The story which tells how the two went out one morning to dance round a tree of liberty in a meadow is an anachronism, though in keeping with their opinions.
It would be an anachronism to think of Francis as a philanthropist or a "social worker" or a revivalist preacher, though he fulfilled the best functions of all these.
In the second of the above books his idea of religion is somewhat of an anachronism; as he himself confessed, he " used the word in the sense which it invariably bore half a century ago," as denoting " belief in an ever-living God, a divine mind and will ruling the universe and holding moral relations with mankind."
But if the Order had now become a superfluous anachronism, it had still to be disposed of, and this was no easy task.
A Glasgow professor, the Rev. Mr Simson, was attacked for Arminianism and Socinianism as early as 1717; and the battle raged between the more severe Presbyterians - who still hankered after the Covenant, approved of an old work The Marrow of Modern Divinity (1646), and were especially convinced that preachers must be elected by the people - and the Moderates, who saw that the Covenant was an anachronism, thought conduct more important than Calvinistic convictions, and supported in the General Assembly the candidates selected by patrons, as against those chosen by the popular voice.
The cause Of this anachronism has been the failure of intuitive realism and the domination of idealism, which makes short-sighted men suppose that at all events they must begin with the psychology and the psychological idealism of the day, in the false hope that on the sands of psychological idealism they may build a house of metaphysical realism.
So the notion of formal or constitutional authority attaching to the apostolate, in its various senses, is an anachronism for the apostolic age.
In truth Sabatier's St Francis is an anachronism - a man at heart, a modern pietistic French Protestant of the most liberal type, with a veneer of 13th century Catholicism.
This anachronism arises from the fusion of the epic Guillaume with the champion of Louis IV., and from the fact that he was the military and civil chief of Louis the Pious, who was titular king of Aquitaine under his father from the time when he was three years old.
Yet we cannot help feeling that it is a grotesque and unseemly anachronism to apply in grave prose, addressed to the whole world, those terms of saint and angel which are touching and in their place amid the trouble and passion of the great mystic poet.