prejudices prevalent even among the savants. We must not lose sight of the mental condition of all men in those times. If we keep this in view, we shall, instead of despising the men who first put the question just stated, wonder how at that stage of intellectual progress it could have suggested itself to any mind. Certain it is that the most learned (so small was their amount of science, and so peculiar were the settled opinions of their age) were not ready to discuss other subjects.
They soon brought their discussions before their pupils, and from among these the debate found its way into society: kings, nobles, and burgesses talked about it, and as a consequence talked about the points of knowledge necessary to solve the question. This was a slow operation indeed. It took eight centuries before the controversy was settled.
Yet, in time, hundreds of other questions grew out of this single one, and it became necessary to settle all the minor objections and issues before the main one could be concluded upon. What is soul? what is mind? what is reason? what is feeling? what is sensation? what is knowledge? what is man and his destiny? what is revelation in contradistinction to science? how far can science go without requiring the aid of revelation? is man a free agent? are all men of the same species? what are the laws of thought?—in one word, what was true or not true in everything then generally held to be true?
We are far from wishing it to be understood that all these questions were immediately suggested or started; but the book-men (as their sphere of thought became more and more enlarged) by the sharp contradiction of one another, found it necessary to suggest and discuss them all. They did so boldly and conscientiously, in their contestations. They did so, though many among them were, for the ant i-Christian opinions they advanced, condemned as heretics.
But we are too hasty. We must endeavor to show the different steps of this evolution, and the main instrumentality of the book-men and the theorists in every advance that was made.
In the course of the reign of Charlemagne, the doctors of philosophy composed a calendar, and proposed the months as we have them now. This calendar they formed by means of their studies of such ancient writings of the Greeks and Romans as they had been able to procure.
They prevailed upon Charlemagne to establish this calendar by law. By doing this, Charlemagne got all the credit of the work itself; but to a certainty he was incapable of performing it. Individually, he was an ignorant man; but he thirsted for knowledge, glory, and power; had heard from the scholars of the ancient grandeur, monuments, and literature of Rome and Greece; and his ambition impelled him to carry into effect any suggestion of measures likely to contribute to his glory. He was devout, and sought also the glory of God.