Obrazy na stronie

holders. The gallant John Sobieski furnishes another example. To him the Pope's rose would have been a present of inestimable value. When the Turks were advancing, he writes to his queen in these words : “God be praised, our Abbé Kamieniecki is a little better. I have been sorely troubled for him, and this news has given me as much pleasure as if I had just received a reinforcement of some thousand men.”3 If all persons in minor orders, down to acolythes and doorkeepers, were privileged, and their persons sacred,4 we must not be surprised at any degree of respect with which the Heads of the Church were treated. Pope Celestin V. being entertained at table in the city of Perusina, Charles king of Sicily, and Charles Martellus king of Hungary, crowned with their royal diadems, waited at his table, and afterwards sat down with the cardinals. The Pope entered cities mounted on an ass, but on each side these two kings held the reins. At the court of Charlemagne, Bishops and Abbots had precedence of all royal personages, excepting the wife, sons, and daughters of the king. Possibly it will be asked by some, was not this respect excessive ? the answer is obvious and complete. It was evinced by men who believed in Christianity, and their feelings and views are the same in every age. “I preached the Gospel to you heretofore,” said St. Paul, “and you received me as the angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.'

I shall make one observation which recommends itself particularly to the attention of the great. I would demand of such persons whether they have not sometimes a certain vague desire to fancy themselves as if they were not elevated above other men ? I demand of them whether they would not derive pleasure in looking up to some persons who would be raised above them? The words of the Greek poet convey a terrible image of their natural state :

ένεστι γάρ πως τούτο τη τυραννίδι

νόσημα, τους φίλοισι μή πεποιθέναι 7 It is in vain that they would endeavour to think otherwise. i In Vit. S. Anselmi.

3 Lett, vii, + A. Corvini Fur, can. i. 2. s Thomassin. Vet, et Nov. Discip. i. lib. ii. c. 114 ; and iii. iii. 33. 6 Gal. iv. 13.

7 Æsch. Prometh, Vinct. 224,


2 Lett. v.

Friendship requires equality, and how are kings to be on an equality with subjects? Religion offered them the means. The subjection of kings to a spiritual power in matters spiritual, which, after all, are the source of all real distinctions, saved them from the deplorable condition to which the poet alludes ; and whenever they are not blinded by ambition or evil counsellors, they will receive, with tears of gratitude and with heartfelt joy, that easy yoke, in bearing which they will find companions, and therefore friends, in the youngest and the lowest in the family of Christ.

Olivier de la Marche furnishes a curious instance of the humility which prompted men to refrain from criticising and judging with overmuch zeal the character of ecclesiastical superiors. He says in his Memoirs, that he will leave to others to relate how the troubles began in Pope Eugene's time: “Car à toucher à la fame et au renom de si sainte et haute personne en Chrestienté comme nostre sainct pere le Pape, l'entendement se doit arrester de frayeur, et la plume pleyer par doute dangereux et plain de peril d'encourir, ou d'encheoir au danger d'inobedience et de faute, à l'encontre des commandemens et ordonnances de nostre saincte et salutaire mere et ressource, l'Eglise triumphante, et supplie à celuy qui est garde de tous bons et Catholiques courages qu'il me deffende et garde en ceste partie de toucher ou mettre chose qui soit contre l'estat de ma conscience." And so honest Raymon Muntaner contents himself with saying in his Chronicle that “ the devil sowed a discord between the Pope and the Emperor Frederic II.”

This respect for the clergy was of course only evinced by the religious part of mankind, whether belonging to chivalry.or to the lower ranks of life. By the immoral, the worldly, and the profane, in every age, they have been hated and calumniated in fulfilment of our Saviour's prediction : “If the world hate you,” &c.2 The spirit and the laws of chivalry, however, required men to venerate their order. “A noble king and prince should honour the Church and its ministers from a reverence for God. If he would honour our Lord, let him also honour the


* Chap. vi.

2 John xv, 18.

It is necessary

Church and its ministers, to whose service they are set apart. Let him reverently say his hours, and cause them to be chanted solemnly in his presence ; let him visit the churches, and honour the reliques and sanctuaries of the saints, celebrating their festivals, and augmenting the service of God, building churches, chapels, and hospitals, and restoring those that fall to decay.” This is what Gilles de Rome says in his Chivalrous Mirror. to caution the moderns from supposing that this respect for the clergy was similar to that external and noisy admiration which the followers of public opinion, and the candidates for public fame, receive from those whose applause they court. That darkly learned knight Cornelius Agrippa, remarking that few good men have been eloquent, exemplifies his position by citing the eloquence of Luther.i The office of the clergy effectually secured them from this temptation ; for it could seldom happen that the performance of their duties did not interfere with their producing this kind of effect. Men are seldom loud in applauding others unless they feel themselves flattered. Musonius the philosopher used to say that “if the hearers of a teacher applauded him, and were excited by his gestures, it was a sign that he spoke, and that they listened, in vain ; since all this admiration and applause were incompatible with the correction of their errors and vices. Silence was the best tribute he could receive :” and he gives an example from the wisest of poets, who makes the hearers of Ulysses utter no clamorous or exulting voice when he had ceased to recount his wanderings. Nor, on the other hand, is it to be imagined that it was a blind respect, leading to a disregard of the personal character of the priest. Exceptions undoubtedly may be found, but it is most certain that in promotion of spiritual persons, the recognised and only honourable course was to be guided by merit, and not by family connexion and private interests. It was looked upon as disgraceful and most horribly sinful to promote improper persons in the Church for secular ends.As the Persone says in Chaucer, “ All the sinnes of the world, at regard of this sinne ben as thing of nought; for it is the gretest sinne that may be after the sinne of Lucifer

i De Vanitate Scientiarum.

2 Aul. Gell. v. 1.


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·and of Antichrist : for by this sinne God forleseth the chirch, and the soule which he bought with his precious blood, by him that geven chirches to him that ben not digne, for they put in theves, that stelen the soules of Jesus Crist, and destroyen his patrimonie. By swiche undigne preestes and curates hav lewed men lesse reverence of the sacramentes of holy chirche : and swiche gevers of chirches put the children of Crist out, and put into

chirches the divels owen sones : they scellen the soules DOIN that lambes should kepe to the wolf which strangleth hem,

and therefore shall they never have part of the pastures of lambes, that is, in the blysse of heven.” It has been written, that the blessed Pope Leo watched and prayed for forty days at the tomb of St. Peter, begging to obtain of God the pardon of his sins. After this term, St. Peter,

in a vision, said to him : Your sins are forgiven you by ertoo God, except those committed by you in conferring holy

orders ; of these you still remain charged to give a rigorous account.

At the same time an old monkish historian has a consoling reflection respecting even these improper men who have been promoted in the church for secular ends. “Often,” says the wise Orderic Vitalis, “inconsiderate and ignorant men have been chosen from worldly motives to high places

in the church, out of respect for nobility, or the desire of make making friends : but merciful God spares men who are thus elevated; he has pity upon them ; he



graces upon them, and employs them to enlighten his house by the light of heavenly wisdom, and by means of their zeal many men are saved.”1

The practice of chivalry was, however, conformable to

the injunctions of the church and the interests of religion. only

One of the few consolations which William the Conqueror tbt experienced on his death-bed, was the consideration that

he had always procured ecclesiastical dignities for the most worthy. In fact, he had obtained the deposition of his

uncle Manger, Archbishop of Rouen, for the immorality Tid

of his conduct, and the election of a most worthy monk,

Maurile, an Italian, to the vacant see. Baldwin, surnamed Efer Bras de Fer, count of Flanders, is particularly mentioned


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i Lib. x.


in history as having been careful in the promotion of no clerks but such as were of good manners and learning. Hall says of our king Edward IV. “The spiritual promocions he gave ever to the most famous and excellent clerkes, and men of the best living. Others of mean qualities whom he much favoured, he did not preferre to great dignitie and high promocions, but with money rewarded them.” One day King Pepin, who was going to hunt very early, entered his private chapel to pray; all the clerks in attendance were sleeping, after having sung the office of the night, excepting one, St. Sturme, who opened the door to the king, who was so pleased with this proof of his zeal, that he immediately forgave him some offence at which he had before been angry. The following history is recorded of William Rufus, who was famous for his avarice : A certain abbey became “voyde of an abbot, in the which were two monks, very covetous persons, who came to the court offering very largely to the king, each hoping to be made abbot. The king, perceiving their greedie desires, and casting his eies about the chamber, espied, by chance, another monk that came to bear them company, being a more sober man, and simple after his outward appearance, whom he called unto him, and asked what he would give him to be made abbot of the foresaid abbey ? The monk, after a little pause, made answer, that he would give nothing at all for any such

purpose, since he had entered into that profession of mere zeal, to despise riches and all worldly pomp, to the end he might the more quietly serve God in holyness and purity of conversation. “Sayest thou so ? quoth the king; then art thou even he that art worthy to govern this house :' and straightway he bestowed the house upon him, justly repulsing the other two, and not without their open infamy and reproach.”l This was after the spirit of our Henry V.;

I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers. Charlemagne nominated a young man to a vacant bishopric. The day of his election they brought to him a poorlooking horse to mount, which made him very angry; and so to prove that he was not infirm and a bad horseman, as

1 Holinshed.

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