nazarite's piety is unmistakably that of the age, and bears besides the stamp of a certain naëre enthusiasm. The boy in the cloister of Corvey reminds us of the child Samuel in the tabernacle at Shiloh. We see, too, projected in his visions, the powerful impression made upon him by the current accounts of the missionary labours and martyrdom of the Hampshire man Winfrid, the Apostle of the Germans, and his companions, some of whom may possibly have survived to Anschar's own time.
Meanwhile, the fields were opening for which the workman was thus girding his loins. Karl the Great died in 814, and the event, we are told, greatly deepened the young Picard's sense of the nothingness of earthly things. For he had seen the mighty emperor in all his glory, and he now renewed his vows more fervently than ever “ to belong only to the Lord.” The conqueror of the Saxons had already determined to plant monasteries amongst them as centres of Christian culture, but he met with unexpected difficulties, and was cut down by death before he was able to carry out his design. He had, however, paved the way for it, by distributing Saxon captives amongst the Frankish religious houses, who should afterwards go forth as monks to evangelize their countrymen. A large number of these young Saxons fell to the share of Corvey, and one of them, Theodrad by name, suggested that a monastery should be founded on a well-watered piece of land belonging to his father's estate. The abbot Adalhard, a kinsman of the emperor Karl, approved of the idea, and sent the young monk home to negotiate the affair. Adalhard was soon afterwards de posed, but his successor, who bore the same name, zealously took up the business ; and at the Diet of Paderborn, held A.D. 815, a year after Karl's death, his son, the new emperor, Ludwig the Pious, gave his sanction to the scheme. But this first colony from Corvey proved a failure, since provisions were so scarce in the region, that but for waggon-loads of the produce of the more fertile fields of Picardy, sent them from the parent monastery, the monks must have starved. Hence, after a six years' trial, the site* was abandoned, and a new and more hopeful one was obtained from the emperor, belonging to his own domains on the river Weser, between Cassel and Pyrmont. Here rose the afterwards famous conventual establishment, which, far eclipsing the mother whose name it bore, is known as the Corvey of medieval history. It was founded A.D. 822, and of this swarm which went forth from Picardy to occupy the new hive, our Anschar was one of the leaders. Nay, since to him was committed the new conventual school, to him belongs the honour of having first lighted up this Pharos of the Dark Ages. Here, too, he began to preach to the heathen ; for the waters of the Weser, into which the Saxons had been driven by thousands at the point of the sword, had not washed away their old pagan nature. In this valuable preparatory work be laboured for four years.
But already in the year of his exodus from Old or Golden Corvey, as it is styled by the monkish chroniclers, to the New, the icy gates of the North began to turn on their hinges, as if in response to this movement of its Apostle towards them. A dispute had sprung up in Denmark as to the right of succession to the Crown; and Harald Klag, one of its princes who ruled in Jutland, sent an embassy in that year to invoke the intervention of the emperor Ludwig The emperor, in return, despatched an embassy to the court of Harald, at Hedeby, the present Schleswig ; and, in addition to the political business with which it was charged, Ebbo, Archbishop of Rheims and Primate of France, who was placed at its head, was specially instructed to pare the way for the introduction of a Christian mission into the country. Ebbo, who, besides being the Frank monarch's favourite statesman, was no less zealous as a churchman, had long been ambitious of devoting himself to the conversion of the Danes, and threw himself so heartily into the work, that before he left Jutland, King Harald had declared in favour of Christianity. In A. D. $26, the royal convert, whose subsequent conduct justifies the suspicion that political motives may have had much to do with his change of religion, paid a state visit to the emperor at Ingelheim, where, with his queen and a portion of his
• Its ancient name was Hetha or Hechi, and tradition identifies it with a spot Dear Neuhaus, in the bailiwick of Uslar in Hanover.
numerous suite, he received baptism. Ludwig himself stood sponsor for the king, and his empress Judith for the queen. Inquiry was now made by the devout Ludwig, of Warinus, * abbot of the missionary monastery of New Corvey, for a suitable person to accompany his godson on his return to his native land. The abbot at once named a young monk, whom he knew to be thirsting for the honour of the martyr's crown. This was Anschar, who at once volunteered, and so wrought upon a brother monk, Autbert, who endeavoured to dissuade him from engaging in this forlorn hope, that he won him for his companion in the mission. The two evangelists were honoured with an interview with the emperor, who received them graciously, furnished them with church utensils, tents, and other necessaries for their journey, and then commended them to the king. The royal savage, however, who seems to have had no eye for his new religion, save in silver slippers, handled the humble monks very roughly, even before they cleared the Rhine on their way by Holland to Denmark. Afterwards, indeed, when Bishop Hadebod, of Cologne, presented them with a vessel for their voyage, he himself accepted a passage in it, and by their exemplary Christian meekness he was at length very much softened.
Leaving them thus to improve their acquaintance on board, let us now take a rapid bird's-eye survey of this Scandinavia of the Karolingian age, towards which the ark of the Gospel is scudding. Its physical aspect was, of course, the same then as now, save that its firs have been thinned to build a thousand cities, and to furnish the masts and decks of a thousand navies. But the shores, all crag and cliff, jagged with deep fiords, as though, like the sword-fishes and the Vikings who dart in and out of them, they could never have enough of the sea, have seen no change since the last geological epoch, and will see none till the next. Deluges of rain and weird fogs drenched then as now, in vain, its patches of sand and barren heath. What there was of more generous soil was then as much a wilderness as the rest, for tillage was almost unknown. Piracy was the staple trade which victimized every other, even such as was struggling into life amongst the country, men of the rovers, and on all sea-coasts as well as on all merchandize afloat, the “ Raven" pounced only to plunder, and to dip its beak and claws in blood. It is, doubtless, the original of the black flag of more modern buccaneers. The Bird of Night, it flapped its gory wings in triumph, as it devoured its prey at home in its Baltic eyry, and little heeded the dove, already on its flight, to dispute with it its solitary reign. It is true, as hinted above, that there were fitful attempts at commerce-in skins and furs, for instance, with Novogorod the entrepot for Russia. There were even two or three trading seaports, which, by artificially blocking up with rocks the entrances to their roadsteads and harbours, so that none but the local pilots could thread the narrow
• Neander erroneously says it was Abbot Wala who presided over Old Corvey at this time.