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would have been the solace of my life, was at Cadiz when it was bombarded by the French in 1812. Men used to be killed in the streets, and at the windows, and in the recesses of their houses. When a shell was thrown by the enemy, a single toll of the great bell used to be the signal to the inhabitants to be on their guard. I read what follows in a letter, dated July 30th. · Yesterday we heard a solemn toll in signal of a shell. That very shell fell precisely upon the bell
, and shivered it to atoms. The monk, whose duty it was to sound it, went very coolly and tolled the other." That holy man had conquered the fear of death.
When William the Conqueror, on his march to London, came to the abbey of St. Alban's, he found a quantity of timber cut, and placed to interrupt his passage. He summoned the abbot, Fritheric, and demanded why he had cut down the wood. “ I have done my duty,” replied the monk, “and if all those of my order had done as much as they ought, perhaps you would not have penetrated into our country so far as you have.”
The monks of Peterborough applied to the captive Edgar, as the rightful king, when they elected a new abbot ; which so displeased William, that he visited them with every calamity. The abbot of Hida, with twelve of his monks, fell in the battle of Hastings. The abbey of Winchcomb lost its possessions because it had opposed him. The monks of St. Frideswide, in Oxford, met with a similar fate on the fall of that city. The monks applied the treasures of their convents and churches to support the Saxon cause, even after the conquest, till William sent inquisitors, and effected a total spoliation of their riches. When William was securely seated, the clergy obeyed the apostolic precept, and recognised him as their sovereign. In 1808, the French commander in Portugal tried to suppress the national feeling by the influence of religion. In the village of Varatojo, near Torres Vedras, there was a famous seminary for itinerant preachers of the Franciscan order. Junot sent for the guardian, requiring his immediate attendance ;
the old man, in strict adherence to the rule of his order, which forbade him to travel by any
1 Chron. J. Speed, 436.
obeyed the summons on foot, and arrived twenty-four hours later than the time appointed. He was ordered to despatch some of his preachers to Leiria and other places to preach the duty of submission and tranquil obedience. The guardian excused himself, by representing that his brethren who were qualified for such a mission were already on their circuits, and that there were then in the seminary none but youths, engaged in preparing for the ministry, and old men, who being past all service, rested there from their labours, in expectation of a release. The intrusive government of Spain, knowing how inaccessible Jovellanos would be to all unworthy inducements (it is Mr. Southey who relates this event), endeavoured to deceive him, by representing that theirs was the only cause which could avert the evils which threatened Spain ; his reply was, " that if the cause of his country were as desperate as they supposed it to be, still it was the cause of honour and loyalty, and that which a good Spaniard ought to follow at all hazards.”!
The confidence which these holy men inspired formed a complete characteristic of the Christian chivalry. The English particularly, says Orderic Vitalis, “had a love and reverence for monks, because to them they owed their conversion to Christ.”2 The Greek emperors wished to be in a spiritual society of prayer with the monks of Clugny, as were the Kings of France, Spain, England, Germany, and Hungary :3 and Nieremberg goes so far as to say, that Philip III., when he came to die, would have exchanged his being monarch of all Spain, and lord of so many kingdoms in the four parts of the world, for the porter's key of some poor movastery. Great was the hope of these knights, when
The mitred abbot stretched his hand,
King Alfred, when concealed in Somersetshire, used frequently to visit the holy hermit St. Neot, his spiritual
2 Lib. xii.
1 Hist. of Peninsular War.
director. In the seventh century, the two Princes Wulfade and Rufin, brothers of St. Wereburge, sons of Wulfere, king of Mercia, being about to embrace Christianity, used to resort to the cell of St. Chad, bishop of Lichfield, under pretence of going a hunting; for the saint resided in a hermitage in a forest, and by him they were instructed in the faith and baptised. Edward the Black Prince is said to have had a peculiar reverence for certain hermits called bons-hommes. René d'Anjou delighted in the hermitage of La Baumette, near Angers. He wished that every year the people might assemble there to taste the joy of that sweet retreat. Hence arose the saying,
que pour être gai toute l'année, il fallait avoir fait ce jour là une visite au père gardien de la Baumette.”l It was not merely kings and knights who had this confidence in the monastic orders. Not to examine farther than England, at Pulton, in Cheshire, was a Cistercian abbey, founded by Robert, butler to the Earl of Chester, in 1153; at Canterbury was an Augustine friary, founded in the reign of Edward I. by Richard French, a baker ; at Boston, in Lincolnshire, was a Franciscan monastery, founded by the Esterling merchants ; at Ruttey, in Suffolk, was an Augustine priory, founded by Ranulph de Glanvil, a lawyer, in 1171; and Robert Ashfield, servant to the Black Prince, whom he followed in his wars, built the church of Stow-Langton, where he lies buried. Besides, following the example of the mite, the clergy received similar alms from the poor, who may be said, therefore, to have built hospitals and cathedrals. In Amadis, we are told that the peasantry had such an opinion of the holiness of the hermit Nasciano, that they believed he used to be regaled with heavenly food, and that no wild beast would injure him or his ass.
The Anglo-Saxons compelled Sigebert to leave his monastery and head their army, from a belief that it would prosper under so good a man; and when Duke William went to Jumiège, and would have become a monk, but that the abbot resisted, and shewed him the necessity of attending to the interest of his country and of his son Richard, before he left the abbey he contrived to make away with
1 Villeneuve, Hist. de René d'Anjou, ii. 308.
a cowl, which he hid in a little chest. What must have been the sanctity of men, and of orders, which could inspire such extravagant veneration! The very pagans and infidels beheld them with reverence. In the records of Glastonbury Abbey, it is said that three kings, though pagans, whom Dr. Milner supposes to have been Arviragus, Marius, and Coillus, protected the holy solitaries who first established themselves there ; and in the year 963, when Alhakem, king of Cordova, was about to march against the Christians of Spain, he published a general order for governing the Moorish army, in which it was expressly commanded that the solitary religious men, hermits, should be under protection, and excepted from the common destruction. Nor is it to be forgotten, that the enemies of monks and the clergy were also the ferocious oppressors of the poor; a fact to which the history of the middle ages bears undivided testimony. It may
proper to give a short outline of the customs and discipline of the monastic orders. A religious life, according to St. Thomas, is “an institution established for the acquiring of interior sanctity." Hence we read, “ Habitus et tonsura modicum confert ; sed mutatio morum et integra mortificatio passionum verum faciunt religiosum.”2 A code of laws is generally an uninteresting study, yet the rules of the order of St. Benedict, or the constitutions of the congregation of St. Maur, cannot be read without edification. There is no perfection which they do not inculcate. Read the 4th chapter. “ In primis, Dominum Deum diligere ex toto corde, tota anima, tota virtute. Deinde, proximum tanquam seipsum." The remainder of the seventy-two precepts in that chapter should also be read. Take the 72d chapter for example. “ As there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God, and leads to perdition, so there is a good zeal which separates from vices, and leads to God and to eternal life. Let the monks exercise this zeal with fervent love ; that is, let them honour each other mutually, patiently bearing with their infirmities, whether of body or mind; let no one follow what he judges useful to himself only, but rather what is useful to others ; let them nourish fra
| Hist. de la Domination des Arabes en Espagne per Conde, i. 478. 2 De Imit. Christi, i. 17.
ternal love ; let them fear God; let them love their abbot with a sincere and humble charity; above all, let them prefer nothing to Christ, who shall lead us to eternal life. Amen.” With the aid of Dr. Milner,' and a few ancient guides, I hope to give a short account of the economy of a monastic life. “ The time of the monks' rising was different, according to the different seasons of the year, and the festivals that were solemnised; but the more common time appears
to have been about the half hour after one in the morning, so as to be ready in the choir to begin the night-office, called nocturnæ vigiliæ, by two. When these consisted of three nocturns, or were otherwise longer, the monks, of course, rose much earlier. In later ages, the whole of this office, and that of the matutinæ laudes, were performed together, and took up in the singing of them about two hours. Each monk had a wooden lantern to light him from the dormitory to the church. There was now an interval of an hour, during which the monks were at liberty, in some convents, again to repose for a short time on their couches; but great numbers every where spent this time in private prayer. At five began the service called prime, at the conclusion of which the community went in procession to the chapter-house to attend to the instructions and exhortations. The chapter being finished, they again proceeded to the church to assist at the early, or, what was called, the Capitular Mass. This being finished, there was a space of an hour, or an hour and a half, which was employed in manual labour or in study. At eight they again met in choir to perform the office called tierce, or the third hour, which was followed by the high mass; and that again by sext, or the office of the sixth hour. These services lasted until near ten o'clock, at which time, in later ages, when it was not a fasting day, the community proceeded to the refectory to dine; a crucifix was over the table, and one monk read aloud some holy book. They returned, after dinner was over, processionally to the church, in order there to finish their solemn grace. There was now a vacant space of an hour, or an hour and a half, during part of which those who were fatigued were at liberty to take their repose,
| Hist. of Winchester.