Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/305

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WILLIAM OF ST. AMOUR.

St. Amour returned to Paris resolved to carry on the war. In the pulpit he and his friends thundered forth against the Mendicants. They were not specifically named, but there was no mistaking the ingenious application to them of the signs foretold by the prophets of those who should usher in the days of Antichrist, nor the description of the Pharisees and Publicans made to fit them. New and unimagined perils threatened the Church in the last times. The devil has found that he gained nothing in sending heretics who were easily confuted, so now he has sent the Pale Horse of the Apocalypse — the hypocrites and false brethren who, under an external guise of sanctity, convulse the Church. The persecution of the hypocrites will be more disastrous than all previous persecutions. Another weapon which lay to his hand was eagerly grasped. In 1254 there appeared a work under the name of "Introduction to the Everlasting Gospel," of which the authorship was ascribed to John of Parma, the Franciscan general. We shall have occasion to recur to this, and need only say here that a section of the Franciscans were strongly inclined to the mysticism which now began to show itself, and that the writings of Abbot Joachim of Fiore, now revived and hardily developed, predicted the downfall, in 1260, of the existing order of things in Church and State, the substitution of a new evangel for that of Christ, and the replacement of the hierarchy by mendicant monachism. The "Introduction to the Everlasting Gospel" attracted universal attention and offered too tempting an opening for attack to be neglected.

The University sullenly held out, while Alexander fulminated bull after bull against the recalcitrants, threatening them with varied penalties, and finally calling in the assistance of the secular arm by an appeal to St. Louis. The clergy of Paris, delighted with the opportunity afforded by the temporary unpopularity of the Mendicants, reviled them from the pulpit, and even attacked them personally with blows and threats of worse treatment, till they scarce ventured to appear in the streets and beg their daily bread. The controversy raged wilder as the indomitable St. Amour, undeterred by Alexander's request to the king to throw him into jail, issued a tract entitled "De Periculis novissimorum Temporum" in which he boldly set forth all the arguments of his discourses against the Mendicants. He proved that the pope had no right to contravene the commands of the prophets and apostles, and that