Obrazy na stronie

they seemed to suppose, he leaped on his back without using the stirrups, though, unfortunately, he fell over on the other side. Charlemagne observed this scene from a window, and he was disgusted at such an instance of levity; so he summoned the new bishop, and said to him, “ Bone vir, celer es et agilis, pernix et præpes.

You know that my empire is troubled with many wars. Idcirco opus habeo tali clerico in comitatu meo. Esto igitur interim socius laborum nostrorum dum tam celeriter ascendere potes caballum tuum.”l There was a certain vain bishop, covetous of useless luxuries, which the emperor perceiving, ordered a Jew merchant who used to trade in rare and costly objects, to go to this bishop, with a common mouse, painted different colours, and to say that he brought that curious animal from Judæa to sell. The bishop, filled with joy at the sight of it, offered immediately three silver pounds; but the Jew said he would rather throw it into the sea than sell it for so little : he who was rich, and gave nothing to the poor, promised him ten pounds; but Father Abraham does not wish that his son should lose his labour and honest profit. Then the greedy bishop offered twenty pounds. The Jew, wrapping up the mouse in a precious silk, was going away without reply, when the bishop called him back, and offered a full bushel of silver. At length the Jew consents, the money is paid, and the Jew returns to the emperor with an account of his proceeding. Charlemagne convokes the bishops and priests of the province, and places before them the money which the bishop had paid to the Jew. Then he said, “ Vos patres et provisores nostri episcopi, pauperibus, imo Christo in ipsis debuistis ministrare, non inanibus rebus inhiare :” and then he added, “Unus ex vobis tantum argenti pro uno mure domestico pigmentis contemperato cuidam dedit Judæo.” The bishop fell at his feet, prayed for pardon, and was permitted to depart without punishment. Yet it was not an inhuman zeal which influenced this great emperor. “There was a poor clerk, very wretched and miserable, and not learned, and despised by every one, and ill-treated ; yet Charlemagne would never consent to have him removed,

1 Monachi S. Gall. lib. ii. de Rebus Bell. Caroli M.

2 Ibid.


but he kept him in his presence, for he had pity on him.' The emperor inquired from an ambassador the character of a certain bishop. “Sanctissimus est,” he replied, “ille vester episcopus quantum sine Deo possibile est.' At which Charlemagne, astonished, said, “ Quomodo sine Deo aliquis sanctus esse potest ?" To which he answered, “Scriptum est, Deus charitas est, qua iste vacuus est.' This would indicate that men understood in those ages what was the best qualification for a bishop. Charlemagne, in forbidding the clergy to serve in the army, concludes his edict with these words,

" Quanto quis eorum amplius suam normam servaverit, et Deo servierit, tanto eum plus honorare et cariorem habere volu


"3 mus.

VIII. Having now seen with what respect the clergy were regarded by the chivalrous order in the middle ages, I am tempted to lead my reader aside for a short time, while we observe whether, independently of the religious duty, this respect was merited by the men to whom it was so carefully shewn. This will hardly be considered as a digression, though we shall have to leave castle-courts and plumed troops, for the solemn aisles of churches, and the silence of the cloister. Knights are accustomed to such visits ; and I am much mistaken if we shall not derive from this retreat new courage to pursue our enterprise, and a still stronger attachment to the scenes and characters of Christian antiquity.

And, first, to consider those of the Church who continued in the world living in the courts of temporal men. “ Lors fut mors,” says Ville-hardouin in his Chronicle. “ Maistre Johan de Noion à la Setre, qui ere chancelier à l'Empereur Baudoins, et mult bons cliers et mult sages, et mult avoit conforté l'oste per la parole de Dieu qu'il savoit mult bien dire, et sachiez que mult en furent li prodome de l'ost desconforté ;" so that the crusading armies were not without

The venerable priest,
Whose life and manners well could paint
Alike the student and the saint.

| Mon. S. Gall. lib. i. de Ecclesiastica Cura Caroli M.
2 Ibid. lib. ii. de Rebus Bell. Caroli M.
3 Cap. de Baluze, z. 1, p. 410.

Nor was their presence unknown in the court of worldly and profane men.

Among the great followers of William the Conqueror, was Hugues, son of Richard, Count of Avranches, surnamed Goz, to whom William confided the county of Chester. This seigneur was a great lover of the world and of secular pomp, which he regarded as the richest part of human beatitude. He was, however, brave in war, liberal of his presents, but delighting in amusement and luxury, given up to buffoons, to horses and dogs, always attended by a great household, by a multitude of pages, noble and others, together with honourable men, clerks, and knights. His chapel was served by a clerk of Avranches, named Gerold, remarkable for religion, gentleness, and knowledge of letters. Every day he faithfully performed the divine service. As far as he was able, he excited the people of the court to amend their lives, by proposing to them the example of their predecessors. He spared not his salutary advice to the chief barons, to the simple knights, as well as to the young nobles; and he drew abundant examples of holy warriors worthy of imitation from the New Testament, and from the later records of Christians." These are the words of Orderic Vitalis.1 Gilles de Rome says in his Mirror of Chivalry, that “noble princes should have a holy and learned man, humble and who despises the world, and who does not meddle with its business, unless in the way of pity, to make the prince do good. He must be compassionate to the poor, and of a piteous heart, devout and piteous, loving truth, and bold to speak it, without detraction and without flattery." Like that perfect priest described by St. Jerome, his mind, devoted to Christ, was to be attentive to things great and small; therefore he was to take care that the altar shone, that the walls were without dust, that the pavement was clean, that the vessels were bright ; and in all ceremonies, with pious solicitude, he was to neglect neither great nor trifling duties.”2 Alcibiades said that whenever he heard Socrates speak, the tears would rush into his eyes, and that he had seen many others affected in the same manner. If such was the force of that vague and shadowy religion which the heathen sage instilled into the hearts of

1 Lib. vi.

In Epist. Nepotiani.

3 Plato, Conviv.

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youth, what must have been felt by those who heard the venerable preachers of Christianity, who spake of the passion of Christ ; men who actually possessed what the heathen poet vainly desired to behold, the φανερόν χαρακτήρ' åperās, arising from “that supernatural elevation of mind, to the purity of which," as Lewis of Grenada says, “all the strength of created nature can never attain !" It was this in St. Ambrose which first won St. Augustine. saw in him," says Alban Butler, “a good eye and a kind countenance—the index of his benevolent heart.” St. Augustine says of St. Ambrose, that upon coming to Milan, “suscepit me paterne ille homo Dei, et peregrinationem meam satis episcopaliter dilexit. Et eum amare cæpi, primo quidem non tanquam doctorem veri, quod in ecclesia tua prorsus desperabam, sed tanquam hominem benignum in me. Thus Orderic Vitalis says of St. Evroul, that “he received all who approached with a smiling countenance, nobles and vilains, poor and strangers.”

Thus St. Anselm describes Archbishop Lanfranc, “ Misericordissimus est et præcipue erga salutem animarum, et est valde deditus eleemosynis."'4 Mark their exceeding charity, becoming all things to all men. The old hermit in Amadis, after discoursing with the knight, concludes thus : “Truly, I know a man of my habit should not speak of such things as these ; yet it is more for God's service to speak the truth that may comfort you, than to conceal it, considering your desperate state.' Though Cardinal de Retz describes the manners of the clergy in conclave with great art, yet the result of the whole is only the portrait of simple and unaffected goodness. There,” he says, “you observed the respect such as is found in a king's cabinet, the politeness of a court, the familiarity of a college, the modesty of novices, the charity of a convent.” St. Augustine attributes this condescension to the whole Church, when he addresses it in these words : “Tu pueriliter pueros, fortiter juvenes, quiete senes, prout cujusque non corporis tantum sed et animi ætas est, exerces ac doces.”6 This sacerdotal gentleness distinguished Muratori, who was of such kind manners, that the boys used to come up to him in the street to 1 Eurip. Hercul. Furens, 649.

2 Confess. lib. v. 13, 3 Lib. vi. Epist. xiii.

5 Lib. ii. 9. 6 De Moribus Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, p. 63.


consult him on their difficulties in their books of grammar. St. Æmilian was a hermit who lived in the forest of Ponzat, near Clermont : here he cultivated a little garden which was watered by a small brook ; and the birds and wild beasts were his only companions. Now there lived at Clermont a seigneur called Sigebaut, who had a youth called Brach, which meant “little bear,” whom he used to send to hunt the wild boars. One day, as Brach was out with the hounds following a huge boar, the dogs pursued it till they came to the hermit's wicket, where they stood still. Brach saluted the good man respectfully, who came and embraced him, and begged of him to sit down ; and then said, “My dear child, you appear to me like one much more occupied about what can destroy, than what can save, your soul.” I need not pursue the story. It suffices that the young man was sincerely and permanently converted to a sense of religion. But here we see what mild, humane, and gentle persuaders were the clergy. How they directly could reach the heart! As Socrates would say, they did not begin '12 uox Inpè, pelayxolss. αλλ' άτε μουσικός ών πραότερον ότι Ω άριστε. St. Jerome, speaking of the emperor Julian, says “ Julianus Augustus :" he does not call him the apostate. But why need we cite examples from the past ? Let us enter this cathedral, and observe the procession of children move along these gothic aisles, directed by a venerable old priest, with locks as white as snow, and a countenance beaming with love and goodness. See how he smiles the little careless boys into order, not looking displeased or at a loss, as if that child's titter were exposing him to ridicule, but as if their happiness was the end of his labour, and as if he felt that such little effusions of a light heart were quite pardonable in so young a Christian : and observe how he rewards his instant obedience by stroking his beautiful hair, looking back upon his little troop with that expression of charity and joy that is more instructive than a sermon! This disposition, which enables men to contemplate the most awful subjects of religion, at the very time that they indulge in the expressions and habits and demeanour of boyish lightness of heart, belongs to the attainment of truth; and we shall find it more or less wherever men have advanced to

Plato, Phædrus.

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