Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

knee. The blood burst out, and Sainte-Croix made but one step, and fell. Azēvēdo cried out, “ Surrender, SainteCroix, or I will kill you !" but without answering he sat on the ground, with the sword in his band, and continued to thrust against his adversary. Azēvēdo pressed him to rise, saying that he was unwilling to strike him on the ground. Sainte-Croix attempted to rise, but he only made two steps, and fell upon his face ; the other lifted up his sword to strike off his head, but he stopped his hand. The Duchess of Ferrara, terrified, entreated the Duke of Nemours to separate them. “I cannot do it with honour, madam,” was his reply. “Justice gives the conquered to the conqueror.” Sainte-Croix was bleeding to death, but he would not surrender. The prior of Messina accosted Azēvēdo, and said to him, “Seigneur, I know the heart of Sainte-Croix, and that until death he will not surrender ; I am his relation, and I surrender myself in his stead.” Then the surgeons were called, and Sainte-Croix was carried from the field,

A very beautiful example of the same nature occurs in the sixteenth book of the Morte d'Arthur. When Sir Lyonel had overthrown his brother Sir Bors, and was preparing to strike off his head, “ Thenne came the heremyte rennyng unto hym, whiche was a good man and of grete age, and wel had herd alle the wordes that were betwene them, and so felle doune upon Syr Bors. Thenne he sayd to Lyonel, 'O gentyl knyghte, have mercy upon me and on thy broder; for yf thow slee him, thou shalte be dede of synne, and that were sorrowful, for he is one of the worthyest knygtes of the world, and of the best condycyons.' Soo God me help,' sayd Lyonel, syr preest, but yf ye flee from hym, I shall slee yow, and he shalle never the sooner be quyte. "Certes,' said the good man, I have lever ye slee me than hym, for my dethe shalle not be grete harme, not halfe soo moche as of his.' •Wel,' sayd Lyonel, 'I am greed, and sette his hand to his sword, and smote hym 800 hard, that his hede yede backward.” For the honour of knighthood it is recorded of this murderer, that “the fende had broughte hym in suche a wyl.”

Against combats of this nature their zeal had been early displayed. It was in the year 404 that the gladiatorial shows were finally terminated by the courage of Telema

6

chus, a Christian monk, who had travelled from the East to Rome, expressly for the purpose. He rushed into the midst of the area of the Flavian Amphitheatre, and endeavoured to separate the combatants. Alypius, the prætor, who was fond of the games, gave orders to the gladiators to slay him, and Telemachus obtained the crown of martyrdom. Even Mr. Gibbon is forced to admire instances of this kind. On another occasion he observes, “the example of Theodosius may prove the beneficial influence of those principles which could force a monarch, exalted above the apprehension of human punishment, to respect the laws and ministers of an invisible Judge.'

St. Vincent de Paul prevented Philip Emanuel de Gondi, Count of Joigni, from fighting a duel; he conjured him by every motive of religion, and denounced to him the severest judgments of God if he should persist in it. It was a simple abbé who represented to the Emperor Henry of Bavaria the inhumanity of the spectacles of single combat, by which differences were decided; and from that hour the Emperor prohibited them. By the laws which regulated the formalities of judiciary combat, two months were to intervene between the exchange of gages and the duel, for the express purpose that ecclesiastics might endeavour to persuade the parties to be at peace. St. Avite, Bishop of Vienne in an early age, remonstrated with the King of the Burgundians on the absurdity of the law of judiciary combats. The Abbot of Fécamp, in Normandy, had the privilege of separating combatants after judicial defiance had passed, and the parties were actually fighting. The clergy not unfrequently disarmed the rage of conquerors. It was Salvien, Prosper, Paulinus, and Sidonius Apollinaris, priests of Gaul, who appeased Attila, and saved the city of Troye. St. Germain is said to have taken hold of the bridle of a fierce barbarian, and to have turned his wrath from the people doomed to slaughter.

What a spirit of peace animated Pope Calixtus at the council of Rheims, when he endeavoured to reconcile France and England! What an indefatigable maker of peace was the venerable Legate Adhémar de Monteil, who, according to all historians of the crusades, was the soul

1 Orderic. Vit. xii.

of the enterprise, by appeasing enmities, and reconciling together chiefs, and uniting in friendship warriors of the most opposite character and interest! St. John Capistran is recorded to have made peace between Alphonso of Arragon and the city of Aquila, and also between the families of Oronesi and Lanzieni. St. Faro, Bishop of Meaux, saved the Saxon ambassadors from the fury of Clotaire II., persuading him first to delay their execution for twenty-four hours, and then to pardon them; and, at last, to send them home loaded with presents. A poor Capuchin friar, now the blessed Felix of Cantalicia, reconciled two knights who were on the point of fighting. St. Bernard had the glory of reconciling the Hohenstaufen and Saxon families. When

any feud broke out among the nobles, Rodolph of Hapsburg used to signify it to his faithful friend Henry Knoderer, who, from being a baker's son, and a bare-footed friar, had risen to be Archbishop of Maintz, and his gentle spirit was sure to succeed in composing the quarrel. Bede relates, that Bishop Theodore reconciled the two kings Ecgfrid and Edilred, and put an end to a war.1 Mr. Johnson, in his collection of Ecclesiastical Laws and Canons, gives the charge of Archbishop Edmund, A.D. 736, that “the clergy were to maintain peace and unity among their parishioners, composing all differences with all diligence, soldering up breaches, reclaiming the litigious, and not suffering the sun to go down upon their wrath.”2 The moderns have blamed the clergy for their constant labours in converting men to the Church ; but to make no mention of the express commands of their Lord to preach his Gospel, they could not have been less zealous without incurring the censure even of the sage moralist. Socrates felt himself bound, through love for men, to communicate his wisdom to all, not only without payment, but offering himself zealously, εί τίς μου εθέλοι ακούειν.3

1 Hist. Eccles. iv. 21.

? This zealous disciple of the moderns makes a curious remark here. “ This was excellent advice to priests who had, or might have, such awe on the consciences of the people as the clergy of this age; [he adds what he considers an injurious epithet;] but it would be very unseasonably applied to the present, who rather want friends to persuade the people to be at peace with them upon any terms.” Vol. ii.

3 Plato, Euthyphro.

And when the Athenians made a law that every citizen of Megara who should be found in Athens was to be put to death, Euclides of Megara, who was in the habit of hearing Socrates before that decree, contrived still to attend his instructions, by coming in disguise by night, clad in a woman's gown, and returning before daybreak. Were this told of a Christian preacher and one of his flock, here would be, in the opinion of the moderns, a case of intriguing priestcraft and of degrading fanaticism ; but reason still agrees with the judgment of wise antiquity in admiring both examples, as indicating a disinterested and sublime love of truth.

I shall attempt to give a general view of the laws and regulations which respected the lives and duties of the clergy, so far at least as to illustrate the

spirit of the Church. In the first place, the author of the Tree of Battles gives an excellent outline of the whole, when he says, “L'estat et office du clergie doit estre separé et hors de toute guerre, debat et division humaine pour le service de Dieu, auquel ils sont ordonnez et vaquent continuellement jour et nuyt.”2 We know from St. Cyprian's letter to the Church at Furnitus, that a clergyman was forbidden even to become guardian to a minor, lest he should become engaged in secular affairs. And in the Anglo-Saxon Church, the clergy were forbidden, under severe pain, to accept the office of magistrates, or any temporal jurisdiction, but with a saving to the king's prerogative. The clergy being often the only persons capable of filling such posts, they were compelled by the king to accept them still they required a dispensation even to sit at the council of state. Grossetete, Bishop of Lincoln, had promulgated a diocesan statute which “forbade all ecclesiastics, and all in holy orders, to exercise secular employments in future.” Oure γεωργών.... ιερέα καταστατέον, says Aristotle ; υπό γαρ των Távtwv Tpétel tipão al toùs Deous. So far even the heathens were guided right. In the pastoral care of St. Charles Borromeo, taken from the records of the church of Milan, 1 Aul. Gell. vi. 10.

2 Chap. lxxxviii. 3 Thomassin Vet. et nov. Eccles. Dis. p. iii. lib. iii. c. 17-24. * Legatine Constitut. of Othobon, MCCLXVIII. i Pol. vii. 9.

we have an interesting statement of the duties of the parish priest, a description of his house, his study, his books, his pictures, his garden for recreation. I shall select a few of the most remarkable points in this admirable collection. The curate, in visiting the sick, was to exhort them to “persevere in the Catholic faith, to conceive a sincere sorrow for their sins, and to confide entirely in the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.” 1

One of the “brethren of the Christian doctrine” was to go

into the streets with a little bell to assemble the children and all idle persons whom they might meet. During the season when the shepherds and goatherds go upon the high mountains, or into the forests, the curate was to follow them once a week, and assemble them on whatever day would be most convenient to them, that they might hear the Christian doctrine ;? for, during the summer months, in these countries, the peasants leave their houses, and go to remain on the mountains, or in the woods, with their flocks ; and thither the curate was to follow them, and there, in some little chapel, he was to say mass : he was to have little catechisms of pictures for those who could not read. He was also to take care of wandering poor, and all vagabonds, or Bohemians, or Sarassins, to endeavour to reclaim them from their divinations and wicked life, and to lead them to religion : he was also to take account of the strange labourers who should be working in the forests, or taking care of cattle on the mountains, and he was to write in a book their age and morals. Prisoners too, who had their patron St. Leonard, were not to be forgotten: in prisons there was to be a chapel, or at least an altar and a lamp; and near each bed there was to be some devout picture or image, and mass was to be said, and the litany every night; and whoever among the prisoners could read best, was to be advised to read aloud some treatise of Lewis Grenadensis, or other holy book. By the Capitularies of Charlemagne, bishops were to visit the prisons once every week. The bells were not suffered to be sounded unless on occasions of real solemnity. For mass, the bell was to sound sufficiently long for a person to come from the furthest cottage in the pa

I P. 261, French translation.

: P. 318.

« PoprzedniaDalej »