Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/261

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241
MOTIVES

be perfect unless they were able to look across the abyss and enjoy the agonies of their brethren in eternal fire. This idea was a popular one and was not allowed to grow obsolete. Peter Lombard, the great "Mater of Sentences," whose "Sentences," produced about the middle of the twelfth century, was the leading authority in the schools, quotes St. Gregory with approbation, and enlarges upon the satisfaction which the just will feel in the ineffable misery of the damned. Even the mystic tenderness of Bonaventura does not prevent him from echoing the same terrible exultation. When such were the sentiments in which all thinking men were trained, and such were the views which they disseminated among the people, it is not to be supposed that any feelings of compassion for the sufferers would deter the most charitable from the rigid exercise of justice. The ruthless extermination of heresy was a work which could only be pleasing to the righteous, whether simply as spectators or whether they were called by conscience or by station to the higher duties of active persecution. If, notwithstanding this, any scruple remained, the schoolmen easily removed it by proving that persecution was a work of charity, for the benefit of the persecuted.[1]

It is true that all popes were not like Innocent III. nor all inquisitors like Frà Giovanni. Selfish and interested motives were at work, as they are in all human institutions, and the actions even of the best may doubtless have unconsciously been stimulated by pride of opinion and by ambition as well as by a sense of duty to God and man. The religious revolt threatened the temporal possessions of the Church and the privileges of its members, and the desire to preserve these had its share in the resistance which was organized against innovation. Selfish as this desire may have been, we must not forget that, in the thirteenth century, the power and wealth of the hierarchy, however much abused, had yet long been recognized by the public law of Europe. The rulers of the Church could only regard as a sacred duty the maintenance of

  1. Gregor. PP. I. IHomil. in Evangel. xL. 8.-Pet. Lomb. Sententt. Lib. Iv Dist. 50 S 6, 7. Peter Lombard even presses into service a passage from St. Jerome which had no such significance (Hicron. Comment. in Isaiam Lib. XVII c. lxvi. vers. 24).-St. Bonaventare Pharetræ rv. 50.-8. Thome Aquinat. contra Impugn. Relig. cap. xv. 2, 3.