Foundation Of The Order Of Knights Templars
Title: Foundation Of The Order Of Knights Templars
Author: Addison, Charles G.
Among the military orders of past ages, that of the Knights Templars,
founded for the defence of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, with its lofty
motive, its superb organization and discipline, and its history extending over
nearly two centuries, is justly accounted one of the most illustrious. At the
period when this extraordinary and romantic order came into existence, the
contrasting spirits of warlike enterprise and monastic retirement were drawing
men, some from the field to the cloister, others from the life of ascetic
piety to the scenes of strife. There appeared a strange blending of these two
tendencies, which indeed was the leading characteristic of the time. This
union of the religious with the militant spirit had been promoted by the
enthusiasm of the crusades which had already been undertaken, and among the
crusaders themselves the blended spiritual and military ideal of the holy war
had its complete development. Let us recall the reasons and the beginnings of
the crusades themselves.
Upon the legendary discovery of the Holy Sepulchre by Helena, the mother
of Constantine, about three hundred years after the death of Christ, and the
consequent erection, as it is said, by her great son - the first Christian
emperor of Rome - of the magnificent Church of the Holy Sepulchre over the
sacred spot, a tide of pilgrimage set in toward Jerusalem which increased in
strength as Christianity gradually spread throughout Europe. When in A.D. 637
the Holy City was surrendered to the Saracens, the caliph Omar gave guarantees
for the security of the Christian population. Under this safeguard the
pilgrimages to Jerusalem continued to increase, until in 1064 the Holy
Sepulchre was visited by seven thousand pilgrims, led by an archbishop and
three bishops. But in 1065 Jerusalem was taken by the Turcomans, who
massacred three thousand citizens, and placed the command of the city in
savage hands. Terrible oppression of the Christians there followed; the
Patriarch of Jerusalem was dragged by the hair of his head over the sacred
pavement of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and cast into a dungeon for
ransom; extortion, imprisonment, and massacre were indiscriminately visited
upon the people.
Such were the conditions that aroused the indignant spirit of Christendom
and prepared it for the cry of Peter the Hermit, which awoke the wild
enthusiasm of the crusades. When Jerusalem was captured by the crusaders
under Godfrey of Bouillon in 1099, the zeal of pilgrimage burst forth anew.
But although Jerusalem was delivered, Palestine was still infested with the
infidels, who made it as hazardous as before for the pilgrims entering there.
Some means for their protection must be found, and out of this necessity grew
the great military order of which the following pages treat.
To alleviate the dangers and distresses to which the pilgrim enthusiasts
were exposed; to guard the honor of the saintly virgins and matrons, and to
protect the gray hairs of the venerable palmers, nine noble knights formed a
holy brotherhood-in-arms, and entered into a solemn compact to aid one another
in clearing the highways of infidels and robbers, and in protecting the
pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City.
Warmed with the religious and military fervor of the day, and animated by the
sacredness of the cause to which they had devoted their swords, they called
themselves the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ."
They renounced the world and its pleasures, and in the Holy Church of the
Resurrection, in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, they embraced
vows of perpetual chastity, obedience, and poverty, after the manner of monks.
Uniting in themselves the two most popular qualities of the age, devotion and
valor, and exercising them in the most popular of all enterprises, the
protection of the pilgrims and of the road to the Holy Sepulchre, they
speedily acquired a vast reputation and a splendid renown.
At first, we are told, they had no church and no particular place of
abode, but in the year of our Lord 1118 - nineteen years after the conquest of
Jerusalem by the crusaders - they had rendered such good and acceptable
service to the Christians that Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, granted them a
place of habitation within the sacred enclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah,
amid those holy and magnificent structures, partly erected by the Christian
emperor Justinian and partly built by the caliph Omar, which were then
exhibited by the monks and priests of Jerusalem, whose restless zeal led them
to practise on the credulity of the pilgrims, and to multiply relics and all
objects likely to be sacred in their eyes, as the Temple of Solomon, whence
the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" came thenceforth to be known by the
name of "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon."
A few remarks in elucidation of the name "Templars," or "Knights of the
Temple," may not be unacceptable.
By the Mussulmans the site of the great Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah has
always been regarded with peculiar veneration. Mahomet, in the first year of
the publication of the Koran, directed his followers, when at prayer, to turn
their faces toward it, and pilgrimages have constantly been made to the holy
spot by devout Moslems. On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Arabians, it was
the first care of the caliph Omar to rebuild "the Temple of the Lord."
Assisted by the principal chieftains of his army, the Commander of the
Faithful undertook the pious office of clearing the ground with his own hands,
and of tracing out the foundations of the magnificent mosque which now crowns
with its dark and swelling dome the elevated summit of Mount Moriah.
This great house of prayer, the most holy Mussulman temple in the world
after that of Mecca, is erected over the spot where "Solomon began to build
the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared
unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the
threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite."
It remains to this day in a state of perfect preservation, and is one of
the finest specimens of Saracenic architecture in existence. It is entered by
four spacious doorways, each door facing one of the cardinal points: the Bab
el D'Jannat (or "Gate of the Garden"), on the north; the Bab el Kebla, (or
"Gate of Prayer"), on the south; the Bab ibn el Daoud (or "Gate of the Son of
David"), on the east; and the Bab el Garbi, on the west. By the Arabian
geographers it is called Beit Allah ("the House of God"), also Beit Almokaddas
or Beit Almacdes ("the Holy House"). From it Jerusalem derives its Arabic
name, El Kods ("the Holy"), El Schereef ("the Noble"), and El Mobarek ("the
Blessed"); while the governors of the city, instead of the customary
high-sounding titles of sovereignty and dominion, take the simple title of
Hami (or "Protectors").
On the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the crescent was torn down
from the summit of this famous Mussulman temple, and was replaced by an
immense golden cross, and the edifice was then consecrated to the services of
the Christian religion, but retained its simple appellation of "the Temple of
the Lord." William, Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor of the Kingdom of
Jerusalem, gives an interesting account of this famous edifice as it existed
in his time, during the Latin dominion. He speaks of the splendid mosaic
work, of the Arabic characters setting forth the name of the founder and the
cost of the undertaking, and of the famous rock under the centre of the dome,
which is to this day shown by the Moslems as the spot whereon the destroying
angel stood, "with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem."
This rock, he informs us, was left exposed and uncovered for the space of
fifteen years after the conquest of the Holy City by the crusaders, but was,
after that period, cased with a handsome altar of white marble, upon which the
priests daily said mass.
To the south of this holy Mussulman temple, on the extreme edge of the
summit of Mount Moriah, and resting against the modern walls of the town of
Jerusalem, stands the venerable Church of the Virgin, erected by the emperor
Justinian, whose stupendous foundations, remaining to this day, fully justify
the astonishing description given of the building by Procopius. That writer
informs us that in order to get a level surface for the erection of the
edifice, it was necessary, on the east and south sides of the hill, to raise
up a wall of masonry from the valley below, and to construct a vast
foundation, partly composed of solid stone and partly of arches and pillars.
The stones were of such magnitude that each block required to be transported
in a truck drawn by forty of the Emperor's strongest oxen; and to admit of the
passage of these trucks it was necessary to widen the roads leading to
Jerusalem. The forests of Lebanon yielded their choicest cedars for the
timbers of the roof; and a quarry of variegated marble, seasonably discovered
in the adjoining mountains, furnished the edifice with superb marble columns.
The interior of this interesting structure, which still remains at
Jerusalem, after a lapse of more than thirteen centuries, in an excellent
state of preservation, is adorned with six rows of columns, from whence spring
arches supporting the cedar beams and timbers of the roof; and at the end of
the building is a round tower, surmounted by a dome. The vast stones, the
walls of masonry, and the subterranean colonnade raised to support the
southeast angle of the platform whereon the church is erected are truly
wonderful, and may still be seen by penetrating through a small door and
descending several flights of steps at the southeast corner of the enclosure.
Adjoining the sacred edifice the Emperor erected hospitals, or houses of
refuge, for travellers, sick people, and mendicants of all nations; the
foundations whereof, composed of handsome Roman masonry, are still visible on
either side of the southern end of the building.
On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Moslems this venerable church was
converted into a mosque, and was called D'Jame al Acsa; it was enclosed,
together with the great Mussulman "Temple of the Lord" erected by the caliph
Omar, within a large area by a high stone wall, which runs around the edge of
the summit of Mount Moriah and guards from the profane tread of the unbeliever
the whole of that sacred ground whereon once stood the gorgeous Temple of the
wisest of kings.
When the Holy City was taken by the crusaders, the D'Jame al Acsa, with
the various buildings constructed around it, became the property of the kings
of Jerusalem, and is denominated by William of Tyre "the Palace," or "Royal
House to the south of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called the 'Temple of
Solomon.'" It was this edifice or temple on Mount Moriah which was
appropriated to the use of the "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ," as they
had no church and no particular place of abode, and from it they derived their
name of "Knights Templars."
James of Vitry, Bishop of Acre, who gives an interesting account of the
holy places, thus speaks of the temple of the Knights Templars: "There is,
moreover, at Jerusalem another temple of immense spaciousness and extent, from
which the brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple derive their name of
'Templars,' which is called the 'Temple of Solomon,' perhaps to distinguish it
from the one above described, which is specially called the 'Temple of the
Lord.'" He moreover informs us in his oriental history that "in the 'Temple of
the Lord' there is an abbot and canons regular; and be it known that the one
is the 'Temple of the Lord,' and the other the 'Temple of the Chivalry.' These
are clerks; the others are knights."
The canons of the "Temple of the Lord" conceded to the "Poor
Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" the large court extending between that
building and the Temple of Solomon; the King, the Patriarch, and the prelates
of Jerusalem, and the barons of the Latin kingdom assigned them various gifts
and revenues for their maintenance and support, and, the order being now
settled in a regular place of abode, the knights soon began to entertain more
extended views and to seek a larger theatre for the exercise of their holy
Their first aim and object had been, as before mentioned, simply to
protect the poor pilgrims on their journey backward and forward from the
sea-coast to Jerusalem; but as the hostile tribes of Mussulmans, which
everywhere surrounded the Latin kingdom, were gradually recovering from the
stupefying terror into which they had been plunged by the successful and
exterminating warfare of the first crusaders, and were assuming an aggressive
and threatening attitude, it was determined that the holy warriors of the
temple should, in addition to the protection of pilgrims, make the defence of
the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem, of the Eastern Church, and of all the holy
places a part of their particular profession.
The two most distinguished members of the fraternity were Hugh de Payens
and Geoffrey de St. Aldemar, or St. Omer, two valiant soldiers of the cross,
who had fought with great credit and renown at the siege of Jerusalem. Hugh
de Payens was chosen by the knights to be superior of the new religious and
military society, by the title of "the Master of the Temple"; and he has, in
consequence, been generally called the founder of the order.
The name and reputation of the Knights Templars speedily spread
throughout Europe, and various illustrious pilgrims of the Far West aspired to
become members of the holy fraternity. Among these was Fulk, Count of Anjou,
who joined the society as a married brother (1120), and annually remitted the
order thirty pounds of silver. Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, foreseeing that
great advantages would accrue to the Latin kingdom by the increase of the
power and numbers of these holy warriors, exerted himself to extend the order
throughout all Christendom, so that he might, by means of so politic an
institution, keep alive the holy enthusiasm of the West, and draw a constant
succor from the bold and warlike races of Europe for the support of his
Christian throne and kingdom.
St. Bernard, the holy abbot of Clairvaux, had been a great admirer of the
Templars. He wrote a letter to the Count of Champagne, on his entering the
order (1123), praising the act as one of eminent merit in the sight of God;
and it was determined to enlist the all-powerful influence of this great
ecclesiastic in favor of the fraternity. "By a vow of poverty and penance, by
closing his eyes against the visible world, by the refusal of all
ecclesiastical dignities, the abbot of Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe
and the founder of one hundred and sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs
trembled at the freedom of his apostolical censures; France, England, and
Milan consulted and obeyed his judgment in a schism of the Church; the debt
was repaid by the gratitude of Innocent II; and his successor, Eugenius III,
was the friend and disciple of the holy St. Bernard."
To this learned and devout prelate two Knights Templars were despatched
with the following letter:
"Baldwin, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Jerusalem and
Prince of Antioch, to the venerable Father Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux; health
"The Brothers of the Temple, whom the Lord hath deigned to raise up, and
whom by an especial providence he preserves for the defence of this kingdom,
desiring to obtain from the Holy See the confirmation of their institution and
a rule for their particular guidance, we have determined to send to you the
two knights, Andrew and Gondemar, men as much distinguished by their military
exploits as by the splendor of their birth, to obtain from the Pope the
approbation of their order, and to dispose his holiness to send succor and
subsidies against the enemies of the faith, reunited in their design to
destroy us and to invade our Christian territories.
"Well knowing the weight of your mediation with God and his vicar upon
earth, as well as with the princes and powers of Europe, we have thought fit
to confide to you these two important matters, whose successful issue cannot
be otherwise than most agreeable to ourselves. The statutes we ask of you
should be so ordered and arranged as to be reconcilable with the tumult of the
camp and the profession of arms; they must, in fact, be of such a nature as to
obtain favor and popularity with the Christian princes.
"Do you then so manage that we may, through you, have the happiness of
seeing this important affair brought to a successful issue, and address for us
to Heaven the incense of your prayers."
Soon after the above letter had been despatched to St. Bernard, Hugh de
Payens himself proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Geoffrey de St. Aldemar and
four other brothers of the order: namely, Brother Payen de Montdidier, Brother
Gorall, Brother Geoffrey Bisol, and Brother Archambauld de St. Armand. They
were received with great honor and distinction by Pope Honorius, who warmly
approved of the objects and designs of the holy fraternity. St. Bernard had,
in the mean time, taken the affair greatly to heart; he negotiated with the
pope, the legate, and the bishops of France, and obtained the convocation of a
great ecclesiastical council at Troyes (1128), which Hugh de Payens and his
brethren were invited to attend. This council consisted of several
archbishops, bishops, and abbots, among which last was St. Bernard himself.
The rules to which the Templars had subjected themselves were there described
by the master, and to the holy abbot of Clairvaux was confided the task of
revising and correcting these rules, and of framing a code of statutes fit and
proper for the governance of the great religious and military fraternity of
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 armor 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 stablished 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 feminine
"This same year (1128) Hugh of the Temple came from Jerusalem to the King
in Normandy, and the King received him with much honor and gave him much
treasure in gold and silver, and afterward 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 afterward confirmed by King Stephen on his accession to the
throne (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
Hugh de Payens, before his departure, placed a Knight Templar at the head
of the order in England, who was called the prior of the temple and was the
procurator and viceregent 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, subpriors came to be appointed, and the
superior of the order in this country was then called the "grand prior," and
afterward master, of the temple.
Many illustrious knights of the best families in Europe aspired to the
habit and 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 favor. Many illustrious
persons on their death-beds took the vows, that they might be buried in the
habit of the order; and sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms,
enrolled themselves among 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 (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 Lothair bestowed on the order a large
portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg; and the year following (1131),
Alphonso I, King of Navarre and Aragon, 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 Aragon, 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, was
disputed, and the claims of the Templars were successfully resisted by the
nobles of Navarre; but in Aragon they obtained, by way of compromise, lands
and castles and considerable dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties
levied throughout the kingdom, and the contributions raised from the Moors.
To increase the enthusiasm in favor 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 of the one
from that committed by the other.
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 shouldst chance to get killed thyself, thou diest a manslayer;
if, on the other hand, thou prevailest, and through a desire of conquest or
revenge killest a man, thou livest a manslayer. ... 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 plougheth should
plough 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 labor, 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?
"As ye yourselves have oftened 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 naught 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 cases it is neither
safe to slay nor to be slain. ... 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 naught of crime in it, but much of
"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 armor and their clothing, or
employing themselves in such occupations as the will of the Master requireth
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 honor, they bear one another's
burdens, 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 the ludicrous catching of birds (hawking), which men are wont to
indulge in. Jesters and soothsayers and story-tellers, 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, studying to inspire fear rather than
"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. ...
"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 behavior, 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 merchandise.
"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 honorable and
useful offices. They emulously honor 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 hear, 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 for joy."