Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/98

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THE TWO SWORDS

lucid intellectual substance. Through the artists and scholars who lived at his court he fostered the work of the Carolingian renaissance, about which so many debates have been held. It was an attempt to make available to the present surviving remnants of antique culture. Undoubtedly it had a dash of pedantry, of awkward ceremoniousness before strange gods. It can be criticized for having prevented or at least staved off the birth and growth of a native, national culture. All this, however, is useless fault-finding with history, and obscures one's insight into the true mission of that epoch. Had it not been for the broad vision of a ruler who did not cease to be Franconian with his whole heart when he raised antique culture out of oblivion, there would have been no mediaeval age of German minsters, no second Renaissance, no culture at the French courts, no baroque art and no German clas- sicism. The alien Latin mind to which he played the nurse fostered the European universalism of the Church and therewith also the Euro- pean consciousness. Beyond that he strengthened the vision of the inner unity of culture when he placed it under the aegis of Christen- dom. Charlemagne must be given his full share of credit whenever after his time the lyre and the sword are in harmony and when both of them consort with the Cross. For him everything was so unques- tionably subordinate to the idea of the One Kingdom of God, whom all that is earthly must serve, that he was not conscious of a sharp conflict between the worldly and the spiritual. "The monks at his court also say without hesitation: it is immaterial for the salvation of a man whether he live in a monastery or in the world." It seems that many of his people were rendered happy by a feeling that they dwelt in the peace of a theocratically ordered existence. A poet of his day wrote that though elsewhere in the world men praised the ages of gold, everybody in the kingdom of the Franks held that the present was far superior to the past.

Charlemagne's kingdom was theocratic and it is in this sense that the position of its ruler must be understood. In his first edict he referred to himself as anointed through the grace of God; and these words possessed for him all the ancient significance. He knew that he was the leader of Christendom, not merely of his own people; and the theologians in his circle called him the new David, viceroy of God, or viceroy of Christ. He made the law of the Church the law of


THEOCRACY