Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charles the Great

On Christmas day 800 A.D. Charles the Great, the king of the Franks, and grandson of Charles the Hammer (Charles Martel), was crowned emperor of a vast empire that covered much of Western Europe. Today know this Charles by the name Charlemagne. Charlemagne's empire was made of much of the old western Roman Empire. It stretched from part of Spain to Austria, from northern Italy to the northern parts of Germany.

The empire of Charlemagne was made up of numerous barbarian tribes, their lands and the upon the ashes of the old Western Roman world. It was a vast sea of illiteracy with a few scattered islands of learning. Many of the people in the empire were Christianised barbarians, and this was true of Charlemagne also. But he was a Christian and he did desire to see the Christian faith extended. He encouraged education, literacy and learning; things that the German barbarians had looked down on.

Charlemagne was important for bringing a Christian culture to Post Roman Western Europe. It was a long process. Bibles and other writings were very rare, and those that did exist were hand copied by monks in their cloisters. Theaverage person and even the more prosperous had not change of holding muchless owning or even reading the Bible.
God used the monastic life to preserve his Holy Word through those dark times and we who have the Bible today owe much of what we know to the faithful labours of those monks.

Today, unlike Charlemagne's times, we live in an age and land where the Bible is readily available to anyone who wants one. This is a great blessing that we seldom think about, but for most of church history it was not possible for the average Christian to have access to the Bible.

We need to be diligent to use this great privilege to study God's Word and live our lives accordingly.

Coram Deo,

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