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PETER IN CHAINS

laws, wholly free from the power of kings and princes, and liberated also from ties to the bishops. It was to be placed directly under the protection of the Pope and was to realize the monastic ideal for the welfare of the Church. Though so much had been done to desecrate what is holy, Cluny made the heroic attempt to sunder a, man's eternal welfare as fully as possible from the fetters which bound him to the lesser things of the contingent world. These were to be used only as means for realizing the objective of a higher order of human nature, and for ennobling the earth by making it the serving symbol of the Providential will.

Like all serious attacks on decadence, this one began heroically. In everything which the spirit of Cluny created during the two centuries it flourished, there was revealed an awesome awareness that religious values are the most fundamental of all human values. But what was accomplished was so manifold that it is difficult to describe in a few words what the effect of it all really was. It meant both the erection of an ideal which may be termed that of "the Christian superman," and economic revival. It meant political change as well as the de- velopment of a new science. It meant freeing oppressed classes of society as well as creating a new art and poetry. The cultural effects were all the more profound for having seemed inconsequential to the authors of the reform themselves; for nothing possesses so much crea- tive efficacy as do abnegation and retirement. This knighthood which had turned its face inward was characterized by simplicity, silence and a rude way of living. Odo, the first great Abbot, separated himself forever from his beloved Virgil because he had seen in a dream a beau- tiful antique vase filled with wriggling worms. But he did not for- get the beauty of that vase. He bade his monks cast off everything that hampered the soul from looking straight at the world beyond; and yet, or rather because of this injunction, he exacted of them formal tenure of the body. The monk was to stand erect like a soldier with his legs together, for all disorder (he held) springs from outer form- lessness. He practiced and demanded of others a hard asceticism, but even so he honoured freedom and battled for the oppressed against the nobles and the feudal clergy. Not only did he castigate the guilt of those who despoiled and robbed the people, but he denounced as well those who contrary to their duty as pastors of the fold permitted


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