Page:The imperial peace; an ideal in European history.djvu/18

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The Imperial Peace

a moral community, one vast Christian city. This it was which completed his glory. That glory springs indeed from his power, for men always admire those who have given orders to multitudes of men; but his power is embellished by the grandeur of the Carolingian ideal, the moral union of humanity in the Imperium Christianum.'

The ideal which a great man of action set before himself as the goal of his endeavour is the ideal which our poet nearly five centuries later cherished and championed and described. Yet people talk of the Middle Ages as dark and benighted and barbarous. The ideals and the dreams of that period were often glowing with light. We have not yet realized them; but we have progressed so far that the dreams of a few are now the ideals for which many, both men and women, work and pray and suffer. The dreamers of the Middle Ages were the heralds of the educated peoples of our time.

Modern society, while passing into a new stage of growth, acknowledges and accepts as fundamental all the essential part of Dante's doctrine. An ordered peace, a peace that enforces progress through justice and freedom, is to us, as to Dante, the end and aim of mankind. We are faced by the same problem. How shall there be constructed a supreme order able to enforce that universal freedom and justice combined which constitute the active power of peace?

In modern times, as in Dante's time, the rivalries of the various nations and states are the cause of war. That some higher power, able to enforce compliance with its decisions, and able to give just and fair decisions in every case, should exist, is the condition on which the peace of Europe has always seemed to depend. Dante's dream was that the supreme monarch was a power equal to the requirements. What shall we say about the future in Europe?