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MONASTICISM 51

army. Now the bloody conflicts they inaugurated seemed to reflec- tive contemporaries the beginning of a new community of peoples inside which the Roman culture would become common property under the roof of the new religion. The division of Christiandom into Catholic and Arian Churches after the beginning of the 4th century, impeded this development for a long time because the larger number of Germans clung to the heretical faith. Nevertheless the final result of this inner and outer collision of peoples was the union of healthy new energy with a tradition, though centuries would of course have to pass before that union would bear full fruit. The pure and lofty strength of the Church was not lost during the process which saved antique civilization by transforming the Roman state into the Church a transformation which meant that the Church in inherit- ing the degenerate masses bequeathed by the state necessarily received much that was utterly rotten.

Now monasticism arose strengthening and purifying the Church, even as the Germans regenerated the human materials of the Empire. The monastic idea did not originate with Christianity, but it received from this a new content, a far-reaching modification of the ancient Oriental ideal of dying in order to live. When men severed their lives from society and abandoned all that could be abandoned, they did not always do the same thing. In both East and West the Church saw that the heroic gesture of world renouncement might lead to the peril of world condemnation. It saw ascetics band together in deplorable isolation from the whole of the Church. As the new school of the nations, it could not desire that a rigid self-contempla- tion and self-culture of the personality be set over and against it as a higher form of Christianity. It was deeply anxious to embody what is eternally valuable in monasticism into its scheme of life. Men like Basil in the East, who, despite his struggles and tiring labours as Archbishop of Caesarea, was not tempted to return to the pleasant her- mitage where he had cared for his garden and drawn a cart of dung just as cheerfully as he later engaged in learned study, was an exemplar of a monasticism which was entirely in consonance with the Church and could serve it like a right hand. In the West a great bishop, Severin, was a similar shepherd of his people. The paradox of a man who in action says "yes" to the world because he has said "no" to it per-


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