Regula Pauperum Commilitonum Christi et
The most curious parts of the rule
displayed--The confirmation of the rule by the Pope--The visit of Hugh de
Payens, the Master of the Temple, to England--His cordial reception--The
foundation of the Order in this country--Lands and money granted to the
Templars--Their popularity in Europe--The rapid increase of their
fraternity--St. Bernard takes up the pen in their behalf--He displays their
valour and piety.
"Parmi les contradictions qui entrent dans le
gouvernement de ce monde ce n’en est pas un petite que cette institution de
moines armées qui font vœu de vivre là a fois en anachoretes et en
soldats."--Voltaire sur les Mœurs et l’Esprit des Nations.
"THE RULE OF THE POOR FELLOW-SOLDIERS OF JESUS
CHRIST AND OF THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON," arranged by St. Bernard, and sanctioned
by the Holy Fathers of the Council of Troyes, for the government and
regulation of the monastic and military society of the Temple, is principally
of a religious character, and of an austere and gloomy cast. It is divided
into seventy-two heads or chapters, and is preceded by a short prologue,
addressed "to all who disdain to follow after their own wills, and desire with
purity of mind to fight for the most high and true king," exhorting
them to put on the armour of obedience, and to
associate themselves together with piety and humility for the defence of the
holy catholic church; and to employ a pure diligence, and a steady
perseverance in the exercise of their sacred profession, so that they might
share in the happy destiny reserved for the holy warriors who had given up
their lives for Christ.
The rule enjoins severe devotional exercises,
self-mortification, fasting, and prayer, and a constant attendance at matins,
vespers, and on all the services of the church, "that being refreshed and
satisfied with heavenly food, instructed and established with heavenly
precepts, after the consummation of the divine mysteries," none might be
afraid of the fight, but be prepared for the crown. If unable to
attend the regular service of God, the absent brother is for matins to say
over thirteen pater-nosters, for every hour seven, and for vespers nine. When
any templar draweth nigh unto death, the chaplains and clerk are to assemble
and offer up a solemn mass for his soul; the surrounding brethren are to spend
the night in prayer, and a hundred pater-nosters are to be repeated for the
dead brother. "Moreover," say the holy Fathers, "we do strictly enjoin you,
that with divine and most tender charity ye do daily bestow as much meat and
drink as was given to that brother when alive, unto some poor man for forty
days." The brethren are, on all occasions, to speak sparingly, and to wear a
grave and serious deportment. They are to be constant in the exercise of
charity and almsgiving, to have a watchful care over all sick brethren, and to
support and sustain all old men. They are not to receive letters from their
parents, relations, or friends, without the license of the master, and all
gifts are immediately to be taken to the latter, or to the treasurer, to be
disposed of as he may direct. They are, moreover, to receive no service or
attendance from a woman, and are commanded, above all things, to shun
There is much that is highly praiseworthy in
this rule, and some extracts therefrom will be read with interest.
"VIII. In one common hall, or refectory, we
will that you take meat together, where, if your wants cannot be made known by
signs, ye are softly and privately to ask for what you want. If at any time
the thing you require is not to be found, you must seek it with all
gentleness, and with submission and reverence to the board, in remembrance of
the words of the apostle: Eat thy bread in silence, and in emulation of
the psalmist, who says, I have set a watch upon my mouth; that is, I
have communed with myself that I may not offend, that is, with my tongue; that
is, I have guarded my mouth, that I may not speak evil.
"IX. At dinner and at supper, let there be
always some sacred reading. If we love the Lord, we ought anxiously to long
for, and we ought to hear with most earnest attention, his wholesome words and
precepts . .
"X. Let a repast of flesh three times a week
suffice you, excepting at Christmas, or Faster, or the feast of the Blessed
Mary, or of All Saints. . . . . On Sunday we think it clearly fitting and
expedient that two messes of flesh should be served up to the knights and the
chaplains. But let the rest, to wit, the esquires and retainers, remain
contented with one, and be thankful therefor.
"XI. Two and two ought in general to eat
together, that one may have an eye upon another . . . . . .
"XII. On the second and fourth days of the
week, and upon Saturday, we think two or three dishes of pulse, or other
vegetables, will be sufficient for all of you, and so we enjoin it to be
observed; and whosoever cannot eat of the one may feed upon the other.
"XIII. But on the sixth day (Friday) we
recommend the Lenten food, in reverence of the Passion, to all of you,
excepting such as be sick; and from the feast of All Saints until Easter, it
must be eaten but once a day, unless it happen to be Christmas-day, or the
feast of Saint Mary, or of the Apostles, when they may eat thereof twice; and
so at other times, unless a general fast should take place.
"XIV. After dinner and supper, we peremptorily
command thanks to
be given to Christ, the great Provider of all
things, with a humble heart, as it becomes you, in the church, if it be near
at hand, and if it be not, in the place where food has been eaten. The
fragments (the whole loaves being reserved) should be given with brotherly
charity to the domestics, or to poor people. And so we order it.
"XV. Although the reward of poverty, which is
the kingdom of heaven, be doubtless due unto the poor, yet we command you to
give daily unto the almoner the tenth of your bread for distribution, a thing
which the Christian religion assuredly recommends as regards the poor.
"XVI. When the sun leaveth the eastern region,
and descends into the west, at the ringing of the bell, or other customary
signal, ye must all go to compline (evening prayer;) but we wish you
beforehand to take a general repast. But this repast we leave to the
regulation and judgment of the Master, that when he pleaseth you may have
water, and when he commandeth you may receive it kindly tempered with wine:
but this must not be done too plentifully, but sparingly, because we see even
wise men fall away through wine.
"XVII. The compline being ended, you must go to
bed. After the brothers have once departed from the hall, it must not be
permitted any one to speak in public, except it be upon urgent necessity. But
whatever is spoken must be said in an under tone by the knight to his esquire.
Perchance, however, in the interval between prayers and sleep, it may behove
you, from urgent necessity, no opportunity having occurred during the day, to
speak on some military matter, or concerning the state of your house, with
some portion of the brethren, or with the Master, or with him to whom the
government of the house has been confided: this, then, we order to be done in
conformity with that which hath been written: In many words thou shalt not
avoid sin; and in another place, Life and death are in the hands of the
tongue. In that discourse, therefore, we utterly prohibit scurrility and
idle words moving unto laughter, and on going to bed, if any one amongst you
hath uttered a foolish saying, we enjoin him, in all humility, and with purity
of devotion, to repeat the Lord's Prayer.
"XVIII. We do not require the wearied soldiers
to rise to matins, as
it is plain the others must, but with the
assent of the Master, or of him who hath been put in authority by the Master,
they may take their rest; they must, nevertheless, sing thirteen appointed
prayers, so that their minds be in unison with their voices, in accordance
with that of the prophet: Sing wisely unto the Lord, and again, I
will sing unto thee in the sight of the angels. This, however, should
always be left to the judgment of the Master . . . . . . . .
"XX. . . . . . . To all the professed knights,
both in winter and summer, we give, if they can be procured, white garments,
that those who have cast behind them a dark life may know that they are to
commend themselves to their Creator by a pure and white life. For what is
whiteness but perfect chastity, and chastity is the security of the soul and
the health of the body. And unless every knight shall continue chaste, he
shall not come to perpetual rest, nor see God, as the apostle Paul witnesseth:
Follow after peace with all men, and chastity, without which no man shall
see God. . . . . . .
"XXI. . . . . . . Let all the esquires and
retainers be clothed in black garments; but if such cannot be found, let them
have what can be procured in the province where they live, so that they be of
one colour, and such as is of a meaner character, viz. brown.
"XXII. It is granted to none to wear white
habits, or to have white mantles, excepting the above-named knights of Christ.
"XXIII. We have decreed in common council, that
no brother shall wear skins or cloaks, or anything serving as a covering for
the body in the winter, even the cassock made of skins, except they be the
skins of lambs or of rams. . . . . . . .
"XXV. If any brother wisheth as a matter of
right, or from motives of pride, to have the fairest or best habit, for such
presumption without doubt he merits the very worst.
"XXX. To each one of the knights let there be
allotted three horses. The noted poverty of the House of God, and of the
Temple of Solomon, does not at present permit an increase of the number,
unless it be with the license of the Master .
"XXXI. For the same reason we grant unto each
knight only one
esquire; but if that esquire serve any knight
gratis, and for charity, it is not lawful to chide him, nor to strike him for
"XXXII. We order you to purchase for all the
knights desiring to serve Christ in purity of spirit, horses fit for their
daily occasions, and whatever is necessary for the due discharge of their
profession. And we judge it fitting and expedient to have the horses valued by
either party equally, and let the price be kept in writing, that it may not be
forgotten. And whatsoever shall be necessary for the knight, or his horses, or
his esquire, adding the furniture requisite for the horses, let it be bestowed
out of the same house, according to the ability of that house. If, in the
meanwhile, by some mischance it should happen that the knight has lost his
horses in the service, it is the duty of the Master and of the house to find
him others; but, on this being done, the knight himself, through the love of
God, should pay half the price, the remainder, if it so please him, he may
receive from the community of the brethren.
"XXXIII. . . . . . . . . It is to be holden,
that when anything shall have been enjoined by the Master, or by him to whom
the Master hath given authority, there must be no hesitation, but the thing
must be done without delay, as though it had been enjoined from heaven: as the
truth itself says, In the hearing of the ear he hath obeyed me. . . . .
. . . .
"XXXV. . . . . . . . . When in the field, after
they shall have been sent to their quarters, no knight, or esquire, or
servant, shall go to the quarters of other knights to see them, or to speak to
them, without the order of the superior before mentioned. We, moreover, in
council, strictly command, that in this house, ordained of God, no man shall
make war or make peace of his own free will, but shall wholly incline himself
to the will of the Master, so that he may follow the saying of the Lord, I
came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
. . . . . . . . .
"XXXVII. We will not that gold or silver, which
is the mark of private wealth, should ever be seen on your bridles,
breastplates, or spurs, nor should it be permitted to any brother to buy such.
If, indeed, such like furniture shall have been charitably bestowed upon you,
the gold and silver
must be so coloured, that its splendour and
beauty may not impart to the wearer an appearance of arrogance beyond his
. . . . . . . . .
"XL. Bags and trunks, with locks and keys, are
not granted, nor can any one have them without the license of the Master, or
of him to whom the business of the house is intrusted after the Master. In
this regulation, however, the procurators (preceptors) governing in the
different provinces are not understood to be included, nor the Master himself.
"XLI. It is in nowise lawful for any of the
brothers to receive letters from his parents, or from any man, or to send
letters, without the license of the Master, or of the procurator. After the
brother shall have had leave, they must be read in the presence of the Master,
if it so pleaseth him. If, indeed, anything whatever shall have been directed
to him from his parents, let him not presume to receive it until information
has been first given to the Master. But in this regulation the Master and the
procurators of the houses are not included.
"XLII. Since every idle word is known to beget
sin, what can those who boast of their own faults say before the strict Judge?
The prophet showeth wisely, that if we ought sometimes to be silent, and to
refrain from good discourse for the sake of silence, how much the rather
should we refrain from evil words, on account of the punishment of sin. We
forbid therefore, and we resolutely condemn, all tales related by any brother,
of the follies and irregularities of which he hath been guilty in the world,
or in military matters, either with his brother or with any other man. It
shall not be permitted him to speak with his brother of the irregularities of
other men, nor of the delights of the flesh with miserable women; and if by
chance he should hear another discoursing of such things, he shall make him
silent, or with the swift foot of obedience he shall depart from him as soon
as he is able, and shall lend not the ear of the heart to the vender of idle
"XLIII. If any gift shall be made to a brother,
let it be taken to the Master or the treasurer. If, indeed, his friend or his
parent will consent to make the gift only on condition that he useth it
himself, he must not receive it until permission hath been obtained from the
Master. And whosoever
shall have received a present, let it not
grieve him if it be given to another. Yea, let him know assuredly, that if he
be angry at it, he striveth against God.
. . . . . . . . .
"XLVI. We are all of opinion that none of you
should dare to follow the sport of catching one bird with another: for it is
not agreeable unto religion for you to be addicted unto worldly delights, but
rather willingly to hear the precepts of the Lord, constantly to kneel down to
prayer, and daily to confess your sins before God with sighs and tears. Let no
brother, for the above especial reason, presume to go forth with a man
following such diversions with a hawk, or with any other bird.
XLVII. Forasmuch as it becometh all religion to
behave decently and humbly without laughter, and to speak sparingly but
sensibly, and not in a loud tone, we specially command and direct every
professed brother that he venture not to shoot in the woods either with a
long-bow or a cross-bow; and for the same reason, that he venture not to
accompany another who shall do the like, except it be for the purpose of
protecting him from the perfidious infidel; neither shall he dare to halloo,
or to talk to a dog, nor shall he spur his horse with a desire of securing the
. . . . . . . . .
"LI. Under Divine Providence, as we do believe,
this new kind of religion was introduced by you in the holy places, that is to
say, the union of warfare with religion, so that religion, being armed, maketh
her way by the sword, and smiteth the enemy without sin. Therefore we do
rightly adjudge, since ye are called KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE, that for your
renowned merit, and especial gift of godliness, ye ought to have lands and
men, and possess husbandmen and justly govern them, and the customary services
ought to be specially rendered unto you.
LII. Above all things, a most watchful care is
to be bestowed upon sick brothers, and let their wants be attended to as
though Christ himself was the sufferer, bearing in mind the blessed words of
the Gospel, I was sick, and ye visited me. These are indeed carefully
and patiently to be fostered, for by such is acquired a heavenly reward.
"LIII. We direct the attendants of those who
are sick, with every
attention, and with the most watchful care,
diligently and faithfully to administer to them whatever is necessary for
their several infirmities, according to the ability of the houses, for
example, flesh and fowls and other things, until they are restored to health.
. . . . . . . . .
"LV. We permit you to have married brothers in
this manner, if such should seek to participate in the benefit of your
fraternity; let both the man and his wife grant, from and after their death,
their respective portions of property, and whatever more they acquire in after
life, to the unity of the common chapter; and, in the interim, let them
exercise an honest life, and labour to do good to the brethren: but they are
not permitted to appear in the white habit and white mantle. If the husband
dies first, he must leave his portion of the patrimony to the brethren, and
the wife shall have her maintenance out of the residue, and let her depart
forthwith; for we consider it most improper that such women should remain in
one and the same house with the brethren who have promised chastity unto God.
"LVI. It is moreover exceedingly dangerous to
join sisters with you in your holy profession, for the ancient enemy hath
drawn many away from the right path to paradise through the society of women:
therefore, dear brothers, that the flower of righteousness may always flourish
amongst you, let this custom from henceforth be utterly done away with.
. . . . . . . . .
"LVIII. If any knight out of the mass of
perdition, or any secular man, wisheth to renounce the world and to choose
your life and communion, he shall not be immediately received, but, according
to the saying of Paul, Prove the spirits, whether they be of God; and
if so, let him be admitted. Let the rule, therefore, be read in his presence;
and if he shall have undertaken diligently to obey the precepts thereof, then,
if it please the Master and the brothers to receive him, let the brothers be
called together, and let him make known with sincerity of mind his desire and
petition unto all. Then, indeed, the term of probation should altogether rest
in the consideration and forethought of the Master, according to the honesty
of life of the petitioner.
"LIX. We do not order all the brothers to be
called, in every instance, to the council, but those only whom the Master
shall know to be circumspect, and fit to give advice; when, however, important
matters are to be treated of, such as the granting of the land of the
fraternity, or when the thing debated immediately affects the order itself, or
when a brother is to be received, then it is fit that the whole society should
be called together, if it please the Master, and the advice of the common
chapter having been heard, the thing which the Master considereth the best and
the most useful, that let him do. . . . . . . . .
"LXII. Although the rule of the holy fathers
sanctions the dedication of children to a religious life, yet we will not
suffer you to be burdened with them, but he who kindly desireth to give his
own son or his kinsman to the military religion, let him bring him up until he
arrives at an age when he can, with an armed hand, manfully root out the
enemies of Christ from the Holy Land. Then, in accordance with our rule, let
the father or the parents place him in the midst of the brothers, and lay open
his petition to them all. For it is better not to vow in childhood, lest
afterwards the grown man should foully fall away.
"LXIII. It behoves you to support, with pious
consideration, all old men, according to their feebleness and weakness, and
dutifully to honour them, and let them in nowise be restricted from the
enjoyment of such things as may be necessary for the body; the authority of
the rule, however, being preserved.
"LXIV. The brothers who are journeying through
different provinces should observe the rule, so far as they are able, in their
meat and drink, and let them attend to it in other matters, and live
irreproachably, that they may get a good name out of doors. Let them not
tarnish their religious purpose either by word or deed; let them afford to all
with whom they may be associated, an example of wisdom, and a perseverance in
all good works. Let him with whom they lodge be a man of the best repute, and,
if it be possible, let not the house of the host on that night be without a
light, lest the dark enemy (from whom God preserve us) should find some
opportunity. But where they shall hear of knights not excommunicated meeting
together, we order them to hasten thither, not
considering so much their temporal profit as
the eternal safety of their souls. . . . . . . . .
"LXVII. If any brother shall transgress in
speaking, or fighting, or in any other light matter, let him voluntarily show
his fault unto the Master by way of satisfaction. If there be no customary
punishment for light faults, let there be a light penance; but if, he
remaining silent, the fault should come to be known through the medium of
another, he must be subjected to greater and more severe discipline and
correction. If indeed the offence shall be grave, let him be withdrawn from
the companionship of his fellows, let him not eat with them at the same table,
but take his repast alone. The whole matter is left to the judgment and
discretion of the Master, that his soul may be saved at the day of judgment.
"LXVIII. But, above all things, care must be
taken that no brother, powerful or weak, strong or feeble, desirous of
exalting himself, becoming proud by degrees, or defending his own fault,
remain unchastened. If he showeth a disposition to amend, let a stricter
system of correction be added: but if by godly admonition and earnest
reasoning he will not be amended, but will go on more and more lifting himself
up with pride, then let him be cast out of the holy flock in obedience to the
apostle, Take away evil from among you. It is necessary that from the
society of the Faithful Brothers the dying sheep be removed. But let the
Master, who ought to hold the staff and the rod in his hand, that is to
say, the staff that he may support the infirmities of the weak, and the rod
that he may with the zeal of rectitude strike down the vices of delinquents;
let him study, with the counsel of the patriarch and with spiritual
circumspection, to act so that, as blessed Maximus saith, The sinner be not
encouraged by easy lenity, nor the sinner hardened in his iniquity by
"LXXI. Contentions, envyings, spite,
murmurings, backbiting, slander, we command you, with godly admonition, to
avoid, and do ye flee therefrom as from the plague. Let every one of you,
therefore, dear brothers, study with a watchful mind that he do not secretly
slander his brother, nor accuse him, but let him studiously ponder upon the
saying of the
apostle, Be not thou an accuser or a
whisperer among the people. But when he knoweth clearly that his brother
hath offended, let him gently and with brotherly kindness reprove him in
private, according to the commandment of the Lord; and if he will not hear
him, let him take to him another brother, and if he shall take no heed of
both, let him be publicly reproved in the assembly before all. For they have
indeed much blindness who take little pains to guard against spite, and thence
become swallowed up in the ancient wickedness of the subtle adversary.
"LASTLY. We hold it dangerous to all
religion to gaze too much on the countenance of women; and therefore no
brother shall presume to kiss neither widow, nor virgin, nor mother, nor
sister, nor aunt, nor any other woman. Let the knighthood of Christ shun
feminine kisses, through which men have very often been drawn into danger,
so that each, with a pure conscience and secure life, may be able to walk
everlastingly in the sight of God."
The above rule having been confirmed by a Papal
bull, Hugh de Payens proceeded to France, and from thence he came to England,
and the following account is given of his arrival, in the Saxon chronicle.
"This same year, (A.D. 1128,) Hugh of the
Temple came from Jerusalem to the king in Normandy, and the king received him
with much honour, and gave him much treasure in gold and silver, and
afterwards he sent him into England, and there he was well received by all
good men, and all gave him treasure, and in Scotland also, and they sent in
all a great sum in gold and silver by him to Jerusalem, and there went with
him and after him so great a number as never before since the days of Pope
Urban." Grants of land, as well as of money, were at the same time made
to Hugh de Payens and his brethren, some of
which were shortly afterwards confirmed by King Stephen on his accession to
the throne, (A.D. 1135.) Among these is a grant of the manor of Bistelesham
made to the Templars by Count Robert de Ferrara, and a grant of the church of
Langeforde in Bedfordshire made by Simon de Wahull, and Sibylla his wife, and
Walter their son.
Hugh de Payens, before his departure, placed a
Knight Templar at the head of the order in this country, who was called the
Prior of the Temple, and was the procurator and vicegerent of the Master. It
was his duty to manage the estates granted to the fraternity, and to transmit
the revenues to Jerusalem. He was also delegated with the power of admitting
members into the order, subject to the control and direction of the Master,
and was to provide means of transport for such newly-admitted brethren to the
far east, to enable them to fulfil the duties of their profession. As the
houses of the Temple increased in number in England, sub-priors came to be
appointed, and the superior of the order in this country was then called the
Grand Prior, and afterwards Master of the Temple.
Many illustrious knights of the best families
in Europe aspired to the habit and the vows, but however exalted their rank,
they were not received within the bosom of the fraternity until they had
proved themselves by their conduct worthy of such a fellowship. Thus, when
Hugh d’Amboise, who had harassed and oppressed the people of Marmontier by
unjust exactions, and had refused to submit to the judicial decision of the
Count of Anjou, desired to enter the order, Hugh de Payens refused to admit
him to the vows, until he had humbled himself, renounced his pretensions, and
given perfect satisfaction to those whom he had injured. The candidates,
moreover, previous to their admission,
were required to make reparation and
satisfaction for all damage done by them at any time to churches, and to
public or private property.
An astonishing enthusiasm was excited
throughout Christendom in behalf of the Templars; princes and nobles,
sovereigns and their subjects, vied with each other in heaping gifts and
benefits upon them, and scarce a will of importance was made without an
article in it in their favour. Many illustrious persons on their deathbeds
took the vows, that they might be buried in the habit of the order; and
sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves
amongst the holy fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the Master
and the brethren of the Temple.
Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of
Barcelona and Provence, at a very advanced age, abdicating his throne, and
shaking off the ensigns of royal authority, retired to the house of the
Templars at Barcelona, and pronounced his vows (A.D. 1130) before brother Hugh
de Rigauld, the Prior. His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person
to the chief house of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money
thither, and immuring himself in a small cell in the Temple at Barcelona, he
there remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his
profession until the day of his death. *
At the same period, the Emperor Lothaire bestowed on the order a large portion
of his patrimony of Supplinburg; and the year following, (A.D. 1131,) Alphonso
the First, king of Navarre and Arragon, also styled Emperor of Spain, one of
the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the Knights of the
Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre and Arragon, and a
few hours before his death he caused this will to be ratified and signed by
most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity of this document, however,
disputed, and the claims of the Templars
were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre; but in Arragon they
obtained, by way of compromise, lands, and castles, and considerable
dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the
kingdom, and of the contributions raised from the Moors. *
To increase the enthusiasm in favour of the
Templars, and still further to swell their ranks with the best and bravest of
the European chivalry, St. Bernard, at the request of Hugh de Payens, took up
his powerful pen in their behalf. In a famous discourse "In praise of the New
Chivalry," the holy abbot sets forth, in eloquent and enthusiastic terms, the
spiritual advantages and blessings enjoyed by the military friars of the
Temple over all other warriors. He draws a curious picture of the relative
situations and circumstances of the secular soldiery and the soldiery
of Christ, and shows how different in the sight of God are the
bloodshed and slaughter perpetrated by the one, from that committed by the
This extraordinary discourse is written with
great spirit; it is addressed "To Hugh, Knight of Christ, and Master of the
Knighthood of Christ," is divided into fourteen parts or chapters, and
commences with a short prologue. It is curiously illustrative of the spirit of
the times, and some of its most striking passages will be read with interest.
The holy abbot thus pursues his comparison
between the soldier of the world and the soldier of Christ--the secular
and the religious warrior.
"As often as thou who wagest a secular warfare
marchest forth to battle, it is greatly to be feared lest when thou slayest
thine enemy in the body, he should destroy thee in the spirit, or lest
peradventure thou shouldst be at once slain by him both in body and soul. From
the disposition of the heart, indeed, not by the event of the fight, is to be
estimated either the jeopardy or the victory of the Christian. If, fighting
with the desire of killing another, thou shouldest chance to get killed
thyself, thou diest a man-slayer; if, on the other hand, thou prevailest, and
through a desire of conquest or revenge killest a man, thou livest a
man-slayer. . . . O unfortunate victory, when in overcoming thine adversary
thou fallest into sin, and anger or pride having the mastery over thee, in
vain thou gloriest over the vanquished . . .
"What, therefore, is the fruit of this secular,
I will not say 'militia,' but 'malitia,' if the slayer
committeth a deadly sin, and the slain perisheth eternally? Verily, to use the
words of the apostle, he that ploweth should plow in hope, and he that
thresheth should be partaker of his hope. Whence, therefore, O soldiers,
cometh this so stupendous error? What insufferable madness is this--to wage
war with so great cost and labour, but with no pay except either death or
crime? Ye cover your horses with silken trappings, and I know not how much
fine cloth hangs pendent from your coats of mail. Ye paint your spears,
shields, and saddles; your bridles and spurs are adorned on all sides with
gold, and silver, and gems, and with all this pomp, with a shameful fury and a
reckless insensibility, ye rush on to death. Are these military ensigns, or
are they not rather the garnishments of women? Can it happen that the
sharp-pointed sword of the enemy will respect gold, will it spare gems, will
it be unable to penetrate the silken garment? Lastly, as ye yourselves have
often experienced, three things are indispensably necessary to the success of
the soldier; he must, for example, be bold, active, and
circumspect; quick in running, prompt in
striking; ye, however, to the disgust of the eye, nourish your hair after the
manner of women, ye gather around your footsteps long and flowing vestures, ye
bury up your delicate and tender hands in ample and wide-spreading sleeves.
Among you indeed, nought provoketh war or awakeneth strife, but either an
irrational impulse of anger, or an insane lust of glory, or the covetous
desire of possessing another man's lands and possessions. In such causes it is
neither safe to slay nor to be slain. . . . . . .
III. "But the soldiers of CHRIST indeed
securely fight the battles of their Lord, in no wise fearing sin either from
the slaughter of the enemy, or danger from their own death. When indeed death
is to be given or received for Christ, it has nought of crime in it, but much
of glory. . . .
"And now for an example, or to the
confusion of our soldiers fighting not manifestly for God but for the devil,
we will briefly display the mode of life of the Knights of Christ, such as it
is in the field and in the convent, by which means it will be made plainly
manifest to what extent the soldiery of GOD and the soldiery of the WORLD
differ from one another. . . . The soldiers of Christ live together in common
in an agreeable but frugal manner, without wives and without children; and
that nothing may be wanting to evangelical perfection, they dwell together
without property of any kind, *
in one house, under one rule, careful to preserve the unity of the spirit in
the bond of peace. You may say, that to the whole multitude there is but one
heart and one soul, as each one in no respect followeth after his own will or
desire, but is diligent to do the will of the Master. They are never idle nor
rambling abroad, but when they are not in the field, that they may not eat
their bread in idleness, they are fitting and repairing their armour and their
clothing, or employing themselves in such occupations as the will of the
or their common necessities render expedient.
Among them there is no distinction of persons; respect is paid to the best and
most virtuous, not the most noble. They participate in each other's honour,
they bear one another's burthens, that they may fulfil the law of Christ. An
insolent expression, a useless undertaking, immoderate laughter, the least
murmur or whispering, if found out, passeth not without severe rebuke. They
detest cards and dice, they shun the sports of the field, and take no delight
in that ludicrous catching of birds, (hawking,) which men are wont to indulge
in. Jesters, and soothsayers, and storytellers, scurrilous songs, shows and
games, they contemptuously despise and abominate as vanities and mad follies.
They cut their hair, knowing that, according to the apostle, it is not seemly
in a man to have long hair. They are never combed, seldom washed, but appear
rather with rough neglected hair, foul with dust, and with skins browned by
the sun and their coats of mail.
"Moreover, on the approach of battle they
fortify themselves with faith within, and with steel without, and not with
gold, so that, armed and not adorned, they may strike terror into the enemy,
rather than awaken his lust of plunder. They strive earnestly to possess
strong and swift horses, but not garnished with ornaments or decked with
trappings, thinking of battle and of victory, and not of pomp and show, and
studying to inspire fear rather than admiration
"Such hath God chosen for his own, and hath
collected together as his ministers from the ends of the earth, from among the
bravest of Israel, who indeed vigilantly and faithfully guard the holy
sepulchre, all armed with the sword, and most learned in the art of war. . ."
"Concerning the TEMPLE."
"There is indeed a Temple at Jerusalem in which
they dwell together, unequal, it is true, as a building, to that ancient and
most famous one of Solomon, but not inferior in
glory. For truly, the entire magnificence of that consisted in corrupt things,
in gold and silver, in carved stone, and in a variety of woods; but the whole
beauty of this resteth in the adornment of an agreeable conversation, in the
godly devotion of its inmates, and their beautifully-ordered mode of life.
That was admired for its various external beauties, this is venerated for its
different virtues and sacred actions, as becomes the sanctity of the house of
God, who delighteth not so much in polished marbles as in well-ordered
behaviour, and regardeth pure minds more than gilded walls. The face likewise
of this Temple is adorned with arms, not with gems, and the wall, instead of
the ancient golden chapiters, is covered around with pendent shields. Instead
of the ancient candelabra, censers, and lavers, the house is on all sides
furnished with bridles, saddles, and lances, all which plainly demonstrate
that the soldiers burn with the same zeal for the house of God, as that which
formerly animated their great leader, when, vehemently enraged, he entered
into the Temple, and with that most sacred hand, armed not with steel, but
with a scourge which he had made of small thongs, drove out the merchants,
poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables of them that sold
doves; most indignantly condemning the pollution of the house of prayer, by
the making of it a place of merchandize."
"The devout army of Christ, therefore,
earnestly incited by the example of its king, thinking indeed that the holy
places are much more impiously and insufferably polluted by the infidels than
when defiled by merchants, abide in the holy house with horses and with arms,
so that from that, as well as all the other sacred places, all filthy and
diabolical madness of infidelity being driven out, they may occupy themselves
by day and by night in honourable and useful offices. They emulously honour
the Temple of God with sedulous and sincere oblations, offering sacrifices
therein with constant
devotion, not indeed of the flesh of cattle
after the manner of the ancients, but peaceful sacrifices, brotherly love,
devout obedience, voluntary poverty."
"These things are done perpetually at
Jerusalem, and the world is aroused, the islands bear, and the nations take
heed from afar . . . . ."
St. Bernard then congratulates Jerusalem on the
advent of the soldiers of Christ, and declares that the holy city will rejoice
with a double joy in being rid of all her oppressors, the ungodly, the
robbers, the blasphemers, murderers, perjurers, and adulterers; and in
receiving her faithful defenders and sweet consolers, under the shadow of
whose protection " Mount Zion shall rejoice, and the daughters of Judah sing
"Be joyful, O Jerusalem," says he, "in the
words of the prophet Isaiah, " and know that the time of thy visitation hath
arrived. Arise now, shake thyself from the dust, O virgin captive, daughter of
Zion; arise, I say, and stand forth amongst the mighty, and see the
pleasantness that cometh unto thee from thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed
forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate . .
. . Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold; all these gather themselves
together, and come to thee. This is the assistance sent unto thee from on
High. Now, now, indeed, through these is that ancient promise made to thee
thoroughly to be performed. 'I will make thee an eternal joy, a glory from
generation to generation.'
. . . . . . . . .
"HAIL, therefore, O holy city, hallowed by the
tabernacle of the Most High! HAIL, city of the great King, wherein so many
wonderful and welcome miracles have been perpetually displayed. HAIL, mistress
of the nations, princess of provinces, possession of patriarchs, mother of the
prophets and apostles, initiatress of the faith, glory of the christian
people, whom God
hath on that account always from the beginning
permitted to be visited with affliction, that thou mightest thus be the
occasion of virtue as well as of salvation to brave men. HAIL, land of
promise, which, formerly flowing only with milk and honey for thy possessors,
now stretchest forth the food of life, and the means of salvation to the
entire world. Most excellent and happy land, I say, which receiving the
celestial grain from the recess of the paternal heart in that most fruitful
bosom of thine, hast produced such rich harvests of martyrs from the heavenly
seed, and whose fertile soil hast no less manifoldly engendered fruit a
thirtieth, sixtieth, and a hundredfold in the remaining race of all the
faithful throughout the entire world. Whence most agreeably satiated, and most
abundantly crammed with the great store of thy pleasantness, those who have
seen thee diffuse around them (eructant) in every place the remembrance
of thy abundant sweetness, and tell of the magnificence of thy glory to the
very end of the earth to those who have not seen thee, and relate the
wonderful things that are done in thee."
"Glorious things are spoken concerning thee,
CITY OF GOD!"
15:* Chron. Cisterc. Albertus Miræus.
Brux. 1641. Manricus ad ann. 1128, cap. ii. Act. Syn. Trec. tom.
x. edit. Labb.
26:* Ego Joannes Michaelensis, præsentis paginæ,
jussu consilii ac venerabilis abbatis Clarævallensis, cur creditum ac debitum
hoc fuit, humilis scriba esse, divinâ gratiâ merui.--Chron. Cisterc. ut
26:+ See also Hoveden apud X script. page 479.
Hen. Hunting. ib. page 384.
27:* Annales Benedictini, tom. vi. page
28:* Histoire de Languedoc, lib. xvii.
29:* Hist. de l’eglise de Gandersheim.
Mariana de rebus Hispaniæ, lib. x. cap. 15, 17, 18. Zurita anales de la
corona de Aragon, tom. i. lib. 1. cap. 52. Quarita, tom. i. lib.
ii. cap. 4.
29:+ Semel et secundo, et tertio, ni fallor,
petiisti a me. Hugo carrissime, ut tibi tuisque commilitonibus scriberem
exhortations sermonem, et adversus hostilem tyrannidem, quia lanceam non
liceret, stilum vibrarem. Exhortatio S. Bernardi ad Milites Templi, ed.
Mabillon. Parisiis, 1839, tom. i. col. 1253 to 1278.
31:* i. e. Without any separate