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V. Or if thou stayest at home, read the books of the
Law, of the Kings, with the Prophets, sing the hymns of
David; and peruse diligently the Gospel, which is the com-
pletion of the other.



That we ought to abstain from all the books of those that
are out of the church.

VI. Abstain from all the heathen books. For what hast
thou to do with such foreign discourses, or laws, or false
prophets, which subvert the faith of the unstable? For
what defect dost thou find in the law of God, that thou
shouldst have recourse to those heathenish fables? For if
thou hast a mind to read history, thou hast the books of the
Kings ; if books of wisdom or poetry, thou hast those of the
Prophets, of Job, and the Proverbs, in which thou wilt find
greater depth of sagacity than in all the heathen poets and
sophisters, because these are the words of the Lord, the only
wise God. If thou desirest something to sing, thou hast the
Psalms ; if the origin of things, thou hast Genesis ; if laws
and statutes, thou hast the glorious law of the Lord God.
Do thou, therefore, utterly abstain from all strange and
diabolical books. Nay, when thou readest the law, think
not thyself bound to observe the additional precepts ; though
not all of them, yet some of them. Read those barely for
the sake of history, in order to the knowledge of them, and
to glorify God that he has delivered thee from such great
and so many bonds. Propose to thyself to distinguish
what rules were from the law of nature, and what were
added afterwards, or were such additional rules as were
introduced and given in the wilderness to the Israelites, after
the making of the calf ; for the law contains those precepts
which were spoken by the Lord God before the people fell
into idolatry, and made a calf like the Egyptian Apis
that is, the ten commandments. But as to those bonds which
were further laid upon them after they had sinned, do not
thou draw them upon thyself; for our Savior came for no
other reason but that he might deliver those that were ob-


noxious thereto from the wrath which was reserved for
them, that he might fulfil the Law and the Prophets, and
that he might abrogate or change those secondary bonds
which were superadded to the rest of the law. For therefore
did he call to us, and say, " Come unto me, all ye that labor
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." When,
therefore, thou hast read the Law, which is agreeable to the
Gospel and to the Prophets, read also the books of the Kings,
that thou mayest thereby learn which of the kings were
righteous, and how they were prospered by God, and how the
promise of eternal life continued with them from Him ; but
those kings which went a-whoring from God did soon perish
in their apostasy by the righteous judgment of God, and
were deprived of his life, inheriting, instead of rest, eternal
punishment. Wherefore by reading these books thou wilt
be mightily strengthened in the faith, and edified in Christ,
whose body and member thou art.


Ye fathers, educate your children in the Lord, bringing
them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and
teach them such trades as are agreeable and suitable to the
Word, lest they by such opportunity become extravagant,
and continue without punishment from their parents, and so
get relaxation before their time, and go astray from that
which is good. Wherefore be not afraid to reprove them,
and to teach them wisdom with severity. For your cor-
rections will not kill them, but rather preserve them. As
Solomon says somewhere in the book of Wisdom : " Chas-
ten thy son, and he will refresh thee ; so wilt thou have good
hope of him. Thou verily shall smite him with the rod, and
shalt deliver his soul from death." And again, says the
same Solomon thus, " He that spareth his rod, hateth his


son " ; and afterwards, " Beat his sides whilst he is an
infant, lest he be hardened and disobey thee." He, there-
fore, that neglects to admonish and instruct his own son,
hates his own child. Do you therefore teach your children
the word of the Lord. Bring them under with cutting
stripes, and make them subject from their infancy, teach-
ing them the Holy Scriptures, which are Christian and
divine, and delivering to them every sacred writing, " not
giving them such liberty that they get the mastery," and
act against your opinion, not permitting them to club to-
gether for a treat with their equals. For so they will be
turned to disorderly courses, and will fall into fornication;
and if this happens by the carelessness of their parents, those
that begat them will be guilty of their souls. For if the
offending children get into the company of debauched
persons by the negligence of those that begat them, they
will not be punished alone by themselves ; but their parents
also be condemned on their account. For this cause en-
deavor, at the time when they are of an age fit for marriage,
to join them in wedlock, and settle them together, lest in the
heat and fervor of their age their course of life become
dissolute, and you be required to give an account by the Lord
God in the day of judgment.


Let him, therefore, who is to be taught the truth in re-
gard to piety be instructed before his baptism in the knowl-
edge of the unbegotten God, in the understanding of his
only begotten Son, in the assured acknowledgment of the
Holy Ghost. Let him learn the order of the several parts of
the creation, the series of providence, the different dispensa-
tions of thy laws. Let him be instructed how the world
was made, and why man was appointed to be a citizen
therein ; let him also know his own nature, of what sort it is ;


let him be taught how God punished the wicked with water
and fire, and did glorify the saints in every generation I
mean Seth, and Enos, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham
and his posterity, and Melchizedek, and Job, and Moses,
and Joshua, and Caleb, and Phineas the priest, and those that
were holy in every generation ; and how God still took care
of and did not reject mankind, but called them from their
error and vanity to the acknowledgment of the truth at va-
rious seasons, reducing them from bondage and impiety unto
liberty and piety, from injustice to righteousness, from death
eternal to everlasting life. Let him that offers himself to
baptism learn these and the like things during the time that
he is a catechumen ; and let him who lays his hands upon
him adore God, the Lord of the whole world, and thank him
for his creation, for his sending Christ his only begotten
Son, that he might save man by blotting out his transgres-
sions, and that he might remit ungodliness and sins, and
might " purify him from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,"
and sanctify man according to the good pleasure of his
kindness, that he might inspire him with the knowledge of
his will, and enlighten the eyes of his heart to consider
of his wonderful works, and make known to him the judg-
ments of righteousness, that so he might hate every way
of iniquity, and walk in the way of truth, that he might
be thought worthy of the laver of regeneration, to the adop-
tion of sons, which is in Christ, that " being planted together
in the likeness of the death of Christ," in hopes of a glorious
communication, he may be mortified to sin, and may live
to God, as to -his mind, and word, and deed, and may be
numbered together in the book of the living. And after this
thanksgiving, let him instruct him in the doctrines concern-
ing our Lord's incarnation, and in those concerning his
passion, and resurrection from the dead, and assumption.


Charlemagne was king of the Franks from 768 to 814
A. D. On Christmas day, 800, he was crowned by the pope
as emperor of the Romans. In spite of his almost incessant
wars and his brilliant career as a conqueror, he earnestly
sought to promote the material and spiritual welfare of his
people. He exhibited a great thirst for knowledge, and
was himself a model of diligence in study. He assiduously
cultivated his mind by intercourse with learned men ; and,
to the time of his death, scholarly discussions remained his
favorite means of recreation. In addition to his native Ger-
man he spoke several other languages readily, especially
the Latin. He invited to his court from all parts of Europe
the most distinguished scholars, of whom Alcuin, of Eng-
land, is best known. He established a model school at court,
and sometimes visited it in person to note the progress of
the pupils.

He sought to multiply the educational facilities of his
great empire, and even went so far as to contemplate the
organization of a popular school system. He endeavored
to enlist the interest of the clergy and monks in education,
as they were at the time the chief representatives of learn-
ing. The monasteries and bishops were urged to improve
the schools already existing, and to establish new ones wher-
ever needed. It was to this end that he issued in 787 the
following capitulary addressed to the abbot Bangulfus. The
translation is that of Mullinger in his " Schools of Charles
the Great," and is evidently more literal than elegant.



OF 787."

Charles, by the grace of God, King of the Franks and
of the Lombards, and Patrician of the Romans, to Bangul-
fus, abbot, and to his whole congregation and the faithful
committed to his charge:

Be it known to your devotion, pleasing to God, that in
conjunction with our faithful we have judged it to be of
utility that, in the bishoprics and monasteries committed by
Christ's favor to our charge, care should be taken that
there shall be not only a regular manner of life and one
conformable to holy religion, but also the study of letters,
each to teach and learn them according to his ability and the
divine assistance. For even as due observance of the rule
of the house tends to good morals, so zeal on the part of the
teacher and the taught imparts order and grace to sentences ;
and those who seek to please God by living aright should
also not neglect to please him by right speaking. It is
written, " By thine own words shalt thou be justified or
condemned " ; and although right doing be preferable to
right speaking, yet must the knowledge of what is right
precede right action. Every one, therefore, should strive to
understand what it is he would fain accomplish; and this
right understanding will be the sooner gained according as
the utterances of the tongue are free from error. And if
false speaking is to be shunned by all men, especially should
it be shunned by those who have elected to be the servants of
the truth.

During past years we have often received letters from
different monasteries, informing us that at their sacred serv-
ices the brethren offered up prayers on our behalf ; and we


have observed that the thoughts contained in these letters,
though in themselves most just, were expressed in uncouth
language, and while pious devotion dictated the sentiments,
the unlettered tongue was unable to express them aright.
Hence there has arisen in our minds the fear lest, if the skill
to write rightly were thus lacking, so too would the
power of rightly comprehending the sacred Scriptures be
far less than was fitting ; and we all know that though verbal
errors be dangerous, errors of the understanding are yet
more so. We exhort you, therefore, not only not to neglect
the study of letters, but to apply yourselves thereto with
perseverance and with that humility which is well pleasing
to God; so that you may be able to penetrate with greater
ease and certainty the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures.
For as these contain images, tropes, and similar figures, it
is impossible to doubt that the reader will arrive far more
readily at the spiritual sense according as he is the better
instructed in learning. Let there, therefore, be chosen for
this work men who are both able and willing to learn, and
also desirous of instructing others ; and let them apply
themselves to the work with a zeal equaling the earnestness
with which we recommend it to them. It is our wish that
you may be what it behooves the soldiers of the Church to
be religious in heart, learned in discourse, pure in act,
eloquent in speech ; so that all who approach your house, in
order to invoke the Divine Master or to behold the excel-
lence of the religious life, may be edified in beholding you,
and instructed in hearing you discourse or chant, and may
return home rendering thanks to God most high.

Fail not, as thou regardest our favor, to send a copy of
this letter to all thy suffragans and to all the monasteries;
and let no monk go beyond his monastery to administer
justice, or to enter the assemblies and the voting-places.


Rhabanus Maurus, a contemporary with Charlemagne,
was born at Mainz about 766 A. D. He sprang from an
honorable family. After receiving from his mother a
model of Christian womanhood a careful training in the
elements of learning, he was sent to the monastery of
Fuldd, where he laid a broad foundation for his subsequent
scholarship. In his early manhood he became for a time
a pupil of Alcuin's, and won the lasting confidence and affec-
tion of his distinguished master.

After leaving Alcuin, Rhabanus became head of the mo-
nastic school of Fulda, to which he brought additional effi-
ciency and distinction.

From far and near this school attracted numerous pupils
who were preparing themselves either for ecclesiastical serv-
ice or for secular pursuits. The subjects of study embraced
not only the seven liberal arts, but also physics, philosophy,
and theology. Rhabanus exhibited great zeal in the work
of education, and was the first to win the proud distinction
of Preceptor Germania.

In 847, after having served as abbot of Fulda for some
years, he was promoted to the dignity of Archbishop of
Mainz. In this new position he displayed great energy
in the betterment of the religious and educational conditions
of his see. He was a prolific author, and more than thirty
volumes bear his name on their title pages. He was ac-
quainted with Greek as well as with Roman literature, and



he drew in some measure on the treasures of both to enrich
his various treatises.

Among his numerous writings there are several that treat
more or less fully of education ; namely, " Education of the
Clergy," " The Reckoning of Time," " On the Soul," " Book
of the World," and " The Study of Wisdom and of the
Divine Law " the last being in the form of a sermon.
All these treatises, which are found in the Sammlung der
bedeutendsten 'pddagogischen Schriftcn edited by Schultz,
Gansen, and Keller, give us a clear insight into the educa-
tional theory and practice of the ninth century of our era.

The following selection is translated from the " Education
of the Clergy " (Unterweisung der Geistlichen}, and is not-
able for two reasons: (i) It shows us the subordination
of education to ecclesiastical ends ; and (2) it presents the
fullest discussion of the seven liberal arts that has come to
us from that period.



I. An ecclesiastical education should qualify the sacred
office of the ministry for divine service. It is fitting that
those who from an exalted station undertake the direction of
the life of the Church, should acquire fulness of knowledge,
and that they further should strive after rectitude of life
and perfection of development. They should not be allowed
to remain in ignorance about anything that appears bene-
ficial for their own information or for the instruction of
those entrusted to their care. Therefore they should en-
deavor to grasp and include in their knowledge the following
things: An acquaintance with Holy Scripture, the unadul-
terated truth of history, the derivative modes of speech,


the mystical sense of words, the advantages growing oat
of the separate branches of knowledge, the integrity of life
that manifests itself in good morals, delicacy and good
taste in oral discourse, penetration in the explanation of
doctrine, the different kinds of medicine, and the various
forms of disease. Any one to whom all this remains un-
known, is not able to care for his own welfare, let alone
that of others.

2. The foundation, the content, and the perfection of all
wisdom is Holy Scripture, which has taken its origin from
that unchangeable and eternal Wisdom, which streams from
the mouth of the Most High, which was begotten before
every other creature through the Holy Spirit, which is a
light incessantly beaming from the words of Holy Scripture.
And when anything else deserves the name of wisdom, it
goes back in its origin to this one source of the wisdom of
the Church. Every truth, which is discovered by any one,
is recognized as true by the truth itself through the media-
tion of the truth ; every good thing, which is in any way
traced out, is recognized and determined as good by the
good itself; all wisdom, which is brought to light by any
one, is found to be wisdom by wisdom itself. And all that
is found of truth and wisdom in the books of the philoso-
phers of this world, dare be ascribed to nothing else than
just to truth and wisdom; for it was not originally invented
by those among whose utterances it is found ; it has much
rather been recognized as something present from eternity,
so far as wisdom and truth, which bring illumination to all
with their instruction, have granted the possibility of such

3. Now the Holy Scriptures, which come to the aid of
the weakness of the human will, have, in dependence upon
the one perfect language in which under favorable circum-
stances they might have spread over the whole globe, been


widely circulated in the different languages of the trans-
lators, in order that they might be known to the nations
unto salvation. Those who read them strive for nothing
else than to grasp the thought and meaning of those who
wrote them, in order thereby to fathom the will of God,
at whose bidding and under whose direction, as we believe,
they were written. But those who read superficially allow
themselves to be deceived through the manifold recurring
passages, the sense of which is obscure, and the meaning
of which is doubtful ; they assign to what is read a meaning
that does not belong to it ; they seek errors where no errors
are to be found ; they surround themselves with an ob-
scurity, in which they can not find the right path. I have
no doubt that this has been so ordered by God's providence
that the pride of man may be restrained through spiritual
labor ; in order that the knowledge of man may be divorced
from pride, to which it easily falls a prey, and then loses
its value entirely.

4. Above all it is necessary that he, who aims to attain
the summit of wisdom, should be converted to the fear of the
Lord, in order to know what the divine will bids us strive
for and shun. The fear of the Lord fills us with the thought
of our mortality and future death. With mortification of
the flesh it nails, as it were, the movements of pride to the
martyr cross of Christ. Then it is enjoined to be lowly in
piety. Therefore we are not to raise any objection to the
Holy Scriptures, either when we understand them and feel
ourselves smitten by their words, or when we do not under-
stand them, and give ourselves up to the thought that we
can understand and grasp something better out of our own
minds. We should remember that it is better and more
comformable to truth, to believe what is written, even if the
sense remains concealed from us, than to hold that for true
which we are able to recognize by our own strength.



5. The first of the liberal arts is grammar, the second
rhetoric, the third dialectic, the fourth arithmetic, the fifth
geometry, the sixth music, the seventh astronomy.

Grammar takes its name from the written character, as
the derivation of the word indicates. The definition of
grammar is this : Grammar is the science which teaches us to
explain the poets and historians; it is the art which qualifies
us to write and speak correctly. Grammar is the source and
foundation of the liberal arts. It should be taught in every
Christian school, since the art of writing and speaking cor-
rectly is attained through it. How could one understand
the sense of the spoken word or the meaning of letters and
syllables, if one had not learned this before from grammar?
How could one know about metrical feet, accent, and verses,
if grammar had not given one knowledge of them? How
should one learn to know the articulation of discourse, the
advantages of figurative language, the laws of word forma-
tion, and the correct forms of words, if one had not famil-
iarized himself with the art of grammar?

All the forms of speech, of which secular science makes
use in its writings, are found repeatedly employed in the
Holy Scriptures. Every one, who reads the sacred Scrip-
tures with care, will discover that our (biblical) authors
have used derivative forms of speech in greater and more
manifold abundance than would have been supposed and
believed. There are in the Scriptures not only examples
of all kinds of figurative expressions, but the designations
of some of them by name ; as, allegory, riddle, parable. A
knowledge of these things is proved to be necessary in
relation to the interpretation of those passages of Holy
Scripture which admit of a twofold sense; an interpreta-
tion strictly literal would lead to absurdities. Everywhere
we are to consider whether that, which we do not at once
understand, is to be apprehended as a figurative expression


in some sense. A knowledge of prosody, which is offered
in grammar, is not dishonorable, since among the Jews,
as St. Jerome testifies, the Psalter resounds sometimes with
iambics, sometimes with Alcaics, sometimes chooses sono-
rous Sapphics, and sometimes even does not disdain cata-
lectic feet. But in Deuteronomy and Isaiah, as in Solomon
and Job, as Josephus and Origen have pointed out, there
are hexameters and pentameters. Hence this art, though
it may be secular, has nothing unworthy in itself ; it should
rather be learned as thoroughly as possible.

6. According to the statements of teachers, rhetoric is
the art of using secular discourse effectively in the circum-
stances of daily life. From this definition rhetoric seems
indeed to have reference merely to secular wisdom. Yet
it is not foreign to ecclesiastical instruction. Whatever the
preacher and herald of the divine law, in his instruction,
brings forward in an eloquent and becoming manner ; what-
ever in his written exposition he knows how to clothe in
adequate and impressive language, he owes to his acquaint-
ance with this art. Whoever at the proper time makes
himself familiar with this art, and faithfully follows its
rules in speaking and writing, needs not count it as some-
thing blameworthy. On the contrary, whoever thoroughly
learns it so that he acquires the ability to proclaim God's
word, performs a good work. Through rhetoric anything
is proved true or false. Who would have the courage to
maintain that the defenders of truth should stand weapon-
less in the presence of falsehood, so that those, who dare
to represent the false, should know how by their discourse
to win the favor and sympathy of the hearers, and that, on
the other hand, the friends of truth should not be able to do
this; that those should know how to present falsehood
briefly, clearly, and with the semblance of truth, and that
the latter, on the contrary, should clothe the truth in such


an exposition, that listening would become a burden, ap-
prehension of the truth a weariness, and faith in the truth
an impossibility?

7. Dialectic is the science of the understanding, which
fits us for investigations and definitions, for explanations,
and for distinguishing the true from the false. It is the
science of sciences. It teaches how to teach others; it
.teaches learning itself ; in it the reason marks and manifests
itself according to its nature, efforts, and activities ; it alone

Online LibraryF. V. N. (Franklin Verzelius Newton) PainterGreat pedagogical essays; Plato to Spencer → online text (page 12 of 33)