Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/119

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VARIETIES OF DOCTRINE.

Until the perfected soul could return to its Creator, as in the moJcsha or absorption in Brahma of the Hindu, it was forced to undergo repeated existence. As it could be still further punished for evil deeds by transmission into the lower animal forms, there naturally followed the Buddhistic and Brahmanical prohibition of slaying any created thing, except reptiles and fish. The Cathari who were hanged at Goslar in 1052 refused to kill a pullet, even with the gallows before their eyes, and in the thirteenth century this test was regarded as a ready means of identifying them.[1]

There were a few philosophic spirits in the sect, moreover, who emerged from these vain speculations and curiously anticipated the theories of modern Kationalism. With these Nature took the place of Satan; God, after forming the universe, abandoned its conduct to Nature, which has the power of creating all things and regulating them. Even the production of individual species is not the act of divine Providence, but is a process of nature — in fact, of evolution, in modern parlance. These Naturalists, as they called themselves, denied the existence of miracles; they explained, by an exegesis not much more strained than that of orthodoxy, all those in the Gospels ; and they held that it was useless to pray to God for good weather, for Nature alone controlled the elements. They wrote much, and a Catholic antagonist admits the attraction of their writings, especially the work known as "Perpendiculum Scientiarum," or the "Plummet of Science," which he says was well adapted to make a deep impression on the reader through its array of philosophy and happily-chosen texts of Scripture.[2]


  1. Rainerii Saccon. Summa. — Tocco, L'Eresia nel Medio Evo, p. 75. — Gregor. Fanens. Disput. cap. iv. — Monetae adv. Catharos Lib. i. cap. 1, 2, 4, 6. — Alani de Insulis contra Hasret. Lib. i. — Ecberti Schonaug. Serm. i., xiii. contra Catharos. — Ermengaudi contra Hseret. Opusc. cap. 14. — Millot, Hist. Litt. des Trouba- dours, 11. 64. — Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolosan. p. 84.— Gest. Episcop. Leodiens. Lib. II. cap. 60, 61. — Stephan. de Borbone (D'Argentrg, Collect. Judic. de nov. Error. 1. 1. 90). — Muratori Antiq. Ital. Diss. lx.
    Among the early Christians there was a strong tendency to adopt the theory of transmigration as an explanation of the apparent injustice of the judgments of God. See Hieron. Epist. exxx. ad Demetriadem, 16.
  2. Lucae Tudens. de altera Vita Lib, iii. cap. ii.
    Before ridiculing the Catharan theory of Dualism, we must bear in mind how