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tiff, Urban III. who consecrated him bishop of the cENT. XII Livonians, and, at the same time, declared a holy war against that obstinate people. This war, which was at first carried on against the inhabitants of the province of Esthonia, was continued with still greater vigor, and rendered more general, by Berthold,
, abbot of Lucca, who left his monastery to share the labors and laurels of Mainhard, whom he accordingly succeeded in the see of Livonia. The new bishop marched into that province at the head of a powerful army which he had raised in Saxony, preached the Gospel sword in hand, and proved its truth by blows instead of arguments. Albert, canon of Bremen, became the third bishop of Livonia, and followed, with a barbarous enthusiasm, the same mi. litary methods of conversion that had been practised by his predecessor. He entered Livonia, A. D. 1198, with a fresh body of troops drawn out of Saxony, and, encamping at Riga, instituted there, by the direction of pope Innocent III., the military order of the knights sword-bearers, who were commissioned to dragoon the Livonians into the profession of Christianity, and oblige them by force of arms to receive the benefits of baptism". New legions were sent from Germany to second the efforts, and add efficacy to the mission of these booted apustles; and they, in concert with the knights swordbearers, so cruelly oppressed, slaughtered, and tormented this wretched people, that,exhausted at length, and unable longer to stand firm against the arm of persecution, strengthened still by new accessions of power, they abandoned the statues of their pagan deities, and substituted in their places the images of the saints. But, while they received the blessings of the Gospel, they were deprived of all earthly comforts; for their lands and possessions were taken from them, with the most odious circumstances of cruelty
8 Equestris Ordo Militum Ensiferorum.
See Henr. Leonardi Schurtzfleischii Historia Ordinis Ensiferorum Equitum, Wittenberg. 1701, 8vo.
CENT. xii and violence, and the knights and bishops divided
V. None of the northern nations had a more rooted aversion to the Christians, or a more obstinate antipathy to their religion, than the Sclavo, nians, a rough and barbarous people, who inhabited the coast of the Baltic sea. This excited the zeal of several neighbouring princes, and of a multitude of pious missionaries, who united their efforts, in order to conquer the prejudices of this people, and to open their eyes upon the light of the Gospel. Henry, duke of Saxony, surnamed the Lion, distinguished himself in a particular manner, by the ardour which he discovered in the execution of this pious design, as well as by the wise methods he employed to render it successful. Among other measures that were proper for this purpose, he restored from their ruins, and endowed richly, three bishoprics that had been ravaged and destroyed by these barbarians, namely, the bishoprics of Ratzeburg and Schwerin, and that of Oldenburg, which was afterwards transplanted to Lubeck. The most eminent of the Christian doc
i See the Origines Livoniæ, seu Chronicon vetus Livonicum, published in folio, at Francfort, in the year 1740, by Jo. Daniel Gruberus, and enriched with ample and learned observations and notes, in which the laborious author enumerates all the writers of the Livonian history, and corrects their mistakes. k Dr. Mosheim's account of this matter is
very different from that which is given by Fleury, who asserts, that it was Hartwick, archbishop of Bremen, who restored the three ruined sees, and consecrated Vicelinus bishop of Oldenburg ; and that, as he had done this without addressing himself to Henry, the duke seised the tithes of Vicelinus, until a reconciliation was afterwards brought about between the offended prince and the worthy bishop. See Fleury, Hist. Eccles. liv. Ixix. p. 665, 668. edit. Bruxelles. Fleury, in this and other parts of his history, shews, that he is but indifferently acquainted with the history of Germany, and has not drawn from the best sources. thorities which Dr. Mosheim produces for his account of the affair, are the Origines Guelphicæ, tom. iii. p. 16, 19, 34, 55, 61, 63, 72, 82. with the celebrated Preface of Scheidius, sect. xiv. p. 41. Ludewig's Reliquiæ Manuscriptorum, tom. vi. p. 230. Jo. Ern. de Westphalen, Monumenta inedita Rerum Cimbricarum et Megapolens. tom. ii. p. 1998.
tors, who attempted the conversion of the Sclavo- CENT. XII. nians, was Vicelinus, a native of Hamelen, a man of extraordinary merit, who surpassed almost all his contemporaries in genuine piety and solid learning, and who, after having presided many years in the society of the regular canons of St. Augustin at Falderen, was at length consecrated bishop of Oldenburg. This excellent man employed the last thirty years of his life', amidst numberless vexations, dan, gers and difficulties, in instructing the Sclavonians, and exhorting them to comply with the invitations of the Gospel of Christ; and, as his pious labors were directed by true wisdom, and carried on with the most indefatigable industry and zeal, so were they attended with much fruit, even among that fierce and intractable people. Nor was his ministry among the Sclavonians the only circumstance that redounds to the honour of his memory; the history of his life and actions in general furnishes proofs of his piety and zeal, sufficient to transmit his name to the latest generations."
VI. It is needless to repeat here the observation The judgewe have so often had occasion to make upon such ouglit to conversions as these, or to intimate to the reader that form of the savage nations, who were thus dragooned into versions. the church, became the disciples of Christ, not so much in reality, as in outward appearance. [$ They professed, with an inward reluctance, a religion which was inculcated by violence and bloodshed, which recalled to their remembrance nothing but scenes of desolation and misery ; and which, indeed,
| That is, from the year 1124 to the year 1154, in which he died.
m There is a particular and ample account of Vicelinus in the Cimbria Literata of Mollerus, tom. ii. p. 910, and in the Res Hamburg. of Lambecius, lib. ii. p. 12. See also upon this subject the Origines Neomonaster. et Bordesholinens. of the most learned and industrious Joh. Ern. de Westphalen, which are published in the second tome of the Monumenta inedita Cimbrica, p. 2314, and the Preface to this tome, p. 33. There is in this work a print of Vicelinus well engraven.
CENT. XII. when considered in the representations that were
given of it by the greatest part of the missionaries, was but a few degrees removed from the absurdities of paganism.] The pure and rational religion of the Gospel was never presented to these unhappy nations in its native simplicity; they were only taught to appease the Deity, and to render him propitious, by a senseless round of trifling ceremonies and bodily exercises, which, in many circumstances, resembled the superstitions they were obliged to renounce, and might have been easily reconciled with them, had it not been that the name and history of Christ, the sign of the cross, and some diversity between certain rites and ceremonies of the two religions, opposed this coalition. Besides, the missionaries, whose zeal for imposing the name of Christians upon this people was so vehement and even furious, were extremely indulgent in all other respects, and opposed their prejudices and vices with much gentleness and forbearance. They permitted them to retain several rites and observances that were in direct opposition to the spirit of Christianity, and to the nature of true piety. The truth of the matter seems to have been this, that the leading views of these Christian heralds, and propagators of the faith, a smaller number excepted, were rather turned toward the advancement of their own interests, and the confirming and extending the dominion of the Roman pontiffs, than toward the true conversion of these savage Pagans; that conversion which consists in the removal of ignorance, the correction of error, and the reformation of vice.
VII. A great revolution in Asiatic Tartary, which borders upon Cathay, changed the face of things in that distant région about the commencement of this century, and proved, by its effects, extremely beneficial to the Christian cause. Toward the conclusion of the preceding century, died Koiremkhan, otherwise called Kenkhan, the most powerful monarch that was known in the eastern regions of Asia ; and, while
that mighty kingdom was deprived of its chief, it was cent. XII. invaded with such uncommon valour and success, by a Nestorian priest, whose name was John, that it fell before his victorious arms, and acknowleged this warlike and enterprising presbyter as its monarch. This was the famous Prester John (as he was called), whose territory was, for a long time, considered by the Europeans as a second paradise, as the seat of opulence and complete felicity. As he was a presbyter before his elevation to the royal dignity, many continued to call him Presbyter John, even when he was seated on the throne "; but his kingly name was
n The account I have here given of this famous Presbyter, commonly called Prester John, who was, for a long time, considered as the greatest and happiest of all earthly monarchs, is what appeared to me the most probable among the various relations that have been given of the life and adventures of that extraordinary man. This account is moreover contirmed by the testiinonies of contemporary writers, whose knowlege and impartialily render them worthy of credit; such as William of Tripoli, (see Dufresne's Adnot. ad Vitam Ludovici Sti. à Joinvillio scriptam, p. 89.) as also a certain bishop of Gabala mentioned by Otto Frising. Chronic. lib. vii. cap. xxxii. See also Guillaume Rubruquis, Voyage, cap. xviii, p. 36, in the Antiqua in Asiam Itinera, collected by father Bergeron, and Alberic in Chronico, ad A. 1165, and 1170, in Leibnitii Accessionibus Historicis, tom. ii. p. 345, 355. It is indeed surprising, that such authentic records as these should have escaped the observation of the learned, and that so many different opinions should have been advanced concerning Prester John, and the place of his residence. But it is too generally the fate of learned men, to overlook those accounts that carry the plainest marks of evidence, and, from a passion for the marvellous, to plunge into the regions of uncertainty and doubt. In the fifteenth century, John II. king of Portugal, employed Pedro Covilliano in a laborious inquiry into the real situation of the kingdom of Prester John. The curious voyager undertook this task, and, for information in the matter, traveled with a few companions into Abyssinia; and observing in the emperor of the Abyssinians, or Ethiopians, many circumstances that resembled the accounts which, at that time, prevailed in Europe concerning Prester John, he persuaded himself that he had fulfilled his commission, and found out the residence of that extraordinary monarch, who was the object of his researches. His opinion easily gained credit in Europe, which had not yet emerged out of its ignorance and barbarism. See Morinus, de Sacris Eccles. Ordina