22nd January 20:14
The Crusades (pt2) (welfare history science birth tenets)
Now these remarks apply to the Crusades. They represent prevailing ideas.
Their origin was a universal hatred of Mohammedans. Like all the
institutions of the Middle Ages, they were a great
contradiction,--deba*****t in glory, and glory in deba*****t. With all the
fierceness and superstition and intolerance of feudal barons, we see in the
Crusades the exercise of gallantry, personal heroism, tenderness, Christian
courtesy,--the virtues of chivalry, unselfishness, and magnanimity; but they
ended in giving a new impulse to civilization, which will be more minutely
pointed out before I close my lecture.
Thus the Crusades are really worthy to be chronicled by historians above
anything else which took place in the Middle Ages, since they gave birth to
mighty agencies, which still are vital forces in society,--even as
everything in American history pales before that awful war which arrayed, in
our times, the North against the South in desperate and deadly contest; the
future historians is rapid colonization and development of material
resources, in comparison with the sentiments which provoked that war! What
will future philosophers care how many bushels of wheat are raised in
Minnesota, or car-loads of corn brought from Illinois, or hogs slaughtered
in Chicago, or yards of cloth woven in Lowell, or cases of goods packed in
New York, or bales of carpets manufactured in Philadelphia, or pounds of
cotton exported from New Orleans, or meetings of railway presidents at
Cincinnati to pool the profits of their monopolies, or women's-rights
conventions held in Boston, or schemes of speculators ventilated in the
lobbies of Washington; or stock-jobbing and gambling operations take place
in every large city of the country,--compared with the mighty marshalling of
forces on the banks of the Potomac, at the call of patriotism, to preserve
the life of the republic? You cannot divest war of dignity and interest when
the grandest results, which affect the permanent welfare of nations, are
made to appear.
The Crusades, as they were historically developed, are mixed up with the
religious ideas of the Middle Ages, with the domination of popes, with the
feudal system, with chivalry, with monastic life, with the central power of
kings, with the birth of mercantile States, with the fears and interests of
England, France, Germany, and Italy, for two hundred years,--yea, with the
architecture, commerce, geographical science, and all the arts then known.
All these principalities and powers and institutions and enterprises were
affected by them, so that at their termination a new era in civilization
began. Grasp the Crusades, and you comprehend one of the forces which
undermined the institutions of the Middle Ages.
It is not a little remarkable that the earliest cause of the Crusades, so
far as I am able to trace, was the adoption by the European nations of some
of the principles of Eastern theogonies which pertained to self-expiation.
An Asiatic theological idea prepared the way for the war between Europe and
Asia. The European pietist embraced the religious tenets of the Asiatic
monk, which centred in the propitiation of the Deity by works of penance.
One of the approved and popular forms of penance was a pilgrimage to sacred
places,--seen equally among degenerate Christian sects in Asia Minor, and
among the Mohammedans of Arabia. What place so sacred as Jerusalem, the
scene of the passion and resurrection of our Lord? Ever since the Empress
Helena had built a church at Jerusalem, it had been thronged with pious
pilgrims. A pilgrimage to old Jerusalem would open the doors of the New
Jerusalem, whose streets were of gold, and whose palaces were of pearls.