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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
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 corrections will not kill them, but rather preserve them. As Solomon says somewhere in the book of Wisdom: Chasten 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, therefore, 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, teaching 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 together 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 endeavor, 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.
HOW THE CATECHUMENS ARE TO BE INSTRUCTED.
Let him, therefore, who is to be taught the truth in regard to piety be instructed before his baptism in the knowledge 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 dispensations 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;
FROM THE “APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS”
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 various 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 transgressions, 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 judgments 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 adoption 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 concerning 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 German 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 England, 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 learning. The monasteries and bishops were urged to improve the schools already existing, and to establish new ones wherever 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.